Belgravia – Pimlico

15/08/2012 at 19:58 | Posted in Crawls | Leave a comment
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In July 2012 it was Tim’s turn to sneak in a quick crawl before the Olympics started, and for his first crawl he found a gap in our coverage on the Belgravia/Pimlico borders just to the south of Victoria station.

This month’s meeting point was a pub visited once before, the Duke of Wellington, fairly close to Sloane Square station. The Duke is a fairly traditional Shepherd Neame corner pub, with a single room around a central servery. The first few of us to arrived sampled the nice Whitstable Bay, and improvement I think on the Spitfire and Kent’s Best.

We headed east from here, past Noel Coward’s house on Gerald Road, to Elizabeth Street. Walking downhill on Elizabeth Street took us through two worlds, with the first section gorgeous, with a gorgeous looking street, and lots of affluent people patronising expensive looking restaurants. East of Ebury Street the street turned to shabby tarmac, the people turned into backpackers, and the food offer changed from smart restaurants to a chip & kekab shop!

Why the sudden downhill turn? The smart money’s on the presence of the coach station, offering buses to all parts of Europe for a few pounds or euros, and a magnet for the budget conscious traveller. Their presence was certainly felt at the Travellers Tavern, a large Taylor Walker pub right next to the arrivals section. We mainly settled for Doom Bar with the odd London Gold as we settled into an outside table adjoining the path from Arrivals. After what seemed like a long time listening to wheely cases being hauled along the alley, the stragglers arrived from the rain-delayed Oval, and we pressed on to pub three.

We headed south, passing the 1938 former Empire Terminal of Imperial Airways, and then turning back of the main road past (fortunately without stopping) a large branch of Rileys, before arriving at The Belgravia. While the name conjures up an image of enormous stuccoed villas, the Belgravia is actually tucked under a block of council flats, but they have made a good job of the space available, offering an unpretentious pub with some decent ales and a sheltered beer garden which includes an outdoor TV for watching sports – very unusual touch for London.

After this we headed west along Ebury Street, which changes its name briefly to Mozart Terrace after its most famous past inhabitant, to Orange Square, where a statue to its composer can be found. This is also very close to the spot where the Bun House stood (note Bunhouse Lane just off the Square), home of the Chelsea Buns until it closed its doors for the last time in 1839.

Across the street is the next pub, The Orange. Now somewhat gastroed, it nevertheless has a pleasant (if busy) bar with some nice ales on, though there is no longer a microbrewery on site.

After these we headed east, over the busy railway lines into London Victoria at Ebury Bridge and crossing over from Belgravia to Pimlico in the process. The next pub was the White Ferry House, another with a backpacker link, serving as it does as a hostel. Downstairs though remains a lovely traditional two-bar pub.  The first beer drawn was actually off, but to be fair to the staff it was changed with an apology and no fuss.

After these drinks we began to move back towards Victoria station, calling next at The Greyhound, a pub which has been closed for 10 years but thankfully has recently been fully refurbished and reopened, with a nice bright interior with white walls and interesting paraphernalia and some nice beers. I had the Bateman’s Summer Swallow while I’m told the Tim Taylor’s Landlord slipped down very nicely.

Final stop of the evening was just along Hugh Street, the St George’s Tavern, a large Nicholson’s pub which was already beginning to empty by the time we arrived, though luckily we were just in time to catch last orders before being ushered out into the summer evening and (for some) a late curry.

Victoria Pub Crawls

24/01/2012 at 00:09 | Posted in Crawls | Leave a comment
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Well we’ve had a few of these criss-crossing the area.  In the early years Paul took us on two crawls that appeared to end and start in the same place.  Below is an attempt to piece it together:

The Victoria cr@wl started in the classic Shepherd Neame “Cask & Glass“, one of the smallest pubs in town and yes we did stand outside, not a pub to meet in if the forecast is rain.  It’s nowhere near New Scotland Yard, as Paul would say.  As the rain started to fall we moved swiftly on.  It’s on Palace Street and you can’t miss it for the hanging baskets.  Next was a pub called Colonies (where a bloke followed us from the Cask & Glass claiming to be an odd-job man for the Queen).  This “banter” ended using the old toilet trick, i.e. swiftly drinking up and moving on when the stalker had disappeared to the loo!  Next up the fine Buckingham Arms, appearing in every edition of the GBG, finishing in the Old Star.  Finally a break with tradition – we went to Zanzibar as we were running late and it was still open.

The St James cr@wl a few months later (also led by Paul) started in the now familiar Old Star, Adam & Eve, The Albert, The Strutton Arms-  at which point Paul fell ill, leaving us with a map.   We managed to find The Two Chairman and finished in the Westminster Arms, around the corner from the Abbey.  But it turfed us out abruptly after the bell and that was it

The area was covered by Gez on his St James’ crawl and also Paul himself capped off the area with his “Passport to Pimlico” crawl, which sounded different until we realised we were in the shadow of an all too familiar Victoria Station.  At least we had been spared some of the pubs closer to this hub!

St James’s Park – Westminster

05/06/2011 at 15:07 | Posted in Crawls | 2 Comments
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Jez took this Friday evening crawl, and unwittingly followed an earlier crawl along pretty much the same route – to be fair though, he hadn’t been on that one! It’s a pleasant and easy stroll through the back streets of St James’s Park, and never more than 500 metres from the tube so very accessible.

We started in the Cask & Glass, or more accurately, outside the Cask & Glass – it’s a surprisingly small pub, but if the weather’s OK there is plenty of room outside on the pavement. From here, it’s a short stroll east to the Good Beer Guide stalwart the Buckingham Arms, then the Two Chairmen, then the Westminster Arms, where we learnt that Jez would be leaving us for a long stint in the Caribbean. (I mention this in passing, but I’m afraid it doesn’t mean that you’ll be paid to go to the Caribbean should you follow in our footsteps.)

From here it is but a brief stroll via Parliament Square to two famous Parliamentary pubs, the Red Lion in Whitehall, and the delightful St Stephens Tavern, which lies under the watchful eye of Big Ben and is conveniently almost next door to Westminster tube station for the ride home.

Pimlico – Victoria

04/06/2011 at 18:13 | Posted in Crawls, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Paul started this Friday evening crawl, the third of his Victoria Trilogy of crawls, in unusual style at the Pride of Pimlico, a lager den with no real ales. Fortunately, after just two dodgy pints, the crawl proper got underway, with the next stop being the marvellous CASK. No brand names here, lots of ales and if you want a lager, there’s a fine selection of good German and Belgian varieties.

We then went to several decent pubs in the area; I’m struggling to recall 18 months hence exactly which ones we went to, as having worked in the area I have been on various pub treks in the area in my time, so the map may be updated in due course!

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