Paddington & Edgware Road

29/01/2017 at 10:42 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dave led our first crawl of 2017 (and of the eleventh year of the crawl!) from Paddington to Edgware Road on a chilly Friday evening.

Our meeting point was The Victoria, a corner pub built in the 1830s with a very traditional feel to it thanks to the dark wood, wallpaper and ample supply of books.  This wasn’t the first time the group had visited, it previously featured on a crawl in 2010, (the pub website has more trivia about an alleged visit by Queen Vic herself!)though it seems little has changed.  It wasn’t too busy for a Friday evening.  We stood along the narrow bar which can feel like you are in the way at times but a minor point.  The beers on offer were the usual Fullers plus one guest ale, the very session-able Windsor Knot from Windsor & Eton Brewery, which most of us went for.

We looped around Gloucester Square towards the next pub, past the former homes of Violet Bonham Carter, perhaps now a name more recognisable for her acting granddaughter Helena, and also given our proximity to Paddington Station, Robert Stephenson, the railway engineer responsible for the ‘Rocket’ locomotive.  Sidestepping the really dodgy-looking Sussex Arms, we ended up in The Sawyers Arms on London Street, a pleasant and roomy Greene King pub split over two levels.  In what was to become a theme for the evening, the pub had its own ale, which several of us chose and turned out to be quite drinkable.  Old Speckled Hen and Belhaven’s Robert Burns Brown Ale were the other choices.   Although this is a mainline station terminus hinterland, the area has a mix of tourist pubs with classic features and more modern styled pubs aimed at a contemporary crowd.  In the Sawyers Arms we encountered a tidy, smartly decorated interior over split levels, well worth another visit.

Our next stop The Pride of Paddington had a more modern feel to it, lots of lighter wood and flags on the ceiling catering for longer distance commuters perhaps, there was a smell of hot food throughout, The beer choice was good, with five hand pumps including again the pub’s own ale!  The Caledonian Golden XPA it served had a bitter taste, with slight fruit afters.

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We then made the short walk across Praed Street into Paddington Station itself.  Tucked away on the second level above the shops is The Mad Bishop & Bear, the name referring to a former land owner and a legendary resident from Darkest Peru.  The interior feels like many a nice Fuller’s pub though with the less common option of being able to sit outside just above a station concourse.  Although it is like a fake pub in the roof rather like a film set, it really is a surreal sanctimonious addition to a station forecourt with a full range of Fullers beers from Pride, HSB to Oliver Island.  Here the designers had the roof space to work with and have done a superb job; the interior is smart with high ceilings and every inch the replica of a early 20th century pub.  Outside, the terrace, still on the mezzanine level, had chairs and tables laid out until gradually the station building took over with its grid like vista and vanishing points; we drank our beer in the setting of a surrealist painting.

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We left the station though an option to stay would have been The Beer House, a smallish place on the station concourse itself.  Turning left we soon reached the Alexander Fleming Laboratory and the site of the discovery of penicillin in 1928.  For our purposes, even more significant was the discovery of  Fountains Abbey opposite!  I counted nine hand pumps in this Taylor Walker pub, of course one of which was the obligatory house beer ‘Fountains Abbey Ale’!  (had the Cistercian monks approved it by any chance?)  It wasn’t crowded at around 9.30pm but all the tables were taken so it was doing good business, perhaps because of its location near the station, it was well laid out with a spacious area for standing, decking and seating near the windows, and the customary mix of chalk and dark wood so typical of pub interiors these days

Heading next towards Edgware Road station after a five minute walk we reached The Green Man.  This place has a large ‘burger craft’ sign outside which initially made me think it was mainly a restaurant but fear not it is still a pub.  The beers on offer had not travelled too far: Sambrook’s, Twickenham Fine Ales and Hogs Back.  The Winter Star, a rich old ale, from TFA was good.

