BOROUGH MARKET II
Tuesday 19th June 2001
Over many years, HASSRALE has conducted a number trips in and around Borough inevitably ending up in the market area around Stoney Street which affords a good variety of beers (and also has easy access to London Bridge for transport). An additional imperative is that once again the market is under threat of extinction due to the expansion required to the railway viaduct for the Channel Tunnel link. Hopefully this is another false alarm, but it is a good excuse for a visit. As mentioned, London Bridge mainline/tube (Northern & Jubilee)/ bus routes are all close by. To reach the first port of call make your way to the south-west end of the bridge and almost the first main building is pub number one. Approximate leaving times are denoted by [ ].
1. The Barrowboy and
Banker - London Bridge [18.30]
Fullers ESB, London pride, Chiswick + Honeydew 4.3%.
This is a Fullers Ale and Pie House, converted from huge former bank premises (NatWest). Built on two levels with an impressive interior illuminated by large curtained windows. The ground floor is paved with marble tiles and has a semi-circular bar counter. The upstairs is reached via a sweeping staircase leading to a balcony with extra seating, but no bar. Impressive chandelier and large reproduction prints of London in the 17th Century. Very popular due to its proximity to the large office buildings and also for "weary" travellers who naturally prefer it to the station bar. Plenty of tables, but don't expect much spare room after 6pm. ¶ On leaving, turn left and descend the steps at the start of the bridge. At the lower level, immediately on the left is ...
Really a wine lodge with a restaurant attached. Large subterranean bar, divided into various odd areas. Dining seems to be a strong theme although on the trial run no people were actually seen eating. Sawdust was scattered on the floor and beer was served, as usual for this chain (Davey's), in pewter tankards. A fair amount of accommodation dotted around comprising old-style wooden tables. ¶ Emerge upstairs into the daylight once more then turn to the right under the bridge where a little way along on the opposite side of the road is ...
3. The Mudlark -
Montague Close [19.30]
Fullers London Pride, Bass.
The Charrington's pub sign looks old -fashioned, but the pub itself resides in a refurbished block and exhibits an air of being fairly modern. It is almost within the precincts of the extended grounds of Southwark Cathedral and also near to the Thames walkway that leads eventually to Waterloo. The interior has a bare-boarded floor, with old tables, pews and any other ex-pub/church furniture the developers could find. One bar area with clear windows overlooking an exterior patio drinking area. Inside there are large wooden beams, obviously a legacy from the pub's previous incarnation. Not particularly busy, but maybe the background music had discouraged customers (then sit outside, weather permitting!). ¶ Exit right then turn right into Cathedral St. Follow this round to the right then left into Borough Market. Almost directly in front is ....
4. The Globe - 8
Bedale Street [20.00]
Adnams Broadside & Bitter; Youngs Bitter.
Excellent one-bar pub just on the periphery of Borough Market, again within sight of Southwark Cathedral. The U-shaped exterior is matched by a U-shaped bar counter. There are etched glass windows exhibiting the Globe symbol, bare floor-boards and the seating mainly comprises bar stools round the walls adjacent to the shelving where drinks can be perched. At the "public bar" end there is a dart board underneath which there is a cluster of low-level seats (brinkmanship?). ¶ From here head on through the centre of the market towards Stoney St. Walk down to the left to the junction with Borough High St where on the corner you will find ...
5. The Southwark
Tavern - 22 Southwark Street [20.30]
Fullers London Pride; Adnams Bitter.
Formerly a Nicholson's Inn (but now believed to be run by Bass Leisure). Large one- bar pub with a cellar bar called Debtor's that is only open at certain times (not revealed to the survey team). Comfortably furnished i.e. carpet for a change, plenty of seats and a choice of accommodation areas which probably accounted for the sparse occupation. Dimly lit which contributed to the "cosy" ambience. No TV and merely muted background music. I can think of no more platitudes for this establishment so let's move on! ¶ That's better, just up on the left is ...
6. The Wheatsheaf -
Stoney Street [21.15]
A continuously varying range of beers (you will see this phrase again below). Goacher's Fat Boy Fine Light & Gold Star (on the trial run).
Another traditional CAMRA haunt which in our opinion should be a regular in the National GBG as well as the next port of call (which is). Two bar pub with the communal area at the far end which has a dartboard and games machines, linking the two. Don't look for much by way of other creature comforts and beware the bars are very narrow, bare-boarded with spartan seating (sounds enticing doesn't it ?), however the pub is a real ale drinker's establishment without being pretentious. Like it or hate it, you should visit it to form an opinion. I have heard a rumour that this pub closed down around 8-9 June (but Youngs may takeover the pub?) ¶ Now head a little farther to the left along Stoney St to ...
7. The Market Porter
- Stoney Street [22.00 or whenever]
A continuously varying range of beers (said you would see this again, but also the survey team are unable to recollect what was on apart from an excellent "smoky" porter, appropriately enough).
This is a regular entry in the GBG (Good Beer Guide). Extensive street-corner premises encompass two main bars, with a smaller snug just to the right of the main entrance. The bar area continues around to the back bar which has a dartboard and replicates the old-fashioned tables and chairs (ye olde inne) style of the rest of the pub. Beware this hostelry often hosts players/supporters from rugby clubs who are not necessarily just rowdy, but tend to drain the available repertoire of beers. On the other hand if you've made it this far I doubt that you will worry too much! ¶ Thanks for persevering this far. Retrace your steps back down Stoney St to the main road. Turn left and somewhere along on the opposite side of the road is the entrance to London Bridge precinct. From here the usual public transport access to mainline, underground and buses may be found.
Trial details: Edmund & James Featherstone, John Wright on Wednesday 10th April 2001.