Suddenly, the whole world has discovered London, a fast growing town 200 miles south of Manchester.
First, BRAPA explores the so-called “hipster quarter” (well, the Tand, Quinno, Doris and I were there recently)
and then Pubmeister finds some reassuringly disappointing cask in the village centre.
So why all this attention for a hitherto unremarkable Home Counties town ?
Well, unlike the North, it seems to have a rail network that works, and a recent building spurt means there’s now some decent modern architecture to admire.
The annual Beer Guide walk down Gray’s Inn Road into the heart of the City, which suddenly brings to mind the Whitesnake classic, is one of the joys of early retirement. Much as I love Manchester and its pubs, little can rival the joy of an aimless amble into Holborn and St Pauls.
The route takes me past 77 places selling wraps, and 23 “theatres of coffee“, one of which (Workshop) charged £3.50 for a filter. And was worth it.
96% of Londoners are clearly now driven by a chip in their brain controlled by a phone, which makes them walk extra slowly. Some exposure to the walking culture in Singapore or Brescia might speed them up.
Last year, one of the paltry number of new entries in the City was a Spoons that had already closed when I got there. Would the Cannon Street Spoons survive the first week of GBG glory ?
Yes indeed. A tiny Spoons, serving the underground station, and therefore getting the genuine London worker trade rather than the suits and tourists. It made the Windmill at Stansted look like a palace.
Inside, a hotch-potch of folks with suitcases and skiving insurance salesmen.
So. Why is it in the Beer Guide this year ?
My effective beer choice, ignoring the clips turned to an angle to indicate “just for show” seemed to be IPA, Pride and Doom. BBB heaven, in fact.
It’s not the Cittie of Yorke or the Olde Mitre, is it ? Nonetheless, the first sip of Pride was cool, foamy and a throwback to the Fullers of the ’90s. I marked a “4” on my notepad.
Some good but unrepeatable banter, the thrill of seeing trains depart for Slade Green, wherever that is, and a top pint at 11am. Life is good.
Sadly, by the end of the glass it had lost a bit of life, mirroring my Werrington experience. So on average, a still respectable 3.5.
The sharp whistle signalled my time to depart and beat the crowds in the rush to Shoreditch, resisting the temptation to whittle down my Spoons vouchers further in Liverpool St. September is the month for GBG ticking discipline.