Saturday, June 30, 2012

#290. The Holyrood 9A, 9A Holyrood, Edinburgh

The pub is named after its address. The selection of beers is extensive, but it was dark and the taps are behind the bartender (the new hip way of doing it... coming soon to a bar near you), so I couldn't clearly make out what was on order. The bartender gave me his favourite, a Black Isle Porter. Can't argue with that, can we?

I can't believe I haven't been to a new pub in 10 days. I guess I was giving my liver a break after what has been a busy May and June. I have caught up quite a bit, now only 75 from my goal with 65 days remaining.

Yes, that is a man (likely the groom in an upcoming wedding) dressed like Super Mario. The stag and hen party is something that Meghan wants to take back to Victoria with us.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

#289. Old Coffee House, 49 Beak St, London


A sunny afternoon in Soho!

This is not me.

Local microbrewery Brodie's makes a full roster of beers in East London. I drank a Bethnel Green bitter. A great ale for my reentry to Britain.


And to top it off, the Royal Ascot was on the telly nearest me, while the old Hall & Oates music video for Maneater was on the other.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

#288. Brasserie Strijdershuis, Hallestraat 14, Bruges

Not exactly where this pub is located, but near here.

This bar was right next door to our hotel. I drank a Keyte Blond of high fermentation. 7.5% abv, and very delicious. I think these guys brew it, but I'm not sure.



The menu featured titbits. Also very delicious.


#287. CathEdraak, Eiermarkt 13, Bruges


A pub named after Meghan's step-mom, the Cathy Drake was packed with ex-pat Brits watching England beat Ukraine.


 Meghan ordered me a dark local beer. What I got was a Tongerlo from the Haacht Brewery


#286. Cafe Rose Red, Cordoeaniersstraat 16, Bruges


It says cafe in the name, and it was the highest rated Bruges restaurant on TripAdvisor, but it is strictly a bar. And a good one, with a dizzying selection of Belgian specialty beers on the menu. I drank a Dupont Redor Pils while we worked on our tans in the back patio.



Monday, June 18, 2012

#285. Bar Des Ami, Eiermarkt 19, Bruges

575Down the road from Don Quichotte, we stopped in for another Zot and a glass of red wine.

There was a guy sitting next to us at the bar, by himself, drinking a glass of sangria. I encouraged Meghan to say hi and ask him what his story was, but she was too shy.


#284. Don Quichotte, Eiermarkt 14, Bruges


I hate to turn into one of those ugly North Americans who goes to Europe and complains about the price of things... but €13 for two drinks!? (Never has the interrobang been more appropriately used to end a sentence.) Here I am doing a double-take when the bartender tells me what I owe him for the pint of Zot Bruge Ale and a pint of Strongbow...


We were warned that places right on the town square were expensive, but hey, this pub is half a block removed, and along a charming road full of nothing but bars and restaurants. The patios were full, and the options were plentiful. Good times.


Midge Ure was there, too. Or was that Dave Kelsey?

#283. Bhavani, Simon Stevenplein 5, Bruges

Holy crap we're in Belgium! Beer, chocolate, waffles, and french fries abound.


What isn't plentiful is good coffee and vegetarian food options. Dinner here was probably the most we've ever (and will ever) spend on dinner at an Indian restaurant. Don't get me wrong... it was very good food, and the service was excellent.


But the beer was bizarre. Oude Geuze - from the Belgian Boon brewery - tasted a bit like grapefruit and turpentine. Translated from the Dutch, the name means Old Beggar. With an alcohol content of 7%, Oude Geuze Boon is a blend of 90% mild 18 month-old lambic, 5% strong 3 year-old beer, and 5% very young lambic.

Bruges is beautiful. Untouched by motorization (i.e., there are no traffic lights, and very few roads are open to vehicle traffic), the city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


I think Meghan took more pictures of this city than all the other northern European cities combined that we visited on this latest trip to the continent. I'll spare you an onslaught, but here are a few to give you a sense of the magic that is Bruges...

Note the low height of the doors.


Yet another Venice of the North.
Note the absence of visible power lines.

