Sunday 30 September 2018

BRAPA - September Review / October Preview (2018)

North Star, Leytonstone
59 new pub ticks is, unsurprisingly, an all-time BRAPA record and as my liver gurgles away, admonishing me in Adrian Chiles & Frank Skinner accents, a period of calm is (probably) needed.  For one, I still have so many blogs to catch up on!

Don't get me wrong, I'm absolutely delighted to get the numbers in.   It might all look like a knee-jerk reaction to the drop in numbers after the GBG cross-ticking exercise (it was 14th Sept when I finally received the 2019 GBG due to the printing fiasco), but in truth, work sending me to London for days at a time was the main reason.

If you count Stourbridge as being in the south rather than the north (there's no Midlands in this scenario) then only SIX of my 59 ticks were achieved oop North!  Levenshulme, Hyde and Denton to be precise.

Not to mention 4 pre-emptives, the best beer being in this, the Three Guineas at Reading.

BRAPA in London with a new Good Beer Guide is, for me, very much 'kid in a sweet shop' territory, though I have to admit there's quite a few sweet jars I'm not too keen on sampling.  I'm not saying the sweet shop owner has waggled his dick in the midget gems, but you know.   I'm not sure why, but I always seem to find beer quality poorer in London than most other areas, strange as the turnover must be high as there's so many flippin' people flitting around constantly, they can't all be on red wine and Vedett.  Can they? 

And pub-wise, there's more than your fair share of Wetherspoons to tick off.  Some have been good of course (I enjoyed the Canary Wharf and Cannon St newbies), but three of my worst four pubs this month happened to be London 'Spoons.

Good Spooning in Cannon St station
My favourite pubs of the month were, in no particular order:

1. Cock Tavern, Hackney
2.  Commercial Tavern, Spitalfields
3.  Waggon & Horses, Stourbridge

Cock Tavern in Hackney was a stand out London tick
Others I also loved included Royal Exchange, Stourbridge, the Plume of Feathers in Greenwich, the Blue Bell in Maxey, the Ploughman in Werrington, Edgar Wallace at Temple and the Dog & Bell at Deptford.  Plenty more were above average.

On the less so good side, we had:

1. Henry Addington, Canary Wharf
2. Gate Clock, Greenwich
3. Liberty Bounds, Tower Hill.

There was an underlying unpleasant vibe at Liberty Bounds

The Willow Walk near Victoria Station deserves a special award for being one of the most boring pubs I've visited in BRAPA history, the Barbridge in Stourbridge wasn't 'bad' bad, just a chilly mis-match of contrived disappointment that made me want to cry, and some pretty poor ales were encountered at places like the New Rose in Islington, Fisherman's Cottage in Reading, the otherwise excellent Orange Tree in Winchmore Hill, and a fair few others I can't quite remember off the top of my head but will come back to me when I blog 'em.

October Preview

The new month starts officially after work on Tuesday, back in London til the weekend so plenty more after-work evenings to enjoy.  Will I finally get to Homerton?  Is Kentish Town going to be rewarding?   Is Elephant & Castle a good place to trial my new 'Antic' bingo card?

And as for Saturday, well I was supposed to be doing something Brummie with Dad & Tom.  Can I still get up there?  Will I have had any sleep on the all-night work Friday session?  Too many unanswered questions.

But then we have a ray of hopeful relaxation, as the BRAPA Autumn Holiday kicks in from Tues 9th right through to the following Saturday.  I'm going to a county I've only got one tick in.  It is English.  It is down south.  Can you tell what it is yet?  Typically, I've made life harder for myself than needs be by focusing on the 'west' of this county, the one with fewer rail and bus links.  Idiot Si.

On Sat 20th Oct, I'm back in Cambs.  Remember that county?  Martin Taylor is again unavailable for comradeship and taxi advantages, so am gonna stick to somewhere where I can get myself to and from quite easily.  Now just because you call your pub Blue Moon, doesn't mean you have to only open when the moon is in the sky.  Irritating.

And the month ends like all good months end on the 27th.  Now I'm becoming a Godfather (new official role) a day later, so cannot overdo it cos I take such duties seriously, but Tom is taking me and Dad to New Brighton which is somewhere over that weird bit of water near Liverpool.

In 1947, Hull City went to an away game at New Brighton on the coach and our then manager, the legendary Major Frank Buckley, made our inside left Frank McGorrighan stand up for the whole journey so his dog had a seat!  Frank was never the same again, and he signed for Blackburn a month later, the saddest end imaginable for any human being.



  1. Oh, that's right, blame my taxi service again, why don't you. I walked from King's Cross to Canary Wharf and Deptford this afternoon. #StopWhining

  2. "For one, I still have so many blogs to catch up on! "

    Don't get me started! Away all next weekend (Canadian Thanksgiving) so I'll be four days behind by the time it's all said and done!

    "It might all look like a knee-jerk reaction "

    Still going on about that wonky knee. :)

    "the Three Guineas at Reading."

    Is it run by three Italian brothers? ;)

    "I'm not saying the sweet shop owner has waggled his dick in the midget gems, but you know."

    There's an image I could have done without!

    "Can they?"

    Sadly, they all have an image to maintain.

    "The Willow Walk near Victoria Station deserves a special award for being one of the most boring pubs I've visited in BRAPA history,"

    Coming from you that's damning praise indeed!

    " Irritating. "


    "Idiot Si."

    No comment. ;)


  3. Good dog story 😀👍 royal exchange is bathams heaven