SOUTH OF WARREN STREET TRIP
Monday 25th April 1994
Continuing in the same vein as the recent Euston Tower trip, there now follows an itinerary that will lead us to (surprisingly) a number of hostelries in the vicinity of Warren Street. In deference to the more venerable HASSRALE members (especially myself) I have devised what should be one of the more compact routes hence minimising walking/staggering. The nearest Underground stations are Warren Street, situated on the Northern and Victoria lines and Euston Square, which is on the Metropolitan and Circle lines. The first port of call can be found down Tottenham Court Road on the corner of the third turning on the right i.e. Maple Street. Approximate leaving times are shown in [ ].
1. G E Aldwinkles @ The Northumberland Arms - 119 Tottenham Court Road [18.30]
Courage Director's & Best; Brakspear's Bitter.
Confusion reigns over the true name of this place. The Adwinkles logo is more dominant, but everbody seems to know it as the Northumberland Arms; anyway it's easily spottable. It is a comfortable one-bar pub, fairly compact, but has traditional lounge furniture i.e. armchairs etc. A popular establishment frequented by the local student population. Pleasantly appointed and (hopefully) not too crowded. (Just further down Maple St. is a cheap and cheerful Indian restaurant called Anwars - ask Edmund). On leaving, return to Tottenham Court Road and cross at the traffic lights. Continue down and very soon on the left at the junction with Capper Street is ...
2. The Mortimer Arms - 174 Tottenham Court Road [19.15]
Marston's Pedigree; Greene King IPA; Tetley Bitter.
Convivial corner pub with two bars. The larger bar at the back is accessed via the door in Capper Street. This bar is fairly plushly furnished i.e. has carpet (unlike the previous pub) and has a somewhat depleted collection of Guinness memorabilia on the walls. Both bars tend to be moderately busy, but the beer is in good condition. In the summer there are tables and seats outside, but bring a gas-mask to counteract the traffic fumes! Emerge from here and return to the main road. Continue down to the left for a few yards to ...
3. The Old Surgeon - 183 Tottenham Court Road [20.00]
Theakston's Old Peculier, XB and Best Bitter; Younger's IPA.
Formerly The New Inn, Scottish & Newcastle have decided to change the name, presumably due to its proximity to the University College Hospital. This is a pleasant "woody" pub with plenty of seating and more accommodation in a raised area at the back. The place has been given a medical theme typified by a rather grotesque severed head residing upside-down in a samovar behind the bar. Mainly young and boisterous clientele probably student doctors and surgeons fortifying themselves before performing some intricate surgery. Now retrace your steps back up Tottenham Court Road, crossing the road at some stage. Continue past the first pub then take the next main turning into Grafton Way. Just along on the right hand side is ...
4. The Grafton Arms - 72 Grafton Way [20.45]
Morland's Old Speckled Hen; Gales HSB; Wadworth 6X; Ringwood Old Thumper; Boddingtons; Castle Eden; Wethered's, Flowers Original and IPA.
As you may have gathered from the latter part of the selection of beers, this is a Whitbread owned establishment. The range of guest beers may change, but a point worth noting is that in my experience the beers on the hand pumps (i.e. those on the second row of the above list) tend to be in better condition than those served from the "casks" which are cooled and appear to be under top pressure. The pub has been changed of late and has a bare wooden floor and a number of church pews. There used to be access to a roof garden, but that staircase has been removed, although another has been built at the front and may still serve the purpose. The end table is underneath the dart-board so beware of people drinking and throwing up at the same time. For those that like (a lot of) Flowers IPA there was an offer of a four pint jug for £5-50. Now turn left back to Tottenham Court Rd and left again to Warren Street. Just down on the left is ...
5. The Prince of Wales Feathers - 8 Warren Street [21.30]
Bass Bitter, Worthington Best; Fullers London Pride; Hancock's HB (guest beer).
"Georgian pub with a square downstairs bar" - West London Beer Guide 1988. "Island bar, wooden floor, games room upstairs. Appears not to have changed much in several years." - ECF/JFW 1994. Convivial pub, more Dickensian than anything, with limited seating and the obligatory bare boards. Also sports an upstairs bar, but there are no handpumps there, hence a premium is charged for hauling beverages upstairs via the dumb waiter. Worth a visit. On leaving continue down Warren Street on the same side where a little further down you will find ...
6. The Smugglers Tavern - 28 Warren Street [22.15 or whenever]
Bass Bitter; Youngs Special.
As you will gather from the name and the Smuggler pub sign this is likely to have a certain nautical theme. Once inside this impression is borne out by the number of articles with sea-faring connotations scattered around. A comfortable hostelry which has been refurbished in the period since I last visited, although that was some time ago. The seating has certainly improved from the chairs fashioned out of wooden casks. Not at all busy on the trial run. That's it! It is now a simple matter to return down the road to Warren Street tube station.
Survey details: Trial run Wednesday 26th January 1994; participants - John Wright & Edmund Featherstone.
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