In the absence of any constructive amendments to the itinerary from members and also to help those who neither wish to or do not have the ability to change from the time-honoured route, this year's HASSRALE festive tribute will adhere to an almost identical format adopted for the last 7 years. That was in 1996 when the last Christmas party (held at the Ship, Borough Road) took place.
This year's trip starts at the eastern end of The Cut, SE1 then ambles its way along to Waterloo station. The route replicates last year's with only one minor change i.e. Bar Citrus is now the Anchor and Hope again. As you might expect, those arriving by tube are best served since Southwark's Jubilee Line station is directly opposite the first venue (this is also accessible from Waterloo East mainline). Alternatively bus routes along Blackfriars Road or Waterloo mainline are fairly close by.
Approximate leaving times are shown in [ ].
1. The Ring - 72 Blackfriars Road SE1 [18:15]
Beers: Marstons Pedigree; Fullers London Pride.
Famous one-bar pub built on the site of the former boxing venue destroyed during the Blitz. 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. It underwent an internal refurbishment subsequent to its closure prior to the 2002 Maundy Thursday trip. The etched-glass windows were replaced and the overall seating arrangement is the same, however the original clientele (pensioners from the estate opposite) have all been supplanted by young office workers. Discovered on the trial that it is now run by the former owner of the Kings Arms (pub number 4). You will also notice that above the hubbub of the customers chatter there is distinct background/middleground music. Obviously busy at this time of the year. Plenty of seats outside!
¶ On leaving, cross the road at the traffic lights, then continue on down to the left along The Cut, to find ...
2. The Anchor and Hope - 36 The Cut [19:00]
Beers: Charles Wells Bombardier and Eagle Bitter
Re-introduced on the 2001 trip after re-opening as a pseudo wine-bar with a heavy emphasis on food, especially in the left-hand side of the premises. Following the return to its former name (when it was a “proper” pub) it has been repainted in more subdued tones. It occupies one large bar area with the long counter all the way along the back. The seating area is brightly lit with light pine-coloured furniture and has background music that can sometimes become “foreground”. Compare and contrast with the old Anchor & Hope (at least the staff are not so miserable now!).
¶ Now continue along The Cut for a short distance until you encounter ...
3. The Windmill - 86 The Cut [19.30]
Beers: Shepherd Neame Spitfire; Courage Directors + guest (Brakspear Bitter).
Very popular due to styling itself as a “theatre bar” (Young and Old Vic theatres nearby). Over a year ago it was given an extensive and much-needed refurbishment in order to meet the competition of the Anchor & Hope. This retained the original two-bar layout including the archway between the two areas, but the "glasses" rail above the bar was removed giving more of a wine-bar feel and emphasising the ceiling (dark blue/mauve). The latter is covered in posters advertising previous theatrical productions. Note the effigy of Elvis Presley at the right-hand end of the bar, with the neck of his guitar tipping into a fake burning crucible. Good use has been made of the available space with a number of pine tables allowing seated customers to partake of the comprehensive Thai food menu. The more hardy amongst us can also use the picnic-style benches outside.
¶ 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]
Beers: Marstons Pedigree; Brakspears Bitter; 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]
Beers: Fuller's London Pride.
This remains on the itinerary despite previous disappointments due to the lack of real ale. The front bar no longer has the pool table or table-football and the installation of leather sofas seems rather incongruous. It really is all one bar now as the central archway has been removed, with a central island bar counter. 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 Street. At the junction is Waterloo Road. Cross 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 ...
6. The Hole in the Wall - 5 Mepham Street [10.00+]
Beers: Morlands Old Speckled Hen; Youngs Special and Ordinary; Everards Tiger; Adnams Broadside & Bitter; Brakspears Bitter and Bass. (Range of beers may vary, according to availabilty).
Increasing numbers have made it this far in previous years, 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. There have been some managerial changes, but fortunately the beer quality has been reasonable of late.
¶ Well that's all folks. Across the road is Waterloo Station with access to mainline, Northern, Bakerloo and Jubilee tubes (N.B. there is also 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 very Merry Christmas.
Trial run: Edmund & James Featherstone and John Wright
Trial Date: Wednesday 3rd December 2003.