Saturday, 29 October 2016

29/10/16 - Saved by the Merrie Lion - Millennium Way Stage 41

Distance - 5.5 Miles
Geocaches - 3
Pub - Merrie Lion at Fenny Compton
Walk Inspiration - Stage 41 of the Millennium Way

Back on the Millennium Way.  The countdown begins - just three more stages left.

Hopefully this is the lull before the storm.  Little to commend this walk.  The Northamptonshire/Oxfordshire border offers little for the rambler.  The only drama of the day is walking through a field containing a bull.  Even he was that bored that he gave me nothing to write home about.

I look at the route.  Its a figure of 8.  We are meant to start at Claydon but research shows there is no pub.

I'm not having that.

Instead, we park at the apex of the 8 - at Little Boddington.  Directly opposite the Carpenters Arms.  I have brought Mrs Mappiman with me and I was a bit concerned I wouldn't be able to feed her after the walk.  It was with some relief that I saw the sign saying "Thursday Night is Burger Night"

Promising, they have a kitchen!

So we head south to Claydon.  Quick Geocache (the only one officially on route) and then we are out into the flat bovine fields.

Northamptonshire fields
As Interesting as it gets
Cross the Oxford Canal and follow the paths rather than the sat nav.  Miss a stile in a field corner and end up in a dead end at the back of a farmers kitchen window.  Route retraced into the Bull Field.

Claydon?  What have you got?  The OS Map shows an alternative to pub entertainment could be had in the museum.  No evidence of it on the ground.  Internet based research shows it was a private museum.  Before it closed down for good.

I pity the Claydonites on the upcoming long winter evenings.

Claydon Church
I spice the route up on the way back by avoiding some fields at the Canal and continuing along the lane.  There are an additional two geocaches to bag.

It's then an uninspiring walk through crop fields to get back to the pub.  The top loop of the figure of 8 could not be faced - especially as it was getting perilously close to a time when pubs stop serving meals.

As well as the sign for food, the Carpenters Arms carries a Cask Marque seal of approval.  My mood lifts but not for long.

We walk in and they are having some sort of meeting.  Possibly about the impending HS2 Railway Line.

The Carpenters Arms
Stop HS2.  Unless it goes through Claydon.
We are instantly asked if "We are Local?".  I reply with "We are merely ramblers in need of sustenance".

Our response is met with the "The Pub Is closed".

Now, 1pm on Saturday seems a strange time to close the pub.  Especially when its full of people.

I ask incredulously when they are actually open.  Conflicting answers from two people and a barely credible "Sunday Lunch Times only" and we are off before I argued about Burger Night.

Unlike the League of Gentlemen's Royston Vasey - we manage to leave the local pub for local people.

Fortunately, this presented an opportunity to try the Merrie Lion in Fenny Compton.  I have driven past it three times on the Millennium Way and it looks inviting.

The Merrie Lion, Fenny Compton
Opening Times Dictated by the Corner Sun Dial
Also Cask Marque accredited, we were met with a wonderful welcome, table service and one of the finest meals we have ever had out.  All for £30.05, with four free humbugs when we paid up.

The day is saved.

Pride of Fenny
The Fenny Pride - A local Pint for Strangers

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

26/10/16 - Galway Pub Crawl - Day 3

Distance - 6 Miles (includes walk to Menlo Castle)
Pubs - 4
Geocaches - 1
Previous Crawls - Day 1, Day 2

Final day in Galway.  Daylight entertainment is provided by a walk along the River Corrib to check out the deserted Menlo Castle.  A decent walk along canals, rivers and through universities.

Evening entertainment provided by the Galway Comedy Festival.  Top quality laughs provided by the host, Jason Bryne, the man who played Father Damo in Father Ted and the local to us, Joe Lycett.  Less sure about the Pyjama Men.  Improvisation has little place in my comedy lexicon.

Squeezed inbetween where the remaining pubs of Galway that we wanted to knock off.

The Kings Head, High Street
Kings Head
A Pub with History
This is neither on my top 10 list of pubs to visit or on the Irish Whiskey Trail but I was never going to bypass a place of such historical importance.  It's 800 years old.

We only explored the ground floor of its three storeys but there was plenty to please the eye.  After a wander around, we settled on two very high chairs directly opposite the magnificent 400 year old fireplace, only slightly concerned that the chairs were ceremonial.

Kings Head
Contemporary Interior
Kings Head
Wonderful 400 Year Old Fireplace

Garvey's, Eyre Square

We wanted to go to O' Connels before the comedy events started.  However, it was closed for a refurb.  Oh dear, looks like we will have to go back.

Having ticked off An Puncan on day 1, we decide to try this one.

Not the liveliest part of town and nearly deserted with the exception of a few lads sat at the bar commenting on any women that walked past the window.

Unfortunately, a little uncomfortable for tourists.

The Near Deserted Garveys.  Letches out of shot on the left.
Naughtons, Cross Street

We've been at this for three days and in true top of pops style, we leave number 1 till last.

I've been looking for Naughtons since I got here.  You would do better looking for it under its Gaelic name, Tigh Neachtains.

Naughtons by another name

We enter in good spirits after the comedy.  Its tiny inside, with its lack of room exaggerated by the little cornered off booths and various other nooks and crannies.

There's a traditional Irish band squeezed into the corner.  Unlike Tig Coili and Monroes, sense gets the better of anyone that wants to dance.

Every available surface is covered in art work.

A simply wonderful place.

View from a Booth
Garavans, William Street

Its not quite over though.  The following day we have an hour to kill before the train back to Dublin.

I am reading a Ken Bruen book.  In many ways, he is the reason we are here.  He details the City so well.  In Green Hell, which I nearly polished during morning, he describes Garavans perfectly.

Its also Whiskey bar of the year 2014, 2015.

Last Guinness till the Cheltenham Races
Its packed at 2pm on a Thursday afternoon.  A fittingly authentic way to round off the trip.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

25/10/16 - Galway Pub Crawl - Day 2

Distance - 5 Miles (over the day)
Pubs - 4
Geocaches - 5
Yesterday's Pub Crawl

Day 2 in Galway.  We avoid going to the pubs too early by taking in Geocaches in the City Centre, followed by a trip to the Cinema.

Darkness falls and what else is there to do?  An investigation of West Galway Pubs is in order.

First, a missed pub from last night in the High Street.

Freeneys, 19 High Street

From the outside, you would be hard pressed to identify this as a bar.  Yes, one window is full of Irish Whiskeys, but the other is full of fishing gear and swiss army knives.

Freeneys - Try not to walk on by
This means its a touch more sedate that the other pubs in Galway.  Only the locals and the truly prepared know its there.

Very old school inside, with a long bar divided with privacy screens.

Wonderful coal fires.

Freeneys from the Inside
Bierhaus, 2 Henry Street

After possibly the finest Italian meal ever eaten (Da Paulinos, Upper Abbeygate) we get on with West Galway Proper.

The first place is a disappointment.  A craft beer place called Bierhaus.

Street Art, Craft Beer, No Need for Either
We walk in and senses aroused by an open plan kitchen in one corner and signs for Fullers ESB in another.  Now a nice pint of real ale would make a change from all the black stuff that tastes so wonderful but sits like lead in your belly.

A trip to the bar reveals that they don't actually sell it.

More Guinness it is then.

I'm sure craft ale bars have their place but they're not really my cup of tea and definitely out of kilter with the other pubs experienced over here.

At least I learn how to cook sliced potatoes and burgers by watching the chef ply his trade.

Roisin Dubh, Upper Dominick Street
Rosin Dubh
Legendary Music Venue

Bizarrely, I am on this places mailing list.  Mark Lanegan played here at the start of the year and looking to see if I could find an interesting venue to see him play, I must have subscribed.

Once a week, I will reminded of this fine city as I check my mails.

