Hassrale Trips - Farringon II

Date: Wednesday 1st April 1988

An April Fool's day jaunt in the Farringdon area involving all new pubs, well nearly all new and certainly to HASSRALE! Make your way to Farringdon station (tube or mainline) then turn right (west) along Cowcross St. At the crossroads opposite on the north side (entrance up Greville St) is ..

1. Sir John Oldcastle - 29-35 Farringdon Rd EC1 [18:30]

Beers: Fullers London Pride, Youngers Scotch, Courage Directors, Theakstons Best plus guest beers

Large pub in the typical Wetherspoons style. Very big on food with a fairly mixed clientele, mainly young professional. Usually busy due to its proximity to Farringdon tube and the numerous offices. Beer seemed quite expensive, London Pride was £2.10 a pint. Large non-frosted windows reaching almost down to the floor make the interior very visible from the road.

Back past Farringdon Stn then turn left up Turnmill St and at he junction with Clerkenwell Road turn right then next on your right is Britton St down to ..

2. The Jerusalem Tavern - 52 Britton St [19:15]

Beers: St Peters Best Bitter (3.7%), Fruit Beer, Extra, Wheat (all 4.7%), Strong and Mild

Small one bar pub with bare boards and a good range of beers. The company owns Plymouth Gin and Caleys (of Norwich) chocolate. Usually fairly busy up to 8 PM then quiet, before the student population arrives. Limited seating but convivial atmosphere. For the hardy there are a couple of tables outside. Note the candles burning in the front windows. The manager Mike is formerly of the Square Tavern (near Euston) but due to move on soon. Apparently the company, St Peters Brewery, were due to open a further three pubs in London early in the New Year, however they have decided to concentrate on the production of their excellent beers in very attractively shaped bottles. A notice in the bar claimed that it had featured in a recent film (Wings of a Dove). They seemed to do food in the evening.

Return to the top of the road then endeavour to cross Clerkenwell Rd and head left across the entrance to Clerkenwell Green and turn right into Farringdon St where on the right is ..

3. The City Pride - 28 Farringdon Street [20:00]

Beers: Fullers ESB, London Pride, Chiswick, Winter Ale (4.8%)

Not unknown to some Hassralers I suspect, this is still a splendid Fullers haunt with an extended downstairs area (instigated some 10 years ago) and the usual upstairs function room, with a dart board favoured by party types throughout the year. Formerly a Toby house called The White Horse. In case you were unaware the main bar is pretty much standing/perching near bar only with plusher seating accommodation in the new area which was formerly an adjacent shop.

Back to Clerkenwell Rd turn left (east) and at the end cross over and turn right into John St where on the right you will come to ..

4. The White Bear - 57 St John Street [20:45]

Beers: Bass, London Pride

Supposedly a traditional pub according to ELAC's 1990 guide. Now reduced to a single bar with bare floor boards and the usual tall tables & stools with non-upholstered seating elsewhere. Beware, the ubiquitous TV may be on for the inevitable football match.

Continue on down St Johns St then along Grand Avenue on the left through Smithfield Market into the square with Bart's Hospital ahead. Diagonally opposite is ..

5. The Bishops Finger - 9-10 West Smithfield [21:30]

Beers: Shepherd Neame Bishops Finger, Spitfire, Porter and Masterbrew

In the historic area close to Bart's hospital, the pub name comes from the "finger-posts" (signposts) prevalent in Kent. Used to be called The Rutland and was at No 8, but now expanded to the present premises (OK so it's moved!). Purports to be a bar/restaurant but is still the same layout as on our last visit in 1994. No loud TV now, this has become a wine-bar style establishment with polished wood floors, a small food bar (closed in the evening), but not to be confused with the true restaurant which is upstairs. Historical note: the reference in the 1991 ELAC Guide to "Postmen in uniform may not be served!" may refer to a certain London Drinker contributor by the name of Colin Price.

From here it is probably worth going back towards St John St and turning left into Cowcross St where we can call in at ..

6. The Three Compasses - 66 Cowcross Street [22:00]

Beers: Ruddles County, Wadworths 6X

Not recently trialled so the beer range may have changed, however it's handy for the station. Shares its entrance with the Standard Tandoori restaurant which resides upstairs. The pub is a large room with a raised quarter-deck area in the middle. The main drinking area is stone-flagged with a number of nooks and resting places.

Out of here and left and its a short walk to Farringdon Station.

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