The scene: Attached to the hallowed cricket ground in an affluent corner of north west London, this venue has provided cricket-lovers with a haven for celebration or reflection. But punters in the past have apparently been rambunctious, so a recent makeover has been, in part, aimed at attracting a more subdued crowd. Bedecked in wood panelling, with a beige colour-scheme, booths and comfy chairs, the pub now holds a rarefied air. Custom-made wallpaper, printed with the invitations of cricketing banquets from as far back as 1928, plus balls and trophies in glass cabinets, are a nod to the establishment’s provenance. However, none of this helps to inject any atmosphere into the place. When we arrive, it is swarming with polished, tuxedoed men. They come for a cheap pint before indulging in a pricier, corporate experience in the grounds. But when they leave, amid a cloying waft of cologne, they take with them any life the place had.

The grub: Bar snacks including Scotch egg, pork pies and croquettes, plus tapas. Our steak and chips, and fish and chips were cooked to mouth-watering perfection.
Behind the bar: There is an extensive wine list, plus Marston’s ales.

Bill please:
Mains from £8.50; tapas dishes £4.50; bar snacks from £2; wine £4.10 for a glass and a pint from £3.20.

Verdict: Bring back the noisy cricket fans.


St John’s Wood, NW8 8Q
Tube: Finchley Road

Rebecca Kent