The Ship Tavern: a Gin Den in Central

An old-school pub with a fabulous gin selection? This place has got it covered….

ship tavern

 

Step outside Holborn Station, and head towards the Wetherspoons, that reliable, cheap, generic chain where you can pretty much guarantee to get a drink that won’t break the bank. Aim for this vaguely satisfactory but not hugely awe-inspiring establishment, and then just before you get there, step off the beaten track. Take a left down an admittedly dodgy looking alley and you will find a beacon of Real Pubbiness staring at you in the face: The Ship Tavern.

On a weekday past 5pm, there are crowds of savvy city workers who know of this hidden gem hanging around outside The Ship, but don’t let that put you off from venturing inside. In fact, see it as a sign of The Ship’s success as a Proper Pub. This is a cosy place to have a decent pint or a civilised glass of wine; an unpretentious inn which has not submitted to the Gourmet Gastro-Pub overhaul that many seem to go for these days (although, admittedly, the food on the next table looked pretty decent). What is particularly special about this place, though, is their crazy selection of gins. This is not the sort of place where you can simply ask for a G+T. If you do, be prepared to answer to a barrage of interrogations – which gin, which tonic, and which additions to your beverage – you’d like, and make you wish you’d gone to the bar with more of a rounded gin-based knowledge. Of course, you could just go for the gin of the day, which so far has not disappointed.

It is much more exciting, however, if you peruse the gin list and choose from the large selection of different gins with various additions, to see what takes your fancy (from experience, though, this may take a while). I opted for the ‘Brockmans’ which was served with sliced strawberries, blueberries and blackberries – a wise choice if I do say so myself .(I would have taken a picture of the impressive drink, but it is a testament to how good it was that I was distracted in the drinking of said drink rather than joining in on the ‘fashionable’ trend these days of instagramming/snapchatting anything that passes ones lips).

Whether best served with orange peel, grapefruit wedges, fresh berries or various herbs, these people know what goes best with each gin, and advise this on the list (and then go ahead and adorn your drink). Served in gorgeous wide glasses, these are, I reckon, some of the best gin and tonics on offer in the city. If you want to bag a table in the office rush, however, I’d keep this gem a secret.

http://www.theshiptavern.co.uk/

 

 

 

5p Charge Not Your Bag? When Plastic isn’t so Fantastic…

Sainsburys

Time to bag it up people….

Monday 5th October will forever be held in our memories as Doomsday. That tragic, unforgettable Autumnal day, our week began with a hard-hitting realisation that was almost incomprehensible. This was, I think you’ll agree, comparable to 1 Direction splitting up, or Bruce Forsyth leaving Strictly. Monday 5th October will now be remembered as ‘That Day People Made Us Pay A Whole 5p For A Darn Carrier Bag’.

Despite the inevitable onslaught of anger from a lot of the population, I’m personally pretty chuffed that England have decided to introduce this charge. We are, it seems, finally taking heed from Wales and Ireland, who have been charging for plastic bags for a good few years now. The money we pay for a bag will go to charity, so not only will we be saving the planet, but we will be supporting a worthy cause. And let’s face it, there isn’t much room left under the sink for any more plastic bags anyway.

What this means, dear cash-strapped readers, is that the stash of bags you currently have, that you were probably thinking of simply chucking away, is worth a small fortune. In years to come, ‘Cash in the Attic’ will discover this collection and no doubt your fortune will be made. Hold out for this moment.

In a big city, such as London, huge superstores are few and far between. The reality of your shopping is likely to be ‘picking up some milk from the Tesco Express on your way home’ but in fact turns in to ‘buying a hell of a lot more’. And inevitably forgetting the milk. We city-dwellers are more prone to spontaneously popping into a shop, rather than driving to an out of town supermarket where a car-boot comes in handy. Since our shopping habits are usually off-the-cuff, we’ll be unlikely to have a bag when we need one. Which will mean a lot of 5ps going to charity.

Solution 1: online shopping (avoiding the pain or trying to fit a whole bottle of wine and a loaf of bread in your handbag). Solution 2: keep a reusable bag inside your bag (I realise this sounds like a Russian doll endeavour). Solution 3: Buy the darn bag.

At the end of the day, as much as we try to bring an environmentally friendly receptacle in which to place our organic goods , the morning rush may prevent this. In such a case, kindly give the 5p to the charitable cause, buy the bag, and try to flippin’ remember to bring one next time. (From experience, it is unadvisable to try and squish all of your shopping into one bag just to avoid buying another. The bag will end up breaking, your shopping will be ruined, and spending another 5p would have been majorly worth it.)

The Cross Keys, Covent Garden – A Proper Pub

cross keys

This man, this white-shirted individual making his way into The Cross Keys, has the right idea. He’s after a pint in a Proper Pub, and that’s what he is bloomin’ well going to get… Follow his lead, people.

When I stumbled across it on one of my walks through the awesomeness that is Covent Garden, its clear to see why ‘The Secret Garden’ came to mind when I saw  The Cross Keys. The flowers and plants on the pub front immediately caught my eye – in the city centre, a bit of greenery is always welcome – and the fact that it is slightly withdrawn from the crazy tourist part of Covent Garden, made me want to try out this boozer.

If you’re after a pub that’s a little off the beaten track, and usually a fair bit quieter than the ones on the main drag or right by the market, The Cross Keys is indeed a winner. The inside feels a little like a fairy glen: eclectic objects hang from the ceiling and fairy lights are draped throughout. The drinks on offer are pretty varied and at a reasonable price, especially for this part of London (expect two drinks to set you back around £8). This is a real find (not to blow my own trumpet) and I would put this little gem on your ‘To Do Booze’ list asap.

The Cross Keys, 31 Endell Street, London WC2H 9BA, http://www.crosskeyscoventgarden.com/