THE WHITE HORSE



ALPINE RATING: 7 OUT OF 10


45 RUPERT STREET, SOHO, LONDON, W1D 7PB.
PICCADILLY AND LEICESTER SQUARE TUBE.





THERE ARE THINGS I LIKE IN LIFE. STYLE COUNCIL ALBUMS, REEBOK TRAINERS, GREASY KEBABS, UN PC COMEDY.  SAMUEL SMITH BOOZERS AND TADDY LAGER. THOSE LAST TWO ARE TOP OF THE LIST. WITHOUT A DOUBT.
SO.....
WHAT, INDEED....
ARE.....
THE THINGS I DON'T LIKE....

WHERE TO BEGIN.....

WELL, FIRST OF, THE FACT MY OWN  GENERATION THINK THAT THEY KNOW HOW ALL OF US SHOULD LIVE OUR LIVES BECAUSE THEY HAVE A HALF DECENT EDUCATION AND ACCESS TO THE INTERNET. THAT ANNOYS ME.
PEOPLE OVER THE AGE OF 25 WHO SAY 'NANG', PLEASE GROW UP...
TOP OF THE LIST. ENGLISH ACTORS. Y'KNOW THE ONES. EMMA THOMPSON, BEN KINGSLEY.  POMPOUS PRATS WHO LOST TOUCH WITH REALITY A LONG TIME AGO.
I SAW GREG WISE ONCE READING A CHRISTMAS STORY IN THE BACK OF A BLACK TAXI ON TELEVISION. SMUG, ARROGANT AND SPEAKING IN THE QUEENS ENGLISH. IT WAS HORRIBLE.  IF THERE WAS EVER A MAN WHO NEEDED SOMEBODY TO HOLD A MIRROR UP SO HE COULD SEE THE AWFUL, COMPLETE AND UTTER ARSE OF A HUMAN BEING STARING BACK, IT'S THIS GUY. PAINFUL TO SAY THE LEAST. IT MADE MY S**T ITCH. EERRCCHHH.
EVER SEEN A GOOD BRITISH FILM?... NO ME EITHER. WHY? BECAUSE THEY ARE WRITTEN BY AND STAR THEATRE ACTORS. I HAVE SEEN THESE IDIOTS ON CHAT SHOWS (PLASTIC FACES, PLASTIC SMILES) LAUGH AND CRITICISE THE AMERICANS QUALITY OF TELEVISION AND FILM. 
THE YANKS FILMS AND TELEVISION SERIES MAY NOT BE UP OUR EVER SO HIGH STANDARDS, BUT THEIR ACTORS DON'T SEEM UP THEIR OWN ARSES AS MUCH AS OUR LOVIES.
LOOK, WHO WOULD YOU RATHER HAVE A PINT WITH? HUGH GRANT OR SHAUN RYDER?
SHAUN WOULDN'T BANG ON ABOUT "CRACKING THE BOARDS IN HIS TIME".... BORE OFF.


 AND WHAT 'MAN IN THE BOX' DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH SAMUEL SMITH BOOZERS?
THE WHITE HORSE IS SLAP BANG IN THE MIDDLE OF THEATRE LAND. OPPOSITE THE GIELGUD THEATRE. HOME TO HALF OF THESE TWERPS.
I IMAGINE MOST OF THE LOVIES HAVE HAD A PINT IN HERE OVER THE YEARS.



THE PUB ITSELF IS LOVELY.
THE CUSTOMER SERVICE HERE HAS BEEN THE BEST I HAVE RECEIVED IN ANY PUB YET.
QUICK, CHATTY AND LOTS OF SMILES!! CRIKEY.
NATURALLY, THE TADDY WAS IN TOP FORM. IT WAS VERY TRADITIONAL LIKE THE BEST HOUSES OF UNCLE SAM.




THE CHESS BOARD FLOOR WAS IN FULL EFFECT AND THERE WAS NOT A 'LOVEY' IN SIGHT. SAYING THAT. IAN MCKELLEN WON'T BE IN HERE. HE OWNS HIS OWN BOOZER, THE GRAPES I BELIEVE ITS CALLED. A PINT IN THE GRAPES COSTS A TENNER I EXPECT, BUT IAN GETS RESPECT FOR BUYING A BOOZER.




OOOOHHHH, BEER MATS. THEY HAVE BEER MATS. BULLSEYE!!! IT DEFINITELY HAS THE FEEL OF AN OLD STATELY HOME. A TRADITIONAL FIREPLACE SITS NEXT TO AN OLD GRANDFATHERS CLOCK. THE CLOCK IN QUESTION STOPPED LONG AGO AND IT'S ONCE WHITE FACE IS NO LONGER WHITE. "BUT -IT-STOPPED. SHORT. NEVER-TO-GO-AGAIN WHEN-THE-OLD-MAN-DIED".....
HE'D HAVE DIED IN 1971, JUDGING FROM WHERE I'M STANDING.




