A retro-blog by Pat the Chooks
Thursday, 22nd June 2006
I was down in the Smoke for a meeting on Friday, but given that it would be a three o’clock in the morning start to catch an early flight in time for the meeting, my organisers kindly put me up for the night in a hotel near to Blackfriars Bridge, conveniently close to the Crossrail service from Luton Parkway station and the ‘plane. Got checked in after a journey of six hours from the office and had a very welcome bath. Having a bath is something I only tend to do in hotels – it’s nearly always a shower at home unless I’ve been out walking in the rain or the cold. This was one of those hotels with the choice of either traffic noise or air conditioning – this time I had the air conditioning units going outside all night, but still slept well, having taken a good sleeping draught in the form of several fine pints of ale.
There was no-one else that I knew in the hotel, and the bar was full of football matches on the several tellies, so I decided upon a walk around London to see what sort of small pubs I could come across. Now this is an excellent sport in most cities, and best played in central London for a couple of reasons; firstly, the rough sort tend not to come into town and secondly, the massive amount of disposable cash in the city supports a huge number of small pubs with good beer. My strategy was simple; cross the Millennium Bridge and walk down streets at random until a suitable establishment caught my eye and try the beer.
The first stop was a small place with a couple of Australian girls behind the bar, so the telly was tuned to whatever match the Aussies were playing that evening. I think there was a goal to the Australians as well, while I was there, so that seemed to cheer them up a bit. Beer okay, but pub very smoky.
Second stop was a wee place called the Rising Sun somewhere in the vicinity of Bart’s Hospital. Nice and dark with lots of wood and Samuel Smiths on tap, including the very strange “Alpine Lager”, although I stuck to the Old Brewery bitter – too cold and tasteless for my palette, but a pleasant stay nonetheless.
Third stop was a place called the Swan (or White Swan, can’t really recall which) where a pint of Adnam’s Broadsword went down well. Sat outside in the gathering dusk, thinking that it would still be broad daylight back in Argyll.
The final visit was to the very excellent Seven Stars at the back of the Royal Courts of Justice. Tiny pub with very well-kept beer (sorry, memory lapse prevents a specific recollection) so indulged in a couple more before meandering off back to the hotel and a sound night’s sleep before business the following day.