Category: Nearly-Railway

(This is the continuation of a project which has been dormant, largely as a result of a lengthy period of foul sobriety. New readers, or forgetful ones, might like to catch up with what this is all about. This review is of the Railway I visited some months ago and never wrote up, so it’s from slightly splintered memory. Please forgive inaccuracies or embellishments.)

I was in a bad mood: I was late, I was hung over, I was supposed to be visiting two Railways on the way to watching my football team slump to an inevitable defeat against Pete’s football team. These things aren’t sent to try us, we bring them on ourselves (rather, we generously treat ourselves to them).

And then, The Railway Engineer. It’s one of those pubs built to service a fairly large housing development, probably in the thirties. [One pub for a whole estate] + [early-mid century fashion for “roadhouse” style pub – restaurants on a large scale] = a big old boozer. And it has a tell-tale sign on the front: it’s a Mr. Q’s.

The Mr. Q’s sign is not generally a good thing, unless you’re looking for a game of pool. If it’s pool you’re after, I suppose it’s not too much of a disaster. This much it’s possible to say for Mr. Q: he’s a consistent chap. You have a fair idea what you’ll get when you visit his place. You’ll get pool tables, for sure, you’ll also get some big screens, some low-grade flags-and-shirts style sporting memorabilia, plenty of chairs and tables, often in rows in one of the larger rooms. You have carpets and wooden furniture so standard and familiar that you can’t bring them fully to mind once you’ve left. His establishments are geared to the evening trade: they work best when there are people in, the music’s cranked up, lager is being drunk, laughs are being had. Those aren’t really my laughs, these aren’t really my kind of places.

This, however, was the tail-end of a Saturday lunchtime. There had obviously been a few in earlier, but now there were a handful of us. A man and a woman were slowly playing pool, when they did talk it was quietly. I didn’t have time to take a chance on the food, so grabbed my pint of Guinness and my big bag of cheesy Quavers and sat down somewhere in the expanse of empty tables to watch the football previews on the telly.

And it was alright. The man behind the bar had been very friendly, apologised for a (brief) wait while he was fixing something in the back. I felt reasonably comfortable. The few souls remaining for a post-lunch drink seemed fairly benign. And even my mood had lifted slightly by the time I set off back in the direction of Barnet. Where we lost.

Overall mark: 5/10