Archive for the ‘Public Houses’ Tag

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 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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London A to Z Runs : X   4 comments

 

X is for Xenophilia.  On the day after the Barcelona attacks, the week of the Charlottesville fiasco, in the year — or less (fingers crossed!) — of the Trump administration, this run honours Plaistow in Newham, one of the most immigrant-friendly and diverse neighbourhoods in London with no ethnic group comprising more than 1/5 of the population.  It promised to be an interesting trot. 

 

Overall, the neighbourhood is as advertised: about 10% white Brits, 5% Poles,  2-3% what the old-timers such as myself would call “Oriental,” and the rest about evenly distributed amongst black Africans, Raj-based Asians, and Middle-Eastern types.  This was not generally my experience on the stops  but that probably has more to do with my (and the customer base’s) Anglo-centric bias than anything else (as well as the fact that anyone in an East End pub or slurping down some stewed eels is already likely to be a bit melanin-deficient).  Anyway, here was the route….

 

Just out of the station I turned to find my way to the Greenway, a dedicated bike path on a former rail bed.  At my first turn I learned that there is no concept of Costcutter in Lithuanian (apparently) and the translation takes a long paragraph.

 

 

At the base of the stairs to the Greenway, a bunch of Bud Light cans represented my cultural background.  At the apex, there was a lovely view of the London skyline:

 

 

There were Central Africans and Sikhs jogging along the Greenway, but the streets in the area still seem a bit Caucasian.  First notice was the Road to the White Well,

 

and then there was never anything whiter on telly in the States than the Chronicles of Mayberry (Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry RFD):

 

I shouldn’t even need to put a link in to demonstrate how wrong this one is with respect to the day’s theme:

 

 

From my seat in the Abbey Arms (all white employees and clientele, with me the only non-native East Ender), I spotted this interesting church:

 

 

The Golden Lion (now a betting shop), was my original choice for a first stop.  The Swan, across from the Abbey, was my 2nd.  My choice for a 2nd stop, the Army and Navy, was also shuttered (what the actual hell?):

 

 

I soldiered on, determined to get some eels for lunch but I turned the wrong way up Barking Road and soon found myself at the Boleyn Tavern (spectacular house, but all white employees and clientele, with me the only non-native East Ender) across from this monument to 1960s white men in shorts:

 

 

Even the Baby Jesus is pale and Mother Mary wears the Cross of St George motif:

 

 

But, the Boleyn Ground — the real church, temple, and mosque of the neighbourhood — has been razed to make way for flats too expensive for anyone here to afford (again, there will probably be another unintentional colour bias to the residency demographics).

 

 

Finally, after a beer stop at the Lord Stanley (all white employees and clientele, with me the only non-native East Ender … write-up soon), I inched my way toward lunch at Ginny’s Pie and Mash (all white employees and clientele, with me the only non-native East Ender … write-up soon).  Just before that, I finally found a monument to diversity…the YMCA!  (I mean, the Village People were as much a mixed pot as you could hope for, right?

 

Determined not to retrace or even cross my own path this run, I headed back to the station turning where I must to meet this remit.  There were two pubs (the Black Lion and the Victoria Tavern, both with all white employees and clientele, with me the only non-native East Ender … write-ups soon) blocking my way, though, but I managed to filter through them.

So, X for Xenophilia is done without me getting any feel for the ethnic melting pot this part of town is supposed to be.  That’s almost certainly my fault, but I really don’t try that hard and you shouldn’t get your hopes up that I’m going to improve with age.

Y and Z remain…what will they be?

 

 

 

Posted August 19, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Running, Tourism

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The Wheatsheaf, Chinnor, Oxfordshire   Leave a comment

 

Went for a bit of a jog through the countryside near the Lewknor bus stop Thursday with the intent of stopping for a beer at the Crown in Sydenham then looping back but the Crown closes mid-afternoon and wouldn’t reopen for the evening for another 15 minutes … shit.  I adjusted my trajectory to Chinnor although I was pretty certain I had already ‘done’ all the pubs there.  Wrong: the Wheatsheaf still remained!  Hooray!

 

 

Half the building was under construction/refurbishment so everyone was packed into the area around the bar.  They all also knew each other and were in the midst of an animated convo that only slowed momentarily when I burst in drenched with sweat.  I needed to cool down a bit and took my golden ale (a very good one) out to the Aunt Sally pitch (a phenomenon I haven’t encountered in over a year) in the empty beer garden.

 

Odd place.  There seems to be an old street lamp in the middle of the midst of the garden (did the street once pass through right here?).  The Aunt Sally pitch has its own lighting, too, so check the schedules on your sport channels for televised matches.  And, they specialise in, of all things, South African food (which looks amazing, by the way).

 

Posted August 18, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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The Eagle Vaults, Witney, Oxfordshire   Leave a comment

 

 

In Witney there are 6 buses per hour back to Oxford so I figured I had time for a quick lager at The Eagle Vaults. Having run from Eynsham, I could see how sweaty I was in the bar mirrors and it seemed a bit stifling inside so I took my beverage out to the garden only to find it overrun with children and mums.

One non-mum suddenly jumped up and was doing a very odd and twitchy dance, idle for a moment then suddenly jerking a limb akimbo à la the Elaine Benes samba. When she finished I resisted the temptation to applaud but she had noticed me and several others watching the weird display. “I was trying to avoid a wasp,” she explained.

Riiiiigggghhhht. SURE you were,” I said before turning back to my beer and looking to see if any venomous flying insects had landed in it. “Whatever gets you through the night.”

 

Posted August 16, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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