Monday, April 30, 2012

#201. Voodoo Rooms, 19A West Register, Edinburgh

When in Edinburgh, this place is where vampires hang out.

While the pub has a slightly immortal vibe to it, the beer selection is unfortunately minimal. I settled for a John Smiths Extra Smooth, which I've settled for so many times before that I am not even going to bother with a link to their website.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

#200. Bonapartes, Temple Meads Station, Bristol

The weather was absolutely miserable, so we decided to ditch any attempt at sightseeing. Here we are waiting for our cab in the neighbourhood of my Carey ancestors on Gloucester Road.


Poor Bristol... timing or bad weather continues to conspire against our spending any real time in this city. We always seem to be here for a second while transferring trains on our way to other places. It is therefore fitting that my 200th establishment would be based in Bristol Temple Meads train station, in a surprisingly decent pub!


In the Supertramp song Rudy, off Crime of the Century (or as it is simply known back home in Canada, The Greatest Album of the 1970s), you hear a station announcement for a train that calls on Bristol Temple Meads (you can hear it at the 3:32 mark in the link to the video above). Well, here it is... the one part of Bristol that didn't have the shit bombed out of it during WW II.


That is me enjoying a half-pint of Butcombe Rare Breed, part of a balanced breakfast.


Butcombe... could that really be pronounced butt-comb?

#199. Wellington Hotel, Gloucester Rd, Bristol

We stayed overnight in a beautifully refurbished room at this pub on Gloucester Road in the Bristol suburb of Horfield, about 500 metres from where my great-grandpa Carey was born. Here was the view from our window.


This pub proudly featured Bath Ales on tap, probably because the brewery also owns the establishment. I unfortunately didn't sample any, but I can tell you that the veggie breakfast is pretty good and they make a decent cup of coffee.

Friday, April 27, 2012

#198. The Globe, 77-78 Middle St, Brighton

The Globe is yet another charming Brighton pub in the Lanes that doesn't seem to care about closing time.


That is me with a Harvey's Sussex Ale, 3.9% abv.

#197. Bath Arms, Meeting House Ln, Brighton

DSCN1107I asked the bartender to pour me a pint of the best cask ale on tap, and he chose the brand new Whistable Bay from Shepherd Neame of Kent.

Ace was getting shots bought for him by a trio of dudes.

Then I asked for the second best cask ale on tap, and received a Bishops Finger, also by Shepherd Neame. Kind of a cheeky name that one, eh? However, according to their website, "[it] takes its quirky name from finger-shaped Kentish wayside signposts which pointed pilgrims the way to St Thomas à Becket’s shrine in Canterbury Cathedral before it was destroyed on the orders of Henry VIII in 1538."

#196. The Bohemia, 54 Meeting House Lane, Brighton

The Bohemia - a grand cafe and late lounge - is what a £400,000 refurbishment buys you. Based on the size of the crowd, who were throwing fliff like a sultan, it should take about six months for the owners to recoup their investment.

Unfortunately the beer selection is crap, with no ales on tap whatsoever. Not even a freakin' Guinness for chrissakes. BUT, they did have table-top Pacman!


I settled for a Pilsner Urquell, which always makes me think of Urkel.

Not really my cup of tea, but The Bohemia is nonetheless quite the accomplishment. Well done!

#195. William IV, 24 Church St, Brighton

William The Fourth, Brighton

After a hard day of shopping on the trendy streets of Brighton, it was a pleasure to sit and enjoy a pint of Pullman First Class Ale from Hepworth and watch a little Indian cricket league on the telly. A great location, but a forgettable pub.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

#194. The Fishbowl, 74 East St, Brighton

On our way back to the hotel, we wandered through the famous Lanes of Brighton. After we got to our room, we didn't feel like going to bed yet (still amped from the of Montreal show, I guess... or perhaps we didn't feel like listening to our neighbours through the paper thin walls). So we asked Mr. Google to find us a nearby pub open until 3AM. There were several, actually, owing to the fact that Brighton is the white trash playground of England. The one we tried to go to had a lineup out the door, but fortunately it was right next door to this charming little number.

