WEST INDIA QUAY – 25/07/12
Once again it’s been a long time since we were out drinking on the DLR. Our last venture away from more familiar surroundings in the City was actually on the night of the European Championship Final. Eager to go out and see the game (I had a few cheeky bets on – which of course I lost) but without the tenseness or pressure of England taking part we decided to head over to Stratford High Street. It was a bit of an impromptu visit to be fair, the evening began with a bit of necessary shopping (my annual trip to buy a new shirt for work) and ended with 4 DLR pubs ticked off. This was of course over a month ago but laziness means I have once again not blogged our findings. To try and think back and re-cap then I know that we started in King Edward VII (King Eddy’s) although this pub actually fell outside the jurisdiction of both Stratford DLR and Stratford High Street DLR. But seeing as I used to briefly live in the area (very briefly, my flatmate hated me for feeding her cat and we never recovered from that causing me to scarper back to Benfleet sooner than intended) I insisted on taking Tindall there because it proved to be one of my favourite pubs.
To be honest from there on I’m not entirely sure of the path we took, I’ll have to check with Tindall but I figured it best to jot down what I can now and I can always alter it later. I know we watched the game across 2 different pubs, the first being The Princess of Wales. A dingy pub this one, with a less than enthusiastic barmaid and some extremely worn furniture. It wasn’t particularly clean either as emphasized by the two flies that were buzzing around and trying to mate in front of us, I would say obscuring the view but that would be going too far. Nevertheless we moved on at half time to Ye Old Black Bull and watched the second half of Spain’s demolition of their opponents in the comfort of a lovely little beer garden with an outside TV and sound rigged up. After that we ended across the road in the Langthorne for one last drink, a pub that I can neither recommend nor put down seeing as all I remember is it containing what is most probably the world’s largest disco ball hanging from the ceiling just outside the toilets.
Of course I’m supposed to be writing about West India Quay right now, and that does stick more firmly in the memory as it was only 3 days ago that we were there. Many of the pubs at Canary Wharf fit into the West India Quay radius but we decided to leave them to their parent station and just concentrate on the bars that form a line from the converted docklands warehouses. So then, each pub was pretty much exactly the same in terms of facilities! We started at ‘Via’ which after much discussion and marketing analysis from Tindall we decided was a dreadful name for a bar. I think they were going for ‘Via – a place to visit on your way home’ but it came across more as ‘Via – this isn’t your final destination for the evening as this bar is a bit shit and you’ll soon want to move on’. The food did look fantastic, although almost certainly overly expensive considering the area we were in. There was also a very uncomfortable ‘table for two’ situated on a tiny balcony above the entrance to the bar – fine for a romantic meal with a loved one, if that is the couple envisage sipping wine with a crowd of pissed up city workers in suits standing just metres below them as being romantic.
As I said each bar on this strip was much like the one before, Henry’s next door was much of the same although a touch less ‘covey’ as I seem to have written in my notes. A let down too, it was one of those bars with nobody trying to order yet seemingly nobody getting served either. The barman seemed busy, but I’m not quite sure what he was actually doing. After wandering about for a bit he did finally serve us, and proceeded to pour quite possibly the world’s worst pint of Strongbow, to say the tide was out a bit on that one was a huge understatement.
It turned out that most of the bars here were indeed predominantly restaurants so we were saved from having to enter them all. So before long we were sitting in the Wetherspoons at the end of the row of bars, tucked away as it was behind the German Camp for the Olympics. Due to our crazy rating scheme this pub (The Ledger Building) would actually end up being rated as the best pub in the area, purely down to the fact that it being a Wetherspoon meant that the prices were so much cheaper. Clearly being in the land of sticky tables and no background music should mean it’s not a great pub, but our ratings tell us otherwise. We opted to eat here though, the menu was standard as expected but they do microwave a good meal for you!
Over all, Via bar received an average rating of 3.1, Henry’s a marginally worse 3.0 and The Ledger Building a probably a bit preposterous 3.7.
And that’s where things get a bit complicated. With time on our hands we chose to head over the water and mix it up with the ‘wankers in suits’ as I like to call them. They are probably all lovely people of course (or not) but from working there for over a year, I’d seen enough to know that this area was not for me. Months ago now we started on the Canary Wharf side, having a pint in Brodie’s bar (for which all I have in my notes is ‘smells a bit like a swimming pool’) and then moving on to Davys where I didn’t make any notes at all. We decided to make some more headway at this station and so headed for one more pint in Corney & Barrow. And maybe I’m being biased due to my aforementioned hatred of the area but this pub came in with possibly the lowest rating so far (an average of just 1.6). Worryi0ngly too it scored very highly on Facilities, leaving much to be desired from every over aspect of the pub. The drinks menu is best described as deceitful, advertising as it did a range of beers only for us then to discover that the only options on tap were Peroni and Guinness. We opted for a Peroni and a Guinness and received this time the world’s worst poured pint of Guinness. Now bearing in mind that Tindall is now a keen and expert Guinness drinker, (why, the man has poured his own pint back in Ireland – and he has a certificate to prove it), he was understandably perplexed and disappointed to see that his ‘pint’ was indeed about 1/3 ‘head’ once it had finally settled. Drinking up quickly we headed home, another DLR station light.