The County Arms in Wandsworth re-launches with brand-new look
Once upon a time there was a large, big brand-owned pub in an affluent area that dreamed of looking like it was a craft, independent pub that had no corporate oversight and could be as local as it liked. Whose story is this? Well, increasingly, the answer is pretty much every pub in London nowadays.
Not that there’s anything wrong with this necessarily. Sure, perhaps to the unobservant, the main difference is that the word Youngs (who own the building) doesn’t appear anywhere; however, allowing these places to run in this way actually gives them significant benefits. They can support local breweries, let their chefs have more control over menus, and cater their services to their market – plus the consumer gets to feel like they’re backing a local venture. On the other hand, it can be argued that most venues tend to do things in similar ways – there’s the obligatory wall painted to look like a bookcase, for example.
There’s a good selection of beer and ales here, including some from the local Wimbledon Brewery, which are excellent. The food comprises the usual gastropub fare, with greater focus on British ingredients and seasonality; but the kitchen also offers a diverse set menu, various platters and sharing boards, a canapé menu for private functions, and even a separate barbeque menu (there’s a terrace as well as the garden). The chefs also intend to run monthly themed food nights, allowing them even more freedom.
Four spaces for hire – catering for everything from 12 people up to 120 – are available for intimate dinner parties, small weddings, work meetings and even music shows (a small band could comfortably perform). In short, The County Arms is trying to cover all its bases with the new overhaul; thanks to its size and layout, there’s no reason it can’t succeed in doing so.
The County Arms is, perhaps unsurprisingly given the recent renovations, lacking that lived-in feel that I tend to like in pubs, but that is a superficial problem that should resolve in time. Overlooking an idyllic spot near Wandsworth Common, this is a good venue that seems to recognise the diversity of its market and offers something for everyone.
Photos: Matthew Pull
To book a table at The County Arms, 345 Trinity Road London SW18 3SH, call 020 8874 8532 or visit here.