We planned the route for our long walk from Liverpool Street (in the City of London) to Herne Hill (way down south) so that we would pass a couple of pubs we’d been meaning to visit for a while.
Walking through Camberwell, we both had a flashback to a birthday party we’d attended there in around 2003, in a pub called the Grove, and detoured to find it. Just as we remembered, it was nicely set up and absolutely huge. Of particular note: you can hire the lounge style back room, complete with beer fridge, dart board and Nintendo Wii for private parties. The Young’s Bitter was spot on, if you like that sort of thing (we do).
Our next stop was Hooper’s Bar, which took us a while to find. From the outside, it looks great, being beautifully maintained and covered in antique brewery signs. Through the window, we spotted a tantalising range of beers on offer. Sadly, it doesn’t open until four on Sundays. We should have checked. Recovering from momentary despair, we carried on towards Herne Hill and the Florence.
The Florence is one of London’s few brewpubs and we are by no means the first to offer an opinion. We were expecting great things of a pub which both Jeff and Tyson liked — could this be the Promised Pub? After a couple of pints and a bit of food, however, we were left unable to agree a corporate line.
Boak liked the atmosphere and thought it was the kind of place she could settle in for the afternoon.
Bailey was confused by the weird mix of waiter and bar service and had yet another flashback, this time to the would-be trendy bar-lounge-concept drinking holes of 2003.
We both thought the food was fabulous, albeit with the caveat that, given everyone wants chips with battered fish, why not just include them as standard and charge a tenner outright? We also both agreed, after a stale Meantime Pale Ale and a pint of own-brewed bitter that compared poorly to the pint of Young’s we’d had an hour before, that the beer was nothing special.