Kensington mews pubs

25/05/2013 at 10:49 | Posted in Crawls | Leave a comment
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Following up on his article on mews pubs, in May 2013 Phil took us on a mews-themed crawl around Kensington.

To start the evening off, we met at the Crown, near South Kensington and just behind the Royal Brompton Hospital. It’s a smallish corner pub, so we occupied a free table outside, although the chilly breeze made it clear that Spring was late arriving this year (again!). It did strike me as ironic that we were somewhat engulfed in smoke from the next table despite sitting in the shadow of one of the country’s pre-eminent cancer hospitals; I hope they weren’t staff. Still the London Pride, Doom Bar and Brains all went down well and we soon headed off, by way of the adjacent backstreet (which I wouldn’t fancy walking down late at night, even if this is Kensington!).

A short walk took us to the Anglesea Arms, which we almost visited on an earlier crawl but we were too late on that occasion (they close at 11pm). But not tonight, and it was worth the wait. Passing through an enormous throng of smokers outside, the inside was a little less crowded and service very swift. We settled for a mixture of Wandle and Sharps Ice Ale and took up residence in a corner, where we watched the beautiful people of Kensington passing through the pub; one table of girls was getting stuck into a bottle of champagne!

ScrabbleHeading through some beautiful streets, we came next to the Drayton Arms, which boasts a theatre on its first floor. Downstairs though it is a normal pub, and a nice one too; wedge-shaped and with  the Oxford Gold and Proper Job in good condition, and there was a fair amount of space, despite being a Friday night. I think we benefitted by arriving just after the show in the theatre started mind you, so perhaps it would have been packed half an hour earlier. Getting a table, we enjoyed our first ever game of “Speed Scrabble” – one set of pieces, played face up, placed anywhere on the board. With a prompt from Artie, I lucked out with Quran – and the double letter and triple word gave me 72 points, which I think is probably about what I got in the whole game last time I actually played Scrabble!

Another wander through some lovely streets and mews brought us to the Hereford Arms. This was pretty busy, being located on a main road, but had a good range of ales on including an unusual Fuller’s beer Brewer’s Bragg – hadn’t heard of it before but it was nice.

Heading north now, our route took us through some lovely mews, including Elvaston Mews, where Dracula had a hideaway (The Satanic Rights of Dracula (1973) starring Peter Cushing) and led eventually to the Queens Arms, a quintessential mews pub not far from the Royal Albert Hall. Not only an attractive pub, the ales on offer were great, with some going for Thorn Valley Sticklebract, some for Proper Job, and I went with the majority and had Portobello VPA, which was lovely.

MewsMoving on, we passed through Queens Gate Mews to the Gloucester Arms, a Taylor Walker pub on Gloucester Road offering the usual Taylor Walker fare. Leaving the Gloucester we passed through more lovely mews where multiple films had been shot, including Damage (1993) the flat where Juliet Binoche lived,  The Big Sleep, The Black Windmill, Star!, Who Dares Wins and Scandalous.  One famous spot is an almost-secret staircase up from Kynance Mews into Victoria Road which we needed to escape the dead end of the western part of this mews.

We headed for the Builders Arms in Kensington Court Place. This is another great pub, another offering the lovely VPA as well as UBU and others, and it was nice to end up on a sofa for the last pint of the night!

Just one more call needed before heading to High Street Ken tube; a very posh Lebanese kebab from Ranoush, just what the doctor ordered!


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