|Pub of the day - London Fields Brewery Tap Room (man on the left loved being in the photo!)|
Firstly though, we needed a pre-11am opener. And it wasn't even a Wetherspoons!
647. Wilmington, Finsbury - My preconceptions meant I'd been expecting one of those busy, sticky free-for-all style commuter boozers but nothing could have been further from the truth as me and Dad made our way from Farringdon tube the 0.5 miles to a very clean, well to do area of the city. At 10:15am, we were pretty much the first customers and despite the obvious feel of refurbishment, it kept a comfy, homely feel with exposed brickwork. The beer range was also good, though my Sambrooks was predictably London tasting like it had just come up from a well underground. It was a grower and Greene King did an ale for the pub, plus these were handled glasses even Dad could enjoy - not dimpled but straight and he'd have stolen one given the chance. The blackboard made you remember this wasn't just a beer drinkers pub, with lots of wines and food choices listed, plus the boast "best Bloody Mary's in town!" Some Geordie chaps shuffled in and sat right next to us despite having a whole huge building to aim at. I chatted to them, they were surprisingly civilised though Dad had already made up his mind, he was off to the loo and already putting his jacket on.
|Arriving in leafy Finsbury for a surprisingly good pub experience.|
648. Woodin Shades, Liverpool Street - The "busy, sticky free-for-all style commuter boozer" I'd been anticipating a pub ago was more suited to this place, just across the road from Liverpool Street station. With both Tom Irvin and Dan Midwood telling me they'd been before, it was one of those "Si, how can you have never visited?" places. It was an 11am opener, we arrived ten past but it was already heaving, with only about two tables left. Still, for a Nicholson's house, it was quite small and narrow but had that usual dark wood feel. Staff were friendly and the beers were very "Yorkshire" with things like Ilkley and Daleside, I thought I'd found something local and unusual but it was a Black Sheep collaboration. And £4,30 a pint was ridiculous! Tom was soon on the scene, and we presented him with a pack of biscuits he'd been promised for a while. We'd got a decent seat right at the back of the pub, but even so, I felt a but crowded and was glad when we moved on.
|Where's Si? I am on the right of the pub with my arms folded.|
|Busy market street Euro cafe fun/despair at the Dove|
650. London Fields Brewery Tap Room, London Fields - Another modern style drinking place, but much more like it and a nice way to achieve the mini-landmark of 650 pubs. Pretty much under a railway arch, the right hand side of the pub was full of tourists starting a guided tour of the brewery (and possibly surrounding area), but we found plenty of room on the other side. The London Fields beers were done in both cask and keg form, but as Tom pointed out, many of the casks were turned round thus dampening Dad's over enthusiastic clams for a "pub of the season" contender. The staff were a jolly bunch too, but charging 60p more for keg products than cask seemed bizarre to a man such as me. The description on the menu of cask v keg even made cask sound much superior. It was Tom's turn to do a quiz as I settled down with a lovely pint of the red ale "Love not War" and had an inspired/lucky spell in answering the q's correctly. 3p for three Tesco items of food? Only Tom could do that. More unisex loos followed, and our 'peace' was shattered by a group of men dressed as Robin Hood about to start a tour. It was time to get on the tube to White Hart Lane. Pub of the day.
|A pint of "Love not War", hopbines, and a general scene at the LFBTR.|
651. Sebright Arms, Cambridge Heath - Glossing over the football match, we had time for a post-match pint back along the same train line (it could've been more if Dad hadn't booked us as early as 7pm but we won't blame him too much). Cambridge Heath seemed to not be able to make up it's mind whether it was scuzzy down & out London or ironic shabby chic youth paradise. The pub looked pretty plain, and Dad summarised it felt very much like so many post-match London pubs we've been in of late. Elaborate, over priced food menus everywhere, one room fairly soulless, good beer range but slightly disappointing due to Southern taste. Well, he had a point but wasn't completely right as it has two rooms and he's being harsh on the ale. I loved my Hop Stuff Pale and enjoy most of these new London microbreweries. The barmaid, foreign anyway, had a mouth full of a vegan pie which she then pointed out to us on the menu, I wondered if it was an OTT attempt at advertising their food menu? Time had ticked on so we had to drink quickly and couldn't really savour the pub and get a feel for it, The strangest thing though, they had a lunch menu though the pub doesn't open until 5pm - how bizarre!
|Time for a quick post-match pint in Cambridge Heath.|