Originally this trip was due to take us all the way down to Holborn since one of our survey team assured us that it would be a relatively easy walk. However after two trial runs we came to the conclusion that Farringdon would be about as far as we could achieve by way of destination in one evening. Following previous protocol, the trip starts at the final pub of the Upper Sreet excursion (24/06/03). The closest tube station is Angel, as if you wouldn't have guessed! Emerge south down Islington High St cross to the west side at the traffic lights then just a little way back to the north is the initial pub. Leaving times are shown in [ ]..
1. Angel 3-5 Islington High St N1 [18:30]
Beers: Ridleys Rumpus; Cottlieigh Cookaburrah; O'Hanlon's Dry Stout; Spinning Dog Mutley's Revenge + standard Wetherspoons beers
This is a large Wetherspoons pub and being part of this retail chain there will be a different range of beers every time you visit! However at least there are always plenty of people drinking them. Apart from a number of tables outside, interior accommodation is on two levels with a non-smoking area to the rear which also incorporates the family zone, but this doesn't seem to be particularly in demand around here of an evening. There are several alcoves dotted along the left-hand wall with booth-style seating. Fairly busy on the trial visit epecially as the weather merited opening the full-length front windows.
On leaving here turn right to the cross-roads then over to St John St and across again to the east (left) side. A short step farther down is ...
2. The Old Red Lion - 418 St John Street EC1 [19:15]
Beers: Greene King Abbot; Fullers London Pride; Adnams Broadside; Bass.
Interestingly shaped one-bar area, with an etched glass partition hiving off a front "snug" bar. Plushly carpeted with padded bench seating along all of one side. At the rear there is a small paved area with four picnic tables. In addition the upstairs incorporates a theatre (as alluded to in the red neon sign above the bar counter) which is accessed from the back of the main bar area, with the Box Office in the corner. There is a juke-box, but not in use on the trial and a projector for the TV, but the only evidence of a screen is an old ship's sail!
From here cross back to the west side of St John St, then continue down and turn right into Cromwell St then left to Arlington Way. About halfway along on the left is ...
3. The Harlequin - 27 Arlington Way [20:00]
Beers: Timothy Taylor Landlord + another.
One-bar pub with L-shaped counter. Seems to be in an up-market residential area. It is cheek-by-jowl to the stage door for Sadlers Wells opera. There is a narrow internal drinking area, no rear garden, but a modicum of seats/tables on the front pavement. Fortunately the place is on a quiet road with speed-restricting humps which effectively suppresses the traffic noise. On the reconnaissance visit it was very busy due in part to the warm weather no doubt. However the impression is that the majority of the clientele are either "locals" or late workers (apart from any opera attendees of course). External standing room extends either side (as we experienced). Let's hope that the weather is not too inclement.
The next pub is within sight i.e. about 100 yards farther down on the opposite side of the road ...
4. The Shakespeare's Head - Arlington Way [20:45]
Beers: Courage Directors and Best.
This is the local pub for those attending performances at Sadler's Wells and hence is likely to be somewhat busy before, after and during the intervals when there is an event taking place. Comfortable L-shaped one-bar interior to a fairly modern building, redolent of a 1950's "estate" pub, although as mentioned above, in an upmarket area. There are pleasant outside drinking areas front and back. The latter is in the form of an urban patio garden with pergolas, the former is, well just a patio!
Onwards, continue down to the junction with Roseberry Avenue, turn right and head down to the third turning on the right (Tysoe St). Just up on the right is ...
5. O'Hanlons - 6 Tysoe Street [21:45]
Beers: O'Hanlons Red, Firefly; Fullers London Pride.
Previously visited on the HASSRALE trip of 21st October 1998, the pub used to house the original O'Hanlons brewery which has now relocated to Devon. Excellent one-bar pub split into two areas. The bar counter is in the front whereas the rear room is seating only. Plush banquettes and tables in both. The front bar is usually dimly lit, but on occasion may be utilised for displaying sporting events on the large-screen projection TV. (Guess what occurred on the trial run?).
At this point the survey team realised that the prospect of moving much farther was not achievable (no, not excess drink, merely lack of time!), so we headed towards Farringdon. So over Roseberry Ave then down to Exmouth Market. Turn right to Farringdon Rd then carry on down to the junction with Farringdon St (the Betsey Trottwood) . Leave this on your right and continue to the left until you encounter ...
6. City Pride - 28 Farringdon Lane [21:45]
Beers: Fullers ESB, London Pride, Chiswick, Summer Ale.
Certainly this has figured on previous HASSRALE itineraries and not only under its current guise since it was formerly a Toby pub called The White Horse (or was it White Swan? Earlier circulars conflict over its name). Has been known to flood due to the position/poor street drainage, but this problem has now been corrected. The left-hand bar mainly just has standing room around "bird tables", but the right-hand bar in what was once a newsagents has proper seating and opening front french-windows.
Well this marks the end of the trip. Exit to the left down Farringdon Lane, cross over Clerkenwell Rd to Turnmill St (running parallel to Farringdon Rd) and continue to Cowcross St should you want Farringdon station. Otherwise take one of the many buses.
Trial Runs: Wednesday 30th July and 20th August 2003
Present: John Wright, James & Edmund Featherstone