Pubs are good, pubs are great. Well some are bad, but I like the good ones meself.
When it comes to shopping, the internet has changed the world a lot. No more do you need to wander aimlessly round shopping malls and high streets. Rare goods can be purchased from specialist retailers based around the world. Just click the mouse and get it delivered straight to your door.
Except you're out when the package arrives. See, there's that dreaded slip saying "Sorry we missed you!" And the delivery company only do Monday to Friday daytimes when you're at work. And their depot is in the middle of an obscure industrial estate ten miles away. And they only open 10-12 on Saturdays. And it's a nightmare to get to even if you have a car. Which you don't.
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When I lived in Ealing and wanted to go to the pub, the discussion between meself and Catherine usually went "Pub?" "Yeah. Go on then." Then we'd leave the house. Near six years in Merton and the conversation still goes "Pub?" "Yeah. Which one?"
Ealing has lots of great pubs - it's just that we always loved The Red Lion the most. There were a few scenarios where the Red Lion wouldn't do - namely if we wanted to eat out on a Sunday evening (at the time, the Red Lion didn't do food on Sunday evenings) or if we just wanted to go somewhere because we wanted a break from being a "local". But most of the time, it was the Red Lion and there was absolutely no need to talk about it.
Merton too has lots of great pubs. However we have no standout single pub that we love the most, so we end up on a conversation weighing up the various benefits and drawbacks of each of our options...
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A brewery? In Ulverston? I pondered this for a short time as my research before arriving hadn’t mentioned anything of the sort. It was then that I suddenly thought… could it be Hartley’s?
In 2000 Catherine and myself visited Dungeon Ghyll, and we’d been told by her dad that we had to pop into one of the pubs in the area - the Old Dungeon Ghyll. Back then I wasn’t that impressed. Nine years on, I was going to revisit…
It’s our final stop on the London pub tour as we arrive in Borough.
More of Capital’s top pubs - this time those in the City of London.
I couldn’t really finish this series of “10 Years in London” blog posts without talking about something I probably do most of out of all the leisure opportunities available. Go to the pub.
In the third of the series, it’s time for the community pub with a great feel to it - the Princess.
We’ve been to the Sultan - now it’s time for another real ale mecca. Swift half in the Traf anyone?
The first in a series of posts about pubs in the Merton and Colliers Wood area - in this one we visit top ale house, The Sultan.
I’m not one for political posts normally, but sometimes you just have to ask what the hell our politicians are playing at? I’m talking about you, Alistair “Pub Killer” Darling and your insane 4p rise in excise duty on beer. That is, ladies and gentlemen, a rise of 13% in tax. At a time when the cost of a pint is increasing anyway due to higher prices in materials.
Well, I have to say I’m not exactly disappointed to hear that smoking is to be banned in pubs, clubs and restaurants. Whilst I know many people will be worried about their business, if we follow Ireland and New York, things will work out all right.
So I’ve been in a pub before now where a brass band turned up playing carols, but never have I been in a pub where they brought a nonchelant sheep, a petrified looking pony and a vicar who lead an informal carol service. Well until tonight anyway!
So there I was, sat in a pub having a few pints. We left about 12:30, despite the pub opening for another 30 minutes and with me having drunk a whopping pint more than I normally would. And we managed to get home without causing one fight, and without throwing up on any pavement. Or anywhere for that matter.
Nine times out of ten, the pubs that are currently causing the problems have late licenses already. Stopping the licensing reforms won’t cause a single change to the hassles that the police have to contend with because the problem is there now and won’t change.
I don’t know what it’s like anywhere else in the country, but Merton has officially gone Trafalgar Mad. Little did we know when we arranged to meet in the Colliers Tup that we’d be there during a Trafalgar Day Party (late license to 1am, live music, and bar staff dressed in naval uniforms).
I’d rather been hoping some knight in shining armour would turn up and change the King’s Head from being a boarded up mess, to being a really nice pub again. Stranger things have happened. But it was not to be.
