The Clock House is an amazing pub located right on Peckham Rye Common. It's a traditional inn, with polished wood and brass, many great bitters from Young's of Wandsworth, gorgeous stained glass windows, plenty of clocks and timepieces - obviously - and there's even a tiny cinema, where you can watch new releases in a friendly, 'front parlour' atmosphere. The menu is extensive with tapas and some great pub favourites: steak & ale pie, North Atlantic crab cakes, linguini with clams. The batter is made with best bitter and - joy of joys - there's home-made gravy! There's a 'snug' room at the back and outdoor seating on benches overlooking the leafy common. A real find.
Charlie Chaplin learned to tap dance on the wooden board covering the shoot down to the cellar outside his uncle’s cavernous yet cosy Jolly Gardeners public house.
Chaplin’s dad used to tinkle the ivories at the 120-year-old inn and scenes from the film ‘Snatch’ were shot on location here
Situated in the historic Black Prince Road, London’s first German gastro-pub has 16 great German beers gushing from gorgeous ceramic draught taps and 32 bottled brews. There are lots of 'weiss' (white) wheat beers and I sampled a version called 'Hell'....which was heavenly.
The kitchen serves up lots of sausages, schnitzels and Bavarian specialities. Two big screens show the German Bundesliga and we watched a medley of Wimbledon matches and live performances direct from Glastonbury. I won’t even mention what a great atmosphere there was during the football World Cup…!
Zeitgeist @The Jolly Gardeners
49-51 Black Prince Road, London SE11
+44(0)207 840 0426
Google map: bit.ly/j19D2I
Our tour operator stopped in Liverpool and took us to this gem of supping-hole. A historic venue located on the docks of the city, it is perfect venue on a hot summer's day when you can sit outside and enjoy a drink.
The Colonnades, Liverpool, Merseyside L3 4AD
+44(0)151 709 2367
Google map: bit.ly/kagCON
This pub is the epicentre of Otley's quaint and distinct culture. Expect to find locally produced real ales, folk music and a quiet, busy atmosphere.
44 Bondgate, Otley, West Yorkshire LS21 1AD
+44(0)1943 463 233
Google map: bit.ly/mo8g0j
The Castle Hotel is a charismatic and very welcoming pub in the heart of Manchester city centre. It specialises in real ale and quality ciders and also has some fantastic bar food on offer.
When stranded in the strange 1960s limbo of the double roundabouts at Elephant & Castle, the only place to seek suitable solace is the Rockingham Arms. It's so in keeping with the whole Elephant ambience, it should be on every visitor's list as an essential London experience.
It's a Wetherspoons pub, which keeps up the theme, and also this means that the prices are very, very competitive. I tried two ciders for the first time; a South African Savannah Dry and a Healey's Cornish Rattler; both were delicious, heady tipples, and neither broke the bank. A huge range of beers from Turkey, Poland, Germany, Czech Republic, Belgium, as well as all the usual brews, completes the line up. There's food too. The clientele range from elderly gents nodding off over a pint of mild, students, Milwall fans, groups of girls in hot pants, Polish builders; in fact everyone is welcome and everyone seems to be having a jolly good time.
119 Newington Causeway, London SE1 6BN
+44(0)20 7940 0890
Nearest tube: Elephant & Castle, bus 12, 171
Google map: bit.ly/jmipKv
I couldn't work out why this bar, pizzeria and cafe in Streatham would call itself 'The Waterfront' when, apart from the unseasonal June showers, there were no other drops of water in sight. The friendly lady behind the bar explained that a tavern had stood on this site for centuries and it was the last stop before the sea, on the old road to Brighton.
Horses were tethered and watered on Streatham Common, just across the road, and coaches pulled up to allow thirsty drivers and coachmen to wet their whistles before the drive to the coast.
Nowadays, The Waterfront is a large, cavernous, yet friendly bar space and they serve excellent Italian inspired dishes: bruschetta, great pizzas and classy salads. There's a good choice of beers, plus icy cider; something almost like a slushy, but with bite. Organic ice cream and home-made desserts can be enjoyed in the garden, on the decking.
