The Railway Tavern in Tulse Hill is ideally placed on Station Rise but until recently hasn't always reached its full potential. It is fair to say that it is by far the best of pubs in the vicinity, but has not always been of a standard high enough to stop locals heading for the temptations of Herne Hill or East Dulwich. This may be about to change.
A collection of vintage furniture compliments the eclectic mix of ska and soft electronic beats, which make for a relaxing after-work atmosphere. Lighting is low and by night candles are scattered round the ample tables about the pub. The jade green walls, occasional splashes of red leather furniture and living room lampshades found in the odd corner here and there make this an invitingly modern pub with retro chic references. Sectioned off neatly at the rear by a windowed partition so as not to disturb the desired atmosphere, a large pool table dominates a second room. Outdoors and to the side there is a small deck and at the back a large garden area with a brilliant Tiki beach hut that is lit up by night, perfect for late summer evenings and weekend sessions.
This pub has the air of a student pub with laid-back service and a music playlist perfect for the afternoon after the night before. It perhaps doesn't have the family feel that would capture trade venturing to Herne Hill and West Dulwich. It’s refreshing that The Railway Tavern is breaking the mould but it could still do with paring back its student grunge vibe and tightening up on its service a touch.
For under a tenner the kitchen offers pub staples like burgers and a wide pizza selection with plenty of vegetarian options. Charcuterie and mezze plates are ideal sharers for around £12. The menu steps up a notch with the confit duck, new season lamb chops or grilled atlantic baby squid reasonably priced at around £10.
A rotating selection of ale includes popular Black Sheep Bitter from North Yorkshire, Sambrook's Wandle from Battersea and Sharp's Doom Bar from Cornwall. A wider selection of local London brews would be a good addition and no doubt popular with the younger commuting crowd. Also on draught there's Staropramen, Leffe and Guinness with a bar-top cider barrel and pints of Pimms for those days where the sun breaks through.
The Last Word
A few craft additions on the bar would be welcome but otherwise the Railway Tavern is much improved from only a year ago. It is on the right track and well worth a visit.