Monday, 4 February 2013


Civilized, very. Are you still serving? We are sir. I like the sir bit, inspires confidence. Look at the blackboard. A pint of Old Empire. This is so civilised I say, the bar man smiles. It’s 11.50pm on a Thursday night in the Wetherspoons at Victoria. The beer is brought to me. Freshly pulled, sulphury, nice twang of bitterness. Just what I need at the end of the night. 12.20am. A man in the corner with a rucksack that suggests hostels and a long journey into the night sits in the corner, quietly musing over a beer. I leave having finished Joseph Roth’s White Cities, an account of the alcoholic writer’s dispatches from France. He was a socialist but strangely enough never got over the end of the Austro-Hungarian empire. I love him for his incisive interpretation of events happening in Germany in the 1930s but also because he was aware that the stories of those with whom he hung out with in bars were also worthy of history. And that is why sometimes I feel I should celebrate Spoons — it doesn’t always get it right but it does give a chance for the forgotten to have a decent beer.


  1. I'm starting to realise the value of the 'Spoons. Rarely did I venture through their doors... Unless away from London when I knew i'd get a decent pint and plenty of choice. Now, my work local, as nice as it is is owned by a supermarket chain, devoid of soul and charges $10 a pint. What i'd do for a 'Spoons

  2. All human life is indeed here. Big history is usually made up of lots of little bits of history... and that's us. Good point well made.

  3. Most people eventually tire of paying through the nose for poor service and conclude that for all its faults, the Spoons is often the best choice in any given town.

  4. Nearest pub to us (N4) is charging £3.80 for standard bitter, 'Spoons in Turnpike Lane, £1.99, no brainer really.
    And the beer is always well kept.

  5. Max see if you can set up a franchise
    Cheers Nigel, must get down to the Bridge, haven’t been for ages!
    Cooking from experience I can only concur though I have come across some stinkers as well
    Daly — is that the one next to the tube, used to drink in the White Lion of Mortimer off Finsbury Park years ago and also one called the Suffolk Punch, which was on Green Lanes, but it was closed ages ago

    1. That's the one. Normally has a Redemption beer on. Speaking of which, there's a meet-the-brewer session there tomorrow with Andy Moffat at seven ish.