Archive for the ‘Ealing’ Tag
The overpriced beer at the Draper’s Arms wasn’t a problem.
There were five tables to the side with clipboards bearing notes that read:
This table reserved from 7:30 PM,
But, it is yours until then.
Grand. I sat down at the empty one at 5:15 and settled in to read a few work documents.
At 5:30, a woman arrived alone and told the bartender that she was there as part of the 7:30 group whereupon the bartender told us all that we had to leave. I pointed at the “7:30 PM” on the note in front of me and he said, “I told her she was 2 hours early but she was having none of it.”
“Okay. Where’s your bathroom?” See the entry for the Red Lion in Chesham to discern what happened next.
As I walked past the windows where a dozen of us recently socialized or relaxed, I immaturely (as is my modus and in keeping with the theme) shot the bitch — who was sitting alone at one and surrounded by four other empty tables, mind — a bird. Fuck her and fuck this place.
Map linked here.
On my way to the Ealing High Street, I wandered into the King’s Arms hidden away a few corners down a side street.
Gorgeous pub, great beer selection, cute little dogs trotting around, friendly customers and staff, and absolute shit taste in music.
Here’s a map if you want to see if they play something less Radio 1-ish. At least it’s better than the Draper’s Arms.
Walking back to my bus stop from the Dodo I decided to pop into Lavin’s because it looked like a real bar. It WAS a real bar, complete with a raging drunk dancing (well, let’s call it that, anyway) by sort of squatting repeatedly out of synch with the music (some surprisingly good choices considering they came from a digital jukebox so that any variety of aural horrors COULD have been chosen). As Green Onions was winding down he did the sweeping-arm point to the crowd (there were three of us besides the bartender), and a buddy of his emerged from the back hallway with bog paper stuffed in his ears.
About halfway through my beer and a couple of more songs into his performance, he went off toward the loo. On his return, he stopped to have a quiet chat.
“I LOVE LIVING IN LONDON!” he shouted.
I frowned and tucked a finger behind my ear. “Sorry, what was that?”
“IFUCKINGLOVELIVININLONDON, MATE!” He shoved a hand my way and I wondered what pestilence sheltered itself in the rough crags of this hale fellow’s meathooks especially since I was certain he wasn’t even the rudimentary-wash-after-pissing sort. I needn’t have worried, though, as his hands were as smooth and soft as a baby’s bottom (something that creeps me out in an adult of either sex, but this guy looked like a brickie and should have had palms like armor).
I tried to hide my disgust at his work-shy mitts and just smiled and nodded back. “Yeah, London rules.”
“NO. YOU DON’T UNNERSTAND! I GOT…” he looked around an imaginary sphere encapsulating him then mimed pushing his sleeves up and pointing at his back with his thumb; “…TATTOOS OF LONDON ALL OVER. I CANNY SHOW YOU HERE,” he said in a grand display of restraint, then burped and added, “but out back I can.”
“That’s alright, just describe ’em. I’ve seen a lot of ink; I can probably make it out.”
With that, his restraint evaporated and he slid one sleeve up to show some very old Chelsea FC design. I politely nodded and figured, ‘in for a penny,’ and did a little twirl of my finger and pointed over his shoulder. He started pulling his jumper over his head exposing far too much of his buttocks exposed above his belt line; above it, a crudely etched St George flag with script stating, “English by Birth, London by the Grace of God.”
He then pirouetted, smiling, and flipped me a Nazi salute before falling back to the bar stool nearest his beer. I don’t know WHAT that was all about but I suspect — no, hope — it was some commentary on the state of US politics now.
At the end of the bar, another guy had entered and drawn Mr Soft Hands’ attention. It was the guy from the Dodo that looks like Trigger from Only Fools and Horses. I drank up and left out past the nearby cemetery (which really looks worthy of a return trip).
I think it is always like that in there. You should go. Here’s a map.
The proprietor was nice.
