Question on Pub

Discussion in 'Multinational HQ' started by Trip_Wire, Oct 21, 2006.

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  1. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP

    On a recent visit to London, we took a one day bus tour from our ship moored in Dover to London.

    We visited most of the major tourist sights around London to include the change of the guards at Buckingham Palace, etc. It was on a Sunday, so traffic was light and we were able to see and get around pretty well.

    My question is about the 'Pub" visit for lunch, we had scheduled by the tour company.

    The Pub was the Freemasons Arms. The food that was served was fish & chips. One was also offered a choice of larger, bitters or soft drink with lunch. Coffee or tea after lunch.

    The fish & chips was't very good, at least I didn't like the batter, as I thought it wasn't to tasty and to thick. The white fish, was good though.

    I chose the Bitters for my beer. I was really disappointed in my choice of beer it was flat and had no body to it. It was like colored dishwater.

    I was wondering what the reputation of this particular Pub was like with locals? Is the beer named bitters, normally like that? Did we get a tourist rip off?

    I discovered Hall's Ale later on in the UK, NI and on the ship and liked it.
  2. where is The Freemasons Arms? Do you remember the name of the street?
  3. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP

    Sorry, no I don't! :?
  4. My guess is that you were at the Freemason's Arms on Long Acre, in Covent Garden - the only other one I know of in London is up by Hampstead Heath, which is a little out of the way for a day trip.

    The beer you refer to is generally known as 'bitter', not 'bitters', and, given that the Freemason's is a Shepherd Neame pub, should have been fairly good - they're the brewery that produce Spitfire and Bishop's Finger, among other real ales. TW, this may make more sense to you - they're the only brewery to produce Samuel Adams under licence in the UK.

    The thing is, bitter/real ale is cask conditioned. That means that when it arrives at the pub, it's not yet ready for drinking, unlike lagers or so-called 'smooth flow bitters' (like John Smiths and Boddingtons). The effect of this is that it is possible to get a bad pint of bitter - it might come from the very end of the barrel, it might have been tapped up badly, poured badly, served through dirty lines or simply be from a dodgy barrel.

    The pay off from this is that when it's got right (most of the time), you end up with a quality pint, with a lot more flavour than most non-cask-conditioned beers.

    What you say about flatness sets off a warning flag in my head - bitter is meant to be flat, it's not like a lager. Body varies from bitter to bitter, but a pint certainly shouldn't taste like 'coloured dishwater.' If it does, then tell the barman -- any barman worth his salt should smell/taste it, and if it's off, pour you another one/an alternative, for free. I work in a pub, and I certainly would - we pride ourselves on the quality of our real ales.

    I can't comment on the fish and chips - all I'd say is that you're better getting them from a chippy (a proper takeaway fish and chip shop) or a genuine fish restaurant (Platters in Plymouth still holds my affection) than a pub, where, yes, the fish and chips is designed for the tourist market.

    If you're ever in England again, I recommend looking out for real ales like Spitfire, Abbot, Pedigree, Tanglefoot, Deuchars' IPA, Theakston's Old Peculier (caveat emptor!), or simply asking the barman what bitter he recommends. Certainly, the standard "pub experience" shouldn't be as bad as it sounds yours was.

    edit: Review of the Freemason's Arms.
  5. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP

    Thank you for your reply!

    The place you attached in the website was that place that we stopped at. The ship that we were on held 2600+ people and I suspect 80 % took the London Pun tour.

    We may have overwhelmed the Pub. I wish I could have a better chance to test 'bitter' against what you have said about it. I do like Guinness, and did have a nice pint in NI! It of course, was VERY Good!

    I notice that you didn't say anything about Halls Ale a bottled beer that I tried on the ship mostly. I thought it was pretty good, for a bottled ale. There wasn't a great selection of beer on the ship.

    I also suspect, you are right about the fish & chips too. I have had great Pub lunches, on previous trips to the UK. I tend to like the 'Plowmans lunch.

    What do you think of this particular PUB? I think they were overwhelmed, by the sheer number of people arriving at one time and thier service was below their normal standards. They also no doubt were aware, that we wouldn't be coming back in most cases. :wink:
  6. I think you're probably right. Certainly, in the place I work at, if we get 40 people in and eating, we're pretty much overwhelmed - the numbers you're talking about are far larger... So the staff would have been more concerned with getting food and drinks out as fast as possible, rather than with the quality.

