Hassrale Trips: Leman Street

Date: Wednesday 9th December 1998

This trip doesn't involve much walking luckily so it should be appropriate even for the most indolent Hassraler. We start (and finish for that matter) from Aldgate East tube station. You need to find the appropriate exit for Leman Street, it is marked but entails a fair amount of walking through subways. When you find the Leman St. exit you just cross over (at a pedestrian crossing) and walk a short way up the street to find.

1. The Old Monk - 32 Leman St. [18:30]

Beers: Brakspear Reapers Reward, Greene King Abbot, Tetley, Theakstons Best

Large and fairly busy pub which is part of the Old Monk chain. Occupies premises of former offices. Looks a bit like a Wetherspoons which is not surprising as the owner of the chain is part of the Wetherspoon family who split off to set up his own chain. Extensive range of food which is available all day. On the two visits I have made it has been fairly busy but we still managed to get seats and more to the point the beer was in good condition. No music.

On leaving cross back over Leman Street to find directly opposite ..

2. The Old Dispensary - 19a Leman St. [19:15]

Beers: Brakspears Bitter, Wadworths 6X, Greene King Abbot, Youngs Bitter

Impressive high ceilinged building reminiscent of a bank premises. I can't actually remember what was here before but this conversion must be reasonably recent. There has been an extensive refurbishment in which they have attempted to use elements of old and new. It is noticeable how much better quality the old parts are than they new. There are all sorts of nooks and crannies with old bits of seating shoved in plus an upper gallery accessible via a spiral staircase. The pub was quite busy but nobody seemed to be using the upstairs section. As with the last pub food seems to be quite important, the range looks interesting and it appeared to be served all day.

Cross back over Leman St. and opposite the other corner of The Old Monk by the turn into Alie St. you will find

3. Black Horse - 40 Leman St. [20:00]

Beers: Boddingtons Bitter, Brakspears Bitter (not actually on at the trial)

Rather aromatic (smells of paint) possibly some recent refurbishment. Supposed haunt of local CID but actually appeared to be almost empty. Street corner one bar pub, though I think that there is function/pool room upstairs. Basically furnished lots of red paint, though with odd rural touches like the brick fireplace and collection of warming pans.

Keep on down Leman Street till you find on your right ..

4. Mr Pickwicks - 70 Leman St. [20:45]

Beers: Websters Yorkshire Bitter, Courage Best, Youngs Bitter

This appeared at first sight to be some sort of sports bar, lots of TV screens, loud music, young people drinking lager. I don't think that they often carry the range of beer mentioned above. The Best was vinegar but it was changed without too much fuss. From the bare brickwork I would have thought that there was some building work going on. The ELAC guide says that this used to be the Garrick Tavern and is a Grade II listed building. There were some odd Dickensian style prints on the walls.

Back up Leman Street to the corner of Alie Street then down here till you find on your right ..

5. The White Swan - 21 Alie Street [21:30]

Beers: Shepherd Neame Masterbrew (3.8%), Spitfire (4.7%), Bishops Finger (5.4%), 1698 Celebration (5.1%)

Re-opened in 1989 following a fire. I am sure that this used to close early once but it now seems to stay open later (well at least till past 10 o'clock on our visit). This commonly was full of mobile phone waving city types but was fairly quiet on our visit. This pub is directly opposite the Al Halal which some would say is the oldest curry house in East London.

Leaving here you can backtrack to Aldgate East tube station or the adventurous can head the other way to the Aldgate bus station.

Trial Date: 29th October 1998

Present: J Wright, J Featherstone, E Featherstone

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