The fish was dreadful … although probably cooked this week, it had definitely sat in the heating cabinet long enough for the flesh to assume the texture and taste of cardboard but, blessedly, there wasn’t much of it under the thick, oily mat of stale batter. Yuck.
At the Dodo, a scruffy guy that looked for all the world like Owen from the Vicar of Dibley was leaned against the counter with his beer. I asked the woman at the register, who turned out to be the owner, for a vanilla stout and she cheerfully left me with him. “Fnfee het lriddy,” he said as he tipped his glass my way. “Yeah, I think you’re right. But, this rain is awful, eh?”
He spoke differentially more clearly, this time, and started to describe his bus journey, and how he didn’t know this place was even here, and which bus he was heading to. I think. There were numbers that I recognised as local bus routes and between the gurgling noises emanating from somewhere inside the tweed jacket I picked up some rudimentary English. The narrative was helped along with determined hand gestures that sent skyward strands of tobacco from the ciggy he was rolling. My beer arrived, and I gestured toward a table where we could sit and headed over there as he headed out for a smoke.
A pair of well-dressed, middle-aged men who I suspected to be on extacy as they happily tried to snog everyone who got within 10 feet of their seats in the front window did so with a trio that arrived and soon sat across from me. The women got into their own conversations as the fellow — I believe he was Welsh as he stated that he was from Wales at least five times — discussed the 6 Nations rugby tournament (and Wales’ prospects in same) with the owners other half.
Oh, the beer was good, atmosphere Aces. The only thing I think might be a design flaw is the pathway from the register counter to the beer and wine storage … in a real crowd this is going to be a struggle.
Here’s a link to the map.
I emerged from the home brewing shop laden with nutrients, Campden tablets, fining agents, a gallon glass jug, and an air lock for a Drunken Bunny Liqueurs project. On my way to Ealing Broadway station, I scanned the Uxbridge Road storefronts looking for a butcher shop or supermarket to get some chicken breasts to smother with some of the Christmas pesto; off to my left there were several pubs, one of which sounded familiar.
As I reached for the wrong door then pulled the correct one (which turned out to be a “push”) I remembered that I had just read this article on the tube ride over here about the Star and Anchor. It sounded raucous and rowdy and worthy of a visit.
Instead, I found a quiet, suburban restaurant with a bar. Clean, modern, and fairly upscale. Shit.
However, they had a bunch of ales on as well as a good selection of craft and Belgian beers on tap and in the bottle. Caledonian is always a bit challenging and worthy of a taste so I got a pint of the Three Hop lager which started off soapy and citrus then became fruity and leathery as the beer warmed a bit. A pretty good experience.
Overall, the pub was a better experience than I expected on entering, too. The music probably becomes more Radio 1 as the crowd becomes younger but it was inoffensive pop jazz (usually an oxymoron, but in these digs it fits), the house is spacious and comfortable and suited to conversation, and my only complaint is £4.90 for a pint of lager (albeit a revelation of a lager, to be fair). If roving bands of Polish hooligans are willing to pay these prices, I say let them; and, if they want to be a bit loud then it seems they are paying the license fee and, by the way, fuck TripAdvisor…you should get all your pub advice from me, here, on this blog.
Happily sticking to micropubs (third in a row after the Hop & Vine and the Beer Asylum), I ventured down to Ealing to try out the Owl & the Pussycat which is housed in a former children’s bookshop and contains a microbrewery in the back to supply the thirsty customers. Did I say, “supply?” Surely I meant, “satisfy” as their product, which they are right to be proud of, is splendid.
This photo, below, of the bar doesn’t do justice to the sense of community here, either. One guy — a proper beer geek — struck up a conversation with the guy running the joint and soon several of us were weighing in. That’s how I found out the house had been a bookshop and the proprietors former teachers. They went out of their way to find out the closing time of the local brew shop for me, as well (Drunken Bunny Liqueurs is now branching out to berry wines and mead).
Their feeling their way through this, but you really should give them a try. I had a pint of the Coal Porter for the sake of the Stout/Porter Advent Calendar, but I’ll try several half pints next time.