Take one Wetherspoons chain pub, add to it the sombre atmosphere of a station pub and what do you get? A depressing drinking experience. Welcome to Wetherspoons Victoria.
Sitting at the top of an escalator, above the main thoroughfare of Victoria train station, sits this Wetherspoons pub that’s been so lazily put together that they didn’t even think up a name for it. It’s simply called ‘Wetherspoons’. Original. A frontage made up of glass offers views of the depressing, cold station and the occasional pigeon that inhabits it, frightening businessmen in expensive suits as they swoop low overhead. A couple of metal chairs sit outside the entrance to the pub – although it’s hardly alfresco drinking and you can’t smoke anywhere within the station anyway – and inside the usual mix of ugly patterned carpets, sticky wooden tables and chairs and a large bar is somehow all the more depressing for its setting.
Bleak and transient, Wetherspoons Victoria attracts commuters, partygoers travelling in and out of London and, seemingly, anyone feeling a bit depressed. The staff seem disinterested and bored, and the sounds of the tannoy announcing cancelled trains and changed platforms grates on your nerves. It’s certainly not a recipe for an enjoyable pub experience.
With so many fast food joints and chain restaurants in Victoria station, the food offering at Wetherspoons Victoria doesn’t seem to do great business. Cheap to say the least, the colourful, sticky menus show pictures of burgers, chips, pies, steaks… the usual pub grub of value chains. It won’t be the best food available in the station but it may well be the cheapest.
This Wetherspoons is Cask Marque accredited and this is the pub’s saving grace. Regular ales include Ruddles and IPA with rotating guests, and other options include the usual suspects Guinness and Stella. They do offer a few bottles of wine, too, but this is hardly the place to indulge in a bottle. Grab a pint, drink it down and head out before depression sets in.
The Last Word
Station pubs are never going to be the best examples of London’s top watering holes but Wetherspoons Victoria is poor even by train station standards.