Our final stop of the evening was The Chapel a very nice pub which felt more of a local place than the others we visited during the evening.  Alan was looking to jump on the tube early but he would be thankful that we persuaded him to come t o the Chapel, a slightly more off-the-beaten-track pub and well worth a detour. Most of us opted for Black Sheep, though one person made the mistake of ordering Tetley’s Christmas Cracker!  It had been a night where most of the pubs had been trying to get rid of their Xmas stock/winter ale and The Christmas Cracker received the unofficial award of the worst beer of the night – a real sweet and sour fruit blend, almost liquefied Christmas pudding, surely not even meeting the definition of beer, unable to be drunk by any of our number and quite rightly poured away.

The vote for Pub of the Crawl was hotly debated with our first venue, The Victoria, being the winner.  Congratulations!

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10th Anniversary crawl around Marylebone

18/12/2016 at 10:54 | Posted in Crawls | Leave a comment
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In November 2016 the crawl celebrated its 10th anniversary, and Phil marked the occasion by retracing (almost) the route of the very first crawl back in 2006.

We met at the Masons Arms, close to Regent Street, which was pretty busy with the whole ‘Black Friday’ thing in full swing in the West End. The pub was busy too, and very warm, and perhaps would be better visited at a time other than 6 in the evening on Black Friday! It’s a fairly small and cosy Greene King pub with the familiar GK ales on tap (including one badged for this establishment).

After a little background info on the history of Mayfair, we headed next to the Iron Duke, a Fullers pub selling their standard beers plus the odd guest, with a nice Cascadian pale ale on offer when we visited.

As we left we heard a brief history of the River Tyburn, one of London’s lost rivers, which flows beneath the street and whose course we would roughly follow for the evening.

We continued past the neighbouring former homes of Jimi Hendrix and George Handel, marked by blue plaques and now subject of a small museum, to the Spread Eagle. This is a fairly standard West End Taylor Walker pub, busy with some decent ales (such as Old Hooky) but nothing too exciting.

We crossed a very busy Oxford Street and past the showroom of Steinway pianos, to the Cock & Lion, visited on the first crawl a decade ago, where we found a very handy table in the nicely appointed upstairs room, with some interesting old cricket and football pictures on the walls.

A short stroll up Marylebone Lane brought us to the Coach Makers, which was also visited on the first crawl but which was then called the O’Conor Don, and has since been nicely refurbished, and upped its beer range to include more interesting ales such as Canberra, Lubricant and Truman’s Zephyr.

Outside the pub, Phil surprised us all with a set of T-shirts commemorating the 1o years of these crawls, which was a lovely gesture.

10 year crawl

We next moved onto the inspiration for the crawls, the Golden Eagle. When Phil first found the Golden Eagle, and its piano singalongs, he thought he should bring people here, and find new pubs – and so the crawls were born. The singalong is still going strong, although is perhaps a victim of its own success – it was rammed when we called in, although perhaps that was the ‘Black Friday’ effect. It’s certainly worth visiting, but perhaps try the Tuesday or Thursday if you want to be able to enjoy it without the crowds.

A few minutes north and we reached the King’s Head, where a lovely ‘then and now’ map on the wall highlighted our route along the River Tyburn, both as it would have looked about three centuries ago when the area was still rural, and how it looks today; pretty different, to be sure, but with a few constants, including the path of Marylebone Lane which still follows the river.

The Pub of the Crawl has to be the one which inspired 10 years of crawling… the home of the piano singalong, the Golden Eagle. Congratulations!

Westbourne Park

22/10/2016 at 13:09 | Posted in Crawls | Leave a comment
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In October 2016, Artie took us on a walk around the Notting Hill / Westbourne Park area.

We met at the Sun In Splendour, at the bottom end of Portobello Road, home of the eponymous market, and close to Notting Hill Gate tube station.

Heading north, the next pub was Walmer Castle, which we passed during the ‘Long March’ of Artie’s last Notting Hill crawl in 2012, when he put everyone’s bladders to the test. This time we were able to stop and sample the beers (and loo), and I had a very enjoyable Long Man APA.

