Shoreditch pub crawl

26/06/2011 at 13:02 | Posted in Crawls | 1 Comment
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For June 2011, Tony took the lead for a wander around Shoreditch, with a couple of atypical bars thrown in for luck.

The crawl started off in traditional fashion, with rain and traditional pub near a station – in this case, the Old Fountain, close to Old Street station, which has 7 real ales on and also has lots of London brewers’ beers in bottles, which helped it to the title of CAMRA City Pub of the Year 2011. From British to Bavarian as we called in at the Bavarian Beerhouse for a half-litre of Bavarian beers – something of a first for our crawls which normally stick to more traditional pubs!

After this slight foray, we headed up to the Wenlock Arms, which is an absolutely classic pub with a very large range of ales on, and which used to be the brewery tap for the Wenlock Brewery.

We tore ourselves away from the Wenlock Arms and headed back towards the City Road to call in at the Eagle, which features in the nursery rhyme Pop Goes The Weasel!

Another backstreet local next, this time Shepherd Neame’s Prince Arthur in Brunswick Place, although sadly its ex-professional boxer landlord Dixie Dean wasn’t in evidence on this visit.

From here we headed into the livelier area of Shoreditch, with The Reliance swiftly followed by another unusual one for us, the Strongroom Bar. The Strongroom is attached to the Strongroom recording studios, which is used by many big names.

Finally, from here we headed across Shoreditch, past the site of The Theatre, built by James Burgage in 1576, and on to Mason & Taylor, a modern craft beer bar with a huge range of beers on tap and in bottles. This was largely the end of the crawl, except for a trip to one of the beigel shops in Brick Lane for a post-midnight snack, and then (at least for Dimo and me!) a final quick beer in one of the bars in Brick Lane, whose name escapes me now!

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New pub review: the Euston Tap

18/06/2011 at 14:57 | Posted in pub reviews | Leave a comment
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Close to the long-standing and excellent Bree Louise (which is also highly recommended), the Euston Tap opened in 2011 in one of the listed gatehouses of Euston station, one of the very last remnants of the old station which was shamefully demolished in the 1960s.

So what about the pub? Well it is pretty small, as you can imagine, but not quite as small as you might expect, with an upstairs room inside and a seating area outside, fortunately on the other side of the building from the busy Euston Road.

The beer selection is outstanding. It is the only pub I know of in London with a huge American craft pub-style tap wall, serving 20 keg beers. Don’t let the keg reference put you off though, as they are all craft beers of great diversity. But there are also eight real ales on at any time, despite the lack of handpumps visible on the bar; they are served by taps at the bottom of the main bar.
The beer range doesn’t stop there though, as either side of the bar are large drudges containing an array of bottled beers from all over the world, including small local London brewers.

All in all, highly recommended.

To see what’s going on at the pub and what beers are on, you can check their Twitter feed: http://www.twitter.com/#!/eustontap
For more reviews of new pubs, see my New Pubs page

Bond Street

12/06/2011 at 20:17 | Posted in Crawls | 2 Comments
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The very first crawl of this group was led by Phil, back in November 2006, and took in the Bond Street / Marylebone area. The meeting point was the Woodstock, near Bond Street station.  The idea was that we would head up Marylebone lane, which is an old right of way in a slightly different direction to the grid.   Having done the pub walk a couple of times the main targets were always the classic O’Conor Don , which sadly closed in 2007 (although it has been replaced, at least, with another pub -the Coach Maker – rather than housing); and the timeless Golden Eagle.   It was suggested that people should bring their singing voices and thinking it meant karaoke they were surprised to see a piano playing songs from the early 20th century and even earlier!

This approach allowed us to take in unplanned pubs along the way, however the quality of these two meant staying a bit longer in each – O’Conor Don , two drinks the pub was so great, and of course two in the “roll out the barrel” pub.

After the Cock and Lion, Phil led the crawlers to the O’Conor Don, on Marylebone Lane, The Golden Eagle (and its Cockney sing-a-long!) and Gunmakers finished off the inaugural pub crawl.

The Golden Eagle is a classic find being off the beaten track yet so close to the london being – and something worth even coming back for again and again.  And so you have it, every crawl since that point has allowed us to indulge in real London back-waters the more secluded and “lost”  the better!  With our crawls every now and again your forget where your are…..

