Friday, 25 February 2011

Spot the (crusty) dog

I had the sort of evening last night that only a Pret Egg and Tomato baguette and a Starbucks Mocha can cure the next day. Too many glasses of non descript white wine.

It began with an impromptu swifty after work at The Ship on Wardour Street. I have only been in there once before since it always used to be jam packed with cycle couriers. Not that I have anything against cycle couriers apart from the fact they are way too thin and they think traffic light signals don't apply to them . But these days the don't bung up The Ship which means its more accessible for tubbies like me to squeeze in. Its a fairly standard boozer, nothing fancy, the music can be a bit too loud for my sensitive old ears but they do have a good sized outside area roped off. Not only is this a bonus if you like the odd growler with your booze, but also it is a rather good place to stand and potentially spot famous people who sometimes stay at the Soho Hotel next door. Last night for example we saw Dave Grohl walking past. My drinking partner swore it was the lead singer from the red Hot Chilli Peppers, but it was definitely Gave Grohl. I'd recognise those teeth anywhere. I would rate The Ship 6 pork scratchings out of 10 if you need a quick drink and are in the area.

After that, I hot footed it in a black taxi (a rare treat these days) over to Clapton...Shudder... I have not been to Clapton for a few years since its an utter grot hole which has terrible memories for me. My ex boyfriend and I used to live there and one sunny Sunday our neighbours attacked us and beat my ex boyfriend up. It is because of this that I try to avoid the place wherever possible. However, The Wig and I were meeting some friends and they suggested Biddle Brothers. On the Lower Clapton Road . . . .gulp . . .

I was, however, pleasantly surprised when I arrived, but on reflection this may have had more to do with the fact I could escape the taxi rather than the fact that I had arrived at my destination. Soho to Clapton takes about 35 minutes in rush hour traffic which was ample time for the Taxi driver to tell me his life story and give me his views on the world. ("I was born in Greenwich and I'll die in Greenwich I'm never gonna f******g leave that place", "I've had 'em all in here, Boris Johnson, Ken Livingstone, and they're all f******g idiots", "If I see a woman standing on a street corner by a wall, I'll never give her a lift, they'll be 3 blokes waiting behind that wall to jump out and  f******g rob me", "Never get a mini cab, they're all drug dealers with no f******g insurance" etc etc).

Biddle Brothers is a pub in an old builders merchants which still retains the sign and exterior of the old business, rather like Dream Bags in Shoreditch and Parrots and Pelicans in Dalston. I can't decide if this is quite a cool thing or quite a tight / lazy thing. Anyway, the pub itself is very strange and was definitely worth a visit if you are in the area, even though it is in Clapton.. There was a Scottie dog sitting outside the door on arrival which was slightly crusty to the touch but his sweet disposition made up for that. There is also a painting of the dog on the wall of the pub, he's obvioulsy a bit of a crusty legend. My friend tried to covince me that it was a Banksey but I think this might have been a joke / lie.  Then inside the pub, sitting on a plastic ring by the bar, was a parrot. Yes, that's right. A parrot. These 2 specimens alone more than made up for the revolting slippery (?!) unisex toilets and the somewhat limited wine options.  "Yeh, we have wine. Do you want the red one or the white one".  Also, at about 9pm a little jazz band arrived and played live music. Jazz isn't really my thing but they were very good and I didn't get beaten up so all in all I would say it was a pretty successful evening. I would rate Biddle Brothers 6 crusty dogs out of 10, a good place to go if you are local but I probably wouldn't suggest a trip to E5 especially.

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