We soon came to All Saints Road, which has an interesting history  including being an early centre for the post-war West Indian community in London and the birthplace of 90s girl band All Saints, and headed for the Red Lemon pub. This modern pub is an outlet for the local Portobello Brewery, and we all drank some very nice Portobello VPA (very pale ale).

Roadie.jpgNext stop was the Metropolitan, close to Westbourne Park station which was built by the Metropolitan Railway (and is now on the the Hammersmith & City and Circle lines). This pub does serve some interesting cask ales, as evidenced by the pump clips behind the bar, but on this night the range was fairly small and familiar, and so a few of us broke with tradition and had a keg beer, in this case Signature Rodie All Night IPA, which was delicious.

Union Tavern.jpgA short walk to the far side of the Gand Union Canal brought us to the Union Tavern, the second pub in a row named after its adjacent transport link. This is very much a craft beer house, serving only London-brewed craft beers. I and a few others had Five Points Pale Ale, which was very good, and it was very nice to be able to sit supping them on the canalside, watching the local rats going for a swim in the canal.

After this we headed back across the canal to the Prince Bonaparte, a large pub also serving a local Portobello beer, this time we had the Star, which went down very nicely, as well as Southwark’s Harvard pale ale.

The final stop of the night was the Redan, a more typical central London style Taylor Walker pub, where we drank a nightcap of Keepers Light before heading for the tube home.

We didn’t get around to agreeing the Pub of the Crawl as far as I can remember (it’s possible I’ve forgotten…!) but I’m going to take writer’s prerogative and unilaterally crown the stand-out pub in my view, the Grand Union. Congratulations!

 

Vauxhall revisited

22/10/2016 at 13:08 | Posted in Crawls | Leave a comment
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In September 2016, Rich took us back to Vauxhall, which we last visited in March.

We met at the Riverside, a smart newish Young’s pub on the riverside (unsurprisingly), very close to Vauxhall. This is a large modern place with a large and attractive outside seating area, with all the usual brands you’d expect at a Young’s.

Once we were all together we headed south, to the Cavendish Arms. Last time we were here the beer was off and there was a burnt curtain; this time the curtain had gone, but the beer was still poor, one of the two being off (Hullabaloo) and had to be returned and replaced with passable Black Sheep.

As we were leaving the heavens opened, and a last minute change of plans took us to the Priory Arms, a superb little pub which was Pub of the Crawl in March. The beer range is still very impressive for such a small pub, and we dried out in here for a while with some superb beer, including Siren Under Current,  Thornbridge Lord Marples and Brightside Best.

Once we were dry, and the shower had passed, we headed to the Surprise, fairly aptly named as it’s quite well hidden down a dead-end backstreet. It is a pretty small pub, and we sat in the small front bar with our Young’s pints before retracing our steps back towards Vaxuhall.

The next stop was the Canton Arms, one of Paul’s legendary closed pubs which we had tried to visit in March. This time it was certainly open and doing a thriving trade from its central servery, with some interesting beers on, and all in good condition.

brown-derbyWe headed towards the Oval now via Albert Square (not the one on EastEnders, but the rather posher one that’s home to Joanna Lumley and was the childhood home of Roger Moore) to the Brown Derby. I’ve been here before after a match a the Oval; it’s a pretty good pub now and although I avoided the call of ‘Tony’s Cocktails’ the beers went down very well.

We continued north, retracing Paul’s steps from March again, to the Pilgrim. This was closed when we tried to visit in March but has since re-opened following that refurbishment, and was very comfortable.

The final stop stop of the crawl was the Rose, on the Embankment near the old London Fire Brigade headquarters , a fairly large and bright Victorian corner pub facing the Thames.

We managed to forget to agree on a Pub of the Crawl on the night, but afterwards agreed that the Brown Derby was a deserved winner – congratulations!