THE MENUS. I HAVE TO SAY, THERE WAS A MENU ON EVERY TABLE. SO IT'S CLEAR THAT THEY DO A CRACKING TRADE ON PUB GRUB. THERE WERE AT LEAST THREE DIFFERENT TABLES ORDERING GRUB WHILST I WAS IN THERE. THIS MAY BE UNIQUE TO THE PUB CHAIN, MORE PEOPLE ORDERING FOOD AS OPPOSED TO BEER.

THE PLATES COMING PAST SMELT WONDERFUL, BUT TO QUOTE HUNTER S THOMPSON "THOSE OF US WHO HAD BEEN UP ALL NIGHT WERE IN NO MOOD FOR COFFEE AND DONUTS. WE WANTED STRONG LIQUOR. AND LOTS OF IT"....
PINT OF TADDY PLEEEASE...




THERE WAS UPSTAIRS, BUT IT WAS CLOSED. IF IT WAS ANYTHING LIKE THE DOWNSTAIRS, THEN IT'S FAB. IT LOOKS BIGGER ON THE OUTSIDE, THEN ON IT'S INSIDE. THIS IS A LOVELY BOOZER. IT WAS VERY CLEAN. PERFECT FOR GRUB.
NOT SURE IF IT'S A PLACE FOR A SESSION, BUT GOOD FOR A BITE TO EAT. OR EVEN AFTER WATCHING SOME PONCEY RUBBISH NEAR BY.



I'M A SUCKER FOR BIG OLD BEER LAMPS AND THE ONE ABOVE THE ENTRANCE IS CRACKING. I'VE NEVER SEEN A WHITE HORSE BEFORE. OHH WAIT, I THINK I HAVE. IT  WAS SOME AWFUL DRIVEL ON THE BBC. KENNETH BRANNER WAS RIDING IT. AN ASS ON TOP OF A HORSE. WHO KNEW......


THE YORKSHIRE GREY




ALPINE RATING: 7 OUT OF 10



46 LANGHAM STREET, LONDON,W1W 7AX.
OXFORD CIRCUS, GREAT PORTLAND STREET AND GOODGE STREET TUBE.



I NEVER LIKED 'THE LAST OF THE SUMMER WINE'. IT WAS ABOUT A BUNCH OF OLD STUPID NORTHERN GEEZERS RUNNING AROUND HILLSIDES IN YORKSHIRE. IT WAS ALSO BROADCAST ON A SUNDAY NIGHT BEFORE 'BREAD' IN THE MID 1980'S WHICH MEANT ONE THING.... WHEN I HEARD THE HAPPY FUNERAL MUSIC THAT WAS IT'S THEME SONG, THE WEEKEND WAS OVER. SO IT WAS BACK TO SCHOOL IN THE MORNING. 
THOSE LOVABLE OLD CLOWNS, EH? ARCHIE, CLEGGIE AND WHAT WAS THE OTHER CHAPS NAME?.... 
YOU KNOW WHAT.. F**K 'EM!!!
 IT WAS A RUBBISH TELEVISION SHOW. EVEN HOWARDS WAY WAS BETTER.
BUT IF THEY HAD A LOCAL PUB, THIS WOULD BE IT. IT REALLY DOES LOOK LIKE A PUB OUT OF A SMALL LEAFY YORKSHIRE VILLAGE. THE NAME SAYS IT ALL REALLY...


THIS PUB TRUELY IS AN ODDITY ON GREAT PORTLAND STREET. IT'S AN ODDITY IN LONDON, FULL STOP. SURROUNDED BY HANGING FLOWER BASKETS AND PAINTED DARK GREEN, THIS IS PUB IS CARED FOR AND LOVED. YOU CAN CLOCK THAT WITHIN THE FIRST 10 SECONDS OF SEEING THIS PLACE. IT HAS LOTS OF OUTSIDE SEATING IN A NICE PATHWAY BY THE  SIDE OF THE BOOZER. I IMAGINE THIS IS HEAVEN ON A WARM SUMMERS DAY. ITS OUTSIDE SEATING IS STRANGE BECAUSE THERE ISN'T MUCH SEATING INSIDE. THIS IS WHY IT GETS AN ALPINE RATING OF 7.



THE INSIDE IS TINY. DON'T GET ME WRONG HERE. IT'S FANTASTIC INSIDE. BUT IT'S SMALL. REALLY SMALL. IT WILL BE NEXT TO IMPOSSIBLE AT ANY TIME TO GET A SEAT IN HERE MOST LIKELY. IT'S VERY COSY AND I DON'T MEAN THAT IN A SARCASTIC WAY. IT'S LOVELY.
IT HAS LOCALS PERCHED ON BAR STOOLS READY TO BANTER WITH ANYONE WHO HAPPENS TO WANDER IN.



