For those of you wondering about a report on the pub crawl with Roger Protz, all I can say is that I hope to have it done before Manchester United goal difference returns to a positive. Better off reading Richard’s report and squinting at the photos of me.

After Donny I was off to Paddington, which is probably twinned with Doncaster in an alternative universe drawn by Stan Lee (thanks for the memories, Stan).

Simon has been here already this GBG season, but this was my first trip to the oddly defined area of Little Venice for a decade or more.

My excitement was a bit misplaced.

The spire of St Saviours the highlight

Little Venice.PNG

It’s just a posh bit of W1 with mums nannies pushing £750 pushchairs away from a school called Little Sweethearts. I kid you not.

The canal is a bit of a letdown if you’ve ever been to the real Venice (the one in Birmingham).

It’s not all that
Oh look a boat

But you have to remember that Londoners have never seen the treasures of the north, and are easily excited by a sliver of water or a small bump in the ground.

The excitement peaked with the news of the return of the local pub cat.

The ultimate fashion accessory for every Londoner – a Found Cat

I vaguely remember the cat disappearing when Simon visited the month before; sensible cat.

I presume folk also get animated by the sight of a handpump or two in an unlikely looking theatre bar.

Nice trees

As that’s the only reason I can give for pubs like the Bridge House making the Guide.

How did it disappoint me ? Let me count the ways.

For starters, what sort of pub sign is that ?

Worse than Greene King

Next, where do I start with the green sofa and frilly cushions ?

And a pouffe !

On the bar there’s the obligatory London tip box, and the pretence of Bass on handpumps selling Purity and Doom Bar.

Possibly the worst view possible

Not going well, is it ?

The Tim Taylor (£5.10 a pint, of course) was served in a way that was bored, rather than disinterested.  I suspect I was the only customer that afternoon.

Light jazz accompanied my solo sipping of a dead half of Landlord, the first warm beer of Winter.  Not quite bad enough to take back, sadly (NBSS 2).

Here’s a Black & White shot to make it look interesting.


But the Bass mirrors, probably produced by the million in a factory in Gdansk, were a redeeming feature.


Phew.  Bet you thought I was going soft on London, didn’t you ?

It gets better.  A bit.

25 thoughts on “DEATH IN LITTLE VENICE

    1. The Bass mirror warrants further investigation by ask expert, it doesn’t feel right to me: Bass & Cos? Paler and Burton Ales – surely all the Bass ales of the time were Burton ales and wasn’t Burton famous for their pale ales. I’m going for e-bay circa 2005.

      And I’ve told you before never to drink Taylor’s landlord, except in a verified quality Landlord pub.


      1. Yes, that one does look a bit dodgy and especially the frame.
        Pale and Burton were though two styles of beer long before our time, and maybe still are.


      2. What we need is Mirror Marque.
        Now we’re retired we could spend our spare time getting round hundreds of pubs and only presenting Mirror Marque certificates and window stickers to those pubs with proper over-a-hundred-year-old Bass mirrors.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. A common trap for the unitiated. Burton Ales were a specific style of ales from Burton, in fact the style on which Burton built its reputation before all that IPA nonsense became fashionable. They were sweetish and bitter and typically 5-6% – about the only examples left are Owd Roger and Young’s Winter Warmer (known as Young’s Burton until 1971). The BJCP have just recognised it as a style :

        It’s amazing how they’ve redeveloped that area behind Paddington – it’s somewhat notable for the quirky footbridges over the canal – look up the Rolling Bridge (which curls up) and the Fan Bridge.


      1. I think that my Yorkshire village local is barking up completely the wrong tree with its sport-and-pizza emphasis. I’ll recommend the décor and furnishings above, along with the light jazz as a template.

        All the local, well-heeled, latter-day blue rinses would love it.

        My late mum had a pouffé, but she always emphasised the past-participle, acute-accented final vowel.


  1. “with mums nannies pushing £750 pushchairs away from a school called Little Sweethearts.”

    Yikes! My eldest and his dear wife are expecting their first child (and our first grandchild) in mid-Feb. We’ve offered to buy the stroller or pushchair. I hope to god they don’t pick out one that costs that much!

    “The canal is a bit of a letdown if you’ve ever been to the real Venice (the one in Birmingham).”

    Been to the real one. Apparently it stunk to high heaven during the summer. Also been to the ‘Venice of the North’… Amsterdam. I like it more, partly for how they lit they place up in various areas with red lights around the windows. 😉

    “But you have to remember that Londoners have never seen the treasures of the north, and are easily excited by a sliver of water or a small bump in the ground.”

    Bump in the ground… (chuckle).

    “Nice trees”

    A bit exotic for the UK some of those.

    “Next, where do I start with the green sofa and frilly cushions ?”

    Um, by ignoring it. 🙂

    “And a pouffe !”

    Can we still say that in these enlightened times?

    “(£5.10 a pint, of course)”

    Location, location, location. 😉


    The lacings are atrocious.

    “It gets better. A bit.”

    I shall restrain myself till then.


    PS – With regards to cats; did you know they rule the world? Check out an overlay on a map of the world:


  2. “What sort of pub sign is that ?”
    One that Punch have used a lot near me such as “SB” for Spittal Brook and “SH” for Saracens Head – but the Bridge House is I think Mitchells and Butlers not Punch.
    I was in the very nearby Windsor Castle four months ago.


      1. Yes, apologies for my carelessness.
        But why when they’re building two towns with castles did they have to give them both seven letter names beginning with W.
        Next they will be establishing a Windsor University three miles from a railway station.


  3. I’ve used the Bridge House a couple of times in the past before catching trains at Paddington Station and found the beer decent and the atmosphere friendly and relaxed, but that was on weekend afternoons. It’s probably not at its best in the week, unless there’s a performance going on in the theatre upstairs, but, as you say, it does seem an odd pick for the GBG.


    1. Interesting. Simon just said his pint was decent, too. Must be really hard for branches judging beer consistency when they go on the weekend and it’s decent. Perhaps all pubs should just open Fri – Sun, like those micros do 😉


  4. I once walked from Camden Town to Lords cricket ground along the canal, so didn’t quite reach this bit. All the same, it was pretty interesting.

    I’ll just give a mention to Bruges, the other “Venice Of The North”. Well worth a visit from the beer angle it is too, and from many others. Take your mosquito repellant, friends.

    “Dank u wel”, did I hear in the distance?

    Liked by 1 person

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