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!

 

 

Edgware Road

01/11/2014 at 13:26 | Posted in Crawls | Leave a comment
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As the dark evenings of Autumn 2014 arrived, Artie took us for a crawl around the Edgware Road area.

We met at the Portman, formerly the Masons Arms, close to Marble Arch. It is now a gastropub, retaining some decent ales on its central bar including Timothy Taylor’s Landlord as well as a much lesser-spotted Havercake Ale.  We stood outside watching the world, or at least a small but wealthy part of it, go by. It is a strikingly urban if genteel scene, with fairly narrow streets in a grid pattern, so I take the pub’s description of itself being in “Portman Village” with a large pinch of salt!

Once Phil had customarily joined us at the end of the first beer, we headed west, across Edgware Road for the first time, past the police guarding Tony Blair’s house, to the Duke of Kendal. This triangular pub forms the wedge between two roads, and is a traditional pub, with a small dining area on the Connaught Road side. The beers were decent but unexceptional, Greene King standard fare.

We soon left by the Kendal Street door (except for one who went to the wrong street) and headed back towards and across Edgware Road to the next duke, this time the Duke of York on Harrowby Street. This also had just some standard GK ales on, and was a bit lacking in atmosphere for a Friday night.

WargraveThat couldn’t be said of the next pitstop, the Lord Wargrave, formerly the Wargrave Arms but now a modern pub, specialising in whisky, with a choice of around 200 from around the world. The beer selection it pretty special too, with a wide range of ales as well as some interesting craft keg beers, including the tasty Hackney Hopster from London Fields. The formula is obviously working, the place was certainly pulling in the punters compared with the previous couple of places, and was very lively.

Around the corner we paused for Phil to tell us about the Cato Street Conspiracy, an 1820 plot to assassinate the British cabinet, which was broken up when the conspirators were arrested in this alleyway.

Just across the street now for the Windsor Castle, an oldie but a goodie, visited on a previous occasion but worth the return, as this pub is a classic old London pub, full of memorabilia, especially royal stuff, to attract visitors but nevertheless retaining its traditional pub atmosphere. The beers were traditional too, and we had a nice mixture of 6X, Bombardier and Broadside.

Just across the road lies the Larrick, which was fairly empty by this time of the evening. The Bombardier Burning Gold slipped down nicely but we had to move swiftly on to the next and final venue to get another in before closing time.

ISISThe Thornbury Castle, just off the busy Euston Road, had the best ale range of the evening, and between us we drank a wide range of ales including Westerham’s General Wolfe, ELB Pale Ale, Rebellion Photo Finish and others – very impressive, and a high note to end the evening, though West Berkshire’s ISIS Pilsner was an unfortunate choice of name to pick this year.

Finally, it was time for the Pub of the Crawl debate, which was finely balanced this time with a three-way tie! However, there can only be one winner, so after a hearty debate and second vote, the Windsor Castle was declared the winner. Congratulations!

 

Marylebone revisited

23/08/2014 at 12:05 | Posted in Crawls | 1 Comment
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It was time for Alan to take the lead in August 2014, with a return visit to the Marylebone area.

We gathered outside the front of the Beehive, a mid-terrace pub tucked just off Baker Street. There was a smallish-range of beers, with Loddon’s Gravesend Shrimper the only ale on offer; I enjoyed it but without a paler ale on offer some took advantage of the Meantime beers on tap, including their tasty London Pale Ale.

Next up, the Barley Mow, a cracking heritage pub, which I think has somehow managed to fall between the cracks of previous local crawls.  It is famous – and indeed listed on CAMRA‘s National Inventory of Pub Interiors – on account of its unique drinking boxes, small compartments adjacent to the bar allowing for very discreet liaisons while still being alongside the bar to order fresh drinks. On this occasion, arriving as we were on a Friday evening, the boxes were unsurprisingly already taken, but we took our delicious beers – all Dark Star Golden Gate – to the back room, where Dimo proceeded to reveal a surprising talent for hustling people at chess.