IT ALSO DROPS A POINT AS THE CHAP BEHIND THE BAR HAD NO IDEA WHAT SO EVER ABOUT THE COMPANY HE WORKS FOR. WHEN A COUPLE OF TOURISTS ASKED "WHO IS SAMUEL SMITH?", THE CHAP REPLIED "I DON'T KNOW.... I THINK HE RUNS THE BREWERY"...
SAMUEL SMITH HAS BEEN DEAD FOR YEARS.
THIS CHAP HAS HIS WAGES PAID FOR BY A DEAD MAN. NICE.
WHEN ASKED "WHERE IS THE BREWERY FROM", HE REPLIED "UMMMM, I DUNNO"....
YORKSHIRE MATE, THEIR FROM YORKSHIRE. YOUR IN A PUB CALLED THE YORKSHIRE GREY!!!
WHIPPETS, FLAT CAPS, HATING PEOPLE FROM LONDON. YORKSHIRE!!!!!!!!


ON A BRIGHTER NOTE, IT HAS THE 'WHITE ROSE' LOGO ON ITS BEAUTIFUL WINDOWS. *DRIBBLE*
FINE VARNISHED SURFACES. IT HAS SUBLIME OLD LAMPS ILLUMINATING UNCLE SAMS DEN OF MISCHIEF. PHOTOS OF OLD COMEDIANS FROM THE 1930'S ON THE WALL.  
THIS IS INDEED A FINE SPECIMEN OF BOOZER.



THE TADDY WAS BANG ON. EVEN IF THE CHAP BEHIND THE BAR WAS CLUELESS ABOUT WHERE IT CAME FROM. A GREAT PUB. I'LL POP IN AGAIN.
*BORAT VOICE* GRREEAT SUCCESS.....

THE CHAMPION




ALPINE RATING: 9 OUT OF 10


12-13 WELLS STREET, LONDON, W1T 3PA.
OXFORD CIRCUS, GOODGE STREET AND TOTTENHAM COURT TUBE.





MUHAMMED ALI WAS A CHAMPION... BOBBY MOORE WAS A CHAMPION..... JACK NICKLAUS WAS A CHAMPION.... *STEPHEN FRY VOICE* "DAMMIT JOHN"... EVEN STEVE DAVIS WAS A CHAMPION.
SAMUEL SMITH IS THE CHAMPION!


THIS PUB HAD MIGHTY BIG BOOTS TO FILL, WITH A NAME LIKE 'THE CHAMPION', THERE CAN BE NO HALF MEASURES. IT'S A BOLD STATEMENT TO MAKE. THE FIRST TIME I CAME HERE I WAS BITTERLY DISAPPOINTED WITH IT TO BE BRUTALLY HONEST. IT WAS A COLD RAINY NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS. THE PUB WAS PACKED. I DRANK MY TADDY AND LEFT FOR THE COCK TAVERN DOWN THE ROAD.
THE ORIGINAL RATING FOR THIS PUB WAS A PITIFUL 5. THE LOWEST SCORE FOR A BELOVED SAMUEL SMITH BOOZER YET. EVERYBODY ON THE NET SPEAKS OF THIS PUB WITH GREAT AFFECTION. I COULDN'T SEE IT. IT HAS A CULT FOLLOWING AMONG THE FITZROVIA CROWD. I JUST COULDN'T FIGURE IT OUT.



A SECOND CHANCE. MAYBE A SECOND CHANCE. ANOTHER BITE OF THE CHERRY. 
EVEN CASSIUS CLAY HAD A COMEBACK FIGHT RIGHT?......
I RECONSIDERED.


I WAS VISITING 'THE YORKSHIRE GREY' AND THOUGHT I'D DROP BY FOR A SWIFT HALF.
ANOTHER CHANCE TO CHECK THIS PLACE OUT ON A MELLOW SATURDAY AFTERNOON.
I UNDERSTAND WHAT PEOPLE MEAN BY "IN THE CLEAR LIGHT OF DAY"....
I HAD GOT TERRIBLY WRONG WITH THIS BOOZER. THIS IS INDEED A REVIEW WHERE I MUST GROVEL. *GROVEL, GROVEL, GROVEL, GROVEL, GROVEL*





THIS PUB IS LIVED IN. MORE THEN ANY OTHER PUB OWNED BY THE BREWERY. IT HAS QUAINT ROUND TABLES WITH VARNISH CHIPPED OFF. BATTLE SCARS OF HAVING COUNTLESS ALPINE GLASSES SLAMMED DOWN ON THE ONCE STRONG SURFACE. THE SHORT STOOLS ARE TIRED WITH HAVING ARSES OF ALL WALKS OF LIFE PLONKED DOWN ON THEM FOR DECADES. THE LEATHER ON THE BENCHES IS WRINKLED. THIS PUB HAS HAD SOME GOOD NIGHTS IN IT.
THE CHESS BOARD FLOOR IS WELL WORN. MANY BOOTS AND SHOES DRAGGED ACROSS IT. THE PUB IS LIVED IN. AND THAT'S ITS CHARM.
AS YOU CAN SEE, I CHANGED MY MIND ABOUT THIS PLACE. IT'S ACTUALLY RATHER FANTASTIC.


THE WINDOWS ARE MIGHTY IMPRESSIVE, PICTURES OF SPORTSMEN FROM A LONG FORGOTTEN ERA. STAINED GLASS. SITTING DRINKING MY PINT IT WAS QUITE A SIGHT TO BEHOLD WITHOUT A BUSY WORK CROWD BLOCKING THE VIEW. THE JOCKEY AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE IS FRED ARCHER APPARENTLY.



