I went to the "best pub in London" with bargain pints and grub but one catch

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    It’s Friday night and my mate and I are dying of thirst (not literally). 

    It’s been a long week but finally, thankfully, the weekend is here. There’s only one thing for it: the pub. We’ve just moved to a new part of London, a city overflowing with boozer options but one nearby is special.

    So special, in fact, that in March this year Time Out ranked it number one on its Best Pubs in London rankings – and it’s not hard to see why. Skehans in Nunhead, in the city’s exciting south-east, has got the lot and as we dance up Gellatly Road in the approach to Telegraph Hill, we’re buzzing.

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    The neighbourhood of Telegraph Hill is one that knows it’s onto a good thing, all beautifully maintained terraces, wide boulevards lined with trees and parks and dogs. At the heart of it all is Skehans, its energy and thrill pouring down the slope towards us as we approached.

    At the top of the hill we looked back, a vista of London’s skyscrapers sprawls out before us. A nod to the bouncer and we’re in, the warmth of this Irish free house smacking us in the face as we step out of the cold December air. It’s quirky inside, old knick-knacks adorn the walls and huge antique fans loom above the drinkers – they’re not needed this evening.

    Friends sit in small groups, gentle conversation floating through the air. A peep into each corner is just as likely to throw up a group of paint-splattered tradies as it is mums with prams. Everyone is here.

    Trendy southeast London folk, heavily mulleted, talk excitedly, most likely about the big night out ahead of them on Saturday. In the corner of the main bar, a grander take on the traditional front room saloon with higher ceilings, a drum kit and guitars lie promisingly.

    Music is a key fixture in the Skehans agenda and some nights the casual table chatter has been known to descend into raucous dancing, tables pushed aside. This is no club, however, no tacky lights flashing and a fiver on the door – this is proper, old-school pub dancing.

    Skehans is an Irish pub and one that takes Guinness seriously – none of that trendy £7 for a stylish import nonsense, but rather a pint of Guinness as it was intended – for everyone. They cost a fiver, a very good price in the capital these days.

    When games are on two big, high-resolution TV screens offer a good view to everyone in the main bar, with a smaller nook of its winding garden also home to an al-fresco Premier League gorging spot.

    There’s even a restaurant, serving up Thai food which, according to the ever-reliable grape vine is money well spent. If you were to find a criticism it would be the £10 minimum spend, but that’s a round of Guinness for you and a mate – as in our case tonight – or if you’re off for a crafty solo splash, order two and keep one in the bin.

    Is it the best pub in London? Surely that question is too big for one man to answer. Could I say this isn’t the best pub in London? Absolutely not.

    Our pints are slipping down easily, the promise of a rosy-cheeked night in this unquestionably cosy spot ahead of us. Too easily, in fact.

    On that, I’m off to get the next round in.

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    • Pubs
    • London

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