Day 2 cntd (Oct 25th 2008)
The Green Man (Hatton Cross) 2 x ½ Directors £2.60
A short-ish walk down the lane from Hatton Cross brought us to The Green Man, which would have been a contender for pub of the day were it not for one small thing. That one small thing was in reality a series of very large things that passed about 200 feet overhead every 90 seconds at extremely high decibels. There were even people sitting in the garden for some reason. I can only assume that they were either already deaf, or they really just didn’t want to listen to each other talk.
It’s a cracking little pub inside though with old wooden beams and very low ceilings (presumably both floors were built at half height to avoid any danger of getting tyre tracks on the roof). A very nice drop of Directors was on offer, served by Ali, and it probably would’ve gone well with the “Pie of the Day” (steak and mushroom I think).
Keith drew my attention to a couple more features of the place: Free Wi-Fi, a big screen TV, and a genuine “Highwayman Hidey Hole”(with a plaque on the wall to mark it – it may or may not have been Dick Turpin!). It also had a proper bar billiards table at the back “You just don’t see that very often these
days”, said Keith – and all of these features were surrounded by very cool pictures of Heathrow as its grown over the last century or so. Temporarily (at least I hope temporarily) these pictures were themselves surrounded by cobwebs, skulls and crossbones as they geared up for their Halloween Party that evening.
As we wandered back towards the tube covering our ears as best we could we agreed via the medium of sign language that The Green Man is a lovely pub, just in a very unfortunate setting.
The Earl Haig (West Hounslow) ½ Strongbow ½ Fosters £2.96
The pub search websites haven’t been particularly kind to this place.
“What a dive!” said one, “The worst pub in Hounslow” was the confident assessment of another.
Well, Keith and I haven’t been to every pub in Hounslow, but I would be amazed if there was another challenger to The Earl Haig’s unofficial crown. It’s the kind of pub your parents used to warn you about, the kind of place that made us long for the luxurious comfort of a JD Wetherspoons. Or even a garden shed.
The signs were all there. In fact the pub sign was still there, but one of the windows in the front door wasn’t, with some chipboard covering the hole where it used to be. There were some lovely non matching carpets across the main room, and three pool tables at the back. Incidentally, we are developing a theory at the moment that the quality of any outlet is directly proportional to the outlandishness of its carpets.
The picture was completed by an atrocious beer range (all terrible mainstream lager and no real ale), and a couple of old boys gently snoring in front of a big screen telly as the Tyneside Derby raged.
We would have given a toilet assessment, but frankly we were just a bit too nervous to visit the gents. Instead, we quietly declined the offer of going to their “Disco Friday” promotion, and made our way out. Forward March!
The Bulstrode (Hounslow Central) 2 x ½ Bombardier £3.00
Considering that all the pubs to this point had been either a medium or long walk from the respective stations, it was a relief to spot the Bulstrode from the station platform less than 20 yards away, and whilst it wasn’t the greatest pub we had ever seen, it was a definite step up from the Earl Haig down the road.
It had a fairly international flavour as well – advertising a special menu for Diwali, selling a range of Biltong Jerky type foods behind the bar and having signs up for “Polish Night – Coming soon”. They already had three different Polish beers on offer.
Only one real ale on, although it was a decent enough drop of Bombardier. We then noticed that it is obviously on Fridays and Saturdays that the Bulstrode gets out of control and the cost is ramped up accordingly – as several blue-tacked up pieces of A4 paper remorselessly decreed:
“Customer Notice – Please be aware that our weekend prices are now different to weekdays.”
Why on earth a local pub like this genuinely believes that it can charge more for the same product dependent on the day of the week is beyond me. Perhaps you get complimentary beef jerky with your beer on the weekend. Probably not though.
The Duke of Cambridge (East Hounslow) ½ Tyskie, ½ Strongbow £2.70
This was when we realised how big the Polish contingent in Hounslow must actually be.
The Duke is a fascinating place – not least because you have to guess that you have the right venue, as the old pub sign is no longer there and the sign panels have been blacked out. Then, depending on which door you go in through, you enter either a traditional English pub bar, with big screen, table football and pool; or you enter a full on Polish cafe bar, with Polish TV and an extensive Polish menu. A very tasty looking Polish menu.
It is the first place in the UK we had seen with Tyskie (Polish lager) on draught, so obviously we had to give that a go. We were served by Jola, from Poland, of course, a lovely lass with a big smile, purple streaks in her hair, and an impressive collection of tattoos.
The Duke has an undeniable charm to it, even if it’s a little odd when you first walk in, and the fantastic smells coming from the kitchen were enticing us to stay longer.
But no, we stoically continued on our journey, and trudged the quarter of a mile or so back to the station. This is when we noticed that East Hounslow is the first station we have come across that had its own soundtrack – the speakers were rather grandly playing “Ride of the Valkyries” as we strolled up the stairs back to the platform….