Archive for June, 2010

Chatten Trip – Part Two

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Last week we started a trip round Carey street visiting pubs that we had once frequented with Philip Chatten. We only got through four pubs so we needed to keep going hence our trip this week. As I may have mentioned many of the places that we used to drink in have now gone so this list is just a selection of those that are left. We start were we finished last week.

1. Old Bank of England  194 Fleet St

The weather is getting very warm and a bit humid so it was quite a relief going into here as they have air conditioning. The pub was quite busy on entrance but its a fairly large interior so I had no trouble getting a seat. As a Fullers pub it carries the usual range, Chiswick, London Pride, Discovery and ESB. The two pints of Discovery that I had went down very well.

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There appeared to be a private do upstairs on the balcony plus one in the back room. They may well have been the same one but I didn’t check the notices. They were setting up for a Jazz session in the main bar but as we had to leave to continue our crawl we didn’t get to hear any of this. This is one of the Fullers Ale and Pie chain so they specialize in food though I haven’t ever eaten here (though I have in others of this chain).

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Crossing over Fleet street and heading west brings us to our next pub.

2. George 213 Strand

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This is a long narrow pub, fairly dark inside with lots of wooden panelling and wooden floors. Maybe its attempting a mock medieval look. Presumably its aiming at the heritage tourist market but it does have some drinkable beer on. There were three handpumps dispensing Black Sheep, Purity Mad Goose and Sharps Honey.

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There were two televisions, one was showing tennis and the other cricket. We positioned ourselves right at the back of the pub as it was a little bit quieter and we managed to get seats there, plus that was where the cricket was showing which is more John’s cup of tea than the tennis. Down this end of the pub there was a large portrait which I’m assuming is of King George himself (mind you there were several King George’s but perhaps this was the first one and hence no need for a number at the end).

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Coming out of this pub we turn down Devereux Court which runs of the Strand alongside this pub. This alleyway takes a couple of right angle turns and widens out to where we find our third pub.

3. Devereux – Devereux Ct

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A fairly large pub containing several areas which were once probably different bars but they are now all arranged round a central bar. It wasn’t as busy as I have seen it before but there were quite a few people drinking outside. There were four real ales on, Deuchars, Waggledance, Youngs London Gold and Pride of Pendle from Moorhouse. All the beers drunk were yet again in good condition. Another pub that specialises in food which we didn’t try but we did have a plate of mixed smoked nuts which went very well with the beer. Much evidence of legal affairs on the walls plus lots of old photographs.

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Leaving this pub continue on down Devereux Ct which turns another right angle and brings you to Essex street where on the corner we find our fourth pub.

4. Edgar Wallace – 40 Essex Street

This is a reasonably large bar with another bar upstairs but not actually many places to sit so we stood outside which a large proportion of the clientele were doing.

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This is a pub which specializes in real ale and had at least 5-6 handpumps on. I didn’t have time to note what was on all of them but we three were drinking Brewers Gold, Canary Pale and Greenall Whitleys Festival Ale. I’m told that this pub has its own website which probably keeps one up to date on the beers.

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Crossing over Essex Street we go a short way down Little Essex St to our last pub.

5. Cheshire Cheese – Brick Court Chambers, 5 Little Essex Street

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This is a small pub and fairly quiet on our visit though it does boast a games room with a 50″ TV though I couldn’t work out if this was upstairs or downstairs. There were four real ales on, Bombardier, Spitfire, Old Speckled Hen and Canterbury Jack.

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There was quite an array of bits and pieces hanging from the ceiling but I entirely forgot to take a picture of this.

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Trip round Carey Street, London WC2

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Tuesday 22nd June 2010

One of the people that we have often drunk with over the years died a few weeks ago so as something of a tribute it seemed like a good idea to take a tour of some of the pubs that we used to drink with him in. Sadly quite a few of these pubs no longer exist especially around the Fleet Street area but there are still some remaining. This is likely to turn into several trips so this can be regarded as just the first tranche.

1. White Horse – 2 St Clement’s lane

We decided to start in here as its one of the pubs that we used to drink in when John and I worked in New Court (in Carey St) thirty years ago. Its a small single bar pub but somebody who drank in there long ago said that he remembered it being divided into three bars. This must have been a very long time ago and looking at the size of the pub its hard to see where they would all have fitted.

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There was an impressive range of real ale for such a small pub including St Austell’s Tribute, Reverend James, Timothy Taylor Landlord and Marston’s Pedigree. The two that I drank were in good condition. There is a raised area at the back of the pub with comfortable seating and also a nice seat under the front window. There were two televisions but it is the World Cup at the moment. Actually once the football match had finished most people went and stood in the street.

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Sound bite taken in pub

Walking round the corner into Portugal Street takes us to our next pub.

2. George IV – 28-30 Portugal Street

Again another pub that we used to drink in when we worked in New Court (which is visible from the front of this pub). This is again a single bar pub but a fairly large interior. There was yet again several televisions but as we were between matches most people were standing out in the street (its worth commenting that it was a warm evening).

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There were four handpumps but I could only identify three bitters, Spitfire, Wadworths 6X and a Daleside beer (name not noted but a 4% abv beer). Again the beers drunk were in good condition.  When I remember this pub it had plush seating all round the wall  and it used to get very busy. I’m not sure but I think that this might be owned by the LSE (which is just over the road) as I’m sure that the food menu claimed to be LSE catering but perhaps I imagined it.

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Here’s another shot of the exterior which gives a better view of its position on a narrow street corner.

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Sound bite taken in pub

Walking past New Court and keeping the Royal Courts of Justice on your right we come to.

3. Seven Stars -53-54 Carey Street

Another very small pub, there are now two small extensions on either side which are filled with tables laid out for eating (I imagine) covered in chequered vinyl tablecloths. I’m informed that these are later additions and that thirty or so years ago they were small shop premises which were added to the pub. This is undoubtedly a  historic pub but the main feature that I remember was that the toilet was up some dangerous stairs and it was recommended that you use the street urinals up a nearby alleyway but i suspect that these have long gone.

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Again four handpumps and the beers were Adnams bitter and Broadside, Dark Star Hophead and Summer Solstice. Yet again all beers drunk were in good condition. I’m told that this pub used to be favoured by the legal profession and certainly there are cartoons with a legal theme on the wall (as well as old film posters). Somebody with a long memory claims to have seen judges in full regalia crossing the road to drink in here. The pub cat put in an appearance sporting a strange paper ruff round his neck but retired when it got busier so we didn’t get a chance to say hello. As with all the pubs most people were drinking outside in the street.

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Sound bite taken in pub

Continuing on down Carey Street till the turning on your right for Bell Yard walk down here and as you come onto Fleet Street you see our last pub on your left.

4. Old Bank of England – 194 Fleet Street

This is not as old a pub as the previous three and has probably only been here about 15 years (or maybe 20?). This is an impressive Fuller’s conversion of an old bank premises which has retained many original interior features. The central bar fills the centre but there are lots of nooks and crannies containing seating and an upstairs balcony (where the toilets are).

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This is a Fuller’s pub and carries the full range of Fullers beers including Chiswick, London Pride, Discovery and ESB. This pub has a good reputation for beer and we were not let down on our visit. There is a full food menu and there was an interesting bar snack menu for less formal eating but we didn’t get a chance to try anything as they collected the menus at 21:00 (but we were not about to eat anyway). This pub now has a nice outside seating area at the back but one suspects that this is mainly to cater for the smokers. Its not really possible to drink outside this pub at the front as Fleet Street is a very busy street normally.

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Sound bite taken in pub