Tonight, it's comedy that gets a turn, with Jason Byrne kicking off the Galway comedy festival by playing here.

We would have gone to see him, but we have tickets for tomorrow.

Instead, its a quick pint in this cavernous pub which we have the bar to ourselves.

Everyone else has gone into the comedy room.

Monroes, Upper Dominick Street

Surely the winner of the biggest pub in Galway?

Monroes in the Daytime
We time entry perfectly.  The football has just finished, the TVs are turned to mute, the lights are dimmed and the traditional Irish Music starts up.

Yesterday, we had fun dodging the whirling dervishes in Tig Coili.  Here, they have room to get properly organised.  Into a proper Ceilidh.  Equal number of men and women fling each other around in a manner that would have you banned in Worcestershire pubs if you were to try it.

The whole thing reminded me of a Nick Cave Song - John Finn's Wife - which opens as such;
Well the night was deep and the night was dark
And I was at the old dance-hall on the edge of town
Some big ceremony was going down
Dancers writhed and squirmed and then,
Came apart and then writhed again
Like squirming flies on a pin
In the heat and in the din
Yes, in the heat and in the din
I fell to thinking about brand new wife of mad John Finn
We stayed for the rest of the night, utterly transfixed.

And yes, we were tempted to join in.

Monday, 24 October 2016

24/10/16 - Galway Pub Crawl - Day 1

Distance - 5 Miles
Pubs - 6
Geocaches - 1

We are in Galway for 3 nights.  In Quay Street, I over-hear one of the guides telling aged Septics that there are 50 pubs in the town.

Now, we won't be able to get through all of them, but we'll give it a bloody good go.

Killorans Bar, Salthills

We start the first day with a bracing sea walk to Salthills.  Mrs Mappiman tells me I am to lick the sea wall when we get to the end.  Another look on her iPhone and it appears as though I am meant to kick it.

After taking in the monuments to the Great Famine and Sailors lost at Sea, we need refreshments and Killorans looks a suitably fine place to sit outside and watch the world go by in better than expected weather for West Ireland in October.

Kilorans Bar - Salthills
It's a locals pub where they look after the tourists just as well.  There's no objection to Mrs Mappiman stuffing her face with an ice cream on their bench and the friendly bar man even hand delivers my pint after it has had the necessary 7.5 minutes to build properly.

A nice introduction to Galway.

The Quays, Quay Street

This is on my top 10 list of pubs in Galway.  It's in a little street where all the action is.  Honestly, you could sit outside here all day and not get bored.  Entertainment options include policemen moving tramps on by name in the friendliest manner you can imagine and top quality buskers playing songs that are guaranteed to be on your iPod.

The Quays
The Quays - In the Thick of It
This is a typical Galwegian pub.  There is more to it than meets the eye.  Behind the traditional exterior lies a deep and complex interior, where you can spend a good 15 minutes investigating.

The Quay
Inside the Quays
We would have eaten here.  But Sonia had done research on Tripadvisor and suggested the Dail was a better bet.

Dail Bar, Middle Street
First Meal in Galway
This isn't on my top 10 list but we do find a leaflet describing the Irish Whiskey Trail.  Now that sounds like a challenge - for very rich people.  God damn Brexit, the crashing pound and my inability to afford 8 Euro measures of Mountain Dew.

Nice pub, good food and good service.

Tig Coili. Mainguard Street

This is a must visit for tourist who want the whole Irish Pub "Fiddly Dee Music" Experience.  A tiny pub festooned with pictures of famous patrons.  Ian Rush and Shane McGowan both spotted on the walls.

It quite amazing how many people can be stacked into such a small place.  Too claustrophobic for Mrs Mappiman, she takes a seat outside leaving me with the chance to carry a pint and a glass through a collection of ladies who have started Irish Dancing.  Their non moving upper torsos belies the velocity of their lower halves.

I manage to get outside, drinks in tact.

Tis Coili
Much Quieter in the Day
Quite amusing to peer through the windows and see who was having a bash at dancing next.

