Wednesday 7 September 2011

Old Thameside Inn, The Harp and high London prices.

A meagre attempt at a arty photo here. I call it DoorMirrorStepsBEER.
London is many things but one thing it really can't be described as is cheap. There may be thousands of pub in this filthy but charming city but you'll be lucky to find a pint of bitter for less than £2.80. It's even worse for fizzy larger drinkers as most pubs take advantage of their low intelligence by charging astronomical sums for cheap piss (also known as Peroni or San Miguel.) The only place you can get a cheapish pint is in a Sam Smiths pub but to be quite honest I don't trust a pint that costs under £2. How do they make it so much cheaper than other beers? There must be some terrible secret to the brewing process. I'm looking forward to the day they create a new brew called “Taddy Soylent Green” to prove all my fears correct.

If the pub you're visiting happens to have a great location expect to pay even more over the odds for what is usually substandard beer. For example the pub I ended up at last Thursday – the Old Thameside Inn near London Bridge. You can't fault the location, right on the bank of the Thames with a fine view of the City. As it's a Nicholsons pub there is usually a fair selection of ales on, although not always in the best condition. The prices, however, are ridiculous. A bottle of Rekorderlig cider (don't worry it was for a lady) cost £4.90. For 20p less I could buy a large McChicken Sandwich meal or a small Romanian child. A substandard pint of Harviestoun “American IPA” was an incredible £3.70. Actually when I say substandard I mean disgusting. I'm not sure if the beer was off or if it's just not a good ale but it did not taste good. It didn't have the vinegar taste you get from an off pint but it was a little sour with a unpleasant aftertaste.

I would of asked for another ale if it wasn't for the fact that the service was appalling. I was afraid I would have to wait until Friday to actually get my replacement pint. I should probably give the IPA a go at another Nicholsons (apparently it's brewed exclusive for them) but I'm not sure I'll bother.

Not bad for a Sunday evening
This is the "Grandstand" (I think)
modelled by The Lovely Jemma.
Scary lady picture in the
background for dramatic effect
Things were better on Sunday where I ended up at The Harp in Covent Garden, a favourite of mine. This small boozer always attract an eclectic crowd of confused tourists, ale drinkers, students and even some normal everyday folk just out for a pint. No matter how busy this place gets, and it's usually very busy, you always get served quickly and the ale is always in good condition. You can't really ask for more from a pub. I had a lovely pint of the Twickenham Brewery “Grandstand,” a nicely hopped ale with a delicious and refreshing finish. This was followed by the Dark Star “Partridge”, a delicious dark bitter with a good malty tone that was a delight to drink. The prices in The Harp aren't silly (for London) either – about £3.30 a pint. Of course that's still a price that would make a northerner shout out “You what pet?!” before snorting a whippet out his nose in shock and disgust. But as a Londoner I quietly put up with it before posting snide remarks about high prices on a blog. Hooray for the internet!


  1. Dave! You need to come to the William IV with us. It's in Leyton, and all pints are like £2, because they brew them just down the road so distribution costs are all but zero. The ginger ale is delicious. And it's a Proper East End boozer too!

  2. By "proper East End Boozer" do you mean "likely to get stabbed?" It does sound good, I may have to pay a visit to the wastes of Leyton!

  3. It's the Brodies brewery tap and you can get a decent pint there, sure. But it comes with all that Brodies and a deep East End location connote.