The Time Out Pub Of The Year shortlist has come out, and it looks like the beardy beeries of CAMRA (stereotypes are there for a reason chaps) have had a look in. Perenial CAMRA, and to be fair publog, favourite The Wenlock Arms is there. But also so is The Salisbury Hotel, a sympathetic refurb which was in the controversial historic pub interiors book. It used to be a bit of a shit-hole, even when poor publogger Emma briefly worked there. So has much magic been done to improve its reputation.

I was in there about two months ago, and certainly the whole place looks rather grand. The manky toilets by the bar have been removed, the back room refurbed and the carpet replaced by natty tiling. There is some suggestion that it may be from the people who brought us the Swimmer and The Approach, as the beer selection is the same, and the juker is likewise idiosyncratic. All in all a nice job – except the punters.

A local is a local, and a pub like the Salisbury (the Sally as we called it) was always a bit of a sink pub. Considering that back in the day it had a Wetherspoons six doors down we need to consider the kind of sink pub it was. The drug users seem to have been moved on but “the characters” were being encouraged when I was last there as they seemed to be the only punters actually drinking. Said characters were toothless old soaks who liked the Pixies and fell over on exiting the pub at 5pm. If punters maketh the pub, the the Sally has not got a hope in hell.

Of the five pubs listed I would imagine it being between the Wenlock Arms and The Lamb in Lambs Conduit Street, with the Lamb edging it for being central. How The Elgin got on the shortlist I don’t know, the service has always been appalling every time I have been in there, and as any fule kno there are no decent pubs in West London. The only one on the shortlist I have never been to is the The Sultan in Wimbledon, which being owned by the Hopback Brewery is probably another CAMRA fix. A trip may be in order.