PubSpy went on a pub crawl around Carshalton about six years ago scoping out the village’s watering holes.

We ended up in the Sun at about 9pm on Saturday. Much to our alarm it was empty, populated only by the barman, his mate and the ghosts of customers past.

It had a dismal set of beers, cigarette-stained walls and no food. We left after a round of drinks failed to fill the void.

It must have been losing money hand over fist but in 2009 the pub underwent a transformation.

Hearing rumours of its rejuvenation I procured a stunt-wife and a carefully prepared child impersonator (who is three so he’s really good) to test out its family-friendly credentials.

It turns out the Sun now gives as warm a welcome as its namesake. While a lot of effort has gone into drawing in families it balances nicely with functioning as a proper pub and community hub, hosting quiz nights, poker evenings and coffee mornings.

At a casual glance the tasteful pub decor looks like it has been there for years.

On closer inspection it looks like it is designed to look like it has been there for years when given a casual glance.

Full marks for effort though, especially in the lovely beer garden, which includes a sizable sand pit for the little ones and a hutch with some guinea pigs. Bonus mark for that – PubSpy loves guinea pigs.

There was a highly acceptable selection of ales, with the odd Belgian beer on tap and a decent wine list. It truly scored with the addition of the kitchen since the days when the pub was more deserted than serving desserts.

Starters hovered around £6 with mains about twice that, so its price and quality stood above Wetherspoon’s but well below prohibitively expensive.

I can recommend the bread board starter that comes with houmous and balsamic olive oil that make a heavenly combination with something called “dukha”, which Wikipedia claims is are reindeer herders from northern Mongolia, but that can’t be right.

Tasted more like sesame seeds to me.

Children are allowed until 7pm and we arrived just before 6pm and the three of us were happily fed and watered before the deadline.

We wended our way into the evening resolved to go back there as soon as possible.

The Sun’s future looks bright.

The Sun - 4 North Street, Carshalton.

Décor XXX Tasteful with a good garden.

Drink XXX No complaints. Has some of PubSpy’s favourite beers.

Price XXX Acceptable. Good quality food considering.

Atmosphere XXXX Relaxed and welcoming; comfy sofas, a friendly dog and guinea pigs.

Staff XXXX Polite, helpful, friendly and not too pushy