You cannot visit the Distillery District without having a beer, and the Mill Street Brew Pub, which is located in the original Gooderham and Worts tankhouse, is the place to go for one or two. This open-concept brewery produces handcrafted beers and ale, offers extensive pub-style food, as well as tours and sampling. My favourites include the Original Organic Lager (with 100% certified organic ingredients) and the Coffee Porter, which is similar to a stout with notes of coffee.
We stumbled into this bar/restaurant on the Schwarzenbergplatz completely by accident - it was the first place we'd seen and we were starving - but we felt that we'd got very lucky! The traditional Austrian food (schnitzel, goulash, lots of different sausages) is very tasty and reasonably priced, and the beer is truly excellent. Plus the staff were friendly and remembered our orders when we came back. Which we did several times in our short visit to Vienna.
Schwarzenbergplatz 3, 1010 Vienna, Austria
Google map: bit.ly/k7JndA
This is a wonderful pub very near to the middle of the town. The emphasis is on the beer, which was fantastic. The interior is simple but elegant.
On the somewhat worrying occasion of my 50th birthday, following a family party, I retired with my wife for a few days to the county of my birth: the much-maligned Essex. Maldon was our first stop, the wind sweeping up the sword of Byrhtnoth as he tried too late to repel the Vikings of 991. Then a difficult choice of real ales at the beer festival in The Jolly Sailor. Further excursions to Constable country, where we snuck into Suffolk, and the modern but vernacular development at Wivenhoe showed the riverine and estuarine (is that a word?) nature of the county.
To cap it all, we avoided the Royal Wedding by driving down to Mersea Island and were rewarded with our first ever sight of an avocet, a bird far more worthy of our plumage fascination than she at the Abbey.
Another ‘artsy’ bar come restaurant, it’s been around for ages. Great relaxed atmosphere and has a very creative vibe - I always end up decorating the paper table cloths with ad-hoc doodling. The back of the bar serves as an excellent little eatery, although I found the quality very hit or miss. The bar itself serves mediocre pub grub but come here for a drink and catch a flavour of Vesterbro.
Café Hackenbush, Vesterbrogade 124 1620, Denmark
+45 33 21 74 74
Google map: bit.ly/kkoASD
Is the only bar I found in KBH with a competitive pool table, winner stays on and you can wait hours for a game, the turn is indicated by hanging a key on a clock face. There are two pool tables in the back that can be hired if you want to play a bit more sedately. Packed on most nights and a bit of a cattle market during the weekend. Open very late. (Can be too busy to get on the good pool table and the service slows if you arrive in the wee hours!)
Sundevedsgade 2, 1751 Copenhagen
+45 33 23 77 20
Google map: bit.ly/mipT0c
As it's name suggests a place to drink beer (lit. 'beer bar')
Was my favourite bar for a while, well I had a friend working there who really knew his beer and the education was very intoxicating! Truly the samples of 10% beers do go to the head. A great, cosy bar, great music and huge selection of beers from all over the world as well as many introductions to some of the more alternative Danish beers. The staff know their stuff and are always willing to help. Don’t follow the hype and go to Norrebro’s Bryghus, come here and have a much nicer time.
This is a great example of a proper pub, sitiuated on London Road in Leicester (directly opposite Victoria Park). It's an Everards house so the beer is their own range (Tiger, Beacon, Original, Sunchaser and seasonal varieties) but they do have one guest ale.
Warm and cosy in winter, with a varied clientele, it is in summer that the place comes in to its own. It has a lovely, enormous and enclosed garden at the back, with plenty of tables and grass to sit on.
On a recent visit, a new children's play area had been installed, and also a petanque court too.
It really is a lovely place to sit in the sunshine enjoying a beer.
The best Irish Bar in Barcelona that I've found, genuinely has a great pint of Guinness and is Irish owned and run.
Very central, not pretentious nor full of gaggling tourists, plenty of ex-pat locals on a given night. Recommended for a nice quiet pint or to start a weekend evening.
