Day 13 1/2 (24th September 2009)
West Green Tavern (Seven Sisters) 2 x ½ Strongbow £3.00
Round the corner and up the road from Seven Sisters was where we headed next, as abeerintheevening.com guided us unerringly to the West Green Tavern – a comfortable looking boozer with an impressive range of bottled beers and an easygoing African/Caribbean vibe. There was Dragon Stout and Supermalt, Tusker and Nile Lager, Wray and Nephew Overproof on the back shelf and posters on the wall advertising the 47th Ugandan Independence Celebration Party. As usual, of course we were forced to plump for Strongbow as there was no real ale on.
The room itself was fairly sparse, a big square space with 3 big screens around the walls and a pool table in the middle. There were some fairly serious looking speakers ranged around the floor – clearly considered more useful than actual chairs. Everyone was very friendly and happy except for the pub oddball who was sat at the bar muttering incoherently at his phone (rather than into it), whilst simultaneously fiddling with one of those giant rolls of blue kitchen towel. We decided to leave him to it and instead turned our attention to the TVs. Unfortunately they were all showing the build up to an Everton Europa League game, so we quickly turned away again.
One more thing – there was another poster on the wall giving a “What’s On” type rundown, and calling it the West Green Tavern Pub. Which is surely a bit like calling your local peak “Mount Mountain”, or driving around in a “Car vehicle”
The Green Man (Bank) ½ Bear Ass, ½ Otter Amber £2.36
It’s always a nightmare trying to fight your way out of Bank tube station at anytime even close to rush hour. No matter which line you are using you always seem to have to walk for bloody miles to find daylight, ducking weaving and bulldozing your way through the pin-stripe traffic every step of the way.
What you really need after all this effort is to find yourself a JD Wetherspoons, and we were just super lucky at this time. To be fair, it was properly buzzing, with plenty of city types discussing global financial meltdown over a bottle of Gallo’s finest pink plonk. True to JDW form it was a barn of a place as well, making it even more impressive that they had managed to fill it this early on a Thursday. Perhaps they were all drawn in by the unmistakeable smell of Madras as the pub prepared for its weekly Curry night (“Curry and a pint – £5.99!”). That or the city work ethic was taking its toll and they had come down to take advantage of the large Smirnoff and insanely large can of “Monster” energy that could be snaffled for a bargain £5.40. Jesus.
We of course were impressed by the fact that the oversized bar had no less than 12 hand pumps ranged across it, although we were subsequently disappointed to find that only 7 of them actually had any beer coming through. Nevertheless it was an eye catching range, and we contented ourselves with making stupid jokes about the beer we had ordered:
“This is the first time I’ve had a Bear Ass in London” for example, or “My Bear Ass has a lovely smell”, and the even less subtle “Please miss, may I just try your Bear Ass?” Somehow the barmaid managed to keep a straight face on that one as she told us that she had honestly never heard anyone say it before.
Dion (St Paul’s) 1 x bt Bulmer’s, 1 x Gin and Tonic £11.75
We emerged into the semi darkness, lit only by the dramatically illuminated dome of St Pauls Cathedral, and the headlights of the 300 or so cars stuck in a traffic jam on Newgate Street. As a profound relief, for the second station in a row we were blessed with proximity, as it was only a short stumble round the corner to Dion, a very City of London type wine bar in the shadow of Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece.
There were lots of City of London wine bar types in there too, giving the place a pleasant, if slightly smug, buzz. They had very smiley staff, presumably to make you feel better about the price of the drinks. Although, at least they had Bombay Sapphire as their pouring gin. The room was clean and tidy, formulaic in places, but with strangely mesmerising chandeliers made out of red champagne glasses.
A tantalizing looking plate of scallops wafted past our eyes, on its way to a table of power dressed folks already ploughing their way through a couple of bottles of something chilled and expensive. If you didn’t fancy the food or wine you could always content yourself with the cocktails on offer using any one of the hundreds of spirits arranged across an unnecessarily large back bar – Keith had mentioned that he was disappointed by the overall lack of Rum in the Western Park Tavern, and that was obviously because Dion had stolen it all. Still, everybody behind the bar looked like they could confidently handle a highball, a cocktail shaker and a muddling spoon.
Despite the fab looking food and gleaming spirit bottles however, it still felt like there was something missing from this place. In truth there are any number of city wine bars that do pretty much the same thing to an equal or more impressive level and Dion just didn’t particularly stand out. That’s what you get for naming your bar after a scary, turkey-necked, chart-bothering French-Canadian diva, I guess.