Excursion to Chorleywood

22/10/2016 at 13:06 | Posted in Crawls | Leave a comment
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As a regular reader of Pints of View, CAMRA’s Hertfordshire newsletter (which I regularly receive via Stevenage’s Our Mutual Friend, my father-in-law’s local), I’ve long fancied visiting the Land of Liberty, Peace and Plenty, which appears in it regularly. Although it’s a Hertfordshire country pub, it’s tantalisingly located within walking distance of a London Underground station, which means it’s just asking for a special trip to check it out.

So, for August bank holiday weekend, some of us had a little excursion to the village of Chorleywood.

I opted for a circular walk, and from past experience it’s always best to get the longest walks out of the way early before bladders are full, so from Chorleywood station we headed south, with a longish uphill walk to the Stag.

This is a bright, airy and pleasant pub, part of the McMullen empire. Quite a few tables were full of people enjoying upscale pub food, but we stuck to the front bar and nursed some decent ales, either part of their regular range or the Olympic-themed seasonal Hop, Skip & Jump.

Chorleywood-001.jpgThe shortest walk of the day next brought us to the inspiration for the walk, the Land of Liberty, Peace and Plenty. This country pub has featured in every Good Beer Guide since the current owners took the business on in 2005, since when it has been the local CAMRA branch’s Pub of the Year eight times, and it certainly lived up to expectations.

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It’s a fairly small pub inside, but with a very impressive run of 10 handpumps on the bar offering a range of excellent ales; we tried Summer Lovin, Tring Ridgeway, Mighty Oak Toe Wrestler, Revolutions Club Tropicana, Vale Moon and others, all were tip top. The bar snacks were also superb, and included fantastic sausage rolls, scotch eggs, and toasties – perfect if you need some sustenance to go with your drink but don’t need a full blown meal.

We walked next to the Old Shepherd, beautifully located on the edge of the common. However this was a little disappointing; after a huge range of interesting well kept ales at the previous pub, the Old Shepherd had only Ruddles and Golden Hen.  We all went for the former and it was pretty uninspiring, as were the surroundings, with few other customers and very little atmosphere.

A short walk across the common now to the very attractive 18th century Black Horse, a popular break for dog-walkers by the looks of things, and some better beers including Southwald and 6X. We stopped for Sunday lunch here, which was pretty good and good value, nice meat and plenty of veg and gravy, the only complaint being that the potato ration was pretty tight, and some of them were rock hard.

Chorleywood-006Heading north now we came to the White Horse, which  is a very attractive old pub which describes itself on the sign outside as a ‘Beer House’ and promises a ‘fine selection’ of cask ales.

Sadly this fine selection comprised a single cask ale, White Horse Ale, which we’re pretty sure was re-badged Greene King IPA, and it was pretty uninspiring.

Chorleywood-005a.jpgAnd that wasn’t the only problem they had with signs. They have their own version of the keep calm poster, advertising that “its steak night”. We helped them out by adding the missing apostrophe with a blue biro.

When we left we saw an extra apostrophe on a sign in the car park; it’s surely an odd pub that can’t spell “breweries”. What’s more, on close inspection, someone had presumably dictated wording of the sign over the sign, because the word “comer” was written where a comma should have been!

UPDATE: The White Horse closed in October 2016 and has re-opened under new management

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Another short walk next to the Gate, a modern upmarket gastropub. It’s large with a very nice beer garden, and a few standard beers on the bar (e.g. Doom Bar, Meantime Pale Ale)  and friendly service.

As the evening was drawing in, we set off for the Rose & Crown, which involved a walk across the common and along a golf fairway. This pub sits in a lovely position overlooking the common, and the small bar offers some decent ales; we all went with the Animal Brewing’s Mad Cow. It is also just a 5 minute walk from the station for trains or tubes back into town.

We had a discussion on the Pub of the Crawl but it wasn’t really in doubt; congratulations Land of Liberty!

Leicester Square

27/08/2016 at 20:55 | Posted in Crawls | Leave a comment
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On a very warm evening in August, Tim took us on a short crawl around Leicester Square, in the heart of London’s tourist West End.