A short walk down Manchester Street brought us to the Tudor Rose, a fairly old-school pub which has so far definitely escaped the gastropub trend, still offering such 1970s delights as spam fritter burgers! The ale was good enough if a bit unadventurous, with Pride, Rev James and Adnams on cask.

gunmakersWe called next at the Gunmakers, overlooking the car park-cum-farmers market behind Marylebone High Street. This is an attractive pub, with some interesting ales on offer, including a couple of offerings from London Fields brewery, their IPA, and Love Not War, which seemed appropriate given the current strife in the Middle East.

Continuing east, we skipped a possible venue on the High Street as it seemed pretty rammed, and arrived at a pub with the opposite problem, the Dover Castle, which was pretty deserted by the time we arrived. As with most Sam Smiths pubs, it’s a great place, in this case a little mews pub which was frequented by the Who ‘back in the day’ when they used a recording studio opposite.

Not far away lies the Stag’s Head, a nice little corner pub below an art deco building, which we sat outside while we enjoyed some Tring Side Pocket.

albany

From here, we headed back towards the tube, and the Albany, opposite Great Portland Street. We visited this recently and it’s still a lovely pub, and I love it’s modest self-declared as ‘one of the best pubs in Great Portland Street’!

But which pub deserves to be the Pub of the Crawl this time?

As ever a lively debate was had to pick the winner, but in the end the wonderful unique interior won it for the Barley Mow, congratulations!

Piccadilly Circus

17/01/2014 at 19:16 | Posted in Crawls | Leave a comment
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Having ended 2013 with a walk around Oxford Circus, we started 2014 with a walk around nearby Piccadilly Circus and the fringes of Soho, led by Tim.

The meeting point tonight was the Glassblower, a Taylor Walker branded pub just to the north of Piccadilly Circus. The pub is -, forming the corner of Glasshouse and Brewer Streets, and was unsurprisingly fairly busy. Rumours of a discount for CAMRA members turned out to be false unfortunately, and the 6X ran out as we got to it, but the Landlord and Trumans Runner were both perfectly decent.

A short walk along the appropriately named Brewer Street brought us to the Crown, a Nicholsons pub and much as you’d expect from a Nicholsons, a traditional interior in good order and some decent ales on tap, and quite a throng around the bar on a Friday evening. The surprise ale was Fullers Steel, a limited edition collaboration brew between Fullers and Sheffield’s Steel City Brewing (motto: “Craft beer from the Grim North”), a very drinkable pale ale, which we were able to enjoy in reasonable peace towards the rear of the pub.

Piccadilly A very short walk now down to the Queens Head, a free house tucked under the Piccadilly Theatre. This is a small pub and just a stone’s throw from Piccadilly Circus, yet we still managed to get a table to enjoy our lovely pints of Moncada Notting Hill Blonde, possibly we were lucky in doing this crawl around a busy area just when half the population is de-toxing after Christmas and New Year. Genuinely surprising to find such a decent, normal pub so close to the epicentre of the West End tourist economy.

We went back down Sherwood Street, which used to be a fairly depressing backstreet still sadly typical of this part of central London but has recently been pedestrianised and completely transformed, to the central pivot of the crawl and indeed probably the epicentre of the West End, Piccadilly Circus, where Tim regaled us with assorted trivia which I can’t relay here in sufficient detail to compete with Wikipedia, but suffice to say it’s an interesting place!

We soon arrived at the St James Tavern, “the best managed pub of 2013”, as proclaimed by a banner out the front of its prime position on a corner of Shaftesbury Avenue as it leads into Soho. Despite this prime location and apparent high management standards, it wasn’t at all busy for a Friday night, suggesting all is not well. Once past the bouncer on the door – not a good sign – we had a pick of tables to choose from, but the same choice didn’t extend to the beers, with just two on offer – Firkin Good and Adnams Gunhill. Sadly neither were actually much good, though in this they did at least match the atmosphere. With almost everybody else being a tourist and the pub winning a national award, I don’t know what message the industry is trying to send about British pubs and beers but they need to stop it. Incidentally they didn’t make up the award, I googled it – incredible.

