London Pubs With Kev

| Maison de Stuff | John's Page | John's Pictures |

Friday 22nd October 2004. A second reconnaissance mission, this time with Kev in tow, to find nice pubs in London for the forthcoming pub crawl extravaganza.

18:19:38 We kicked off the evening with a "wee dram" at my (recently joined) club - the Scotch Malt Whisky Society's London member's rooms. I'd been trying to find this the week before, and hadn't quite managed it. When we did find it on this trip, I actually realised I'd been for a drink in the pub which is directly underneath it, without realising.

18:28:16 The first actual pub of the evening - The Fox and Anchor. This had a nice interior, but was suspiciously empty - on arrival me and Kev were the only customers in there!

18:37:17 The Fox and Anchor from the outside.

18:45:04 Pub number two of the evening, The Hand and Shears. In contrast to the sparsely populated Fox and Anchor, The Hand and Shears was bursting at the seams - we had to stand outside to drink. I was particulary pleased by the window sills outside which made a very good shelf for resting your pint on. Very nice little pub this one.

18:53:46 Couldn't resist a picture, again, of Little Britain.

19:10:30 Having originally thought it might be nice to take advantage of London's unique variety of eateries, we ended up buckling under the pressure of trying to find somewhere, and settled instead for the old stalwart Pizza Express.

19:10:42 Kev taking one of those "arty" pictures of me, in Pizza Express.

19:51:35 Inside pub number 3, The Old Dr. Butler's Head.

19:56:14 Outside the Old Dr. Butler's Head. I was very keen on this place - it scored lots of points - an entrance down an alleyway, nice old frontage and interior, a good level of people (quite lively, but still very quick to get served at the bar). It was slightly let down by the presence of a couple of fruit machines, and a plasma screen showing Sky Sports, but as I said to Kev at the time I suppose a modern pub has got to cater to all tastes to survive... I guess on balance I'd rather it stayed in business with the fruit machines etc, rather than stayed "pure" but ended up being closed down.

20:07:37 This is inside pub number 4, the pleasingly grandiose Counting House, just round the corner from the Bank of England (from where, I assume, it takes its name).

20:07:53 A particular plus point for this pub is the upper level which lets you gaze down upon the throngs below, and appreciate the decor to its full extent.

20:18:03 Outside The Counting House.

20:29:11 The next pub on our intinerary (number 5) was The Crosse Keys, but we found to our horror it was a Wetherspoon's pub, and so aborted soon after having entered. Given that we were out on a bit of a limb as far as our route went, we thought we ought to fit in another random pub instead, to save it turning into a wasted journey. So just across the road we found The Swan Tavern. The downstairs bar was pleasingly tiny, the barman was very friendly (if a little hard to comprehend!), and overall I think we did very well for a random choice. One slight oddity is that they appeared to close really early - they were calling last orders as we arrived!

20:48:27 Pub number 6 was the Williamson's Tavern, again ticking a lot of the right boxes for me - nice old interior, entrance down an alleyway, etc. This again confounded me about the complete inconsistency in levels of crowdedness (if that is a word) amongst London pubs. This place seemed like a really great little pub, and yet was almost empty at this time on a Friday. Maybe primarily an office worker's pub then...?

20:52:38 An unfortunately blurred picture of the exterior of Williamson's Tavern.

21:06:22 Inside pub number 7, The Bell, Book and Candle. I was slightly in two minds about this place - it is effectively a gothic theme pub, so the interior is, well, interesting, but obviously modern and artificial.

21:06:50 Made two attempts to try and get this picture right as the lighting was a little tricky to work with.

21:15:44 The exterior of the Bell, Book and Candle.

21:15:57 Clearly the Bell Book and Candle inspired me to take every picture twice, for some reason.

21:23:33 Pub number 8, the famous Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Steet. This was a surprisingly large establishment, with several separted bar rooms and seating areas. In general I think I liked it, it is of course a really lovely old interior, and as an added bonus they were a Sam Smith's pub which seems to always imply rediculously cheap beer. It's only down side is perhaps that, being so well known, it borders on being a bit touristy, which leads to a slightly impersonal atmosphere. Still, regardless of this I think it's the sort of pub everyone should visit at least once.

21:23:49 Kev again, at one of the bars in Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese.

21:35:45 Down the alleyway (the usual extra points added on the score card) that leads to the entrance to Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese.

21:45:01 Pub number 9 was the Edgar Wallace, which, although quite modern on the inside, did rather please me because of this very fetching sign on the bar. The landlord didn't seem to be sure who Hawkins and Co. actually were - I'd guessed it might have been an old brewery - he said he'd just kept it because he liked the look of it. Can't blame him for that, such a distinguised surname and everything.

21:49:18 The Edgar Wallace, despite it's modern interior, still has in my opinion a very attractive frontage.

21:54:11 Pub number 10, The Cheshire Cheese - not to be confused with Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese from a few pubs back. Ironically, I think I read somewhere that this pub might actually be older than the "Ye Olde" version. This was much more like a "real" pub than Ye Olde, which was bordering on a tourist attraction. This place had a nice atmosphere, nice interior, and all in all had a lot going for it.

21:54:16 Me at the bar of The Cheshire Cheese, looking slightly perplexed (probably just for effect).

22:15:35 The Seven Stars. Sadly, all good things have to come to and end, so we decided we ought to make this place, pub number 11, the last of the evening, in order to allow time to get our train and so on. I think I was probably more taken with it than Kev was. It was delightfully eccentric in here - the landlady, a very theatrical sort, was singing as we entered and there was a cat sitting on the bar (who had a name like Tom Pearce or something). Lovely looking pub, great atmosphere, all round a high note to end on.

22:16:11 Clearly Kev had his finger over the lens here.

22:16:25 A picture of me taken through the door of the Seven Stars, unfortunately with the wrong setting on the camera so the colours have come out a bit funny.

22:17:26 The exterior of The Seven Stars - a great looking pub both inside and out.

22:17:44 The bilboard sign here contained a rather bizarre message about how Tom Pearce (the resident cat) was just about to take his GCSEs and A levels. This is English pub eccentricity at it's best. Marvellous.