“ 13 Eyre Street Hill, Clerkenwell, EC1R 5ET.Tel: 020 7278 1022 „
It turns out Farringdon and Clerkenwell boast some fine drinking establishments. The Gunmakers, tucked away and hidden (I ran into it whilst roaming the streets on the phone) is a real gem.
The bar staff are unfailingly friendly and knowledgeable. Jeff chose to get his soul of of hock and retired from law to become a courteous, interesting and expert landlord. He introduced himself to me, and has never forgotten my name since.
Jeff typically has four real ales on, and will gladly let you taste before buying, and make recommendations based on what he learns of your taste. The beer is immaculately kept, and often served in branded appropriate glasses. Typical for central London, the real ales go for just over £3.00 a pint (up to around £3.30) - slightly dear, but not unexpected for the area. They also serve a cloudy cider, and, of course, the typical lagers. Still, I have observed relatively few people drinking lager in there! They have a good wine list, at reasonable prices.
They serve food both at lunchtime and in the evening. I've never had occasion to eat there in the evening, but the lunchtime food is very good - and there's tons of it. I had a burger there yesterday, and left feeling like I'd eaten a baby. The menu (on blackboards) changes regularly, and has a couple of starters, a bunch of mains, and a couple of deserts. The food is served fresh and promptly. Main courses range from around £8.00 - £13.00.
The interior is plainly and tastefully decorated. It hovers between the gastro-pub look (particularly in the back, though the floor is askew, so no table has a totally flat surface!) and more traditional (albeit bare floored - no pub patterned carpet here) pub. There are a couple of bar stools, and I have often found folk who are clearly regulars sitting at the bar, passing the time of day with Jeff. Uniquely, there are large windows that open totally in the front, allowing a welcome cooling breeze blow through. They are at bar height, and have a couple of shelves under the window, thus allowing smokers (and smokers' friends) to still feel they are part of the pub inside, rather than just pavement hoverers.
Having said that, the outside area, apart from that bit right up against the pub itself, is meagre - after all, it really is just the pavement. The road the pub sits on isn't particularly busy, but it's still central London, so I'd probably not choose to spend a whole session out there. The ladies' room was clean but unremarkable, though it is, refreshingly, on the ground floor - in so many pubs the ladies' room (though not always the men's) is up or down a flight of stairs.
The pub is not big, and unless you want to sit in the back (which has a much more restaurant feel), you may find yourself hard pressed for a seat when it's busy (and it gets busy at times, though not necessarily at predicable times).
This has been a real find - definitely one to add to a hypothetical pub crawl in Farringdon, and one I will be drinking and dining in at many a lunchtime.
The Gunmakers has a bijou (just like the pub) website - you can check it out here - http://thegunmakers.co.uk/ - there's even a potted history of the building (which didn't start life as a pub, apparently).