The Head of Steam is a strange old place. Part of the concrete Euston complex built controversially in the 60s (John Betjeman famously campaigned against the demolition of the previous, Victorian, Euston station, and particularly its large Doric arch). It’s concretey on the outside, but the inside manages to maintain a whiff of the Smegthorpe Railwaymans Club, despite the fact that very few railwaypersons seem to drink there. I imagine they have an actual club of their own. I like Euston to look at, but it does so often seem a bit glum.

Anyway the Head of Steam has generally managed to achieve an excellent friendly-but-not-too-friendly local atmosphere, even in the face of the fact that it’s a station pub and obviously lacks many actual locals. It’s true that the range of ales attracts fatbelly beer bores, but we’re a relatively harmless bunch as long as you can put up with the conversations about – and the faint smell of – yeast. It’s one of the very few places in London where you can get a decent pint of cider. (NB The Publog cannot recommend such foolishness for the untrained).

The other obvious feature is The Code. Ask behind the bar for The Code and make sure you remember it, because you require The Code to get you through the locked doors to the downstairs toilets. It seems there exists a certain constituency who crave access to these facilities without purchasing goods from the bar, which offends natural justice, and it may be that these people are intent on other unnamed mischief. Anyway, they are apparently repelled by The Code, so all is well.

So what, you ask? Well, the Head of Steam has been sold. Its new Fullers overlords intend to maintain its current character, which is probably a good thing and will be even better if they give the food a sympathetic, cheap and cheerful brush-up. They’re changing its name, though: it’s to be called The Doric Arch. It’s a shame Fullers haven’t cottoned on to the recent fashion for concrete buildings. Instead of commemorating the neo-classical pile which the current building rather gleelessly stomped all over, they might have done better to celebrate what’s there now. The Block of Concrete seems a good name, or The Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, to commemorate Betjeman’s architectural enemy. Or maybe The Brutalist’s Arms. That’d be nice.