Sunday, 5 July 2020

Favourite places to drink (part three)

In 1979 I spent a few months living in a squat in the East End of London.

We knew some people already living in the area and they pointed out a boarded up terraced house. After ripping off the boards we had ourselves a house. And it was free.

I think it was one of these houses
Admittedly, it wasn't perfect. There was a reason the house was unoccupied: the roof leaked. In several places. Just as well we moved in during the summer, when it was dry.

Best was that we had one bedroom as a rehearsal room. A drum kit and a couple of amps. How many happy hours we spent jamming away. Matt on drums, me on bass, Tym or Piers on guitar.

There were quite a few pubs in the area. One we drank in quite a bit was a Truman's pub on Devons Road, the Tenterden. It had a slightly odd, but old interior. Truman had been keg only for years, but had released a cask beer, Tap Bitter, a couple of years earlier. The Tenterden stocked it, but I wasn't mad keen.

Looking at the OG, I'm guessing that it was a cask version of their Keg Bitter. Both were around 1039º. I found mixing it with a bottle of Guinness produced something more to my taste. Guinness at the time, being bottle-conditioned, was a cracking drink. But a bit too pricey to drink straight.

There was only one Good Beer Guide listed pub in the area, The Little Driver on Bow Road. A Bass Charrington house, which sold Draught Bass. At the time still brewed in unions. I used to wander down there from time to time with Simon, who I knew from both school and university.

I realise now blending was a bit of a theme for me back then. Because I didn't drink the Bass straight. I'd mix it with a bottle of White Shield. Just to add some extra oomph.  The Bass was a perfectly acceptable drink straight.

Me and Matt worked in an arms factory close to Old Street tube. I can't imagine there's any manufacturing industry left around there now. We'd sometimes drop by the George & Vulture at lunchtime. A traditional Fullers pub. Where I first grew to love London Pride.

I didn't linger long in the East. As the summer came to a close and the rains arrived, the house became uninhabitable. And I moved back to Leeds.

The Little Driver
125 Bow Rd, Bow,
London E3 2AN.

The George & Vulture
63 Pitfield St,
London N1 6BU.


Mike Austin said...

I drank a lot of Tap in the Bell And Crown in Canterbury in the early 80's and loved it. The landlord, Charlie Passey said that he sold so much that fellow Trumans licensees mocked him as "Mr Tap."
Perhaps if they had looked after it as well as he did............

Do you remember the range that replaced it? A mild that tasted of cough mixture,a strong ale that was all but unobtainable and two bitters like watered Tap. Surprisingly, I don't recall them selling much!

Catherine M said...

I can't believe it....I lived at 168 Swaton Rd in summer 1978, and it was 'Condemned'...
It had a beautiful atmosphere, despite being very run down.
I loved the wooden shutters in the downstairs front room. and the house was filled with old shabby furniture.

We left to work on a Hop Farm, and eventually I bought my own house {Not in London}.
I still have a piece wood from that house.

It was sold this July for £700,000.

A lovely community.

Catherine M