We had a sunday roast here a couple of weeks ago. I thought it strange that we had to pay up front, it cost £7.95 each and there were 3 of us. When it came I immediately knew that it was all warmed up. I think it had all been cooked the day before and was warmed up as needed. I could not eat any of it. I told the owner I was not impressed and that I did not expect to find warmed up food. He said it was all freshly cooked!! I have been cooking for 45 years and that was not fresh!! Beware - do not eat here.
have just found this subject in speakers corner and thought it is such an apt subject for me to do !
As a few of you know I like a pint or three and since I turned 18 I have visited more pubs than I can ever possibly remember, however I have had some favourites in the last 14 years and will take you some of them, where they are etc
10.The haystack pub, Canvey island high street.
This is situated at the very start of the high street and is very well known. This pub has been on the island since the early 1920's with various refits, various names.
Now this is mainly known as a youngsters pub with modern music as rap, hip hop, and dance tunes.
The drinks are quite expensive for canvey for wine beer and alcopops. The soft drinks are almost as expensive but this pub has some good history and good food during the day.
9.The Cricketers arms situated in Oldbrook Milton Keynes.
This pub has regular football nights showing sky most of the time.
The staff are really friendly and always have a laugh and a joke with you.
There is a darts league that plays there, and this pub is know best for it's 5 pint pitchers of lager for £5.
This has a good selection of wines all inside the big fridges on the wall.
8.The Cock inn situated on the main road in Heath and Reach, Bedfordshire.
This is a lovely little place boasting a hotel around the side of the building.
This is not a huge place but very well decorated in and out, this has a fantastic restaurant but is quite pricey.
This is a very nice quiet pub to go to but the drinks do not have a lot of choice to them.
There are only three draught beers to choose from and not a good selection of wines.
However this pub has quiz night, music night, murder mystery nights and is well woth a visit.
7.The black horse situated in Leighton Buzzard town centre, Bedfordshire.
I found this pub by accident as I was waiting for a friend to turn up. It doesn't look like a marvellous place from the front and desperately needs a paintjob !
However inside is ok, but the drinks are very cheap ! I found that a pint was around £1.68 and a wine £1.49
There is no food menu in here and it really needs a refit as it looks quite old inside.
6.The Red Lion situated in Leighton Buzzard town centre Bedforshire.
This is a good little pub that has regular music night, comedy nights, live singing, quiz nights, Karaoke, which normally has a lot of people visiting.
The drinks are ok but again not much of a choice, if you don't like Heineken or pepsi there is not much choice.
The staff are friendly though.
5.The Tawny Owl hungry horse pub, Walnut Tree, Milton Keynes.
This is the closest pub to me as it is just a ten minute walk.
This pub has a very good food menu as it is in the hungry horse chain. You can get a meal for around £5 and the drinks are quite good value. A wine or a pint will cost you about £2.
This has quite a good selection of drinks which you can choose from the fridges or pumps by the bar.
The staff are quite friendly and always willing to chat.
The only setback is that it is not a very nice pub to take somebody out on a date as it can be quite noisy sometimes.
4.The Globe inn situated at Linslade by Leighton Buzzard Bedforshire.
This quiet very well maintained little pub is set by the canal where you can sit outside and watch the barges go by, watch the wildlife, or go for a walk along by the stream leading up for a walk to the following town.
This was built in 1899 I think and has some old pictures inside of what it used to be like.
This is well know for it's very nice food and has a very big menu. The price of the food isn't bad but for a meal we are looking at about £20 with a drink.
The drinks are about average price with a pint around £2.60 and a wine £2.40
It is worth a visit for the good atmosphere and good food.
The only trouble with this pub is that you have to wait a long time to get served if they are busy or not.
This does not boast a huge choice in drinks but enough for a night out.
3. The King Canute pub, situated at the start of Long road on Canvey island Essex.
This is the very first pub I started drinking in when I turned 18 and have some fond and not so fond memories of it.
This used to be a bit of a spit and sawdust pub, but I used to go in here as the drinks were £1 a pint during happy hour which actually lasted two hours !
The only reason I do not go in here anymore is that even though it has been refurbished you still get the odd few people who just want to cause trouble.
However it is a very good lunchtime place to go and has a very good food menu, you can get a three course meal for £5.99 with a glass of wine or a lager.
2. The Caldecotte arms by Caldecotte lake in Milton Keynes is another really nice pub. This is also a big restaurant all situated in a converted windmill !
I first went here when I moved to MK as it was quite close to me, this has beautiful backgrounds with a huge lake with lots of wildlife, lots of activities, and lots of fields to walk around.
The food is of very good value with two meals for £10. The drinks can be a bit pricey on the other hand with a pint costing around £3.30 !!
The staff are not that friendly all the time with a few miserable looking faces there.
This also has regular quiz nights on a Thursady, but the questions can be very hard sometimes !
I would still recommend a visit as it is a very nice family friendly hospitable place which also boasts a Travel Lodge.
1. My favourite pub of all is Madsons Wine bar, this is actually a small friendly pub on Canvey island.
I first visited this pub on Christmas Eve 2005 as going back to visit family and friends back on Canvey.
I only went into this pub with one of my friends because the big pub next door had a pay to go in function on, didn't fancy that !
Anyway we had never entered this small little pub before but when we entered for the first time we were greeted with people saying hello, how are you, and chatting to us ! I found this very friendly and just put it down to Christmas cheer. The barman was friendly and asked our names straight away and introduced himself as Bill.
There were the main suspects of drinks available the draughts being Coors, Guinness, Carling, Carling extra cold, Grolsch, and bottled beers in the fridges with ciders, non alcoholic drinks, all very easy to point out.
All of the wines were stored in a big wine rack by the side of the bar, mainly reds with the whites in the big fridges.
The price of the Lager is around £2.40, not bad considering the pub next door is 20p dearer and what with the prices going up a lot in the last few years.
Cutting a long story short this was a fantastic night with everybody chatting away, not even a hint of trouble, so we decides to go back the following week.
As soon as we entered the following week Bill immediately recognised us, remembered our names and even knew what we were drinking !
This is still my regular pub and have even had private parties in here, you can ever bring in takeaways from outside and that's ok.
(has a small step which could prove tricky on departure !!)
Well that's my favourite 10 pubs and do drop in to visit them for a drink or three .
Nobody does pubs like the British. They are really a national institution hence them being the corner stones of all our top soaps. A good local is worth its weight in gold. I like a place with character, real ale and not too loud music. (Yea I am nearly 30 so getting an old fogy already) I was quite a late starter when it came to regularly frequenting pubs. I was quite a geeky teenager so did not really try o get into pubs when I was 15, however when I turned 18 and left home to go to university I started making up for my lack of teenage drinking. I thought I thought I would take you through some of the places I have fond memories of and enjoyed a pint and a Long Vodka or five (Long vodka is a Scottish drink made of angostura bitters, lemonade, lime and vodka).
I noticed this category was quite London centric so thought my review would be sllightly different.
10. The Meadowpark Hotel Stirling
The Med (as it was known by us students) is located within staggering distance of the university campus on the road to Bridge of Allen. This is a big Victorian villa converted into a pub. I have many happy memories of drinking there especially after exams, tutorials and with the History Society. During term time (I know Stirling has semesters but semester time does not sound right) its always heaving with students especially on Tuesday night where you can have 50p vodka (I think Monday was 50p gin night if I remember rightly). You could either find me in the vast conservatory enjoying the view and watching the world go by or if it was particularly nice weather lapping up the sun in the outdoor seating area. It is not a bad place for food either. If I remember correctly they did humongous plates of nachos. It is a completely different place outside of term time without the rowdy boozing students. My friend and I went there for lunch last year before we went to see Wet Wet Wet play Stirling Castle. It was also graduation day and I was getting all musty eyed remembering mine.
The pub had a completely different atmosphere as proud parents lunched with their children. Its a pub I would recommend but go outwith the university year if you do not want to be accosted by drunken students.
9. Lass of Gowrie, Charles Street, Manchester.
This is an old Victorian pub just off Oxford Road in area which used to be an overcrowded slum but is now across the road from the BBC and pretty near Manchester Metropolitan University and what was UMIST. It is just next to the River Medlock. I love it as it is quite a small tiled pub. Its named the Lass of Gowrie after a Scottish ballad as one of the early landlords was Scottish and missing his home country. It is not a tacky theme pub though. Far from it. Its a lovely pub which has a very mixed clientele. It also has its own microbrewery which brews Lass Ale. . You can view it from a glass panel in the floorboards. You can also sample the results I love the pub as it does a very good pint of real ale. This was the place I discovered chocolate stout and also the place I got hooked on one of my favourite beers Belle Vue kreik. They do food but I have never tried it. Duskman being at UMIST was a regular there for lunch. It was not the cheapest pub in Manchester nor was it the most expensive. The only disadvantages I can think of with the Lass is that it can get very crowded easily as it is very popular and it has large screen TV so avoid on a match day.
8. The Sand Bar. Grosvenor Street Manchester
This is only a five minute walk from The Lass of Gowrie. It is also tucked away just off Oxford Road round the corner from Manchester Metropolitan Union and not far from the main Manchester University campus. It is housed in a lovely Georgian townhouse and it is a regular haunt of more sophisticated (i.e. postgrad) students. I like it as it stocks a wide range of Continental (i.e. German and Belgian, my favourites). Its not the cheapest place to go but it has just a nice feel to it. It has lots of nooks and crannies and I could often be found in the conservatory part round the back where the large table was , with a crowd of my mates or a number of PHD students from the now folded Department of Instrumentation and Analytical Science (they sound boring but they were lovely). It was the first place I tired fruit beer and unfortunately must have had a bad one tasted like vinegar. It has a nice menu of light meals if I remember rightly.
7 .The Temple of Convenience Great Bridgewater Street Manchester.
