Advance to Mayfair

28/02/2012 at 13:22 | Posted in Crawls | 1 Comment
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The first time through Mayfair we set up a kind of Monopoly theme, where we all had to choose a piece.  It didn’t last the whole night but each person had to say which piece they would be an why!  Phil was the ship guiding the boot, hat, car, dog etc. through the November evening air on the “advance to Mayfair” trail.

We started in the Windmill, off conduit street, followed by the Coach and Horses, which had christmas decorations up already.  There were a few alleys and mews-style pubs in this one and these are always handy as you often you don’t feel your are in the centre of a world major city.  The first led to Bruton street, where we came across and interesting pub called Guinea.

Then we walked across a square and past a couple of good looking busy pubs and then down an alley to Farm Street and called in at the Punch Bowl. We didn’t Even know it was Guy and Madonna’s pub, it seemed very neighbourhoodly and on a quiet street for mid-london.

The Red Lion at the end of Waverton Street had been described as a country pub in the heart of london. And with the hanging baskets and cute windows you could see why.  In fact in the Red Lion Phil said that he defied anyone to find a better example of a classic pub…real ale, roaring fire, wood panelling, hanging baskets, brass fittings etc.  Sadly it is no longer a pub, so unfortunately the prize for best classic pub is lost (londonpubcrawlers will have a few candidates to take over this prize for sure!).

We ended up in shepherds market another lost haven, a trio of pubs set in cobbled street so that make up the heart of old mayfair.  By about the third time the ship sailed through an alleyway the group were gasping, especially the Australians amongst the throng.  Shepherds Tavern, Ye Grapes, and the Kings Arms completed the festivities.  A fine end to a trail through some of the finest residential streets of westminster

Fitzrovia South

27/02/2012 at 13:54 | Posted in Crawls | Leave a comment
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In 2008 Phil took a small party around media-land taking in some old favourites, including the classic Newman Arms, which features on the St Giles pub crawl.  One of our “unwritten” rules is that there has to be a minimum of 4 persons to make it an official crawl (otherwise we’d all be lonely legends at this), hence this is one of our lesser known routes.

We began in The Jack Horner, a fantastic corner pub true to its Young’s tradition of real ales.  If you end up around Centre Point and can’t find a pub this is the easiest to find on Tottenham Court Road on the right going north.  From here it was a short walk to The Rising Sun (in the setting sun – as this was a sunny June evening!), followed by The Fitzroy Tavern (drinking outside) and then through an alleyway to the Newman Arms.

From her we strolled to another nearby hidden pub, The Duke of York, where Rod Stewart is known to have sunk one or two.  Onto Goodge Street for the One Tun, our second Young’s Pub of the evening.  We had made little progress westward at this point and the final two pubs became more of a punt as time was moving on.  We ended up in the Green Man, which was packed with students and finally The Cock Tavern, on Great Portland Street, well after 11pm.  We missed last orders at The Yorkshire Grey, and there was not time to do the majestic Crown and Sceptre, or even the King’s Arms but there’s always another time!

Mayfair revisited

26/02/2012 at 20:11 | Posted in Crawls | Leave a comment
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For the first crawl of 2012 Alan took us back to Mayfair, carving out a new crawl in an area visited once before.

A short walk from Green Park tube amongst the beautiful people of Mayfair brought us to this month’s starting point, the Only Running Footman on Charles Street. I’d wanted to try this well-known pub for some time, indeed since when it had its original name I Am The Only Running Footman, but sadly it was something of a let down; rather full of boorish men and with some very poor quality Greene King IPA.

From here it was a very short hop indeed to the first Coach & Horses of the night, this one a Shepherd Neame pub, where sadly the beer let down what is a pretty attractive and cosy pub.

The next pub is probably the most famous in the area, the Punch Bowl. It’s one of the oldest pubs in Mayfair and is pretty decent inside, but is most famous today on account of its part-owner Guy Ritchie. Unfortunately, the pub has upset its neighbours with its noise, so everyone was crammed inside by the doorman (in the picture) despite the mild February weather. As a result it felt a bit like drinking in a lift, despite the fact that the beer was an eye-watering £4.40 for a pint of Deuchars of dubious quality. Nevertheless, I’m pleased I’ve now been to this well-known pub.

A short walk later, past a lamp post formerly used by the KGB as a marker for a dead letter drop during the Cold War, we came across the first egg hunt egg of the evening. There are currently 200 of these scattered around central London, some of them quite beautiful, and quite a few seem to be clustered around Mayfair.

I was already familiar with the next pub, the very grand Audley. This is a lovely pub, and my favourite of the evening. While most of the pubs in Mayfair were built for the ‘downstairs’ staff of the wealthy houses in the area, this one is aimed at the gentlefolk, and sports a plush late victorian interior in lovely condition.
A few minutes walk east now, through Berkeley Square and along Bruton Street where the Queen was born in 1926, brings us to the second Coach & Horses of the evening. It’s a pretty small place,

but room enough for us by this time of the evening. Despite being small, it offered the beer of the evening – Galaxy, Marston’s seasonal Single Hop beer for February 2012. It’s flavoured with Australian hops and was the beery highlight of the evening. I’d recommend coming back to try the others in the series, I’m already getting thirsty thinking about the Citra brew coming in October!

Onward now past Savile Row, the home of the tailored suit, to the Windmill on Mill Street. It’s evidently aiming high on the food stakes but we were only here for the beer, which was fine once it was finally poured. Why do some bar staff need the whole order before they start pulling the first drink? Anyway it was a pleasant pub, and large enough to allow us to get off our feet for the first time this evening. Well worth a visit if you need a break from shopping in nearby Regent Street or Oxford Street and want to sit down with a pint.

Almost across the road now to the final stop of the evening, the Masons Arms. This had the youngest crowd of any of this evening’s pubs, so much so that a barman came over to check the IDs of the people on the next table (they passed muster). Despite Rich’s best efforts, he declined to check our ID, another sad reminder that those days are long past! Being past closing and with Westminster’s dodgy licensing policies in mind, we didn’t risk hitting the next pub past 11pm so stayed at the Mason’s for a final nightcap of IPA before dashing for the last tube home.

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