#282. Papa Joe's Biersalon, Alter Markt 50, Köln

What a trip this place is! I drank Gaffel Kölsch while the lunch time crowd sang along with the animatronic oom-pah band (top right). The "pneuphoniker" was operated like a jukebox, and could play tons of tunes including Sexbomb and We Are the Champions. Its catalogue included a large selection of Köln karnevalslieder (?), waltzes, and polkas.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

#281. Dom im Stapelhaus, Frankenwerft 35, Köln

We are now in Cologne, or as they say in Germany, Köln. The parts of it that survived the bombing raids in WW II are quite pretty.


Most importantly, their cathedral survived. (Possibly because the allied bombers used its twin spires as navigation aids, so they didn't want to destroy it.) It is amazingly tall. At one point in the 1880s it was the tallest building in the world.


Anyway, here we are in this brewpub.


Germany is playing football against Denmark today. The entire town is ghostly quiet except for the tense play-by-play eminating from the patio bars as seemingly the entire populous has gathered to drink kölsch (what the locals call beer) and cheer on their beloved motherland's soccer team.

Here is my beer and the system used by the servers (tick marks on your coaster) to keep track of how many of the 200 ml glasses of Domkölsch I have consumed.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

#280. Frank und Freight, Schanzenstrasse 93, Hamburg

Kitty-corner to Oma's Apotheke, this pub looked very promising from the outside, but somehow didn't quite measure up to its neighbour. It was still pretty good, and I enjoyed my beer: a Krombacher Dunkel. Meghan was onto her third very full glass of red wine in a row.

#279. Bierstube, Große Freiheit 23, Hamburg

Große Freiheit (German for Big Freedom) is a crazy street off Beatles-Platz in the Reeperbahn. The Beatles played regularly at a couple of venues on this road back in the day.



After several Originals, this time I got to enjoy a Duckstein Weizen.


#278. David-Quelle, Davidstraße 23, Hamburg


Time for another Duckstein Original.

There was something about this pub... despite its location right in the middle of the Reeperbahn, it seemed warm and friendly and full of a tight-knit community of folks who have lived their lives within a free kick of its doorstep. I quite loved it, as we ducked inside to catch the rest of the football. Outside a parade of gorgeous German girls paced under transparent umbrellas and layers of makeup.

Me watching Euro 2012 football.

#277. Murphy's Irish Pub, Friedrichstraße 24, Hamburg

Don't fear the Reeperbahn! I didn't know that Hamburg had such a huge and fun red light district. That part of The Beatles history in Hamburg was glossed over when I was a child. Not that John Lennon's bullet-proof reputation as a counter-culture icon would be hurt by any suggestion that he enjoyed all the Reeperbahn has to offer. In fact, the types that adore the complicated man would probably love him even more...?

Shrug... Another city, another Irish pub. I drank a Murphy's Irish Stout while Meghan enjoyed a Magners. I think we keep getting sucked into these places whilst on the continent because it is often difficult to find cider on tap. That and many of the bars in this area of the city were a tad intimidating....


Such as this one!

#276. Oma's Apotheke, Schanzenstrasse 87, Hamburg

We are back in Germany, trying out some other cities that don't claim to be as world-class as Berlin.

We are staying in a very stylish yet inexpensive hotel in an extremely hip neighbourhood in the northern part of the St. Pauli area of Hamburg. The Guardian newspaper named St. Pauli one of the five best places in the world to live. I couldn't find any reason to disagree.

Oma's features a great location right on a corner, and an awesome softwood bar set on old desk drawers. I ordered a Duckstein Weizen, but had to settle for a Duckstein Original. A nice beer. A great pub in a very interesting neighbourhood.

Highly recommended.

Friday, June 15, 2012

#275. The Viking House, Vimmelskaftet 49, Copenhagen

I guess it was inevitable that we would visit a viking-themed pub in Scandinavia. This one featured a freshly-minted beer garden in the back, and '80s music from the UK/US on the stereo. I drank a Carls Special from Carlsberg, while Meghan drank a Somersby cider, both on tap.