LyricOn a much lighter note, just a little further up Great Windmill Street, we came to the Lyric. This small Victorian corner pub has been recently relaunched as a craft beer pub, with six handpumps and ten keg taps, all offering decent beers. My Crack of Dawn from South East London’s own Late Knights was lovely, meanwhile a couple of the others went for the Williams Bros Alloa 80/ and pronounced it “amazing” – high praise indeed. All this, and room to stand next to the fire. Very nice place, best enjoyed, I imagine, by day, when there are fewer people around to fill the place up.

Back to the bright lights of Shaftesbury Avenue now, passing the fringes of Chinatown at Wardour Street and into Rupert Street, to arrive at the back entrance of the Blue Posts, another of which we visited on our last crawl. However unlike the beer fail in the last pub of the same name, in this one we had a mixture of Woodfords Wherry, Summer Lightning, and Tim Taylor’s Landlord – between us, that is, not in the same glass – at a table in the upstairs room.

Our arrival at our next and final pub was interesting, a row was going on outside the entrance which involved a drunk woman shouting “shut up you slaaaag!” Appropriately enough this was the Comedy Pub. As far as we could tell the scene at the entrance wasn’t some sort of immersive improv act, although as the name implies, the venue does host comedy gigs. We were there for the beer though, and we went for Rev James, Doom Bar and Resolution.  The ground floor bar was large and not unlike many lively central London pubs, though a trip to the loos in the basement level revealed more of a club area, but unsurprisingly we stuck it out upstairs until last orders.

The final business of the evening was agreeing on the Pub of the Crawl. On account of its excellent beers and atmosphere, we agreed that the Lyceum was a very fitting winner, congratulations!

Oxford Circus Circular

30/11/2013 at 17:00 | Posted in Crawls | 2 Comments
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As the chill of winter returned in November 2013, we headed for the West End, with a crawl starting and ending at Oxford Circus.

We gathered in fits and starts at the Old Explorer, a stone’s throw from Oxford Circus. This busy Greene King pub was doing a swift trade with shoppers and workers, but we didn’t linger long, and once assembled we started heading east, across Portland Place and along the lively Eastcastle Street.

ChampionThe first stop was the Champion, on the corner of Wells Street. It’s a busy Sam Smiths pub, with, as usual, a wonderful interior. The stained glass windows depict an eclectic mix of subjects, all deemed to be champions in their field. Sadly there was no ale on offer, with only the keg version of Old Brewery. These we drank, just about, but they were very poor value despite the £2.90/pint price tag.

We moved a little further down Eastcastle Street to the next venue, the Blue Posts. There are several pubs of this name, the most likely explanation being that the blue posts which originally stood outside were markers for the hire of sedan chairs. Inside, we found another Sam Smiths pub, and were pleased to see handpumps in this one. Sadly, however, our beers came in plastic glasses (even though we were standing at the bar), and the beer was just as foul as at the previous pub. I managed about the top 2cm of mine and left the rest, not making the £2.90 seem like such a bargain. We’d all rather pay another £1 and get a drinkable guest ale, it’s a mystery why they sell such poor beer in such lovely buildings.

From here we headed north and east, through the alleyway past the Newman Arms, and over to the Wheatsheaf, a smallish pub with an alley alongside. Back in the 1930s it was a haunt of such characters as George Orwell and Dylan Thomas. They were doing a good trade, possibly helped by the England match on at the time, and fortunately had some decent ales on too.

The next stop was a pub with great bohemian heritage, the Fitzroy Tavern, another 1930s literary hangout. It’s a great pub inside and out, dominating its surroundings and large and well appointed inside. However, spotting that only Old Brewery was the only beer on offer – yes, we’d wandered into another Sam Smiths – we decided that after our earlier poor experiences, we would pass and move on.

And next up was the first pub which felt like a local pub, rather than a central London pub – the King & Queen. It was also a free house, and served the first interesting beer of the night, The World’s Biggest Liar by Jennings, a nice dark bitter – we normally tend to go for lighter styles but this was very good.

