Circle Line Pub Crawl : 12th May 2003

Introduction

Billed as "maybe our last chance to do a Circle Line", the plan was to complete all 27 pubs of the crawl between 11am and whenever on the 12th of May 2003. Long may the day live in memory. Although, due to the fact that very few of the participants have any memory of much of the day, I, as token non-drinker, was nominated record keeper, and I now discharge my responsibility in this report.

For anyone not understanding what a Circle Line pubcrawl is, I shall now offer a brief outline: The Circle Line is a fanatically unreliable, but well used underground train line in London. It is a closed circuit surrounding the center of town and shares tracks at various times with the District, Metropolitan and Hammersmith and City lines. It consists of 27 stops and the aim of the Circle Line pub crawl is to visit each stop and have a drink. As the pubs are open for 12 hours a day normally (11am-11pm), and because 27 pints is a large amount to drink, it is often done on half pints of beer or single shots of spirits.

Over the years, certain pubs have become normal haunts for circle liners (due to the proximity to stations in general), but due to the fact that we were allowing ourselves the full 12 hours (in the past due to the college commitments of our student days it was often difficult to gather everyone before a 1pm start) we decided to point out a few pubs on the way that we should make a slightly longer detour towards - this added to the challenge, as well as making the drinking experience more pleasurable. The majority of the group (all bar 2) being drinkers of real ale, or reforming lager drinkers, the pubs chosen were generally famed or at least known for their ales, but as is often the way we were forced into inferior establishments on occasion...but on with the stats

Units used

Drinks were bought in half pints or single shots, unless stated otherwise.
pph has 2 meanings: in pub rate it is Pubs Per Hour, in drinking rate it is Pints Per Hour. The latter is calculated on a basis of 1 half pint per pub (and is therefore 1/2 the pub rate), and is included for pedantry's sake and for really no other reason. I like stats.

Pub rates needed:

Participants

billy - the sober one, and master of records. Me
bob - the vet. Almost made the whole crawl on pints in the past...can he relive past glories?
adam - the fluffy one. Last time ended up being assaulted by a bouncer, will we have violence this time...
john - the normally sober one. A cider man at heart, John has decided to complete the challenge on whisky, a tipple almost untried until a week before...
rich - the splendid one. Known to be loud when sober, how will rich fare after 27 stops of pain?
andy - the hairy one. Will Andy's beard shield him from the terrors of "too much beer"? Only time will tell
robin - the prodigal. Returning to the fold for the crawl, will repeats of past glories lead to assaults on lampposts?
george - the new boy. A lager drinker undergoing a dual trial of fire: 1) A circle line on bitter and 2) meeting most of the rest of us for the first time.
martin - the holy one. With his beard now sorely lacking since his last circle line, will the former Jesus lookalike keep up with the pace...
steve - the monkey loving one. Steve's obsession with monkey's leads to us not being able to tell when he's sober...perchance this could help.
phil - the old one. Veteran Phillip, winner of fluffiest beard and 2nd longest hair award. Former master, but now thrown to the wayside? Who knows...
kate - the late one. The one brave lady battling against the testerone force that is the rest of us.

Pictures

For a full set of pictures of the crawl, see here

Quick Links

Breakfast | Victoria | St James Park | Westminster | Embankment | Temple | Blackfriars | Mansion House | Cannon Street | Monument | Tower Hill | Aldgate | Liverpool Street | Moorgate | Barbican | Farringdon | Kings Cross | Euston Square | Great Portland Street | Baker Street | Edgware Road | Paddington | Bayswater | Notting Hill Gate | High Street Kensington | Gloucester Road | South Kensington | Sloane Square | Aftermath

Victoria Station - Breakfast

The initial plan was to use Garfunkel's as a meeting place for the breaking of our collective fasts, but this was quickly abandoned on discovering that the Deep Pan Pizza place next door was doing an all you can eat buffet breakfast for 4.70gbp. This offer was quickly taken up by the initial crew minus phil and martin (who were still en route) and john who joined us shortly after we had done an initial stripping of the buffet counter - he's a veggie and probably didn't want sausage and bacon anyway...

