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The Monopoly Board Pub Crawl

by dsf, based on notes written during the crawl by mike
03-09-2002

Introduction

The Monopoly board pub crawl. Surely, we thought, there is no pub crawl that is simultaneously as famous and as long (thereby 'difficult') as this one. We'd been talking about it for ages, at least a year, and finally we decided upon a date: Wednesday August 28th 2002. The fact that this choice necessitated taking time off work always confused our friends, who couldn't understand why we didn't do it on a Saturday, or at least a Friday, but we had our reasons; there are areas of London where no pubs open on Saturdays, these being in the City. This could have hampered parts of our crawl. But worse than that - the evening trade on Saturdays and Fridays in the popular West End pubs could have put us in real danger of being unable to get served quickly enough for our tight schedule.

So, a Wednesday it was. Three of the four usual suspects turned up outside Elephant and Castle station at around 1030, the missing one being Mike who sadly couldn't make it, on account of him being en route to Australia. Mike was, however, replaced by the relatively unusual suspect (where pub crawls are concerned), but handily named 'Mike'.

Things started well; no sooner had the four of us met up and walked the 2 yards or so to the bus stop, than our desired bus arrived to take us down the New Kent Road, onto the Old Kent Road(OKR) - our first stop. We weren't doing the crawl in order, but with OKR being the furthest place outside the west end on the board, it was a sensible place to start. Plus we had absolutely NO desire to end up there. A shocking thought.

The crawl

From the bus we spotted our destination, the Lord Nelson. This had been chosen due to it's inclusion in a variety of other Monopoly crawls we had researched on the web, it being the winner over several others due to it actually being on the Old Kent Road itself. Our only problem was, however, that it was still only 1040 or so. A bit early. So, we walked further up the road, and Mike & Phil went into McDs for a burger or two while Anne & I scoped out a pub just a bit further up; since it looked like it was shut forever, we headed back, got the other two (Mike with his bonus cheeseburger thanks to the inept McDs staff) and walked to the pub. We actually went in just before 11am, while the two barmaids were still hoovering. A disapproving look and the phrase "You'll get me shot, there's a few minutes yet" as response to my order didn't deter the barmaid from actually serving us our drinks, however, and so it was that we necked our halves of lager and left. First pub finished, and it was 1104.

Summary:
Pub & square: Lord Nelson, Old Kent Road
Arrival time: 10.59
Departure time: 11.04
first to finish their half: Mike
last to finish: Phil
drinks: 4 Carlsberg

There'd been discussions as to the best way to reach the next pub, our preferred route being the direct bus, but since we missed it by about 20 seconds we took the second option, being a bus back to Elephant & Castle and then a 172 from there, but not before we received a phone call from Kuala Lumpur, it being Mike's namesake Mike, enquiring as to our progress so far (not to mention successfully guessing that Phil had been out on the piss the night before). Good time was made and the Raven in Fenchurch Street station, our second pub, was duly completed.

Summary:
Pub & square: The Raven, Fenchurch Street Station
Arr.: 11.39
Dep.: 11.45
first: Darren
last: Phil
drinks: 2 Carling,Stella,Strongbow

Tower Hill station being just round the corner, we jumped on a district line tube from there to Whitechapel and our third pub, the Blind Beggar on Whitechapel Road. There is a bar closer to the station called Funky Monkey that we missed, but the BB was considered (by Anne & I, at least) to be a more valid choice, not least because it seems to be the pub that everyone else does. And as choices go, it proved to be a good one, because of the weird little half-pint mugs the beer came in, and the exceedingly cool pub cat we encountered there. Nonetheless we were in no mood for slacking and were in & out in 7 minutes.

Summary:
Pub & square: Blind Beggar, Whitechapel
Arr.: 12.04
Dep.: 12.11
first: Mike
last: Phil
drinks: 3 Lager,Strongbow

From Whitechapel we headed to our second station, Liverpool Street, to the Wetherspoons pub there that was mysteriously referred to as "a classy pub with classy expensive beers" by one site we found. We can only assume these people were very drunk by the time they got there, or were still drunk when doing the write-up. It is, of course, standard Wetherspoons fare and not right interesting. I feel the 6 minutes we spent there was about all it deserved.

