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.

Near the Old Bailey

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.

Not much happening here

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.

Yet another bit of undiscovered London
Future micro
Probably a future Brewhouse & Kitchen

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 ?

Attractive exterior to Spoons

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.

Fluorescent jacket always a good sign

Inside, a hotch-potch of folks with suitcases and skiving insurance salesmen.

Man confused by ale choice

So. Why is it in the Beer Guide this year ?

Pump clips turned to45 degrees to indicate “off”

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.

I was still asked how I was paying !

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.

Tube workers wait for Large English Breakfast

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.


*Conditions apply




  1. It’s probably because of its reputation for “drinking well” this morning / this lunchtime / this afternoon / this evening but I’ve noticed that London Pride commands a premium price, here a guinea more than Greene King IPA and ten bob more than Hopportunity Knocks.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. But if that’s what customers will pay for their beer and their food can you blame Fullers for charging that, especially as it all helps them expand their tied estate ?

        Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s an element of branding/rarity to it, but GK and Marstons have national distribution for their own pubs, so can supply direct to the likes of Enterprise and Spoons, whereas TT and Fuller’s don’t distribute directly outside their home area, which means a middleman is taking his cut.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Those prices look exactly the same as in the Lord Moon of the Mall not three months ago but maybe Whitehall has the same higher prices as “on-station Spoons”.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. In Fullers’s Victoria near Paddington earlier this month I paid £ 4.65 for my first pint of ESB then £3.95 for my second pint after I realised there was a 15% ( 14/- ) CAMRA discount.
      Then in their Doric Arch I paid £3.91 for ESB which would have been £4.60 without the discount.


      1. This got me thinking when was the last time I remembered how much a pint of beer cost and do you know the truth is I don’t know.
        I mean,ever.
        In nearly five decades of boozing and many thousands of pints I can’t recall how much any of them cost.
        For as long as I can remember I just put a ten or twenty spot on the bar in front of me and invite the barman to take whatever the pint costs.
        If I don’t have a note I just hand over a palm full of coins.
        Or sometimes I just put notes and coins in a pile and they help themselves.
        I’ve drank pints of stout in my local for 20 years and to this day I couldn’t tell you exactly how much each of my four pints cost tonight.It was either €4.30 or €4.40.I genuinely don’t know.The Beamish is cheaper than the Murphys and I had both but I’m blowed if I could tell you the difference.
        Bloody hell.Even I think that’s a bit bizarre.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I find that impressive, Prof. To be honest I only know the price of a Sam Smiths OBB outside London (2 quid) and Spoons at least stick the price on the clip. Other than that I forget.

        More importantly, you get Beamish ? Assumed that was dead, haven’t seen it (or Murphys) for years.


      3. Murphy’s,Beamish and Guinness are all on sale in my local and that’s the order of my preference.
        Guinness is by far the least interesting of the three.
        In the summer I often switch to Indian Summer,a reasonably drinkable grapefruit juice brewed by a local craft brewery.
        I’m very lucky that the new(ish) guvnor is passionate about the quality of his pint which,even though almost all sold in Ireland is keg,can vary from pub to pub.
        Kegs are permanently stored in a chilled cold room and he replaces all glasses every six months,washes every dirty one by hand every time BEFORE putting through the glass washer.
        His trade has doubled in the three years he’s had the place and is becoming popular with the younger crowd who even though they drink Heineken appreciate that it’s not served flat in a scummy glass.
        Running a good pub ain’t rocket science.


  2. And some of us non-native Londoners know to check out the even more classic Bobby “Blue” Bland original.

    Looking forward to reading about your forthcoming visits to our new micropub entries out here in the west.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Near the Old Bailey”

    That ‘thing’ on the right looks like a giant bloody bookcase.

    “Not much happening here”

    Course not. Too much bloody traffic. 😉

    “Future micro”

    Too big. 🙂

    “Fluorescent jacket always a good sign”

    The interior equivalent of a mobility scooter. 🙂

    “I was still asked how I was paying !”

    Now, now. Some places need to know whether it’s debit or credit. 🙂

    “Tube workers wait for Large English Breakfast”

    There’s a joke in there somewhere. 😉

    “Life is good.”

    If there’s beer; that’s clear. 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

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