IT HAS BARRELS SITTING ON TOP OF THE BAR. YOU'D MISS THEM IF YOU DIDN'T STARE UPWARDS. THIS IS THE PUB YOU HAVE ALWAYS DREAMED OF. IT'S THE PUB YOU WISH YOU HAD AT THE BOTTOM OF YOUR ROAD. I COULD SPEND A LIFETIME IN THIS FANTASTIC BOOZER. IT HAS A DARTBOARD FOR REPROBATES LIKE MYSELF. IT HAS BOOTH LIKE AREAS TO TALK WITH FRIENDS. THIS IS WHAT AN OLD SCHOOL BOOZER IS. IT'S THE BOOZER THAT IS DYING OUT IN THIS COUNTRY. PUBS BOUGHT, GUTTED AND RELAYED WITH FANCY SOFAS AND BRASS SURFACES. FOR THE JENGAS TWATS, NATURALLY... "I BOUGHT THIS PLACE ON THE CHEAP, YAH"......
THIS IS AN ENDANGERED SPECIES. ADD IT TO THE LIST WITH POLA BEARS DRINKING COLA AND KOALA BEARS WITH CRAP LIBIDOS....



SOMEBODY WROTE ON TOILET SIGN, HARDLY THE CRAFT OF THE SEASONED GRAFFITI ARTIST IS IT?
SOME LOWLIFE I EXPECT....


IT HAS THE LAMP OUTSIDE. THE BEER LIGHT TO GUIDE US. ACCORDING TO DAVID BOWIE..


I'M COMING BACK. THAT'S FOR CERTAIN. 
THIS PUB REFUSES TO BE BULLIED BY THE FITZROY ROUND THE CORNER. IT STANDS UP AND SHOUTS "YOU THINK YOUR HARD BUT YOUR NOT"...
IT'S RIGHT NEXT TO THE BLUE POSTS. YOU CAN SEE THE PUB FROM THE CHAMPIONS DOOR WAY. THE WORLDS SMALLEST PUB CRAWL IS BECKONING SURELY.


THE SERVICE WAS GREAT. THIS PUB REALLY IS THE CHAMPION.
TAKE A BOW SON.








THE ROBERT BROWNING



ALPINE RATING: 7 OUT OF 10



15 CLIFTON ROAD, LONDON, W9 1SY.
MAIDA WALE AND WARWICK AVENUE TUBE.


IF SAMUEL SMITH PUBS WERE PREMIERSHIP FOOTBALL CLUBS, THIS PLACE WOULD BE EVERTON. PERFECTLY FINE, BUT STILL PALING IN COMPARISON TO MAN UNITED (CITTIE OF YORKE), CHELSEA (FITZROY TAVERN) OR ARSENAL (THE EARL OF LONSDALE)...
STILL BETTER THEN FULHAM (THE BLUE POSTS)......

THIS TRULY IS A LOCALS PUB. THIS IS STRANGE IN AN AREA LIKE MAIDA VALE. NOT QUITE EXPECTED HERE OF ALL PLACES. PEOPLE SITTING ROUND THE BAR ON STOOLS. BANTERING AND JOKING. DOGS RUNNING AROUND SNIFFING EACH OTHER. IT'S ENCOURAGING TO SEE PUBS LIKE THIS. THE SWISS HAS A SIMILAR THING GOING ON WITH THE LOCALS. AND I LOVE THAT. MOST PUBS HAVE A COLD FEEL TO THEM. MAYBE IT'S SOMETHING TO DO WITH LONDON. WE'RE ALL MISERABLE BUGGERS AND DON'T LIKE PEOPLE TALKING TO US WHEN WE'RE DRINKING. IT'S RUMOURED THAT DAVID WALLIAMS AND GEORGE DAWS  (WHAT-ARE-THE-SCORES) AKA MATT LUCAS USED TO DRINK IN HERE. IT'S ALLEGED THEY GOT THE INSPIRATION FOR SOME OF THE CHARACTERS FROM LITTLE BRITAIN FROM THIS VERY FINE HOUSE OF ALE.
I CAN BELIEVE THIS TO BE TRUE *CHORTLE*
"NOW ANDY, YOU STHAID YOU LIKED TADDY! NOT SSTHOUT"..
WE'LL SAY NO MORE....

THE FLOOR LOOKS LIKE A CHESS BOARD. CHECKMATE.

