Trip round Carey Street, London WC2

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.

White-Horse-1

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.

White-Horse-2

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).

George-IV-1

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.

George-IV-2

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

George-IV-3

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.

Seven-Stars-1

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.

Seven-Stars-2

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).

Old-Bank-of-england-1

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.

Old-Bank-of-england-2

Sound bite taken in pub

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