Pub #4: North Pole, Canary Wharf, Dec 9, 2010

The North Pole took a little extra effort to locate.  But that’s what makes this local Docklands pub special.  It is barely a 10 minute walk from the busy Canary Wharf tube station (and ever closer to the DLR), but unless one knows a pub is located there, one isn’t going to find it.

It is tucked away in a corner and the narrow door blends in with the rest of the of the exterior decor, especially when the sun’s gone down.  The proprietor was very friendly and broke off a conversation he was having as soon as Reva and I entered to greet us a smile and ask what we’d like.  Oh, this is also the first of the 100 pubs that I visited with Reva.

The inside of the pub is nothing special, with a simple (and some would consider tacky) country themed decor that would seem well suited for any English country-side pub.  A log-fire was crackling in one corner of the room, giving the inside a very warm and homely atmosphere.  We went to the pub around 7:00 PM on a Thursday evening, and there was a good mix of locals and a few suits from the nearby banks/law firms.

I didn’t notice a food menu, but that doesn’t detract from the overall likability of the place.  In fact, if they did have a menu, I’d probably avoid trying anything.  The beer selection wasn’t anything special either, with the usual selection of European imports and a few English ales.  I had the Landlord, one of my usual favourites, for £3.25.  Overall, a very nice local pub and one to keep keep in mind if one is trying to avoid the usual chain pubs and their crowds in the wharf.

 

Pub #3: Cittie of Yorke, Holborn, Nov 27, 2010

Having read about the Cittie of Yorke in several places, including on Tasty Fever, I decided I must visit it.  As pubs go, it has one the best interiors I have seen.  The back bar has high sloped ceilings with wooden rafters, stained glass windows, a long wooden bar, huge beer barrels balanced above it, bulbous lights hanging from the ceiling and cozy looking booths skirted by wood arches. All this makes the pub exactly what I image an 1800’s London drinking houses looking like (save the electric lights, of course).  Awkwardly though, there was a Deal-or-No-Deal video game machine in one corner that looks very out of place amongst the magnificent interior.

From the outside, you would be forgiving for not thinking it is a pub worth visiting.  A long corridor as you enter makes you wonder what you’re in for.  The only brew served is Sam Smith, and I found their stout very enjoyable.  The pricing of pints are strange though – the Extra Stout was £2.41 and the Mountain Larger £2.87.  I will have to find other Sam Smith breweries soon to try the others.  I didn’t visit the front bar or the cellar kitchen, which is another excuse for me to go back.

I stopped in around 3:00 PM on a Friday afternoon and the place was very quiet, with just one large group of what seemed like students, at the back.  By 5:00 PM though, it was packed with the office crowd, which is to be expected.

According to the interwebs, a public house of some form has stood at this site since 1430. This history makes visiting London’s drinking houses all the more enjoyable.  At a place like this, a little imagination is all it takes to conjure up a roaring fireplace inside, horses tied up outside while their masters bartered stories while drinking ale from a big, wooden mug.

Pub #2: The Blackfriar, Blackfriars Bridge, Nov 10, 2010

The second stop on my quest to visit a 100 London pubs and write about them was The Blackfriar.  This historic pub (over a 100 years old) stands on the site of a former Dominican Friary.  One end of the building is has a triangular edge, which makes it impossible to miss.

The pub was recommended by Ben, who promised me I’d love the place.  I wasn’t disappointed.  We met there at 8:00 PM on a Wednesday night and there weren’t too many other patrons, which was nice.  The interior is beautiful, with intricately carved wood and marble depicting friars and much more.

Ben and I tried the 4 ales that were available on tap and I particularly enjoyed the Lord Marple.  The other three were London Pride, Landlord, and Hookey Gold.  Since we were there at dinner time, I also tried a “famous British pie”.  The only vegetarian option was the Lentil and Cashew nut tart, which was also really good.

Unfortunately I only had my Nexus One with me so the pictures I have aren’t great.  Next time, I will have to remember to carry the dSLR.

Starting my own 100 pubs mission

Inspired by @abandonedlondon‘s 100 Pubs Project, I decided to start a similar mission of my own.  What better way to get to know London than through its pubs? It also helps that I love beer.  I would walk a 100 miles to to try a new beer, and walk a 100 more to drink a pint with a friend.   Hyperbole aside, my fondness for beer goes back to the first drink I had after turning 21 (yes, I was 21!) during my Ann Arbor summer.  Living in Philadelphia for so many years was a treat for a beer-aficionado with plenty of specialist brew pubs and micro-breweries in the area.  I once brewed my own beer, that I like to say looked like a nicely poured Guinness but tasted like a Bud Light.

I like to experiment with beers and will go out of a my way to try a new one, so now living in Europe (and specifically London) is a dream come true for a beer lover.  I’ve already been to several pubs and tried many ales, but only now decided that documenting my visits on my blog will be a worthwhile exercise and experience. Plus it gives me something to look forward to during my unemployment.

For the purposes of this “mission” (I will be calling it a mission so as to not directly copy Doreen’s title) I will attempt to visit 100 pubs over the next few months and drink at least a pint of beer/ale/bitter/brew.  If I’m feeling spendy, I might get some food too (altho British food…not so much).  I will also write about my visit and hopefully have a picture or three to remember the visit by.  So without further ado, up next is a post about pub # 1.