12 May 2012

Pubs: Lamb & Flag

12 April 2012 - Lamb & Flag, Westminster, London

I met an American expat friend at the Lamb & Flag in Westminster for a pre-dinner pint.  As per usual, pre-dinner drinks take place right around the same time as the post-work pub rush, so the pub was full to the brim and spilling out into the street.


This pub is allegedly the oldest pub in Covent Garden.  Like most old pubs it has a dark and convoluted wood beam interior that can get almost oppressive when packed with people.  I procured a pint of Peroni and we headed upstairs in hopes of finding a table.


The Peroni was pretty good.  What was not good was the lady at the next table who stared at me and my friend the whole freaking time we were there.  Okay lady, we're in the middle of London, is it really that unusual to hear two Americans talking to each other?  I suppressed my usual, don't-stare-at-me scowl, since I was with company.


I probably won't go back to this pub.  It didn't really stand out enough to me to warrant a repeat visit.  

11 May 2012

Pubs: King Henry VIII

7 April 2012 - King Henry VIII, Hever, Kent

We visited this pub in Kent after spending a Saturday afternoon at Hever Castle, Anne Boleyn's childhood home.  This was my first actual castle experience since being here, now that I think about it.  And it was a good one.  Hever Castle is a good starter castle, if you will.  It's not too big, but still there's a lot to see, it has beautiful gardens, it's associated with a historical figure I actually know.  Definitely a good day trip.


The pub was fairly busy at about 6:00 on a Saturday evening, so there weren't too many free tables.  My husband wanted to sit in the quieter back room area, and so we put our stuff down there before heading to the bar.  This resulted in us being chased down by a staff member telling us that the table is reserved (there wasn't a sign out).  And that's fine, no problem.  But then, as we gathered our things, the staff member continued to make several loud and overly effusive statements of explanation and apology which really just made the whole situation about 5 times more awkward than it needed to be.  It's like okay, no biggie, I'll just find another table.  No need to make a scene.


After we re-seated ourselves, I procured a pint of the Master Brew.  I can't really recall what I thought of it, but I think it was a little bitter for me... maybe.  It's been awhile, but I don't recall liking it in particular.  We had some bar snacks and a pate and cheese board, I think.  All I know is I was starving so any food would have tasted divine to me at that point.


I liked the pub overall.  It had great ambience, with tons of candles everywhere and even a dog or two (always a plus).  Doubt I'll be back over this way anytime soon, but I'd recommend the pub to anyone visiting Hever Castle.


08 May 2012

Pubs: Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese

3 April 2012 - Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, Temple, London

The last pub on our Hidden Pubs of Old London Town walk was Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese pub.  This pub was also hidden back behind some buildings and accessed through an alleyway.  It was a very cool and very old pub with lots of levels and dark tucked away rooms.


Allegedly Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Mark Twain drank here.  I had a Samuel Smith Pure Brewed Lager.


I really liked the vibe of this pub and would go back to explore more of the hidden dungeon-y rooms and find out more about its history.

Pubs: Old Bank of England

3 April 2012 - Old Bank of England, Temple, London

The next stop on our Hidden Pubs of Old London Town walk was The Old Bank of England pub.  We entered through a random door in a back alley.  I'm hoping there's another entrance, because otherwise I may never find this place again!  The pub is, unsurprisingly, an Old Bank of England building that was turned into a pub.  A gorgeous pub.  I mean, c'mon:


I was really blown away.  It was just lovely.


Unfortunately, we could only stay for 20 minutes since we were on the tour.  I had just enough time to enjoy a half pint of Discovery and a chat with a fellow Meetuper.


I'll definitely be back if I can find it!

Pubs: The Devereux

3 April 2012 - The Devereux, Temple, London

I'm getting pretty behind on these!  The next three pubs were part of a London Tours guided walk, The Hidden Pubs of Old London Town, that I did with an American Expat Meetup group.  The walk unfortunately coincided with the first very rainy day of Spring, but no matter.  We still had a good time!


The first pub we visited was The Devereux, which was tucked back behind some law buildings.  I had a half pint of Young's because we were only there for about 20 minutes.  The pub wasn't too busy and could handle the influx of about 25 people.  It didn't really stand out to me in any way though, and I probably won't be back.