The Lot was the best worst student pub in London
It probably shut down because everything cost £1.50
If you could have bought two pints and received change from a tenner from anywhere else, you wouldn’t have gone to The Lot. Richmond is snobby as hell but was tragically the most lively place to be if you lived in the South West London suburbs and weren’t 35 years old, working in finance and spending your evening trying to pick up women in All Bar One up the road.
£1.50 drinks were unbeatable
The popularity of The Lot can be boiled down to a single key factor. Cheap drinks. On ‘Crunch Wednesdays’ it was £1.50 for a pint of Carling, a double or a Jagerbomb. For a rather fine slice of South West London, this was ridiculously cheap. Try drinking anywhere else in the surrounding area and buying a couple of pints will leave you with barely any change from a £10 note.
One of the most bizarre things that you never realised at the time was that you had to pay to get in. You had to queue up to not only suffer the indignity of getting your ID checked (I’m 18 now don’t you know) but also pay £1 to have the honour of entering through the hallowed double doors. Paying entry to, let’s be honest, a distinctly average student bar was wrong in so many ways, but at the time all you could think about was that first sip of Carling. Glorious.
The queueing was outrageous
After queueing up to get in, you then had to endure an even longer queue to get served. The queue often stood eight people deep, and you’d always make the mistake of going up to get a drink with the person in your friendship group that you don’t really have that much in common with and then spend the rest of your time in the queue trying to sidle away into a quicker bit of the queue so you don’t have to stand in silence with someone who is supposed to be your friend.
It was always ram-packed because of the cheap drinks. You could never get a seat and trying to save one of the sofas while your mates went up to get a round was a challenge in spreading yourself acrobatically over the stained leather as some of the more menacing punters who were veterans of The Lot didn’t give a shit whether you were saving seats for your fwends. Barry, a wheezy 24 year old who had the aged look of someone who had been drinking since he was 12 would just plonk himself down, partially on top of you, he didn’t give a fuck.
What was with all the heavy metal?
Despite being packed in, barely able to lift your drink up to take a sip, it was near impossible to hold a conversation. Heavy metal was blasted out for the entire duration of the night. The reasoning behind this was that everyone who worked behind the bar was of the goth or emo persuasion. It felt like the staff’s key experience for pulling pints included owning at least half a dozen Bring Me The Horizon T-shirts.
Someone always threw up in the smoking area but you didn’t really mind standing next to a pool of vomit. You were 18 and ecstatic to be buying alcohol from an actual person behind an actual bar.
They always kicked everyone out too early. You’d had a couple of pints, were buzzed off your tits and now were wild for the night. By this time it was about 11pm and your curfew wasn’t for at least another hour. Luckily, Richmond Green was just round the corner and the perfect place to sit aimlessly for half an hour before trudging off to catch the last bus home.
When I now walk past where The Lot used to be, I’m glad it’s gone. You knew at the time that it was possibly the worst bar ever and you hoped that you all wouldn’t still be there in five years time, like the haggard twenty-somethings in the corner still knocking back Jaegerbombs like it’s the most dangerous thing in the world because you have college in the morning.
Am I glad it has been replaced with yet another pretentious gastro-wanky establishment? No. Has it saved me from reliving my college years for the entirety of my twenties? Absolutely. All good things must come to an end, even for heavy metal student bars in the middle of the posh London suburbs.