Tuesday, 12 January 2016

There's a London pub actually called London Pub.

It's near Russell Square in a small area which seems to have been left as a historical relic of grey 1960's architecture. There's plenty of hotels here which must specialise in disappointed tourists with poor research skills, easily swayed by the phrase 'central London'.  And what's one of the things everyone tells you to do when visiting London? Go to a 'London pub' of course.

Well here it is. London Pub. Having received a tip off about this place, my assumption was that it's clientele must be foreigners who've misunderstood that piece of advice and thought that it referred to a specific place. The sign above the door encouraged that line of thinking. There's a badly drawn picture featuring Big Ben, a beefeater, a London bus and somewhat unimaginatively the word 'Waterloo'. Walking in, I was surprised to find actual real life Londoners. There they were dropping h's, wearing council work clothes, drinking at 3pm... the real deal!

Here's my overall impression of this pub - it looks as if it is ran by the state. Everything about it creates the impression that it is a functional drinking house funded by a Communist regime's 'Ministry of Pubs'. I felt as if I had walked into HMRC or Birmingham Central Library. Here, for example is the wifi password...

That is the sort of bureaucratic kerfuffle you'd usual only expect to come across when trying to pay a council tax bill.

The beer selection wasn't bad but I suppose, when you've got an entire government department of civil servants working on it that's to be expected. The layout of the place was in keeping with the 1960s buildings in the area. Green banquets, cheap wood paneling, a red carpet of the kind Jennifer Lawrence is never likely to set foot on. 

On the TVs was darts and below one of those was what I decided was a Dutch couple. Going to a 'London pub' had clearly been on their itinerary and this was it. They shared a plate of fish and chips and didn't say a word to each other in the entire half an hour I was there. I assumed they were contemplating their bad choices in where to have their pub trip, where to eat Britain's most famous delicacy and, judging by the silence, who to go on holiday with.

You'll notice from the wifi picture that 'London Pub' is connected to the Royal National Hotel - another suspiciously functional looking name. I wonder how long this place will last. I'm sure the hotel provides a fair amount of ill informed custom but it's a pretty big building in an expensively central location. Surely the fact it hasn't yet been turned into a Wetherspoons is an oversight soon to be corrected.

Would I prefer that? No. Wetherspoons are everywhere. This is something so odd, so unique, that it deserves to stay as an example of what a pub ran by Ken Livingstone would look like.

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