Every now and then you have a night in the pub which turns strangely surreal. Last nights boys night out was one such magical conjunction. Passing over the tremendous pub conversation, our fortuitous transfer to the Shakespeare’s Head was still remarkable.

The ‘Quin was full, some people were there for a leaving party (so why weren’t they leabing was the oft repeated joke). I’ve been to the Shakespeare’s head, a 1930’s estat pub kind of build that happens to be just opposite Sadlers Wells theatre. It has a slightly rough, seedy air which might turn away the gently curious, but was really rather welcoming. Magnus screwed the first round up (in a charming and generous fashion), seemed to take an age to get the pints of Directors for a reason that became clear instantly. It was the end of the barrel and the mouthful I took was of pure beery vinegar. Thre is a point when a pint goes off where it goes from sour to almost sweet again, and these pints, compared to Tim’s crisp new one, were foul. Barmaid did not even sniff it when we asked for replacements.

But before we could do this a bell went off. Loud, piercing and above our heads. A bloke came over and told us how to turn it off. We did, trying to work out what it was. About an hour later the whole charade was repeated. What was this infernal thing doing. We soon realised. It was the bell for Sadlers Wells intermission. It did not seem the natural pub for them to go to, but there were a few smart dance lovers sipping quick G&T’s who scarpered.

Anyway, our comfort odessey continued with the free jukebox. Sequential and packed with pop it was a bit of a sweet shop for us. So much so that the evening reached the point when a nice man pulled the curtains shut, locked the door and came over to us in a barely conspiratorial fashion to confirm that beers were still availible.

That’s two pubs on one street which I have been locked into now. Arlington Way surely is the pub street of our dreams.

Pumpkin Publog