I drank a Laines Best Ale, which I can't seem to find anything about online. Can anyone help me out here with a link to a brewery?

This is what it looked like in the upstairs where we sat. Downstairs there were two turntables, a DJ, and some fish bowls.

A couple sitting opposite us were on a British romantic date; i.e., get piss-drunk at a pub with your mates, and snog passionately with whomever is available.

#193. Cricketers, 15 Black Lion St, Brighton


This pub was great. The slightly red tinge to everything led Meghan to remark that it felt like being in a brothel. Why she would know that, I'm not sure. 

Intently surveying the selection.
I drank a Sussex Old Ale from Harvey's, who appear to be a popular brewery in these parts. With good reason -- they make excellent beverages.

#192. Concorde2, Madeira Drive, Brighton


Right on the beach in Brighton, Concorde2 is one of the best small live-music venues I have ever seen, perhaps rivaled only by the HMV Picture House in Edinburgh. The sound system and drink selection is better here, and the bar is kept in a separate near sound-proof room with a closed-circuit TV to keep an eye on the stage while queueing for another pint of Guinness. However, I never left the floor, as Kevin Barnes, frontman for of Montreal, held court in easily one of my all-time favourite concert experiences.




There was a strict 11:00pm curfew in effect. Of Montreal took the stage at exactly 9:30, and were done 90 minutes later, after which the bar was closed, the lights were off, and everyone was politely herded out the front door. Meghan did manage to straggle long enough to meet and get a t-shirt signed by opening act Kishi Bashi, who is a very capable Owen Pallett (Final Fantasy) tribute band.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

#191. Sports Bar, Teviot House, Edinburgh

It was the end of semester for the LL.M. students! Meghan handed in her last essay at 4:00pm, had a quick nap, then it was off to the Teviot House to meet Tobi and Santosh at the Sports Bar.


The bar was packed with testosterone and teeth-gnashing as Barcelona was busy losing to Chelsea in the semi-final of the Champions League. I drank a John Smiths Extra Smooth and Meghan had a cider of some sort as we moved to the hallway where it was less crowded.


After finishing our drinks, we moved on to the Library Bar, where I drank two 500 ml bottles of Stewart's Cauld Reekie, then wondered why I was drunk. We enjoyed a great celebration with some of Meghan's classmates, finally ending up at the Brass Monkey, another of my favourites.

Monday, April 23, 2012

#190. Basement Bar, 12A Broughton St, Edinburgh

The bartenders wear Hawaiian shirts, for some reason. Denial? Not sure, because while this location has a great vibe and is well decorated, it is very much subterranean. It's like what our flat would be like if it was a pub.

The taps were attractive, but the choice was limited. I drank a Belhaven Best.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

#189. Meadow Bar, 42-44 Buccleuch St, Edinburgh

I am tagging this one as a favourite largely because of the excellent selection of indie music being played, including Bon Iver, Ben Folds, and Sufjan Stevens.
And the beer selection was good! I had a Theakston XB. The story behind this excellent cask ale is given on their website:
XB was first brewed in 1982 to celebrate the purchase of the Carlisle Brewery by Theakstons a few years before. ...Its name came not from some clever marketing expert but rather based on the more prosaic features of the Masham brewery. In the days when the only way to distinguish the contents from one cask to the next was by use of one of only two wooden stamps dipped in white wash and applied to each cask, the only letters available were either an X or a B. We could have called in BX but we preferred XB!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

#188. Elm Bar, 7-8 Elm Row, Edinburgh

Tobi and I tried to visit this place on my first Leith Row pub crawl, but on that cold evening in December the Elm Bar had run out of beer. This time around, with Sean in tow, I had more luck.
This pub is very cool. The flooring is a beautiful aged hardwood, and the bar is set in the middle of the room. It is cozy yet spacious. I enjoyed a couple of pints of Belhaven Best with Sean, who also bought me a dram of Wild Turkey 101-proof bourbon to cap off the evening. Our conversation was interrupted by (coincidentally) one of Meghan's drunken colleagues from law school, who wanted to know if we had any proof that Hitler annexed the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia under the pretense of protecting German nationals from persecution by the Czech majority. My only proof was that I think I once read that in the Sartre novel The Reprieve.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

