There is no doubt about it, times are tough. Many of us are worried about the future as the pinch and the purse strings get ever tighter.

Thank crikey then for the Moon on the Hill. Like it or loathe it, this place has been a main player on the Sutton nightlife circuit for a good many years now and it’s not hard to see why.

If it’s price-busting booze you’re after, then this is the place for you.

Punters of all ages frequent the Moon. From the bright young things tentatively or, in many cases, not so tentatively, making their way in the world of drink, right through to the ruddy-faced regulars who seem reluctant to leave the bar, even for the call of nature.

Before I had a chance to check out the ales on offer I had to negotiate one tricky obstacle – the carpet.

Don’t stare at it for too long as the cream and red swirling pattern will either trigger a migraine or leave your eyes popping out of your head like Kaa, the snake from The Jungle Book.

I, of course, was after the simple beer necessities, so ordered a pint of Ruddles which set me back a whopping £1.70. It bearly touched the sides before I splashed out an extra 50p on a pint of Black Bear.

However, as cheap as these drinks are, there is a price to pay – the Moon is a magnet for the borough’s brigade of waifs and strays.

Every Wetherspoon pub I have ever set foot in seems to have some characters who enjoy a drink, perhaps a bit too much, and have the colour in their cheeks to show for it. There’s always a party of mature punters whose collective laughter sounds like a meeting of a Frank Carson convention, as well as a chap who, after six or seven pints, thinks he is Franki Valli.

Unfortunately for me, the rather craggy old crooner who subjected us to a ropey rendition of Valli’s 1967 hit Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You sounded more like Carson than Valli. It was anything but a cracker.

However, there were a couple of things which I couldn’t take my eyes off – some rather sinister looking metal tree statues – at the top of the stairs, by the gents, and another at the bottom, near the pub’s entrance.

They are the stuff of nightmares, so just remember who might be watching you next time you’re tucking into your chicken tikka masala on curry night.

I know Wetherspoons isn’t for everyone. Some folk, keen to avoid gum-chewing, gold chain-wearing chavs dripping in hair gel, wouldn’t go in to one of these boozers if you paid them.

But for most people, it’s the place where you either kick-start your night or live to regret popping in there for one final pint or two because it’s the only place left in town that’ll let you in.

It’s not really the place to spend the entire night, unless of course, you are one of the aforementioned ruddy-faced regulars or look too young to be allowed in elsewhere.

The Moon on the Hill, 5-9 Hill Road, Sutton, SM1 1DZ

How the pub rates out of five:

DECOR: XXX It’s all pretty neat and tidy. Just don’t look at the carpet... you have been warned.

DRINK: XXXX Lots to choose from including Abbot, Ruddles, London Pride, Directors and plenty of guest ales. There’s even Tuborg lager on tap which makes a nice change.

PRICE: XXXXX To coin a phrase, cheap as chips. Ruddles £1.70, Black Bear £2.20 and, if you’re feeling a bit flush, Abbot £2.30.

ATMOSPHERE: XX Just the sound of chitter-chatter.

STAFF: XXX The young chap who served me was on the ball, thankfully, but that hasn’t always been the case.