HASSRALE last visited this area in January 1999 and only a desultory handfull of attendees turned up (although the phrase "no change there" applies as usual). Anyway for those that wish to revisit the Fleet Street area this is a pleasant stroll within a compact overall area. Access is easiest from Temple tube station otherwise buses across Waterloo or Blackfriars bridges connect with Fleet St. From Temple, walk up Milford Lane (from Temple Place) to find Little Essex St and on the corner is the first pub. Approximate leaving times are shown in [ ].
1. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese - 5 Little Essex Street [18:30]
Courage Directors and Best.
Not to be confused with the Sam Smith's establishment at the other end of Fleet Street. Same interior decoration as before i.e. dark varnished wood, but the furniture has been re-arranged so that the pew-style seating is now opposite facing instead of along the walls. One-bar pub, busy due to the presence of office-workers and of course commuters en route from Fleet St. There used to be a downstairs bar, but this may be just for private functions now. ¶ Emerge fom here and turn right and at the junction with Essex St is ...
2. The Edgar Wallace - 40 Essex Street WC2 [19:15]
Marston's Pedigree; Fullers London Pride; Adnams Bitter; Greene King IPA + guests.
Presumably still a Hogshead pub, as it sports the traditional bare-boards. The interior is fairly compact due to the number and size of the tables. Much visited over the years and usually very busy inside, but surprisingly on the trial run we were able to find vacant seats. This was probably due to the fact that most of the customers were standing outside basking in the unseasonal warm weather. There is an upstairs bar, but invariably if it is in use it is because there is a private party taking place. ¶ On leaving, turn left along Essex Court and after a short distance just before the corner there is the entrance to the next establishment which is ...
3. The Devereux - 20 Devereux Court [20:00]
Courage Best, Theakston's Best + Guest Beer
On the last visit in 1999 this pub had been completely re-vamped to incorporate a central bar counter rather than the in-line bar along one side. This time the glasses rail over the bar has been removed and overall the whole area is now opened up, rather than having separate bars. The old-style bare-wood tables in the original "back-bar" have been replaced. Quite comfortable and again not at all busy (on the trial run). The access to the toilets is one aspect that has not been improved however - you may need to mind your head! ¶ Long walk to the next one - exit to the left up the alleyway (Devereux Court) then left and right to find on your left ....
4. The George - 213 The Strand [20:45]
Bass; Fullers London Pride.
Surprisingly this is technically still The Strand, although it certainly looks as though it is on Fleet Street, but presumably still in WC2 not EC4 (City of London). Originally an 18th Century coffee house apparently. Still a one-bar pub, with a long narrow bar area. It opens out at the far end, which is technically the dining area. Limited seating down just the one side (again we were fortunate in finding a vacant table. Tends to have background music with a preponderance of bass (Bass?). ¶ Now launch out onto The Strand and cross over towards the Royal Courts of Justice, then continue east along what must now be Fleet St across the bottom of Bell Yard where immediately you will find ...
5. Old Bank of England - Fleet Street EC4 [21:45 or whenever]
Fullers Chiswick, London Pride, ESB, Honey Ale (Seasonal Brew).
Large imposing building, former bank premises. Ornate interior, very high ceiling with elaborate detail. Central island bar. Upper balcony area with extra seating plus a number of extra rooms off the main bar, these are usually reserved for private parties. Toilets are a fair climb upstairs. This is one of Fullers Ale and Pie chain so it does cater for those who wish for food. The beer has always been in good condition on HASSRALE visits. Very busy, some tourists, but mainly suits and legal types from chambers across the road.
On emerging from here you will be back on to Fleet St with the Aldwych and Temple tube station nearby. Have a safe journey.
Trial details: Edmund & James Featherstone, John Wright on Wednesday 3rd April 2002.Back to 2002 Trips