The Rectory - Pub in
town centre has been well known over the past ten years
or so, for it's gradual slide into oblivion. The wealthiest
of Britain's post codes has suffered the ignominy of its town
centre slowly dying under the twin onslaught of the new traffic
system which turned a sizeable portion of the high street
into a marooned island, and the subtle addition of a Tesco
store which killed off all but the charity shops. With the
demolition of the long since deserted Astoria cinema all seemed
lost for what had become merely a set of traffic lights on
the way to Croydon.
the past few years the only notable improvements have
been the renovation of the Jolly Farmers pub, and the long
since overdue addition of a KFC and a Blockbusters store.
But just when you thought things couldn't get any better we're
treated to a new Pizza Express in the old Nat West (so there
is another way!), and now a new pub, the Rectory.
directly opposite Blockbusters on the main road, the pub
has taken over the premises of the old British Gas kitchen
show rooms. The plus point is that the traditional structure
is far more suited to a public house than it ever was to the
kitchen creations in beech and chrome that would have caused
a major pile up if you dared slow down in a vain attempt to
catch a glance through the obscured window area. In fact the
only useful thing along this stretch of the road was a Midland
cash-point, (but there's one round the corner next to Boots
so it doesn't matter).
minus point for the pub is of course it's location and
near absence of parking, particularly given the eating establishments,
Blockbusters and KFC round the back in the 'High Street'.
So, having jumped off one of the frequent buses that stop
conveniently outside, filled up with cash round at Boots,
and booked your table for Pizza Express, in you go to the
always surprising to go into what you perceived as being
a poky and restricted retail outlet and emerge into a tardis-like,
far bigger than expected drinking venue.
Witness the Witherspoons round the corner - now what could
they do with the old Sainsbury's?
Rectory is large enough to accommodate a couple of hundred,
and seems to go back into the building an unbelievably long
way. The bar stretches most of this length with extensive
seating areas to the front, rear and most of the side facing
the bar. This design lends itself to short waiting times and
less jostling experiences whilst buying a drink - after all
this is Croydon. Always assuming the staff numbers are adequate.
photos were taken on a week-night to get a feel for the
layout, but on a Saturday night the place was far busier.
Happily to say the staff passed the bar waiting time test,
and generally there was a good balance between the feeling
of being in a popular venue, and not getting pressed into
a pack of sardines.
music is slightly loud, but conversations are manageable.
Bar prices are average, and the toilets are still clean. The
atmosphere is relaxed and reasonably sensible, (after all
this is Purley don't you know?). There's even a couple of
professional looking bouncers on hand for a bit of added security.
One of these attends our local gym LA Fitness, (the friendliest
club in town), and take our word for it, looks even more formidable
without his overcoat on.
more can you say about a pub? The age range is the full
spectrum, and it isn't a cattle market. Dress sense on a week-end
night has got to be reasonable, but it does give it a feeling
of a night-out rather than an alcohol refuelling station.
We rate it, Purley has needed it for some time, but if you'd
like cheaper drinks, no music, and less than hygienic toilets
with a big CCTV camera in the corner, stick to Witherspoons.