TEMPLE to BLACKFRIARS TRIP - Thursday 6th January 1994
Perhaps this trip would be better called "The Fleet Street Foray" since its route adheres closely to that thoroughfare, however as it follows on from the Charing Cross to Temple trip the original title shall remain. It is an area well known to many HASSRALE members and formerly even more fondly known to numerous hacks who used to frequent the Street of Shame, but have sadly moved on to more distant watering holes. The route is fairly straightforward starting on the southern side of the Aldwych near St. Clement Danes church with the nearest tube being Temple surprisingly.
1. The Edinburgh Castle - Milford Lane [18.10]
Scottish & Newcastle Theakston's XB, Best Bitter.
Busy one-bar pub now devoid of carpet (nothing to do with us), popular with the after-work brigade who hopefully will not fester around too long. A basic boozer (unlike the average HASSRALE member), but a good starting point. Exit up to Aldwych then turn right across the top of Essex Street and opposite the Central Courts of Justice is ...
2. The George - Fleet Street [18.40]
Charrington Bass, IPA; Fuller's London Pride.
A pleasant establishment fortunately, on the trial run, devoid of the loud music that occasionally pervades the atmosphere here. Capacious with one long bar, not particularly busy, usually. Food available in the evening, also a pin-ball machine (JC please note). On leaving here turn right along Fleet Street past the statue which incidentally designates the boundary with the City of London. A little further along on the right will be found ...
3. Ye Olde Cock Tavern - Fleet Street [19.30]
Courage Directors, Best.
This pub has now returned Phoenix-like after the demise when its gas lighting got out of hand and turned into living-flame gas central heating devouring much of the interior. Formerly a Trumans house it has now taken Courage (as part of the Grand Met estate). It is decked out in traditional fashion with plenty of combustible material i.e bare wooden floor (plus sawdust), wooden tables, chairs and friezes round the bar. There is an upstairs gallery area and also assorted memorabilia festooned around the place including "Nipper". Emerge from here down to the traffic light junction with Fetter Lane where on the right is Mitre Court, one of the entrances to Inner Temple. Just down there is ...
4. The Clachan - Mitre Court [20.10]
Scottish & Newcastle Youngers IPA, Theakston's Best.
Excellent hostelry with a quiet "upstairs" bar (which is actually sub-ground level and a slightly more boisterous downstairs bar. Very clean and well run and no loud music. Traditional woody format with quite a few seats. Retrace your steps to the traffic light junction, turn right then continue on down Fleet Street to find on the right ...
5. The Tipperary - Fleet Street [20.50]
Greene King Abbot, IPA.
Unfortunately now a shadow of its former self, this two-bar pub has a narrow ground floor area with somewhat limited seating and an upstairs keg-only bar with a number of seats. I believe that cask beer can be ordered from upstairs (at a premium) via the dumb waiter service or I presume there is nothing to stop us carrying drinks upstairs (apart from negotiating the stairs themselves of course)! Unusual in having two names this was originally the Boars Head (indeed the upstairs bar is thus called) and until the mid-1980s sported two pub signs. The building was gutted to be redeveloped into offices, but as the facade had to be preserved, the original pub layout was recreated, however the former convivial atmosphere is lacking. Worth a visit if only (at least in my case) for old time's sake. We shall now be paying our only visit to the Northern side of Fleet St. so cross at the pedestrian lights outside then continue on down to the right looking out for the side alley called Wine Office Court (approximate position shown on map) where up there on the right is ...
6. The Cheshire Cheese - Wine Office Court [21.30]
Sam Smith's Museum Ale, Old Brewery Bitter.
A legendary hostelry claiming to be the oldest in the area. It is not to be confused with the relatively modern "Olde Cheshire Cheese" off Essex Street. Those who know the place, but have not been since its refurbishment, will find it much extended as it now incorporates a former newsagents and part of the old Express building. (Purists however might argue that a Grade II listed building cannot have a "modern" extension). An interesting (and justifiably busy) multi-bar pub with some areas reserved for dining. A veritable rabbit warren inside, but I'm sure we will find somewhere to lurk. Beware the head-banging descent to the loos, Groucho Marx-style gait may help - alternatively try on all-fours! For those continuing, a return crossing of Fleet Street will have to be attempted. Once achieved, the final port of call can be found a little further down (i.e. towards Ludgate Circus) and is ...
7. The Old Bell - Fleet Street [10.10]
Arrol's 80/-; Marston's Pedigree; Wadworth's 6X; Tetley Bitter
A Nicholson's inn, as one might guess from the varied beer selection, this pub is decked out in the house style. Popular establishment with a small drinking area at the front and the main (horseshoe-shaped) bar behind that. Beer in good condition (as will be HASSRALE members by now one suspects), but beware this place closes at 10 p.m. unfortunately. Further toping can be carried out (as we might well be) at the Punch Tavern, next door. Those who have had sufficient can return via bus to e.g. Charing Cross or Liverpool Street, alternatively Blackfriars tube and mainline or Farringdon tube stations are readily accessible.
Survey details: Trial run Monday 27th September 1993; participants - John Wright & Edmund Featherstone.
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