I HAD TO CHECK IT OUT AS IT WAS SO CLOSE TO MY PROXIMITY REALLY. WHAT CAN I SAY... HMMMMMM, PRETTY GOOD. BUT LIKE THE MEANING OF LIFE, I HAVEN'T FIGURED THIS ONE OUT YET.
DO I LIKE THE ROBERT BROWNING? WELL THAT'S A SILLY QUESTION!! OF COURSE I LIKE IT! IT'S A SAMMY SMITH.
THE FIRST TIME I VISITED, IT WAS P***ING COLD OUTSIDE AND I SUSPECT THIS IS TRULY A SUMMER PUB. BUT I COULD BE WRONG HERE. I HAVE BEEN WRONG IN THE PAST. NOT OFTEN MIND YOU.. AND DON'T BRING UP THE TIME I WAS CAUGHT JUMPING UP AND DOWN IN BUCKET OF PIG S**T IN FRONT OF THE QUEEN AT THE ROYAL VARIETY SHOW. THAT WAS A MISUNDERSTANDING AND IT WAS SETTLED OUT OF COURT THANK YOU VERY MUCH. "THERE GOES MY KNIGHTHOOD"...
THERE SHALL BE NO PUB NAMED AFTER ME ANYTIME SOON. BUT I DIGRESS... HA! DON'T I ALWAYS, THAT'S WHY YOU BLOODY LOVE THE MAN IN THE BOX, OOOOPS, I DIGRESS ONCE MORE.....






ROBERT BROWNING WAS A POET. HE LIVED AROUND THE CORNER FROM THIS PUB ORIGINALLY. IT WAS RENAMED THE EAGLE  SOME YEARS AGO AND WHEN UNCLE SAM BOUGHT THIS FINE ESTABLISHMENT HE REVERTED THE NAME BACK. GOOD FOR YOU UNCLE SAM.


IT'S PRETTY NEAT, BUT THE LAYOUT IS QUITE ODD, I SHANT BOTHER TO EXPLAIN.

SO LETS GET DOWN TO BRASS TAXES. 
THE SERVICE ON THE TIMES I HAVE VISITED HAS BEEN FRIENDLY AND FAST. THE TADDY HAS BEEN IN TOP CONDITION ON THESE OCCASIONS. IT HAS PLENTY OF SEATING AND YET IT REMAINS REASONABLY COSY.
IT HAS A DARTBOARD AND A POOL TABLE ON EITHER SIDE OF THE BAR. 
SO IF YOUR A BUDDING BRISTOW OR STEVE DAVIS THEN THIS IS PERFECT. NOT MANY OTHER PLACES IN AND AROUND HAVE POOL TABLES OR ESPECIALLY DARTBOARDS, SO IT'S VERY UNIQUE FOR THAT.
IT HAS (SO I HEAR) A FANTASTIC RESTAURANT UPSTAIRS AND THE FOOD IS HIGHLY SPOKEN OFF. I HAVE PROMISED MYSELF I WILL VISIT FOR THE FOOD SOON.
THE STOUT AND ALE PIE IS 'THE MUSTARD' ACCORDING TO MY SOURCES!



ONCE AGAIN, IT HAS BEER MATS. SO IT GETS A DEFINITE THUMBS FOR THAT! 


NOWT WRONG THIS PUB. I SHALL BE VISITING AGAIN. IT'S IN MAIDA VALE.
IF A LOUD WELSH BIRD GIVES YOU THE ELBOW AT WARWICK AVANUE TUBE STATION THEN HEAD OVER THIS SPLENDID BOOZER TO DROWN YOUR SORROWS.
WELL DONE UNCLE SAM, ANOTHER VICTORY.....




THE OUTSIDE HAS LOVELY POT PLANTS, BRICKWORK AND OUTSIDE SEATING. MAIDA VALE IS AN AREA THAT PLEASANT ON THE EYE. WHEN THE SUN SHINES, SO DOES THE ROBERT BROWNING.









IT HAS THE BREWERY LOGO PRINTED INTO THE CORNER OF THE WINDOWS. EXCEPTIONAL OR WHAT!! LOOK CAREFULLY AND YOU CAN SEE MY REFLECTION NEXT TO THE WHITE ROSE OF YORKSHIRE!

REGARDS

THE MAN IN THE BOX

THE BRICKLAYERS ARMS




ALPINE RATING: 7 OUT OF 10




31 GREESE STREET, FITZROVIA, LONDON, W1T 1QS.
TOTTENHAM COURT, GOODGE STREET TUBE.




"OH YAY, OH YAY! ALL THEE LISTEN TO THOU! YE OLDE BRICKLAYERS ARMS WILL BE SERVING TADDY. THEE MAY PLAY DARTS FOR GUILTY PLEASURES IN THIS OLD ALE HOUSE! OH YAY, OH YAY"
SOME BIG BLOKE IN A BEARD, BUCKLE SHOES AND A BEEF EATER LOOKING TUNIC WAS RINGING A F**KING BELL OUTSIDE THE PUB! I GOT TINNITUS WHILST DRINKING TADDY. CAN'T HE MOVE DOWN TO FLEET STREET NEAR THE CITTIE OF YORKE, OUTSIDE A BARBER SHOP WHERE SOME SICKO PUT'S PEOPLES REMAINS IN PIES AND RING HIS SODDING BELL THERE?!
NO, NONE OF THAT REALLY HAPPENED. BUT OUTSIDE THE 'BRICKLAYERS ARMS' YOU COULD IMAGINE SOMEONE RINGING A BELL. HORSE S**T ALL OVER THE STREET, A MONACH DYING OF THE CLAP. WHY? BECAUSE THIS PUB LOOKS OLD. AND I MEAN OLD.
LOOK AT THE PICTURE.



