LEICESTER SQUARE-CHARING CROSS
Tuesday 17th October 1995
Fairly self-explanatory really. we thought that we would choose one of the busiest places in London to start, then do the tourist bit and see what was to be found. The result was surprisingly pleasant. Make your way to Leicester Square tube station, then take the Charing Cross Rd (West) exit. Head towards the square, turn left and walk past the Odeon cinema, next to which is the first venue. Approximate leaving times are shown in [ ].
1. The Moon Under Water - 28 Leicester Square WC2 [18.30]
Courage Directors; Marstons Pedigree; Theakstons XB, Youngers Scotch Bitter + guest beer (on the trial, "Old Spectacular" @ £1-80).
Another J D Wetherspoon's pub created on a site where no pub previously existed. Narrow long roughly L-shaped bar area opening out in the middle and at the far end. Also a few unshaded tables outside, fortunately the square is now pedestrianised so you will find only footprints rather than tyre-marks on them. Air-conditioned, but with an open front. Rather busy so try and get there before 5.45. Food served all day. On leaving walk diagonally across the square to the left towards the Swiss Centre. Turn right up Wardour St and at the junction with Lisle Street is ...
2. The Falcon - 20 Wardour Street W1 [19.15]
Young's Special and Ordinary Bitter.
Formerly a Watney's pub leased from Finch's Inns, but now owned by Young's. The single downstairs bar has bare wooden floorboards and is crowded, compact and somewhat gloomy. However there is an upstairs bar which also has hand-pumped beer. This bar is much brighter, pleasantly airy with flower displays outside the windows which overlook the corner on two sides. The Gents loo is virtually in the street by the Wardour Street entrance. Now continue up Wardour St. and turn right into Gerard St. Next on the left is Macclesfield St. (featured in the 70's film "A Touch of Class"). Along here is ...
3. De Hems - 11 Macclesfield Street W1 [20.00]
By way of an experiment, it will make a change to try "London's only Dutch pub", as De Hems calls itself. The name change from the mundane "Macclesfield" took place in the Twenties and the inside is festooned with Dutch plates, photographs and Old Masters (but not of the caning variety, there are other places in Soho to provide this facility). A busy place popular with the Dutch for some reason (avoid 1st & 3rd Thursdays of the month). Of the various beers, the draught Witte Raaf, a cloudy wheat beer served in 1/2 pints with a slice of lemon, is recommended. Now retrace your steps back down Wardour Street then right into Coventry Street. Left by the Prince of Wales theatre is Oxenden St. and on the right is ...
4. The Comedy Bar - 7 Oxenden Street SW1 [20.45]
Marston's Pedigree; Youngs Bitter.
Two large bars, one at ground level the other downstairs, but the latter has no real ale. It does have jazz on Monday, Tuesday and Saturday evenings. The upper bar is air-conditioned and contains a large amount of jazz players' memorabilia although for some reason there is a hotch-potch of Second World War mementos at the far end (no, not jazz players) plus a canoe, life belts and fishing creels! Food bar non-operational in the evening, crisps range from ready salted to er.. Continue down across Panton St, then left into Orange St. At the junction with Whitcomb St just across the road is ...
5. The Hand and Racquet - 48 Whitcomb Street SW2 [21.30]
Courage Directors; Wadworth's 6X; Theakston Best.
Small single bar pub on a corner and with a restaurant upstairs. There are large sash windows which were open on the (extremely hot) day of the trial. Limited accommodation mainly comprising stools positioned along by the windows. Wide selection of tennis racquets adorning the walls On leaving continue to the left down Whitcomb St. to ...
6. The Battle of Trafalgar - 10 Whitcomb Street SW2 [22.15 or whenever]
Courage Directors and Best; Theakston's Best.
Actually part of the Royal Trafalgar Hotel, so use the entrance at the Charing Cross end. Comfortable, modern bar with plenty of seating and not at all busy even though open to residents. Seems like they do not wish to venture past the reception area. Beer in good condition (the air was conditioned as well, but it will probably be a freezing cold day for the main trip so all these references to cool pubs will be superfluous). Well that's it! If you continue down the road you will come to the corner of Trafalgar Square from where numerous buses run and of course diagonally across is the Strand with Charing Cross Station etc.
Trial run Tuesday 25th July 1995; participants - John Wright, Edmund and James Featherstone.
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