The BBC Proms are in full swing, bringing some of the finest musicians in the world to London. The appeal for me has always been the “promming” — you turn up an hour or so before the performance, queue up, and get in for a fiver. Standing in the Arena gives you the best sound, while the Gallery is extremely relaxed. I’ve seen people reading the paper or even having a nap there.
But, where to have a pint beforehand? Sadly, South Kensington is not great for pubs. The Queen’s Arms, on a picturesque mews, is the best bet although the beer is not as good as it should be. It’s a classic case of a trendy pub trying to emphasise what a great beer selection it has but hitting mostly duds (boasting about Peroni and other boring “world lagers”). The food’s decent though, and the service friendly.
My real favourite is usually the Imperial College bar. It’s next door to the Albert Hall, has one of the best beer gardens in central London (some tables in the leafy quad) and offers sandwiches and the occasional barbeque. It’s also something of a real ale place with up to five ales on offer, including “Blindman’s Imperial Ale”, which is brewed especially for them by the Blindman’s brewery in Somerset, and very tasty.
Photo by *L*u*z*a*, from Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons.