Another London Sunday night gig, another attempt to find nice things to say about N1.
Having just completed the capital’s Beer Guide quota for 2017 (not all in one night), and with no obvious pre-emptives, I had a rare evening not dictated by The Book. So I rambled aimlessly for an hour or two round Barnsbury and Holloway, making sure I stayed well clear of Wengerville.
The first thing to say is that the developments behind King’s Cross (i.e. Google +) are starting to look as impressive as the station itself. This was a no-go area 20 years ago, meaning a lot of pre-train pints in the unspeakable Duke of York, but now you can feel safe to negotiate the streets from York Way and onto Caledonia Road. No GBG pubs round here, but the Thornhill looked inviting, particularly with its promise of a single real ale.
Caledonian Road is no Kingsland Road (there’s no board games café yet), but there’s plenty of African food and decent street art, as well as five a side pitches and a prison. All you need to make a decent village if you ask me.
You’ll see below it wasn’t heaving at 6pm on Sunday, but that’s just after the Sunday lunch brigade in N1 have made their sole visit to a pub for the week.
You’ll also see above the extent of the craft ambitions, and if I tell you that the other cask (Watneys) was apparently “Coming Soon” you might wonder where this pub was aimed, with just the single West Berks beer on show.
A soundtrack of James Brown competed with that England match on silent, which meant the staff suddenly went “ooh” for no apparent reason when Lithuania won a corner.
On to Scala for the final night of Fortuna Pop at the majestic Scala.
The music, four slice of power pop topped off by Martha, of whom I have spoken before, and who never let me down. Blokes even older than me in Hawaiian shirts and Husker Du jackets mixed with young folk who drank cans of Carling, Red Stripe and Strongbow from the bar as if BrewDog hadn’t saved beer a decade ago.
But, to be honest, the night was made by the DJ who wrought magic from the Scala sound system on a track I haven’t played at that volume for 35 years. Bless you, mate, for playing the 7″ version.