Regular readers will know my opinions on the area known in the Beer Guide as North-West London, or “most of Middlesex” to you and me. Flat, intermittently interesting and short of great pubs (never mind beer), with a few exceptions.
Back in the ’90s my job took me to such exotic locations as Eastcote, Neasden and Greenford. I’ve checked my ’70s vinyl and failed to find any songs in homage to them, with one exception.
To be fair, there really aren’t that many GBG pubs for a vast population once you get west of Highgate, so it’s hardly as if West Middlesex’s CAMRA branch(es) are taking up an allocation that central Manchester ought to have.
Only two new entries out here is par for the course, and give a chance to see new bits of the world’s greatest city*.
Harrow Borough has typically had only its collection of early Spoons, and the odd Fullers pub, in the Guide. Therefore the Hare & Hounds, a fun walk under the Western Avenue from Northolt Station, is a rare proper Guide pub for the area, and an even rarer Marston’s pub without a “2-for-1” dining offer.
At 11am it already had a fair few professional drinkers (you’ll know what I mean by that if you’re daft enough to visit pubs at Christmas). Do they let regulars in early ? Anyway, they were drinking the real ale, which no doubt helped maintain quality of the sort of beer range I like.
Pedigree (NBSS 3.5) and a Jennings guest, a range of proper seating, chatty locals, and Test cricket on the telly. Though not much of a test for India to be fair.
Well done West Middlesex CAMRA for finding this gem.
The other newbie in the area, the inevitable Spoons, is a few feet outside the Harrow postcodes into North London Branch. Kingsbury at least, on a startlingly clear day, has some attractions.
I do like the original Spoons, before they started naming them after posh folk. JJ Moons is of 1988 vintage (ground level toilets !), but is holding up well. Goodness knows what folk round here would do if it ever closed. I brought the average age of customers down a few months, to about 65.
Kingsbury is what is often called a cultural melting pot (see White Lion, Walsall), and that was fully reflected here. I didn’t understand a word of the banter, probably a good thing. Simon can make up what he likes here.
I presume Beer Guide status reflects managerial interest in a range extending beyong Abbot, Doom and “Collaboration Beer“. Rashly, I asked the nice man for Bingham’s Summit Simcoe, rather than which one was selling fastest. As I’m sure you can tell from the photo above, I needn’t have worried about my £1.55 investment.
This was crystal clear and tasty, a beer to sip, and a worthy NBSS 3.5 at least. If I was a beer bore I’d tell you it tasted like the Mallinsons Simcoe beer I had this year, but I’m not.
Kingsbury itself is indistinguishable from every other suburb just off the A1 round here, which does mean a decent leafy parade of shops, full of proper fruit and veg, and a pretty wonderful veggy Indian Buffet (Rose Vegetarian). Almost as good as the dosas in Wembley.
*I had my fingers crossed when I wrote that.