HOW DO I DESCRIBE THIS PLACE. IT'S EVEN STRANGER INSIDE. IT LOOKS SMALL. BUT IT'S A STRANGE MAZE OF ROOMS.

THERE SEEMS TO BE A BACK ROOM DEDICATED TO DARTS. I SAW TOO RATHER ODD LOOKING CHAPS HAVING A GAME AS I NOSED AROUND. ONE OF THE DARTS PLAYERS LOOKED LIKE COMIC BOOK MAN IN THE SIMPSONS. LONG HAIR, BEARD. I WAS NEARLY HIT THE HEAD BY A STRAY DART... NO I WASN'T REALLY, NEVER LET THE TRUTH GET IN THE WAY OF A GOOD YARN.
THE  UPSTAIRS IS RATHER FAB, BUT HIDDEN AWAY. I ONLY FOUND OUT ABOUT IT FROM READING A REVIEW OF THIS PLACE OF YELP! I LIKE THE FACT IT HAS WALLPAPER. FOR THAT IT GETS 'OLD SCHOOL BOOZER' KUDOS.



THIS PLACE SCORES AN EXTRA POINT AS IT HAS BEER MATS! I LOVE PUBS WITH BEER MATS! NOT ALL OF UNCLE SAMS HOUSES USE THEM. ORDNANCE, THE ROBERT BROWNING AND THE DUKE OF ARGYLE USE THEM! SO PROPS TO THEM! THERE ARE STRANGE PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE GLOBE WHO ACTUALLY COLLECT MATS AS A HOBBY! HORSES FOR COURSES. A PROPER PUB SHOULD USE BEER MATS. 
END OF STORY.




THE SIGN OUTSIDE IS PRETTY KICK ASS. NO DOUBT ABOUT IT! JUST LOOK AT HIM (PHOTO ABOVE).. LOOKS LIKE THIRSTY WORK. THE CHAP IN THE PICTURE REMINDS ME OF DAVE SPIKEY FROM BULLSEYE. I SUPPOSE THE NAME MUST HAVE SOME SORT OF RELEVANCE TO PUBS. MANY MOONS AGO, A BRICKLAYER WAS PROBABLY QUITE A NOBLE PROFESSION. BEFORE IT WAS CAREER CHOICE FOR WHITE RACIST MEN FROM THE EAST END OF LONDON.  YOU KNOW THE TYPE, FARTS LOUDLY, SHOUTS AT WOMEN IN THE STREET WHILST HANGING OFF SCAFFOLDING. LIKES MILLWALL FC. 
 NOTHING LIKE A CRASS GENERALISATION TO SPICE UP A REVIEW.
 BUT THE MODERN BRICKIE IS NOT IMMUNE FROM 'THE MAN IN THE BOX'. MY SHARP WITT CUTTING LIKE A BARBERS RAZOR. OUR MAN IN THE PUB SIGN LOOKS VICTORIAN AND IN THOSE DAYS HE HAD NONE OF THE LUXURY'S THE MODERN BRICKIE USES TO PLY HIS TRADE. NOPE. AT THE END OF HIS WORKING DAY HE WAS TIRED, SWEATY AND IN NEED OF A LIBATION. HE WOULD HEAD OVER TO THE ALE HOUSE. MIND YOU, THE VICTORIANS WOULD BATH WEEKLY, SO OUR BRICKLAYER FRIEND WOULD MOST LIKELY STINK TO HIGH HEAVEN. ALE HOUSES MUST HAVE BEEN QUITE SMELLY BACK THEN. I MEAN, THINK ABOUT IT.. THERE WAS NO LINX TO MASK OUR BRICKLAYER FRIENDS 'MANLY AROMA'. WHAT WOULD LINX FRAGRANCES HAVE BEEN CALLED BACK THEN I DREAD TO THINK! 'CRICKET MUSK', 'HARSH COALTAR' OR 'YE OLDE NAVY'. THE MIND BOGGLES!
THERE WAS NO LAGER BACK THEN EITHER. IT WAS ALE AND ROUGH GIN.
SO THANK GOD FOR SOAP. THANK GOD FOR DAILY BATHS. THANK GOD FOR LAGER. THANK GOD FOR BRICKLAYERS. FOR WITHOUT THEM WE WOULD BE LIVING IN STRAW HUTS.