This tiny pub, just across from the Palace Theatre in Manchester, needs to be experienced. Ive been in a number of unusual places for pubs such as old churches and factories but the Temple wins hands down as it is housed in a converted underground gents loo. You barely know it is there apart from the canopy over the railings leading down to the bar. Once inside you are struck by the smallness of the place. The bar is wedged in on the far side of the room. There are only about six tables if I remember rightly. This is not one to go to on a Saturday night as it will be chockablock. It is more an afternoon pub or for a week night. Its got a really good jukebox and has a lively atmosphere even if it can get very noisy and smoky . The crowd is quite young and it has been rumoured to be frequented by Manchesters indie musicians (its sister venue Big hands, a pub in an old garage by the Academy on Oxford Road defiantly y gets music types but I have never noticed anyone famous in either pub). The beer is pricy but they have a nice range of imported beers such as Chimrey and also a range of cocktails. I am not sure if they still do food but they were doing a toastie and coffee special offer a few years back. One thing avoids the actual toilets as they are supposed to be a bit dodgy.
6 The Ship, Main Road Romford.
Believe it or not there are a few good things about Romford. Due to it being an old market town (I believe the market place is the oldest one in England) it has a few nice old pubs. I like the Golden Lion in the marketplace itself but my favourite pub is The Ship in the Gidea Park district of the town. The Ship is an old coaching Inn dating from the late 16th or early 17th century (it was recorded as an Inn in 1672). It is a delight to be in as it is all old timbers and low ceilings. It really is a delight to drink in. I like the place as it is divided into three rooms and the back room is no smoking which suits me fine as I am not keen on smoking. There is a menu with two meals for £6.95 but I have never eaten there. I tend to be found there on a Thursday night for the regular quiz which is good fun. The range of drinks is fairly good. They have four or five real ales and they do Kroneneburg Blanc by the bottle. However it is one of the most expensive pubs in Romford. A rou8nd of four drinks cost over £11.
However I would not swap it for most of the fleshpots on South Street (well maybe for the Bowls Club where the beer is extra cheap)
5 The Globe Inn, High Street, Dumfries.
From one historic pub to another. The Globe Inn is a very important pub as it is one of the oldest pubs in Dumfries dating from 1610. It was also the regular haunt of Scotlands national poet Robert Burns. It is tucked away down an alley just opposite the fountain on Dumfriess High Street. It has plenty of character even though the Burns memorabilia is laid on ultra think. You really can not get away from Burns in Dumfries and I do not blame them on milking the Burns connection for all is worth as it is something to be proud of. Its a pub that I never really went to at night all that much. Its more a daytime haunt as they do delicious lunches. It is always packed at lunchtime and due to this it has a nice atmosphere. I would also recommend it at Halloween as they always get into the spirit and sell homemade tablet and, if I remember rightly, Halloween punch.
4 Barnton Street Bistro, Barnton Street stirling.
I am going to cheat here. This was quite a hard decision to make as there were a number of bars and pubs I fondly remember from my student days in Stirling and there is not a lot between them. There was the West End which was pretty cheap and very handy being right next door to the universitys Union Street flats (if you cut a hole in the wall besides Duskmans bed you would have walked straight into the pub it was that close. My friends used to go back their flat if there was a queue in the loos). There was the Café Saloon Bar (now called Drotuuhy Neebours, named after a line in Tam O Sha\nter by Robert Burns. He gets everywhere) which Duskman and I went to most Saturday nights in second year. I actually can not remember anything that special about it. There was often a good DJ there but that was about it. Therefore I m going to nominate the Barnton Street Bistro as one of my top 10 pubs. It is right in the centre of Stirling next to the main bus stop. It is one of the first bars I went to in Stirling. Its one I could recommend at all times of day as it did lovely food. I remember the tortilla pie (tortillas and chilli). It was a place where you could get a nice coffee and a newspaper to read but it was quite lively at night. It had two rooms. I think we spent most of our time in the backroom. I remember being pissed off with Duskman one Valentines day as he had bought me an Easter egg. Im not able to comment on the prices or the range of drinks but as I said it is certainly a nice place for lunch.
3 Ape and Apple, John Dalton Street, Manchester
Manchester was a good place to become a real ale aficionado due to a number of good local breweries. There was Hydes and JW Lees (I am a big fan of the very strong and treacly Moonraker which is a hefty 7.5% alcohol and best drank in half pints only) and Joseph Holts pubs. Again I have had to make a tough decision as I like a number of Holts pubs. The Old Monkey on Portland Street is a fine place as is the Crown and Anchor near the cathedral. However I have plumped for the Ape and Apple on John Dalton Street. I like it as it is a proper pub with no gimmicks at all. It is very cheap, not too scuzzy and does a nice pint or bottle of beer. I am particularly fan of their Humdinger honey beer which you can get in a bottle for less than £2. Others can have their trencdy lagers in the Printworks and Deansgates Locks but I am happy at the Ape and Apple.
2 Fab Café, Portland Street Manchester.
One thing I could not get used to when I first moved to Manchester from Scotland was the pub closing times. I was used to the more civilised Scottish drinking laws where I could sit in a comfy pub until midnight or after. Here in Manchester I could either go to a club or pay money to get into a trendy bar that wanted to be a club. Thus Fab Café was my saviour because it was open until 1 (I think) on weekends and until recently did not charge to get in. Like the Temple of Convenience it has the novelty factor. This bar is a cult film and TV bar. Its located in a basement on Portland Street. Go down the steps and wander around. You can see a real Darlick as well as loads of different film posters and space ships. Go to the back and play on the retro arcade games or sit and watch a classic film. Its fun. Its heaving on a weekend night as the music is good but it is chocka block. It is again a mixed crowd of treckies and students up for a good night out. It is fun and they sell sweets at the bar. At teatime they do a a range of old school favourites such as beans on toast, vest curries and Angle Delight.
These have been in no particular order until now. Finally we have my all time favourite pub.
1. The Lyver Saint Michaels Street Dumfries
The Lyver is the place I return to when I go home to Dumfries. It is one of the first pubs I started going to and I just love it. It is quite dark and dingy and used to be very smoky (until the smoking ban was brought in in Scotland.) The décor is legendry. It has loads of bric a brac on the wall and you sit on old bus seats. I always remember the rainbow coloured ladies toilets which made you feel slightly ill if you had drank a bit too much. It also had a very good jukebox if I remember rightly and a nice crowd of regulars. I am glad I was not an underage drinker as some of the teachers form my old school frequented the place. I remember having a good chat with my old German teacher one time I was back home from university. It is quite a cheap pub (well most pubs in Dumfries are cheap compared to down south) and it always had a good crowd to have a good chat and a laugh.
So there you go there is a pub for all occasions from lunch, to a quiet drink and a lively night out. I am hoping to find ones in London which I can add to the list Hic. The beers are on me.
'Youman Wilder The Soul Of A Man In London"
The sounds of New York (The "606"UK concert)
Written By Lulu Bainbridge
I had missed Youman Wilder on his last trip to the UK,so I decided upon hearing that he would be doing only one night in London, I decided to get my 15kbs together and went to see him.
The "606" club was all a buzz, the electricity was so overwhelming as I entered the swanky nite spot after going thru a lengthy wait to get inside the club due to a beefed up security that was in full force.
For hundreds of thousands of people commuting into London, the morning of July 7, 2005, began just like any other. But at the peak of the rush hour, bombs were detonated in three crowded subway trains and aboard a London bus. At least 52 people died, along with four bombers, and 700 were injured. A week later, millions stood in silence to honor the victims of the deadliest attack in Britain since World War II. A week after that, the transport system was hit again -- with attempted explosions on three more Tube trains and another bus. With London on edge Youman Wilder rolled into town and for 2 hour's he showered London with some of the best R&B we have had in this city since Karen Wheeler, and Soul2Soul exploded on the British music scene in the early 90's.
London turned out in style, Mica Paris, Craig David, and
Lisa Stansfield all in attendance "British Soul" was on hand to greet "American Soul."
The show started with a Wilder tearing into the legendary Otis Redding classic
"Cant Turn You Loose" and then breezed right into Billy Preston's Nothing From Nothing and mixing it with another Preston classic "Circles"
The British audience ate it all up with a huge ovation.
After introducing his incredible band the buffy singer decided that the ladies should have some fun and he melted hearts singing the late Marvin Gaye classic "Distant Lover" which is sung so sexy and sensual.
The show continued on a torrid up swing,Wilder's Neo-Soul reading of the Commodore's classic "Zoom" was in part a Gospel wail that showed Wilder's extremely powerful gifts as a singer who is on par with anyone stepping in front of a microphone today.
Wilder shared the mic with Lisa Stansfield, Mica Paris and Craig David.
Stansfield was sultry as she and Wilder trading vocal licks, Mica Paris looking ever so beautiful was vocal magical. Paris and Wilder sounded like they were born to sing together. Mica is still the finest soul singer that the UK has ever produced in my opinion? Then enter Mr. David? With women screaming at the obvious sexy singer's entrance on-stage, David has often been stated as a soul singer, after the upstaging and total vocal brilliance of Wilder, "he should now want to re-exam that claim." Wilder showed David that soul singing isn't how you look, but how you sound, and the New York City singer gave David a master class in singer?
The band then went into the funked up 'Prince' song "Dear Mr. Man' And the Stevie Wonder gem "What's The Fuzz."
The show ended on the high notes in which it began, Wilder did some Philly Soul which had the crowd singing along. The Spinners Classic's "Love Don't Love No One" "Sadie" and then giving the Teddy Pendergrass classic "If You Don't Know Me By Now" a gospel feel that was brilliant at best.
The show ended with Wilder giving Londoner's a special treat, Wilder did a beautiful vocal masterpiece on Bob Marley's "Redemption Song",Wilder had the audience sing with him in what was the topping on already a spectacular evening at "606"
My only problem was that Wilder booked several shows in Germany, Paris and Holland, but only did one show in London. Lets hope he rethinks that next time,Youman Wilder was simply a star last night.
right...my top ten London pubs, sorry it is soooo long, but there is a quick guide for each venue! Enjoy your read...might see you in one of them one day (I'll be the drunkard in the corner!)
~No 1 THE ROSE, 123 SNOWFIELDS, SE1 3ST~
3 mins walk from London Bridge Station (and the Guys for any drunken mishaps!)
Yes definitely, can't imagine the place will be the same when the ban comes in!