Decorum prevents me from describing what was going on in the middle window, top floor of the building opposite.

We came back again later in the week to check if we had imagined it.

An Pucan, Forster Street
An Pucan
Day Time Snapping
Another on the Whiskey Trail.  This one has 200 different options.  Having sat there for 30 minutes, I succumbed to the electronic board advertising and asked for the menu.

I won't forget my first Connemara 12 year old.

A high quality solo singer/guitarist sparks up and we stay for a few numbers.  In another town, this would have been enough to persuade us to stay all night.

The Front Door, Cross Street

The pub with two names.  On Cross Street, its the Front Door.  On Day 3, I almost walked into Sonnys Bar on the High street before my advanced state of spacial awareness made me realise it was one of the same place.

This is a cavern.

The Front Door
Inside the Front Door
The sort of place where you can go to the loos and get lost.  Shouting won't help, as the walls are that thick that your voice will not carry.

An excellent covers band were belting out Jam hits.  This, and the fact they did a very decent Mojito, meant that Mrs Mappiman was happy to stay.

I did talk her into a nightcap in the Quays.  It was on the way back to the hotel.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

23/10/16 - Dublin Pub Crawl

Distance - 5 Miles (includes sightseeing and geocaching)
Geocaches - 7
Pubs - 5

Our investigations reveal that the easiest way to Galway is to fly to Dublin and train it across the centre of the Country.

We overnight in Dublin armed with a GPS full of caches, a list of the Top 10 Pubs in Dublin and plenty of Euros.

For a night out here, only the final part of that equation is strictly required.  Especially if you get a taxi from the airport.

Slatterys, 129 Capel Street, Smithwicks Pale Ale

We've walked the bridges, found some caches, looked at the Castle and are in need of somewhere to relax and catch our breath.  This pub isn't on my top 10 list but does have a sign promising the finest pint in Dublin.

Surely Irish advertising standards wouldn't allow this if its wasn't true?

Pub #1 on the great Irish Tour
It's a perfect introduction to Irish Pubs.  Friendly at seat service - which is useful, as you are never going to get past the old boys who seem to sit at the bars all day long.

I'm determined to be contrary and not go for the obvious by trying a Smithwicks Pale Ale.  One business idea that came on our visit was the introduction of proper hand pulled real ales.  I'd make a killing.

The One and Only
McDaids, Henry Street, Guinness

It's Guinness all the way in from now.  5m Irish folk cannot be wrong and I may as well stop detailing the pint.

McDaids interested me as soon as I saw it on the list.  We're massive fans of Still Game, so seeing a pub sharing the name with the main character had to be investigated.

House of Victor
We stumbled on it by chance, dodging the living statues in the main shopping area.

Instantly taken by the architecture, research shows that this wasn't always a pub but started life as the City Morgue.  Various literary patrons have either frequented it or used it for inspiration for their works.

Rather disappointingly, the handful of regulars were all fixated by the Premiership football on the TV. Spotting a couple of tourists coming in, it was quickly turned over.

To the rugby.

Looks like a Weather Intermission
Est 1779 Outside and 1873 Inside

The Brazen Head, Lower Bridge Street

Ireland's oldest pub had to be investigated.  As soon as we arrived at the cobbled courtyard, we quickly realised we had been here before.

It really is a must visit.  Which is why its packed to the rafters with tourists.

Brazen Head
Instant Memory Jogger
Brazen Head
A Tourist

Great fun exploring the rooms and looking for a seat.  We eventually get a table outside and Mrs Mappiman makes friends by using her cider to extinguish smoldering cigarettes that she feels have been left too long.

Worried that we haven't booked anywhere for food, we eat here.  I have to say that the staff do a wonderful job of keeping the Ireland's busiest pub ticking over beautifully.

Great food, drink and service.

The Auld Dubliner, Temple Bar

We were looking for Farringtons, down Eustace Street.  Disappointment that this is now a Nepalese restaurant was tempered by a decent sounding band thumping out classic 90s Indie hits from this place.

