Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Monopoly Pub Crawl

Yesterday was our Monopoly pub crawl, where our goal was to travel around London to visit pubs, and have a drink, on all the streets (26 in all) on the original Monopoly board in one day. A challenge indeed and had the potential to get very very messy.

We started by meeting up out front of the Elephant and Castle tube station at 10am, after hopefully all having stomach lining sustaining breakfasts (well we did). From there 7 of us - Mark, me, Ahmad, Anais, Laura, Victoria, and Dallas - proceeded to head to the only pub South of the river; The George on Old Kent Road. We decided that adding fun to the day would be to try and keep ahead of another group that we saw also doing the same crawl.

It certainly was weird being in a pub at 11 o'clock in the morning, as pubs that hour always have a weird smell. It was like a stale smokey damp smell, mixed with the smell of vacuum cleaner dust, and that coupled with the medicinal tasting vodka with fluorescent green lime juice, already had me feeling slightly nauseous. Fortunately it was a bright sunny day, so we didn't have to worry about being stuck inside the pubs too much.

Nevertheless, there was no time to dwell, we only had 10 minutes there before we were back on the bus to head back across the river, over Tower Bridge to our next stop The Fen in Fenchurch Street station, which is quite tucked away. A bit of excitement here, where we saw a taxi that had just run into the revolving doors of an office building, which would have been much more messier had it been a weekday. We also picked up bonus points here as we picked up our first, and only, random person - Chris - an American, from Cleveland Ohio, who was attempting to do the crawl on his own.

From here we wandered around to The Aldgate Exchange on Whitechapel, then to Hamilton Hall in Liverpool street station (our first Wetherspoons pub, so our first round of apple sour shots). We then grabbed a bus on up to Angel Islington to the Agricultural pub - just off Chapel street. On the way up we saw the filming of, we think possibly, our favourite show Skins and we also nearly picked up another random person. We stayed there a bit longer than the other pubs, so the guys could watch Arsenal play, but time was getting the better of us so it was time to get moving.

We were meant to head down Pentonville road, but Ahmad - who lives up that way - lead us on a bit of a tour of the Islington area (code for he got us slightly lost), before we wound our way back there. I dragged us into a pub, that turned out to be a strip club, ooops. We still had a drink and a desperate loo stop, before moving on to the Duke of York in Kings cross station. By then it was 2pm, and we were all still feeling pretty good with 7 drinks down, though, we were still a long way from the end.

Continuing up, we went to the Rocket on Euston road, before taking the tube up and across town to Baker street, then walking to Marylebone station; where we had a drink and a game of pool in the Victoria and Albert. Andrew met up with us here and it was also here that we realised we were still doing well and were ahead of about 4 of the 5 other Monopoly pub crawl groups (yes, lots of people do this and it was now much more of a challenge to keep ahead).

Next stop was to the posh end of town where down near Green Park, we went to the Rose and Crown on Old Park Lane (also the home of Nobu, the posh Asian restaurant favoured by many celebs who come to London), before wandering the quaint quiet streets to The Grapes on Mayfair. Moving right along we continued back to Piccadilly, across past the Ritz and down to The Blue posts, again meeting up with a couple of other groups. The next and nicest pub was The Golden Lion, just off Pall Mall. It's usually apparently closed, but lucky for us it was open. Next stop, we were back into the hustle and bustle that is Trafalgar, down to Whitehall for the pub called The Lord Moon of the Mall - probably the one with the weirdest name for sure.

On to Northumberland Avenue, was The Sherlock Holmes, a very busy pub and super popular with the tourists - given its name and location. By now we were all getting hungry and pub number 16 was up along on Fleet street. So there was a mad dash for the McDonalds next to Charing Cross station. It was there that we were joined by Mari and Barns, who came with us when we visited London's oldest pub (built originally in 1606 - rebuilt in 1667) the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese.

It was very quaint off a tiny lane way complete with lots of small dark wood beamed rooms, and very low ceilings. I heard a few ouches....and lots of head holding from mishaps with low doorways. We only stayed there briefly as we were still behind schedule and 17 drinks, were making us a bit oversensitive - one of our group and another patron, clashed quite badly too. (Fortunately that was the only incident of the day)

So we were off and continued on to The Wellington on The Strand, it must have been getting on past 7.30pm as it had started to get dark. I had moved onto drinking only water, and could feel a hangover kicking in (though better then than the next day!). No matter, we had all made a commitment and were taking this to the very end.

So next stop was Bow Street for the Marquess of Anglesey, followed closely by The Chandos, just off Trafalgar square and next to the London Coliseum (I had been there before too). By now London was bustling with busy Saturday evening trade and this was not made any better by our next pub having a queue and being smack bang in the middle of Leicester Square. No matter we just went to a different pub, so the busy The Moon under Water was replaced by the All Bar One.

The Comedy was the next bar, where melon shooters were on the cards, which is on Coventry Street. We headed on to Regent street for The Captains cabin, pub number 22, where we caught up with another group. At this point our group being at 9 people, was at maximum and getting much more tired (Chris's friend, Hannah, had come along too by that point). I wouldn't recommend a group bigger than 10-12, as I am sure we nearly lost a few people along the way.

Still we trooped on........where we headed to The Red Lion just off Vine street. At this point things are getting hazier, and I do remember napping briefly against a wall!! Don't forget we walked to most of these places, so despite risking liver damage, we were at least doing exercise and tiring ourselves out in the meanwhile.

The next pub, number 24, had us wind our way up through Carnaby street, to the O'Neils, just up from Liberty on Malborough Street. Amost there, only 2 more to go! Another walk around behind Hanover square had us at a pub off Bond street called The Duke of York, which was tiny and had a fancy wrought iron spiral staircase right in the middle. Mary joined us by this time, so we were now 10. Though Amhad and Anais, did a runner at this point...

Woo hoo, only one more, which at Laura's request - don't ask, it was a goth pub - we headed to the pub off Oxford Circus called Ben Crouch's tavern. After being told drinks were no longer being served, it was around 11 or 11:30pm by then, so not entirely suprising, Mary managed to get some though by joining onto someone elses order. It was, however, time to go for me.

It had been a super long day and I was looking forward to taking to my bed and sleeping off any hangover that I may have got (no hangover, but I did sleep in for ages). The others kept going, talk about Energiser bunnies; with Chris, Hannah, Mary, Laura and a couple more of her friends going into Soho for Chinese. Dallas, Mark and I, however all let the day end there. And you know, we were still home before midnight! Piccies to come (our digital is in the shop).

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