Archive for the ‘Pubs’ Category

Ferry House, Isle of Dogs, London   Leave a comment

The Ferry House, which claims to be the oldest pub on the Isle of Dogs, is a scant 50 meters from the Lord Nelson which provided me with a pint as I reached the pub in the midst of the 2012 London Marathon.  The crowds would have blocked all view of this little side street at that time but by then I was in no condition to make notes on future pub stops.

On this run, I found the house inhabited only by one old punter, an affable barmaid, and eventually the Irish landlord.  Oh, and a host of ceramic dogs guarding access to the stairwell.

 

 

A discussion of gin broke out or, rather, a discussion of how doomed “this gin craze” is.  “Its days are few, now, I tell you,” intoned the publican.

“What’s next them?” followed up the barmaid.
“Only the Lord knows. Probably vodka, since there’s not a hair’s difference between them,” he snarked.  “Hipsters will grab on to anything.”

Glancing at the bar, she suggested a comparison of Smirnoff and Grey Goose. “Try the Goose before the Smirnoff or even the other way around and you’ll see there’s a difference.”

“It’s true,” I interrupted. “Good vodka ice-cold is a wonderful thing.”
They both looked incredulous. “Surely you’re not suggesting it straight.”
“Oh, yes. It would be a sin to mix fine spirits with anything other than other fine spirits or maybe a little water.”
“But…but, VODKA?”

I told them about Arpad, the then Hungarian master of the University of Arizona Mass Spec Facility when I worked out there. I would park in his driveway during runs in the North Tucson hills and then try to get out before he awoke because, if he spotted the car, he would greet me on my return with a “Hungarian shot” of vodka (essentially four fluid ounces, served straight from the freezer in a water glass and taken in one go).

“Why would he do that, then?”
“Tradition.  And, he thought it would be rude not to. Mind you, it made the morning drive back to my neighbourhood a little more relaxing.”
Morning? Why didn’t you refuse?”
“That would have been rude, too.”

They returned to their conversation without me and probably didn’t hear me ask, “now, what about that comparison test?”

Posted June 25, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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Ledger Building, Canary Wharf, London   Leave a comment

I was running, so I passed four lads in suits and was at the bar in the Ledger Building well before them.  The waitress (I won’t insult bartenders by calling her one) looked past me and asked what these jackoffs wanted.  ‘S alright, she’s looking for a husband;  unfortunately for her, this lot isn’t shopping at a Wetherspoons.

 

 

A professional tender showed up and took my order.
“A lot of bankers in here,” I proposed.
“Well, yes. It’s a banking centre.”
“I’m bery sorry,” I apologized. “I have a sbeech imbediment. Bhat I bas trying to say bas there seem to be a lot of BANKers here.” I looked at the guys and did the obligatory shaking hand gesture.

“Oh. Yes. Of course. You really can’t rid yourself of them, though,” he replied.

 

 

I liked the crafts shop light fixtures and my beer (Head, from Otter) was good. Overpriced for a Wetherspoons, but probably still half priced for the neighbourhood. Dickheads.

 

Posted June 24, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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The Hendon, Hendon, London   Leave a comment

 

After tracking down my 2nd Edward VIII postbox (should’ve been my 3rd, but for a faulty list), I had a half hour to spare before heading home and nipped into the Hendon to put on some long trousers and sip a tall industrial cider (Strongbow).

 

 

The Hendon is a giant estate pub on a road that really outgrew itself as London spread into the Northern suburbs. But, it still has the feel of a local and fills what would be underused space with 4 pool tables. These were crowded with duffers slapping the balls haphazardly around the velvet. There was one competent user, an 18-year-old with a large rack — and if anyone would point this out to her she could use her skills and architecture to get rich of these slobs insulting billiards and abusing their cues.

 

 

 

After awhile, I noticed the Arabic (or maybe Israeli) pop music in the background which seemed oddly appropriate. This seems a really decent house for a Meet ‘n’ Eat. And, if the adverts in the loo are any indication, they are concerned with your health and well-being. Mind you, I’ve only ever had blood in my urine after being beaten with a pool cue but maybe other causes are more prevalent around these parts.

 

 

 

Vandalism seems rife here, too.

 

 

Posted June 19, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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Greyhound, Hendon, London   1 comment

The run continued and I eventually found pub #3 planned for the day, the Greyhound on the north edge of Middlesex University. The street was quiet and shaded by large trees and the neighbourhood seemed almost rural. I had high expectations.

