It is rare to go to a pub which has segregated areas for sports fans and discerning drinkers, but The Wandle achieves this with ease and grace.
With a brilliant location near Earlsfield station and considering the pub is huge, it’s an easy find for south west Londoners. When you enter you have a few options: to the left is a large dining room-style space, and to the right is an area for watching sports in two chilled drawing rooms. The sporting side houses a HD projector screen and flat screen TV so, when sport is on, it doesn’t interfere with the other side of the pub. The bar is also rather large so it’s easy to get served promptly.
On the left-hand-side of the pub is the entrance to the wonderful beer garden which has many facets. The walkway leads you to an area that looks stable-like and is sheltered, which is great for chillier days or unpredictable British weather. Here you will find big cushions, heaters and even some warming gingham blankets. It’s really homely and chilled. The rest of the beer garden has numerous places to sit and, when the weather is right, the huge barbecue is fired up, providing tasty treats for all. Also at the very back there is a ping pong table.
The Wandle, formerly known as The Puzzle, is a real locals’ pub, with young professionals and the like filling up the pub. On Tuesdays they hold a quiz, which leaves the pub completely packed out, so it would be advisable to get there early. On the plus side, table service is provided by the dedicated and faultlessly friendly staff, making your experience less stressful. On Fridays and Saturdays it is open until 1am, with live music being played, which is a bonus as it’s rare to see a pub open so late round these parts.
When it comes to the food, expect to find good old British seasonal grub - and plenty of it. All dishes on the menu are well priced and extremely good value. For instance if you are famished, then the half roast chicken with watercress and one of their extras for £9.25 is a good place to start. A beautifully roasted chicken arrives on a large wooden platter and, such is its size, it can be a struggle to finish. It could benefit from some sauce or gravy, but dipping it into mayo or ketchup does suffice. It’s always useful to measure a place by the quality of its burger and chips (£8.25), and The Wandle passes this test with crispy yet soft, fluffy chips and a great big juicy burger. Roasts are also a big thing on Sundays.
There’s plenty on offer for all tastes at The Wandle, it’s just deciding what to have is the problem. For draught beers there are the usual suspects, with a few interesting ones added into the mix, such as Budvar Dark (£3.85). They even have share their name with an ale, The Wandle (£3 a pint), so you really are spoilt for choice. If you want to share some beers with mates then you can either get a 4-pint jug or a 10-pint watering can (£30). For wine you are again faced with many fantastic options. House comes in the form of a tempranillo or a Somada Verdejo, for about £14 a bottle, £3.70 a small and £5 a large glass.
The Last Word
The Wandle is a pub which may make you reconsider your living arrangements so that you can be nearby to it and pop-in every day. It has fantastic staff, huge surroundings and great food and drink, making it a favourite for all to visit.