Ordinary Decent Boozer -(ODB) because EC2 does that too

A little pause from the ramblings of last Thursday, for a brief perusal of the more down-to-earth and honest offerings of EC2.

Since I work (for the next 6 working days) at a company that has oft relocated. The concept of ‘drink after work down the” remains just that. An ellipsis. The NFO UK branch at Bonhill Street does not have a designated local, despite, or perhaps because of the plethora of options.

This makes it all the more difficult to pick a venue for my leaving-do. As it has been made plain, the Sosho triangle is the home of Bar Wank, multiplied. To pick a Bar Wank for one’s leaving-do, would be to label oneself so. You’re not out to impress anyone, you’ve done that by resigning. You simply want to get drunk with the benighted drudges that you’re leaving behind, figuratively, and try to ensure the least pitiful turn-out possible. What you want is a lower common denominator venue (not lowest, because that would leave you in the clutches of the DJ at Bar Med, perennially stuck with the concept of the 1980s Radio 1 Weekender). What you want is an ODB.

Well, what do we have:

The Windmill – Epworth Street/Tabernacle Street.,

Not a lot to say about the Windmill. It’s main purpose in life, for me at least, is the Friday brush-off – “I can’t stay for long, but I’ll come for a half at the Windmill”. You wouldn’t bother staying longer. It’s the closest one, it’s the pub where you can meet/wait and as soon as everyone’s arrived, there’s no argument about leaving. Once I leave this area, it’s the pub I’m least likely to suggest for a return visit. Strangely, it’s like a All Bar One without the branding and with a carpet. You wouldn’t go near the wine.

Verdict: unimaginative

The Artillery Arms – Bunhill Row

From the Bonhill Street perspective, this one requires commitment, as you need to cross City Road, and walk through the grave-yard, with its attendant early curfew procedures. Principally a lunch-time pub, and one that I quite like. The area is residential, so I suspect that it is quite a schizophrenic pub. The tender hearted market researchers rush to the upstairs room and wait eagerly for the kitchen order of generous doorstep or fish-finger sandwich to arrive. Downstairs meanwhile reminds me of going into a pub full of Northern businessmen in 1970s, in a good way.

Verdict: Ghostly

The Angel – City Road (South)

A bit like the Artillery, although without the necessity to traverse the graveyard. Very near the Old Street roundabout and ideal location to build up the brave party posse before heading east en masse to a branch of Bar Wank. Just round the corner from the Dragon Bar. Has a decent upstairs room which could be hired for a gathering of 20-40 – always good to know. A pub that’s neither too busy, nor too quiet at commuter times. I’ve always had a serviceable time whenever I’ve been in, not a pub that requires hyperbole, but quietly gets on with its job in an earnest fashion. Promises lager in frozen glasses over the summer.

Verdict: Great, but, too far away for lily-livered South of the River types, probably

Finches – Finsbury Pavement

The Young’s Brewery take on an All Bar One. Crap bar staff and worse acoustics. ’nuff said.

Verdict: Not unless I’m concussed.

The Fox – Paul Street

I never went in this place before the refurb. But frankly, given the refurb – the bar downstairs must have been an absolute dive. It’s all a bit bare, not minimal, just bare wood and stools. A bit like one of those bars you go into in a French village with snarling locals, a baby-foot, a PMU counter and an electronic dartboard. Only it doesn’t even have those.

Seems to care about its ales in a fairly unpretentious fashion – does draft Hoegaarden – but hardly exotica these days! It also does food of the wilted coulis variety. It does not have one of those crappy bar top coke/lemonade taps – which is to be applauded. Amazingly no diet drinks were on offer at all, which is flaming marvellous in my opinion – no-one but a puritan should drink Diet Coke in a pub.

The jewel in the crown is the fantastic upstairs ‘club-room’. This rather battered salon is done out like an Edwardian parlour with looming green varnished wall-coverings and standard lamps and two extremely poorly sprung green leather chesterfields (these have been much loved).

Verdict: This is my leaving venue of choice, resting on a test visit this Friday evening. Locals and semi-locals most welcome.