THE White Bear, with The Grand Union Canal running past it, has the potential to be the best pub in Rickmansworth.

Unlike the few other pubs with the benefit of such a natural resource on its doorstep, The Bear has the benefit of being within walking distance from the town centre.

Tables are arranged along the water's edge, sadly probably for safety reasons a painted green wooden fence separates drinkers, as well as errant children, from a view of the water.

A low white picket fence with a sign denying responsibility for children who find themselves drawn to the canal would be more aesthetically pleasing, if not practical, in these days of over caution. Instead only a stunt, on a toy bike, akin to Steve McQueen in The Great Escape, would enable kids to breach the fence.

Not that the paved area with a few tables and umbrellas held much interest for the majority of workmen huddling around the bar.

The weather was clement enough for a few hardy souls to stray to the patio outside the door, but that was as far as anyone moved from the main area serving the drinks.

Instead, the mainly male clientele perched on stools or stood, chatting leisurely in pairs or small groups, reminiscent of a watering hole in the Australian outback.

A lick of paint and a wooden floor could add a classy touch to the spacious interior without becoming naff.