Wednesday 9 January 2019

BRAPA - Barking to Tooting Part 2/2.

Antelope lads in Tooting
Last Saturday then, and here we were, myself, Tom and Father BRAPA in London, chugging south down the Northern Line heading towards Tooting Broadway for the third pub of the day to 'complete the joke'.  If you don't understand that, please read yesterday's blog too cos no-one is and I'm sad!

From Barking to Tooting, the ultimate truth

The Barking Wetherspoons and the Craft Beer Co in Limehouse had both exceeded expectations.  Even if those weren't the highest expectations in the world, they were still good examples of their chains. 

Somewhere around Clapham Junction, me and Tom were having quite an animated discussion about our final 4 pub options which involved a lot of me waving my GBG in the air.  And then something that has never happened on a Tube journey before, a local overheard and initiated a conversation.  On the Tube.  And he wasn't northern.  He just loved craft ales and modern bars (whatever they are).  Give him a year end award!

Funny thing was, we were sure he'd got on with this lady friend, but she got off on her own at Balham in a huff.  Had she disowned him for being friendly and gone to my much needed Balham Bowls Club tick?  Or was she strictly a Sam Smiths fan? 

Anyway, he was a nice chap with matching hair and collar, and though he wanted to push us towards some Tooting Market pre-emptives, we had enough GBG entries to go at, so we said thanks and farewell as he pointed us down the road in the direction of the Antelope with the warning words "it's just an old pub really!"  Music to my ears.

1449 / 2420.  Antelope, Tooting

Not quite sure why London is obsessed with calling pubs 'Antelope', you don't seem to see it in Yorkshire but I've been to a few down here.  I'd prefer a more British old fashioned creature, like a shrew, stoat or weasel if I'm being honest.   The pub didn't look much from the outside but it opened up into a rather grand large smoothly run operation, with a light front bar, a middle restaurant secreted away like the deformed nephew in the basement, opening up into a huge sports bar rear, which doesn't really do it justice, it was more a murky old huge room with screens.  I supped my stout as the saddest of characters, armchair Man Utd fans baying for poor Reading blood (told you the FA Cup was dead) as Sone Aluko ran around a lot and reminded us why he was the best nearly man ever.  The pub had a feeling of a GBG regular, which I assume it is, and I've just read it is an Antic too, had no idea when I was there, I must be slipping!

A trek across Tooting took us one stop up to Tooting Bec station, Bec being French for something.  Comment below and you might win a free pint.  Me and Tom had to wait for Dad to catch up for the obligatory photo opportunity ......

1450 / 2421.  Wheatsheaf, Tooting

No time to celebrate the semi-landmark of 1450 current GBG ticks, as a sleeping twog nearly tripped me up upon arrival.  Two buggies almost blocked the entrance the the gents.  Yes, we had reached the optimum London pub of the day, you know the type, you could describe it as 'Liverpool' i.e. take all the people & noise out and you can start to appreciate the beauty of the place.  The barmaids were generally of the P.I.S.S. variety, and not too confident of attracting new customers you'd have to surmise as they left the outer door open in the hope of getting vagrants in from off the street, and as a consequence, the draught was getting in.  I marched over, located the latch thing, and closed the outer doors, returned where in an ideal world, the pub would be applauding me and kneeling at my feet chanting "BRAPA hero" but you have to take what you can get in this game, and that was a warm pub full of assholes, as my friends in Chicago say.   Bit of confusion in the gents, not in a usual dodgy way, but I thought Sciophobia was a fear of pub quizzes but it was actually shadows (not the band, Cliff or not).   I could feel the tentacles of this pub drawing me in and saying  'love me', oh I could've so become 'one of them' but we had to move .....

Action shot on the way in!

Does this mean twilds are on the loose?

A beer with a trendy fox on it

Can you see why I was confused?

The lads chillin'

London pub life

Look, quite a beautiful bar area

Not my last disapproving look of the year!
Next up, Stockwell, or SW8 South Lambeth if the GBG is to be believed for our last two pubs of the day.  I've always wanted to go to Lambeth since I saw Gary Wilmot doing the Lambeth Walk (oi!) in Theatre once, legend.   Born on 8th May so he owes me a pint actually according to that ancient BRAPA ruling. 

5th pub of the day is always the 'hardest place to go and get a result', so bear with me and my hazy memories ......

1451 / 2422.  Priory Arms, South Lambeth

But there was method in my madness for a visit here today ...... it doesn't open til 3pm on weekends and 5pm weekdays so not an easy one to do on a football day, N.F.F.D. seemed the perfect time to get it done.  A bit of an anti-Antelope, it promised a lot from the outside as it looked a bustling tiny boozer but in fact was a Tardis-like split level effort.  I have to agree with Dad when he says pubs with far too many beermats and pumpclips stuck on the walls never quite convince, like they are covering a multitude of shortcomings.  My bedroom and spare room in my flat are like that, but then again, I don't invite people in for beer as a general rule!  Only two ales on (hurrah!) but both looked a bit mysterious, Tropic Ale "a mouth watering taste of the tropics" or Oil Korrect "a Brut pale" (huh?)  We got one of each, and I still don't know what I was drinking!  Nice though, served by mysterious Australians.  In fact, everyone was Australian, and they all drank white wine, sorry "whoooite wooooine".    A few posh ladies wandered in.  Dad wondered why the GBG entry said "in the autumn the menu features Mexican dishes" but he'd missed out the full stop so it wasn't quite as ridiculous as he thought.  So all a bit of a blur, but a peculiar pub, smelt a bit of sweat in a sweet way.  Not a bad place, just wish I'd worn my new Neighbours tee shirt!

