You rejoin me at Battersea Power Station tube, where I’ve ticked four Good Beer Guide pubs in two hours* and completed a lovely section of GBG pinking.

My next tick would involve either a long and complex set of journeys to Hanwell, or to Bexleyheath, neither of which appealed. I’d peaked too soon, and had a BIG GIG that night at King’s Cross.

So I slowed the pace down and settled on ticking a straggler in the North and a bit of tourism.

Yes, I jumped out at Charing Cross for the first time since that terrible day last November when pubs closed for a second time and we wondered if we’d ever be allowed out again. Great beer in the Princess of Wales that day, mind.

I actually contemplated Champagne Charlies with it’s Davy’s Wallop in pewter tankards or whatever,

before regaining sanity and doing what I’d considered a year ago and revisiting the Ship & Shovell for the first time since Badger was cutting-edge (1873, possibly).

I’d never noticed it was set on both sides of the road, with two signs, which raised all sorts of ecumenical issues for the GBG ticker. Do I need to visit both to complete the tick ? What happens if the beer is 0.5 NBSS better on the west side than the east ?

Never mind that, let’s just enjoy a Proper London Pub.

It wasn’t packed,

But it was a glorious melting pot of London life, with young folk drinking in the alley, some German tourists and a group of older mates up in The Smoke for a cultural afternoon bender. Lots of mobile phone calls about “letting the cat out for a pee” and “putting the shepherds pie in the microwavemay have been instructions to school children returning home in Barking.

As I observed before, quieter pubs aren’t great long-term but do mean bar staff have more time to chat to customers and frankly that’s a wonderful thing. 2021 is the year that London pubs came into their own.

My first pint of Tanglefoot for at least 25 years was less than £4 due to a 25% weekday deal, and was a cool, rich NBSS 3. You’d have enjoyed it, perhaps had another because the banter was good, even if it wasn’t the peak pint on your trip.

It slipped out of the Guide a few years back, and the Harp is mere minutes away, but I can’t think of a better way to waste an hour contemplating life’s big questions. Like “Did I come in THIS side or the other one back in 2001 ?”

*only halves, I’m no animal !

11 thoughts on “THE SHIP & SHOVELL – BUT WHICH ONE ?

  1. Love it in there, but when it’s packed it becomes a great setting to lose friends and colleagues coming along later
    “Hello. I’m here. Are you late?”
    “No, I’m here”
    “Well I can’t see you.”
    “[Sigh] Which one are you in?” etc

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have been to a few around Kings Cross and Fitzrovia. We had no trouble at all sitting where we wanted and no waiting to be served at the bar. But then I don’t work there anymore, so I’m not going on Thursday/Friday evenings after work.
    Bar staff were definitely more chatty though. And the Portobello Brewing beers I had in the Lord John Russell were very good.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There used to be a great Badger pub on the northern side of Hyde Park, a GBG regular when I first moved to London 30 yrs ago. It was in mews which still had stables and there were horses going past all the time. Lovely place.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tanglefoot! Haven’t had that since the 80s, didn’t know they still made it.
    There used to be a bar in Bristol called Colonel Jasper’s which served some horrid homebrew as “The Colonel’s Old Jollop” in pewter tankards. A mate and I came horribly to grief there one night. We blamed the pewter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember a pub or two in Sussex/Kent areas selling it as a premium beer in the Summer Lightning tradition in the late 90s/early 00s but you’re right, a rare sight since then. Think I’ve been to one Badger pub, near Andover, since then. Don’t know why but I assumed Marston had bought them as Ringwood has a similar feel.

      Liked by 1 person

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