Zone One (Euston Square) 1 x bt Corona, 2 x bt London Pride, ½ Stella £12.75
Ok, so the research hasn’t been brilliant so far, but there was no way on earth that any pub search website was going to have this place on it! We fully expected to have to walk in to Euston mainline station itself to find a bar, but found ourselves right outside the entrance to the Tube station looking at a large vinyl banner proclaiming “Zone One – Big Screen Sky Sports!”
I think it is fair to say that any site using this method of advertising in lieu of actual pub signage should probably be treated with extreme caution, however, put in the right context, this place wasn’t all that bad. The context being that it is a bar that seems to be attached to a backpackers hostel, and it was clean and modern(ish). Ok, so its not going to be in anyone’s top ten bar list, but there are worse places to spend twenty minutes or so.
No cask ale, which wasn’t an earth shattering revelation, but at least the big bottles of Pride meant we had a few extra minutes in which to plough through some festive pub talk….
INTERLUDE: Essential Pub Conversations Number 4: Top Ten films that are not necessarily about Christmas but have a Christmas link somewhere.
So this one is mainly because a) we have already established that we are film geeks, and b) just doing a Top Ten Christmas films would be too simple, and probably far too sick-making.
So the rules go – it can be a Christmas film, but doesn’t have to be. It just needs some sort of connection to the festive period, whether it is for one scene, or in the background throughout the film. The more tenuous the better!
Lively debate ensued, as always, and we ended up with some semblance of a list – details below, but as usual, in no particular order, since that would have taken another three hours to agree:
- It’s a Wonderful Life – (everything that is good about Christmas)
- Bad Santa – (everything that is hilariously bad about Christmas)
- The Apartment – (Suicide attempt at Christmas, and somehow still a funny, feel good movie)
- Die Hard – (hostage situation at the Christmas party)
- Lethal Weapon – (opens with Jingle Bell Rock, and has Mel shooting bad guys through the Christmas trees)
- About a Boy – (for one of the most excruciating family Christmas scenes)
- Trading Places – (Dan Ackroyd, dressed as Santa, eating smoked salmon through his beard)
- Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence – (David Bowie can act!)
- Holiday Inn – (because it’s got the songs)
- Full Metal Jacket – (for the “Happy Birthday Dear Jesus” scene)
Notable films that didn’t make the final cut include Love, Actually (my guilty pleasure, but shouted down for being just “too poncey”), Planes, Trains and Automobiles on the grounds that it is actually heavily about Thanksgiving (although you have to watch it, just for the car rental scene); and all the Biblical epics were disqualified on the grounds that they were about Christ himself, rather than Christmas. Complaints on a postcard please, but the judges’ decisions are final.
The Green Man (Great Portland Street) 1 x pint and 3 x ½ Green King IPA £6.95
There’s a lovely pub just by Great Portland Street. It has a great atmosphere, cracking food, and a brilliant downstairs room showing live music and comedy acts.
Unfortunately The Green Man is closer to the station entrance than The Albany, so the rules stated that we had to go there instead.
Still, they did have a lot of festive greenery. An awful lot of festive greenery – in fact there was so much false fur (as in Norwegian rather than fake mink) lining every available surface around the bar, it was fairly difficult to know where to put your drink. They also had a large synthetic Christmas tree covered in fairy lights, sort of in the middle of the bar area. In fact it was fairly close to the top of the stairs, so I would be amazed if the pub made it all the way through Christmas without at least one customer getting a nasty surprise as he or she came back up from the loos.
It’s a shame we didn’t manage to get the name of the barmaid, because I think it’s important to know who the people are who really, really hate you, with the fire of a thousand suns. If hate were measured in people, she’d be China. The jolly Santa hat that she wore on her head was the only thing remotely cheerful about her, and I really hope she finds a job soon that, blatantly unlike this one, makes her truly fulfilled – possibly as a bailiff, a slaughterhouse manager, or a Job Centre advisor.
Still, despite the horrifically disinterested staff, The Green Man is not that bad a pub (one recent review on abeerintheevening.com closes with the immortal line “Oh, and it no longer smells of wee”). The beer was fine, and the round would have been fairly cheap but for Dave playing catch up by staying on the pints.
Enough GK IPA already. We took out our machetes and fought our way through the fairy-lit greenery to get ourselves back underground.