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gniniveehtnireeb pub crawl

by Techno

'tis the season to be jolly, and the best way to get jolly is to get drunk.

since cheeseintheafternoon last year the website has gone through a domain name change, so it was thought only right a proper that we honour the new name with a pub crawl of its own. but to add a little twist - do it backwards. not for any lexicographical reasons you understand, we just wanted to end up in the Black Horse at happy hour (our lives are ones of simple pleasures). standard letter compression (single pub with twice the drink for double letters) and various novelty rounds were banded about (sambuca and bison grass vodka the strangest).

to aid with write up i made a few notes along the way - they became understandably scrawly towards the end. pictures on the day are linked to the full size ones, the others (mostly previously visited boozers) are context shots from the appropriate details page.

present and correct?

great portland street tube, 10:45 (no grolsh on this pub crawl, you do have to rush these things). anne and darren (went out the night before), phil (stayed up till 4am watching dvds), mike techno (went to the gym!), emma. comment was passed on the precarious nature of the wreath balanced on mike techno's head, other people's adornments looked quite sensible by comparison. all good so far...

Green Man

...which is precisely as far as good went.

our original plan was the george & dragon, so we congregated across the road at 10:55 and waited. five long drawn out minutes later the pub still looked shut. we gave it five more minutes then headed back to the tube because we had a reserve 'g' opposite in the form of the green man.

halves bought, we sat at the usual table. ok that's stretching the concept of usual - this was our second visit to the green man and the last time was june 2000 during the circle line crawl. presents were given and received (i was going to buy phil a book about curing irritable bowel syndrome but decided on dilbert instead).

drinking: the first (darren) and last (mike techno)

points of interest (i.e. pubs we have not visited yet): Smugglers Tavern, Prince Of Wales Feathers (both on warren street).

shut it!

thank you spare pub

Newman Arms

halves supped up we cut along warren street heading for the northumberland arms. and yet again we were foiled by late opening, some nonsense about a problem with the tills. emma went to buy tinsel and construct something a bit more manageable for mike techno's head. the barman popped his head out the door and told us they'd open at midday. his contention that it would "only be half an hour" fell on deaf ears and we stormed off in search of another 'n'.

we didn't notice the barmaid laughing at us when phil took the picture.

a few minutes walk away is another northumberland arms, this one previously visited but also closed. luckily we were rescued by the newman arms, purveyor of fine pies (for which they have a special room).

"you lot look like a coach tour!"

said the barman, who had doubtless seen many a strange group in his hostelry. halves again, and onwards to holborn.

drinking: out in front (phil), bringing up the rear (mike techno)

points of interest: Mr Topper's Barber Shop, Museum Tavern (great russell street)

action stations

who ate them all?

Ivy House

an old fave and fine watering hole this one (not to be confused with "the ivy" which we were unlikely to have gained admittance to). clearly other people were entering into the festive spirit and we spied a couple of santa hats on other punters as well as the bar staff.

drinking: prize turkey (phil), cold turkey (mike techno)

not terrible

Newton Arms

what is it with 'n' pubs today? Na Zdrowie (pronounced naz drovia or thereabouts) was a let down again - we tried drinking there after an england qualifier to no avail, but at least the metal shutters weren't down that time. luckily we know another 'n' from that same night and gravitated towards the newton arms.

settled into a curved seating area (no bar staff comments regarding our half pint requests thus far) and watched a tradition we'd rather not continue - getting thrashed at the ashes.

drinking: 3-tier christmas cake (phil), microwave wet sponge (mike techno)

Eastnor Castle

a bus up southampton row to euston and a brisk walk (punctuated by a toilet stop at Rowley's) to the eastnor. discussion of the disappointing Ns gave rise to CAMEO - the CAMpaing for Early Opening and darren's untypably rude remark as we walked past learning tree international's office (they of the annoying computer training catalogues - it's on eversholt street if you're interested).

not the most salubrious part of town, but the pub was warm and welcoming. horse racing on the tv, phil got a sandwich to munch on.

drinking: information not recorded, mike techno doubtless flagged behind.


another significant event for BITE, our one thousandth pub. had the crawl gone as intended Na Zdrowie would have had the honour, but as it turned out the pub was very nice. hard wood floors, gas fired coal looking thing, a beer garden out back (far too cold to appreciate it).

