This small and unpretentious pub right opposite Cheam station is probably the best bet locally for a decent pint in a friendly atmosphere.
A short step from the intriguing Cheam Village conservation area and not much of a walk from Nonsuch Park, the Railway is a charming, old-fashioned pub in a small but sturdy-looking building. Formerly a Courage pub that once had the record for selling the most Courage Best in London, it’s now leased from Admiral. Once there would have been two bars, but even today with the single open space, it still feels small and cosy. It’s traditionally furnished and the old division between public and saloon bars remains detectable, with plenty of cushions lining the benches and an inviting snug.
Siblings Neil and Zoe have been managing the pub since 2007 and have helped create a very friendly and relaxed atmosphere, with a loyal band of regulars who are welcoming and helpful to new faces. The Railway is often full and there’s lots going on – live bands and a quiz on a monthly basis, a poker night, occasional sport on terrestrial TV and fundraising events for the Royal Marsden Hospital. In line with local tradition, there’s also a pub golf society.
Food isn’t always on but if it is, expect basic home-cooked one-pots and bakes, like shepherd’s pie and lasagne.
The pub has gradually notched up its cask beer range over the past few years – currently six handpumps dispense, naturally enough, Wells and Young’s revived Courage beers, plus Timothy Taylor Landlord and three guests that often come from local breweries like Ascot, Twickenham or Westerham. Annual beer festivals expanding the range still further are now a fixture in the calendar. Staropramen livens up an otherwise standard range of keg beers, and there are six wines by the glass (from £3.40).
The Last Word
The Railway is that rare beast, an old-fashioned pub that’s still flourishing, with a friendly welcome and plenty of charm.