    I've only been to the Freemason's a couple of times, but both times it's seemed perfectly alright - nothing too extraordinary (unless you're a football history buff), but certainly not below par.

    As for Hall's Ale, I can't say I've ever come across it. However, there are some very good ales that only come in bottles now on the market - Innis & Gunn is excellent, as are Phoenix and Firefly.

    And if you usually eat the ploughman's lunch, then what does he have? :wink:
  7. Trip,

    I honestly thought your original post was a wah.

    I know of the Freemason's Arms in Hampstead (I went to school not ten minutes walk from it). It was known then as a gay hangout and is only about ten mins walk from a famous cruising area (Hampstead Heath, where George Michael was caught by photographers).

    I honestly thought you were trying to bait Crabtastic. Obviously as a member of the Air Farce he could have been expected to regale us with stories of many a drunken night in the Freemason's, sorry he didn't have the fish, more of a pork sausage man. Never mind.

    As for decent fish and chips - wrong part of the country for that really. You need to head about 150 miles North before it gets good.
  8. I fcuking resent that. You're only a poof if you push back or look around, and you know it. Clearly you were traumatised by many years of dipping your hand into their pockets to get sweeties.

    I don't know where you get the idea that there are a high proportion of quegs in Her Majesty's RAF. If there were, don't you think we'd dress better and our messes wouldn't have the charm of a Swindon Travelodge?
  9. Tripwire:

    It's Bitter not "Bitters".

    Its Lager not "larger".

    Its Ploughmans not "Plowmans".

    So where did you visit in Belfast then??
  10. He's not sure- he just followed the tour guides in bowler hats, orange sashes and holding up umbrellas on a delightful walking tour of the city.
  11. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP

    Thanks for the spell check Bossdog, I get careless with spelling, on the computer sometimes, too busy typing what I'm thinking. ;)

    Again, we only had a day in NI and Belfast. We stopped at the town of Balley Castle for coffee & scones at the Marine Hotel. on our way out to the Causeway. We took a bus tour of the city, after a long bus trip through the countryside, out to the 'Giants Causeway.'

    I had a nice pint of Guiness, at the Causeway hotel. We had lunch, in a place 10 minutes down the road from the Causeway. (Royal Court hotel.) It was served family style on platters and was pretty good. It started with a cold fruit salad, sliced Beef, Yorkshire pudding, Gravy, carrots and peas. Choice of beer (Bitter or Lager) and of course coffee, tea and a dessert. I took the lager this time. :wink:

    I understand that the food at the Causeway hotel, is good; however, I'm sure that the number of people in all our buses, on this tour (All from our ship.) would have overwhelmed the hotel's facilities.

    We passed fairly close to the Bushmills Distillery; however, we didn't get to visit it nor get a taste! :(

    Our tour guides, were well informed and did a great job! I didn't see any Bowler hats or Orange sashes, but then, we didn't take a walking tour of Belfast either. As I recall, a walking tour of the town of Londonerry, was offered, some friends took that tour and enjoyed it.

    The Plowmans lunch, I didn't have one on this trip; however, as I recall from previous trips, they were mostly sort of a hot pie type dish with beef/lamb potatoes and veggies. I always thought they were very good for a lunch.
  12. I am sorry to hear that you were tied up in Dover; it's an awful, awful place.
  13. That's not the ploughman's you normally get. Normally it's all cold - cheese, crusty bread, pickle, pickled onion and an apple.

    Or have I been lied to?
  14. Schaden

    Schaden LE Book Reviewer

    Next time you come and visit mention the fact here and you'll probably be fighting off invitations.
  15. I always thought Wetherspoons pub chains to be very good for their drinks and food, I always enjoy going into one,their standards are generally high and reasonably priced, they are also very good for converting Old Crown Courts, Cinemas and any old notable building into a Pub and give it a new lease of life.

    Of course i do like other Pubs as well, In my last trip to USA and Canada, just got back this week, I have seen British style pubs in USA and i have to admit that it is not done quite as well the UK own, the Canadian Pubs however do resemble British Pubs best, I have seen good examples in Ottawa and in Victoria, having said that Canada developed differently from USA so different Drinking traditions had developed.