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).
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.