Summary:
Pub & square: Hamilton Hall, Liverpool Street Station
Arr.: 12.24
Dep.: 12.30
first: Darren
last: Phil
drinks: 4 Fosters

Moorgate is handily walkable, even if a bit stressful to get to during a weekday lunch hour, and from there we got the Northern line for the short journey to Angel, where we went to the conveniently named 'Angel' pub. Another Wetherspoons, this time we spent just 5 minutes in there before going round the corner onto Pentonville Road.

Summary:
Pub & square: The Angel, Angel Islington
Arr.: 12.51
Dep.: 12.56
first: Mike
last: Phil
drinks: 4 Fosters

The Castle was thankfully very close. It was also fairly boring, and I can think of nothing much to say about it.

Summary:
Pub & square: The Castle, Pentonville Road
Arr.: 12.59
Dep.: 13.06
first: Darren
last: Phil
drinks: 3 Fosters,Strongbow

The bus to take us to our 3rd station arrived soon enough and we went into the horror that is Coopers at Kings Cross. We'd been here before and it is standard Coopers fare, nevertheless for some inexplicable reason we spent 8 whole minutes here. Shocking. However, an incident of note occurred en route to this pub as Mike, taking too much notice of the wonderful surroundings and not enough of those somewhat more immediate to his personage, walked into a bollard.

Summary:
Pub & square: Coopers, Kings Cross Station
Arr.: 13.14
Dep.: 13.22
first: Darren
last: Phil
drinks: 3 Lager, Strongbow

We always thought the blue squares were going to be a doddle and so it proved, with O'Neills on Euston Road being virtually within spitting distance of Kings Cross. It was actually a pretty nice O'Neills, as O'Neills' go, so I feel the fact we spent the longest amount of time yet - 10 minutes! - in this pub is not something that we should be ashamed of. But it was still only 10 minutes, all of us being constantly aware of the fact that the endeavour which we found ourselves on was a long and arduous task which would doubtless slow down considerably by the time we'd hit 20 pubs. So onwards it was.

Summary:
Pub & square: O'Neills, Euston Road
Arr.: 13.28
Dep.: 13.38
first: Anne
last: Phil
drinks: 3 Carling,Strongbow

To our 4th and final station, then - Marylebone. The fact we had to get a tube to this one (well, to Baker Street from where we walked) gave us all time to tuck in. Anne had made an entire loaf of bread's worth of sarnies that morning, which were much appreciated. The pub at Marylebone is rather better than most station/terminus pubs but still not particularly special. It was in this pub that we were tempted to stay for longer than our alloted slot, since Neighbours was on TV; we left anyway, not least because we hoped it might stem Phil's talk of his constipation.

Summary:
Pub & square: Victoria and Albert, Marylebone Station
Arr.: 13.56
Dep.: 14.03
first: Anne
last: Darren
drinks: 3 Carling,Strongbow

Bond Street - the first square on the board where we have to cheat. The problem here is two-fold: there is no road called Bond Street, and neither New Bond Street or Old Bond Street have any pubs on them (as far as we could work out). So, we elected for a pub within sight of New Bond Street. On our reconnaisance the previous Sunday we'd found a suitable pub but went to a different one anyway; a much smaller but in my opinion more interesting one, called the Grosvenor Arms. Anne's winning performance in the drinking here caused much amusement to a businessman propped further along this little shelf bit near the door, and we got the impression that he had been sat there since opening just waiting for something funny to happen, since almost immediately afterwards, he upped and left. Curious.

Summary:
Pub & square: Grosvenor Arms for Bond Street
Arr.: 14.20
Dep.: 14.28
first: Anne
last: Phil
drinks: 3 Fosters,Strongbow

Now, we already knew that from here on in, we were going to mostly be walking between pubs, and so it was that we set off further into Mayfair and went in the Kings Arms by Shepherd Market. Again a deviation from our recon, where we had identified Ye Grapes (about 3 yards away) but there were no protests, since this meant it was another new pub for the database. Could really have done without Phil's renewed talk about his constipation, mind.

Summary:
Pub & square: The Kings Arms for Mayfair
Arr.: 14.38
Dep.: 14.44
first: Anne
last: Phil
drinks: 3 Fosters,Strongbow

Park Lane - our second bit of enforced cheating. We're aware that other crawlers have been into the bar in some hotel on Park Lane, but there was no way we were going to try that, both to save face (ie, avoid being kicked out) and to save money (those hotels are stupid expensive). So instead we went to the Rose & Crown on Old Park Lane, a pub that does very expensive yet stupidly small portions of food. This was the only pub of the day where someone didn't finish their drink - Phil, but he's excused because he had a seriously iffy half. That said all the lagers were fucking minging, so maybe he shouldn't be excused after all.

