Hassrale Trips: East Russell Square

Date: Tuesday 18th May 1999

The intention of this trip had been to explore the east side of Russell Square however the weather proving inclement we inclined to pubs that we could easily identify so there are several pubs here with which you are already familiar. Hopefully it won't be cold and windy (with a hint of snow) on the actual trip. We actually start just below the south-east corner of Russell Square, i.e just down Southampton Row, in Cosmo Place.

1. Queens's Larder - 1 Queen Square WC1 [18:30]

Beers: Marstons Pedigree, Wadworths 6X, Boddingtons, Flowers IPA

Small cosy pub, established 1710. On the tourist trail by the look of some of the customers. Limited number of seats, mainly bench style around the walls. When we arrived at 17:30 it wasn't too busy but it started filling up and there was standing room only by the time that we left. All beers on sparklers but the two we tried were in good condition. Windows looking out onto Queen Square and Cosmo Place. Had green and white striped awning over front. Regency style pictures on walls. There is a restaurant upstairs and snacks are served in the bar in the evening. From a card on the table I picked up some of the history. The name comes from the period when George III was ill and was being treated by his physician who lived in Queen Square. His consort Queen Charlotte rented the cellar of an ale house to store delicacies for the king.

Backtracking slightly towards the start of Cosmo Place we find

2. The Swan - 7 Cosmo Place [19:00]

Beers: GK Abbot, Courage Directors, Theakstons XB & Old Peculier

Fair sized larger than previous pub but much more crowded, fairly cosmopolitan crowd, appeared to be office workers, students and tourists. No chance of a seat here. Lots of mobile phones (and quite good signal strength). Chalk boards dotted around extolling the mundane pleasures of the average ScotCo pub. Mostly wooden floorboards but odd patches of carpeting around the seating areas.

Go to the end of Cosmo Place, turn left and walk to top of Queen Square you will find pedestrian access to Guilford Street, where you turn right, cross the road and then left up Herbrand Street for a short distance till you get to.

3. Friend at Hand - 4 Herbrand St. [19:45]

Beers: Courage Directors, Theakstons Best

Large street corner pub, very busy with loud background music, but for all that quite a pleasant atmosphere. Memories of the past are of nets draped around the ceiling and hop branches. All gone now, fairly plush decor, carpeting, nice light fittings, green wallpaper, clear windows with heavy curtains draped around them. TV in the corner showing football. Seemed a fairly young clientele (or am I getting old).

Back down to Guilford Street, cross the road and head east till you find on your right the turning for Guilford Place, walk down here till you reach the top of Lamb's Conduit St where you will find on your left.

4. Lamb - 94 Lambs Conduit St. [20:30]

Beers: Youngs Special and Ordinary

What can be said of this that hasn't been said before, a gem of a Victorian pub, can this be genuine? Snob screens on the bar, but are there less of them since my last visit. Beer excellent and pub crowded, I don't think that I have ever had a seat in this pub. There is a beer garden but this was hardly the weather to investigate it.

Keep going south down Conduit Street till the turning on the left into Rugby Street, where you will find on the turn into Great James street.

5. Rugby Tavern - 19 Great James St. [21:30]

Beers: Sheperd Neame MasterBrew, Spitfire, Bishops Finger, Early Bird (4.5% abv)

Best pub of the evening, but I am prejudiced by the fact that the pub was almost empty, so no bother about seating. Beer in good condition so we were tempted into a second pint. Two roaring gas fires, plus a darts board (in use) and TV showing football but I don't remember any background music. This pub has changed ownership and beer several times, it used to be Ind Coope, then Fullers and now Sheperd Neame. Large U-shaped bar area.

The nearest tube station is still Russell Square so you will have to retrace your steps back past the last three pubs to Herbrand Street where on turning right into Bernard Street you will see the station.

Trial: Date 13th April 1999

Present: J.Wright, J.Featherstone, E.Featherstone

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