Proud of British Beer

10/06/2011 at 22:08 | Posted in videos | Leave a comment
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Promotional video made by SIBA about British beer, and the damage being done by high beer duty

St James’s Park – Westminster

05/06/2011 at 15:07 | Posted in Crawls | 2 Comments
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Jez took this Friday evening crawl, and unwittingly followed an earlier crawl along pretty much the same route – to be fair though, he hadn’t been on that one! It’s a pleasant and easy stroll through the back streets of St James’s Park, and never more than 500 metres from the tube so very accessible.

We started in the Cask & Glass, or more accurately, outside the Cask & Glass – it’s a surprisingly small pub, but if the weather’s OK there is plenty of room outside on the pavement. From here, it’s a short stroll east to the Good Beer Guide stalwart the Buckingham Arms, then the Two Chairmen, then the Westminster Arms, where we learnt that Jez would be leaving us for a long stint in the Caribbean. (I mention this in passing, but I’m afraid it doesn’t mean that you’ll be paid to go to the Caribbean should you follow in our footsteps.)

From here it is but a brief stroll via Parliament Square to two famous Parliamentary pubs, the Red Lion in Whitehall, and the delightful St Stephens Tavern, which lies under the watchful eye of Big Ben and is conveniently almost next door to Westminster tube station for the ride home.

Bayswater

04/06/2011 at 19:19 | Posted in Crawls, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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cleveland-arms-crop

On a wet Friday night in 2010, Arthur took us on a crawl around the Bayswater area, starting at The Swan, close to Lancaster Gate. From here we headed west to the Leinster (and the fake houses in Leinster Gardens) and the packed Mitre. From here, the magnificently quirky Cleveland Arms, east again through the rain via the splendid triangular shaped Victoria (check out the library room if you can) to a pair of pubs close to the Edgware Road, where several pounds was lost in a fruitless attempt to beat the Rob Roy’s quiz machine.

St Paul’s

04/06/2011 at 18:32 | Posted in Crawls, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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This Friday evening City crawl from the summer of 2010 by Arthur started at the Centre Page near St Paul’s, where some of the nearby office workers had evidently spent the day, judging by some of the dancing going on at 6pm! The walk then took us, by way of the Cockpit and Viaduct Tavern, to Smithfields. Some of the local pubs here were sampled, ending quite late in the Hope, opposite the meat market. We didn’t hang around Smithfield for the famous early opening of the local pubs for the market’s night workers!

Marylebone

04/06/2011 at 18:21 | Posted in Crawls, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Phil took this Friday evening crawl around Marylebone. First pub was the Three Tuns, not a bad refuge if you find yourself weary of shopping on Oxford Street. From here we headed west to the busy Carpenters, then north through some very desirable streets to a trio of pubs near St Mary’s church, before ending in the Windsor Castle. This is a somewhat eccentric pub and perhaps aimed at tourists more than locals, but worth seeing for the memorabilia and, if you’re lucky, the monthly meetings of the Handlebar Moustache Club held in the pub!

Well, I say we ended here, and for some it did, as some went home and one then somehow got lost; for the remaining few, the night ended with some Syrian fare on the nearby Edgware Road before the night bus beckoned.

Pimlico – Victoria

04/06/2011 at 18:13 | Posted in Crawls, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Paul started this Friday evening crawl, the third of his Victoria Trilogy of crawls, in unusual style at the Pride of Pimlico, a lager den with no real ales. Fortunately, after just two dodgy pints, the crawl proper got underway, with the next stop being the marvellous CASK. No brand names here, lots of ales and if you want a lager, there’s a fine selection of good German and Belgian varieties.

We then went to several decent pubs in the area; I’m struggling to recall 18 months hence exactly which ones we went to, as having worked in the area I have been on various pub treks in the area in my time, so the map may be updated in due course!

Belgravia – Chelsea

04/06/2011 at 18:00 | Posted in Crawls, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Rich led us for this Friday evening walk, starting at the famous Grenadier, once apparently a country pub and now tucked away in a Belgravia mews close to Hyde Park Corner.  From here to Kinnerton Street for the Wilton Arms and the rather special Nag’s Head, occasional haunt of local celebrities and, on our visit, a very friendly dog with a penchant for crisps.

The Star followed next, another cracking mews pub with a line in pork scratchings, and then the Antelope, yet another great pub. This brings us into Chelsea at Sloane Square, where we stopped at the Queens Head, a somewhat unusual choice for us lot… Finally we ended with a couple in the Chelsea Potter on the King’s Road.

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