#187. Ryries, 1 Haymarket, Edinburgh

The area around this quaint building is temporarily torn up due to construction of the infamous Edinburgh Trams. People sure love to bitch about the inconvenience of change, but are quick to forget about it once they enjoy the results. The real estate in this area will probably double in value once the trams are up and running, and the residents of Edinburgh will brag to everyone about how fantastic their city is because they have street cars that ferry people from the airport to downtown. But for now, to listen to the locals you'd think the fucking sky was falling and dirty socialist hordes were marching through their private park space. And that's just the opinion of the taxi drivers!

This was a funny pub. It was deathly silent, save for Meghan and I ruminating on the ... I can't actually remember what we were talking about. In order to make this post more interesting, I am using some photo editing software to enhance the images I recorded with my cellphone. Where's my billion dollars, Facebook?

Beerwise, this pub had four cask ale taps, but only two were functioning. One was Deuchars, of course, and the other was Landlord from Timothy Taylor, which I drank. The Landlord appears here and there, and their website claims that it "...has won more awards nationally than any other beer: This includes four times as Champion at the Brewers' International Exhibition and four times as CAMRA’s beer of the year."

#186. Roseburn Bar, 1 Roseburn Terrace, Edinburgh

More exploring on foot! Roseburn is a suburb of Edinburgh, to the west of the city, beyond Haymarket and close to the Murrayfield area (and Murrayfield stadium).

I am loving that Meghan is tagging along these days. Here she is pretending to drink my half-pint of Belhaven Best. She loved the ceiling in this pub and we discussed how our sun room back at Carrick could benefit from a similar treatment.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

#185. Stags Head, 2-4 Broughton Rd, Edinburgh

Today started out with a trip to Curry's Digital for some more ink and paper. I ended up buying the Wii Fit bundle! Along the way, we stopped for coffee. I think Meghan looks lovely here, despite the mouth full of hot coffee.

Then we went for an exploratory walk through the trail network along the Water of Leith. After yesterday's Dean Village surprise, we were hoping to find some more hidden gems of our city. We intended to explore Warriston, but ended up walking the trails along the river almost all the way to Leith before turning back. I stopped in at this pub while Meghan carried on home to resume her school work.

Besides missing an apostrophe in its name, this pub is missing some local cask ales on tap. I settled for a Younger's Tartan Special from Caledonian, which is not a bad Scottish ale.

That is a Tennents in the photo, of course -- not a Tartan Special. Chelsea and Tottenham were playing FA Cup footy on the telly.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

#184. Au Bar, 101 Shandwick Pl, Edinburgh

After a nice walk exploring the Dean Village in Edinburgh's west end (see above), we made our way to Au Bar for a drink and some onion rings.

This place was quite charming, but I could do without the table service -- particularly given the lack of a beer list in the menu. I asked for a local cask ale, and our server recommended the 3 Threads, a bitter from Knops. It was pretty good, but a little too hoppy for my liking.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

#183. Ghillie Dhu, 2 Rutland Pl, Edinburgh

Where has this gem been hiding?

Linus bought me a beer.

We drank their local Ghillie Ale, made for them by the Inveralmond Brewery. A great beer by comparison to the IPA we endured at Ryan's for the sake of a t-shirt (the prize if you buy at least 16 IPAs during the month of April).

In keeping with their medieval theme, check out the urinals.

#182. Ryan's Bar, 2-4 Hope St, Edinburgh

We have been meaning to go to Ryan's for quite a while now. It has an excellent location in the West End, and a great looking patio. I was told recently that quite some time ago a server was accidentally killed when a brick fell off the top floor of the building and landed on her head. I really hope that is an urban myth, but let's see what the google machine says. Oh crap... it's true.

April is the 30 days of IPA, and Ryan's is participating, so we ordered one of each of these ales:

Linus had the much stronger than usual Deuchar's Imperial IPA on the left, while I had a Barney's Ordinary Pale Ale -- which isn't even an IPA -- on the right.