It was decided at this point that a comprehensive "toilet report" would be compiled on out various venues, and that this was to be the test site. Or rather, I decided. Anyway, the bathroom was quite large and clean, but this was 10:30am, and the phantom toilet blocker had not yet had a chance to visit. It was however heavily patched, and ready for retirement to the pastures where old bathrooms roam free.

After a couple of devastating visits to the buffet counter the staff happily ushered us towards the door and we wandered out into the world. Moving out into the main concourse we discovered phil and martin, and after trips to Boots to stock up on hairbands and painkillers we moved on to pub NUMBER 1.

 01: Victoria

Drinks

A strange feeling pub this - perched high up in Victoria's central reservation, with predominantly glass walls, one cannot help but feel exposed to the elements. However Wetherspoons came through again with an interesting selection of beers, of which we chose the Smiles. Beer was supped quickly, and we made to move off. Due to the early stage of the proceedings, no toilet inspection was made. We wandered quickly to Victoria's Circle Line platform, after several false starts of people accidentally almost taking the stairs to the wrong platform due to ealry morning work based habits, and quickly caught a train - a District line...the Circle Line itself was not yet our friend.

 02: St James Park

Drinks

A quick walk to the right of the station brought us to The Sanctuary. While we were the first people in, we also managed to finish both the Barrel of London Pride, and that of Chiwick Bitter, leaving 3 of us to contemplate the grim pleasure of ESB at 11:30am. John quickly got the hang of whisky, moving onto a nice Glenmorangie as his second tipple of the day. Andy investigated the toilets for us, and while clean and quite nice his duty was interrupted by a young lady, who seemed quite shocked to find him there. The halves were put back quickly - the aim was to do 4 pubs an hour for as long as possible in order to give us time to go to the more far flung pubs on our trip, as well as to allow a slowdown later...when we would need it.

The next pub was between our current location and the next station, so we decided to walk. As soon as we had wandered through the door the sky turned grim and began the first of what was to become many showers of rain for the day. Gaily plodding on we soon reached the next pub, having passed the joyful sight of Big Ben and Westminster Abbey

 03: Westminster

Drinks

One of the first pubs that was added to the list due to its beery reputation. A fixture in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide since its first publishing 30 years ago, the Westminster has provided beer and food under several names over the last few hundred years. We found the place empty and stocked with some nice Adnam's Bitter. The toilets fade from memory, but at least the beer was good. We knocked back the beer in record time, and swiftly jogged on towards Westminster Station for our second train of the day.

BUT SHOCK HORROR! Only the second train of the day, and already we had discovered a Circle line train. We boarded and continued on toward destiny

 04: Embankment

Drinks

A slightly more interesting pub this, and one that was a late addition to the list after the last minute of TheCircleLinePubCrawl.co.uk which recommended it as a 2 minute further walk well spent. The pub is split into 2 halves, with one half either side of a road (well...pedestrain precinct really), and not joined at all above ground. They stocked Badger beer, and so in honour of the now bought out King & Barnes brewery that used to be back in my hometown we had halves of Sussex Best (now Dorset brewed and nowhere near as nice). The barman knew of our mission and wished us luck and we quickly departed, complaining of a lingering taste of beer line cleaner...back to Embankment and back on the train.

 05: Temple

Drinks

Temple is one of the more difficult stations on the crawl - there are no pubs obvious from the station, and no obvious destinations where there maybe a pub. Luckily Adam's homing instincts (and memory of websites and previous crawls) led us to the right, then left and up some steps to the Edgar Wallace. George was blooded with his first round of the day, and John continued his fine sipping with a Macallan...which didn't make his list of "try again" whiskies. The toilets where hidden upstairs and were very small. The fact that there were 2 ladies bathrooms along the same corridor led to some confusion, and speculation that Andy may have got confused and lost...However he was soon found and we made to leave, stopped only by Steve and his insistance that I record that "There are monkeys". When asked where he merely replied, "oh...just in general".

