I’m declaring Monday 9th January, Black Monday. It surely has to be my worst drinking day of the year. But, that’s a positive, as i’ve got it out of the way early! It started with my semi regular trip to the Rake. English and I take a walk to the Rake most Mondays, have a couple of pints, talk tripe and muse over what’s on the bar, before going our separate ways at London Bridge. Tonight was no different apart from a distinct lack of custom. Well it is January, was the thought. After a pint of Brodies Amarilla and a two halves of a smoky German rausch, which I admit I can’t remember the name of (but filled my mouth with imaginary smoked cheese and ham) it was time to call it a night.
As I headed home I got that one more feeling. A quick text and ring round seemed to put pay to that idea but undeterred I thought there is the always the station pub. Now the station pubs choice at London Bridge is bad to say the least. The Oast House you enter at your own peril, leaving a selection of All Bar One’s and The Platform (which despite inclusion on the much tweeted SE1 Quality Pub Crawl, seems to have little or no redeeming features).
I head off from London Bridge with thoughts of getting off for a quick pint at Peckham Rye (Victoria Inn) or East Dulwich (East Dulwich Tavern, amongst many) but go with the local option of North Dulwch or Tulse Hill. The decision is Tulse Hill and I head for the passable Railway Tavern, to find the door open but the tables and chairs stacked. So with trepidation it’s a visit to the Tulse Hill Tavern, and its glistening fonts of every beer you don’t want to drink. They do have an oasis in this desert which is a just drinkable pint of Doombar. Most would head home but as a matter of principle I need to find a beer in South East London that will sate me. I head for Gipsy Hill and the possibility of a decent pint at The Paxton, which I am yet to visit in its new guise.
As I past a darkened Two Towers things aren’t looking good. As I approach The Paxton things are looking worse. Closed for staff party reads the sign. I’ll never learn! Year after year i’m thwarted by the pub Christmas parties, forgetting that our nations bar staff need a Christmas party. I walk towards home and The Rosendale, a pub that under previous management could seriously make me teetotal. The Rosendale having passed over to Renaissance Pubs, has seen a change in fortunes, but still fell short for me, confirming Black Monday. Asking whether food was still being served I got a half shrug and murmur before the barman disappeared. I could persevere but as this whole search for a pub and pint had shown me, tonight was not the night to persevere. I write this from a a deserted curry house in West Dulwich with bored waiters circling me asking whether I want more poppadoms. The answer is yes, it’s always yes, as a poppadom or two is the key to happiness… especially on Black Monday.