Auld Dubliner
The La's "There She Goes" lured us in
Packed to the rafters, with Hen Do's where the chief bridesmaid has lost her handbag and attempts to relocate it by shining a powerful torch between the legs of men stood at the bar.  At least that was what she said she was doing.  Although I did wonder where the torch had come from if she had lost her bag.

The Palace Bar, Temple Bar

Another on the list and another that I have been to before.

If you want refinement, in a beautifully decorated pub, with a bar divided by privacy screens, then this is the place for you.

Palace Bar
The Palace Bar - Ornate and worthy of seeking out

Palace Bar
Subliminal Advertising Works
Entertainment is not all conversation based.

You can have a good laugh at the look on Spanish Ladies faces when they have accidentally descended the perilous steps to the Gents Loos.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

22/10/16 - Wye to Thames Walk 5 - Worcester to Pershore

Distance - 15 Miles
Geocaches - 10
Previous Walks - Walk 1Walk 2Walk 3Walk 4
Pub - The Pickled Plum, Pershore, Butty Bach

An unexpected free Saturday.  A chance to knock off Stage 5 of this epic journey that is taking me from the Wye in Hereford to the Thames in Oxford.

Today, we can throw the Severn into the River Mix.

Its a lengthy one - 15 Miles.  It would have been 14, if Pershore Station was actually in Pershore.  I could have taken a short cut to miss out the town, but there is a Good Beer Guide Pub to tick off.

Train timetables indicate that the drivers have a afternoon Siesta.  If I don't leave early, I will be waiting two hours for the 15:30 to return.

7:30am and I am alighting at Worcester Foregate Street, pounding the streets as the City prepares for a busy Saturday.

The first part of the walk is easy walking along the River - from the bridge to Kempsey.

Worcester Cathedral
Worcester Cathedral
Worcester Bridge
Worcester Bridge in the pre dawn light

The route provides the chance to add a few geocaches to the total, including one previous fail.  I'm sure it wasn't there last time.

Kempsey sees me leave the River.  Cruelly, I pass the yet to open for the day Walter de Catelupe.  I'll be back to get the GBG tick.

Future Visit Required
Doesn't look much but I hear it has Timothy Taylor Landlord
Cutting in land and heading east, I walk across a Kempsey Common.   There is little to report - the weather is gloomy, the paths have been diverted to cater for horse enclosures and the only elements of potential comedy moments include electrocution and getting told off when I follow an arrow into a field full of alpacas.

Mr Alpaca was far more angry than a man with poor signage had any right to be.

Kempsey Common
Gloomy View from Kempsey Common
Stoulton, leads to Drakes Broughton and eventually - bang on opening time - Pershore.

With weary legs, I enter the Pickled Plum in Pershore.  A tongue twister of a Good Beer Guide Entry.

Pickled Plum, Pershore
Pickled Plum
This pub used to be called the Plough.  It looked so down at heel that in all my previous walking visits, I was never inclined to visit.

It's received a makeover, mainly been aimed at diners, with 2/3's of the pub set for dining.

But drinkers are equally well looked after - six real ales on - with the clips for six real ciders (it's that part of the world) sharing the same beer pumps.

I can remember seeing Purity Ubu, Brakspear but no more perusal was required when my eyes locked on the Butty Bach.

My local is a Wye Valley tied house.  Whisper it quietly, but it may have been in even better condition here.

Pickled Plum, Pershore
Butty Bach in the Pershore's Pickled Plum

21/10/16 - The Bell, St Johns, Worcester

Distance Walked - Less than a Mile
Geocaches - 3

The St Johns area of Worcester is on the opposite side of the river to the town and a place where the tourists are unlikely to venture.

There are two 2017 Good Beer Guide Pubs within spitting distance of each other.   Finding myself in the county City with an hour to spare, I hunt for a collection of micro geocaches in the dark and manage to knock one of them off.

