I’m unimpressed by media alarmists (that’s all of them) telling old folk that our town centres are no-go areas and they should stay at home on a Saturday watching “Strictly” with a bottle of imported booze. They should get down the pub and watch English eccentrics with a pint of English beer.
In the last year I’ve seen noted hot-spots such as Manchester, Barnsley, Nuneaton and Cambridge after 11pm and they’ve all been oases of calm, unless you get offended by men in fairy outfits.
On Friday night I took my 15 year old to Camden Roundhouse for an evening of thrash metal, in its purist and melodic variants. And yes, there was a pub on the walk from King’s Cross to tick off.
The Constitution is, by anyone’s definition, a plain and efficient pub without tourist or gastro pretensions. Clearly Camden needs proper community pubs like this where blokes in caps can drink lager and play pool while listening to proper London tunes like “Golden Skans” and “Chelsea Dagger, and pretending the world stops at Muswell Hill.
Few were drinking the real ale (Sambrook, Hophead, XT), and the Junction was uninspiring (NBSS 2.5). Clearly they need another ten handpumps on to improve quality.
And that’s it pretty much it for Camden. No Quinn’s, no Black Heart (keg), no Prince Albert, though that one looked absolutely gorgeous as night fell.
I would have Tapped the Admiral, but Matt chose a pre-gig Vietnamese supper on Camden Road that almost sold Camden to me. The street art sealed the deal.
A year ago on a walk up to the excellent Duke’s Head I’d thought the area round the market a bit staid; this time I warmed to it. The shop-fronts really are something else; goodness knows what a 15 year old makes of it all.
Matt was fed up with my photography by the time we got to the Roundhouse, where a succession of leather jacketed metalheads were finishing their cans. A small sample, but Punk IPA is clearly the new Becks in Camden.
Inside the Roundhouse the choice wasn’t as good as those cans; unnamed lager and Adnams East Coast IPA. I gave those a miss.
Reviewing Testament and Amon Amarth is a bit pointless, but they do what they do extremely well. Play the video at full volume if you want a flavour of the headliner. Thrash metal is certainly an immersive experience, though I’ve heard louder bands (Gary Numan, Cambridge Corn Exchange, 1987).
We walked back to Kings Cross at 11. It could have been Tunbridge Wells High Street at midday. A no-go area only for Beer Guiders.