11
Jul 02

The refurb merry-go-round spins and spins

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 181 views

The refurb merry-go-round spins and spins and this week paints another publog regular (favourite might be too stiff a word). The Pint Pot is dead, long live The Castle. There was something wonderfully alliterative about inviting someone for a drink at the Pint Pot on Pentonville Road – and it was well famed for its roof terrace where one could soak up both the sun and the pollution. It was never a vintage pub though, rough and ready it was always a good place to take international students to break them into the reality of London pubs. And of course I have completely ignored its two greatest selling points: the toasted sandwiches in polythene bags and the mural outside. I will return to the toasted sandwiches in polythene bags some other time in a piece on great lost pub food – the mural has been well documented here before – suffice to say it illustrated the lie that Budweiser was the King Of Beers far too literally.

I am not sure why they changed the name to The Castle, it’s a pretty non-descript name but I suppose they wanted to make a break from the Pint Pot (which will now join the annals of great lost pub names). Still this is a pretty impressive refurb. The roof terrace is back, having been structurally reinforced and fitted with some suprisingly large and comfortable modern looking benches and tables. Downstairs the physical layout of the pub has retained much the same, multi-layered with the same length bar and tables in much the same place as they used to be. However now there are a smattering of high and low tables, chairs – stiff and soft – and lounging but definately not smart sofas. The main change has been up the top level where the pool table has gone to be replace by a large table and a kitchen.

You couldn’t call the place a gastropub, but it has got an interesting food menu at which is not too broad but offers reasonable prices. Kedgeree seems to be quite a pub staple these days, but I for one am pleased to see it. About three specials on the board each day as well plus attractive puddings; I can see the rotisserie chicken going down well with the beers they sell. And the range of beers is impressive. Bitburger, the most popular German lager is rarely seen in London – and is certainly served with gusto (the barman had no idea how to stop it fizzing) – plus a few ales and a well stocked couple of shelves of spirits. The place is owned by what appears to be a bit of a West London chain and certainly the attempt to go up market has not removed the Sky TV or a fair few of the locals. I’ll miss the Pint Pot, but more for its loony punters than anything else. And as clean and nice as The Castle is in comparison, as long as some of them are around then I think I could happily drink here again. Pity about the mural though – there is something about a giant bottle of Budweiser in ermine which really cheered me up on the 73 bus.

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