If it wasn't for the guide, I wouldn't be here.  This level of psycho geography is appealing to me in its complete randomness.

The Bell, St Johns, Worcester London Pride

Random BeerintheEvening Quote - "Why is it that a pub such as this can be well-patronised while others struggle?"

There's a question that I cannot fully answer after my visit.

A couple of clandestine photos taken when people weren't looking out through the curtain-less windows.

The Bell, St Johns, Worcester
The Bell - Brought to you by M&B
The front door is central in the building and brings you into a hallway.  There are two drinking rooms to the right and a large bar to the left.  It takes a moment to get orientated.

The first thing that hits you is the noise.  It may be 7pm on a Friday but I'm unsure whether this is the place or time to be Raggamuffin Rap at such a volume.

The old mod sat nursing his pint in the corner seems to agree with me.  The tattooed ladies seem to quite like it.

I manage to get my self heard to order a London Pride form the handful of real ales on offer.

I don't have the strength to discuss the short measure and make haste to one of the parlour rooms, where I hope it can be enjoyed in relative peace.

The Bell, St Johns, Worcester
If only I could have shut that door.
I like the snug.  I have time to consider the purpose of the Good Beer Guide.  Maybe its all about the beer and not the venue.

Although I can't find much to endorse the pub itself, the London Pride here was better than any that I have had over the last 5 weeks in the Smoke.

Absolutely superb.

Would I go back?

Did I tell you there's another GBG entry in St Johns?

Friday, 21 October 2016

20/10/16 - Mabel's Tavern

Walk Distance - Kings Cross to Euston
Geocaches - 0

Blimey, it has got to the point where I cannot even go for a pint without sparking a quick blog.

My time in London has come to a close.  Final customer presentation done.  A bit of time to kill before my train back to the Midlands.

Only thing to do is to get off the tube a stop early and go for a pint.  Little did I know at the time it would be a Good Pub Guide boozer and accurate records need to be maintained.

Mabels Tavern, Mabledon Palce, London - Spitfire Gold

Random BeerintheEvening Quote "You see quite a few in here with their half pints of spitfire or whatever, scanning the QR code for the Cask Marque Ale Trail trying to get round as many pubs as possible in the hope of winning prizes."
I've been rumbled!

I've walked past this typical London looking boozer a number of times but I am unsure if I have ever ventured in before.

Excuse Photos - Just a handled Samsung Phone with me today
Its a Shepherds Neame House.  I tried a Whitstable Bay on Monday night.  In a day of firsts, I try a Spitfire Gold.  It looks like lager.  It tastes inoffensive enough.

Spitfire Gold
You are Gold
The pub, according to both Google Maps and the Good Beer Guide, is supposedly haunted by the eponymous Mabel.  No ghosts in residence today, only skiving office workers extending their lunch break towards 15:00 hours.

Cask Marque Certificate found to the left of the bar.  Scan #62.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

17/10/16 - Fleet Street Pub Crawl

Distance - 3 Miles
Geocaches - 1
Walk Inspiration - CAMRA's London Pub Walks - Walk 1
Pubs - 5

Bob Steel's guide provides inspiration for a wet night in the Smoke.  22 of the 30 walks completed to date, so its nearly time to shell out for the updated issue.

Before I get going on the walk proper, I want to tick off the only nearby 2017 Good Beer Guide Entry.  So off the tube at Chancery Lane and a chance to admire Holborn Viaduct from below.

Hoop and Grapes, Farringdon Road, Whitstable Pale Ale

Random Beerintheevening quote - "A decent, unpretentious pub on the edge of the City."
The guide tells me that this pub dates from 1721 and has a fascinating history.  It then fails to embellish the story any further.  Experience, and on line research, suggest its either something to do with the heated patio or secret weddings.

Hoop and Grapes, Farringdon Road
Hoop and Grapes, Farringdon Road
Hoop and Grapes, Farringdon Road
All the gang (usually found in Lidl) are here.
It's a Shepherds Neame House, selling their full range of beers.  I am going to file my visit under perfunctory.  There is nothing to make this place stand out, or really require a return visit.

