Tuesday, February 10, 2009

First Thing in London...

Between a fest in Chelmsford, getting dragged out to clubs the next night, and a pleasant tour of Cambridge, I didn't fit in a whole lot of London pub crawling. Not as much as I would have liked. But the crawling I did was greatly aided and abetted by Podge and Siobhan's guide. If you live in London or plan to visit, and you don't own it already, you've got no one but yourself to blame.

I can thank that book for the first thing I did in town, after the men's room and cash machine: the Betjeman Arms. Two pints and a cold meat pie sent me forth on a righteous path. When you arrive at St. Pancras station, the Eurostar terminus, just look for that sexy sculpture called the Meeting Place. The pub is just below it on the other side.

I wouldn't call its atmopshere cozy, exactly. Actually it's a bit modern and cold, with tall ceilings and big windows and not much color. But it's better than most station bars by a long shot. I reckon it's what they call a "gastro-pub" in those parts. I'm not sure why a pub that has decent food needs a fancy category, but that's the way of things it seems.

For its upscale aim and location I expected the Betjeman to be pricey... but the pie-and-a-pint deal for £7 seemed pretty reasonable to me. As you can see it came with some sort of red onion relish. Surely one of you knows the proper name for that. I don't. Anyway, it was tasty. And thus it came to be that my first two pints in London were the house Betjeman's Ale and Bateman's XXXB. Both bitters. Neither was a barn-burner but both were damned refreshing.

A hearty welcome.


  1. That'll be chutney, old bean.

  2. Thanks. I know chutney but had not identified this thing as such. Fun to be a wide-eyed tourist.

  3. oh yeah. Pork pie, its all good.