Day 12 cntd (5th September 2009)
The Railway (Greenford) 2 x ½ Bombardier, ½ Kronenbourg, ½ Strongbow £5.60
Somewhere between the A40 and the Kelvin Industrial Estate in Greenford lies The Railway, and it was to this hallowed place we headed next. Alas, this was to be our last venue as a foursome today, as Mr Dunn who had been a solid performer so far (as we knew he would be) needed to get back and look after his family-in-waiting.
The pub itself was absolutely bloody huge. Seriously enormous. The main bar itself was big enough, but there was also a great big restaurant-come-carvery (£4.45 Mon-Thurs) out the back area, and they had somehow managed to squeeze a pool table in as well. It had clearly had a bit of modernisation work to try and bring it up to date and give it a bit of a foodie feel, but frankly everyone in there was only interested in the football that was being shown on the 4 big screens around the bar – even though it was a match between Scotland and Macedonia. Always a hotly anticipated fixture.
It was also a pub with real ale on, which was a rarity so far today, although my joy almost turned to despair when I saw that my half of Bombardier was slightly hazy. It actually tasted pretty good, as it happens, but if I finished the day nauseous, stumbling and unable to speak properly, I knew exactly what I was going to blame.
At least the staff were relatively helpful, ordering a cab for Dunny before we left – he had decided that time was of the essence and he needed to taxi back to Harrow and Wealdstone and pick up the over ground train from there. Little did he know, the Capital’s so called “Integrated Transport Network” had some surprises in store for him and his adventures were only just beginning. The experience was so traumatic he even blogged about it – it’s well worth a read on http://calxeurope.blogspot.com/2009/09/integrated-transport-system-on-mars.html.
The Myllet Arms (Perivale) 3 x ½ Strongbow £4.46
Our newly formed trio moved manfully on, heading for the majesty of Perivale. The pub wasn’t actually that far away from the station, but the journey was arduous nevertheless, as we were forced to break out the climbing gear and fight our way over the challenging footbridge that crosses the A40 to get to The Myllet Arms on the other side. It was a big ask, but we were equal to the challenge, even stopping in the middle of the bridge to take in some refreshing petrol fumes and cast our gaze over the majesty of the Art Deco Hoover building just up the road, and even the Wembley Arch in the skyline beyond.
The Pub itself took its name from a local landowner called Henry Myllet who apparently had two wives and no less than fifteen children. I can only imagine that they must have been almost permanently knackered. Still if they were all around today they could have taken a few of the family rooms on offer at the Premier Inn next door to the pub, and almost certainly would have taken advantage of the “2 for 1” meal offers at the pub itself.
It seemed that offers were the order of the day, seeing as there were “4 for 3” offers on most of the bottled beers, and cheap jugs of summer cocktails as well. Since the Railway had had mostly stripped back wooden floorboards we were distinctly relieved to find that normality had been restored and The Myllet Arms had a suitably garish and mind bending carpet. Brilliantly, it had not one but two fairground “grabbing claw” type machines for the punters, presumably so that you can improve your chances with a new lady by winning her a small fluffy penguin to cuddle as she drinks her Malibu and Pineapple.
Shirt had temporarily left us at this point to pop to the shop up the road and get himself some sustenance – I think he needed to refuel after the hazardous trek over the footbridge. In the meantime, myself and Keith sat down and chatted with the barman who was a lovely bloke, keen on extolling the virtues of the “2 for 1” menu. It’s fair to say he was a fairly big lad, so perhaps we shouldn’t have been surprised when he told us that after a difficult eight hour shift behind the bar, he likes nothing more than to sit down and tuck in two 16oz steaks for only £15. Top work. Actually it’s probably a good job Shirt wasn’t with us at this point, as he may have been considered just small enough to cook and eat.
West Five at The Crowne Plaza (Hanger Lane) ½ Strongbow, ½ Kronenbourg Cold, ½ John Smiths £6.25
Hanger Lane station sits proudly right in the middle of the Hanger Lane Gyratory (which is basically a posh way of saying “Bloody Huge Roundabout”). We popped our heads out above ground in the central area like booze-sniffing meerkats, and surveyed the local terrain. We could see Hunters Bar off to the East, but it was clear that we needed to check out the Crowne Plaza Hotel first which was much closer to the station.
We had a moment of blind panic and bewilderment in the Reception Area when we couldn’t immediately see where the bar was, until Lewis masterfully took control and asked the lady behind the desk. One flight of stairs later and we found ourselves in the opulent, if sterile, surroundings of the West Five Bar and Brasserie in the basement of the Hotel. Very sterile, actually, as they seemed to be disinfecting the floor as we walked in. It was actually difficult to tell if they were properly open, but I think they took one look at the steely determination in our eyes and decided that they’d better serve us straight away.
It was, in all honesty, incredibly bland, even by the standards of most hotel bars. And hugely expensive when you considered that it had all the sophistication of your average Yates’s Wine Lodge. The giant flowerpots near the entrance were the most fascinating feature about the place, although it did have the distinction of being the only pub today, and possibly all tour so far, that wasn’t showing Sky Sports or some sort of horse racing, and was instead content to show the BBC news channel. I take it back, it really was the height of sophistication – and you certainly wouldn’t get that in Yates.
Bar De Luce (Park Royal) 2 x ½ Kronenbourg, ½ Bulmers £5.20
It was time to change tube lines and head over to the Piccadilly Line at Park Royal station, no more than half a mile away, and so we strolled soothingly through the traffic at London’s busiest road junction towards the tiny haven of peace and tranquillity that was Bar de Luce.
Bijou and compact was the theme here, with the peace and quiet provided by a complete absence of customers, either inside or on the distinctly continental looking tables under the awning outside. There was a wooden parrot on a perch on one side of the bar to keep us entertained, however. They offered a lunchtime special of any filled roll plus a drink for £2.99, but it was only from 12-2.30 pm so perhaps that explained the tumbleweed rolling past the front door at the time we visited. Having said that, it was actually quite pleasant in a quirky way, with nice wooden beams across the ceiling, and a thoroughly pleasant chap called Wesley behind the bar. They also managed to squeeze one big screen telly in to show the football despite the fact that the room was blatantly only big enough to fit an i-phone on the wall. Moretti was on the bar to keep the Italian theme going, although unfortunately they seemed to have run out. Which I suppose could have been considered typically Italian as well. Possibly to help compensate for this, Wesley put some complimentary nuts on the bar for us – they told Keith he looked great in that jacket (Dammit, I’m sorry. I promised I wouldn’t do that joke).
Soon enough it was time to say arrivederci to Bar de Luce, as we needed to move off to a truly exotic sounding place called North Ealing. As we waited for the next train to take us South we couldn’t help but notice a young couple on the platform, clearly in the very early stages of their relationship. Now gentlemen – cast your minds back: did you ever have a situation where you have bravely gone in for the kill, a full on teenage snog, whilst simultaneously realising that you needed to try and keep your hips as far away from hers as possible so that she wouldn’t notice, er, just how pleased you were to be with her. Poor sod. Oh to be a teenager again. Ever thoughtful, Keith suggested I offer my man-bag for him to carry in front of him to spare any further blushes…..