While Aveley is more East (or East East East) London overspill housing estate (lots of shell-suit wearers) plus natural growth' private housing (an abundance of cabbies) than agrarian village, the Old Ship Inn is the nearest thing it has to a trad village pub. It's quite fine, actually. The public bar is jolly and relaxed, with big sports screens (which promise golf and cricket as well as football), and there are separate rooms for pool and, most creditably, for snooker. The saloon bar is pleasingly austere; many of the fittings don't appear to have changed since the 1950s, although two pics of Princess Di and some rather uninspired paintings of rural scenes undermine the atmosphere. There's some fine stained glass, and an aged fireplace too. We were rather alarmed to find a liquid on sale that we metropolitan (or even Essex in Greater London) types regarded as a relic of times (thankfully) past-not quite beer, not quite piss, but possibly a close relation of one, or t'other, or possibly both, namely Double Diamond. (Word is, it's not the only pub in Aveley to shift the stuff, which is even more alarming.) Nonetheless, the Old Ship does a good job; it's a proper locals' pub in which strangers are made welcome.
Reviewed by venichka
12 May 2005