~The Rose In General~
Ok so you are walking past, maybe on your way to Bermondsey Street or SE1, and you probably glance over at The Rose, or in through the window and think nothing of it. It sort of blends into the background and has an "old man" pub look about it, dimly lit and opposite a bookies. This is now my local, and I really only discovered the joys of The Rose when looking for my new local, I thought I should try out every pub in the vicinity, no matter how old man looking it may seem.
So anyway, take your first step into The Rose and you are greeted by a beautiful wrought iron bar, and bar staff that are definitely not old men! The pub is divided into 2 rooms, there is no difference between them, but there just happens to be two rooms. The front room, the one that you step into first when coming through the door, has a couple of small tables and a really long one, oh and there is plenty of seating space at the bar. On evenings when there is a large sporting event on a big projector goes up on the wall and you can watch the game (if that's your thing). The second room (my fav part of the pub) has a couple of really comfy armchairs and the most comfortable sofa you have ever sat on in your life, right next to an open fire which has those little seats round the edge that you can perch on and warm up. There are also two bar stools, where you can look through a little hatch into the bar.
The whole pub is really dimly lit, I am not sure if there is any artificial light except for dim bar lighting, each table has a candle on it, which really lends to the atmosphere. This is a great place to share a bottle of wine with your loved one (cheesy I know). There is not a wide selection of wines or beers here, this is just your typical honest english pub!
The pub staff are really nice and friendly and regularly come round to empty ashtrays and clear you empties, the landlord, or manager is a really nice guy and really friendly...they knew my name after my first trip there! The other drinkers in The Rose are all really nice too, there is a real mix of people and you know that you can have a chat to anyone. The music is good too...not too imposing, they tend to play real classics, last night I heard Joy Division, that Fever song, you know "you give me fever...! fever when you hold me tight"...there is a juke box too so you can decide what you want to hear, but I don't think I have heard anything too appalling in there!
Unfortunately they don't serve food here, but there is Champor Champor down the road which is really good far east fusion stylie food, but you defo don't leave the place full, oh and for the less fussy, Guy's Maccy D's is just round the corner!
A bit grubby, but no worse than your average boozer - I rate them as 5 (out of 10)
The Rose is a really friendly place, you really need to go in and have a drink, really lovely atmosphere, stays open til 12:30 on a school night and 2am Friday & Saturday!
~NO 1 THE ROYAL INN ON THE PARK, LAURISTON ROAD, E9 7JH~
no no I can count, but this is joint first with The Rose
In the "village" area of Hackney, next to one of the main entrances to Victoria Park
Yes, but there is a none smoking section too, although I think this is the restaurant area, I have never ventured in
~The Royal Inn On The Park In General~
This is my boyfs local and a really popular place. The crowd seems be different to the one you would find at The Rose, the crowd generally seems to be older and although still friendly, it is not as friendly as The Rose, not the sort of place that you would just decide to start chatting to the person next to you. This pub is quite well lit, there are really lovely high ceilings and lots of seating, although it is a very busy pub and at times can be difficult to find any seating if you arrive later on in the evening.
There is food on the menu, and it always looks amazing, although I have never eaten here, so I couldn't tell you. Royal Inn is definitely a place that caters for the more discerning alc-amar-olic, there is a wide range of beers, some on those hand pump things and there are a lot of continental beers too such as Litovel, Zubr and Leffe on draught. Being in the fashionable East End and next to a park they also stock my boyfriends fav tipple, Magners. The wine list here, although not extensive is good, we have not had a bad bottle of wine here, and the staff are happy to help and advise.
The staff are all really friendly, which is always one of the main things I look for in a pub, you are always greeted warmly when you come in and the staff tend to remember what are drinking...which is always handy towards the end of the night when I am not really sure what I am drinking! Music is always good, pretty similar to that played at The Rose, again there is a juke box but the noise does tend to drown it out and most of the time it is just a faint drone.
There is a seating area outside, and in the summer it is packed, so this will be a plus point when the no smoking ban comes in. Every Tuesday there is a pub quiz which costs a pound to enter and there is a lovely jolly fat man that heads the quiz. Everyone wins a prize that takes part, normally a chocolate orange or matchsticks (yummy!). But be warned these pub quizzes are pretty tricky (either that or I am a lot less intelligent than the rest of the community).
Again, a bit grubby, but generally always clean and well stocked with loo roll. I give a massive 7!
A really lively pub, with a nice atmosphere....good pub quiz, really worth avoiding in the summer as it is packed!
~No 3 THE EAGLE, 159 FARRINGDON ROAD, EC1R 3AL~
Easy to find, just after The Guardian HQ, but a bit of a trek from the tube station (talking 5-7mins)
~The Eagle In General~
Apparently the first gastro pub in London. I really like this pub, but the seating is quite limited, although, this could be down to the fact that it is really busy. There is outside seating but sitting next to Farringdon Road on a week night is probably not so appealing. There is also very limited seating at the bar. This is the kind of place where if you want a seat you are just going to have to perch on the end of someone's table.
The food here is amazing the steak sandwich (Bife Ana) is highly recommended, the kitchen is attached to the end of the bar and open so you can see all the food being prepared, and it normally means that if you just wanted a drink you will probably end up eating, just because the food smells so wonderful. Oh, do not request a packet of crisps here, they "don't do bar snacks dah-ling" if you are peckish, you will need to order some olives, some bread, or some tapas. There are normally about 8 dishes to choose from and for the growing number of veggies out there, there is always a veggie option available. The food here is honestly priced, for London and what it is, and you definitely always get what you pay for!
The wine list is extensive and the staff are very knowledgeable (as most of them are drinking a glass of it) and will be able to point you in the right direction. There is a good selection of beers here, they serve Belgian Beer on tap and there is a speciality non-alc-amar-olic drink - Rock Shandy (lime, angosturas, lemonade and soda).
The people are all pretty friendly, the majority are The Guardian crowd who live right next door, you can definitely have a chat to someone at the bar here, again a laid back and friendly atmosphere.
Down some steps, which are a bit difficult to navigate when a bit tipsy, again, a bit grubby, and often a lack of toilet roll! Another 5
Brilliant food, nice atmosphere, although can be a bit crowded at times, and if you want to sit outside, you are on Farringdon Road!
~NO 4 THE DOVE, 24-28 BROADWAY MARKET, HACKNEY, E8 4QJ~
Broadway Market about 3/4 of a mile from Bethnal Green Tube Station...closer to the canal end of the market
Smoking at the back of the pub and non-smoking at the front (bar area)
~The Dove In General~
The dove is like a little bit of a rabbit warren, a dimly lit pub, filled to the brim with people, little single steps going up and down - quirky! There is outside seating here, but the benches always look really rickety and it's just not the same atmosphere as inside.
At the front of the pub there is the, now, non-smoking area, lots of little tables scattered around so plenty of seating. As you move further back into the pub there is a little "mezzanine" style level, before you go down 6/7 steps to another seating area...this is unfortunately not as good as it used to be. There used to be lots seating that ran round the walls with cushions in rich colours and then randomly enough gingham plastic covers for the tables?! Looking around you can see lots of lit up signs (oddly enough for thai beers - which I don't think they even serve, but i guess it all adds to the eclectic decor!
There are two separate restaurant rooms, but you are just as welcome to eat the same food in the bar areas, and I find them more atmospheric! The burgers here are what makes this place famous and a pint of chips! The staff are friendly here, but not as friendly as my top 2. The other drinkers are friendly enough, again a slightly older crowd, but really not as friendly or community type atmosphere.
There is lots on the drinks menu, I think the drinks menu may be bigger than the food menu, apparently around 100 different types of beer, surprisingly I have never drunk the wine here because the bloody mary's are amazing (ask for a shot of Guinness to be added).
U 'n I sex toilets - men go right, women go left, also a bit grotty, but the most spacious so far! I award a 6
Brilliant food, nice atmosphere and location, good for beer drinkers!
~NO 5 THE LEGION, 348 OLD STREET, SHOREDITCH, EC1V 9NQ~
Old Street Tube Station - just go towards hoxton square (but for the love of god don't go to Hoxton Square)
~The Legion In General~
Ok...this place is a really good find, yes it is in really close vicinity to that God awful hell hole they call Hoxton, but the atmosphere is nothing like being in Hoxton Square (you are in spitting distance!) - it definitely has the same vibe as most of the other bars on Old Street.
Apparently there is a happy hour until 8 at the weekends, but I normally rock up at around 10 o'clock. Entry is free, and the door men are pretty friendly, they greet you, ask your name, shake your hand and usher you in. Great idea, they get to make eye contact and find out who the real winos are!
More dim lighting, but a large open venue, there are lots of massive tables with sofa style seats around them (kind of reminds me of a Scandinavian sauna for some reason!) which are normally filled with coats and bags. If you want a table you can reserve one and it won't cost you anything - but if you are not going in a big group, if there are only 4/5 of you there is probably no need, you can just perch on the end of tables.
The bar staff are friendly, and the atmosphere is good, you get the occasional hoxtonite who has lost their way but generally there is a good crowd of "real" people. The music is okay, it is nothing to rave about, but if you want to shake yo thang then the music playing will serve your purpose. Oh and dancing on the tables tends to be a regular occurrence (unfortunately they are not professional dancing girls, they are your typical boozy birds who might just be trying to stand up).
Reading other reviews, people say that there is live music at the weekends, do they mean DJ's? I have only ever seen DJs play when I have been.
Very grubby - typical "club/bar" stylie I give them a 2
Really good night out, nothing offensive or even special at all, just friendly bar and door staff, laid back atmosphere and reasonable prices. Oh be warned there is a really odd black sticky gunky substance (like tar) all over the floor which coats your shoes and jeans!
~NO 6 GUANABARA, PARKER STREET, CORNER DRURY LANE, WC2H 5PW~
I always go from Holborn Tube, its about a 6/7 min walk
~Guanabara In General~
The only reason this bar was not rated as NO 5 is because they serve cocktails and I spent over £100 the last time I was there (so it is a price issue). Also when you arrive I think there is a cinema in the same building oh and it looks like a giant public swimming pool. The door staff aren't that friendly, you get your bag checked as you walk in, I found it quite intrusive to have a big burly bouncer rummage around in my bag - I could have had anything in there!
