Thursday 21st April 1994

Hassrale Logo The J D Wetherspoon group of public houses is holding another of its occasional "Beer Festivals". As HASSRALE members may recall, these comprise an extensive range of "guest" beers not part of the normal repertoire found at these establishments. The festival takes place at each of their (currently) 77 pubs from 21st - 24th April. Their intention is to present 30 guest beers over this period, not necessarily all at the same time.

In the hope that the larger the establishment the greater the range however, HASSRALE has opted to conduct its visit to The Hamilton Hall located right by (halfway inside) Liverpool Street station. It was actually the former ballroom of the Great Eastern Hotel.

Our visit will be on the Thursday and in common with most Wetherspoon pubs opening hours are 11.00 to 23.00 (Sunday opening is the usual 12.00-15.00 & 19.00-22.30). For those who get tired of the festival, fancy a change of venue or want to have some fresh air (?!!) I have attached an extract from the Liverpool Street Station trip previously tackled on 20th January 1992. No times have been included, attendees can sort out their own itinerary.

The first pub is in Bishopsgate opposite the station.

1.Woodin's Shades - 212 Bishopsgate
Charrington Bass & IPA

Named after a local publican who owned 5 pubs in the city, presumably Shades is a reference to the customers. The single bar in this pub was said to be an upmarket public bar. The bar was rather sparse with bare wooden floor and a few bar stools scattered about. Its trade seems to have suffered from the new pubs in the area and it was rather quiet on our visit. This pub shuts at 20:00.

Leaving the Woodin Shades we go next door to Dirty Dicks.

2.Dirty Dicks - 202/4 Bishopsgate
Youngs Special & Bitter

A fairly old pub which has recently been acquired by Youngs. This building has been a pub since 1804 the name comes from a previous owner one Nathaniel Bentley who refused to wash after some romantic upset, in more recent times there used to be a tradition of leaving bits of memorabilia stuck to the wall, sadly this all seems to have been swept away. There are two bars though the downstairs bar refers to itself as a wine bar and there was a large notice discouraging people in jeans. The upstairs bar was very busy and has been done up in a fake? olde worlde style. Worth a visit for historic reasons, note it closes at 20:00.

Crossing back over the road take us back to the station, where on the left of the escalators of course is The Hamilton Hall. Passing through the station concourse and out of the back of the station and walking through Broadgate Circle and Finsbury Av square brings us to The Fleetwood.

3.The Fleetwood - Wilson St [21:00]
Fullers ESB, London Pride, Chiswick

Another brand new pub, plenty of chrome and glass, seats outside. Another busy pub though we did manage to grab a table. This pub appeared to serve food up to 21:00, the pizzas looked good though we did not indulge on our trial run. We suspect that this pub in fact might close at 21:00 though I wouldn't swear to that.

Retracing our steps through the station, across Bishopsgate and left to the Nat West bank we turn right into an alleyway and find -

4.Williams Wine & Ale House 22-24 Artillery Lane E1 [21:45]
Breakspears, Boddingtons, Green King Abbot, Youngers IPA

We have to note the change of postal district for some reason. Another pub with a penchant for bare wooden floors, couldn't see much sign of the wine promised by the sign outside. Has an active darts team who were having a noisy game on our entrance (what? - Ed.). There was plenty of seating on our visit though I suspect that this pub is busy earlier. This pub shuts at 23:00 which is worth knowing in this area.

John Wright (with thanks to Edmund Featherstone for letting me plagiarise his circular)

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