"these thousand pubs have taken us on a voyage of discovery, both around the world in into our own minds and hearts.
and in my heart i know that i truly love beer. so a toast - to new pub everyday"

drinking: top of the heap (phil), bottom up (mike techno)

we were amused

Edinboro Castle

the shortage of unvisited 'e' pubs led us to camden during the planning stage, and it turned out to be a place of fine boozers. this one, on the cusp of mornington terrace, was the finest of the three replete as it is with comfy sofas, pool tables, pinball and a wide open design. we were more than happy to stay for our full pints and await the arrival of another inner circle member; the no-nonsense mike silky who set about his first pint with a vengeance.

i've written "stairs -vs- lift" in the notes, but i'm not sure why.

drinking: red nose reindeer (phil), lonely pup in the christmas shop (mike techno)

they canne spell!


back along the road to mornington crescent, made famous by radio show "i'm sorry i haven't a clue". the station proudly displays a blue plaque in the ticket hall commemorating one of the game's finest players and jackanory stalwart willie rushden.

southbound northern line to leicester square and a trip to the last unvisited Hogshead in the centre of town. from light and clear weather getting on the tube it had now gone dark and wet. mike techno stopped off at west cornish in covent garden for a turkey and cranberry pasty and very nice it was too. standard fare as hogsheads go, we supped up and left.

drinking: not recorded, but you can probably guess.

collect the full set

Two Brewers

right in the heart of theatreland, a fine old pub with excellent value for money food (�5.45 for a sunday lunch and free desert). several BITErs tried their hand at the quiz machine but to little avail.

drinking: gold / frankincense / myrrh (darren), wooden spoon (mike techno)

they do it with mirrors

Nell Gwynne

tucked away down one of the numerous passages between roads around covent garden and the strand, this cosy hostelry provided drinks in vase style glasses.

my poor choice of footwear became apparent between the hogshead and here as my feet were now soaking wet and making that nasty squelching noise.

drinking: role reversal! first (mike techno)

points of interest: the Rat & Parrot on st martin's lane is now a Henry's. O'Reillys (also st martin's lane) is new and currently unvisited.

the lady in the alley

Intrepid Fox

felt unsuitably dressed (i.e. not entirely in black) walking into this place. manically busy with just a single barman, eventually got drinks and stood around waiting for anne's friend laura. mark (darren and mike silky's boss) also turned up with two bottles of whiskey and a foodstuff of questionable provenance.

drinking: be you angels? (phil), nay we are but men (mike techno)

food glorious food

Red Lion

there was a Rat & Parrot on wardour street, but it has changed to the Duke Of Edinburgh so foiled by letters once again we headed up carnaby street to this likeable sam smith's. the aptly titled christmas spirit on tap we stood around in the back room and tried not to look like we'd been drinking all day.

drinking: drained his (phil), trickling down (mike techno)

Essex Serpent

double 'e', double drinks! back to covent garden for the penultimate boozer, offices were kicking out and london was getting a bit rowdy so we blended right in. well except for the hats of course. once the drinks were finished mark said he'd sort out transport for the last leg of the journey so save us getting soaked again.

Black Horse

and relax! got a fleet (well, two) taxis to the last pub of the evening and we arrived in time for half of happy hour. pitched up in a corner upstairs next to the pool tables and drank to excess. mike silky spilt beer on his t-shirt in an amusing penis shape, someone else went one better and knocked a whole pint over the pool table. luckily it was covered up really.

this was also the day of phil's christmas party so he had to meet work colleagues around 8pm. graham turned up around the time things got a bit hazy. it being the last friday before christmas the music was ridiculously cheesy with classics like right said fred and status quo.

i am the god of hell fire and i bring you...BEER!

dead on their feet

spelling it out

nestled all snug in their beds?

not exactly.

darren and anne sensibly went home around 8:30. phil had five more pints of stella after leaving the black horse, fell asleep on the train back to Harrow and needed a taxi "from very far away" - details were not forthcoming. mike techno went home via notting hill gate tube and acquired some helium balloons although the he has no memory of writing the note about them or the event to which it pertains. thus the pub crawl drew to a close - same again next year? thought so!

merry christmas and a happy new beer to all the BITE readers.

phil took the pictures during the day, graham took them in the black horse. they both use a canon ixus v2 but secretly hanker after the new v3.