We started out at the London Beer House, a fairly new craft beer joint at the top of the Royal Opera Arcade, off Haymarket. The pub is the beer outlet of Pall Mall Fine Wine, a little further down the arcade, which opened in 1818 and is the world’s oldest enclosed shopping arcade. It’s also home to the Stephen Wiltshire Gallery, an incredibly talented autistic artist who came to fame as a child.

The pub itself is small, but benefits from plenty of room to sit or stand in the arcade or street. As for the beers, there were 9 craft beers on keg, and a wide selection of bottles and cans in the fridge. We had a mixture of beers from Time & Tide and Two Tribes breweries, which were all very tasty, although I should note that prices are above average (a two-thirds glass goes for about the going rate for a pint in an average pub) – although the quality is very high.

We walked next via Haymarket – once a hay market for the village of Charing before London extended this far – to the Tom Cribb, a small corner Shepherd Neame pub offering standard Shep ales and strangely incongruous music. Tom was a boxer, and the pub retains some interesting boxing artefacts on its walls.

A short walk via the Swiss Glockenspiel, just in time to catch the hourly chimes, took us to the Imperial, a pretty standard central London Taylor Walker pub. Fortunately we were able to bag a table out front to enjoy the summer’s evening before retracing our last steps to Leicester Square, and past the site of Thurston’s Hall, an early snooker and billiards venue, to the Moon Under Water.

This large Wetherspoon has been a West End feature since the 1990s, and although it was busy there was  room inside, we were able to find a table near the bar, where we had a George Orwell-themed quiz about the attributes of his favourite pub, the mythical Moon Under Water, after which this pub is named.

Another short walk – the pubs come thick and fast around here! – and we came to the Brewmaster, sitting atop Leicester Square tube station. This was the first time I’d been in here, though I’d admired the refit from the outside and wanted to check it out. Greene King have done a very nice job refurbishing this and turning it into something which looks a lot like a modern craft beer bar, which is obviously the market they’re trying to tap into.

Sadly they haven’t followed through with the beer or staffing; there were only four handpumps, two of them GK standards IPA and and Abbott. The only slightly interesting one was from Brentwood Brewery, which we all ordered. These were all poured one-handed by someone who’s clearly never been taught how to pull a pint of beer properly. Worse still, as soon as we tasted it, it was very apparent that the beer was on the turn, with a distinct vinegar taste.

Very poor Greene King, very poor indeed – and this is how you serve our national drink to visitors??

wisdenWe left soon for the final stop, the Porcupine, pausing on the way to admire the Wisden tiling in the terracotta tiles above the tube station, marking their former offices. The Porcupine is a Nicholson’s pub, where we mainly went for the ever reliable Tim Taylor’s Landlord.

Finally we got to discussing the Pub of the Crawl, which is often quite a lengthy process, but not tonight; the London Beer House won unanimously. Congratulations!

 

 

Craft beer in Athens

11/06/2016 at 16:30 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Visitors to Greece will appreciate that is a country whose drinking culture is based more around wine and ouzo, and while beer is plentiful, much of it seems to be fairly bland international brands such as Amstel.

However, as elsewhere, craft beer is emerging in Greece, and if you’re visiting there are quite a few interesting microbrews worth seeking out.

I was lucky enough to be in Athens this week, and here are some bars around the centre of the city that I recommend checking out.

Athens-026First up is Athens Beer, a bar/restaurant on Nikis, just a few minutes from the heart of the Plaka district and close to Syntagma metro, with a terrace on the street for warm days/nights. There are four beers on draught, which is better than the typical venue in Greece, although the only Greek beer on draught was Alfa (Άλφα), a standard pale pilsner, together with some imports from Belgium (Vivem Imperial IPA), Germany (Erdinger) and the Czech Republic (Krušovice Imperial).

Athens-027.jpgBut the bar specialises in bottled beers, which allows it to offer a huge range of beers, both Greek and foreign. The bar staff were very helpful and knowledgeable, able to describe the beers and their styles very well in English, and able to recommend some good beers to try.
They stock a range of beers from the Septem microbrewery, based on the island of Evia, including a delicious Pale Ale called Friday. Other Greek microbrews I sampled included Corfu Special Red Ale, and a Volcan Black, a dunkel brewed in Santorini.

