1. The Ring - 72 Blackfriars Road SE1 [18.30]
Ind Coope Burton; Fullers London Pride; Youngs Bitter.
Famous one-bar pub built on the site of the former boxing venue destroyed during the Blitz. As alluded to above, Southwark Jubilee Line tube station is handily opposite. The pub is festooned with photographs of former boxers and there is still a training ring upstairs that can be heard in use on occasion. Hopefully one of the less busy pubs in the area, but it seems to attract rather more office workers now although it still has a trade from locals on the nearby estate. It is also one of the few remaining outlets for Burton which was in good condition on the trial, despite no longer being produced at its original brewery site in Burton-on Trent, but relocated to Leeds Tetley brewery.
¶ On leaving, cross the road at the traffic lights, then continue on down to the left along The Cut, to find ...
2. Bar Citrus - 36 The Cut [19.00]
Charles Wells Bombardier and Eagle
This was omitted from last years trip because although it had re-opened on the site of the Anchor & Hope, it seemed too much like a wine-bar. It still resembles a wine-bar, but as it serves real ale it is worth a brief visit. Very popular, as will be all the pubs on this trip. Those of you who remember the previous incarnation will not recognise ANY of this (even the doors have been relocated). Now one large bar area with the counter along the back. The seating area is brightly lit with light pine-coloured furniture. Compare and contrast with the old Anchor & Hope (at least the staff are not so miserable now!).
3. The Windmill - 86 The Cut [19.30]
Shepherd Neame Spitfire; Ushers Best; Courage Best + guest (Caines Reverend James).
Having undergone extensive and much-needed refurbishment in order to meet the competition of the former Anchor & Hope, this has retained the original two-bar layout including the archway between the two areas, but the "glasses" rail above the bar is absent giving more of a wine-bar feel and emphasising the ceiling (dark blue/mauve). Good use has been made of the available space with a number of pine tables allowing customers to partake of the comprehensive Thai food menu. Very popular due to reinventing itself as a theatre bar (Young and Old Vics nearby) and also a sports bar (i.e. projection TV).
¶ Turn right down Windmill Walk, cross Wootton Gardens under the railway viaduct, then over Brad St. On the left at the corner is ....
4. The Kings Arms - 25 Roupell Street [20.15]
Marstons Pedigree; Ushers Best; Adnams Bitter; Tetley Bitter.
Decidedly popular (especially with Channel 4 employees) two-bar pub situated in one of the bijou back-streets of Waterloo. It has a further area at the back that used to be uncovered and housed a barbecue and bearing in mind the weather, was generally only suitable for occasional summer use. Nowadays being roofed in it is just as busy as the rest of the place.
¶ Continue straight ahead i.e.across Roupell St. then left along Whittlesey St. On the far corner is ...
5. The White Hart - 29 Cornwall Street [20.45]
Fuller's London Pride.
Still on the itinerary despite previous years disappointments due to the lack of real ale. This has been refurbished to the extent of disposal of the pool table in the front bar and the installation of leather sofas. Really all one bar now with a central island bar counter. There is still a token separation of the two bar areas by archways, but the pub has followed the continued trend towards gentrification of this part of Waterloo (including price hikes). Beware if there is a lack of beer we will rapidly move on to the next establishment.
¶ Turn left down Cornwall Rd and immediately right down Sandell St which is now open to traffic again, so watch out. At the junction with Waterloo Road is ...
6. The Wellington Tavern - 81 Waterloo Road [21.15]
Courage Directors and Best, Wellington Bitter.
Used to be a Burke's Free House like the next establishment, but has undergone a number of refurbishments, the latest of which was completed only in late November. This has resulted in a lighter feel to the place with much needed new paintwork. Can become quite crowded (even outside of the Festive season), so we may not hang around here, hence times for arrival/leaving etc. are likely to vary even more than usual. It has undergone several make-overs in the last six years, but still no sign of the elusive skittle alley (this is a running joke, ask JC!).
¶ On leaving, cross Waterloo Rd using either the traffic island route or the pedestrian crossing farther down. Directly opposite is Mepham St. Continue up this and on the right-hand side ultimately is ...
7. The Hole in the Wall - 5 Mepham Street [10.00+]
Morlands Old Speckled Hen; Youngs Winter Warmer, Special and Ordinary; Everards Tiger; Adnams Broadside & Bitter; King & Barnes Sussex, Brakspears Bitter and Bass.
Increasing numbers have made it this far in previous, but just in case you are one of the few people never to have visited it, this is a large two-bar pub right under the railway viaduct and overlooking Waterloo Station's Victory Arch. Beer generally in good condition, the rear bar has a juke-box, projection screen TV and several gaming machines, while the front bar is less noisy (no juke-box) and plusher. It has also (just about) survived recent re-decoration throughout making it less dingy, but less characterful. Unfortunately Brian the (sometimes) jovial landlord has recently taken ill-health retirement, so lets hope his replacement lives up to his predecessors dedication to decent beer.
¶ Well that's all folks. Across the road is Waterloo Station with access to mainline Northern, Bakerloo and Jubilee tubes (N.B. there is now access to the station from the Tennison Way entrance next to the pub, the Jubilee Line entrance is back on Waterloo Bridge Rd and down to the right past the railway bridge). Buses will take you across Waterloo Bridge to The Strand and points north, so have a safe journey home! Oh - and have a Merry Christmas.
Trial run: Edmund & James Featherstone and John Wright on Weds 14th November 2001.