9 July 2008


As a rule, I avoid bad pubs. Sometimes I will even go as far as to miss a social event if I know that I will dislike the venue. A major determining factor for me is whether there will be anything that I will consider drinking.

Social drinking in Britain has become an expensive pastime, exacerbated in the last six months by the rising cost of raw ingredients and by "Shy Teeter" Darling's indefensible ale tax. I resent shelling out over £3 for a substandard pint, regardless of where I am or who I'm with. As such, I stick rigidly to what I consider to be the very best pubs where I'm virtually guaranteed to enjoy myself and get perceived value for money.

This coming Saturday, a chum from my days at Leicester Uni has arranged an old boys' meet-up at Waxy O' Connor's in London's Piccadilly Circus. My heart sank when I read the emailed itinerary. I have only ever walked through the place before and I wasn't tempted to stop. It's looks about as "plastic paddy" as they come and (for those who have successfully avoided it to date) even has a huge synthetic tree in the middle of the pub. From what I can gather, they sell nothing resembling ale or good beer so I'm stuck in that most unpleasant of dilemmas over which nitro keg option to select as the lesser of all evils. If I drink wine or spirits I'll end up on my arse like all the other disillusioned fools who favour these sorts of places.

As I pondered my options another message arrived in my inbox. It would seem that Charles Foster's 10 Reasons to Drink Real Ale has been doing the rounds for some time now and this wasn't the first time I had been sent it. As a whole the article is rather smug and twatty, as you might expect. Although, some of the points do ring true. I particularly like the following comparison:

"Many a drinker has been put off real ale drinking after a visit to a pub which doesn't understand real ale. But to go back to keg beer is like opting for a lifetime of necrophilia because of one nasty experience with a living human being."
At least if I go with the lowest possible expectations I can't be disappointed. For one night only, bring on the corpses...


*Nitrophilia is defined as a love of nitrogen.


  1. I'm pretty sure I've been to Waxy O'Connors and drank Murphys.

    There might be a decent keg foreign beer or bottled beer - you never know?

    Do report back!!

  2. There might be. Trying not to get my hopes up. Although, I was impressed when O'Neill's started selling bottled Strangford Lough and Carlow ales.

    I'll let you know!

  3. A half decent bottled beer, failing that coke!

  4. Strangford, as you may know, is contract brewed closer to your home than mine. Always good to see Carlow beers getting out and about: solid stuff when not wrecked with nitro.

  5. Beer Nut,

    I wasn't aware Strangford contract brewed over here. Unsurprisingly, they don't make a song and dance about it on their website, which is distinctly Irish. Is anything "Irish" in England remotely genuine?

    The Carlow O' Hara Stout was particularly good, I seem to recall.

    For those eagerly awaiting the Waxy's post mortem - it was shite.

    The closest they came to foreign bottled beer was Kopparberg Pear or Aussie VB - so I followed maeib's lead and stuck to the Murphys all night. At first I was quite pleasantly surprised with the roasted flavours but that quickly subsided to a feeling of nitrogen poisoning after a few pints and I slowed dramatically to a standstill.

    It was lovely to get back on the real stuff (Moorhouse Pride of Pendle & Newby Wyke Marie Celeste) over Sunday lunch the next day.


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