Beginning to head back to the west again, we came next to the Green Man on Riding House Street. This was thriving, and had a much livelier atmosphere, louder music, younger crowd, and was a way from the main tourist streets. Good beer too, can’t in all honesty remember what we went for in the end, but there were three decent ales on handpump, and fairly sure I had a Tribute.

Next up, the Yorkshire Grey, a handsome pub on the corner of an alley in Foley Street. Unfortunately we strode in to be confronted by Sam Smiths Old Brewery again – so headed back out into the night for the next venue.

Back towards Oxford Circus for the final stop of the night, the George on Great Portland Street. Is is a decent if fairly standard Greene King pub in a busy location, so not one for  a quiet contemplative pint, but not at all bad if you want to escape Oxford Street for a swift half. Decent array of GK and some guest ales, decent service, and got a table, where Phil regaled us with some 1980s Geordie jokes…

We also had time to vote for the Pub of the Crawl. We agreed by consensus that the Green Man was the best pub on the crawl, congratulations!

Millbank

16/12/2012 at 09:29 | Posted in Crawls | 2 Comments
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A week before Christmas, Artie took the final pub crawl of 2012 from St James’s Park to Pimlico via Millbank .

albertI have to confess that I was a little disappointed with the choice of opening pub, the Albert on Victoria Street, a stone’s throw from St James’s Park station.  Not that there’s anything much wrong with the pub – it’s a smart late Victorian pub and a very popular stop on the local tourist trail, and often busy. My only problem was that it’s literally next door to my office – very handy you might think, but sadly I was on annual leave for the day and was hoping not to have to travel to exactly where I commute every day! Still, it was a very handy meeting point and we assembled there for our walk towards Pimlico.

The second stop was the Speaker, a very nice pub tucked away on Great Peter Street and a short walk via my usual lunchtime haunt of Strutton Ground market. The Speaker is well known locally for its good beers and good value food, and its only drawback is that as with all small and good pubs in an officey area it can be very busy in the post-work rush, so highly recommended but best enjoyed during the day or later in the evening. Luckily for us a table was being vacated as we arrived so we were able to settle in to enjoy our ales, including Landlord and a Christmas beer with a name involving Santa (can’t remember more than that!)

From the Speaker we headed south past the Channel 4 building, its large 4 on the forecourt sporting its Christmas look, to the Royal Oak on Regency Street. Almost opposite the famous Regency Cafe (where three of us usually grab some food before a crawl), the Royal Oak is a Youngs corner pub, and was very busy when we called, doing a brisk trade in Special and Winter Warmer.

Marquis of GranbyWe headed east next, choosing to skip past the Loose Box and saving ourselves for the Marquis of Granby, just off Smith Square with its famous concert hall which was formerly St John’s Church. This is a Nicholson’s pub which has been very recently refurbished, and we focussed straight away on the decent range of beers on handpump; my Nutty Black was delicious, but too late we noticed that there were three ales being served by gravity direct from the cask. We have to keep moving on these crawls to try as many places as possible so we didn’t get to taste the ales on gravity but I shall certainly be back to try them another time.

Towards the Thames now, and past the imposing bulk of the MI5 headquarters which looks across to the newer MI6 building upstream on the other bank at Vauxhall. We walked along the riverside to take in the views (and be blasted by a bitter wind) and admire Tate Britain, built on the site of Millbank Prison. Artie may be Australian but his ancestors didn’t pass through the doors of Millbank Prison, but many of the early settlers of Australia did, as this was a major point of departure for prisoners sentenced to transportation. Very near the gallery lies the Morpeth Arms, another Youngs corner pub, which was busy with workers while we were there, and receives a steady flow of gallery visitors by day. It’s allegedly been haunted since 1845, but although we arrived later than that (at about 2130) there was no sign of a ghost as far as we could see.

