Sometimes a pub becomes so popular you can’t see what the fuss is about until the crowds clear.

Pubspy has spent many a boozy Friday night dragged out by thirsty chums to The Westow House, Crystal Palace, and, preferring a quieter drink to a hell-raising night out, it’s been hard to work out what all the fuss is about.

Mainly this is because the experience has consisted of shoulders bumping against shoulders among the crowds, an inability to talk to anyone you know due to the noise and a vague sense of claustrophobia.

Stepping out into the beer garden (garden is a very loose term here, there’s no greenery there) has provided no solace either, with the marauding, shouty nightlife staggering past.

But something has always nagged at the back of my mind – surely there’s something making all these people come here. And so it is, on my latest visit to the pub – during the week for a change – that all becomes clear: The Westow House is a brilliant boozer.

There’s something for everyone here. The decor, like most Antic-owned pubs, is top-notch: cosy enough to enjoy a quiet night, and cool enough for a party atmosphere. One side of the wall resembles a library there are so many books.

There’s lots of art-deco and a piano sits on the right-hand side, although what happens to anyone who dares to start playing it is a mystery.

There’s a wide choice of booze, with five ales on the pumps, such as Bombadier and Tribute. My Grolsch was £3.60, a touch expensive but not the worst I’ve had recently. There’s a screen for the sports fans, but it’s not obtrusive to other drinkers who aren’t into that sort of thing.

However, perhaps the same can't be said for the table tennis towards the back of the pub. I’m all for that sort of ridiculous addition to a bar and it’s potentially a great way to meet new people or just have fun with the friends you've already met. But if you’re not not part of the game then the constant ‘plink-plink-plink’ of bat on ball can get maddening.

It’s just a pity the pub is still crying out for a decent outside area – it would be good to come here and get fresh air without hearing the drone of car engines and refreshed passers-by on the Crystal Palace Triangle.

But this review shouldn’t end on a sour note. What made a change was the fact The Westow House was well-staffed.

As Cameron’s cuts hit, it’s been evident some bars have felt the pinch and taken staff levels down, making for a maddening experience for drinkers attempting to get served. But I’ll come here again and spend my cash, knowing I’m going to get served quickly too. And it seems the crowds coming to the Westow House are in agreement.

Decor: XXXX Very good, lots of nice touches. But, oh, for a good beer garden.

Drink: XXXX Good, and a wide choice.

Price: XX £3.60 for pint of Grolsch is still just a touch above the average.

Atmosphere: XXXX If you want a quiet drink during the week, or a noisy weekend night out, then you’ll get what you want here.

Staff: XXXX Cheery service and in good numbers.