Mysterious ales

Australian or posh?  No idea anymore.

Too many pump clips (or punk clicks, as my Mum once called them)
We then started to walk the wrong way to our final pub of the day, but recovered ourselves sufficiently to walk alongside this thing called Larkhall Park.  You'd not really expect to see a pub around here if you didn't know, but then it appeared ...... surprise!

Not saying I'm drunk but.... time for a Winter Warmer!

1452 / 2423.  Surprise, South Lambeth

So this was a nice change of pace to end the day, the unlikely side street boozer I crave in London.  At this stage, you don't want to have too difficult an ale choice so glad it was a Young's pub - Bitter or Winter Warmer it was so I thought best to go out all guns blazing with the WW, served by a jolly old school landlady .  A bit like in an old man version of classic horror film 'The Ring', the darts players on the TV crawled through the screen into the bar to regale Dad with tales of HMS Surprise.  Dad had been reading a wall display about it, interesting cos he'd read all the Patrick O'Brian novels and soon a friendly bloke was tapping on his phone, showing Dad the time he'd Snapchatted Jack Aubrey AND Russell Crowe on the same day, or something similar.  This was the only one of these 4 pubs that hadn't been in last year's GBG but for me, probably the most enjoyable so what does that tell you?  

We got ourselves back to Kings Cross in plenty of time, for fear of being too relaxed and missing our train which has so often been a problem in the past, so time for a quick loo break and restorative in that chillout tent they call the Parcel Yard.  

And I'll be back at the weekend, where two very different but both lovely M's are going to chauffeur me around two very different areas.  Should be fun!  

See you then, Si


  1. Don't be sad. We're still reading. What is Antic? I have not heard of that term. And at the risk of getting really weird, I have to ask about the walls in your two rooms. Did you do them up in beermats?

    1. "What is Antic? "

      As I'm from over this side of the pond I know what you mean.

      Antic are a chain of pubs I believe:

      Not sure if they're only in London or have some in other parts of the UK.


    2. That makes sense. What about the beermats?

    3. Only Si can answer that. :)

    4. Well Dave, am glad you are the first person to ask this. My bedroom wall has beermats on 2.25 of the 4 walls! It is looking more like a pub each day. And my spare room has three walls full of pumpclips and a pool table, so it looks a bit like a rubbish micropub now.

      Antic pubs are new to me, mainly in South and East London from what I can say. I did a bingo card on them, but occasionally I still go into their pubs and don't realise I'm in them!

  2. Bec Abbey in Normandy was "given" land there after the Norman invasion.

    1. Thanks Ed, I knew someone would know! Dad read it on a sign near Tooting Bec station but I was either too drunk or not interested enough to remember. So nothing to do with Becca like Martin said then?

  3. "cos no-one is and I'm sad!"

    There, there. I'm sure lots are reading; they're just not commenting. :)

    "Give him a year end award!"

    Yep. That will be tough to beat.

    "but she got off on her own"

    Word has it a lot of 'modern' women don't need men to help them get off these days. ;)

    "he was a nice chap with matching hair and collar,"

    Yikes! Oh, wait. Sorry. Thought that was similar to 'curtains match the drapes' sort of thing.

    "Not quite sure why London is obsessed with calling pubs 'Antelope', "

    Probably similar to why the American West has a song about them; neither place has any antelope in them. ;)

    "Bec being French for something."

    Yep... gob (or beak to be less rude). (LOL)

    "as my friends in Chicago say."

    You have friends in Chicago?

    "but I thought Sciophobia was a fear of pub quizzes but it was actually shadows "

    And here I thought it was either:

    a) a fear of you (if pronounced Si) or

    b) a fear of oceans (if pronounced sea)

    "Does this mean twilds are on the loose?"

    Possibly breastfeeding? :)

    "Can you see why I was confused?"

    Ah. I would've guessed fear of block letters. :)

    "5th pub of the day is always the 'hardest place to go and get a result'"

    Can't imagine why. ;)

    "Mysterious ales"

    Apparently a Brut Pale is not very bitter but still very hoppy.

    "Australian or posh? No idea anymore."

    At least they're drinking beer and not 'whoooite wooooine'. :)

    "but then it appeared ...... surprise!"

    (slow golf clap)

    "but for me, probably the most enjoyable so what does that tell you? "

    That it had nothing to do with being the last of many pubs? ;)

    "where two very different but both lovely M's are going to chauffeur me around two very different areas"

    Sheesh. Now I'll never getting the image or RM being lovely out of my head.


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