Pubs

4
May 10

The FT Top 25 Pubs of the 00s No 6: The Shakespeares Head, Islington

Pumpkin Publog/2 comments • 1,405 views

Shakespeares HeadVery few pubs attract punters with the promise of shocks which will have you leaping out of your seat. And yet the second time I went to the Shakespeare’s Head, that was the reason I went there. I wanted to see Shakey newcomers surprised when, look ma no hands, a very loud bell rang. It never fails to deliver to new users, or fail to amuse us old hands. And it is fitting because at the heart of the appeal of the Shakespeare’s Head, alongside its many terrific features, is it partnership with that crucible of high culture, Sadler’s Wells.

A lot of pubs like to rack up the celebrity photos on the wall, though photo for photo The Shakey Head has a better class of old school family entertainers on its estate pub styled walls.

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6
Feb 10

The Old Suffolk Punch, Hammersmith

Pumpkin Publog//6 comments • 2,719 views

The OSP on Fulham Palace Road has had a chequered past. In its glory days it was a boxer-owned pub “The Golden Gloves” but I first knew it as The Old Suffolk Punch and there was a great, if scuffed, geezer feel to the place — my favourite work boozer. Then it went through a refurb and a phase as the (initials only) OSP just when this review in 2003 [fancyapint.com] was written. The OSP at that time was an awful, soul-destroying place. There were light-box murals of grinning early 20-somethings having a GREAT TIME, looking like low-rent Tony Stone stock photos. It was enough to make the gods of the public house weep into their ports and lemons. A wretched attempt to create a terrible West End bar in the terrible West of Hammersmith.

Thankfully that passed — if a little too slowly — and it became The Old Suffolk Punch once again. A reliable if unremarkable Greene King pub. Well I do have one remark, though I imagine it’s about Greene King food menus chain-wide: The Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding wrap with gravy (and chips). Behold:

From the menu my colleagues and I were imagining a bread wrap around slices of beef and some tiny Yorkshire puds, but it was probably the IPA getting in the way of the obvious interpretation. A flat Yorkshire pud-style batter pancake was the wrap. Brilliant. You pick it up by the batter wrap with the beef and horseradish sauce trapped inside and dip it in the bowl of gravy. NOM, NOM, and three times NOM.

Well it was new to me. This update on a classic, I can get behind. And in to my tum.

21
Jan 10

The FT Top 25 Pubs of the 00s No 10: The Pakenham Arms, Mount Pleasant

Pumpkin Publog/8 comments • 719 views

There are two words that according to modern usage I pronounce wrong. I will hold my hand up to “Colander” – which I pronounce “cullander” to rhyme with Wallander* as a throwback to believing it etymology being tied to the cauliflower I often saw being drained in one. The other word I annoy everyone with pronounce differently (correctly) is the name of this pub. I give it the long A – to me it is the PAY KEN HAM. Everyone else says PACK EN HAM. But PACK EN HAM sounds a bit too harsh to me, a bit too much like Pack It IN! Which is part of the point of the Pakenham, it doesn’t ask you to pack it in at all. Indeed it is quite happy to let you drink well past midnight.

The Pakenham is a posties pub, backing on to the wasteland at the back of Mount Pleasant Sorting Office, and fifty percent of the drinkers there are usually postal workers. As such you would not be surprised to find big projected sports screens, a dartboard and plenty of rushed pint vertical drinking space. But its horseshoe bar also keeps its beers very well (I think of it as the spiritual home of Doom Bar in London), and the excellent bar staff know how to work their crowd.

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