City fringe pub crawl

02/04/2018 at 18:19 | Posted in Crawls | Leave a comment
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Dimo led the group East this time on a cold winter’s night (well, March) in 2018 and chose Kill the Cat as the starting point on Brick Lane, which is a funky bottle shop that also sells draft and does take-outs. Not sure if there was any HCl present and the only crackling was pig fat rather than a Geiger Counter. Artie had a Small Citra Ekuanot Pale from America to start the night.  In terms of further descriptions Schrodinger would argue, you have to see it to know what state it’s in. And not-so-curious latecomers Phil and Tim will have to go back one day….

Next up was the latest sensation, the Tank and Paddle, round the corner and along a bit from Liverpool Street station. It is a modern concept bar which focuses on real and craft ales plus pizza and is a winning formula, as our previous crawl will testify featuring tanks of Meantime ale. The session IPA we had was very tasty.  The place was busy early on a Friday night, but round the corner with the “Beast from the East” behind us suddenly we were on a street away from the crowds. It was like someone had switched off zone one and we were in some run-down industrial quarter.

It’s hard to believe in today’s city hinterland there used to be Shakespeare’s theatre on Curtain Road and on Worship Street/ Hog Lane the Old Bard himself is reputed to have once lived here. It was the second crawl in a row to feature Shakespearean trivia. And not unlike most of our crawls an evening that had started out as A Winter’s Tale not surprisingly ended up with Much Ado About Nothing.

The pub chosen next was the Long Arm Pub and Brewery, it had neo-classic features, such as ceramic tiling on the walls, its own brewery to the side, high ceilings, pipework visible and a long bar capable of serving quite a few different beers. On this occasion, in the heart of London on a Friday night it was surprisingly only half empty. The beer was good, continuing the IPA run most of us had the Jucy Pale or the Lucky Penny  and we were in awe of the place.

The next bar we went to Finch’s (a Young’s pub) was already tarted up for St. Patrick’s day that weekend – and we ended up sitting outside under the heaters overlooking Finsbury Square, most notably an underground car park. The Chelsea Blonde was cloudy but in this new unfiltered age some tourists were happy to accept. Credit to them they changed it on request.

On the corner nearby was the Singer Tavern, with more tiling than a swimming pool but a name taken from a old sewing machine, one of the ale choices we made was in fact cider and the way the taps were displayed it was confusing.

We finished the evening by Old Street roundabout in the newly opened Craft Beer Company , a huge improvement on its predecessor establishment and a veritable heaven for beer lovers, and there was much to choose from. The conversation flowed, the pub of the crawl was given to the Long Arm Pub and Brewery and this was followed by a metaphorical battle between beer hunter and bar fly, won by the former, with so many beers to choose from, albeit controversially, we stayed for a second round of drinks. By that time we had forgotten what we were drinking, mine had a fashionable permahaze, probably the Styrian Dragon, we also tried the Werrd! and the Little Things That Kill by Weird Beard…..with so many to wacky names to choose from it’s very much As You Like It.

We discussed the evening’s choices and Dimo explained that he had gone for a sextet of nontraditional pubs/beer outlets – and it was true that was not any dark wood panelling, etched window or Doom Bar badge present at any stage tonight. In fact Dimo had perfectly addressed Tony’s existential question at the end of the last crawl, whether Schrodinger would agree is another matter.

Tanks, tiles, tattle, taps, tastes and trivia, what more was there to like?

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City & Spitalfields

18/02/2017 at 12:36 | Posted in pub reviews | 1 Comment
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In February 2017, I took the crawlers on a short walk around the City, starting on its boundary with Spitalfields and ending up in its centre.

We met at the Williams Ale & Cider House, close to Liverpool Street station, which has a beer-led bar at the front and a cider-led bar further back. Service wasn’t great, but we did eventually manage to buy some Signature Roadies, which we took outside to enjoy in the February evening air. The pub is on Artillery Lane, the name betraying its origins as part of  the site of the artillery grounds which used to be found here, just outside the City, until 1682.

Around the corner in Sandy’s Row, where one side of the street is in the City and the other in Spitalfields, we passed the Sandy’s Row Synagogue, the last surviving Spitalfields synagogue. The building was originally built as a church in 1766 by the Huguenot community, and named L’Eglise de l’Artillerie. It later became a baptist chapel, before becoming a synagogue in 1854.