Not even the Patio.

The Punch Tavern, Fleet Street, Doom Bar

RandomBeerintheEvening Quote - "Closer inspection does reveal it's not much more than a passable Wetherspoon conversion of an old building"
I'm now on Bob's book proper.  Not going to the Blackfriar - a fine pub (unless you like beer), already blogged.

There's plenty of booze choice in Fleet Street and I must have walked past the Punch Tavern 100 times without walking in.  Strange, as its lit up like Santa's Grotto and looks rather appealing.

Punch Tavern
Birthplace of Punch Magazine

Punch Tavern
Come in out the rain, weary traveller
Beautiful marble bar containing all of one choice of real ale.  Doom Bar.  To be fair, it was very well kept and as good an example as you could hope to find.

Pint taken to the matching marble fireplace.  Menu perused but lacking in inspiration enough to make me want to stay.

Surprising really, as despite the pubby origins, this is really more geared up for dining.

The Old Bell, Fleet Street, Hogbacks TEA

Random BeerintheEvening Quote - "Non-smoking pub .. don't bother."
And this was a review from 2016.

A short commute here.  Its next door and far more pubby.  Four real ales on and I went for a TEA.  I like this beer but this was a pretty ropey example.  Wishy washy headless wonder.

Old Bell
The Pub Like Old Bell.  Not for Smokers
Old Bell

An even less inspiring menu and I'm out of here rather quickly.   Hunger is kicking in.

The Cheshire Cheese, Fleet Street, Nothing
Cheshire Cheese
The Evocative sign - harder to photograph than the moon

You really need to visit here if you fancy a Dickensian drinking experience.  Winter is the time to do it, where they burn coals with such intensity that you will wish you had left your clothes at home.

I've been many times and although I'm not a fan of their Sam Smiths beer, eating in the little dining room to the side of the bar is an experience that everyone should have.

I pop in on the off chance that there is a table free.  This doesn't usually happen but there is a large four person table with reserved plonked on it and a little free standing two man table bereft of brass signs of occupation.

I ask the waiter if the table is free.  He tells me they have stopped serving food.

It's 8:20pm.

I don't stop for a drink.  Further conversations with Mrs Mappiman lead me to question what the reservation on the other table was for, if they have stopped serving food.

This sort of thing can burn you up from the inside.

The Harp, Chandos Place, London Pride

Random BeerintheEvening Quote - "Fantastic ales and great atmosphere."
Fortunately, I know of a decent Thai over the road.

The Tipperary will be saved for another day and as the rain has stopped, I decide to walk back to my hotel, with the chance to tick off a couple more of the GBG 2017 entries.

Not that I need an excuse to revisit CAMRA national pub of the year 2010.  It's now no longer a freehouse and has been taken over by Fullers.  It's as good as it ever was,

And Monday night, 9pm is the time to go.  Not only did I get through the door, I got a seat.  This provided the opportunity to calculate the percentage of their previous guest ales I had tried.

The Harp, Chandos Place
Pop in, if you are ever at Charing Cross
The Harp, Chandos Place

The Argyll Arms, Oxford Circus, Tribute

Random BeerintheEveing Quote - "Fine and historic interior, tolerable selection of cask ales."
A chance to finish off the W1 pubs in the GBG Guide.  Rest were blogged a month ago.

I think I have under appreciated this pub.  With its proximity to Oxford Circus Tube station, it's always been a go to place to meet friends.  A handy location.  It's usually that heaving that you cannot appreciate the three glass partitioned rooms, deep red interior and grade II listed status.

Come in at 10pm on a Monday and the inner beauty will be revealed.

Argyll Arms, Oxford Street
Usually four deep outside
Argyll Arms, Oxford Street
The Bass Room, Adorned with Hops
Argyll Arms, Oxford Street
GBG said to admire the Bass Mirror.  So I did.