The Marquis of Gransby, Cambridge Circus

29 10 2010

The Marquis of Granby

142 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8HJ

The Marquis of Granby is probably the pick of the pubs at Cambridge Circus, unfortunately that isn’t saying a great deal!

The pub itself is well situated and has a fairly large main bar with a smaller room upstairs that is occasionally open when the pub is busy and boy does this place get busy, particularly on match days.

The decor is a bit tired and shabby looking which is a shame considering the last refit was as recent as 2008! The posters and programs from various operas and plays over the years add a bit of interest though.

The staff are competent and the service is prompt enough, I have found the landlord to be a tad unfriendly though; one particular story that was relayed to me involved a non-regular asking for the television to be turned up so he could hear the game and the landlord turning the volume from 0-100 whilst staring the guy down the whole time.

In relation to the football the Marquis seems to focus on showing Celtic matches and appeasing the cockney red brigade, funny as I thought we were in London not Manchester!

There is usually a decent selection of beers on offer and last time I was in here I had a very good pint of Ringwood Old Thumper and a not so stellar pint of Cornish Coaster – which was no fault of the pub I just don’t find much to enjoy about it!

The prices can be a little prohibitive if you were planning on having a bit of a session, a short walk can see you paying £2.50-£3.00 a pint as opposed to the £3.50-£4.00 that you will pay in the Marquis.

I find the Marquis of Granby to be fine if I am bowling along through Soho and need to wet my whistle but for me it would be a stop along the way, not a destination.





The Coppermill – Walthamstow E17

1 10 2010

Address: 205, Coppermill Lane, London, E17 7HF

Tel: 08721 077 077

Stuck away at the bottom of Coppermill Lane by Walthamstow Marshes The Coppermill is a local pub in a way that very few pubs in London seem to be anymore.

Most of the people you will find drinking in here are locals  and the pub caters to their wants and needs; you won’t find Thai food rushing out of a kitchen or theme nights or a 2nd rate celebrity chef  on site but you will find a quiet pleasant pub which serves good beer that is well kept. A far cry by the standard of pubs in Walthamstow.

Whilst it is a little off the beaten track it is still close enough to the tube and overhead train stations to make it easy enough for a visitor to find (less than half a mile from Blackhorse road and St James street stations and about .8 of a mile from Walthamstow Central)

The pub is a  little on the small side and if you don’t manage to get a seat it can feel a little cramped; there is one single bar with seating around the outside of the room and there is now seating outside which is really nice on a summer’s evening.

The decor of the pub is a little overdone and if you didn’t realise from the get go that it’s a local pub you certainly will when you see that there are caricatures of regulars all over the place and that some people seem to have assigned seating…. All that aside I have never felt unwelcome in the Coppermill and the atmosphere is very pleasant; I also have it on good authority that they are more welcoming to gays and lesbians then most of the other pubs in the local area.

There is no really food offering here but that isn’t what this place is about,  if you are hungry mid-session there are the usual crisps and peanuts on offer along with some bar snacks more to my liking; pickled eggs, jellied eels and sometimes even some rollmops (pickled herrings rolled up with onion and gerkin) delicious!

When it comes to drinks all the usual culprits are available along with 4 handpumps, normally they have Greene King IPA, Fullers ESB and London Pride on the ramp and all are very well kept.  The 4th pump is for guest beers which rotate fairly frequently.

Most recently when I was in the Coppermill they had Thwaites Wainwright on as the guest beer which was no hardship, I have also had very good pints of Bombadier and Ringwoods Old Thumper out of there as well.

If you are looking for a nice day out I can think of a lot worse things to do then take a walk or cycle through to the marshes or the River Lea and popping into the Coppermill on the way.





Save our pubs!

29 04 2010

The pub has been a familiar part of the landscape of Britain for generations, whether it is a country pub in a rural village or a town centre establishment standing proudly on a corner. In recent years this landscape has been changing and not for the better. In 2006 the rate of pub closures stood at just 2 pubs per week, this is still over 100 pubs a year that were closing their doors but this figure pales into obscurity compared to the most recent results from 2009. As of 2009 there were 52 pubs shutting each week thats a massive 2,377 pubs that are closing in just one year, accounting for approximately 24,000 jobs. This is a simply staggering number and even if the trend were to be reversed we would never see the same number of pubs re-open. To give my own personal example of the sheer scale of pub closures across the country, I have to walk the best part of a mile to get to my nearest pub; this isn’t a case of being picky or choosing to visit this particular spot, it is simply the closest pub to where I live. Now you could be forgiven for thinking that maybe I live in some idyllic rural village and this is simply due to being in a remote location. Unfortunately you couldn’t be more wrong; I am talking about East London and on my way to the pub (The Coppermill) I have to pass 6 pubs that have closed in recent years. It isn’t so long ago that each of these pubs were thriving establishments, now one of them is being turned into flats and the others are just empty, slowly decaying away. During this same period of time the number of branded pubs and cafe-style bars have increased at a rate of 2 per week, it was also found that pubs that had a strong food offering were less likely to face closure. This is all very well and good but not every pub in the country can suddenly transform itself over night into a trendy gastro pub or city centre bar, it is jut not possible. So what has caused this huge upturn in the number of pubs that are calling last orders for the final time? Well there are a number of issues that are affecting Britain’s pubs today. The recession has caused a large downturn in the number of people that are visiting pubs and it is also affecting the average spend of drinkers, regardless of where the pub might be. The smoking ban has also driven people away from pubs, particularly when coupled with the ridiculously low prices and bargains that the large supermarket chains are offering on alcohol, why would you stand outside in the rain to smoke when you could drink cheaper beer at home and smoke inside if you so wished. The ever increasingly tax on beer has also played a part with the increases every year since 2000, bringing us to a point where the tax on a pint of beer costing an average price of £2.70 is now 70 pence. The bottom line is that pubs are closing and will continue to close unless something is done about it. So what is there that you can do to try to stop pub closures? CAMRA are running and supporting a number of campaigns targeted at slowing and reversing the trend of pub closure, you can sign up to support one such campaign “Back the Pub” here. You can also lobby your local MP to see what they are doing in relation to this, if you need contact details for your local MP you can find them here you simply need to enter your post code in order to get the details you need. But the easiest and most rewarding thing to do is visit your local pub, there is no better support then taking a stroll to the pub and enjoying a pint. I’m not saying not to pick up a bargain at the shops or enjoy a drink at home but remember your local as well, you’ll miss it when it is gone.








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