IN SUMMERY, THIS PUB IS OK. IT HAS HANGING FLOWER BASKETS OUTSIDE. A SET OF TABLE AND CHAIRS SHOULD YOU WISH INHALE EXHAUST FUMES FROM PASSING MOTORBIKES. IT TICKS ALL THE RIGHT BOXES. IT IS A STONES THROW FROM THE FITZROY TAVERN (SO THINK UGLY SISTER SYNDROME)..
THE SERVICE COULD OF BEEN SLIGHTLY FRIENDLIER BUT WAS SUFFICIENT ENOUGH FOR ME. THE CROWD IN HERE SEEMED QUITE INTELLECTUAL COMPARED TO THE 'TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL' CROWD AT THE FITZROY TAVERN.
I LIKE THIS PLACE AND I WILL RETURN AT SOME POINT FOR A GAME OF DARTS.
THE TADDY WAS IN EXCELLENT CONDITION. IT HAS A STRANGE LAYOUT, BUT THAT MAKES IT INTERESTING.
THE BRICKLAYERS ARMS DOES FOR UNCLE SAM FANS WHAT 'TOMBRAIDER' THE MOVIE DOES FOR VIDEO GAME CONNOIRSSEURS.

BELOW IS A PICTURE OF SOME THIRSTY VICTORIANS HEADING TO THE BRICKLAYERS.. 
I DIDN'T PHOTOGRAPH THIS ON THE WALL OF THE ROYAL FREE HOSPITAL. HONEST.



THE EARL OF LONSDALE




ALPINE RATING: 9 OUT OF 10



277-281 WESTBOURNE GROVE, LONDON, W11 2QA.
NOTTING HILL GATE AND LADBROKE GROVE TUBE.



GREAT BOOZER. THE LAST OF IT'S KIND IN THIS AREA NOW. COULD YOU IMAGINE WHAT IT'S LIKE DURING THE NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL? SHOCKING I EXPECT. PACKED TO THE RAFTERS CERTAINLY. WOULD UNCLE SAM EVEN CHARGE ON THE DOOR IN THE BIG AUGUST EVENT? FOOD FOR THOUGHT....
ACCORDING TO FOLK LAW, CORRECTION, ACCORDING TO WIKIPEDIA, THERE HAVE ONLY BEEN TWO MEN TO HOLD THE TITLE 'THE EARL OF LONSDALE'.. SO WHICH ONE IS THIS CRACKING ALE HOUSE NAMED AFTER?
DOES IT MATTER REALLY?
TALE MY ADVICE. BUY A BIG BLOODY BOOK ON ARISTOCRACY AND HEAD ON OVER TO THIS PUB. READ THE BOOK AND BUY A TADDY. JOB DONE.




LET'S START WITH THE GARDEN.
IT'S MASSIVE. IT'S THE JOHN HOLMES OF PUB GARDENS. I'VE BEEN HERE ON A FEW OCCASIONS AND IN THE SUMMER IT'S GORGEOUS. BUSY, NOISY AND FULL OF FUN. SINKING ALPINE IN THE GARDEN WITH SUN BEATING DOWN WAS AND I EXPECT WILL ALWAYS BE THE SPICE OF LIFE.
IT HAS THE USUAL UNCLE SAM TRADEMARKS INSIDE. STRANGE WOODEN PARTITIONS, PHOTOS OF A LONG FORGOTTEN ERA, DEEP WOODEN OAK.
THE OUTSIDE IS TRULY WHAT A PUB SHOULD LOOK LIKE. IT HAS A BIG SQUARE LAMP HANGING OVER THE DOOR. GLAZED TILES ON THE LOWER FRONT. CLASSY FROSTED WINDOWS.

THIS IS HOW A BOOZER SHOULD LOOK. NOT LIKE EVERY OTHER BOOZER IN THIS AREA!
*RANT ALERT*
I DESPISE HOW THE JOHNNY COME LATELY'S HAVE THE BRASS NECK TO BUY CLASSIC PUBS AND RIP OUT THE GUTS OF THE PLACE. DESTROYING THE LOOK. REMOVING ANYTHING WITH A HINT OF HISTORY. JUST TO REPLACE IT ALL WITH SOFAS AND OVERPRICED BEER, SO TWATS CAN SIT LOOKING SMUG PLAYING JENGA.  THE AREA IS FULL OF THIS S**T.
WHO STOLE THE SOUL?
AND WHY DO THESE HORAAH HENRYS BUY PUBS LIKE THESE? TO EXPLORE THEIR PASSION FOR GOOD BEER AND MAKE FORAYS INTO THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY? NON. I SUSPECT IT'S SO THEY CAN BE BALLS DEEP IN A SKINNY, COCAINE ADDLED GIRL EVERY NIGHT. THE SAID GIRL BEING IMPRESSED WITH A MOUTHY MORON WHO STANDS AROUND TALKING LOUDLY. MAKING IT CLEAR HE "BOUGHT THIS PLACE ON THE CHEAP"... I REMEMBER WHEN GIRLS WHERE IMPRESSED WITH FAST CARS AND MONEY. NOW IT'S IDIOTS WHO SPECIALISE IN OWNING/RUNNING PUBS...
HERE'S A THOUGHT... MAYBE IF THESE TWERPS TAUGHT THEIR STAFF ABOUT CUSTOMER SERVICE (UNLESS YOUR A MATE OR PROSPECTIVE BED PARTNER DON'T EXPECT TO BE SERVED NICELY) AND CLEANED THEIR BEER LINES, THEY MIGHT ACTUALLY BE GOOD AT THEIR JOBS. THEY DON'T DESERVE HAVING A PUB. SORRY, "BAR"... A BAR? A BURGER VAN IN SWANSEA HAS MORE CLASS.
THE SAD THING IS OF COURSE, THE IDIOTS PLAYING JENGA DON'T CLOCK THEY'VE PAID OVER 4 QUID FOR FLAT PERONI.
*RANT OVER*



BEING A HOUSE OF UNCLE SAMS, THERE IS NONE OF THIS NONSENSE IN THE LONSDALE.






