London’s pub culture
By Eddie Keogh
“There’s an old fashioned East End welcome waiting for you.” There’s a good chance you’ll read that quote on the pre-Olympic hype about London. But only those with a sense of adventure will really see and feel it.
Most spectators visiting the Games will enter the park via the shiny new Westfield shopping center. There you can take time out in Starbucks, Costa Coffee, McDonald’s, Nando’s, Pizza Express or even TGI Friday’s. Now I’d put good money on most of our visitors knowing these brands from whichever corner of the world they’re from. But will they have experienced The King Edward VII, The Lord Cardigan.
The Cart and Horses, The Adam and Eve or even The Bow Bells. Now that’s visiting London and the landlord’s and ladies and the people inside those pubs are the real Eastenders.
London’s first pubs appeared as public places where people could gather and drink. This dates back as far as the Romans, but are first thought to have become a common sight in the Anglo-Saxon period, when people opened their homes as alehouses. When the Romans finally withdrew from Britain they left behind the start of the modern pub and in 965 King Edgar decreed that there should be one Ale House in every village in England.
But each pub has a history and a story to tell. The Bow Bells is haunted by a ghost that has a habit of flushing the toilet in the ladies when patrons happen to be sitting on it!
Ye Olde Black Bull used to be called Mooro’s as it was owned by England’s soccer World Cup winning captain Bobby Moore. The Greyhound was rebuilt after being one of many pubs bombed during the war.
And then there’s the food. Classic British dishes, Fish and Chips, Bangers and Mash, Toad in the Hole or Shepherd’s Pie. All washed down with a pint of London Pride and don’t forget that famous pub saying, “One for the road”. You can’t rush a good pint, remember life’s a marathon not a sprint.