More shameless plugs for Tim’s  Ullage

London Pub No.6; by this stage BRAPA would have been on the floor arguing about Hull City fullbacks and being escorted to the door by angry locals.

But I was taking things more moderately, and mixing the halves with the half-marathon (14 miles walked on this Tuesday, including some proper London back street strolling.

Eagle successfully resisted

A first trip to Balham since the days of Youngs pubs in the Guide.  There’s a 90% chance it’s going to be an Antic, I think, and I’m right. The opening hours are the giveaway.

Tell-tale sign -4pm opening

Slightly less shabby-chic than the Antic South-east London cohort, this one looks like the bowls club was literally abandoned in 1977. Apart from the yoga flyer.


All happening here
Is that a tassled throw on that first seat

I really like it, particularly the warren of rooms and dark wood.  There’s even a good mix of folk; Old Boys reading papers, crafty beardies on the Siren, and pub virgins who haven’t got a clue what to do in a pub.  They’d better learn before Christmas.


The beer is often the weak spot in the Antic armoury, the Volden rarely convincing.

Local, anyway

It convinced here.  £3.30 for a gorgeously cool, foamy, chewy pint (NBSS 3.5+).

Oooh, spooky

A folky soundtrack, nervous 21 year olds singing the menu, pashmina Paulines asking “So how WAS last night ?”

I loved it, I really did.  And it wouldn’t be the last Antic of the month.

A tube to Old Street, a desperate search for a pub loo, then a walk to Hackney through the Big City.


These lucky folk have Cloudwater cask this week.  I must go back.

Former classic revived


No new Hackney ticks, just a low-key gig at OSLO, where our favourite itinerant American Mutual Benefit sang his gorgeous songs to about 50 folk who hadn’t done six pubs and fourteen miles that afternoon.


Anyway, enough London.  Over to Norfolk next.  Oh no.





25 thoughts on “BALHAM TO OSLO

      1. I remember school geography films in the same style from that era. Often about the remaining bits of the British Empire. They generally showed grinning subjects – who were, in reality, mounting brutally-oppressed movements for independence.

        And some folk here today bleat about “sovereignty”!

        Hey ho.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Being a lefty, I was expecting some connection between the Balham Group, the first British Trotskyists, so-called because they lived in that area of southwest London, and the Norwegian cpaital where their leader was exiled in the mid-30s.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I obviously need to get out more, as before Googling them, a short while ago, I’d never heard of Antic and their pubs.

    Am I correct in thinking they’re a slightly more upmarket version of Spoons, given their preponderance for shop and other types of conversions. I also see the chain has 45 pubs, although I don’t think Timbo needs to start worrying yet!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some folk on here will have a more informed view on Antic. I’d say they were quirkier urban versions of Brunning & Price (White Hart, Sevenoaks is B&P), appealing to affluent 20-30 somethings with good food and a fairly consistent range of local cask. Lots of distressed wallpaper, 70s furniture, nice staff. I’m amazed there’s 45, a few closed, but I’ve probably been to half of them in the GBG. Mainly South London and a few East.


      1. Martin, I’m quite familiar with the White Hart, on the edge of Sevenoaks. At one time it was the default place for senior management to “entertain” visitors from Japan (aka our directors).

        Sparklers are used indiscriminately, even for southern beers which don’t suit this sort of mis-handling. Worse are the short measures. It was the norm for a colleague and I to have to ask for a top-up.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I wouldn’t make a spoons connection, but but most are recognisable as Antic pubs, even though the venues vary from giant Victorian pubs to small quirky bars, and although a chain many are quite individual, generally quite eccentric in their decor and a reasonable range of beers, I like the concept.

      Liked by 1 person

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