Tuesday 27th February 1996
This is a fairly compact trip based around the notional headquarters of the Civil Service. The trial run was conducted during a near blizzard, which forced the trial team to shelter (and remain) in the fifth venue, hence the truncated itinerary. The nearest station is Charing Cross (mainline and tube). Alternatively walk up Northumberland Avenue from Embankment (Northern and Bakerloo lines). In any event, make your way towards Trafalgar Square then turn left to the top of Whitehall. On the opposite side of the road, next to the Whitehall Theatre is the first pub. Approximate leaving times are shown in [ ].
1. The Lord Moon of the Mall - 16/18 Whitehall SW1 [18.30]
Courage Directors; Marstons Pedigree; Theakstons XB & Best; Youngers Scotch IPA; Westons Draught Cider (5%) on handpump .
Impressive Wetherspoon's conversion on the site of a former Barclays Bank. The rear opens out onto Horseguards hence the need for Her Majesty's permission for the necessary access (Fire Exit). Large pub with acres of wood panelling, enormous double-glazed windows at the front which are open in warm weather, admitting a lot of traffic noise. Well furnished with thick carpets and a number of alcoves. No smoking area at the back, food available all day. Toilets are downstairs, but beware the limited headroom.
F You will now need to cross Whitehall, which is four lanes wide. It is possible to play with the slow-moving traffic, otherwise use the traffic-lights crossing by Trafalgar Square. Down on the left is ...
2. The Silver Cross Tavern - 33 Whitehall [19.20]
Courage Directors; John Smiths Bitter; Theakstons Best.
Long narrow (12 feet wide) pub with wagon-style vaulted ceilings which are very tall in the main area, but look pretty claustrophobic at the far end by the bar counter. Built on the site of the original Silver Cross Tavern which dated back to 1235, it has a lengthy history which is chronicled on a large board above the bar. Mugs and various shirts available. Roaring open-hearth gas fire above which is a portrait of a Tudor maiden whose ghost is said to haunt the upper floor. Food available lunchtimes only. F Turn left and virtually next door is ...
3. The Old Shades - 37 Whitehall [20.10]
Bass, Worthington Best; Fullers London Pride.
Rather more capacious than the previous establishment, this is also a long, narrow woody pub with a wider rear bar area that has an open fireplace. Long bar counter with a division separating it from the "back bar". Does food in the evening. The front area has a number of tables with good views of Whitehall. F From here continue left and a little further along is ...
4. The Clarence - 53 Whitehall [21.00]
Theakstons XB & Best; Brakspear Bitter; John Smiths Bitter.
Formerly a Clifton Inn, but now has a much reduced range from its 1970's incarnation. Reverted to carpetting after the previous "spit & sawdust" conversion. Much in the guide-book image of a traditional tavern, however the wooden beams and bare-brick walls seem strangely unauthentic. Never was cheap and still isn't, but the others have caught up! Comfortable and fairly empty. It was snowing outside on the trial run which reinforced the "Olde London" theme. F As the pub is on the corner of Gt. Scotland Yard, leave by the door onto this (if there is one, I can't remember), otherwise go out of the front and turn left. Continue down this road which was the original Scotland Yard as featured in 1950's police series. You will note the TV surveillance cameras since the Met Police still have premises and indeed stable their horses along here. The building with the railings is the last port of call ...
5. The Civil Service Club - 13/15 Great Scotland Yard [21.50 or whenever]
Courage Directors; Theakstons Old Peculier,XB & Best; Brakspears; Marstons Pedigree; Dartmoor Bitter (but range changes regularly).
Perhaps not everyone's idea of a "Whitehall Club", but a members-only plus guest's establishment all the same. Do not look for leather armchairs or waiter service, but reasonably comfortable since its recent refurbishment (incorporating proper air-conditioning/heating). Guests will be signed in of course (usual bribes accepted). Had this trip taken place after 1st March, each guest would have been charged 50 pence, so take advantage of the bargain. Much cheaper than the surrounding pubs and indeed much of London, usually with one beer on offer @ under £1. There is a separate games room just off the main bar, with pool table and "club payout" fruit machines.
There we are, not much walking involved. Continue on down to the junction with Northumberland Avenue, turn right for Embankment, left for Trafalgar Square while for Charing Cross - go straight over towards the Sherlock Holmes (busy), then down the side and across Craven St. to Ship & Shovel Passage. Down at the end the station is just on the left in Villiers St.
Survey details: Trial run Tuesday 5th February 1996; participants - Edmund & James Featherstone and John Wright.
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