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|Address:||60 Battersea High Street, London SW11 3HX|
|Tel:||020 7228 2968|
|Price: £27.00||Wine: £12.00||Champagne: £39.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sun 11am-11pm (Fri-Sat -12M Sun -10.30pm)|
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This local pub ought to be busy and buzzy. The Woodman has long had a refined but relaxed dining area at the back where you can get decent versions of ambitious pub grub at reasonable prices and they've now done up the front parlour to match. It's been rather well done in my opinion with gentle Farrow & Ball-ish colours painted on wooden drawing room style panels, glass features around the bar so you have an unimpeded view through to the rest of the bar, and a mix of seating covering squashy sofas, high stools and normal wooden tables. It is light and airy but also cosy. What a shame then that it is also nearly always empty. I don't know what they're doing wrong. Scrap that, I do know. It's because when you walk in you are confronted by a few regulars spread (one per table) around the front parlour in a configuration which secures the maximum area and ensures every intruder will be caught in the crossfire stares of needling eyes which scream “This Is OUR pub and WE have been drinking here long before this Refurb”. The welcome is colder than ice. This is clear when you look through the large picture windows and I imagine many walk on by to The Castle (which looks like a grubby old village hall from the outside but has a lively, warm vibe inside). The staff here smile at the key moments but generally give the impression that they are in the middle of doing something else. I've had a few OK meals in the back and last night we had a couple of glasses of drinkable red and a few good nibbles (having found a corner out of sight) but I won't be giving it another chance because of the atmosphere. I don't know how the publican can balance respecting his old, loyal, locals with drawing in a new crowd, but I am sure he needs to because whilst the old lady in her furs can put away the wine (I've seen her in the local cafe washing down an English breakfast with a glass of white) I doubt her spending will compensate for all the lost business which heads off elsewhere.