On my way down to the West Country last night, I ended up stuck at Paddington Station for a few hours. London stations are generally horrid, and pubs in London stations are both horrid and depressing. The Mad Bishop and Bear at Paddington made a refreshing change in that it was actually pretty good.
Not just “good for a station”, but better than a lot of other ordinary pubs in London. It’s not the kind of place you’d want to spend a long Sunday lunchtime — the noise and smoke from the station are annoying, and the music is too loud — but it’s fairly big and comfortable, unlike the usual cupboard with three chairs (viz. the Mash Tun at Victoria, if that’s its name).
Perhaps part of the reason why it’s a cut above is that it’s a Fuller’s pub, with the full range of their beers, all in tip-top condition. Like Maieb says, the stuff in bottles looked a bit cold, but the stuff from the cask was great. I had a very pleasant pint of Seafarer (“fake” Gales, 3.8% — malty, dark, and very different to Chiswick, Fuller’s other session bitter) but was excited to see St Austell Tribute on the pumps too, and Brooklyn Lager in the fridge.
Perhaps most importantly, though, there is an enormous departures and arrivals board hanging over the door, so rather than join the scrum on the concourse, I could just sup my pint and wait until the last possible moment to board the train. Lovely.
I say “fake” Gales because the brewery doesn’t exist anymore, and Gales never brewed this particular beer when it did exist. Odd.