Soulless pubs are not a rarity. High Street chains managed like McDonalds with beer and food to match the McPub tag are often the main culprit; but I’d also add the unsympathetic restoration to this as well. I’ve been to plenty of pubs that left me cold but a visit to The Rosendale left me frost bitten. Set on the corner of Rosendale Road and Park Hall Road in West Dulwich, its a solid looking pub that has stood on the site for many years. A shame then that on entering I am faced with a pub so devoid of character that I am actually saddened. Faux leather booths, garish lime patterned columns and generic restaurant furniture say it all. Its as if whoever designed the renovation had a brief to strip away years of character. An original bar still stands which is a saving grace.
Well reviewed on opening it won Time 0ut Gastropub of 2007. Striking then that on a Sunday afternoon in West Dulwich you would expect more than 3 tables to be occupied. Venture to Herne Hill and the likes of the Florence and the Prince Regent would be heaving. The Mansion in Gipsy Hill from where we’d come was running out of tables. An isolated lack of custom? On my only other visit in late summer the pub was empty with he exception of a couple tables. The beer garden was empty. My feelings for this pub maybe compounded by the fact that I was hit by a biscuit while I sat in that garden but I assure you that a biscuit rebounding off my ample head doesn’t sway my comment. Walking past many times it never has more than a handful of customers. My wonder is whether standards have slipped or people just want more character. I won’t be finding out in a hurry. Lifes too short.
The Rosendale, 65 Rosendale Road, West Dulwich, London, SE21 8EZ