The Phoenix is a great pub for a quiet drink, a hangover breakfast at weekends or a full-blown meal. The pub is so named because it rose from the ashes of the fire which gutted Denmark Hill railway station. I particularly like the gigantic Potters & Sons clock which dangles from the high beamed ceiling and the chunky leather sofas you can sink into and snooze. The pub quiz on Tuesday evenings is a good laugh, even better if you win the pot.
The Wein und Biershänke in Worms is a definite must-eat restaurant in this region of Germany. Famous for its Flammkuchen and Neuwein, the Shänke has been satisfying the hunger of both locals and tourists since 1982. I have been fortunate enough to visit the Shänke many times with family, friends and work colleagues. The friendly atmosphere inside is great for any type of gathering; flea-market decor, wooden beams and evening specials scrawled in the most unusual of places instantly ease you into a relaxing state, while you hungrily anticipate your evening meal.
It may be similar to the humble pizza, but flammkuchen is the more unusual of the two, having a quark base instead of tomato. Flammkuchen directly translates to 'flame cake', which represents the way it is still cooked in the Shänke. If you are fortunate enough to sit at the table opposite the delivery hatch, you will be able to sneak a peak at the flammkuchen being taken in and out of the wood fired oven.
Flammkuchen is basically a huge rectangular slice of deliciousness, traditionally topped with bacon and onion. My personal favourite vegetarian choice is halb-sieben-halb-acht. For those of you who don't know the menu off by heart yet, this flammkuchen is half topped with feta and jalapeños, with the other half covered in mushrooms, onions, sweetcorn and kidney beans. Delicious. The best way to eat a flammkuchen? I'd say folded in half and eaten straight from the board, but one of my friends likes to roll hers and another likes to pick off the toppings first. However you like to eat it, with 37 different toppings to choose from the only problem is choosing your favourite.
If this doesn't sound like your thing then the Shänke also serves regular pizza, pasta, cheese and a selection of meats. If you are brave and very hungry then order the spare ribs; cooked on a long skewer and then hung from the ceiling, they are certainly a centerpiece. To top it all off, there is an extensive cocktail list with everything from Frosch (a green cocktail resembling its namesake - a frog) to the non-alcoholic KiBa (half cherry-half banana). KiBa is very popular with the locals and it is also my favourite accompaniment to Flammkuchen, except for in September and October, when Neuwein is in season.
On my first visit to the Wein und Biershänke I sampled Neuwein and boy, it was good. Neuwein is a sweet tasting wine and as it contains yeast, the fermentation process is ongoing and the alcohol content cannot be determined. At most the wine contains around 10% alcohol, so although it tastes and looks like fruit juice, don't drink it like so!
All in all the Wein und Biershänke is a great place to eat; the staff are friendly, the food is fantastic and did I mention the price? A flammkuchen is only 8.40 € and unless you are feeling extremely hungry, it is best to share one between two. Also don't forget to ask for 'ein Packung' to take any leftovers home, they make a great lunch the next day.
It is advisable to reserve a table or arrive early as the Shänke fills up quick! (Who knows why...)
This brewpub/ bierstub serves food from 11am to half past midnight. Alsatian standards such as Bibeleskase (potatoes sauted with bacon, served with soft cheese), choucroute and Flammekueche, in massive portions and at very reasonable prices, to be washed down with one of the four house beers (the standard northern French quartet of blonde, ambree, brune and blanche). WARNING! Do not on any account order two choucroutes AND a starter unless you (a) are really hungry and (b) have at least five hours to eat it in. Au Brasseur is always busy in the evening, particularly Friday and Saturday when there's free music downstairs. In a rainy, overcast Strasbourg this became our regular place to warm up and relax.
22 Rue des Veaux, 67000 Strasbourg, France
+33(0)3 88 36 12 13
Google map: bit.ly/eh9YXc
Brauerei Schuhmacher is a brewery beer hall selling its own Alt beer.
It's in an unassuming street away from the tourist hot spots, but less than ten minutes walk from the main train station.
The number of locals drinking and eating there testifies to the quality of both the beer and the food. While the food will win no awards for sophistication, it's hearty, tasty and served in big portions.
In short, it's a traditional beer hall (in this location since 1871), minus the tourists and at a very reasonable price.
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