This is a really lovely bar, really clean feeling with really, really good live music. There is a big round dance floor in the middle of the room, tables round the dance floor, and a the bar on the edge. On a weekend, you can not get a table for love nor money, and a table is only available for booking if you are going to eat & you have to pay a 10squid deposit PER person!!! Oh and if you arrive 1/2 an hour late you will loose your table and there is normally a ma-hu-sive queue outside. The only good thing is that if you do want to eat they serve food until midnight and the 10squid is deducted from the cost of your meal.
School nights tables are available to anyone just to drink and no deposit is required. The best thing about this place is that there is a happy hour "sunset session" where drinks are super cheap these run from 5 - 7:30 on a school night and until 7:00 on a weekend, so if you drink loads of cocktails during happy hour, the rest of the night is ok for your pocket!
There is a party atmosphere, and a good crowd, the bar staff are really friendly and the male bar tenders are wonderful eye candy! Definitely the place to go for a really good night (maybe just after payday), but be warned when drinking the cocktails your bill really does begin to get a bit scary! Leave your credit cards at home!!!
nothing special, but that's cus I can't really remember them - 1 too many mojitos for me! so sorry can't give it a rating
Really fun place, great music and beautiful bar staff (of the male variety!)
~NO 7 FLUID BAR, 40 CHARTERHOUSE STREET, CLARKENWELL, EC1M 6JN~
Farringdon Station, just down the road from fabric
~Fluid Bar In General~
Really funky little place, serves sushi during the day and is a DJ bar in the evening. Set over two floors, which means that you can have 2 DJs on at the same time. Upstairs is much more comfortable, with lots of sofas to sit on, downstairs has more of a dance floor space and there are little booths that run along the back wall so you can still sit down.
There is a really funky wrought iron stair case to get you between the two floors, the only problem (well its not a bad problem) is that it can make you feel a little more drunk than you already are! The back wall of the downstairs has a massive picture of Tokyo on it....see if you can find the green snarf!
The atmosphere tends to change depending on the DJs that are playing, but it is normally pretty packed, and I guess people use it before going on to fabric. I would say that it is generally trying a little too hard to be cool, there is a space invaders arcade machine in the corner and you can buy your beer from the vending machines. The bar staff are all pretty nice and so are the door staff, oh and to make it even better they are all pretty beautiful...think they have a policy not to employ uglys!
A decent solid 6 (only because of the sticker machines outside and cute signs on the doors)
Funky place to go - more of a novelty, not really a place you could turn into home, not much of a drinks selection
~NO 8 THE CAT AND MUTTON, 76 BROADWAY MARKET, E8 4QJ~
Broadway Market, right next to London Fields
~The Cat and Mutton In General~
This is just up the road from The Dove (my NO 4) and is unfortunately no where as good as The Dove. It is still a nice pub to have a drink in of a Friday/Saturday night.
There is not a massive selection of beers, but there does seem to be a good collection of wines and spirits. This is another "gastro pub", but I have never eaten here, so I couldn't tell you what the food is like, according to other reviews on this pub the service leaves a little to be desired and the food is not always up to scratch, I read the word "embarrassing" on several occasions.
Like the Eagle (NO 3) there is an open kitchen, but it is tiny compared to The Eagles, I think they are trying to copy a concept. Ok, enough about the food, drinking atmosphere in here is always nice, although sometimes can feel a little canteen esq, but I think this is because of the style of tables. There is now an upstairs (up a spiral staircase) but I must admit I have never ventured up. There is one sofa in the corner of the pub which never has more than 2 people (selfish buggers) on it. There is also outside space, which seems to be really busy during the summer.
The staff here are nice enough, but unfortunately the other drinkers seem to think that hoxton is somewhere in Hackney!
Giving these toilets a 4 as they are really clean, but there is only 1 x female toilet....not good on a crowded summers afternoon or weekend!
A pretty nice place, from reading other reviews, don't eat here. Staff are nice enough and it is a comfortable place to have a drink or 4!
~NO 9 THE REAL GREEK SOUVLAKI & BAR (BANKSIDE), UNITS 1 & 2 RIVERSIDE HOUSE, SOUTHWARK BRIDGE ROAD, SE1 9HA~
On the River Thames, between The Globe & The Tate
Yes, but there is a non-smoking section too
~The Real Greek Souvlaki & Bar In General~
Ok, not really anything like any of the other bars and pubs on my list, it is well lit and clinical, and to me, has almost a lack of atmosphere. The reason that I love this place is that it is great value for some fodder and a pitcher.
There is not really that much to say about this place, the staff are friendly and pretty efficient, when your meze arrive you can expect your souvlaki or mains to arrive just as you are finishing your meze.
As far as I can tell there is a happy hour, but I am not sure what is on offer, as I am never there in time, this is the place that I tend to take people when they come and visit me (and then we wonder down to The Rose - NO 1) as there is a great selection of food for veggies and you can share pitchers of beer which is always nice. Also it is a lovely walk along the river and for warmer evenings or the summer you can sit outside.
I would not recommend the wine here - we thought it was vinegar!!! There really is not much you can say about this place, outer appearances are pretty run of the mill and as it is in the city it is not that lively...er ever!
Get a very high 8 - it is really clean, there are a lot of cubicles and there is no shortage of toilet paper!
Good for a bite to eat and a pitcher of beer - avoid the wine at all costs (oh and the Greek coffee - its like drinking soil!)
~NO 10 THE DRAGON BAR, 5 LEONARD STREET, SHOREDITCH, EC2A 4AQ~
Very close to Old Street Station but really hard to find if you don't know where you are going! If you are looking for it the name of the bar is on the doorstep.
~The Dragon Bar In General~
This one is a diamond in the rough, but it is sooooo hard to find. The dragon bar is set over two floors and there are lots of comfy sofas and seating on the first floor, downstairs has is more of an "open" feeling to it with not so many seating spaces.
There is occasionally a good vibe here, another dimly lit affair, it is really difficult to get a drink at the bar as it is so packed, but not such a bad thing. The last time I was here was on new years eve 2006 when it stayed open until 7am, everyone was really friendly and you could just chat to anyone. I do need to point out that as it is such a difficult place to find on a quieter night there is not too much atmosphere and there are people just trying to be too cool for their own good, and I think that most of the other drinkers are try hard hoxtonites. All the staff are really nice and friendly, there is not much choice for beer drinkers (the do stock Magners) but there are more than enough spirits to choose from.
Like the idea of graffiti but really really grotty I give a big fat 0.5 (when I was in there you couldn't get to the toilets cus so many people were in there doing coke!)
Brilliant on new years eve, and once every now and then (as long as you catch it on a good night) otherwise filled with try hard hoxtonites!
Myself and four friends camped in the field at the back of the Hare and Hounds in Rye on Saturday 23rd July 2005 and paid £30 for the priviledge of meeting the rudest pub owners ever!
The owners attitudes were at best unpredictable and at worst intimidating. Their irrational behaviour culminated in myself and 3 friends being 'asked to leave' their pub after we'd spent a lovely 2 hours in good company, chatting with both the owners and the other locals. One of the owners (I know their names but do not wish to name them here) took offence to one of our party taking his shoes off under the table and threw us out to the amazement and discomfort of the other few people remaining in the pub at the time!
One of the locals sympathised and just said...'what can I say, you're right, he's wrong...the guy's an idiot'.
I have since read other reviews of this pub on-line and taken some small comfort from the fact that it wasn't just us who have been on the receiving end of their bizarre behaviour. I have lodged a formal complaint with Rye Tourist Information who gave me the Hare and Hounds number in the first instance. I urge anyone who has also experienced the Hare and Hounds rudeness to do the same, so that they are taken off of any recommendation list.
A friend had organised camping at the Hare and Hounds over the Bank Holiday weekend for a group of us (8 adults, 6 children). I wasn't sure if I could plug electrical bits in anywhere so I rang up and spoke to one of the 3 gays running the place; Norman. He was very rude on the phone. And there were a long list of rules and conditions; no electricity ("I'm not running electricity over to the field for a measly £12/night"), no freezing of camper's ice packs, no camper's food in their fridges (didn't ask about these last two he just volunteered this cheerfully), no fires, no BBQs etc. etc. I took a van, slightly decked out with windows, carpet and a stove but no beds - we weren't going to sleep in it, it is simply a good way of lugging the camping bits that two adults and two kids require. Anyway, when we arrived he came out saying that I had to move the van out of the field, he wasn't licensed for campervans etc. I pointed out that it wasn't a campervan and that we weren't sleeping in it but this just made him madder and he started getting really shirty. Later that evening my friend wandered into the pub itself and asked if they had a TV; a rather rude response and then he started on at me about the 'campervan' again with lots of stern looks and finger pointing. The following day we set out a net in the field to play volleyball with the kids and Norman was out again telling us we were taking up too much space and stopping other people driving through which was complete rubbish. But he insisted we remove it and moved other stuff too. I tried to remonstrate but he just said "I'm not talking to you" and proceeded to annoy my friends instead. Inside the pub there were very few people, not surprisingly. Speaking to another local publican they (the 3 gays owning the pub) have a reputation for being unbelievably rude. They're surprised anyone goes there at a
ll. Rye Foreign's answer to Basil Fawlty. We nicknamed the place "Stalag 13". Oh, and on one side of the field were placards telling people to keep out of the neighbouring field along with a top wire which claimed to be electrified by another set of placards. When I pointed out the fact that this is not really safe for children he simply said "nothing to do with me, it's my neighbours"..