Athens-063.jpgStill on the northern edge of the city centre, Beertime can be found in Iroon Square in Psiri, close to Monastiraki metro. There are several tables on the pavement and the whole façade opens up, to make the best of the warm weather.

Beertime has several draught beers, including at the time of my visit Greek microbrews such as Septem IPA, EZA Odyssey Red Rhapsody, and Siris Voreira Wit. The bottled range was extensive, and also focussed on Greek microbreweries,with a wide range of beers from across the country. My drinks came with some complementary mezé.

Another modern venue is Hops Beer and Burgers, on pedestrianised Drakou a stone’s throw from Syngrou-Fix metro station and a few minutes’ walk south of the Acropolis museum.

Athens-079.jpgAs the name suggests, this bar/restaurant focussed both on craft beer and on burgers, although other food is available! The venue is modern with a large number of tables out on the pavement.

The draught range is quite small and includes only one Greek beer, although this was my first beer from the city itself, a very tasty pale ale from Athineo (ΑΘΗΝΕΟ). The bottled range was large, extending to around 20 Greek microbreweries and a similar number of international beers.

I hope that gives you some options for tasting Greek beers on a visit to Athens, enjoy!

Information correct in June 2016.

Bethnal Green

30/05/2016 at 17:09 | Posted in Crawls | 1 Comment
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My turn to lead at the end of May, and I decided to push the boundaries, starting and ending in zone 1 but following a circular route through Bethnal Green.

We started at the Well and Bucket, a cracking pub near the top of Brick Lane. It has a distressed interior with exposed bricks and old pub tiling, and a huge array of beers, particularly bottle and keg, although we stuck with real ale and drank the Gorgons Alive, a nice golden ale, before moving east.

The walk east was a longish one but gave me a chance to fill people in on the history of the area and its links to gangland characters of old, most notably the Krays for whom this was a centre of their empire; we passed St Matthews Church where their funerals were held, St James’s where Reggie married, and Pellicci’s cafe, going strong since 1900, where the Krays used to hold court.

Bethnal Green crawl-001 Sun TavernThe next pub was the Sun Tavern, much smaller than the Well and Bucket but sharing its hipster bare brick interior style and also focussing on interesting beers, though served from an interesting back bar rather than handpumps. Nevertheless the range included some interesting beers including a couple from Five Points and Camden’s Inner City Green.

A short walk east took us past the Salmon & Ball, an old pub not yet gentrified, outside which two weavers were hung in 1769 for taking part in the Cutter’s Riots over the poor wages of the local weavers. The pub sits on the junction where Bethnal Green tube station lies below; this was the scene in 1943 of one of Britain’s worst civilian disasters when 173 people were crushed to death on a stairway as people were entering the station during an air raid.

Very close by and marked with a blue plaque is the former home of 18th century English boxing champion Daniel Mendoza, also known as’Mendoza the Jew’, whose 1789 book The Art of Boxing revolutionised boxing tactics.

A few metres on underneath the railway arches is a row of new bars and restaurants, amongst them Mother Kelly’s, a craft beer bar with an enormous range of bottled beers and 22 on draught. I had a lovely Kees Session IPA from the Netherlands, others had Left Handed Giant Kolsch from Bristol or Pressure Drop Pale Fire all the way from Hackney, a whole 20 minute walk away!

Bethnal Green crawl RedchurchA short walk past the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood, part of the V&A Museum, and York Hall, a 1,200 capacity boxing venue with Turkish baths below, and down a frankly dodgy-looking alleyway, and we came to the Redchurch Brewery, another railway arch operation and very similar to the Bermondsey Beer Mile breweries. This one’s bar is open much later though and was doing a fairly brisk trade on a Friday evening. The beers are served in halves or two-thirds and between us we drank the locally themed Shoreditch Blonde, Bethnal Pale Ale, Paradise Pale Ale, and Hoxton Stout.

