Fitzrovia revisited

07/10/2015 at 19:47 | Posted in Crawls | Leave a comment
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In September 2015, Artie took us back to Fitzrovia for a tour of some pubs largely missed on previous excursions in the area.

Several people were missing or running late tonight so just three of us met at the Smugglers Tavern on Warren Street for the first drink. I’ve been past this place a few times but this was my first visit inside, and I was pleasantly surprised; despite the narrow frontage, the pub is larger inside than I expected. The bar is small and only had a couple of ales on, but they were good Cornish ales from Tribute – wonder if that’s a deliberate link to the smuggling reference in the pub’s name? Either way, they were good and we were lucky to nab a table outside despite the large number of people enjoying a sunny evening in the street outside.

BanksyNext we headed south towards the BT Tower and the Tower Tavern, presumably named after is skyscraping near neighbour. This 60s pub doesn’t have the kerb appeal of an older pub, but I was again pleasantly surprised inside; the pub was spacious, had efficient staff, and several good beers on; we tried the My Generation and Sadlers One Stop Hop, both were good. On leaving we saw a Banksy on the wall opposite, protected now by a perspex sheet to hopefully keep it there for some time.

Next stop, we were welcomed aboard The Ship, which was yet another surprise, as it seems not  to have changed in 30 years (in a good way – if it ain’t broke, etc.). There was a Cornish slant to the beers here too, with some distinctly average Doom Bar but some delicious Atlantic.

The next stop, the Crown and Sceptre, was a more modern gastropub, very large and very busy, though with enough room at the back to find a table to drink our very decent ales including Ilkely’s Rosa Ostara made with rose petals, and Wood’s rugby world cup special Tight Head.

Like the Ship, the next stop, the King’s Arms, is another traditional non-gastroed pub, part of the McMullan empire and a refreshingly normal pub just a few minutes from Oxford Street.

A few short steps away lies the next stop, the Green Man, another smallish corner pub, a little more in the modern gastro style, which is evidently working for it, because it was rather too busy when we arrived, and a bit of a struggle to find space to stand without being bumped into the whole time by people passing (and all the more difficult for those amongst us clinging onto a 1 kg tin of Milo for dear life…).  I’d certainly go back to the Green Man, but hopefully when it’s not quite so busy.

A slightly longer walk now to the Newman Arms, an older pub than most on this walk, dating from 1730 and rumoured to be the model for the “prole’s pub” in George Orwell’s 1984. There is a Cornish theme to the food and drinks, with some nice beers fro the Tintagel brewery.

We were thwarted in our final target for the evening, which was already closing by the time we arrived, so we headed instead for the still-serving One Tun, a part of the Young’s empire and serving its usual beers.

As ever, the last job of the evening is to choose a Pub of the Crawl. This month we thought that the Crown and Sceptre deserved the honour; congratulations!

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Spitalfields

07/10/2015 at 19:43 | Posted in Crawls | Leave a comment
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For August 2015, we took a tour of the Spitalfields/Shoreditch area with Rich.

We started out at the Culpeper, on Commercial Street within easy reach of Aldgate East station. This has been refurbished recently, and judging by the crowds when we visited it’s been successful. Some good beers were on draught, including offerings from Trumans, Purity and Tim Taylor’s Landlord, but we didn’t linger too long and headed next to a classic local pub.

The Pride of Spitalfields has been visited before on these crawls, but it’s a great survivor in the area, tucked just off the busy Brick Lane. The pub was busy too, but not busy to find some space inside.

Water PoetA few minutes’ walk through what was by now becoming quite heavy rain brought us to the Water Poet, a large and very busy corner pub in the atmospheric Folgate Street. We supped our Trumans beers at a table by the door, watching the rain sheet against the window and managing a couple of games of noughts and crosses in the window. Yes, this was the August crawl!

Back towards Spitalfields next and the Commercial Tavern, further north along Commercial Street form our starting point. This pub has a pretty quirky design and a hipster crowd, yet still has decent ales and a pool table in its back room.

Commercial TavernKeeping on east now, we crossed Brick Lane again and headed towards Bethnal Green for the Carpenters Arms, famously once owned by the Krays but now a great little pub, its only failing being that it is a victim of its own success and often crowded. Fortunately, once we’d got hold of some ales, we did find some space to drink them out the back, without having to brave the rain in the garden.

Kings ArmsNearby, the King’s Arms was a pleasant surprise, a speciality craft beer pub with a huge range of beers; being on a bit of a session, we went for the rather light Cloudwater, a pale ale at only 3.7%, but there was a whole host of other ales on offer, as well as a range of bottled and canned craft beers.

Another good beery pub nearby is the Well and Bucket, where we headed next. This is a large and busy pub close to Brick Lane, although we found space for ourselves towards the back; we haven’t yet ventured into the downstairs bar.

A very short walk back towards Shoreditch brought us to the BrewDog, where we switched cask fro keg for the final beer and our vote for pub of the crawl.

This month the Kings Arms was elected this month’s Pub of the Crawl. Congratulations!

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