Here are some excelent pubs in London for Real Ale White Horse, Parsons Green SW6 A truly excellent pub serving many fine Beers. Real Ales served include Harvey Best Bitter, Highgate Dark Mild, Adnams Broadside a couple from roosters. The Pub also hosts several beer festivals a year, including the winter Ale festival at the end of November . However the pub can get quite busy especially during beer festivals when it is impossible to get a seat inside. The Food in the restaurant is excellent and booking is advised to guarantee a place. Inside there are Large Leather sofas and pew like benches. Ouside there is a large tereace which adds much needed space during beer festivals. A BBQ operates during beer festivals and summer Weekends. Market Porter The Market Porter specializes in beer from smaller breweries served on rotation. Beer is served in excellent condition. The Range changes frequently so the beer on offer is of variable standard. So don’t get put off if the beer is brilliant on one visit, you have probally just hit a bad time. Having said that the range of beer is usually of a good standard and Harvey Best and Black Sheep are Regular. The pub has a good traditional atmosphere and hence it can be difficult sometimes to find a seat. Proiry Arms This pub is the CAMRA SW London pub of the year pretty much every other year (the maximun possible). Harveys Best , Adnams Bitter and Broadside are regular Cask ales. There are usually 3 guest Beers on. Hoogaarden is avaliable on tap. There is a range of German and other contenental bottled beers on sale. This is a small one bar pub with a cosy atmosphere. Royal Oak Unfortunately not open at weekends this pub is owned by the Harvey's brewery and is the only such pub in London. This pub serves Harvey best , mild and armada all year round plus one seasonal. Staff are also very friendly. There is also a wide range of Harveys bottled beer on sale. There is a lo
vely calm atmosphere in this pub and has been well restored. It is slightly off the beaten track but is easy to get to being close to Borough Tube station. Head of Steam This pub just Outside Euston Station has a railway theme. The pub is filled with Railwayana of iinterest to all rail entheusiats. Cask Ale served include Highgate Dark Mild, Holts Bitter and several rotating guest Beers. Staropramen and a couple of other continental lagers are served on tap. This pub is popular with commuters and can thus get quite busy around 6pm. Food is served and includes Thai green curry and rack of ribs. However food is only avaliable in the week and Saturday Lunchtimes. The Ship and Shovel A Badger (very good brewery in Dorset) Pub near to Charing cross station, is a pub of 2 halves on on each side of craven passage. Both halves are quite small and has a quaint wooden atmospere. In good weather most of the clienteile are in the passageway. There is also a Badger Pub near Paddington (The Archary Tavern) and another in SOHO. The Churchill Arms A fullers brewery pub in notting hill. This pub serves excellent Fullers Beer. There is a chuchill theme with some mereabillia on display. The pub also appears to do food although I havn't tried the food. There are also several other fullers pubs in London. Metropoliton A Wetherspoons pub at Baker Street Station. The wetherspoons is a chain of pubs serving cheap real ale and doing food at reasmonble prices. As a central london pub the prices are slightly more expensive at about £1.80 per pint but that is not unreasmonble. This pub is Very Grand and is large so it is easy to get a seat. Beer includes Abbot and Pride plus a couple of others regularly and a few guest beers.
I have just recently past my 10 year anniversary of being a "Londoner" (I was born and spent my first 18 years in the wonderful county of Leicestershire). Over the ten years I have lived in North, South and East London, now living in SE5 and have visited many, many pubs so here are my top ten though in no particular order after about the top 3. If this were more like Desert Island disks I would include pubs I have frequented throughout the ten years, but don't now, but times and pubs change and I don't want to lead people up the wrong pub path. 1. The Duke of York, Roger St, WC1 In the great treasure chest of London pubs this is a real diamond. It has a feeling of 1950s about it with none of the kitsch rock and roll rubbish (though at the moment it has a selection of Buddy Holly prints on the walls!!). The floor is red, black and white (well it would be white if 1000s of punters' feet had not walked over it) lino, formica tables, and wooden kitchen chairs but that really is it on the 1950s feel. The beer is reasonable both in availability and expense (no cheap offers just usual pub prices). However the thing that makes this pub stand out more than others is its food. It is not wow wee fantastic but it is a lot better than the average. The menu changes daily and they offer a good selection of vegetarian food (which is great when your partner is rabid herbivore and you like nothing better than good old bangers and mash!!). Talking of bangers and mash they do the best pub bangers and mash I have come across. 2. BRB, Camberwell Grove, SE5 This pub opened at about the same time I moved to Camberwell and I think used to be call the Grove Tavern. The BRB has two rooms one large lounge type and one smaller bar type. They have been imaginative in their decoration and furnishings so there is a mix of old wooden tables and chairs, some comfy chairs/settees with metal tables etc. They also have a small garden at the rear
and tables outside. This pub is number 2 on my list for the pizzas, the football and the its generally friendly nature. The atmosphere for the football is fantistic all very good-natured and rowdy. Pizzas are the best in London. 3. The Rugby Tavern, Rugby St, WC1 The first pub to come on this list that will not mention food!! This is a good old-fashioned pub with a group of regulars and good beer. The regulars only appear after about 7.30 when all the law workers and hospital workers go home (not that I know any of them I just see them clustered around the dartboard and bar). It is a Shepherd Neame pub (and not like all the awful ones in Kent, my Kentish friend says) and so do season beers which my partner adores (I am a lager lout generally - they do Oranjeboom unusally) 4. The Snug Bar, Camberwell Church Rd, SE5 Fantastic battered old leather sofas, a DJ playing cool sounds of one type or another (ie not Kylie or a mish mash of eighties songs coming from a juke box or barpersons's favorite CD). And last time I went in fishfinger sandwiches (sorry food again) 5. Sun and Doves, Coldharbour Lane, SE5 Another Camberwell pub - sorry if you are not in Sarf London. The S&D has two good things going for it - 1. the garden, one of the biggest pub gardens around with plenty of seating. 2. The artwork - as a patron (I think) of the Camberwell Arts Week the S&D does its best to display new artists work fairly regularly - obviously as it is art whether it is good not is according to taste but I have usually liked it. 6. Truckles Wine Bar, Bury Place WC1 Not a pub at all but gets on to the list for having a court yard that is away from the general noise of central London and is a reasonable place to go for a bottle of wine after work (or a visit to the British Museum which is 50 yards away) with a few friends on a summers evening - if this list was written in December I doubt it would get on the list. 7.The Mayflower, Rotherhithe
It is with some trepidation I put this pub in because I hear that it has been sold to Greene King!!! I really really hope that they do not touch the layout or feel of the pub. It is a very cosy old (and I mean old - it is supposedly where the Pilgrim fathers sailed from) pub with a warm welcome for any visitor both from the staff and punters. I have only been in there a few times but every single time I have ended up chatting to complete strangers. And as I have said already you are somewhere old and historic which just adds to the ambience. 8. The Royal Albert, Brixton On the list because it is a good place to meet up in Brixton before going elsewhere or just because Brixton is a convenient place to meet in Sth London and it has all the right attributes. It has a nice mix of people but generally they seem to be a mix of socialist/anarchist/eco-warrior types. I also always bump into someone I have not seen for ages too!! 9.First Out, St Giles High Street,W1 Great gay bar, not sure if you have to be gay to go in but it certainly helps!! Has a great atmosphere downstairs though only tends to do bottled beer and spirits etc (upstairs more cafe-like with good selection of food). Am not a big fan of segregating myself away into a gay bar but sometimes it is nice to sit and completely relax with my partner and first out is probably the best place to do it. 10. The Cadeleigh Arms This is at number 10 because it is my local and I don't want people flocking to it!!! So I am hoping you have not got to the bottom of my tedious list of pubs!! This is a real locals pub but with a fantastic mix of locals, young and old, male and female. It does the best guiness around - so I am told by all my friends I take there. And has a pool table which is winner stays on but it is such a friendly place you don't feel intimidated in the slightest. The landlord and lady are particularly nice and welcoming. Enjoy.
