Suddenly I understand what Dad’s Taxi means.
First an escort for my youngest to the glitz of Covent Garden to see “An Inspector Calls” (quite brilliant, apart from the legroom) at the Playhouse last Thursday.
You may be impressed to hear that;
- My son asked if I’d like to tick off a pub before the play.
- I said No, I’ve done all the pubs in Central London. I still looked enviously at the crowds outside the Harp and the Chandos, though.
Then on Sunday, another death metal gig in rather less glamorous Kentish Town. Having invested in a packet of these,
I was then stood down in favour of another friend for the +1 ticket. Surely I’m not that embarrassing Matthew ?
So I missed out on Gojira;
No, it wouldn’t be my first choice for a night’s entertainment either, but I’m game for anything and felt slightly disappointed as even older codgers than me filed into a Sold-Out 02 Forum, where I saw Maria McKee perform a rather different type of set 25 years ago.
On the upside, I had been given another chance to introduce Matthew and his mate to the even seedier side of London, at least on my chosen walk along Regents Canal towpath rather than Camden High St. I made sure I took them past the scariest looking street art in the darkest streets. It is important that children are brought up in the grim realities of London from an early age, even if an understanding of the capital’s warm beer comes later.
Matthew isn’t happy about my taking photos in strange places, and for good reason.
On our visit to Camden last year, we’d chosen the trendy Vietnamese place near Camden Town tube; our choice in NW5 was a little earthier.
A bucket of Peri-Peri chicken and chips, scary rice and Banksy for £15 at Los Pollos. You can tell it’s London from the little chip container.
As the boys disappeared into the Forum, hoping I was invisible, I weighed my options. On a drab Sunday in NW5, the world was my Oyster Card (actually I was walking, I never use the Underground for journeys less than two miles).
Sadly, having ticked London, there was nothing obvious to do. The Prince in Wood Green was probably an obvious pre-emptive, but I wasn’t going to be able to walk there and back in two hours, even at my pace.
So I did something unusual. I revisited the two nearest Beer Guide places.
This is the archetypal North London gastropub, though still doing a decent Sunday trade at 7pm and with a clear separation of restaurant and bar.
The beer range is hardly cutting edge by Doncaster standards, let alone Dulwich, and I paused to assess what cask was being pulled through.
Not the By the Horns, unfortunately, so I followed the chap at the bar and went for the Landlord. It looked the business.
It did become progressively duller, and obviously a couple of degrees above the ideal temperature, but I’ve had much worse (NBSS 2.5).
In twenty minutes I saw one real ale poured (the Landlord), but enough Amstel, 1664 and Stowford served to a clientele that was almost exclusively young professionals aged 25-30 to keep the pub atmosphere lively. This is the real, perilous, state of cask in 2017 (yes I know it’s different in the Duke and the Admiral).
Still, an attractive pub, albeit with wobbly tables, and a soundtrack of Creedence Clearwater Revival to warm the heart.
Better was to come…