The Maypole, Chigwell Row, Essex – Pub Review
Scratching brand on sale: Midland Snacks – Traditional Pork Scratchings
Pub review: There used to be three pubs in Chigwell Row, sadly now there is essentially one. This once great local has decided to rest upon its laurels, now that the local competition have become houses and a restaurant.
It has been recently refurbished, which is a marked improvement on the previous grubby, smelly slapdash establishment of old. It has more bright lights than a night-time kick off at Wembley stadium, these bleach all but the darkest brown parts of the traditional pub type decor. This is OK when it’s busy, but when empty it’s a sorry situation. It is so bright and airy (no shadows anywhere) that you can see that there is no one in the pub, which makes you feel very small and alone. It’s like being outside.
Generally, the voids of an empty pub are filled with quiet conversation, some mood music, warmth and sometimes the smell of good food. The Maypole seems to have invested in a money making (false economy) jukebox, which when the pub is empty leaves 10-minute gaps of silence between the automatically selected tracks, we lurch from silence to loud pop, a jarring nightmare. The gaps of silence are presumably designed to encourage you to spend a little on some music to fill the air. This is fair enough, but on a quiet night, all you notice is the morgue like deathly silence of an empty pub. Surely on quiet nights, it’s not a good idea to remind us that we are almost the only one there, couldn’t the jukebox be set to play tracks more often, or be on quietly in the background? We can all see the jukebox flashing near the bar, so if we want to, we will use it. Instead, in the silent gaps all we hear is the incessant beep of the other money making box, the rotten fruit machine.
As always on public display is the ubiquitous pink squirty ‘clean the table’ spray. Why can’t you keep it under the bar? I don’t want to see it’s neon pink shape casting a grey shadow in the shape of a dirty cloth (oh, it is a dirty cloth). This spray only seems to smudge your sticky drink spillage around the table, leaving the whole table tacky, it doesn’t work. Before the revamp no one would rest their arms on the tables for fear of not being able to remove them with their skin intact. Why oh why can’t a table be wiped with a clean damp cloth and soapy water, I assure you it does a better job.
The men’s toilet used to be a nice clean room with a large china wall urinal, but for some unknown reason this was covered up with conté board and 3 stupid bowls, which soon got beaten up, cracked, moved by the new clientele. During the revamp this has now been removed and replaced by a more modern stainless steel trough. 3 stupid bowls or a stainless steel wall, it matters not a jot, if you don’t keep it clean. It might be the drains, but these toilets are near the restaurant area and they smell really bad. You may say ‘but it’s a toilet, what do you expect’, but you’d soon notice if it was in your house and the smell flooded into your dining room. When the waiter/waitress comes out of the kitchen, you can’t help associate the food with the smell. 90% of taste is smell.
On the plus side, this very large pub now has clearly defined areas. A sports end with pool table and a TV screen for sports (thank god we don’t have to see through the corner of our eyes, ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’ on mute, like we used to). As far away as possible from this area is the restaurant area, which is good news for diners. In between these two areas is the main bar, and in the corner is a raised lounge room with low tables, sofas and the fireplace.
There is a good range of clean beers, fridges with a good range of bottles too. An impressive range of spirits, and a separate shot/cocktail area. A good selection of good quality snacks, and for the first time, pork scratchings.
I live about 500yds from this pub and used to frequent it about twice a week. I went when it was clean and busy, when the landlord cared. Then the owner changed and things were not the same. I have only been popping in once in a while for the past 5 years to see if there has been a change for the better, there has not. This new refit has so much potential but I fear it will go the way of every other failed effort. The success of this pub with a minor effort and attention to detail is assured, if not, it will be flats by the end of the decade.
They will let you buy a drink at 10.59, at 11.01 someone is squirting the table with pink fluid and grey cloth, around your glass. I half expected to have to lift my feet whilst they hoovered around me! I can’t understand the mindset of the bar staff who change from sullen and slow before ‘time gentlemen please’, to clear thinking efficient workers after. They want to go home, so do I.
Everything is right about this pub except everything that matters.
ADDITIONAL: they now have installed a fairground grabber to make more money. What idiots! This is a pub, not a cheap rundown seaside town arcade. I GIVE UP!
The Maypole Pub Links
The Maypole Contact Details
Address: The Maypole,
171 Lambourne Road,
Postcode: IG7 6DD
Telephone: 020 8500 2050
Be the first to leave a review.