Right next to Bexley station, this straightforward traditional pub has a few well kept real ales and a busy programme of live music.
In the middle of Old Bexley’s pretty high street at the bottom of the station approach, the Railway Tavern is an old corner station pub that’s been extended into the building next door to create a single long bar. The decor is decidedly traditional, with worn padded bench seating and tables, the bar gantry still topped with what looks like a 1960s Courage lightbox, and another depicting steam locomotives.
“Food?” responds the landlord to an enquiry about their catering arrangements. With comic indignation, he feigns a spit. “No, mate, we’re a proper pub. We provide an extensive selection of crisps, nuts and other savoury snacks in packets.” If you can deal with the robust humour and sarcasm, it’s a friendly enough place, with a lively, older local crowd, screening sports but also welcoming families with kids. Karaoke is on Tuesdays, poker on Thursdays, and Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons boast regular live music – guitar duos, folk artists, cover singers and the like. The rest of the time they play middle-of-the-road recorded music at volumes just a little too high.
Cask beer is a feature, with four handpumps dispensing Wells & Young’s Courage Best and three guests from the likes of Oakleaf, Rudgate, Skinners or the Millis brewery in Darenth, not far away. Quality is reportedly variable, though the pub is Good Beer Guide listed and a regular finalist in the local CAMRA branch’s Pub of the Year competition. Otherwise there’s standard keg lagers and spirits.
The Last Word
Worth looking into for a pint (and a savoury packet of snacks) on the way to or from Bexley station, the Railway Tavern certainly flies the flag for traditional pub aesthetics, but probably isn’t worth making a special trip for.