Attempting to buy a book, from a bookshop, in 2017 is arguably more exciting than reading it.
I spent an enjoyable half hour in the venerable Blackwells (now just a coffee shop with browsing material) and had the undivided attention of at least 3 staff. One of those vehemently denied the book had been released yet, before his colleague confirmed they’d just sold the last of their copies. And I had a title and author; I wonder how people who turn up and ask for “that book about cooking” fare.
I toyed with testing the OBB in the equally venerable Cittie of Yorke.
But it was only 10.30, so I pressed on to Covent Garden. I may complain about the beer, but the pubs are often magnificent in the heart of tourist London, and the Italian tourists swerve the cask en-route for the Peroni anyway.
Foyles managed to take even longer to conclude that “20th Century Pub” was on order and did actually exist, just not in their shop, so I cut my losses and gave up on literary London. Before you could whistle “And that’s why folk use Amazon“, I was in Goodge Street (OK, via Starbucks).
I know WhatPub says Draft House opens at 12, but I still tipped up at 11.30, looking longingly at all the early openers around.
Still, some great street art round Charlotte Street.
I’ll spare you the Marilyn/Theresa mash-up. And the fact I somehow paid £6 for a goats cheese sandwich on sourdough.
Draft House is that small chain I get mixed up with Cask, and Craft, and probably Crafty Cask if that exists next year.
I enjoyed their place in Seething Lane the other year, and this is a small, cosy place that I warmed to immediately. A pub you could recommend to tourists, whatever they were drinking.Proper tables, blokes with backpacks, Italian families, a Neil Young soundtrack and a Siren beer for £2.90.
Good beer for £2.90, too (NBSS 3). I suspect I wouldn’t have paid much less for the OBB in the Blue Posts, though frankly it was just a pleasant surprise to see a Sam’s with cask on.
I’d walked 9 miles by now, but the last tick meant a trudge back east to Old Street, home to bars called Bounce, XOYO and Sainsbury’s Local.
I didn’t know Draft House had a place here, and it was buried a bit in the Barbican-like bowels of the bower.
And it was a bit quiet for a Saturday.
But again, the welcome was genuine and the Marble Macchiato Porter was cool and rather gorgeous.
The banter count was rather less than in the Beer Guide regular a few giant leaps away, which you can work out for yourself.
So there you go. High praise for London pubs and their beer, and we’re only two weeks into the Guide year.
But as for Boak & Bailey’s book – thank goodness for Heffers in Cambridge.