The Parcel Yard, Kings Cross

A weekend of serious beer activities await me in Leeds at EBBC, so it seems only right that It starts with a visit to a pub rather than a a soggy roll from Whistlestop. At Kings Cross there’s only one choice for me and that’s The Parcel Yard. Fullers newest pub is the biggest station pub in the country and I’m hoping that it is a worthy addition to the all new Kings Cross.


I have a funny relationship with station pubs as apart from a few exceptions I find them exceptionally bad – little more than waiting rooms with a bar. Divided into various rooms and partitioned areas The Parcel Yard may draw this parallel but it provides an interesting interior in which you can cosset yourself, away from the hum of the concourse. It’s not even nine and although there are a few pints and halves around me it’s a coffee and a breakfast butty to sustain me on the trip to Leeds. Service is efficient, friendly and with a smile – I could already be in Leeds. The butty is a winner – good sausage & bacon, butter and bread. The fact that it is so reasonably priced for the surrounds is an added bonus.

It’s a short visit but The Parcel Yard is one that I’ll definitely return to time and time again, regardless of whether I’ve got a train to catch or not. I can see the potential for many missed trains with a station pub this good.

The Parcel Yard, Kings Cross Station, N1


The Parcel Yard, Kings Cross

Beer Without Boundaries?

The votes are counted and the Pub Diaries Returning Officer (me) can reveal how polling panned out on the North of the River v. South of the River v. Beer Without Boundaries question.
Tied with 5 votes a piece (yes, voter turnout mirrored actual electoral apathy) were North of the River and South of the River. Beer Without Boundaries, the middle of the road compromise pulled in just short of 3 way split of the votes with 4 votes. So those results in full:
North of the River 35.71%
South of the River 35.71%
Beer Without Boundaries 28.57%
What does this result tell us? Debatably not much with about 75% of people abstaining to cast a vote (perhaps polls are not for Punks). Jeff at the Gunmakers did point out that it’s a flawed split with most of Central London being on the North side of the river. I agree, but splitting along grid references doesn’t have the same ring to it, unless I was to redraw the boundary and reframe this as an East v. West debate, but to be honest, as much as i’d like to paint a picture of a Beer Cold War, I think the comrades in the East would have it hands down. What it does perhaps show is that in the Capital, being Central doesn’t necessarily equate to having the greatest pubs. Lots of pubs yes. Lots of pubs like the Southampton Arms (as billed as LamBert Hymnal’s sanctuary) probably not. So plucky old South London was able to hold its own against the North.
Will this unresolved question be keeping me up at night? Probably not. I’m in the Beer Without Boundaries camp. And that doesn’t just go for which side of the river is best to drink. It goes for which side of the Watford Gap, which side of the Pennines, which side of the Atlantic. Good beer is good beer and a good pub is a good pub, no matter where it is and where it’s from.
Beer Without Boundaries?

Beer Confessional

Forgive me father for I have sinned. It’s been sometime since my last confession.

Father, I’ve neglected my blog. Not for a lack of anything to write about. I have travelled far and wide in the hunt for Pub related material. Walking Coast to Coast, enduring the best and worst of pubs along the way. I travelled to Islay, battled driving winds and drank Single Malt at 10am. The hardships I have endured. Putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard has proved difficult. I will rectify this but it isn’t the only sin for which I confess.

I can hardly bring myself to say this…. I’ll start from the beginning. The other night I arranged to meet the Captain and Cockles for a few pre-gig drinks. Twin Shadow playing a sold out Scala. Despite the Lexington being just up the road and a superior pre-gig watering hole the temptation of the Euston Tap and their erratic shuffling playlist was just too strong. In fact so strong that after the Camden Inner City Green, Saltaire Cascadian Black and Darkstar Over the Moon  I could have forgotten the gig completely and attempted to drink both chalkboards. But this isn’t the only sin for which I confess.

Father, I drank Red Stripe. From a can. I know it’s wrong, especially bearing in mind the visit to the Tap but it’s the paradox of gig going that you can have a great gig and venue but the bar is stocked with cans of Red Stripe and if particularly unlucky, Carling. Surely it should be they who confess! Perhaps on the other side of the Pearly Gates there is venue that has it all. Well stocked bar, well priced; a venue where people respect the support act, where they don’t talk about their loft conversion mid set. Perhaps this place doesn’t exist in heaven or on earth. The Luminaire came close but it’s closed. But I digress Father and this isn’t the only sin for which I confess.

Father, I allowed myself to be seduced by something sweet and Swedish. Kopparberg. Pear Cider. It’s like childhood Pear Drops and adolescent Cider drinking rolled into a plastic bottle. I really should not like it. But I do. But this isn’t the only sin for which I confess.

Father, I don’t seem to know when to call it a night. I allowed myself to enter Water Rats, a pub that never ceases to disappoint in the service stakes, when I really should have called it a night.  But, yes you guessed it, this isn’t the only sin I confess.

Father, i allowed myself to enter a House of Kebab which is very unlike your house. Grease stained walls and the ever present threat of drunken assault and e.coli aren’t enough to put me off steaming shavings of something loosely termed as meat, topped with a chilli sauce which could have come from the pits of hell.

Father, these are my confessions…

Beer Confessional

Ale Festival (27th-30th Jan): Duke of Wellington, 119 Balls Pond Road, Dalston, N1

Those who read my recent post on Mason & Taylor would have also read about their sister pub The Duke of Wellington in Dalston. Though being CAMRA“North London Pub Of The Season” Spring 2010 you may already have had the pleasure. It has as yet been unfeatured and I felt it about time to put this right and do a good deed in the process, with a mention of their forthcoming Winter Ale Festival.

As yet I’ve only had a chance to get to one of the Duke’s Festivals as they always seem to fall when I’m out of town or otherwise engaged; and this one is no exception! So if there’s a chance that I can’t make it I can hopefully live vicariously through you. Go on. You know it makes sense. With Burns Night on the 25th January the festival will exclusively feature brewers from North of the Border. Expect to sample:

Fyne Ales (Jarl, Highlander, Vital Spark),

Brewdog (Alpha Dog, Rip Tide, 5am Saint),

Harviestoun (Bitter & Twisted, Schiehallion),

Williams Brothers (7 giraffes, Midnight Sun),

Cairngorm (Trade Winds, Black Gold),

Kelburn (Cart Blanche, Dark Moor),

Tryst (Blathan, Raj IPA),

To name but a few!

It’s sure to be a cracking event as the list above proves; so get yourself down and have a half for me.

Duke of Wellington, 119 Balls Pond Road, Dalston, N1 4BL

Ale Festival (27th-30th Jan): Duke of Wellington, 119 Balls Pond Road, Dalston, N1