A London Pub Crawl - by Steve Westby 

Last Updated :01/11/03


Luckily I wasn't leading our group of 20 (good job given my knowledge of London pubs) so I could relax and follow the crowd.

One of our group was meeting us at St Pancras so we phoned ahead and got us to get one of those day tickets on the tube, an amazing 3.50 each as it was a group purchase, any zone as well, definitely the only bargain of the day!

We started at the Duke of Cambridge on St Peters Street. This is the trendy Pitfield place that only sells organic beers. Their 3.8% bitter was good but I didn't rate their stout or Eco Warrior too much, and the guest, St Peters Best Bitter was ok. But the prices certainly weren't ok! All beers were either 2.90 or 3 a pint - what a rip off.

Next up was the Wenlock Arms, my first visit to this friendly (unusual trait for London - but then the guvnor is from oop north) establishment. I have seen comments elsewhere that some people allegedly find this pub a bit scruffy, I could see why they may have perhaps thought this but it was fine for our crowd. I certainly quite liked it although I am not sure my missus would have found it her cup of tea. The prices were reasonable and the beer quality good. I had another Pitfield beer (something with Pale Ale in the name) and a Spinning Dog Beer. I was amused to see they had Kimberley Mild on and apparently we had just missed a festival featuring Nottingham beers at the weekend.

The Royal Oak Tabard Street was next on the agenda. A cracking pub for London and the Harveys beers were on top form. I thought their mild was the best of the set, but I also enjoyed the Old and the Sussex Best Bitter but I wasn't as bothered about the Armada.

The Pride of Spitalfields was our fourth stop. A cosy little boozer selling Crouch Vale Brewers Gold, Barnsley (Blackpool) Bitter, which I warned everyone off, and London Pride and ESB. There was a bloke in their with a movie camera who said he was making a film about Jack the Ripper, but I am not sure as he spent ages filming my mate's arse and he is even older than me, so I dread to think what it was really about :-).

Our final pre-match pub was the White Horse on Parsons Green. It was absolutely packed with Notts fans, in fact so much so that it resembled the Vat and Fiddle before a home game (the effect was enhanced by the fact the landlord from the Vat was with us!). I found the beer in here a tad disappointing, I had Harveys Best and Roosters and the Yankee in particular tasted a bit jaded, but it may have been my tastebuds by this stage, particularly as the only food I had had was two samosas I bought when passing an Asian shop in Southhall. Prices were on the high side as well, someone (not in our group) was complaining that the lager was 4 a pint - but he got no sympathy from me on that score.

The game was quite enjoyable and our 5 bob bankrupt outfit gave the 90m worth of Chelsea talent a bit of a scare early on. The only beer(?) on sale in the ground was Budweiser (rice version) at 3 a pint, needless to say I wasn't tempted.

Back on the tube to St Pancras and a final 50 minutes to kill before our 11.40 train, so we went in Mabels Tavern for Sheps Best Bitter and when that went Masterbrew. I've had worse and beggars can't be choosers.

So not a bad day out, but it makes you realise just how bad off for decent pubs and beer London is, considering the great distances we travel to track it down. Makes you realise just how well off for pubs we are in Nottingham.

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