Summary:
Pub & square: Rose and Crown, Old Park Lane
Arr.: 14.55
Dep.: 15.02
first: Darren
last: Phil*
drinks: 3 Fosters,Strongbow

Sadly, our recon proved what we most feared; that there are no other places to drink on Piccadilly itself than Henry's Cafe Bar (which is actually called Henry's Bar Cafe). So with a heavy heart, in we went. This is a horrible place where they have that horrific habit of handing you your change in a makeshift ashtray and expecting a tip. Sod that for a game of soldiers.

Mike left this pub around 4 pounds lighter in weight, he informed us, as a consequence of his visit to the gents. Delightful.

Summary:
Pub & square: Henry's for Piccadilly
Arr.: 15.06
Dep.: 15.17
first: Anne
last: Phil
drinks: 4 Lagers

Now Vine Street is just a joke. There is next to nothing there, literally; however, a revelation was found just 2 days before the crawl that there is actually a bar with an entrance on Vine Street, albeit not with a Vine Street address, and so it was that we found the Swallow Street Bar. Sadly for Anne, who's round it was, this place didn't do draught beer so she had to buy 4 bottles of Budvar, at the none-too-pretty price of £12.80. Ouch!

At this point we realised - we were half way, in our thirteenth pub. Having been dutifully sticking to our, err, duty of getting around as quickly as we possibly could, we stopped to take stock and evaluate both progress so far, and prospects for the remainder of the crawl.

We worked out that we were 1 hour and 40 minutes ahead of schedule. Phil took this news somewhat badly, proclaiming himself to be 'worried'.

Summary:
Pub & square: Swallow Street Bar for Vine Street
Arr.: 15.23
Dep.: 15.47
first: Darren
last: Mike
drinks: 4 bottles Budvar

Another O'Neills for our next stop, which was also another kind of cheating. The problem here is just like Bond Street; there is no Marlborough Street. There is, however, a Great Marlborough Street and a Little Marlborough Street. O'Neills is pretty much where these two meet so was an acceptable choice. It was here that I unfortunately took it upon myself to lose the ability to control our digital camera, and ended up deleting the first (and best) picture of the Lord Nelson while trying to, err, do something else. I forget what.

Summary:
Pub & square: O'Neills, Great Marlborough Street
Arr.: 15.54
Dep.: 16.05
first: Darren
last: Mike
drinks: 3 Carling,Strongbow

Previous crawlers have missed out Regent Street proper, either because the nasty All Bar One we went in didn't exist at the time they did it, or they couldn't face going in it. But we went in anyway. Mike had SMS'd his missus who flexitimed her way out of work to join us from here on in, but even though we spent a whole 12 minutes here, she failed to arrive, and we left; Clare would understand, and catch us up further down the route.

Summary:
Pub & square: All Bar One, Regent Street
Arr.: 16.09
Dep.: 16.21
first: Anne
last: Phil
drinks: 4 Carling

And further down the route it was. In fact, it was just outside All Bar One, a most welcome piece of timing. We took the backstreets as far as we could before getting onto Oxford Street proper, whereupon we went into the only pub there is - The Tottenham, by Tottenham Court Road station. 14 minutes in here - we were definitely slowing down.

Summary:
Pub & square: The Tottenham, Oxford Street
Arr.: 16.39
Dep.: 16.53
first: Darren
last: Anne
drinks: 4 Carlsberg

Coventry Street has no pubs on it. It has a TGI Fridays, but that's considered cheating (with it not being a proper pub/bar 'n all) and besides, we came to a pub just before that from which we could see Coventry Street itself. 18 whole minutes in this one! Mike twatted his head on a beam on the way to the gents here, whether this was indicative of his inebriated state or due to a genuinely low ceiling I personally cannot confirm, so we'll give him the benefit of the doubt and issue the warning: Mind Your Head.

True to form I was trying desperately to hurry us all along, aware that while we had made fantastic progress so far there was no room on this crawl for complacency-inspired slacking.

Summary:
Pub & square: The Imperial for Coventry Street
Arr.: 17.04
Dep.: 17.22
first: Mike
last: Phil
drinks: 3 Lagers,Strongbow

Spurred on by my constant moaning, or just because it's a plain old Wetherspoons, the next pub saw us regain some sort of form; 11 minutes in the Moon Under Water, on Leicester Square.

