Sunday, 2 June 2013

The Hospital Arms, Crouch Street, Colchester

Crouch Street in Colchester is a nice little road on the edge of the high street which leads out to the area of Lexden. Lexden is apparently the swanky part of town, it has some massive beautiful houses and some very good schools. We don't live in Lexden. However, we can still go there if we want to which we did, to visit The Hospital Arms pub for lunch.

The Hospital Arms is a really old pub situated opposite the old Hospital. Apparently, the staff at the hospital, who spent a lot of time there, used to refer to the pub as 'Ward 9' so as not to worry the patients that they were going to the pub. Brilliant.

It's quite an unassuming place and although smart on the outside, it doesn't look like much and you could easily pass it without noticing it was really there. However, it really is a great little place and even better if you are an Ale fan as its an Adnams Brewery owned pub.

We've obviously been a bit spoilt for pubs having moved from London, however I have to keep reminding myself that it was only in the last 3 years or so that East London really has blossomed. So for the other 13 years that I lived there it was rather a baron wasteland as far as pubs/restaurants/coffee shops were concerned. When I first moved there black cab drivers wouldn't take me home from Soho. It was too dangerous they said and they would only drop me round the corner from my flat. Now its one of the most desirable places to live in London. 

Anyway, I am more than happy to go to this pub again and one good local pub is way better than none!  The staff were really friendly, the other customers were really friendly and the Poughman's was delicious. (Top marks too for having a high chair which was an added bonus). They also have an extensive menu board at lunchtimes (between 12pm - 2pm, then the kitchen closes) and they only take cash, no cards. One could find this a slight irritation but I thought this added to it's charm. It's like stepping back in time. 

Traditional decor

Ales Menu board

Display of old pub games

Beach huts in the garden

Delicious Shandy

My favorite pub food of all time. Cheese and pickle

So, if you are in the area, its definitely worth a visit. And while you are there you could always have a sniff along Crouch Street and check out, among other's,  Frank Wright + Son  (traditional butcher), Guntons (Colchesters oldest Fine Food shop), Simply Living (fancy homewares and fashion). As well as . . . 

Whitnells Grocer, Crouch Street

Tea and Sympathy is an interesting place which sells vintage clothing, cards, gifts and also tea and cake. The lady that runs it also organises a monthly book club and film nights, and they also hold craft workshops and beauty treatments in the rooms above the shops. Good for her I say. I bought the baby his first Levis jacket from here for ten quid. As a child I always wanted a Levis denim jacket or even some Levis jeans but alas it never happened. There's nothing like having a baby for projecting your childhood dreams onto. He'll probably hate it and look like a tiny bald Shakin' Steven's.

The other shop of note in this area is a tiny Antique shop on the corner of Crouch Street and Rawstorn Road which doesn't appear to have a name. It seems to be open at quite funny times too but great if you can get inside. It's not cheap but the owner does have some lovely things. Even though since we have moved I have been trying to cut down on purchases and actually, selling a lot of things on eBay, I couldn't resist this deed box. Not only is it good storage but it's from Wilkin + Sons Ltd,  The Tiptree Jam people.  

So a bit of local history right there people.

Anyway, I'm off, got to get ready to go to a Medieval Festival in the Park. I'm not joking.

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