Venue Review: The Spread Eagle
The Spread Eagle stands out in its prominent position in the heart of Croydon, with its magnificent façade and large sculpture of an eagle spread out over Katharine Street, majestically overlooking the High Street. Originally built as a bank in 1883, when banks were built like fortresses, the pub fits in with its grand neighbours of the Town Hall and Clock Tower.
High ceilings and a traditional pub layout give it a spacious feeling. It was a rainy summer’s day when we visited and the atmosphere was both inviting and calm; a pleasant escape from the inclement weather outside. The décor is warm and friendly, with flattering, vintage lighting that gave us a healthy glow as we stepped inside.
As for food and drink, The Spread Eagle pies are legendary, and pie and ale is truly what the Spread Eagle does best. There’s a wide selection of ale on tap, including classics such as: Fuller’s London Pride, Guinness, Peroni and rarer ones, like: Island Records, Krøke and Honey Dew. There’s also a mouth-watering variety of pies to suit different tastes, including vegetarians, from the hearty Steak & Fuller’s London Pride pie, to the fancy-sounding Posh Stargazy, which combines salmon & prawns with cured bacon and quail’s eggs. There’s the typical pub grub you’d expect from a Fuller’s pub, all served to the Spread Eagle’s high standards. The triple-cooked chips were particularly irresistible and despite it being lunch, we polished off the generous portions. The prices were really good value for money too; here, everyone can afford to eat like a banker on a budget.
The Spread Eagle serves a proper British Sunday roast, of course. And Sunday nights are also quiz night (7.30pm). The Spread Eagle regularly hosts events and will be involved in Street Live this summer; bringing Shakespeare to the High Street on Thursday 8th August. Everyone is welcome to this free performance to see true professionals perform Romeo and Juliet, and even meet the cast afterwards, upstairs at the Spread Eagle.
The pub’s central position, near the park, the shops, the arthouse cinema, David Lean, next door, and importantly, the new Fairfield Halls, mean that it’s the ideal place to meet for a pre-performance meal, after-show drinks. It even has a 80-capacity function room upstairs (dubbed the Ronnie Corbett room after its comedy days), and a private room with a large screen, that is perfect for a more intimate meal with friends or family, or perhaps a work celebration.
Robin, The Spread Eagle’s manager for the last 13 years, has recently returned following a break due to ill health, and is looking to return the pub to its spot as one of Croydon’s best pubs. Robin says he wants the Spread Eagle to re-focus on what it truly does best, which is traditional pub fare, where everyone can have a good time and leave happy. He is also looking forward to this year’s Rugby World Cup, which will be screened throughout the pub, and on the big screen upstairs. It’s clear, from the very inclusive menu to the barrel of dog water bowls on the doorstep, that absolutely everyone’s made to feel welcome at the Spread Eagle.