The No.44 dropped off us off at Tooting Broadway, allowing us half a mile walk along one of London’s most calorific streets. Yet another place Mrs RM has worked (St Georges) though she claimed to have resisted the lure of the barfi in Nirala back then.
Asian sweets and cake shops all the way up to the King’s Head, Tooting’s National inventory gem.
I’m getting soft, this was another non-GBG choice of Mrs RM (I’d been before), chosen purely because “It looks nice“. It might have, before Greene King’s desecration with Christmas tat. A crowd of “rugby” blokes didn’t improve the atmosphere either. Another feature of pubs round here is how homogenised the crowd are, far from the cultural melting pot on the High Street. Kennington all over again.
Far too many handpumps on the bar, as is the Greene King way, but luckily the Punk IPA was on hand. GK really could give up on brewing and just serve BrewDog, so few pints of their own beer do I see pulled. I believe one commentator has made that point before.
Our real destination was the Wheatsheaf, another pub whose design will look familiar to anyone familiar with the gastropub works of Dulwich, and whose beer range also has a certain inevitability. Beer from By the Horns was OK, but well over the £4 mark.
It was here Mrs RM made the rather touching remark “I hope we’re still going to pubs and drinking pints when we’re as old as them“.
And that’s the best thing I can say about it; a wide range of customers enjoying a buzzy pub on a Saturday afternoon.
Five minutes on the Northern Line to Clapham Common, and not a bad mix in The King & Co either. It’s a cosy place that doesn’t quite match the beer quality of Craft Beer Co, but not much does. Another Antic sell-off, it is hard keeping up with all this change.
No, I couldn’t bring myself to go for Burslem’s finest, but I’m in Stoke on Tuesday night and will remedy that error of judgement. Incredible Pale Ale was a solid NBSS 3, but I wish we’d gone keg. How many times can you say that before you’re kicked out of CAMRA ?
And so to the last Beer Guide tick in South West London, and one of the strangest places in the whole Guide. It resembles the amusement arcade at Clacton Pier twinned with a psychedelic Frankie & Benny’s on disco night, which is a pub trend not yet seen in Ilkeston.
An undeniable experience, expertly designed to make me feel very old. Mrs RM didn’t take to the pint of homebrew that tasted like homebrew (NBSS 2.5), and dispatched me off to the gin bar which removed £10.45 from my Classic account for the glass below. You read that right. Mrs RM owes me big-time. If you want gin go to Knutsford.
I was deeply unsatisfied to end SW London on that note, so raced up the stairs at Victoria’s Bar Ca while Mrs RM searched for chocolate/loo stop. Quite why Spoons named it after our Catalonia friends, I’ve no idea.
This place may make the Parcel Yard look like the Cittie of Yorke, but Arkell’s Christmas beer was the star of the day (NBSS 4), downed vertically in three satisfying minutes. I’ve always thought Arkell’s a decent family brewer in need of competent cellarman; this was the proof. Shame Spoons only stock the seasonals now, not the core range.
Inevitably, we finished off at Wong Kei, surrounded by rugby bores complaining about how service isn’t as rude as it used to be. Fantastic cheap Chinese food though, just as it was when Mrs RM first took me there 25 years ago.