I'm going to take you by the hand and walk you through the streets of East London. Come with me... Our journey begins at Canary Wharf, which is easily reached by DLR from Bank/Tower Gateway or the Jubilee line. There are two pubs within spitting distance of the Jubilee Line, overlooking the dock, All Bar One and the Slug and Lettuce. These chain pubs are pretty much identical, and next door to each other, so it's personal choice or whichever one is least busy to decide which one to go into. All Bar One wins it for me because it has those big cosy sofas, great for Sunday brunch with a hangover. (Both have outside seating too) The grub is good enough, especially all the chutneys and salsa-y sauces, but I do have one gripe with All Bar One: they used to do yummy potato wedges instead of chips, but now if you ask for chips, you get french fries that are not much better than Burger King's. If they brought back those fat chips, All Bar One would be great. There are lots more pubs at Canary Wharf, but some are city-boy bars (the Cat and Canary) which I would never recommend to a discerning Dooyooer, a JD Wetherspoons (cheap drink & food but not my kind of thing) and Bar 38, which is extremely expensive. (to my horror, they charged me 6 pounds for a vodka tonic; when I expressed disbelief, they said 'It's a double' - ie, they'd automatically given me a double without asking! Shocking!) Now we're heading west from Canary Wharf to the riverside pubs for which East London is famous. If you're walking from Westferry DLR, you will actually see 'Historic Riverside Pubs' signposted, so it couldn't be easier! You are on Narrow Street, described as the 'Park Lane' of Docklands but you won't find no posh hotels here, just a few of the nicest pubs in London. First of all is Booty's Riverside Bar, a cosy East End boozer which attempts to bridge the gap between old and new - the
re are black and white photos of the docks before the developers moved in, and framed poems dedicated to 'the old folk'(ie cockneys) and 'the new folk' (ie yuppies). The end of the pub facing the river is on a lower level, with big windows, so when the tide is high it's almost like you're sitting in a boat! We did once get splashed sitting by the open window, so it can be a bit risky. The food is good, but the menu doesn't change much, so it's OK if you know what you like. Sausage and mash goes down well with my carnivore friends, and I usually go for the vegetable and pesto pasta. Puddings are English standards: crumble, pie, jam roly-poly pudding, all with custard. A few doors down from Booty's is the Grapes, a similar pub but one with older historical connections. Dickens knew the pub as a child and included it in 'Our Mutual Friend' (it's called the Six Jolly Fellowship Porters in the book). The pub has an open fire in winter, historical odds and ends on the walls and a balcony overlooking the Thames. It has an award-winning fish restaurant upstairs and also does roast dinner on Sundays. It's a nice pub, but not as friendly as Booty's, and the historical atmosphere is slightly spoiled by the overly bright 100-watt lighting. Further down Narrow Street is the Barley Mow, a big pub overlooking the entrance to Limehouse Basin. Inside it's a fairly ordinary pub, the food is standard 'chips with everything' fare, and it can get very busy. But the Barley Mow's great advantage is that it has a large seating area outside - and as it's on a bend in the river you get views both east and west. Great for sitting outside and watching the sun set over the river. There now comes a big gap in the journey so either hop on the DLR to Shadwell, or have a brisk walk to sober up, to the Prospect of Whitby in Wapping. Another historical pub, with links to smugglers and '
Hanging' Judge Jefferys (who seems to haunt practically every pub in this area). In more recent times it was a hangout for the late Princess Margaret's set in the 60's, who used to come and slum it in the East End. The Prospect has an open fire, lovely flagstone floors, a posh restaurant upstairs and a good Sunday lunch from the servery downstairs. The Prospect is on the East End tourist trail, and often has coachloads of confused tourists turning up, so it can get busy. Further down Wapping High Street is Captain Kidd's, a large pub which you enter through a very attractive courtyard. It is named after the famous pirate who was executed in Wapping in 1701, and apparently criminals in those days were left hanging over the river until 3 tides had washed over them. Lovely! Captain Kidd's also has a posh restaurant upstairs, which I ate in a few years ago - it was good, but the service was a bit slow. It's a nice pub for an afternoon drink inside or out, anyway. We carry on down the street to the Town of Ramsgate, the pub out of all of these which really retains its East End atmosphere. It's got a horrible carpet inside, the bar staff looked at me funny when I asked if they did coffee, and it's the sort of place you might find a 'Pub Bore' like the bloke in the Fast Show ('Hold the bells, mate, hold the bells'). It has a tiny, narrow garden out the back overlooking the river, and benefits from being a bit more tucked away than the other pubs, it's a hidden gem. I spent a very happy New Year here a few years ago - it's convenient if you want to see the fireworks at nearby Tower Bridge (but the fireworks normally get cancelled at the last minute so I wouldn't count on it). Finally if you carry on to St Katharine's Dock, you will find the Dickens Inn, a wooden building with galleries across the front, which looks as if it has been there hundreds of years
- but it was built last century with reclaimed timber from an 18th c. brewery, appropriately enough. It's a bit soulless inside, but I include it because it has an excellent pub quiz on Monday nights (off-season, Autumn to about April). You get free pizza when you take part, and it's a pretty challenging quiz, with music and film clips to identify, and they often give out drink-related prizes. I hope you've enjoyed this meander through the pubs of East London, and enjoy the pubs themselves if you are ever down this way. They are all within easy reach of a tube or DLR station, and would make a very good pub crawl - just remember to drink responsibly, Nozz is not responsible for your hangovers! Here we go with the addresses, full postcodes supplied where possible: Slug & Lettuce, All Bar One - both Mackenzie Walk, South Collonade, E14 5EH. (they are next door to each other) Bar 38 and JD Wetherspoons are both in the Port East Warehouse, West India Quay, E14 4AE Booty's Riverside Bar, 92a Narrow Street, E14 8BP. The Grapes, 76, Narrow Street, E14 8BP The Barley Mow, 44, Narrow Street, E14 8DQ Prospect of Whitby, 57 Wapping Wall, E1 Captain Kidd's, 108 Wapping High Street, E1W 2NE Town of Ramsgate, 62 Wapping High Street, E1W 2PN Dickens Inn, St Katherines Dock, E1
My ten favourite pubs / bars (in no particular order except for number 1!) 1 The Bluebottle, Westow Hill, Upper Norwood (Crystal Palace), SE19 Okay, most of you probably won't venture to SE19 for any particular reason (unless you live there of course), but if you do then make sure you stop in at the Bluebottle. It's a huge pub at the top of the really steep hill that leads up from Crystal Palace station to the High Street, so reward yourself with a drink after struggling up there (as I frequently do) (and bypass the Occassional Half opposite, it most definitely is NOT a bit of a larf!). The Bluebottle is a cool pub in every aspect - customers, staff, music, decor, atmosphere - all score very highly. A split-level pub, with high ceilings and towering glass doors, in winter it is supremely cosy with it's fireplaces, battered leather sofas, candles on each table and subtle lighting. In summer, it's airy and light and the crowds spill into the courtyard outside. The drinks are reasonably priced, though make sure you go for a large wine (ladies), the small glasses are finished in 2 gulps! There's footie shown on a big-screen whenever there's a big match. There is almost always music playing, normally very loudly, and covering many musical tastes - one Sunday night I went and a dj was playing funky latin beats to a strangely up for it crowd; a couple of Fridays ago I was there and the crowd was getting down to old classics such as 'Voodoo Ray' and 'Theme from S-Express'. I spent New Years Eve here too, and my friends and I had a fantastic night, dancing for about 4 hours non-stop on the makeshift dancefloor. The crowd is very mixed; sometimes I've been in there on my own waiting for my (constantly late) boyfriend and felt a bit intimidated by some of the dodgier punters, but I guess certain characters add to the, er, character of the place. I'd say it's more of an olde
r crowd, 20's upwards. The barstaff are cool and friendly. Any downsides? Well a friend of mine complains that it's too smoky - there's no air conditioning. Sometimes it's a bit loud too, and can get crowded on weekends. And there's no food, so if you're hungry go and get take-away from Morleys across the road. 2 Filthy McNasty's, Amwell Street, EC1 Okay I said they weren't in any particular order but this is probably my second favourite. I first came across this place when I was invited to a party being held there - I thought it was okay but nowt special, but I didn't realise there were 2 separate parts to the pub. Anyway, I then returned one Sunday night with my boyfriend, who was determined that I should try their Bloody Mary's - how glad I am that I did! 'Filthy's' is a small Irish pub situated about halfway up funny little Amwell Street (linking Rosebury Avenue and Pentonville Road, Angel vicinity). I say funny little Amwell street as walking up there is like going back in time! There are never any cars, the shops all have facades that seem to be stuck in the 1940's and there are ancient looking foods like tins of milk in the windows! Very bizarre. Anyway, if you don't keep your eyes open you might miss this place, and even when you see it you'd be forgiven for thinking it's closed down (in winter anyway). But push open the doors and enter the cosy, dark interior, plonk yourself at the bar or on the leather sofa tucked into a little alcove and sink a couple of those spicy BM's! I didn't even think I liked Bloody Mary's! There's usually an eccentric character in there (once me and a friend got invited to a rave in a church by an old man who looked very rich and slightly menacing!), the bar staff can be a bit too cool but the customers are friendly enough. I think they play music sometimes but not loudly. In the 'other part' the
y have things like pub quizzes and poetry readings. It's just a nice little pub. They also serve Thai food - not sure how that fits in with the general theme but the menu looks tasty. Apparently part-owned by that attractive fellow from the Pogues. 3 O' Hanlons, Tysoe Street, EC1 I had to put this little gem in purely for it's closness to my abode. O'Hanlons is another small Irish pub, which they recently spent months refurbishing (much to my chagrin - builders at 7am on a Saturday am NO thank you), for the only apparent change to be a different colour of paint on the walls, a 'girly' yellow, according to my flatmates. Still, I like it, it looks nice and welcoming when I get home from work on a cold dark evening. The barstaff/owners are very friendly, and seem to be on first name terms with most of the punters, except me of course, I like to keep myself to myself. The customers range from people like me (trendy young things from the locality), to workers from the Mount Pleasant mail sorting office down the road, to famous newsreaders! Well it is Islington darling. Almost. Towards the rear the decor turns from pub to Spanish cafe. Wierd but nice. The menu looks delicious, but I've never tried so can't comment. 4 The Warwick, Warwick Street, Soho, W1 There's not alot to say about this place - it doesn't have any special characteristics that make it stand out from any other bar in Soho, the interior is plain and classy, the music is fairly cheesy, but I LIKE IT! It's a safe haven in the chaos and danger of the West End on a Saturday night, it's a place where I can always get a decent vodka and lime at a decent price, where I can sit comfortably at a table safe in the knowledge that I will be chatted up by a tipsy but harmless (if slightly delusional) gent wearing decent clothes with clean shoes. Happy hours 5-7pm - fiver for a bottle of
wine - can't complain. Dancefloor and cheesier music downstairs. Exceptionally friendly doormen. Fiver after 11 on weekends (unless you chat up the exceptionally friendly doormen). Open til 3 thur-sun. 5 The Ark bar / Dames bar, down a little side street next to Sainsburys on Finchley Road, NW6 In my South Hampstead heydey this place was a little bit of heaven in a crap-nightlife hell. Situated under a Moroccan restaurant (the Ark), reached through the restaurant or by a sneaky side-door, the Moroccan theme continues in this large, slightly dingy basement bar. Big - yes you guessed it - leather sofas (I think some sort of fetish is rearing its head here), cool little tables, crazy shouting barwoman, a bed?!, salsa dancing, mirrored walls, moroccan bongs, tinsely ceiling, mixed aftershocks, middle-aged rock bands playing and singing along to dance tunes like 'Lady' by Mojo, lot's of foreign people. Get the picture? No? I can't describe it, but many a fun night was spent here. Go after work if you live in the vicinity and you'll probably find yourself still there at some ungodly hour very much the worse for wear. 6 NEW ENTRY The Bug Bar, St Matthews Church, Brixton, SW2 (replacing the Lower Ground, West End Lane, West Hampstead NW6) I went to Bug Bar last Saturday - my first proper night out in Brixton, apart from a vist to the Ritzy cinema to see, unfortunately, Evolution (yes, it's crap - I actually wanted to see Before Night Falls but we missed it). After managing to convince my flatmates that Brixton was safe to go out in (despite my boyfriend being mugged there last year and a cousin of my flatmates - a policeman, being murdered there a few years ago), we were disconcerted to see someone shooting up in a doorway of St Matthews church, beneath which the Bug Bar was located. Not to be deterred, we made our way down the stairs, at about 10.30pm, and stood
