Vauxhall & Stockwell

05/04/2016 at 20:10 | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

For March 2016, Paul took us back to Vauxhall area for a walk via Stockwell.

We met at the Black Dog, a busy gastropub close to the edge of Vauxhall Gardens with some interesting ales on. After some confusion on the part of the bar staff we think we ended up with some Wimbledon Pale Ale and Spring Top from Old Dairy brewery.

A typical Paul pub interiorA short walk brought us to the Pilgrim on Kennington Lane. Sadly, this being Paul’s crawl, the place was closed, seemingly for refurbishment – allegedly it had been open and very nice just a couple of weeks earlier! It has probably reopened before you read this.

So a longer than planned walk to pub 2, which took us past a worksite for the new Northern Line Extension to Battersea, and the famous listed 1853 gasholder behind the Oval Cricket Ground.

The Oval is one of the most historic sports grounds in the world; it is the home of Surrey County Cricket Club and regular host of England matches, and hosted the famous 1882 test match between England and Australia which gave birth to the Ashes contest.

However it’s not just cricket; it hosted the world first international football match in 1870 between representative sides of England and Scotland, the first FA Cup Final in 1872, England home rugby internationals in 1872, and in more recent times exhibition matches of baseball, Aussie Rules football and has served as a training base for an NFL team.

Just to the south of the Oval lies the Fentiman Arms, a well regarded gastropub which was serving some very good beers from small London breweries; we had a combnination of London Beer Factory’s Chelsea Blonde, Truman’s Blindside, and Sambrook’s Pumphouse.

We headed south from here, and in the finest Paul tradition found the next pub, the Canton Arms, closed for Good Friday… so onward into Stockwell, new territory for the crawls, and through Landsdowne Gardens, a conservation area containing some surprisingly beautiful 1840s houses.

We also passed Stockwell bus garage – an unusual point of interest, but it is in fact an impressive piece of architecture, a listed building which in 1952 was Europe’s largest unsupported structure, its concrete roof spanning a width of 59 m over a length of 120 m.

Nearby lies the Priory Arms, a superb corner local with a focus on craft beer. A wide range of interesting beers on handpump included ales from Brightside, Thornbridge, Dark Star, Kent, Great Heck and Crouch Vale, as well as interesting beers on tap and in bottles. The food looks to be good value, and there’s a good range of pub games on offer to keep us occupied; I’ll skate quickly over my Jenga defeat…

Cavendish Arms candleThe shortest walk of the night next, to the very nearby Cavendish Arms. Sadly the only ale on was past its best, with quite a vinegary flavour. With no other options we tried to drink them but largely gave up, and moved on fairly quickly after admiring their lax attitude to candle placement.

The next stop was the Mawbey Arms, very much an old-school backstreet local with sports on TV. No huge range of unusual beers here, but the solid offering of well-kept Young’s.

A short walk past the construction site for the future Nine Elms tube station brought us to the Vauxhall Griffin, a good pub with some interesting ales on, including West Berkshire Skiff and Kent KGB. It takes its name from the Vauxhall Iron Works, which used to be at the end of the road where the new tube station is taking shape; it used a Griffin and its logo and later became Vauxhall Motors, moving to Luton where it became one of the UK’s largest car manufacturers.

The final stop of the night was the late-to-close Royal Oak, another old-school pub on Kennington Lane close to the starting point, serving Cornish Coaster and Doom Bar.

As ever, we debated the merits of the evening’s establishments, or at least, being Paul’s crawl the open ones.. and the Pub of the Crawl was the Priory Arms. Congratulations!

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