A HIGH FIVE FOR HENDON

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You may need to be seated for this one. In fact, a stiff drink would help, except that drinking at home is a mortal sin that kills pub.

In the immortal words of I, Ludicrous

I had a beer I rated NBSS 5 in North West London”  (Response): Now then, now then !

In an empty pub on Monday lunchtime in a handle ”  (Response): Preposterous Tales in the life of Retired Martin !

And here is that pub, the Midland Hotel in Hendon.

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No, I don’t believe it either.

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My last pub in the Guide in North-West London. One of England’s great beer deserts once you get out of Kentish Town, rescued only by a string of Spoons (where they haven’t been sold) and the odd Fullers Heritage pub.

But of course, there’s more to life than pubs, and Hendon has a rich cultural offer to compensate for a grim time of it pub wise over the years.

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Possibly.  RAF museum to the north, Brent Cross shops below, and the intersection of all of your favourite London roads (M1, A1, A406).

I worked 8 miles north of Hendon in the ’90s and rarely felt the need to explore its hidden treasures, succumbing instead to Borehamwood and Kenton. Today I make amends.

The Midland is just over the M1 from the station, with a top view of Wem-ber-lee, but I had an hour to find something good about the borough.  It took me 5 minutes.

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The Town Hall and University sit among a string of interesting buildings on the way to this undeniable classic;

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9 miles from Athenry, apparently

Too early (for me) for a Guinness at the Claddagh Ring, and too late for the sadly departed Chequers.

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The Chequers and Young’s Greyhound are the only pubs I know in the gorgeous corner round St Mary’s Church, now seemingly bereft of its local history museum.

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I really should have stopped in the reliable Greyhound to test Boak & Bailey’s claims for the new, improved Young’s Ordinary, but a Pub Ticker has to be disciplined.

Along Church Road for the culinary highlight of my trip.

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Hendon Bagel Bakery isn’t quite as cheap as a certain outlet in E1, but the smoked salmon in my bagel was caught fresh in the River Brent that morning, apparently.

The main shopping strip along Brent Street has enough basic cafes for any connoisseur, but a dearth of pubs. Plenty of micro pub potential in the closed units, but North London lags way behind the South-east of the capital in the micro stakes.

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And then, another gem of modern architecture at Sentinel Square, which really deserves a home somewhere that would love it (like Stoke).

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As every CAMRA Branch magazine article would say at this point (having walked about half a mile)

By now, I had walked up a thirst

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Entering an apparently empty pub at noon, I feared a practical joke by those wags at Enfield & Barnet CAMRA.

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No sign of the landlord, or the real ale mecca promised on WhatPub, just a sad lonely handpump.

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Hallelujah !

A man in a waistcoat then appeared from behind a curtain, just like in the Wizard of Oz.

Just a half of Hophead please

A half?  I’m not sure we’ve got any half pint glasses

A long search then ensued, testing all the spirit glasses and tea cups for suitability, before admitting defeat and approximating measuring a half into a pint pot.

No-one’s ever asked for a half before”   Can that be true ?

I found a seat by the window.

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And enjoyed the beer of the year, to a soundtrack of Sky News.

Cellar cool, full and rich, stunning. What magic could he work with a good beer, I wondered.

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A half. Honest.

Some odd people came in and fussed about parking, another chap wandered in with dustpan and brush, and I wondered how much use the posh coffee machine got.

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Your beer is superb”  I said, like a fanboy.

Your good health” he replied.

 

I’ll probably score it NBSS 4.5, so Enfield & Barnet CAMRA don’t discount it as an outlying score. But truly, it was a 5.

 

 

38 thoughts on “A HIGH FIVE FOR HENDON

  1. On CAMRA Staggers we’ve sometimes found pubs struggling to find half-pint glasses, and sometimes serving us “halves” in unstamped soft drink and hi-ball glasses. Is drinking halves really that rare now?

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      1. I didn’t think so, either, in fact I see a fair amount of branded half pint glasses (e.g, for Doom Bar). Clearly your “working men’s local” will be mostly pint drinkers, but making half last l afternoon isn’t dead yet !

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  2. I agree with that it is down to the pub and how the beer is kept.
    I had a sublime half of Doom Bar in the Brewers Arms in Clayworth in North Nottinghamshire on the 12th November 2016.

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    1. Most people won’t believe you, Alan, but then most people go in 1% of the pubs that you do. I’ve had very good Doom Bar on occasion in the Fens, and beer quality around Retford is very consistent.

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      1. I don’t believe it’s any different to what it was. Still brewed in Rock (for pubs, anyway), but your impressions of it may be different drinking it in Watford compared to Padstow !

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      2. For many years, as a family, we took a house in Rock every spring (on the beach at Porthilly Cove if you’re interested). There was a little brewery in a light industrial unit and their beers were excellent, they are a mass produced shadow of what I remember. Best Pub in Rock? The local club (behind the garage), brilliant, always a warm welcome and a decent snooker table too!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. What about women who drink beer,most drink halfs so there should be plenty of half pint glasses even in working class pubs,our local The Midland is pretty working class and always have plenty of half pint glasses.
    When i go out with my wife i nearly always ask for a pint and a half,how many other couples ask for the same if they like beer or lager,i bet loads.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What pub are you missing in St Margarets,Martin,
    I did some pubs there on the 13th December 2003 and returned on the 26th November 2005 to mop up ones i had not done.

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