A few steps further on, next to the former Jewish bakery Levy Bros, which was established in 1710 and whose bakers can still be seen toiling away on the building’s exterior, we came to the King’s Stores. This has been modernised recently and has several decent ales on tap, and I had two Signature beers in a row, the cask Pale this time, while some went for the Dark Star Partridge. All were very nice, and we took them outside to enjoy in the attractive street outside.

We kept on following the City boundary along Middlesex Street, so named because the street was the first in Middlesex on leaving the City of London, whose boundary runs along the western kerb. It is better known though as Petticoat Lane, and has been home to a thriving Sunday market since the 17th century.

We took a very slight detour to see the site of the infamous Goulston Street Graffito, before heading into the Bell, a pleasingly traditional pub, with Landlord, Atlantic, TEA and Doom Bar on the bar.

We crossed back into the City on leaving, and came to Houndsditch, which was originally a defensive ditch outside the City walls, but became a popular dumping ground for dead dogs, amongst other refuse. In 1910 it was the scene of the Houndsditch Murders, in which three police officers were shot dead by a Latvian gang, and which subsequently ended a few weeks later in the famous Siege of Sidney Street.

We also crossed over Bevis Marks, home of the eponymous synagogue, which was built by London’s Spanish and Portuguese Jewish community in 1701 and is the only synagogue in Europe to have held services continuously for over 300 years, despite being damaged by bombing in the blitz, and again in 1992 and 1993.

craftbeercoWe passed through Mitre Square, where one of Jack the Ripper’s victims was found, to the Craft Beer Company. As usual for this chain, the pub is excellent, with some interesting ales on draught, keg and in the fridge; we went for Dark Star’s Art of Darkness, a lovely malty black beer, and Kernel’s light table beer. We had nice seats in the window, and watched the extraordinary number of walking groups passing by, drawn by the seemingly insatiable Ripper industry.

We next went just around the corner to the Old Tea Warehouse, but unfortunately all of their ales had finished, so we left without a drink and headed to Old Tom’s, the basement bar of the Lamb in the beautiful Leadenhall Market. This is a cosy space, where we enjoyed some Common Pale Ale from Wimbledon.

standrewgherkinOn the way we passed some of London’s most interesting architecture, where the ancient and modern rub shoulders; churches such as St Katharine Kree (founded 1280, with the present tower dating from 1504) and St Andrew Undershaft (dating from 1147, present building dating from 1532) sit alongside iconic modern towers such as the Gherkin, Leadenhall Building and the Lloyd’s Building.

Next up, we headed to the Counting House, which was built in 1893 as a banking hall, beautifully converted by Fullers, and serving their range of ales; the pub’s foundations rest on the wall of a 2,000 year old Roman basilica, according to the pub’s website.

map.jpgFor the final stop of the evening, we headed to the Arbitrager, a tiny craft beer place serving only beer, cider and spirits from London; we went for the excellent Neckstamper APA, from a new brewery in Leyton, while we admired the beautiful map on one wall, showing the location of London’s breweries overlayed on a mid-19th century map of the capital.

As to the Pub of the Crawl, we have to give it to the final place for breaking the mould with its London-only range and wonderful wall map. Congratulations The Arbitrager!

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!

Spitalfields

16/08/2012 at 14:24 | Posted in Crawls | Leave a comment
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Archie admits his memory is very hazy now but the pubs as best he could remember for Liverpool street/Spitalfields (3 August 2007) were as follows:

Shooting Star

The Gun

Ten Bells

Pride of Spitalfields

The Archers

White Hart

It was hot that day and first time it didn’t rain. In fact the Pride of Spitalfields was the stand out pub – er, especially because we stood outside – where there is always to pleasant smell of the tandoori ovens at the back of Brick Lane on a summer’s evening.

By the end of the evening we had walked outside of zone 1 to find a pub, and who’s to say we wouldn’t do that again in the future. There was one more pub/bar that we went to on Whitechapel Road, but by then the short term memory had gone as well as our collective long term ones, so I’m afraid we can’t confirm which pub this was!

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