Bethnal Green crawl-009.jpgAnother slightly longer walk now as we head westwards, to the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, the first time we’ve called into a working men’s club  on our crawls. This one’s a bit special though, because its basement bar has been taken over by the Three Sods Brewery as their taproom, and they have created a very homely space to sample their cask ales.

A short walk brings us through the very nice area around Jesus Green, which gives a taste of how lovely the whole area could now look if most of the Victorian slums had been renovated rather than replaced with flats in the 1950s, and to Columbia Road. Being a Friday night the street was just a quiet residential street, but it really comes to life on Sunday mornings when the flower market is in full flow.The very nice Royal Oak pub is a favourite of film-makers, having stood in for the Blind Beggar in the Krays, as Samoan Joe’s in Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and being the setting for 1990s sitcom Goodnight Sweetheart.

A short walk up towards Hackney Road now for the final stop, the Marksman. This is a smallish but lively pub, and another one with some interesting beers sourced locally, including Hackney Brewery itself.

Bethnal Green crawl Three Sods.jpgFinally, the Pub of the Crawl… after some debate, we decided that the interesting venue, warm welcome and tasty beers in the Three Sods taproom in the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club made it a worthy winner.

The Beer of the Crawl was hotly debated, but the vote ended up going to Camden’s Inner City Green. Congratulations to both!

Islington

21/05/2016 at 11:11 | Posted in Crawls | Leave a comment
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On a warm(ish) Spring evening in May 2016, Dimo took us back to Islington.

We started out at the Angelic on Liverpool Road, a bright and airy pub a few minutes from the hustle and bustle of Upper Street. As well as a couple of familiar ales, there was a house beer on cask, Angel’s Tears,  which we all went for which wasn’t bad, quite a dark malty ale.

Further along Liverpool Road we came to the Pig and Butcher, a smaller and more food orientated pub, with a large blackboard highlighting where in the UK the meat on the current menu came from. The very friendly bar staff served us all with the American Pale Ale from the Crate brewery in Hackney Wick. This was very light, very fruity and very drinkable.

Next we headed east and across Upper Street to Essex Road and the Old Queens Head. This is a large and busy pub, which was serving Truman’s Runner amongst other familiar ales.

New RoseJust a short walk north brought us to the New Rose – just another pub, as its sign and website describe it! Actually it’s a much better than average pub, with a nice range of ales including beers from Redemption, Five Points and Truman’s, and a nicely decorated interior. It was pretty quiet when we visited, though – which I only hope is down to lucky timing on our part.

We moved east again but ended up at North by North West – a Hitchcock-themed place on New North Road. This has many Hitchcockian bits and bobs, and appropriately enough N1 beer from Hammerton, which we consumed while playing a few cheeky games of Connect4.

N by NW connect4Nearby along the strangely wide Linton Street we reached the Hanbury Arms. This is a fairly large and high-ceilinged pub retaining some nice old features such as a Charrington back bar. It was a little empty though in comparison with some of the other pubs and could use a livelier atmosphere, but the beers were decent, including Purity’s Mad Goose.

Back towards Angel a bit and we came to the gastro Duke of Cambridge, much livelier and with some drinking space outside. The beers were good, including, the very local Pitfield and unusually St Peter’s beers on draught, which you don’t often see in pubs other than their own, but nice to see given the location of the pub in St Peter’s Street – not sure whether or not that’s a coincidence! We were pleased to discover the Countdown game, although the carefully laid trap we’d laid on for the guys we dragged back in from outside failed when they stood too close together so you could only see the letters ANKERS carefully arranged behind them…

Finally we headed back towards the tube and Angel town centre with a late call at the Brewhouse and Kitchen. This is a nice little chain of quite large American style bars with a great range of beers, including cask ales brewed on site.

At the Brewhouse we got down to the final business of the night, and voted the New Rose the pub of the crawl. Congratulations!

 

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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