 

 

 

I ordered a Rosie’s Cider. “We’re out of that,” said the barmaid despite the pump clip pointing out to the world.
“How about one of these?” I asked pointing at an interesting ale pump clip. She winced.
“Do you want to try it first?” A hippy at the bar tried to discretely shake his head at her but the Rasta hat holding in his white-boy dreadlocks created a breeze.

I pointed slowly first at her, then too the pale Don Letts, then back to her. “You just cleaned the lines on that one, didn’t you?” I took the glass she offered and smelled the sharp detergent from half an arm’s length then tasted the tertiary amines mixed in with sulphides and a modicum of that which you might expect beer to taste like. “I’ll do a Fosters,” I said while pushing back the foul glass with a shudder.

 

 

Outside, groups of students and faculty gathered at tables.  A skunky whiff on the breeze appeared to be coming from the garden but smelled more like it was coming from an Amsterdam Coffeeshop. High expectations, indeed.

 

 

 

 

Posted June 19, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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Catcher in the Rye, Finchley, London   1 comment

 

It rarely gets this warm in England but Friday afternoon was in the low 30s Celsius (upper 80s Fahrenheit) and the uphill run from the Old White Lion took more out of me than the mild gradient should have.  The Catcher in the Rye appeared to be the nearest pub near my route so it would have to do.

The bartender, a skinny and humour-free hipster, was the only living soul.  I asked him if the Dignity, my first choice, had been converted into a chicken restaurant.  “I think it has been converted into a restaurant that specialises in chicken.”  Glad I asked.

Friday was also Bloomsday, so maybe he was just in character — perhaps as the student Cyril Sargent or the ridiculous Denis Breen.  Anything is possible, and besides this pub SHOULD do Bloomsday if for no other reason than the literary theme.

Or, maybe he’s just a phony and bourgeois but thinks he’s actually Holden Caulfield.  No matter…here’s a picture of Marilyn Monroe reading (judging from where the book is open) Molly Bloom’s soliloquy.  So, at least I’ve done my part in the day’s celebrations.

Posted June 19, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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Old White Lion, East Finchley, London   2 comments

 

I ran past the Old White Lion back in March (between the Beaten Docket and the Ranelagh) but it wasn’t open that time of day.  On this visit, I didn’t recognize the route until later when I passed another notable pub I noticed back then, just up the road.  My memory is shot.

 

 

Most of the pubs in this upscale part of North London are gastro-monstrosities and the Lion also lists itself as such but the crowd here seemed fairly working class (but this appearance may have been just in contrast to the posh hipster teenager pulling pints behind the bar — maybe it’s field work for an anthropology course at uni).  I got the only beer I didn’t recognize and headed to the garden.

 

 

The house is loaded with lovely detail.  For instance, the rain drains have a lion rampant motif built into them as well as most of the mains cabling routed through:

 

 

But, it was already late on a Friday and I needed to move on if I was going to finish this run before the traffic became untenable.

 

 

 

Posted June 18, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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Crown, Charlton-on-Otmoor, Oxfordshire   Leave a comment

 

My boss held her annual barbecue at her house in Islip, Friday, and I haven’t attended a lab function in ages so felt a bit of pressure to go.  I’ve run to things there in the past (and from things, as well) and, having lived in Bicester a little over a year also had cleared most of the pubs-to-do already, years ago.  So, I decided to catch the train out and do a run to one of those rare pubs I HAVEN’T yet hit in the area, the Crown in Charlton.

 

 

As is my way, I got lost despite having good maps and clear skies.  At one point, a young deer bolted from the weeds and knocked me into some nettles; soon after that I was faced with the prospect of doubling back or fording a stream.  I soon spotted the church tower in Charlton and knew the pub must be close (across the street, in fact) and there I was able to wring out my soaked socks whilst listening to a chorus of retirees taking the piss out of each other.

 

Topics ranged from “On The Buses” to the general election the night before.  The five of them barely let the one speaking finish before the next one stuck his own 2p in:

“Hear, what was the name of Reg Varney’s sister in ‘On the Buses?'”
“Oh, I wish you hadn’t asked.”
“The ugly woman.”
“She wasn’t ugly she just wasn’t…”
“What wasn’t she?”
“Okay, so maybe she was ugly.”
“But, what’s her name?”
“Anna Karen.”
“No, that’s not it.”
Olive, it was.”
“Oh, I thought you meant her real name.”

Despite this Goon Show, I got swept up into the political conversation but deftly escaped for the picnic. Quite a nice house and worthy a second stop, certainly.

Spotted this eyeless bunny with a broken neck on the run to the barbecue:

Posted June 11, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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