Earl of Eldon, Croydon
It's an odd experience to find ourselves the only customers in a pub, especially two or three hours into opening time on a warm summer afternoon with World Cup football on the television. Outnumbered by the staff, busily giving the place a late spring clean, the only other visitor was the painter off his ladder, taking a break from giving the outside a bit of a face lift. The Eldon has the feel of a pub under new management. It feels recently redecorated, but a little garishly with scarlet walls and ceiling. It's a shame really its obvious Victorian features aren't being made more of, however it seems to have retained its rather splendid carved and panelled bar, though most of the old handbag hooks seem to have gone. The bar is now dominated by lager pumps - we always wonder if all the different brands just tube down into one central anonymous vat - but three ale pumps remain, serving a good Greene King's IPA, its Abbot Ale and Ruddles. A bar menu offered basic pub fare at reasonable prices, and promised food throughout the day, until 9.00 p.m.. Rather than sit and watch the cleaning going on, we wandered out to the little paved garden area at the back. Pleasantly laid out with benches. This is a little sun-trap, and might make for a nice afternoon sitting out with a few pints, if you are so inclined. The Eldon looks like it's got the ingredients in place to be an okay little pub, sited on the busy Brighton Road, but it probably suffers from the competition it gets from the much better Crown and Sceptre a few yards away. For the moment, however, it seems lacking in any kind of atmosphere and unsure of what it wants its customers to be.
63 Brighton Road, Croydon, London, CR2 6EE
020 8688 1473
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How to find the Earl of Eldon pub
Head north on Blunt Rd toward St Peter's Road, and turn left. Cross over and head down Selsdon Road and take the second right into Upland Road. At the end, turn left into Brighton Road. The pub is ahead on the left.