Monday, 28 April 2008

Echoes From the Past


I am often struck by how much the past and present sit cheek by jowl in London. Yesterday's walk took us from home to Spitalfield Market, as I hadn't been since they tarted it up. It provided sufficient contrast to keep me interested and of course on the way I kept a weather eye for drinking establishments, past and present.

Behind our flat, in an area where there is much new development mixed with fairly new council housing and round the corner from a spanking new block of flats, sits a pub I have walked past many times. I have never seen the Dog and Truck open in the ten years we have had the flat round the corner, but then again, we tend only to pass this way at weekends, when presumably it is closed like a lot of pubs around here. In fact I only know it is still trading because of up to date notices in the window. The pub is decked out in Watney Combe and Reid regalia, faded now, but a perfect example of the 1960's preserved on the outside at least. I have made a mental note to call in one day soon. It is pictured (left).

We walked past the huge site of the former Black Eagle Brewery in Brick Lane, home to Truman's and later, around the market, I noted that the " Gun" is still tricked out in Truman's colours. These are not faded, the gilt having a recent gleam and the paintwork, while not new, is not thirty years old. It looks good and is a reminder when pubs like this were commonplace and when maybe the London pub scene was a better one in some ways than it is now, with Charrington, Watney, Courage, Trumans, Youngs and Fullers juking it out for custom.

One of the delights of London is that round every corner lurks a new possibility. Walking back for a much needed pint in the Pride of Spitalfields, we came across an ex Charrington pub, another couple with Truman's insignia (much more faded) and even the odd Courage cockerel. peeping out. I don't remember the names. Next time I'm exploring, I'll take a notebook with me!

Of course, not everything is sweetness and light. Back in the here and now, we entered the Pride of Spitalfields with hope in our hearts and me dragging my thirst behind me. We were anticipating a lovely pint of Crouch Vale Brewer's Gold, but alas it was finished and London Pride just wouldn't do. I needed pale and hoppy. We walked back past our flat, along Royal Mint St, passing the attractive Artful Dodger which doesn't live up to its potential at all, with its entrance blocking pool table and Greene King IPA. A brand new cask of Oakham JHB did the trick at the bustling Liberty Bounds, a JDW outlet.

Another sign of the times?

8 comments:

Ted said...

I've been eating and drinking round Spitalfields/Whitechapel since the mid 80s and the PofS remains about the only constant. Been in a few times recently and the CVBG has not been on...

There used to be another great pub, the Alma, nearby but it went downhill and is now closed.

The Lord Rodney by Whitechapel tube was my regular for many years - another sad loss to the area.

Tandleman said...

I think it would be a mistake if they went to Fullers only. What would be the point of that?

We used to go to the Alma. A really interesting and down at heel pub towards the end. The owner, Steven if I remember, was very welcoming to us. He told me that he had been made an offer he couldn't refuse. So the rest is flats!

Tom Scotney said...

I used to be absolutely in love with JHB, but haven't had a good pint of it in years. Can't quite put my finger on it, but it seems less hoppy than before. Any idea if they've changed anything, or have I just been very very unlucky?

Tandleman said...

I agree it isn't as hoppy and it does have a sweeter edge. Maybe this is deliberate. With all the other intensely hoppy beers they produce, maybe they want a slight contrast?

Ted said...

No point in going to 100% Fullers at all - hope I've just been unlucky on my last few visits.

Steve at the Alma rings a bell - I beieve he was actually Danish though you'd never know from his accent.

I understand the good quality of the beer was due to the cellar being run by Burnley Dave (one of the Wenlock gang) - or so I was told many years ago...

Tandleman said...

Ted - Yes he was Danish and used to box a bit too. I know some of the regulars, when on their travels, used to bring back nines of obscure beers and return the casks on their next visit. I don't know who looked after the beer though.

Anonymous said...

Please be assured that the PoS will NOT be going to Fullers only and there is no plan to stop serving CVBG. In respect of Steve Kane (The Alma), i am afraid he died last year.

Tandleman said...

I am glad to hear it, but perhaps they need to get a grip of their ordering regime.

I am sorry to hear about Steve. He didn't get much of a chance to enjoy his dosh. Seem to remember he was a vodka man? Wasn't that was it?