Summary:
Pub & square: The Moon Under Water, Leicester Square
Arr.: 17.24
Dep.: 17.35
first: Darren
last: Phil
drinks: 4 Fosters

There are no pubs actually on Trafalgar Square, so we did what several others have done and go in the Chandos. I was still a bit perturbed by it being what looked to me like a Combat 18/BNP meeting place during our Sunday recon, but my fears were allayed this time. What I hadn't been prepared for, however, was the flatulence power of Phil. Talk of constipation, however, was summarily stopped after this incident. It may also have played a part in our lightning 5 minute stop.

Summary:
Pub & square: The Chandos for Trafalgar Square
Arr.: 17.48
Dep.: 17.53
first: Darren
last: Phil
drinks: 4 Sam Smiths Lager

Northumberland Avenue has no pubs on it. By now we were definitely of the opinion that whoever came up with the squares for London Monopoly clearly hadn't decided on them with pub crawls in mind. So we did what everyone else does, again, and that is to go to the Sherlock Holmes on Northumberland Street. Anne's friend Asha joined us at this point after a series of relatively manic phonecalls as we attempted to direct her.

According to our notes, the barmaid in this pub was 'thick'. Also according to our notes, we are supposed to at this juncture mention 'Fay Ripley'. Uncannily, the notes say "in the morning I will have no idea why I wrote this", and true enough, the note-writer (Mike) hasn't a clue what it means.

Summary:
Pub & square: Sherlock Holmes for Northumberland Ave
Arr.: 17.59
Dep.: 18.16
first: Darren
last: Anne
drinks: 3 Heineken,Strongbow

The Clarence on Whitehall has a foosball table; I played Mike, and I won 5-2. Hah! Mike and I work at the same company, and our boss was joining us at the next pub, having been kept up to date with developments throughout the day by SMS. However, a brief argument was had as to travel; several of us were for walking, but a rogue element wanted a cab. And so we separated ...

Summary:
Pub & square: The Clarence for Whitehall
Arr.: 18.19
Dep.: 18.43
first: Darren
last: Mike
drinks: 3 Fosters,Strongbow

... but those dots aren't ominous at all, since we all met up in the right pub at the right time without a problem, and the beers had already been purchased by Mike and our boss. Lovely. The only problem of course is that this is Pall Mall, where there are no pubs, so again we'd cheated. But again, everyone does it, so why not us.

Our boss, inspired by our dedication and performance so far (23 pubs by 7pm) decided that he was 'sponsoring' the remaining pubs of the crawl, and so 2 cabs were hailed to take us back to Covent Garden.

Summary:
Pub & square: The Red Lion, Pall Mall
Arr.: 18.53
Dep.: 19.08
first: Darren
last: Anne
drinks: 3 Fosters,Strongbow

Bow Street has a few pubs, and the Marquess of Anglesey was chosen. I don't really recall this, which is probably a good thing, but I am reliably (*cough*) informed that here, Phil let off another dastardly fart, while Mike dropped another kilo or two in the gents. It was starting to get very messy.

Summary:
Pub & square: The Marquess of Anglesey, Bow Street
Arr.: 19.28
Dep.: 19.42
first: Mike
last: Phil
drinks: 3 Fosters,Strongbow

I have to admit having very little recollection of the Wellington, but having been there several times before I can only assume it was as boring and non-descript as always.

Summary:
Pub & square: The Wellington, Strand
Arr.: 19.47
Dep.: 20.04
first: Darren
last: Phil
drinks: 3 Lager,Strongbow

And finally, Fleet Street, and the Old Bank Of England. We glanced at our watches; it was 2015. We were more than 2 and a half hours ahead of schedule and had finished. 26 pubs (and halves) in just over 9 hours. Happy that we'd finished the crawl and way way WAY ahead of schedule, we took it a bit slower here, having a full pint and some food too. Gets a bit hazy from here on in, but I do know that Anne & I left to go home because we knew just how drunk we were only to decide at Waterloo that we really wanted a game of pinball, which involved going into the Hole In The Wall and, naturally, having another pint. Dear oh dear.

Now, of course, we have to do it in order ...

Summary:
Pub & square: The Old Bank of England, Fleet Street
Arr.: 20.15
first: Mike
last: Phil
drinks: 3 Carling,Strongbow