Wednesday, 28 July 2021

The Near East

 I mentioned the posh(ish) wedding in Richmond, didn't I? Well, it went very well, but I'll gloss over the horrendous beer experience and say I enjoyed it all the same. I will just have my little rant though. Why do otherwise nice hotels sell such dross? The only draught beer - and there was precious little in bottles or cans - Becks at £8 a short measure pint, served warm through a home dispense unit! Not even a Lindr, which at least would have done the trick properly. Answers not needed. It's because they can.

On Saturday after the do, it was a late start. I was convinced, since I felt so odd, that I'd contracted Covid, but a full English, followed by lots of coffee, followed by - a little later - some beer. I eventually rationalised that I was merely hungover from a mix of prosecco, Swiss bottled beer, white wine, red wine and Becks. It is at least to my credit, I think, that I don't usually drink enough to be hungover, so I'd kind of forgotten what it is like. Did I miss out the sense of doom? That too.

The day was however sunny and warm, so early afternoon we had a walk along a very busy Brick Lane to Bethnall Green Road and hence to the Well and Bucket. Largely because of Covid, we hadn't been there for ages, and we bagged a seat outside and people watched. Camden Hells for both of us. The amber nectar restored me to some kind of equilibrium as we watched Hell's Angels, who were gathering, warn each other by hand signals of a police trap ahead and gazed at the extraordinary mixture of people who passed by.

Thus refreshed we headed for Shoreditch Tube Station and, via a rather run down cut through, to the fabulous Commercial Tavern on Commercial Road. This Grade two listed building is very imposing and has obviously been rescued from an early death. Its bare interior shows that it was likely stripped out in the past, but its elegant build, wooden floors and large windows, make for a fantastic boozer.  No room outside on this hottest of days, but with wide open doors and a pleasing draught, inside was better anyway. Beers were mainly from Camden, so back to Hells for us both. We had a couple there, and I can see us using it regularly, especially in winter, when we might be able to trust the cask.

Next up was another old London pub, the Duke of Wellington on Toynbee St, this one rather modernised, but still cosy and attractive inside. There was a little beer garden too, from which much merriment from a bunch of geezers could be heard.  No cask beer, but a huge array of mainly undistinguished keg beer, leavened by that rarest of beasts these days, Hoegaarden on tap. Probably not at its freshest, but a nice change.

Heading homewards, one last call before food. The Pride of Spitalfields needs no introduction, and we sat inside, as there was standing room only outside in the street. It really is a smashing little boozer. We also learned that only the bit directly outside the pub is allowed for drinking. Don't cross the road. We sat inside anyway, so all was well.

Near home, we nipped into the Efes Restaurant for a fine Turkish meal, washed down with a bottle of Efes Draft. The  restaurant is well recommended. The beer? Not so much.

In case you are wondering why no cask? This answer yesterday to Ben Viveur explains my logic. "In fairness Ben, a heatwave in London isn't a great time to drink cask and at the prices charged you dont want expensive dumpers." I'll wait until colder weather Folks.

Next up. A few Bermondsey tap rooms and a pub. 


ShadowHider said...

How many large widows were there Peter? :-))

Tandleman said...

We all like a large widow surely?

Paul Bailey said...

Hi Peter, I’ve been enjoying your recent series of posts about London, and they’ve acted as a reminder that a visit to the capital, is long overdue. Pivo certainly looks interesting, so I will add that to my list, especially as our trip to Czechia, originally scheduled for May 2020, has just been postponed again (for the third time!)

Good to see you back blogging, btw.

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