at the front of a short queue. My heart sank when the bouncer said to my bf 'Sorry mate...', but I realised he was joking when he said 'No-one gets in who's taller than me!' The rest of the staff and bouncers were equally easygoing, which makes a refreshing change. The charge was a very reasonable £4. The Bug Bar is a cavern-like, largish room, with a small dancefloor at one end, a too-small bar at the other, and sofas and chairs dotted around elsewhere. The music in Bug Bar on Saturday was a mixture of r'n'b classics and latino salsa type tunes - and good enough for my r'n'b detesting flatmate to enjoy and even dance too. In fact, this club-bar is similar to Bar Rumba (see below) in terms of interior, music policy and the crowd. A female mc came on later on promoting a happy, peace-type vibe, which was reflected in the atmosphere and the attitude (or lack of it) of most people there. The two bad things about Bug Bar are the heat and the bar. The room got quite busy later on, and the lack of air-con and those low ceilings made for some very hot and sweaty people. The toilet area provided plenty of room and fresh air to chill out, but who wants to spend their night chilling outside a toilet? The bar is also inadequate, and queues were 3/4 deep at about 12am. Later on, we waited outside the Bug Bar for our taxi, and were approached by 3 different people trying to sell us drugs - try not to hang around for too long afterwards if you dont need to! 7 Molly Moggs, Charing Cross Road, W1 It's a tiny tiny bar on Charing Cross Road (where Old Compton Street ends/begins). I went there after the theatre last week - I always pass it on the bus on the way home, gazing wistfully inside as I trundle past. I'm not sure what drew me most, but it was just as I imagined - small, smoky, with a seedy elegance and seductive jazz in the backround. Getting into the theme, I draped myself se
ductively on a stool, stocking-clad leg dangling nonchalantly below, puffed restlessly on my cigarette and did my best Mae West impression, ignoring my boyfriend and choosing instead to stare through the rain-flecked windows at the mean streets outside. 8 Fluid, Charterhouse Street, EC1 This is a cool little club bar, perfect for when you can't quite be bothered to head for Fabric just down the road, but the Charterhouse opposite is bursting at the seams and you want somewhere a little more intimate than the gargantuan Smiths of Smithfield, also nearby. Upstairs, the crowd is very chilled, friendly and in good cheer - grab a margerita from the bar and stretch back on - dare I say it - a big leather sofa, and enjoy the intimate atmosphere with good friends. Down a treacherously windy staircase you'll find a tiny little dancefloor with a crowd getting themselves in the mood for Fabric 9 Bar Rumba, Shaftsbury Avenue, WC1 I've only been here once but had a top night with a load of old friends who I hadn't seen for ages. Once you get used to the cramped conditions and slightly claustrophobic low ceilings, you'll have a ball. The music was infectious 'rumba' latiny type stuff when we went; once I'd started dancing I found it hard to stop. Just when we thought we were going to overheat and pass out they opened an air-conditioned dancefloor - heaven!! The bar gets horrendously crowded - get 2 drinks at a time, or get there early (its free before 10.30). I believe on Fridays they are now hosting 'Garage nation' - don't let that put you off - a friend of mine went last week and assured me it was more house music - not a whisper of Daniel Bedingfield! Yes it's sort of a club, but it's more of a bar. Happy hour on weeknights til 8 I think - look out for this advertised on a big yeti-type figure next to the Trocadero on Shaftesbury - that's Bar Rumba!!
10 The Elbow Room, Chapel Market, Angel N1. There are 2 or 3 Elbow Rooms in London, not sure where they are. Elbow Room is a 'Multifunctional' Bar. If you like pool, there are several 'proper' tables there. If you like dancing, it's open late most nights and has a dancefloor. If you're hugry I believe there is a menu. If you want a cosy little chat with someone there are several wee alcoves with nice cushioned seats. There's something distinctly 80's about Elbow Room - it's got that glitzy disco feel about it, with a dark and red colour scheme. Which is nice. It's a great place for pulling on a Friday or Saturday, with stag / hen parties and the like. What I like best about Elbow Room is its reliability. When nearbye Upper Street with it's numerous restaurants and bars is closing down for the night, you know you can always rely on Elbow Room for more drinkies and a dancy if you fancy. Walking down a deserted Chapel Market at night you'd be forgiven for thinking there was nowt at the end except Pentonville Road (nice), but perservere until you see those tacky neon lights in the distance. Every time I go there I expect it to be shut, cos that's how it looks. It never is. A great place to go with a bunch of friends, though they're not keen on big groups of blokes on weekends. Grab a couple of girls on the way in! Mine's a vodka tonic!
Having recently introduced fellow dooyooers to my favourite places to eat in London, I thought I'd turn my hand to one of my other favourite pastimes - drinking! My favourite drinking 'haunts' in London are an eclectic mix of trendy bars, clubs and cosy little pubs. My moods change constantly and sometimes a quiet glass of wine in an olde worlde pub can be just as enjoyable as a big night out in a flashy bar. Friday nights I usually head to Soho in time to catch happy hour and end up staggering out of a bar around midnight. Saturdays I tend to stick to the area I live in, It’ll either be another ‘big night out’ or a quiet night at the local, depending on how ‘heavy’ the night before was! Weeknights are always fairly quiet - but I know a few cosy little pubs that are ideal for catching up on the gossip with friends. Redstar (Walworth Road, SE5, South London) This moderately small bar/club is situated on The Walworth Road, on the edge of Camberwell Green. On Saturday nights they have an 80’s themed club night where you can bop the night away to all the old 80’s classics you thought you’d forgotten! Drinks are standard club prices - perhaps a little cheaper than central London - around £3.00 for a bottled beer and £2.50 for shots. There’s a smaller room upstairs where they play garage and hard house. I’ve had some great nights out here, and recommend it for a Saturday night out. Tiger Tiger (Piccadilly Circus) Another Friday night favourite, with a particularly attractive happy hour - cocktails and bottles of wine are half price from 5 until 7pm. There are several seperate bar areas, all pretty much identical, some quieter than others, which is handy if you want to chat to friends. There’s a small basement club area that opens around 10pm, usually playing current dance tracks or garage ‘toons’. There’s also
a restaurant, which I tried once but wouldn’t recommend - the fish I ordered tasted like disinfectant and the dessert wasn’t defrosted properly. However....For drinking/dancing purposes it gets my thumbs up! The Snug Bar (Camberwell New Road, SE5, South London) This is one of those places where you’ll have a different experience every time you go. During the day, it’s a quiet little pub serving bar snacks and catering mainly for people who work in the area. They have a different DJ every evening, and their playlists vary between mellow, chilled out ‘jazz’ sounds, 80’s classics, garage, hardcore and current dance anthems. It’s impossible to predict what kind of an evening you’ll have - which is all part of the fun! The decor in The Snug Bar is very interesting - stuffed animals share the walls with modern art, all of which is for sale. It’s dark and cavelike inside, which means it sometimes has the ambience of a decadent club and sometimes that of a dingy student dive, depending on how crowded it is and what kind of music is playing. Drinks prices are the standard £2.50 for bottles, around the same for a spirit with mixer. They also have a fantastic cocktail list - try a Mini Guinness - Black Sambucca topped with Baileys in a standard shot glass -Mmmmmm! More good news - they’re open ‘til 2.00am, and entry is free! The Warwick (Sherwood Street, Soho) The Warwick is another happy hour favourite, half price champagne and cocktails until 7.30 every evening. They serve food and the atmosphere is buzzy and exciting, only problem is that there isn’t enough seating, and it’s a very popular bar. Bottles around £3, large glass of wine for £2.90. There’s a small club area in the basement but it’s often reserved for office parties. This is a good place to arrange to meet friends prior to a big night o
ut, as it’s central and easy to find. The Beehive (Vauxhall, South London) This is my office local, I’ll often be found here of a lunchtime thrashing my colleagues on the pool table! It’s a standard ‘Sarf London’ drinkerie; cheap drinks, dodgy out of date decor and a warm welcome from the landlord and bar staff. I’m fond of this old pub, grim as it may seem to the uninitiated - a couple of bevvies here of a lunchtime has often provided me with the little lift I need to get me through another afternoon in the office! The Catcher in The Rye (Finchley Central, North London) This has got to be my all time favourite pub - it’s simply got all the right ingredients. Log fires for the Winter, a beer garden for the Summer, comfy, squishy couches, a fantastic food menu and friendly, efficient bar staff. It also has a wicked cocktails menu, regular quiz nights, theme evenings, karaoke and amateur comedy. All that, and the drinks are reasonably priced too! Highly recommended for any occasion. The George Inn (Peckham, South London) This is my new local! I moved to Peckham last year, and the landlord gave my partner and I a very warm welcome. Since then we have enjoyed a few memorable ‘lock-ins’ and somewhere comfortable to watch the England football games and spend our Sunday afternoons. It’s a small pub but well maintained and welcoming, a pint of beer will set you back about £2.10 and a spirit and mixer about £2.30. Well worth it. The Old White Swan (Pimlico, South London) This is a light, airy pub with an excellent range of guest ales, if that’s your kind of thing, a decent food menu and reasonable prices. It’s clean, cosy and reassuring, one of those places that somehow seems to assuage any guilt you might feel about being out on the lash AGAIN, as it’s just so...well...NICE! A pleasan
t, adult sort of pub - one you’d be happy to take your parents to. Down Mexico Way (Piccadilly Circus) The place to go for a debauched night out; salsa, tequila, fun, fun, fun! The downside is that drinks are expensive - around £5 for cocktails, £3.50 for bottles and the same for a glass of wine or spirit and mixer. But I’ve had some fantastic nights out here - chances are you’ll end up dancing the night away to exotic melodies on the surprisingly spacious dancefloor. Expect to pay an entrance fee of around £8 after 10.00pm, but if you get there early or eat at one of the two restaurants, you can get into the bar and club for free. On Anon (Piccadilly Circus) I’ve only recently started going to this venue regularly, but I recommend it because it’s quite an original concept - seven floors, each one containing about three different bars, all of which are completely different in decor nd ambience. The top floor (The Lodge) is the best - decorated to look like a hunting lodge, complete with stuffed animals on the wall and little round windows with window seats - fab! Try to get there in time for happy hour (5 - 7pm) when cocktails are £3 and bottles of wine half price. Now, I know what you’re all thinking - I’m a complete boozehound! It’s not the case, I can assure you. Yes, I love a wee tipple, I won’t deny the fact, but for me, a good night out is more about the people I’m with and the place we’re in, which should enhance our mood and provide us with the atmosphere we need to enjoy ourselves, whether we’re aiming for a relaxing, quiet evening or a major night on the tiles. All of the above venues guarantee me a good night out, one way or another, and I hope that if you’re moved to try any of them, they do the same for you. Cheers! Amanda 6/1/02
My top 10 pubs/bars in North London: 1 - The Unicorn, Camden Road. A Greene King pub, friendly, old style. The manager always looks smart and they do a different offer every day. 2 - Weatherspoons, Wood Green. As always, a great pub. Weatherspoons is a place to start your evening off in. Quiet up until 8.30pm, you can get a cheap drink in peace and quiet before going on to louder pubs. 3 - The Starting Gate, Alexandra Palace. Another old time pub. Bar Billiards, darts (read my op on darts - I love the game) and a quiz night every Tuesday. 4 - The Goose, Wood Green. The progression from Weatherspoons, still cheap but with a great atmosphere added in. 5 - The Gloucester, Kentish Town. An Irish pub, not the themed kind, it's run by Irish, full of Irish and has all the charm and character of County Cork on a Saturday night. They used to have a darts team too so I often got merilly drunk there on a Thursday. 6 - Camden Cantina, Chalk Farm Road. More of a Restaurant than a bar but it serves great drinks - tequila based in general and Mexican food. Great. 7 - Spoofers, Holloway Road. Used to be The Tappitt in my university days and holds a great place in my heart - lots of promos on and a great time for students. 8 - The Hobgoblin, Holloway Road. Similar to Spoofers - from my student days. 9 - JD Sportsbar, Somers Town. A great atmosphere here, it's a little expensive but well worth popping in. Darts team too! 10 - The Duke Of Cumberland, Fulham. Had to have one in South London - BBQ city!
