So, to begin, I finally broke down and got some headphones for work. I was in agony at the Maple Leaf Pub last week because I could listen to some great songs off Phantom Power, but I couldn't skip ahead Time is at Hand or reverse to Something On. It was like some bizarre form of torture, especially once they started playing Celine Dion between Hip songs. Needless to say, the Maple Leaf Pub is not DJed by Canadians. On a side note, I had some Molson Dry there. Weird looking bottle, and it is brewed in Scotland! I had to ask what it was, and the English barmaid said, "Molson Dry." "It doesn't look like Dry from back home." "It isn't." And dude-man, was she right.
So, yes, I bought the headphones because I wasn't supplied with speakers and popped in Soul Asylum's Let Your Dim Light Shine which I hadn't listened to it in a while, and it has sentimental value as it was the first rock album I bought. The album is really scratched up from when Dave Purves borrowed it for a year, so when it came to Crawl, I thought David Pirner was saying things like "You've gotta crawl," and "Go on pub crawl," and "Bradley, go crawl," and "You, Bradley T Smith, go on a pub crawl in Staines tonight!" It's really distorted.
So, now it's Monday, and I have the sudden urge to write an article while doing a pub crawl in my hometown of Staines. To allow for some readability, I've written up all the names of the pubs in the order I'll visit them, do the crawl while writing the article, and tomorrow afternoon I'll correct spelling mistakes and clean-up the language.
So, here we go:
So this was a bust. I thought I'd start the crawl close to home with a pub in the Thames Lodge, but it's been converted into a small banquet hall. I looked into the window and some bride's maid enthusiastically looked back. I decided to start my crawl on the other side of town.
So, I figure this is the eastern edge of town — Beefeaters doesn't count because it's on the other side of the roundabout. Well, here's a pub named the same as another in Windsor, and the Windsor Three Tuns is a fair bit nicer. The atmosphere is alright, but nothing special whatsoever. I down my Caffrey's and head on down the street to ...
So this was the first pub I went to in Staines. I came here last year when I was in England for a week. We were looking for a place to eat that wasn't the hotel restaurant. It was the first time I knowingly had bangers and mash. It's frequently a club, but still closes at eleven like a pub. I grab a Boddington and write something down. Off to the Garibaldi!
So, a lesson in drinking in England. Three types of bars: pubs, free houses, and clubs. Pubs, or public houses, are owned by a brewery, so what's on tap is dictated by the brewery. Free houses have nobody dictating what's behind the bar. Finally clubs have no rules saying last call is at eleven. Courage owns the Garibaldi, but I decide to get a Fosters just because it's the only place in town to grab one. Kind of grubby, but traditional too. I like this spot.
So I walk under the appropriately named Iron Bridge and head to High Street, where most of the pubs are. The Angel is deceptively large, and they have Worthington on tape, which makes for a worthingwhile stop. Unfortunately, the rumours of the gorgeous wait-staff are grossly exaggerated. The bartender needs to wash his hair, so it is time to move on, ladies.
So this is my Sunday night haunt. I've been here with my girlfriend, my cousin, and my eighteen-year-old brother (he's legal here, just hope the folks don't find out, ha!). It's really open and has pictures of Staines from like a hundred years ago. Not bad. I like it, but I really like Spitfire. It's a cheap Kentish Ale, but all I know is it's a damn fine spot of 14-20, eh mates? Goes down fast, which is good 'cause I'm low on time. Best start moving to half pints.
Beware Spiderman! So, this place has nothing to do with exploding-pumpkin-tossing Marvel villains, much to my dismay, eh. It's more of a sports pub, being a sports pub and all. So I guess it's a sports pub then. It's settled. Hey, they're playing Elastica! A half pint o' Varsity Bitter, a local splash with almost no carbonation and it is time to move on.
So I am a Phoenix frosh from back in the day, but this place was a little short on the Math Orientation 97 gear. A disappointment. By a river, but no view, tsk tsk. Even the John Smith was too cold. Can't have beer being cold in England, don't make sense. Maybe I'll double back to Tops Pizza for something to eat. No, too far. Next pub.
Hahahahahaha, oh my. The male chicken inn. Who named this place? Look at all the gambling machines in this hole. Really, honestly, quite. They got spicy nuts here, hahaha. I ate spicy nuts from the Cock. Zoinks! Um, half pint of Guinness — they got good ads around for St. Who's Day? Hey Kenny, there's one with a Chinese Irishman who impersonates Elvis, reminds me of you even though you're Scottish.
So, this one appears to be left blank. I'm not quite sure what happened, but I can tell you about the bar. It's in a riverside hotel that feeds swans so that they'll hang around for tourists to look at. They've got a patio outside that was submerged earlier this year when the Thames was flooding all over the place. Now it's rather nice since it is springtime in England. The bar's owned by Fuller's, so I'd imagine I had one of those since that's a really nice local beer, since I drink that all the time at The Crown near work (another Fuller's pub).
You don't know me, don't act like you think you know me. Hey look, a laptop!
A wife of Henry the VIII. Wife of Henry VIII she was she was, wife of Henry the eighth she was. He got married to the girl next door, she's been married several times before. Wife of Henry the eight she was she was, wife of Henry the eigth she was. Second verse, same as the first! No, almost last call, go go go!
11.02 and still serving! Prawn chips too! Not the yuppie bar I thought it was. Hi this is Angie, hello Math News! Lara says hello too! We love Canada, woo! Bradley wants you to know he's drinking a pint of Courage. This is Lara, I have an aunt and uncle in Halifax. We visited them two years ago, Canada is beautiful! Bye Math News! xoxo
So it appears I went back to the former pub across the street from my place. From my scribblings ("Whores at 'horse.hahaha Poor beridesmaids, nobody likes you. No I don't too........freaks") it appears I returned only to mock the ladies of the wedding party. I feel shame for my impolite behaviour, but relief as well. I'm sure things could have gone a lot worse with me having a flat right across the street and them looking so lonely. It's good to know I can trust myself with myself.
Bradley T Smith