I FEEL UPSET WHEN I SEE THE OUTSIDE. IT MAKES ME REMINISCE FOR THE PUBS AROUND THIS AREA IN THE OLD DAYS. PUBS I WOULD HAVE TO SIT IN AND WATCH MY DAD TALK TO PEOPLE WHILST I ATE CRISPS AND GREW INCREASINGLY BORED AS HE BANGED ON AND ON ABOUT IRISH WRITERS!
HOLD ON, I SUPPOSE I'M DOING THE SAME BANGING ON ABOUT SAMUEL SMITH.
BUT BUGGER TO JAMES JOYCE! I WANT TADDY.





IF YOU BELIEVE WHAT YOU READ ON THE NET, THE BREWERY SPENT A LOT OF MONEY A FEW YEARS BACK PUTTING THE PUB BACK TO HOW IT HAD BEEN ORIGINALLY BUILT. PUT QUITE SIMPLY, IT LOOKS LOVELY. EVEN BY UNCLE SAMS OLD SCHOOL STANDARDS.


THE BACK ROOM BEHIND THE MAIN BAR IS SUBLIME.
IT COULD GENUINELY PASS FOR THE DORCHESTER HOTEL. DON'T BELIEVE ME? SEE THE PICTURE BELOW? YEP. THAT'S THE LONSDALE!
30 SECONDS AFTER I TOOK THE PHOTO THE PLACE FILLED UP.






THIS BEAUTIFUL PUB SHOULD BE LISTED IF IT ISN'T ALREADY.
NEARLY EVERY OTHER PUB IN THIS AREA IS A TRENDY BAR OR IS BEING DEMOLISHED TO MAKE LUXURY FLATS. IT'S A SIGN OF THE TIMES. COFFEE SHOPS ARE THE NEW PUBS AND PUBS ARE THE NEW OPIUM DENS. SOON TO BE BANISHED FOREVER AND ONLY APPEARING IN FILMS ABOUT THE PAST. I'M ALREADY PREPARING A SPEECH TO GIVE TO THE GRAND CHILDREN ABOUT THE DEMISE OF THE GREAT BRITISH BOOZER AS I SOB INTO A GLASS OF GLOUPY HOME BREW. A CAN OF REDSTRIPE? THAT COSTS 100 POUNDS IN THE FUTURE!


THE LONSDALE HAS SEEN IT ALL OVER THE YEARS. IT'S THE GRAND OLD MAN OF WESTBOURNE PARK. ITS SEEN THE DARK SKIES OF LADBROKE GROOVE AT NIGHT ILLUMINATED DURING THE BLITZ. IT'S SEEN THE MIGRATION OF THE LOCAL WEST INDIAN POPULATION TO THE AREA AND PARTAKEN IN EVERY CARNIVAL SINCE THEY BEGUN.
IT'S SEEN THE MIGHTY TRELIC TOWER SPRING FROM THE GROUND LIKE A HUGE OAK TREE AND THE WORKING CLASSES SELL UP AND THE TRENDIES MOVE IN.
IT'S SEEN IT ALL. HUGH GRANT MAY HAVE HAD PINT IN HERE! MAYBE NOT....
IF I COULD TRAVEL BACK IN TIME, I WOULD HEAD TO THE LONSDALE AND VISIT EVERY DECADE SINCE THE 1950'S AND JUST WATCH..... AND SUP A PINT.
THIS IS DEFINITELY IN THE TOP 5 PUBS I EVER VISITED, UNCLE SAMS OR OTHERWISE.




LET ME MAKE SOMETHING VERY CLEAR... IF ANY TRENDIES TRY TO BUY THIS PLACE  AND TRY TO TURN IT INTO A 'SMUG JENGA' CLUB, I'LL BE GRABBING A SHOTGUN. I'LL BE HEADING TO LONSDALE AND FIRING SLUGS AT THE WINDOWS, PUTTING THE OLD MAN TO REST. A MERCY KILLING. THEN I'LL TURN THE GUN TOWARDS THE SKINNY COCAINE BIRD AND THE COCKY BAR OWNER.
 A JENGA GAME BOX CAN DO NOTHING TO STOP A SLUG FLYING THROUGH THE AIR. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

THE LONSDALE IS BUSY IN THE SUMMER AND SO IT SHOULD BE. A LOVELY PUB AND I WOULD THINK THAT IN NOTTING HILL GATE IT SHINES LIKE A DIAMOND IN A SEA OF RATHER POSH RUBBISH.
I SALUTE YOU... EARL OF LONSDALE. WHICH EVER ONE YOU ARE.