Back on the towpath after a quick refreshment break at the Grand Junction, I set my course toward the Lonsdale, a pub — on my running map — on Lonsdale Road near the intersection with Colville. A rent-boy* emerged from the flats across from the former pub and I deduced from our conversation and the state of the hoarding and structural materials that the Lonsdale was going residential.
Unperturbed, I moved on toward the Earl of Lonsdale (also on my trail map) and noticed the expensive residential neighbourhood transforming to an expensive residential neighbourhood with pavements clogged by a bunch of yuppies and Chinese tourists. But, there it was and I was about to go in despite my reservations about the atmosphere when I realised I was on Portobello Road and I had already ticked this one off the list in my first year.
Fair enough, I wanted a quieter venue and moved on with the Ladbroke Arms in my sights. I eventually found it near the Notting Hill Police Station and went in to find yet another pretentious dining-based pub. So pretentious in fact that a tall blond appeared by my side while I was taking in the stifling atmosphere and proceeded to — without irony or self-awareness at all — do a perfect impression of Edina from Absolutely Fabulous. “I have a reservation, darling, but not until 2 so I’ll just take some bubbles oh hello darling <<kiss kiss hesitate kiss>> oh are you working today? dreadful weather it’s been yes it is a table for two but I think I’ll just wait at this table over here .” Crikey.
The beer was good. I suspect the food is lovely and served in very small portions. Here’s a map.
*Okay, that wasn’t just me being smarmy; the guy bounded down the steps of the building and I pointed and asked if the pub was no more. “Oh, I don’t live here,” he chirped. “I was just, um, working here last night.”