A huge, high-ceilinged cave of wonders, The Enterprise is anything but boring to look at, though the atmosphere can be somewhat lacking.
The Enterprise on Red Lion Street is a grand, impressive pub, but quite the assault on the senses. Go through the door and you won’t quite know where to look first; one wall is covered in beautiful, ornate tiles and floor-to-ceiling mirrors. The other is adorned with what look to be pages from a butterfly collector’s handbook. Then there’s the enormous sculpture – actually it looks like a death mask - of an anonymous face above the fireplace, and the mirrors at the back of the pub that have been made to look like a scuba diver’s helmet. Seriously. There seems to be no overarching theme holding it all together, though it has the distinct feel of a museum or art gallery.
On the whole, this is a lovely, large and striking pub with plenty to look at, but it’s just hard to know what you’re looking at, exactly. There’s a quirky, colourful beer garden that doesn’t quite seem to fit the ‘look’ of the pub, but it’s comfortable and inviting.
Even though there seems to be so much going on at The Enterprise, there isn’t much of an atmosphere. Perhaps this is due to the rather sombre classical music they pipe out in the background and the fact that they regularly play the Funeral March. Whoever bought that ‘classic pub soundtrack’ CD ought to get their money back.
Because the pub is so long, there’s plenty of space for the London crowds and it never feels too packed, and the staff are fast enough to make sure nobody’s waiting too long for a drink or food. But the lavishness of the décor makes for a rather cold atmosphere, as though you’re at a posh relative’s house and don’t want to touch anything in case you break it.
There’s a good selection of pub grub on offer at fairly reasonable prices for the area. The smoked haddock fishcakes with spinach and potatoes (£9.75) are delicious and the horseradish sauce is terribly moreish. The spicy sausage and chorizo sandwich on toasted granary bread (£6.95) with homemade chips is really tasty too and it’s a big enough portion to keep you going all day.
There are lots of beers to choose from here. On draught you’ll find Staropramen, Carling, Fruli, Guinness and Amstel. By the bottle there’s Budweiser, Peroni, Leffe blond, Beck’s and Corona. A glass of white (Chardonnay) or red (Merlot) house wine goes for £4.10.
The Last Word
If you’re after a decent pub with good food near the station, this is a great. It’s comfortable and spacious and the beer garden is the perfect spot for an evening drink when it’s not too cold. Just be prepared for the eclectic, almost spooky décor and background music.