Saturday, 16 February 2013


How is it that you can use the name Piccadilly in a sentence and not at all be tempted to prefix it with a “the” and yet Strand, on the other hand, still doesn’t sound quite right without one?

Look, no "the" again.

Sorry, bit of a random way to start but there you go.

We were hampered this week on available days out as the card manufactures’ favourite day of the year, Valentine’s Day, fell on the Thursday, which has proved to be one of the more favoured touring nights. So instead, and a rather hurried fashion, we planned a nice easy Wednesday night visit. This did results in catching a few of the regular tourists unawares, meaning only Ed, Charlie and the BGC being present. Still, three guys for three pubs had a certain fitting ring to it.

Mind you I was feeling less than prepared for the visit as the night before I had decided it was about time the good old brown suit was resurrected from the depths of the wardrobe and taken for an airing. A brave decision as one of Charlie’s mantras is “No Brown in Town” and I can only presume he’s talking about clothes and not some sort of dirty protest type thing. Anyway the suit was fine but could I find my faithful old brown shoes? Could I heck as like! And it didn’t seem to matter how much I tantrummed, throwing the whole family’s shoes out of the shoe basket, I just could find them. The tantrum must have been quite effective though as lovely wifey told me to go and watch tele whilst she herself had a look. 

Not that she was any more successful that me I might add as she told me that wearing my black shoes with the brown suit would be ok. Now this was rather surprising coming from the woman who used to refuse to leave the house with me if my belt was a different colour than the trousers but I didn’t really have much choice and consequently spent the day believing everyone was pointing and whispering behind my back. (More than they do normally) 
The King's Head

Luckily it was dark by the time the three amigos emerged from the same Piccadilly Circus tube exit as we’d done a couple of weeks ago for Coventry Street. This time however we turned in the opposite direction, strolling past Eros (read the link – it’s not Eros at all!) and down Piccadilly itself. The first pub, the King’sHead, was but 5 minutes away down a quick right hand turning into Stafford Street. This is another Nicholson’s pub and actually quite a large one, occupying a corner plot. There’s an upstairs bar and a cellar bar but we went into the main bar area which was busy, but not busy enough that we didn’t get a table at the first time of trying. Two pints of Woodforde's Norfolk Gold got Charlie and me on the way, whilst Ed went with a Kozel. 

After correcting me on my pronunciation of Kozel, the friendly beardy barman was happy enough to fetch us the Cask Marque certificate from where it was propped behind the bar and we all managed to get the first scan in. And then it was on to the main subject of the evening, very appropriately for Valentine’s week, Spiky Haired Ed’s love life. 

Now before you all cry foul and claim that we shouldn’t pick on the young lad, this is the man who on the tube journey tonight claimed “I don’t think I could love anyone as much as I love myself” much to the amusement of the young girl sat behind him. So actually he’s fair game and deserves everything he got. And once Charlie got started, boy did he get it……no, not in that way! (You and your filthy mind!) 
King's Head on the left, Goat on the right.

The walk to the next pub was the shortest I think we’ve had on the tour. Directly opposite the King’s Head is the Goat, which isn’t a corner plot and therefore a much more cramped affair. This Taylor Walker pub was jam packed full which meant that the poor single barmaid was rushed off her feet. Now I pride myself on being a professional queuer so I was incensed when two speccy lawyer looking blokes definitely pushed in front of me. Fortunately any disagreement was avoided when another barman magically appeared and took my order of two pints of Adnams Broadside for Charlie and me whilst Ed stuck with the foreign lager, this time a correct pronounced Estrella. 
A smiling Charlie and the back of Ed. Ed is probably weeping at this point.

Like the King’s Head there was an upstairs bar at the Goat so we were able to escape the worst of the crush around the bar and drink our pints in relative comfort. But this meant we only had a fleeting glimpse of the bar area and could not spot the certificate anywhere and as I say, with only a skeleton staff on there wasn’t anyone to ask. So we’ll have to throw ourselves on Trevor’s good nature this week and hope he got a Valentine’s Day card to put him in a good mood. 

It was a quick walk around the block onto Dover Street and the third and final pub, the Clarence, our second Nicholson’s emporium of the evening. As seasoned visitors to Nicholson’s now this place was a striking change from their normal etched glass and dark panelling, being cool white tiles and steel glass holders. They even have a beer library! They also had the certificate pinned up in a not so cool way right by the hatch to the bar. They were more than happy to let us scan but even admitted as we trooped up, “we must find a better place for that”. 
Casks, but alas not ready.

What was also different, and a very nice surprise was the racked casks directly behind the bar, unfortunately though all four weren’t ready for serving and we had to make do with the 5 or 6 ales on handpump; first choice being an Ossian by the InveralmondBrewery. I think Charlie continued to follow my lead on this whilst Ed went for a Veltins Pilsner. 

It was then time to discuss the other hot topics of the week (Ed’s love life being tepid at the most) which were; The horse meat scandal – all in agreement that if you’re stupid enough to buy cheepo ready meal type stuff then you deserve what you get. In fact you probably deserve to eat rancid rat instead of nice healthy horse but that’s perhaps a debate for another day. Gay marriage – which developed into a discussion on religion which strangely Ed brought to a quick close saying it wasn’t a suitable subject for the pub? This hour or so of intellectual mind bending was aided by a second pint; mine was a Dark Island by Orkney Brewery, not sure about the others now, and a bowl of pistachio nuts, the shells of which ended up all over my coat. 
The sizable keg selection at the Clarence.

Realising I’d missed the early of the later trains we just had time for a final half (I went onto the Veltins now) before scurrying back to our respective rat holes. 

And normally this is where the blog would end but this week there’s an interesting post script. When I finally staggered into the house, lovely wifey is still waiting up, not normal. “I’ve a present for you darling…..” Oh yes, I suspiciously ask, “Is it an early Valentine’s gift?”  

But it wasn’t, it was shoe-boxed sized and delicately wrapped in gift paper. “It’s bloody brown shoes isn’t it” I claim as even my mind isn’t that sozzled at this point. “Yes” admits the lovely one “It was me who threw away your old ones……….”
So there you have it, more proof of the deviousness of the fairer sex, acts out like MerylStreep that she searching for the shoes the night before when all along she knows what’s really happened and that there’s no chance of finding them! But hey, who cares, she's gorgeous, she's mine, and I have new brown brogues! Happy Valentine’s Day! 
The shoes that say "I love you"!

Number of Cask Marque Pubs visited  = 155

Love tips for Ed = Edward! Everyone knows who you’re currently seeing, so just tell people and then you can finally say “hi” to her when you meet in the lifts! 

Love tips for BGC = Don’t need any, I’ve struck gold. 

Next Stop =Go to Jail

1 comment:

  1. That's one heck of a pub crawl! Did you stumble home afterwards?