Friday, 13 November 2015

The worst pub in Britain.

Yesterday I discovered a strong candidate for Britain's worst pub. My friend suggested that we went on an afternoon walk from High Barnet to Cockfosters. The mention of a pub at the end, and a quick look at my diary telling me that I have nothing booked in between now and roughly the end of time, were enough for me to leap at the chance.

High Barnet and Cockfosters - those mythical places at the end of tube lines. In the history of the tube no one and I mean no one has ever been to Mill Hill East. Don't tell me you have because you're a fucking liar. Cockfosters, particularly, sticks in the mind because the first time anyone ever comes to London they think they're the only person to have noticed the funny name. In every single carriage, of every single piccadilly line train leaving Heathrow is an American visiter saying 'Cock-fosters?!'

Near Cockfosters station is the appropriately named pub The Cock Inn. As you know, I've been on the hunt for shit, characterful boozers. This place is the opposite of that. If a team on the Apprentice was tasked with making a pub - this is what they'd come up with. If ever a pub was waiting to be moved to Runcorn services and attached to a Travelodge then it's The Cock Inn.

From the outside it doesn't look too appalling. With a big traditional pub facade I was just expecting some of the usual gastrofied bullshit - you know - candles in wine bottles, high chairs, Jenga. What I got was far far worse. Despite it being 3.30pm (like I said, nothing in the diary) every table was set for dinner. The stone floors give you the impression that you're in an upmarket bathroom showroom. Something about the armchairs make you feel like you're waiting for your girlfriend to finish shopping. On the stereo were acoustic covers of Craig David songs. I like my pubs to have an air of menace. On a table nearby were the only other customers, a family - mum, dad, two schoolboys in uniform and four orange juices.

Beside the gents was a glass trophy cabinet containing only, and this along with everything else I'm reporting is true, champagne bottles. What kind of cunt do you have to be to put champagne bottles in a trophy cabinet? A little later two guys came in. Everything about them suggested that they had just clocked off early from Bairstow Eves to celebrate selling a glorified filing cabinet for £600,000. In fact, I predict that this place is fully booked in December for estate agencies Christmas meals. It was time to leave.

The next pub, the Jolly Anglers in Wood Green, was far far closer to what I was looking for. For an angler to be jolly in Wood Green, they'd need a decent pub and this, ostensibly, is one. For a start it looks like the sort of place in which no one has ever used the word ostensibly. It has all of my requirements - pool table (two in fact), dart board, juke box, quiz machine, Sky Sports on the TV.

We played pool. Beside us, on the other table, were three men of about thirty in work clothes. And when I say work clothes I don't mean suits. I mean dusty, paint splattered work clothes. We're talking about working class, salt of the earth, almost definitely would have bullied me at school - blokes. When discussing whether 'two shots carry' or not one of them used the phrase 'prison rules'.

At one stage a woman came over and tried to sell them boxes of stolen Next underwear. Why didn't she ask me and my mate? Is it that we looked like we were respectable members of society who would never touch stolen goods or was it that we looked like our dicks were just far too big for what she had?

All in all - a pretty good pub I think. There was something not quite right but it was certainly the best of the four I've been to since I started my quest. I wasn't too keen on the generic chalk boards which had obviously not been hand written on, but produced in a factory somewhere. Also, too much soft leather to make it the spit and sawdust place I'm after. If I had my way the only leather in pubs would be on the jackets of the regulars. The hunt goes on!

No comments:

Post a Comment