Evening all, having a bit of a BRAPA 'mare as I came back from my Bank Holiday jaunt down south to find my laptop totally broken, the one which contains by 'Master BRAPA spreadsheet'. I have it backed-up, but not very recently. Anyway, I'll try and carry on on my reserve laptop as best I can for now, and try n get it fixed. Don't wanna start from the beginning again do I? :)
Anyway, I wrote this a while ago.......
Croydon, mid afternoon, Saturday 15th August and a friendly 60 year old bloke born in 1960 called Citra (his parents were fans of hop varieties long before it was cool) turns to me and says "wot pub you off to next Si?"
When I tell him I have three pubs to do in Clapham Junction, he expels a breath of skeptical North Hampshire air, but when I reveal the name of the next pub, he perks up and says he'll come with, he likes this one! Well, well, well, I knew it'd been on the front cover of the 2015 BRAPA (sorry, I mean CAMRA) Guide, but didn't know any pub remotely near Clapham Junction could get the juices flowing. How wrong I was.
I don't feel an affinity with Clapham Junction like I do with Croydon, messy transport interchange splurge which even in these 'coviddeo killed the radio star' times just has too many flakey fakers floating about within 5 mins of the epic railway station.
We strode out to this first Citra recommendation, it took us past all the dross, into a more secluded, dare I say peaceful part of 'town' which might be verging on Battersea, I don't know, I don't do the geography. This was it.
The Brucie bonus above laid the foundations for what was to come at Eagle Ale House (1813 / 3030). A quirky, irreverent, some might say plain brilliant approach to navigating the social distancing route through post-covid pubbing, the perky guy on the makeshift reception desk explains all, Clarissa style. We have the Hoff where you 'hang' and join the queue, you got Ainsley where you order, and then you have Susanna Reid (NOT Courtney Cox, Simon you idiot!) where your order is complete and you pay. In truth, it was the staff who made it. Even more charismatic than their cardboard cutouts, the young guy on the 'entrance' desk made me feel probably more welcome than any other pub in London BRAPA history has managed, and if I was going to lose my Oyster card anywhere and have it returned to me, this is the pub I'd choose. Which is good, cos that is what I did. All the staff were equally chirpy, good humoured and just lovely - I guess they wouldn't just put ANY pub on the cover of the GBG! Well done CAMRA, never doubted you for a second. Loved the fact the pub was basic yet comfortable and homely, that deep red colour scheme is always a winner as we saw at Staines' Wheatsheaf & Pigeon recently. "Old school pub, new school people" it shouted, and I think that sums it up quite perfectly. And just when you thought it couldn't get any better, a barmaid asked about Colin. Okay so she initially called him a cabbage, but corrected herself within two seconds, so we'll let her off. More proof Colin gets more love in London than he ever did in Surrey! A true great this pub.
|Massive in Malibu, ginormous in Germany, and David Hasselhoff wasn't bad either|
|Looks more like Courtney Walsh than Courtney Cox now I'm sober again|
|The pub just being amazing|
|Don't put him off Colin, this is the important 'ticking' bit|
We left, smiling and revitalised. How could the day get any better from here? It couldn't of course, it was all downhill from here. Interesting though. First, as we got back onto the main drag, we came across my busiest pub since 4th July, and by quite some distance.
|Looking a bit wired|
|Questioning my mortality|
|Staff playing 'point at the most likely Covid victim in a crazy shirt' in the absence of live music|
|King of the contactless transaction, Citra goes in for a swipe|
|Good times, bad times, all around times|
|This one's for Cooking Lager|
|I'm finally broken, no wonder Colin stayed in his bag|
I said goodbye to Citra, he headed back towards Hants and I headed back up to King's Cross. I remembered I hadn't eaten all day so munched my snacks under an awning as the heaven's opened, but realised I had a long wait for the train home. We'd obviously made good time!