Caravan, Ftizrovia sits in a building that used to belong to Radio 1 donchyano. Well I do as I used to work just around the corner ... Read Feature
In my brief tenure as a dog owner I have discovered that a canine two-year-old gets just as bored as a human toddler. Stuck indoors on a lovely late spring night, Florence (that’s the dog btw) will display all the patience of a five year old on Christmas Eve.
And seeing as she likes busy places, with all the hubbub and fog of human noise, I thought I’d act on those not-so-subtle hints and take her to her first pub quiz.
I met with two friends, The Entrepreneur and Captain Slim, at the Nightingale pub which sits almost equidistant between Wandsworth Common and Clapham South stations. This wasn’t my first choice but The Earl Spencer, which was, won’t take dogs in their function room.
The Spencer’s attitude was a surprise, seeing as it’s reckoned to be one of the most dog friendly pubs in town and is regularly featured as such in cliched lists about south west London. Their excuse is that they’d just had the function room decorated which might cut the mustard for my mother’s new sitting room but for a pub?
Anyway…The Nightingale is a brooding Victorian pile with a small frontage facing onto Nightingale Lane and a larger back garden which is so dog friendly it resembled a marshalling yard for Crufts.
The food is upmarket pub fare, pies, burgers, steaks etc. but with prices closer to restaurant level than I’d expect to pay in a bar. Lurking towards the bottom of the menu was a very tempting braised ox cheek cottage pie, alas it was too tempting and had sold out so I ordered a burger.
My companions, in a fit of stunning originality, both ordered the chicken burger and, seemingly both of one voice, declared it to be great.
The burger was tasty and moist, served in a fresh bun and with all the usual garnishes and condiments. It was good. So were the fries. At nearly £14 though, I have to say that you can get better elsewhere. It’s upmarket burger prices and it didn’t quite reach that bar.
The quiz is run by pub quiz specialists ‘Question One,’ and is a mix of general knowledge, diploids, anagrams and photo questions. The lady quiz master owned the at-capacity room but the atmosphere was friendly, if competitive.
Entrance is £2 per team member, though dogs get a free pass and the top prize is £40 with a bottle of wine for the second highest scoring team. There is also a jackpot question at the end of the quiz which all participating teams are eligible for, and this is done on a closest to answer. This time the question was how many goals were scored in the 2014 world cup, our guess of 110 was as wide of the mark as I was on the infrequent times I played up front as school with the actual number being 171.
The jackpot on this occasion was £380 which makes pub quizzing suddenly much more interesting. The winning team though choose the wrong envelope and left with nothing other than a good evening’s entertainment, jackpot then rolling over to the following week. Our team however somehow managed to come 2nd and walked off with a consoling bottle of wine.
What are my thoughts? This is a good if standard quiz raised up a notch by the surroundings and atmosphere.
Food is good, but perhaps expensive for what and where it is, but with a total bill of £76 about £25 each for food and three drinks, this is still a good value night out in terms of overall enjoyment and time spent. Will I go again? Well the fact that this was my third visit probably tells you all you need to know on that score.
Till next time…
97 Nightingale Lane
Balham SW12 8NX
Quiz nights every Wednesday