In the never ending quest to review pubs that sell Mild, Sunday saw Catherine and myself in The Spice of Life in Soho.
It was back in July that the Kings Head in Colliers Wood closed down - just days after change of use planning permission was given. It’s now boarded up and wire fences surround the place
Now it’s a rare person who doesn’t go on holiday and have a pint or two. And I am not one of those people. So naturally we went to the pub.
The Red Lion wins another award, I lament about the lack of London Pride round here and Young’s beer gives me headaches. Still that’s the way the cookie crumbles.
Colliers Wood’s historic Kings Head pub closed on Saturday - its mostly preserved and unique 1930s interior to suffer the indignity of becoming offices for the bus company.
When you move into a new area, it’s natural to try out the local pubs, and pretty much as soon as you stand outside you form views about the various pubs and as to whether you’d like to go in again.. So if you walked into The Sultan and just looked at it, you’d be forgiven for standing there in wonder, and instantly forgetting it. But looks can be deceptive and The Sultan doesn’t do what you might think.
Remember the 1990s. Ale pubs were the fashion - JD Wetherspoons were rising high, the Firkin pubs gave a microbrewery to many a high street and Hogshead were dispensing ale from the cask behind the bar.
Nestling in the historic buildings of Merton Abbey Mills, this is a pub with much potential, but sadly fails to deliver as much as it could.
But then maybe it’s the fact that the place looks like it hasn’t been refurbished since the 1970s doesn’t help. It’s the only Young’s pub I’ve seen that still has the company logo that was abandoned some point in the 1980s.
I’m really late with this one but last weekend, landlord of the Red Lion, Jonathan, told me they’ve won CAMRA West Middlesex Branch Pub of the Year again! Just like they did in 2003 and 2002.
Every now and then you discover a pub you’ve never been to. And for this one, I’m indebted to Ealing Online whose relentless task of reviewing pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants in Ealing, led me to the Foresters door on Sunday.
I’m not going to look back on The New Inn with rose tinted glasses. It wasn’t that great before, and now it’s been done up, it’s still not. It always was a pub that had potential but I doubt the new look will do anything to solve its problems other than burn a hole in someones pocket.
An Irish pub with no fake fiddles on the wall, real ale, no shamrocks in sight but with a great atmosphere? That must be T.J. Duffy’s!
About the ‘Mild In London’ section.
When you’re around Old Street, there is only one pub to visit. And it’s this one.
More pub reviews from Notting Hill.
it’s been about a fortnight since we last went to our local - the Red Lion in Ealing - and in our absence, it’s won another award!
A post-work drinking session in Notting Hill revealed some interesting pubs amidst the expensive houses and Hugh Grant lookalikes.
My fave pub, The Red Lion, has won CAMRA branch pub of the year for two years running! Congrats guys!
It was a very hot day. The kind of day where after work you want a nice cool pint, in a pleasantly chilled cellar bar, where there is sawdust on the floor, and the beer comes in pewter tankards…
So smoking in pubs… More people don’t smoke than do, so shuffle the smokers into a small area, or let the market decide what’s best? Either argument is simplistic and missing the bigger picture.
One of my favourite bars in Covent Garden has sadly closed, after only a year in business.
All the great beers have now gone from the Grange in Ealing. I’d go elsewhere if I was you.
A fine pub in a fine location, and by the looks of it, great for us mild fanatics as well!
It’s Good Friday, and there’s a beer festival at a pub that’s nowhere near where you live. What do you do? Well it’s obvious! Make up an excuse to be in the area!
A Swedish heavy metal bar in the heart of Soho, where they sell Garlic with everything they can.
How a pub went from dire beer to brilliant beer.
A classic pub just off Edinburgh’s Princess Street. Tiled panels depicting historical inventors, great beer and more. Fantastic!
A pub in the centre of London, full of character and history? Yes it is possible! Take a trip to the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese! Despite the name, it’s a fantastic place.