Friday, 16 October 2015

Golden Camels, King Parrots & Jesus - London Beer blog

Scooter Bar, Waterloo
Negra Modello

I had been promised trendy London beers and an awesome Thai dinner this evening so expectations were high. After catching the tube to Waterloo (I think - I don’t pay much attention when someone else is leading) and walking passed a gold camel on a rooftop (awesome) we reached the Scooter Bar. I’ve been brought up to consider scooters as little more than a glorified bicycle with no gears but despite my reservations, and the abundance of scooter-related paraphernalia, it was a decent, quirky little bar. Kind of boho theatrical with mismatching furniture and a non-plussed cat (my favourite kind). As the place was so small it had nothing on tap so my fella ordered us bottles of Negra Modelo and we sat under a picture of Jesus and his sacred heart, lit by fairy lights. The beer was sweeter than I would usually choose, it had an almost almond aftertaste I seem to remember, but it ended up being a long night so my memory could be wrong...

After that we walked round the corner to the misleadingly titled ‘Marie’s Café’, for Thai food. Inside it was low key and honest, just the kind of place I love to eat in. It was BYOB so we’d planned ahead and stopped at M&S on the way. I’d picked up an Adnams Southwold Winter IPA (exclusive to Marks don’t you know) to go with my chicken in oyster sauce served on a plastic plate. Awesome.
After food (and a dash to the cash machine cos the café didn’t take card) it was mentioned that my fella’s profession granted him access to a private club, but as yet he hadn’t managed to go. Did I fancy taking a look? This sounded like a perfectly random thing to do and therefore right up my street, yes please.

Union Jack Club, Waterloo
Union Jack Ale

Being called the Union Jack Club, you can imagine what it looked like inside. Kind of like a clean Wetherspoons but with pictures of ships and notable military figures on the wall. Lots of pine furniture and a carpet that made my head hurt. We headed through to the bar and I got a pint of Union Jack ale. Winner. It was nothing to write home about, just a bog standard beer but cheap as chips. Despite sticking out like sore thumbs, no one gave us a second glance, which was nice. Even so this wasn’t really our kind of place so we had just the one and moved on.

The Kings Arms, Roupell St

King of Hearts, Wild Card Brewery

The Kings Arms was a real ale pub, that looked like a real ale pub. Y’know, traditional with the half
frosted windows and old style circular bar. I had a pint of King of Hearts, mainly because I liked the pump clip (a parrot wearing a crown) and it was a blonde beer. By that point that's all I could determine, but it was a lovely dry hopped pint. As you can see by the fuzzy picture my brain had decided I’d had a few too. Also a chap was sitting at the bar directly in front of the pump, so it was a super quick stealth photo, as I always feel like a plum taking photos of pump clips if anyone sees me. Actually I feel like a plum doing it if no one can see me.

As the pub closed and we were turfed out, the decision was made to keep going and there was only one place to go.

Cro Bar, Soho

The Cro Bar is another bar too small for a cellar, so only sells bottles and shorts. I would normally get a real ale, a Hobgoblin or even a Trooper, but for some reason every time I step into the Cro, the words ‘bottle of Budvar’ escape my mouth. I do like Budvar though. Surprisingly we got a seat, especially as it had gone midnight and the bar is always packed, tucked into the corner where I could happily people watch. I have no idea when we got home but I do know the cab ride was £40.

14.10.15 - Borough Market, Utobeer!
OK, not technically a pub (or even remotely close to being a pub) but it had LOADS of beers, which is not surprising in the least as it is a specialist bottled beer shop. The problem was that the only bottles I liked the look of were ones I would never actually drink (like stouts or porters) and nothing else had a bat on its label so I couldn’t persuade myself to part with any money that day. I have a feeling I’ll be back though….
After the market we went to the Crime Museum. No beers but worth mentioning that it was brilliant and I had a grin on my face the whole way round, which other visitors probably thought was weird seeing as it was all about murders and stuff.

Princess Louise,
Organic Lager, Samuel Smiths

After the cinema (I think we had about three dates in one day?) there was time for a quick beer in the Princess Louise, a fabulous old boozer, the kind Americans would like to recreate and fail dismally. It was a Samuel Smith's pub (something I don't remember coming across before) but apparently that meant it would be cheap. Gob smackingly cheap. I didn't recognise any of the beers on offer so plumped for an organic lager, which was just what I fancied at the time. There was a very drunk girl in the corner who kept shouting incomprehensible things but she seemed happy enough, and the staff all looked alternative. Wish I could have stayed in there a little longer and got one of the booths.

Happily we arrived at Liverpool Street station in plenty of time for my train home and squeezed in another beer in The Merchants of Bishopsgate (or TOMB as I like to think of it) and I'm not sure what I had to drink but I know there was a very, very rude man at the bar making the barmaid feel like crap. There is no excuse for this kind of behaviour and I sincerely wished she had thrown him out. It's the kind of stuff a decent bar shouldn't let happen to their staff (I've walked out of jobs for being told to 'take whatever the customer gives you and smile'.) Despite this, and the fact my train was eventually delayed and I had to change at Colchester, my couple of days in London were pretty awesome. I use the word 'awesome' a lot. Must mean things are going ok.....

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