Further along the river finds the Grosvenor, our next stop and another lively pub, which felt more like a community pub than many others in central London, lying as it does in a fairly residential area. After a brief missing bag false alarm, we settled into a pair of sofas and cracked open the box of Family Fortunes which was lying under the table, although sadly the quizmastering skills were somewhat below the standard of the television version.

For the final stop of the night we stopped at the White Swan for a swifter-than-planned pint before they closed their doors. Another good range of beers here but they were very keen to sweep everyone out the doors before midnight.

All told a great night and some places I’ll definitely be back to before long!

Strand-Trafalgar Square

13/10/2012 at 10:07 | Posted in Crawls | Leave a comment
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With Autumn closing in to end the summer of 2012, I took a crawl around the Strand and Trafalgar Square area of the West End on a rainy night in October.

We started out at the Savoy Tup, a small pub just off the Strand near Waterloo Bridge which has had a fairly recent facelift and sports a bright and welcoming interior. It being a Friday evening and raining outside, it was very busy inside with local workers (including one of my old colleagues) but the service was rapid. Fortunately there is also an upstairs bar which was much quieter, so we assembled upstairs with out pints of Pilgrim’s Progress.

Once we were all there, we headed out past the Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy and past the entrance of the recently refurbished Savoy Hotel, to Carting Lane. This is home of the famous last remaining sewer lamp, which burnt off noxious gases from the nearby main sewer and gives this small street its nickname Farting Lane. Just at the top of the alley lies the Coal Hole, our second stop. The most popular choice of ale here was Wharfdale’s VPA, but sadly they could only squeeze one last pint out of that so we had various beers from the decent range on offer. While it’s a busy pub it’s also fairly large, so as well as being served efficiently we also found space to sit down up on the mezzanine level away.

After this we crossed over the Strand and into the narrow alleyway Bull Inn Court for the Nell Gwynne pub, the only pub I know which has managed to mis-spell its own name on its sign (it is shown as “Nell Gwyn” on the Strand sign)! This is a very small but popular pub, with a traditional interior with a reddish hue and a staircase to the loos which can compete with the Seven Stars for the title of dodgiest staircase to tackle while drinking.

From here we crossed back over the Strand and walked down to Embankment Gardens to see York Stairs, the last remnant of York House, which formerly occupied the area just east of what is now Charing Cross station, and the last survivor of the old stairs which used to line this part of the Thames shore before the construction of the Embankment left them over 50 metres from the new artificial river shore. From here we came up Villiers Street and below Charing Cross station to reach the Ship & Shovell, a pub of two halves either side of Craven Passage. As ever, the Badger beers slipped down nicely.

Moving westwards again, we passed through Great Scotland Yard – once the Scottish crown’s London residence and later the Metropolitan Police force’s first head office – to the Clarence, on the corner of Whitehall. This is a Geronimo Inns pub and was very busy when we visited, although again we were quite lucky and managed to get  a table. There is a good range of well kept ales on the bar.

Almost next door, a few steps closer to Trafalgar Square, lies the Old Shades. This is a narrow pub at the front but goes back a long way, and has a gorgeous bar. It is aiming towards the top of the market with good food but is certainly still a pub where drinkers are welcome. Several ales were on the bar, and there is also a large selection of beers from the Belgian brewer Palm. This was somewhat quieter than the Clarence, with the feel more of a members’ club (or at least how I imagine one to be) than a Friday night pub. The food looks excellent, if a little pricier than average, though I have yet to try it.

Moving on, we passed the Silver Cross and turned the corner into Craig’s Court for Walkers of Whitehall, heading immediately downstairs to the bottom level where there is a very attractive underground bar on the lowest of the three levels. This started life in 1694 as an Irish bank, and the lowest level occupies what were once the bank vaults.

As Walkers closed for the night we made one more stop, heading just past Trafalgar Square to the Two Chairmen, a small traditional pub tucked just off the main road. Over pints of Timothy Taylor’s Landlord we set to work on the Look for Longer tube station picture quiz – we manages 44 stations over that beer (although we got a lot more collectively the next day!)

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.

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.

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