Thursday 30th June 1994
This jaunt could be regarded as the second in a trilogy, as the Ludgate Circus trial which was supposed to cover this area diverted unexpectedly, as trials do, thus meriting subsequent visits. (The the third part will be Farringdon, by the way). The trip is based around the Smithfield area which embraces the last of the main London markets to retain its original site. However it is soon to be moved as well. Nearest station is Farringdon from which the first pub is just to the South down Farringdon Street. Otherwise walk North up from Ludgate Circus (reached as per the eponymous Trip). Approximate leaving times are shown in [ ].
1. Smithfields Free House - 334/338 Central Markets EC1 [18.30]
Courage Best; John Smiths Bitter; Twelve Bore.
Basic wooden-floored establishment purporting to also open 5am - 8am for breakfast drinkers. Large ground floor area, but mind the low ceilings. In addition there is access to upstairs and downstairs drinking areas. The former has a pool table and further seating and looks out onto the pavement below. Take a "butchers" at the various photos of butchers around the place. Continuing with the butchers theme, the Simply Sausages shop is almost next door. Now turn left down to the junction, then left again up West Smithfield. First on the right takes you to Smithfield Street. Turn left and up on the right is ...
2. The New Market - 25 Smithfield Street [19.15]
Charrington IPA (£1.25), Bass (£1.40); Fullers London Pride (£1.50).
Traditional one-bar back-street hostelry, open 11am - 11pm. Darts area at the front of the pub. On Tuesday nights only (unfortunately) there is one free drink for every three bought. Note the collection of bumaree badges (the term bumaree derives from porters from Billingsgate market who originally worked on the bum boats - enough said!). Airy, comfortable and not at all busy on the trial. Turn right and continue down to West Smithfield. Further along the road opens out and on the corner of this junction is ...
3. The Bishops Finger - 8 West Smithfield [20.00]
Shepherd Neame Master Brew, Bishops Finger, Best Bitter and Spitfire; plus a guest beer (Arundel Stronghold at the time @ £1.90 per pt).
Also known as The Rutland, this is a splendid, but basic one bar pub overlooking the square. Rather busy on the night and dominated by a noisy football match on the TV. Ordinarily should be "just popular" with a number of seats including some outside, unoccupied if you are lucky. Negotiate a route across the square, leaving Bart's Hospital on the right and walk down Cloth Fair where further along on the left is ...
4. The Rising Sun - 38 Cloth Fair [20.45]
Sam Smiths Museum and Old Brewery Bitter.
Accommodating two-bar pub with the front bar (public) linoleum-covered (the floor) and the back bar carpeted and with a TV. A ripple-glassed establishment overlooking a splendid ecclesiastical building, (St Bartholomew's Church?). Apparently it was originally a "haunt" of gravediggers who would negotiate the sale of cadavers to nearby Bart's Hospital. Continuing down the road the name changes and on the opposite side is ...
5. The Hand and Shears - 1 Middle Street [21.30]
Courage Best, Directors; John Smiths Bitter.
A listed building containing a four-bar pub. These comprise a snug, public bar, lounge and an upstairs saloon. Pleasant establishment with loads of room. Apparently it was closed for six months in 1990 while being extensively restored. There are no discernable alterations to the original though thankfully. On leaving return past the last pub and turn right up to Long Lane. Go left past Ye Olde Red Cow (which may be worth a quick visit) to find ...
6. The Barley Mow - 50 Long Lane [22.15 or whenever]
Flowers IPA; Wadworth 6X; Boddingtons Bitter.
This pub has an attractive frontage, while inside there is a long narrow bar with much wood panelling. Usual Whitbread-style bric-a-brac. Somewhat noisy/boisterous. Has a pinball machine and TV of course. Er, that's it! The nearest tube is Barbican which is back along Long Lane, turning left onto Aldersgate Street. Other routes are found by returning left along West Smithfield and onto Farringdon Street by the first pub.
Trial run: Wednesday 4th May 1994; participants - Edmund Featherstone, John Carter and John Wright.