How many boozers are there in London? It must be thousands, I read somewhere that it may be 3700, but it must be more. Sometimes I think it would be a good plan to try and visit them all before I die. I imagine all the fine people I would bump into. The smoky interiors I would experience. And all the drinks…lots of different drinks. But then again I think of all the tube trains and buses this would mean taking, often late at night and probably drunk, all the tired hungover mornings trundling to work, all the pub bores and bad pints and I go off the idea. Anyway, who would join me on the project. No-one in their right mind. There are probably more bad pubs than good pubs in the world anyway. So perhaps it is better to have a canon of good pubs that one can go back to again and again. Cut out the chaff and know that you can have a good drink if you like rather than thrust your self into the realm of the gods. The ten pubs I have chosen are solid performers. As a pub crawl it would be tedious with too many travels but each has its own charms. They are friendly but none of them the kind of place “where everybody knows your name.” Can you imagine anything worse than everybody knowing your name and never meeting anyone new? I can’t. A non-mover at number 10…… The Chapel, Chapel Street, W1 (Tube: Edgware Road) At the trendier end of this top ten, The Chapel in Marylebone is a perfect weekday night couple-of-pints venue. Although trendy with a precocious menu (perhaps a little overpriced but delicious) and too much attitude from the staff it has a beguiling, relaxed atmosphere probably because of its feel of faded grandeur. If squatters took over the Palm Court, it would be pretty much like the Chapel. It’s light and airy with chunky wooden tables and stylish artwork complemented by several dominating mirrors. You know the kind of place I mean. The prices are not too bad and it never seems too busy, altho
ugh the obligatory after work crowd pack it out in the early evenings particularly on a Friday. But the real reason I adore the Chapel is the Weston’s Scrumpy Cider on tap. None of this weasel’s piss for me, dear reader, give me west country cider and I am happy. Unfortunately, proper cider is rare in this town. Old time favourite at number 9, re-entering the top ten… The Duke of York, Harrowby Street, W1 (Tube: Edgware Road/Marble Arch) This pub has seen better days. I haven’t been for some months so I don’t know if it has deteriorated so far as to make it unsuitable for this chart. In the good old days when Barry Street was mein host it was a constant cabaret behind the bar as the quips and crude jokes flowed fasted than the champagne into Wendy Richard’s glass. Yes, she was often to be seen propping up the bar. But now Barry has left it has probably quietened down and the place probably concentrates on sports as it always used to on a Saturday afternoon. The Duke of York is a rugby fan, you see. Mainly supporting Wales but very ecumenical. I must pop back and check the old place out when I get a moment. I hear Barry may be returning, that’s why it has joined the top ten again. Fresh in at number 8…… The Old Pack Horse, Chiswick High Road, W4 (Chiswick Park) A recent discovery, but already a firm favourite. Not least as a result of its proximity to my workplace. It’s a Fullers house with high standards and I have enjoyed many excellent pints of Pride, Chiswick and Guinness. It is large traditional style pub occupying an imposing position on Turnham Green. Inside it is slightly rural, but also plush, with several handy corners and arbours but also several large areas filled on Friday night with the afterwork crowd get pissed and flirtatious. The drinks are reasonable and the Thai restaurant is more than respectable. The unexpected climber at number 7 is….
Funkly Munky, Camberwell Church Street (Oval/Elephant and Castle, but get the bus..36,12, 176 or anything to Camberwell Green) South London is represented by this Camberwell institution. It is, in essence, a trendy bar but it is a bit scummy which attracts that part of me which despises those pristine bars, often in Hoxton, that are extravagantly designed, holy shrines to minimalism and style and yet the last thing they seem fit for is drinking, carousing and smoking. This place has very much a good time feel. The cocktails are good and the crowd trendy but not pretentious. There are stacks of tables and chairs and it gets mobbed, even in midweek. Staying put at number 6is…. The Lamb and Flag, Garrick Street (?) W1 (Tube: Covent Garden/Leicester Square) I personally think that the centre of town, even Soho, is lacking really good pubs. They are either tourist traps or soulless chain establishments. The Lamb and Flag thankfully is neither, offering a little bit of country charm in the middle of the metropolis. It is set on two levels set back from the main bustle of the Covent Garden area and it must have been here for centuries serving up the locals with beers and gin. The centuries have marked the inside but they remain rustic and hinest and homely. The bitters, in particular, are very good. On a Saturday they play the football on the telly and there is no one with a Selfridges bag to be seen. Falling one place to number 5…. The Beehive, Homer Street, W1 (Tube: Edgware Road) You wouldn't stumble upon this pub by accident. I used to live in this part of town and it was only after several months that I discovered it, by word of mouth and a good bit of getting lost. It is hidden down a wee side street off the Old Marylebone Rd. There isn't much traffic, there aren't many pedestrians and as a result it is very quiet. The pub is tiny. No bigger than a generous living room with only the space for three of
four tables, the bar occupies one corner and locals huddle around it. Small pubs tend to be unfriendly pubs, right? Well, the Beehive escapes the cliché. It is very cosy, very chummy and thoroughly pleasant. The staff are exceedingly kind and chatty. The interior is traditional and you can sit at a picnic table outside if it's nice. Mind the toilets, however, they are down in the basement at the foot of the steepest set of stairs and after a few too many pints of Whitbread I can imagine tumbling to my doom as I go to empty my bladder. Climbing one to number 4… Marylebone Tup, Marylebone High Street, W1 (Baker Street/Bond Street) This is the only chain pub in this top ten but thankfully it and the chain in general maintains a sense of individuality and subversiveness that appeals and redeems. This is a firm lunchtime and late afternoon boozer situated on the largely unspoilt Marylebone High Street. Ir is light and airy with large wooden, rustic furniture with a gentle metropolitan edge. There is an eclectic selection of art on the walls (including a particularly pleasing female nude) and a friendly welcome. The top aspect of this pub, for me, is the policy which encourages people to bring their own food. With Pret down the street go and grab your crayfish and rocket sarnie and make a beeline for a pint at the Tup to wash it down. Still at number 3, not arf…. The French House, Soho W1 (Leicester Sq/Piccadilly Circus) This pub is a justified Soho institution that pops up in any reasonable sketch of a Soho drinker’s life. It has seen a few times and some fine people and some legendary scenes. But that somehow doesn’t spoil it in any way. It isn’t prissy or pretentious or hallowed. It remains a colourful pub with a selection raffish looking people gathered around the bar griping and gossiping almost unaware of its history. The French House is small and it doesn’t take many people to pack the pla
ce but on a sunny afternoon you can lean outside watching the Soho life mince by. I am always fascinated by the boxing memorabilia on the walls and the pictures of patrons past. I also like the fact, a la Francais of serving halves. As we all know proper drinkers drink halves, they are easier to get down. Climbing two places to number 2…. The White Horse, Parsons Green, SW6 (Tube: Parsons Green) Also known as the Sloaney Pony, I would urge you not to judge this boozer too harshly on first impressions. In many ways it is all very Fulham with floppy haired Old Etonians, rugby shirt collars turned up, yah-yahing into their pints with dizzy blonde sloanettes faffing ostentatiously about the place but actually, under the surface, is the most honest of quality boozers. The beer is good quality, the atmosphere relaxing and best of all they serve Harveys Best Bitter (my fave tipple), even if it seems too cold sometimes. In summer you can sit outside looking over the green watching the range Rover go past. The food too is really excellent and not over priced for one gets. I recommend the banger and mash and the Fish and Chips. Mwah, mwah. And straight in at number 1, a new entry… The Black Lion, Kilburn High Road, NW6 (Tube: Kilburn) Kilburn High Road is awash with boozers. Many of them are Irish and/or at the cheap and nasty end of the spectrum. The Black Lion is, however, an absolute gem. Located halfway between the Willesden Lane junction and Brondesbury station it is huge and Irish in the best translation of the tradition: a tonic to the shamrocks, leprechauns and tricolors of the oh so faux Biddy Mulligan's just down the road. It has the most extraordinary high ceilings all covered in extravagant, colourful reliefs and decorations. It has a huge room for darts that plays host to popular and busy contests as well as truly welcoming staff. Guinness clocks in at £2 a pint but when I was there on St Patrick's Night th
e place was packed with people, music and dancing and the black stuff at £1.50. A rare boozer, never let it be trendified.