English Pubs

March 12, 2010 at 2:47 pm 5 comments

Based on this post, you might get the impression that we were intoxicated the entire ten days we recently spent in England. Not true. We didn’t actually spend all of our time in pubs – we saw a few sights as well. During a wet, cold February visit, the local pubs provided a great place to warm up and rest our feet in between all of the museums and cathedrals…and they provided a few good brews and meals too.

Here’s a few of our favorites:

London

  • The Bear and Staff. Scott went to this pub the last time he was in London and we decided to seek it out again when we were in Leicester Square. On our first visit, we discovered they had several good brews, so we actually returned for lunch later in the week when we were back in the area. Leicester Square was not our favorite neighborhood – it was a little too commercial with lots of movie theaters and Burger Kings – but The Bear and Staff is near the Tube station and also within walking distance of Covent Garden.
  • The Market Porter. The Market Porter was a great, unexpected find in Borough. We had just finished our second lunchtime visit to Borough Market and our feet were too tired to head straight to the Tate Modern, so we found the nearest pub, of course! The place was bustling since it was a Saturday afternoon and we were lucky to find a seat. They had a large selection of beers and best of all we got to hear live music. A small, three-piece band setup right in the middle of the pub and started playing Irish music. The music was great and it was a welcome change from all of the bad 90s music we were hearing in most bars and restaurants. I guess the British really love Michael Bolton & Celine Dion because I can’t tell you how many times we heard their music. (I have since learned this pub was transformed into the Third Hand Book Emporium for a Harry Potter film and the area has been used in other films such as Bridget Jones’s Diary.)

The Market Porter in London

The Market Porter in London

Oxford

  • The Bear. Recommended by a friend, this was a great little pub that was off the beaten path in Oxford. It is apparently one of the oldest pubs in England, dating back to the mid-13th century. It was a charming place with a small bar, very low ceilings, fireplace, and a quirky collection of neck ties that patrons have exchanged for pints of beer over the years. And, while there wasn’t anything especially memorable about the brews at The Bear (like most English beers, unfortunately), we would definitely return to this spot.
  • The Eagle and Child. One of the friends we were traveling with in Oxford is a big C.S. Lewis fan, and it turns out this pub was his first stop on a walking tour of Lewis-related sites in Oxford. We decided to join him for this portion of his tour! The Eagle and Child was often the site of weekly Tuesday meetings of the literary discussion group, the Inklings, whose members included Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. And, again, the beer and fish & chips weren’t remarkable, but the you can’t beat that history!

Canterbury

  • The Bishop’s Finger. We actually stopped into this pub twice because it was right next door to our hotel, The Falstaff. They served a good selection of beers from Shepherd Neame, the local brewery in the South East region of England. We enjoyed the Late Red Autumn Hop Ale and the Bishop’s Finger Kentish Strong Ale – the latter being a whopping 5.4% alcohol. I guess that is considered “strong” in England when the average ales are around 3.5%.
  • The Cricketer. This pub also served beers from the local Shepherd Neame brewery and we had the Spitfire Premiun Kentish Ale. The fish and chips were some of the best we had on our trip. The fish had a beer-batter, giving it better flavor than what we had elsewhere. And their onion rings – made with red onions – were light, crispy, and so delicious!

The Cricketer Pub in Canterbury

Fish & Chips at The Cricketer

Delicious Onion Rings (and an okay sandwich) at The Cricketer

The Bishop's Finger in Canterbury

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Biscuits Oven-Roasted Parsnips

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Joanne Nichols  |  March 12, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Thoroughly enjoyed your little blog here – it’s so fun to relive memories thru someone else. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip – look forward to more.

    Reply
  • 2. Sergio  |  March 12, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Well this was quite the pub crawl! I loved reading about all the places you got to go, adding them to my list of things to see and do next time we’re in London. I’m thirsty now. Great post 🙂

    Reply
  • 3. Emily  |  March 12, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    I love this summary! Nice collection of pubs – love how each one offered something different. We went to The Market Porter, by the way – in the evening – it was jam packed, but alas, no live music while we were there.

    Reply
    • 4. syockel  |  March 20, 2010 at 2:08 pm

      Yeah, without the lively music The Market Porter would have perhaps been just another English pub, although, they did have the largest selection of bitters.

      Reply
  • 5. Deena  |  March 17, 2010 at 9:17 am

    Now I’m trying to figure out if there is any way we can swing through England on our way home. Great post.

    Reply

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