This was supposed to be a trip that maintained the continuity of previous visits to the area, however the length of time between the trial and the trip preclude such a likelihood. Rest assured a quick perusal confirmed that little has changed, so off we go. Goodge Street tube is the closest station and from here head south (right) and across the road to find on the corner of Bayley Street (corner of Bedford Square), the first port of call. Approximate leaving times are shown in [ ].
1. The Jack Horner - 236 Tottenham Court Road W1T 7QJ [18:30]
Fullers ESB, London pride, Chiswick + Seasonal Beer (Honeydew 4.3%).
Much visited as a starting point for other HASSRALE trips this is a Fullers Ale and Pie House, with the usual bare floorboards and clear glass windows. Rather pricey, but that's usual for this part of London unfortunately, (even the students seem to be well-heeled around here)! There are tables outside for the hardy and/or those that can drink through anti-pollution masks. These latter look out onto the busy thoroughfare. On leaving, cross Tottenham Ct Rd (via turn the pedestrian traffic lights by Store St. Then walk down Percy St to the junction with Rathbone Place (& Rathbone St & Charlotte St). Turn left (south) then down on the left is ...
2. The Wheatsheaf - 25 Rathbone Place W1T 1JB [19:15]
Narrow one-bar pub with wood-panelled interior. There is a downstairs bar used for music functions, but not usually open. The bar counter runs half the length of the premises, making seating rather limited (i.e. only by the bar). However at the far end the pub opens out slightly into a small area with a few tables and banquette seating. Nearby is the Marquis of Granby that is no longer a comfortable Burton-serving pub and had "No Real Ale". Now continue down the road and turn left into Stephen Mews at the end, on the corner is ...
3. The Bricklayers Arms - 31 Gresse Street W1T 1QS [20:00]
Sam Smiths Old Brewery Bitter.
Fairly modern pub located near the campus of Birkbeck College. It is a narrow establishment on the inner corner of the street and occupies two floors. The ground floor bar is almost U-shaped extending through to the rear area. It is bare-boarded with cramped seating. Upstairs the accommodation is more relaxed with settees and other soft furnishings. On the trial run there was a private party upstairs which limited available room to the extent that we stood outside! If the weather is kind to us we might replicate such behaviour on this trip. Retrace your steps to Rathbone Place then turn left and continue down to Soho Square. Negotiate this towards Greek St opposite. Carry on down and on the left, past the Gay Hussar (now a club, not a chap) is ....
4. Pillars of Hercules - 7 Greek Street W1D 4DF [20:45]
Courage Directors; Charles Wells Bombardier; Theakston's Best; London Pride.
This is another pub situated on a corner. It has a long narrow bar with a raised area at the back. Very busy at front, lots of people standing in the street, but on the trial we entered by the side door (which opens off the narrow side street, but is not always unlocked) and got a seat. Fixtures and fittings look fairly original, lots of red paint splashed about. Note the water tap on the bar. Seems to specialise in food and afternoon teas (served piping hot they claim) for tourists. A good range of bottled foreign beer is available including Leffe. On leaving, turn left and head down the road. Back to Greek St and down to the junction with Old Compton St and look for the Tudor style exterior of ...
5. Three Greyhounds - 25 Greek St W1D 5DD [21:00]
Adnams Bitter; Greene King IPA; Fullers London Pride.
This is a single bar pub which had recently been refurbished, but retained the incongruous black and white exterior. Unfortunately some of the original artifacts from its previous 500 years existence have been removed (and on our visit had been replaced with nothing more substantial than the smell of paint). Despite the compact interior there was a food counter, but no sign of anyone eating at the time of the survey. Quite busy inside and also busy with traffic outside on the street which forms an overflow area for drinkers who wish to perch. Just farther down Greek St is Romilly St. Turn left onto this and on the right at the junction with Charing Cross Rd is ...
6. The Spice of Life - 37-39 Romilly Street W1D 5AN [21:45 or whenever]
McMullen's AK, Country and Gladstone.
This is a large V-shaped establishment on the confluence of two abutting roads. The main (Charing Cross) Road. There is only one bar which is on two levels, although it comprises quite a large area, which is just as well since it is generally very busy as one would expect considering the location. Well-furnished and popular with people stumbling in from Leicester Square. The background music is somewhat insistent. Luckily since there's a continually changing clientele (anything to do with Soho?), the chances of finding a seat are reasonable. From here (which is right by Cambridge Circus) Leicester Square tube is close by and Charing Cross station is down the road and across The Strand. Have a safe journey home.
Trial details: Edmund & James Featherstone, John Wright on Tuesday 16th April 2002Back to 2003 Trips