Saturday, February 26, 2011

What has London to offer in 2011 - part 2

When we left you we were in Borough Market, and around the edge of the market there are three pubs, all different but all good in their own way. Our first call was the 'Rake' , a decent enough pub, really small but without anything that really made it special, either beer wise or pub wise. A swift half al fresco and onto the ' Brew Wharf'. This is a massive modern pub with an in house brewery, so worth a visit just for that, but really seems to geared for food rather than beer and is full of glass and stainless steel. A bit of a contrast to other places we visited. We did find two house beers on the bar though, a 3.1% Stout and a 6.3% beer made with centennial hops, and even more centennial hops reading the description. The first was acceptable, the latter was a disappointment, as it promised much and delivered little. Never mind there was always the 'Market Porter' to try round the corner.

This is one of the must visit pubs for a beer enthusiast in London and again, it offered a decent selection but nothing really stood out to try, but we tried the 'Art Brew' Lemon which was an interesting flavoursome beer. But again time waits for no man, so it was back north again, this time by a combination of underground and bus.

Our next pub was a revelation. 'The Southampton Arms' had been recommended to us by Kevin and since he knows what he is talking about, we thought we would give it a go. It is in Highgate Rd, at Kentish Town, conveniently just on a bus stop. Easy enough to recognise, it is another tiled pub, which is long and thin. No pretentiousness here, just a good old solid boozer, full of locals with a good craic and an interesting selection of beer. Here we selected another Brodies beer, 'Polska' at 6.5%, and a ginger beer from Hardknott, settled down and enjoyed the atmosphere. There is no denying the place is basic, and could do with decorating but that would take away some of the character,(to add the character the gents is outside in the yard at the back !!). We were just about to leave when a chance conversation pointed us towards a couple of Camden beers at the end of the bar. Another new brewery. A quick change of plan, a couple more halves. Another unusual thing about the pub I had failed to notice till then was that all the beer was served in barrel glasses both pints and halves, a rarity these days.

Time was beginning to catch us up now, and we had plans to visit another couple of places nearer Kings Cross. Well we had plans, our visit to the Euston Tap was swift indeed. A quick look through the door and out again, it was again a very small pub, full of Friday revellers, and with nothing on the bar to tempt us from its selection of 8 beers we made for the 'Bree Louise'.

The 'Bree' is on a side road near Euston Station, and again was full when we arrived, but we selected a beer, (another Brodies beer, 'Romanov' which weighed in at a massive 12%) and settled at a table outside, only to discover ourselves chatting to a lady who was born in Marsh, small world!!

We still had a bit of time before the train was due, and nothing else in the 'Bree' took our fancy. There is a bar on the station at St Pancras, so we though we would try there. 'The Sir John Betjeman' is upstairs, at the end of the concourse, and is again mainly a lager and food pub, all glass and metal, but it does have a couple of beers on draught and the 'Adnams' Ipa was in good form. So it was a final half, and off for the train back North.

So what did we find ? Lots of good pubs, the 'Southampton Arms' being the pick of the bunch; lots of good beer, Brodies had the edge with their 'Kiwi' being my beer of the day. And we proved that with a bit of planning it is not difficult to criss cross London by bus, nor too expensive with a travel card. All we need now is another rail offer to do it all again.

3 comments:

Jibber said...

I'm amazed you dismiss the Euston Tap in such a way. From the people who brought you the Pivny Bar in York and the Sheffield Tap in, errm, Sheffield, this is a little gem of a place in London. As you'd expect, much of the Thornbridge range is on offer, complemented with offerings from Brewdog. This is a wonderful place for pale and hoppy beer lovers. And the prices are more Sheffield than London. I cannot think of a better pub in London. If you are a Jaipur or Kipling afficionado, don't give it a further thought. Just go!

Timbo said...

Maybe I gave the wrong impression, it was just so busy that we would never have got near the bar, and since we were pressed for time and in search of new beers tried somewhere else. At a quieter time than Friday rush hour I am sure it will stand comparison with the Sheffield Tap.

Jibber said...

Juat as an aside, I understand from Alex Travis that the group are opening their first pub in Bradford in April. Called 'The Sparrow' it will, I understand, work to the same formula as the other places, and of course will be day roverable (or 50p to you lucky seniors)