I am supposed to meeting up with an old mate this evening somewhere in central London for a drink. Time was when I would have been able to name at least two or three possibilities without really having to think too hard. However, as a result of being away for the best part of the last 6 years, I am completely bereft of ideas. I will also be transporting around various bags so am reluctant to suggest an achingly trendy bar in Hoxton or Peckham (or wherever is regarded as being achingly trendy these days).
Part of me feels that I ought to take full advantage of being in old London Town and to choose a pub redolent in history and interest. Another part of me looks at the rapidly darkening skies, the plummeting mercury, and remembers that a lot of these "olde worlde" places have bags of character but poor draught exclusion. My walk up to the office this morning through the biting wind (straight off the Urals I suspect) was not my most pleasant experience since arriving back in UK so in the interests of keeping my extremities reasonably warm I will probably plump for something that has a blazing fire combined with a little bit of historical charm. Any ideas?
In former times my stamping grounds tended towards the City of London/Fleet Street/Covent Garden side of things. I have always fancied a visit to the Lamb and Flag in Covent Garden (which apparently was rather better known by its customers as the "bucket of blood") but have always rather suspected that it is more of a tourist trap than a quaint London boozer. The same could not be said about the 8 (or possibly 10) Bells in Spitalfileds which is notorious as being one of the pubs visited by one Jack the Ripper's victims shortly prior to her ill-fated meeting with him. When I was working around Liverpool Street Station this place was still an absolute dive and probably the last place any one looking for a quiet beer would wish to visit.
I will also be heading over to Docklands this evening which will be my first visit for ages (in fact probably since I visited the ill-fated Millennium Exhibition at was is now the O2 arena. I am not sure quite what to expect but hopefully the transportation will have improved since my last visit.