Fleet Street pub crawl

04/06/2011 at 16:50 | Posted in Crawls, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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In March 2009, I took my first turn to lead a crawl, and I took us around the historic Fleet Street area.

We started out at the wonderful Edgar Wallace on the edge of the Temple on Essex Street. This is a fairly small pub but stocks a cracking range of well-kept ales; as it took a while for everyone to arrive we were able to have a couple of pints here, and the Hophead American Pale Ale was delicious.

ThomasPaineFrom here, we toured around the historic Middle and Inner Temples, including Middle Temple Hall (where Shakespeare premiered Twelfth Night in front of  Temple Church, made famous by the Da Vinci Code, popping out onto Fleet Street and up to Carey Street to visit the Seven Stars. This is a small but wonderful old pub complete with its own pub cat, Thomas Paine.

From here, back to Fleet Street and to several historic taverns along the former Street of Shame. Before this, we passed by Dr Johnson’s House, and approached the Old Cheshire Cheese vie Wine Office Court. This is a historic pub and a veritable rabbit warren, with several rooms on the ground floor, another upstairs, and two basement levels with a bar 2 floors below ground level. As a Samuel Smiths pub the beers are cheap (if not the best) and we took our Old Brewery Bitters down into the cellar.

The next pubs were all on Fleet Street itself, starting with the Tipperary. First built in 1605, it occupies a very small strip of Fleet Street, but is much deeper than it is wide, and has an upstairs room overlooking the street. While Irish pubs became a favoured theme in the 1990s, the Tipperary beat them to it by a couple of centuries, as it was owned by Dublin brewer Mooney’s from the 1700s and later became the first pub outside Ireland to sell Guinness.

A little further down Fleet Street we came to the Old Bell, another beautiful heritage pub. It was built in the late 1600s, reputedly by Sir Christopher Wren for the workers building St Paul’s Cathedral. Inside it is slightly larger than it appears from the outside, and is split into a couple of rooms. There were several ales on, and the Timothy Taylor’s Landlord slipped down very nicely.

The final stop of the night was the Punch Tavern, virtually next door. This is a much airier Victorian pub, with a large front bar and high ceilings. It was the drinking venue for the magazine of the same name.

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