In honor of the British Beer Festival in London last week, I am going to treat you all to a run-down of the greatest Pub Crawl, otherwise know as Ale Trail around here, of all time. Besides the Monopoly one. Note to self: add this to bucket list.
It’s time to retrace the footsteps of the epic end of term Ale Trail that left me singing Mariah Carey at a karaoke bar at 1 am. In case there was ever any doubt: this is never, I repeat, never a good idea under any circumstances. But the Ale Trail itself? Great idea.
First stop: The Banker, EC4R 3TE.
This is a great post-work-pint pub on the banks of the Thames River with views from London Bridge to Southwark (pronounced Suth-ark) Bridge. There’s a patio and balcony outside, and the inside is industrial in its design- old brick railway arches and exposed steel – but warmed up with comfy brown leather sofas and worn wood tables.
Beverage of choice: it’s a part of the Fuller’s chain and therefore nothing too inventive is on offer, so you might as well have a Fuller’s ESB Ale to get it out of the way.
Segundo stop: Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, EC4A 2BU.
“Ye Olde” is right; the pub has been operating since the 17th century and there was another pub operating at the same location since the mid-16th century. And trust me there is enough dark old wood and low ceilings to make you believe it. The pub itself is a maze of connecting rooms, corridors and staircases but the bar in the front room with its booth is the coziest. Bonus: Polly the Parrot, who used to live in the pub about a hundred years ago, still occupies her perch. Stuffed, of course.
Beverage of choice: Cider. Definitely cider.
Troisième stop: The Seven Stars, WC2A 2JB.
Yet another extremely old pub founded at the turn of the 17th century, this might be my favorite of the route. It’s right behind the Court of Justice and is so tiny that when there are more than 10 people there people spill out on the sidewalk and across the street to line the side of the court building. They take the court theme seriously with lots of wigs and other court memorabilia inside. There’s also a black cat (a real live one) that roams around behind the bar. Awful service. I don’t mind being pushy when it comes to ordering so it generally doesn’t bother me :).
Beverage of choice: if you’re outside and it’s sunny, try a Pimms! If inside, grab an Adnams Bitter.
Fin: The Jerusalem Tavern, EC1M 5UQ.
Just kidding, this one’s my favorite! The pub is owned by St. Peter’s Brewery, and while the atmosphere is fairly standard, the range of beer they have here is incredible. There are always 4 or 5 types of St. Peter’s cask ales available which rotate depending on the season. I tried a Grapefruit-flavored beer which was amazing. They even offer a Gluten-free beer!
Beverage of choice: Ruby Red Ale in the summer, Christmas Ale in the winter.
Just be sure to NOT go to the karaoke bar down the street when you leave…
In case you would like to recreate this journey for yourself here’s the map:
This journey has been brought to you through the superior planning skills of KM. No, not you KM, a different KM.
Do any readers out there have any must-visit pubs in London that I should go find?