Lock & Quay, Hayes, London   Leave a comment

 

Pub #1903:

I needed some stuff from a DIY store so I ran to the B&Q, Sunday.  With some time to kill before the shop closed, I popped into the Lock & Quay for a quick pint.

The beer selection was a bit bleak or, rather, yuppie-leaning so I wound up with a pint of a Brewdog IPA with some dickish name attached to it.  All the shade on the water was taken up with diners and civilised looking folk so I sat my sweaty ass in a window directly behind the jazz combo playing for our, the waterfowl’s, and the fishing enthusiasts’ pleasure.

 

 

They wrapped up a little number just as I sat down and I saw on the sheet music that the next one up was Bésame Mucho with only the bass, keyboards, and sax involved — nice!  The drummer returned and the sax man picked up his clarinet as they moved on to Groove Merchant (another perfectly copacetic piece).  If only the shower door didn’t need a seal, I could have stayed for at least one more beer.

 

Posted August 21, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in music, Pubs

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The Victoria Tavern, Plaistow, London   Leave a comment

Pub #1902:

It’s hard not to feel at home in a bar like the Victoria.  None of the dozen or so folks passing through are likely to have been hoodlums but it — and they — reminded me of a dozen or so bars back in Atlanta and St Louis where everyone had their hands in something dodgy or (in a lot of cases) were just prone to violent outbursts or actual violence.  I kind of miss that, and had the music playing over the tannoy been better I might have lingered a while; it being my first visit, I opted on the side of caution and didn’t point out that their taste in music was shit.

 

 

There were endless rounds of snooker going on and some of the guys were actually talented.  Not many, though.

 

 

One guy continually banged on about football hooliganism — he seemed quite on the ‘pro’ side of the debate especially when it comes down to “those Millwall fuckers.”  One kid pulled out a massive roll of £20 notes and peeled one-off to buy a round for the himself and the guy that just ran the rack on the billiards table.  Everyone seemed to have sinusitis.  And, the massive bulldog behind the bar was a sweetie.

 

Posted August 21, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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The Black Lion, Plaistow, London   1 comment

Pub #1901:

The Black Lion was the fourth really friendly bar I made it to on Friday (with one to go after it).  They’ve all had their own character and this bar is much more an Irish venue than anything else I’d seen on the day’s run but a grand little place, nonetheless, with a Byzantine layout that allows you find a nice snug away from other folks if that’s what you want.  I stuck to the main bar and looked around, myself, finding what must be the gayest advert for Newcastle Brown Ale, ever, tucked away on a wall near my table:

 

 

“One good round?”  Looks like one good reacharound, more like.  Not that there’s anything wrong with it.

Women seem to run the place and blokes seem to be the only customers.  The food looks awesome, both from the kitchen and at the seafood bar in the garden (but I had just filled up on eels a few minutes earlier and didn’t want to spoil my supper with a second lunch).

 

Posted August 21, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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Ginny’s Pie & Mash, Plaistow, London   3 comments

 

Finally reaching Ginny’s after some wrong turns that went surprisingly right, I thought, “mmm, stewed eels with green liquor and chilli vinegar…living the dream, I am.”

 

 

Okay, the folks at the Lord Stanley were right: there ARE better batches of eels to be had but I don’t think they prepare them fresh here every day or at all.  Mine had to be thawed then heated to order (although the green liquor was fresh and tangy since they use it on the pie and mash that the other customers were demolishing around me).  Still, my biggest mistake was only ordering the bowl of 5 (10 come for a small increase in tariff).

 

Best conversation:

Pie and Mash woman 1: “I’m popping down the baker, do you want anything?”
Pie and Mash woman 2: “I’m starving. Bring us a sausage roll.”
Me, pointing around the kitchen: “Ahem…”
Pie and Mash woman 1: “Ooo, you get tired of pie and mash all day, every day.”
Me: “Fair enough.”

 

Posted August 21, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Fish and Chips, Food

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The Lord Stanley, Plaistow, London   2 comments

Pub #1900:

On my way to Ginny’s for a late lunch (and from the Boleyn Tavern), I stopped in the Lord Stanley to see how a bar off the main roads seems.  Inside, a fellow was enjoying a beer and chatting with the landlady.  At the corner, a young girl was clamped between some headphones enjoying a glass of juice and oblivious to all around her.  I stepped out to the garden to cool off.

The dude joined me for a smoke just as the first raindrops hit my head.  I put out my hand in the sunshine and said, “it’s not supposed to rain today, is it?”  “It’s never supposed to, but it always does,” he replied then we both started laughing at his goofy wisdom.

He does some sort of salvage work, recovering decent bits from buildings being torn down, so the three of us talked a bit about architecture in town.  This turned to museums and, eventually, pubs as I was forced to explain why I had stopped obviously in the middle of a jog.  I told them where I had been earlier and about the dead pubs I had spotted and they gave me tips on the two remaining ones on my planned route and where to get a better batch of eels besides Ginny’s albeit a Tube journey to get there…”oh, you can do it next time you make a day of it out here,” she offered.  And, I will.

 

Posted August 21, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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The Boleyn Tavern, Upton Park, London   2 comments

Pub #1899:

Oh, what a grand and gorgeous house is the Boleyn Tavern!  Fucking huge, too, and may never fill completely again since they tore down the football ground behind it to move to the Olympic Stadium (and build overpriced housing).

 

 

There were, surprisingly, some decent ales to choose from and mine was spectacular.  A fetching young woman patiently attended the old (even compared to me) geezer at the corner as I stood to take a detail photograph:

 

 

“Tourist,” I explained with my standard excuse.

“Oh, then, have you seen the big room, yet?”  She directed me to a private bar lit by this remarkable ceiling window:

 

 

“That was cool!  Thank you!” I said as I returned to my beer.  We talked about the demise of the Boleyn Ground (which I hadn’t realised was already demolished).  “I guess that’ll be another set of houses I can’t afford to live in.”

She agreed, adding, “and, those that can won’t want to live in this neighbourhood.”

“Silver linings,” I said and took a sip.  When I looked back up, she and the old guy were grinning.  I think I am welcome here.

 

 

Posted August 20, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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The Abbey Arms, Plaistow, London   1 comment

Pub #1898:

My run for the day was planned out so I could hit 4 or 5 pubs and eat a few stewed eels but the first pub on my list had been converted to a betting shop.  No problem, there were two just down the street — the first of which was the Swan which was shuttered, strike two.  I crossed over to the Abbey Arms and pulled on the door…locked!  Was this strike three or just a foul tip?  Around the corner, I found a couple of fellows having an animated conversation in the doorway.

“Is the pub open?”  I asked.

The more grizzled of the two stepped aside and said, I think, “of course it is, go right in and she’ll help you,” although a casual observer might have thought he just made some growling noises akin to a dying manatee with a cactus stuck in its throat.

 

 

It is a grand bar and the few folk that passed through seemed friendly enough (and, in this neighbourhood full of religiously imposed tee totalitarianism, happy to meet a fellow drinker).  The barmaid and I commiserated over the other closed bars and the fellow I met at the door appeared to be the manager.

Worth a visit, though, and not just because it is the only game in the neighbourhood.

 

Posted August 20, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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