Monday 28 November 2011

The Grafton, The Compass and a Lloyds

Holy crap I've just realised that's Rik Mayall!

Walking into a pub you haven't visited before for the first time is like opening an anonymous brown bag found in a park and looking inside. Will it be gold or will it be shit? The past week saw me enter two pubs for the first time, and both were different experiences. First up was The Grafton Arms near Warren Street, an area devoid of decent pubs. but plenty of mediocre ones. The residents are predominately international students staying at the UCL dorms, as they are the only ones who can afford to stay in London dorms. I guess the pub landlords are happy to palm them off with any old tat as they desperately work on a worthless degree which will guarantee them being told they're overqualified at every job interview they go to.

The Grafton Arms has been around for a while and its current owners are Greene King. It's a surprisingly pleasant two floor pub with a lovely outside terrace which is apparently often booked for parties. As it's a Greene King pub the ale selection wasn't spectacular. In fact it was so unremarkable I can barely remember what was available. I think IPA and another GK was on, plus a guest which is what I drank. Ashamedly I can't remember what the guest ale was called. But I do remember singing along loudly to "Wired for Sound" while pretending to rollerskate around Milton Keynes, followed by a horrific crashing sound as near 20 beer glasses fell of a table and down the stairs. It was that kind of night.

What the hell possessed me to go inside?
I couldn't even spot any hot goths.
We visited The Intrepid Fox after but I'm not going to comment on that.

Later on in the week I paid a visit to The Compass on Chapel Street, Islington. Although very busy the atmosphere was oddly cold and lacking. I tried a pint of the Adnams Spiced Winter Ale which was rather good, with a nice hoppy flavour and subtle spicy undertones. Adnams really seem to have improved in the last few months and I've been enjoying their new tipples. They're moving away from the processed, chemical taste which sometimes befell them and are starting to taste like decent, solid ales. Sadly the taste was tarnished a little when I was charged £3.80 for a pint. A ridiculous price and I ended up having to nurse my pint for a hour in fear of having to take out a mortgage for a second pint.

This was followed by a curry at the Delhi Grill, a rather good Indian restaurant that is a rare ray of sunshine on the windswept hellhole which is known as Chapel Market. I was also pleased to see the Elbow Room has closed down. What a miserable grim pit that was.

This chap is wondering whether to go back in
for another pint at 11am or just end it all now.
On the theme of miserable grim pits, we popped into the Glass Works, a Lloyds Number 1 based in the Islington cinema complex. Just kidding, it wasn't that awful, although the ale selection was dire. I ended up going for a pedestrian pint of Abbot Ale, which was fine but nothing earth shattering. At least I got a quid off my round thanks to the CAMRA vouchers.

Although I wouldn't make a special trip to return to the Grafton or The Compass, they're both good bets if you find yourself stuck in the area and require a pint. Just remember to stop by Nationwide near The Compass to take out a loan before stepping in.

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