Simon ‘not so sporty spice’ Still pops into the reinvented Coach & Horses
Venturing away from the mania of the market and central Brixton opens up a huge range of pub options. Along with the arrival of Knife, the corner axis of Acre lane and Clapham Park Road is undergoing a revival, including the latest incarnation of the Coach & Horses.
It’s a proper old pub that survived the 60s and 70s redevelopments of this part of Acre Lane. New owners Frontier Pubs are a small chain that pitch themselves as a modern “local” with, and I quote, “Craft beers, awesome pizza and all the big screen sport that’s worth watching”. The first two definitely work for me, but the third is a big turn off. So it was good to see that on a night with no sport the projector screen was rolled up and the other TV remained silent. I’m told it’s a good place to watch footie and rugby.
Outside there is a patio that, while next to the road, catches some nice evening sun. Inside it’s an attractive space with retro light bulbs, bare brick walls, green wood panelling and art on the walls surrounding a central bar.
There were no ales on the hand pumps the night we popped in, but Brixton’s Reliance Pale Ale and craft beers from five other breweries were on tap along with ciders.
The Urban Farm House Tartelette was an easy drinking sour that was perfect for a warm summer evening. Another refreshing choice was Old Hands Denali – an American pale ale with Denali hops adding a fruitiness to Citra’s sharp notes. With some supposed craft beer pubs having only pales and APA, it was good to see a dark beer on tap even in summer and I couldn’t resist a pint of Five Points classic Railway Porter.
Pizza, which seems to have replaced Thai as the cuisine of choice for pubs, isn’t complicated but a lot of places still manage to mess it up. Not so the Coach & Horses. A large, professional pizza oven stands in the open kitchen and it turned out thin pizzas which were crispy right across the base without being overdone on top. It’s a welcome alternative to the sourdough style of Franco Manca and Mama Dough. It’s 2 for 1 on pizzas all day Monday.
There was enough soft nduja on the eponymous pizza to give a good chilli kick alongside cherry tomatoes and fresh rocket. On the other hand, the supposedly fiery chilli on our eggcetera (ouch) wasn’t that evident, but a shaker of dried chilli flakes meant it was easy to bring the heat. They do doughnuts as well, so we finished with a plate of them drizzled with molten Nutella.
The Coach & Horses is an unpretentious modern boozer that’s clear what it does and does it well. And if you like a slice of big screen sport, there’s that too.
173-175 Clapham Park Road, SW4 7EX | frontierpubs.co.uk/coachandhorses | 020 7498 6308