Weds 28th March 2001

The predecessor to this trip took place last August and the original intention then was to investigate pubs en route between Fenchurch Street and Liverpool Street stations. Unfortunately our survey team appeared to become tethered to an imaginary spot about 250 yards due east of Fenchurch St station and hence ended up with a small circular trip. This time we have ventured marginally farther afield (but not to Liverpool Street). Begin the trip from either Fenchurch St mainline or Tower Hill tube and walk north along Coopers Row, then turn right into Fenchurch St. On the right is the first pub. Approximate leaving times are denoted by [ ].

1. The East India Arms - Fenchurch Street EC3 [18.30]
Fullers ESB, London Pride, Chiswick + Honeydew 3.8%).

This is a fairly basic Fullers pub, that used to be run by Youngs, but reverted to stocking its owner's beers again a few years ago. Bare wooden floorboards and seating mainly comprises stools round the periphery or at the small L-shaped bar counter. Shuts at 9pm hence its inclusion at the start rather than at the end of the trip. Generally pretty busy due to its proximity to the mainline station. On leaving, turn left along Fenchurch St crossing over where possible to find ...

2. The Wine Lodge - Sackville House, 145 Fenchurch Street [19.00]
Young's Winter Warmer, Special and Ordinary.

This used to be called Chapman's Wine Lodge, named after a former landlord. It underwent refurbishment to change it from a sombre heavily upholstered establishment, to a sparsely furnished pub with bare floorboards. Seating accommodation is restricted to stools up by the bar or dispersed round the edge. There is a sort of wine-bar feel to the place, but certainly not in West End or Soho fashion. Beer in reasonable condition though. Likely to shut early (probably 9pm), Continue along Fenchurch St then take the next right into Lime St where just on the corner is ...

3. The Ship Tavern - 27 Lime Street [19.45]
Courage Directors and Best.

Apparently this used to be the cellar bar of the former Ship & Shovel. It is hardly visible as a pub from street level where there is just a small entry hall and a set of stairs leading to the main bar downstairs. This bar has a counter along one side and a seating area at the far end with fixed tables and benches. These seem primarily for dining, presumably mainly at lunchtime although there were still menus on display. Apart from a couple of customers at the bar, the place was unoccupied and no doubt a candidate for shutting early (9pm again according to the 10 year old East London & City CAMRA guide). Exit to the right and continue up Lime St crossing over to the left at the intersection with Cullum St to the right. Just up on the left you will find ...

4. The Grapes - 14 Lime Street [20.15]
Fullers London Pride; Adnams Bitter; Tetley's Bitter.

Yet another pub with a name change, this used to be the Bunch of Grapes, but in keeping with it fairly compact size it has suffered a title truncation. It always was a one-bar hostelry even when it was a Charrington's house. There is a small seating area at the front, then the bar counter extends along the remainder of one side with bar stools along the opposite side by a ledge on which to rest glasses. Quite pleasantly appointed and also has carpet for a change. We will have to be fairly prompt in leaving otherwise time in the next pub will be reduced since (you've guessed it) that too shuts at the magic 9pm curfew. On leaving, turn left then left again into Leadenhall Market. Continue past the new office development until the market street proper and along on the right after the intersection (still under cover) is ...

5. The Lamb Tavern - 10~12 Leadenhall Market [21.00]
Young's Winter Warmer, Special and Ordinary.

It may have become evident by now that this is not a trip for anyone who has a dislike for Young's beers although apparently this used to be a free-house until 1985. It has a long frontage in the Victorian covered market and also has a large area inside. This is split into two levels with the ground floor one providing the most room (mostly standing), while a spiral staircase leads to the upper level covering just half of the lower level. There are more tables upstairs (and the loos are there too), but the noise from downstairs drifts up. This noise is due to the fact that the pub is always very busy, in fact usually customers are also standing outside even in winter. Certainly worth a visit though. As mentioned above it shuts at 9pm (although the ELAC guide states 9.30), but feel free to linger for drinking up time. Personally the lure of the final pub should hasten my exit. Now carry on to the entrance to the market on Gracechurch St. You will need to cross over the road, but as it is a busy thoroughfare it may be prudent to walk up to the traffic lights to the right and cross there even though the next pub is down to the left. It is ...

6. The Crosse Keys - Gracechurch Street [22.00] or whenever]
An ever changing range (see text). Usually 10 real ales and all 1.69 or 1.89 (according to current pricing policy) a pint.

Due to the vagaries of pub opening times in the area, this seems a reasonable place to finish up, since it stays open until 11pm! It boasts a permanent beer festival with a selection of about 10 beers from a repertoire of 100+. Very impressive Wetherspoon's pub that opened in late June 1999 in a former bank occupying some 8000 sq ft of area. Originally built in 1912 for a Hong Kong banking company. Named after the nearby Crossekey Inn which was destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666. Very high ceiling with glass-domed skylights.. The carpet has the cross-keys emblem woven into the pattern. Substantial marble pillars and a very large circular marble central bar. Plenty of tables plus wide shelves around the pillars and along the walls. There are strange wall-hangings that seem out of place. It boasts washrooms rather than mere lavatories or toilets. Unfortunately we are still somewhat distant from Liverpool St station although Lombard St, down and along to the right, leads to Bank tube. Alternatively Monument tube is to the right down Gracechurch St or you can walk back along the trip's route to Fenchurch St mainline. Have a safe journey..

Trial details: Edmund & James Featherstone, John Wright on Weds 10th Jan 2001.