26/11/2011 at 15:54 | Posted in Crawls | 2 Comments
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This month it was Richard’s turn to lead, and he spotted a gap in our coverage of zone 1 around the northern half of Fitzrovia.

We met at the Prince of Wales Feathers, virtually opposite Warren Street station on Warren Street itself (although to be honest three of us did meet by chance in the neighbouring McDonald’s a few minutes earlier).

As well as being conveniently located, the pub does a nice line in beers; on our visit we generally went for UBU. It was very busy inside but despite the cold wind we joined the many pavement drinkers to get some space. Phil arrived last and popped inside to get in a quick beer for himself and another for Paul. Sadly he tripped over a stray bag on the floor on the way out, and the picture shows how much beer was left in the glasses by the time he returned from the bar with the drinks!

The Grafton Arms was the next call, just a short stroll around the corner, where most of us went for a Black Dog mild, which we enjoyed up on the rooftop terrace, despite the nip in the air with Christmas just a month away.

A short walk south now towards the BT Tower (which surpassed St Paul’s as the tallest building in the UK until 1980) and the halls of residence where Coldplay formed, to the Lukin. This small pub in the shadow of the BT Tower sports a modern look and was busy inside, but still sold some decent ales.

Another short hop via Fitzroy Square to the George & Dragon next, a smallish Greene King corner pub, and as busy as the previous pubs. Another zig-zag brought us to the Masons Arms, which I thought was very nice indeed and with great service.

Still heading generally west, we soon crossed from Fitzrovia into Marylebone on the other side of Portland Place, and into the Dover Castle, a well-hidden mews pub tucked away in Weymouth Mews.  As ever for Sam Smiths, a lovely pub with low prices, but also below average beer in my view. In this case, also below average seating, with Dimo falling through a broken bench seat in the back room.

The final leg of the evening took us to Marylebone Lane, and where it all began – the Golden Eagle. This was a prime target of the first crawl, almost exactly five years ago; it’s relatively well hidden, despite being within 500m of Oxford Street; its friendly staff serve decent ales; and the extra surprise up its sleeve is the thrice weekly sing-along, in which the small pub’s punters belt out the songs to accompany the pianist, Tony “Fingers” Pearson. There are not many places you can still find this traditional experience, which was once a very common feature of London pubs in the days before jukeboxes and Sky Sports, and long may it last!


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