Archive for the ‘bars and pubs’ Category

Selfridges Wonder Bar

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

A recent Sunday lunch in London lead to a worrying discovery.  My favourite haunt for a wine aperitif, 1707 Wine Bar in Fortnum and Mason basement, no longer opens on Sunday.

Forced into trying somewhere new, the Ritz doormen, just along Piccadilly took exception to my smart jeans (yet they tolerate Michael Winner).  The Wolseley had welcomed us the day before (and warned me not to darken their door again in a rush).  And picking on someone nearer my own age, Madonna’s ex-local didn’t appeal.  I wanted wine.

In a frustrated fit of anxiety (that I would have to go to lunch without a wine warm-up) I remembered Selfridges, a mere 10 minute stroll up Park Lane.


Wensleydale Heifer, West Witton, North Yorkshire

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Marketing null points! The sign makes it look like a Hungry Hippo All-U-Can-Eat Sunday lunch with foam balls and cheap beer. But step inside and nothing could be further from the truth. Fine seafood, fine wine list, fine (but relaxed) service and with just enough quirkiness and kitsch to make you smile.

Cows gone fishing....for some reason


Beer prices in Paris

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

Bearing in mind that Sterling and the Euro are pretty much at parity (when taking into account tourist rates and bank “commission”) this bar bill left a lump in the throat rather than a hump on the back.

Quasi hell!  What a bill!

Messrs Maguire, Dublin

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

I’ve spent a number of happy occasions rinsing my bladder in perfectly poured Guinness in this imposing public house overlooking O’Connell Bridge.  The architecture both inside and out is stunning and the location and views of bustling Dublin are unparalleled, yet I have always thought it quite an ordinary pub grub place as far as food is concerned.

When I saw that Michael Winner had raved about Messrs Maguire in a Sunday Times review I thought I would revisit and try the food again.  It was still ordinary.  But for me, eating is not the point of this place.

Don't mess with the Maguires...unless you want to eat and drink, of course.


Robin Hood Inn, Baslow

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

On a day when fell runners are being rescued from floods in Cumbria, we decided it was an opportune moment to head south into the Peak District, where the weather was balmy by comparison.  An extra hour in bed for the end of British Summer Time?  No chance – just got up an hour earlier to make sure we finished a 6 mile scramble in time for a pub lunch.

We passed the Robin Hood, half way round the walk up and down various gritstone edges, and, although not quite as notorious as the fellow it is named after, it looked homely.  At the end of the walk we drove round for a pie and a pint.



Born again Binary Bar – bigger, badder, better bogs

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

In February of this year, I slagged off Binary as a stealth bar and it looks like I wasn’t the only one left unimpressed as customers stayed away in droves.

In the summer, during peak drinking season, the owners had the balls to shut it down for serious refurbishment and it re-launched recently.  I wanted to go back for another look, so I popped in to watch England refurbish the Kazakhstan football team, eventually wallpapering them by five goals to one.


Cornerhouse Grill, Dublin

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

When dining out, one well known restaurant critic makes a point of asking how the tips are distributed, always leaving cash, and encourages readers to do the same.  So I dutifully asked the MO of one waiter at the Cornerhouse Grill and was stunned by his response.

Cornerhouse - on a corner for some reason


Saints and Scholars, Didsbury

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

Another epic walk out of Manchester and we decided to see what had happened to beloved Maine Road on the way to Didsbury for lunch at Saints and Scholars.

Saints and Scholars, Didsbury


The Northern Quarter, Manchester

Friday, June 20th, 2008

I met Rob McIntosh in Manchester, the night before the UEFA Cup Final (Rangers lost 2-0).  Piccadilly Gardens was packed and all the pubs were overflowing with friendly but very pissed Glaswegians.  Fortunately, the Scots had not found the Northern Quarter, an eclectic mix of trendy, funky, bohemian bars, clubs, clothes shops and arty establishments.  Rob had spotted the old fish market earlier and a bar/resto on the other side of High Street confusingly named The Northern Quarter.

Opposite the old Fish Market - photo by Rob McIntosh


Loaf, Deansgate Locks, Manchester

Saturday, May 24th, 2008

How do you eat mussels?  As a child on holiday in Nantes, I was taught to eat them by breaking the shells apart, using one half to scoop out the flesh in the other, then to use the remnants to paint a Lautrecian masterpiece.

I don’t buy the noncy idea of using one full shell in a pincer movement like a crustacean Pacman, that is for Londoners.  One area you and I probably agree on is that to dispense with the shells in the small waste bowl requires some imagination, some organisation, and demands some artistic endeavour.

How do you eat yours?