A mid December London trip by committee member Paul Manning and his wife Bev
Our long arranged trip which coincided with the start of the Omnicron covid explosion started, after negative lateral flow tests and both on fully boostered up vaccines, with a train journey from Sheffield to St Pancras on a sparsely populated East Midlands train. We were in need of some refreshment on arrival so went in the Barrel Vaults Wetherspoons on the station where we had a couple of pints of Winter Star (dark winter ale) and Naked Ladies (light hoppy ale) by the excellent Twickenham brewery. Priced at £3.98 by far the cheapest beer all trip! A short even more sparsely populated tube journey to Waterloo Hampton hotel, our base for the trip, followed.
We ventured out late afternoon and enjoyed a very lonely and quiet walk on the south bank to meet an ex colleague and his wife for an evening meal. We called in at the Mad Hatter Fullers pub at Blackfriars for some London Pride and then for some Blitzen dark ale by Black Sheep brewery at Doggetts Riverside bar. There were excellent views across the river and a number of pop up Christmas stalls and bars. We sampled one at Hays Galleria but it wasn’t cask being an unprouncable IPA at over £7 a pint. An excellent meal at Cote brassiere followed with some French bottled beer which was very nice.
The next day we jumped on a tube for the Bank of England counter where I changed some old bank notes. The streets and shops were eerily quiet with many office staff clearly following working from home advice.
We called in at the Old bank of England on Fleet St now a Mcmullens pub for a pint of Bootwarmer a great festive ale.
Across the road down Essex street we went in a fantastic little pub called the Edgar Wallace a regular camra award winner and sampled Bankside Blonde by Southwark brewing company. The pub featured amazing array of drinking and smoking memorabilia on all the walls including double diamond, babycham and swan vesters.
A quick pint of Wandle by Sambrook brewery in the Nell on Old Drury lane followed before a visit to the Pie Room, a Masterchef featured dining room on Old Holborn where we had a fantastic meal even though the pies alone were £22 each.
On the way to our evening visit to see Mama Mia musical we stopped off in a craft ale cafe on Drury lane which served excellent Belgium beers on keg and bottle. We had the delightfully named La Chouffe and Kwak beers and then battled our way through a huge covid booster queue to the Novello theatre.
On leaving we visited a local Wetherspoons the Shakespeare Head for pints of Three kings by East London brewing company and Mandarin by Windsor and Eaton – both very quaffable. A quick look around the now much busier Covent Garden ended our evening and visit.
London is a fantastic place to visit and seek out some real ales and I’m sure we will be back in safer and hopefully busier times.