It may seem as though we frequent this part of the world, but it has been several years since we organised (no jokes please) a trip around here. Anyway it is well worth re-visiting and provides a variety of beers, for a change. The nearest underground station, otherwise buses along The Strand provide access. Prepare to enter "Legal-Eagle Land". The first port of call is just down the road opposite St Clement Dane's church. Approximate leaving times are shown in [ ].
1. The Edgar Wallace - 40 Essex Street WC2 [18.30]
Morland Old Speckled Hen; Adnams Bitter; Charles Wells Bombardier; Whitbread Boddington Bitter.
Now a Whitbread's Hogshead pub, sporting the usual bare-boards, but embellished by a single large rug in the centre. Tends to get very busy (especially on the Friday of the trial).. There is limited seating so seize it by planting coats etc. There is a large amount of unrelated paraphernalia (junk) festooned above the bar area¶ On leaving, cross over the road, taking the street opposite where at the end on the left is ...
2. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese - 5 Little Essex Street [19.00]
Courage Directors and Best.
Not to be confused with the Sam Smith's establishment at the other end of Fleet St.(although that may be older, due to the incorporation of the shop at the front, it is no longer authentic). This is a one-bar pub with a traditional feel to it. Carpeted (how unusual), plenty of pews and not particularly busy. ¶Double back past the first pub's side then turn left to find the entrance of
3. The Devereux - 20 Devereux Court [19.45]
Courage Directors and Best + Guest Beer
Completely re-vamped from previous HASSRALE visits (at least 3 years ago). This now has a central bar counter rather than the in-line bar along one side. The original "back-bar" has now been subsumed within the main area. Understandably popular with the legal fraternity. The access to the toilets is one aspect that has not been improved however - mind your head!¶ Long walk to the next one - exit to the left up the alleyway where on your left is ....
4. The George - 213 The Strand [20.30]
Bass; Fullers London Pride.
Surprisingly this is technically still The Strand, although it certainly looks like Fleet St. to me! Originally an 18th Century coffee house apparently. Visited by HASSRALE many years ago. Still a one-bar pub (can't reduce that), with a long narrow bar area. It opens out at the far end, where the dining area is. Tends to have background music with a preponderance of bass (Bass?).¶ Continue east along what must now be Fleet St (passing the Tipperary, a shadow of its former self) then turn right down Whitefriars where down on the left is ...
5. The Coach and Horses - Whitefriars [21.15]
Greene King Abbot and IPA.
Hopefully this is the right name (and road), but my notes are a bit sketchy and unusually for this area the old bible, Real Beer in London published in 1981, did not list a pub here. Anyway after finding that The Tipperary (a tied Greene King pub) had no Abbot, this had both GK beers in good condition. Fairly loud music, but not busy. This used to be a haunt of the printers from the Fleet St papers before "Fleet Street" was shifted to Wapping and Hammersmith.¶ Either navigate your ow way through the back-alleys or go back up to Fleet St then turn right, to find further down on the same side ...
6. The Old Bell - 95 Fleet Street [22.00]
Marstons Pedigree; Tetley Bitter; Adnams Bitter.
Still a Nicholson's establishment. Bare-boarded floor with the occasional rickety table and strange "cheese-slice" stools. Justifiably popular place. There is also a front seating area, with no bar, which occupies the room originally taken by the tobacconists.
¶On emerging from here you will be back on to Fleet St with Ludgate Circus to the right and Blackfriars Station just down to the South from that. Have a safe journey.
Trial details: Edmund & James Featherstone, John Wright on Friday 4th December 1998.