Barely back from Burton an hour, we had to shoot off to Shoreditch for the End of the Road Christmas show.  This is typically a tiny show in a new east London club venue with decent sound; last year’s gig at Oslo had the best sound and most overpriced beer of the year.

The last few weeks have seen me and London get on famously; decent beer in the south and west of the second city and street art to rival Nuneaton. Hackney tops the lot.


I still get a bit lost with the boundaries of Hackney/Hoxton/Shoreditch, but no more than the Beer Guide’s famously fluid geography.  Basically, Mrs RM parked us here;


An Arsenal supporting mate of mine used to run this before returning to Baggieland, which always confuses me.  Despite the old-style Greene King sign, I hear it’s gone craft now.  Haven’t we all.

The transformation of  the mile from the Albion to Old Street is startling, with no-go streets like Hackney Road (A1208) packed with tiny restaurants.  A bit like Stockholm’s western suburbs, with beer prices to match. The downside of all this change is, of course, the impact on the cheap and cheerful Asian places; Bethnal Green Road has lost at least one great cheap Chinese place.

My lone GBG tick, the King’s Arms on the way to Shoreditch is one of the best craft beer places I’ve been to round here. It reminds me of Highgate’s Duke’s Head in terms of focus on quality craft, which I guess is recommendation enough.

The bad news first.  It’s very dark inside.


There’s no pumpclips,  which is fine, but I couldn’t read the back board either.  Which again was fine, as the beer I wanted appeared to be listed on a sheet of paper on the bar anyway.  Sometime I feel very old. I’m not alone, as these reviews show. It looks great without people in it (joking).

Image result for kings arms bethnal green

It was also very loud, and I ended up getting Mrs RM a tonic water rather than a soda. Don’t judge me, as you know I have no idea about drinks other than beer. The beardy chap next to me showed much interest in this, he’d never met anyone who just drank tonic water before.  Why is this so odd anyway ?

Possibly because it’s not a burger joint, I liked the King’s Arms enough to want to go back, though perhaps not when I finally get my Dad up here for the Columbia Road Flower Market. He wouldn’t appreciate the spiced porter as much as I did (NBSS 4).

Kamio is a standard club venue, with a garden my Dad would be impressed for, and a less than stellar beer range being enjoyed by the usual mixed crowd of Fjallraven Kanken rucksack wearers talking over the music.


A choice of Pistonhead, Sierra Nevada, and Grolsch, the perfect accompaniment for the disco soundtrack  of Hall & Oates and Bowie. We passed on both.

Two slices of power pop tonight from Girl Ray and Bill Ryder-Jones, who finished with a joint version of “Fairytale of New York” that would even make a curmudgeon like me Christmassy. Thankfully it didn’t last long; they were playing “Marquee Moon” on the way out.


  1. The volume issue seems to get worse and worse. In England it is not the big problem we have in the US where you absolutely cannot hear in most pubs\bars. It does seem like over the last ten years or so English pubs have gotten louder based on our limited sampling. Luckily though the pubs are small and have low ceilings. These two things limit the volume a bit. I get that age plays a part, but I don’t see why people should have to shout to hear one another. It always takes a while to adjust to English pubs with no music. You realize how nice it is to converse in a normal volume.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The first pub pictured the Old Blue Last is one of the weirdest pubs i have done with my wife,we went in it on 21st August 2008 one large room all tables and chairs painted in pastel shades and cabbages on all tables which freaked us out a bit.
    Pub number two pictured was called the Duke of Sussex when we did way back on the 21st November 1987 while doing a crawl round Bethnal Green prior to a Forest game at West Ham,the pub was a Shepheard Neame tied house and very cosy and comfortable inside on a cold day,the Master Brew went down a treat.
    Bethnal Green was packed with pubs then so we had to pick which ones we fancied at the time,most now gone for good,what a shame!


  3. Greene King in London seem to be trying to cover all the options. When last at Euston I popped into a GK pub across the road, which, as well as an uninspiring choice of own cask, had Camden Pale and Hells, and Portobello, on keg.
    The Camden brands are also on the GK free trade list along with GK’s ” craft beer academy”, which is apparently an experimental setup. I’ve tried a couple of samples; quite a nice 3.8% IPA ( which was overpriced) and a black IPA which didn’t really work IMHO.


    1. Curious about your “didn’t really work” comment. As a style or this particular beer? They are quite the craze over here as craft brewers try to do more with IPAs. I have my own thoughts curious about yours.


    2. t’s tempting to assume that the bi PubCos must know what they’re doing, putting a choice of 20 kegs and casks on the bar, but history suggests otherwise.

      I haven’t noticed the GK experimental stuff myself; my assumption is that turnover would be so low that the beers will taste dull, whatever their inherent qualities.


  4. Dave, the black IPA was 6% but curiously soft and lacking in character, body or flavour.
    Martin, the “craft academy ” products were samples from GK, four in total. I believe they are going out in keg initially.
    GK have been marketing a number of short run keg “craft” products this year, under the GK and Belhaven names, all in 30L kegs. There was an interesting 5.6% (I think) IPA called Belhaven Twisted Thistle but nothing much else that caught the eye.


    1. 20 years ago, GK made some stunning seasonal beers (Black Baron and Devil Eyes, plus the 1799 special), which would impress now. The can brew good beer.

      Our local GK music/student venue (Portland) has a fair few Belhaven beers on keg and can.


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