A quick jaunt back to the station and another District line took us to Blackfriars

 06: Blackfriars

Drinks

A run up the stairs and round the corner and we were on our way. On reaching our first choice pub (The Black Friar) we discovered that it was closed for refurbishment. After some swearing at the pub for being so inconsiderate we continued walking, looking for the next establishment. We found one nearby, but it was a Goose pub...and not a very good one. Nicely laid out and decorated, but with way to much of a "spray-on authentic pub feel(tm)" and not particularly nice beer. Points were won back though with its interesting toilets, with wonderful crude poetry, a declaration that "This pub is shit" and tasteful "Good Evening Mr Bond" written in Big Black Marker on the wall. Needless to say, we did not stay long - it was only the number of stairs and number of ways to get to the toilets that kept us there longer than a few minutes. A run across the road and down into the station and off we went again

 07: Mansion House

Drinks

The obligatory pints of Guinness were partaken of here, just above Mansion House station. George, while braving the ale, did not try the Guinness and slipped back to his old lagery ways, while John tried his first irish whisky of the day. The toilets were only memorable due to the large number of stairs that you had to climb to reach them, and the fact that phil was so impressed that he took pictures...We moved to walk to the next pub - Mansion House, Cannon Street and Monument all being on the same street - and within moments were swimming through a downpour, breaking bob's umbrella in the process...

 08: Cannon Street

Drinks

A favourite with crawlers over the years, The Cannon is located almost directly opposite the exit of Cannon Street tube station. As such the staff could tell simply by looking at us what was needed and served quickly, giving us time to sup slightly slower at out drinks and wait for the rain to ease off. I was informed that the bathroom was forgettable apart from the fact that it was entirely advertless, apart from adverts to place adverts above the urinals...

Alas, it was not to be. The rain continued and we battled on. My homing sense, and knowledge of the area due to working nearby, failed entirely and it was only George's sharp eyes that picked out the next pub through the curtain of rain...

 09: Monument

Drinks

We wandered into the bar rather damply and proceeded to order our drinks - splitting by choice rather than barrel emptying necessity. Already the strain was starting to tell, with much leaning take place, along with much complaining about the stupidity of pubs with stairs up to the toilets...The beer was put away quickly and seeing a potential let up in the rain we rushed out and across the road, into Monument station

 10: Tower Hill

Drinks

Rushing out of the station into a wall of rain, the group was quickly seperated into 2 groups. Me, Bob and John, the back group, found the relative safety of a bridge and tried in vain to contact the rest of the group, only to see the fluffy head of Adam appear from the door of the wine bar-esque building built into the other side of the bridge, that we had discounted as an unlikely venue already...Once inside things didn't get much better, but Bombadier was on tap, and it wasn't bad. Phil investigated the toilets and started to tell everyone about them, waxing lyrical until he realised that noone was listening. On exiting, martin discovered the list of rules of the house - rules which if followed would have excluded everyone of us...

John now took charge, being a previous resident of the area, and despite fears of being led to a messy mugging at the hands of a group of other locals, we arrived, after a detour through a bus park, at the next pub

 11: Aldgate

Drinks

Questioned on out beardiness within moments of walking through the door (there being 5 beards amongst the party of 11) we felt immediately home. I was (of course) complimented on the well trimmed status of my beard, while the others were accused of laziness - I wholeheartedly reccomend this pub, and wish the landlady (I assume it was the landlady, though it may have been a queen amongst bar staff) all the best. 4.5 nice pints of Youngs, and a not so nice shot of Bells, later we continued our wander, straight across the road and into the Aldgate station. Unfortunately we had run out of District Line stations on this part of the trek, and as such were ready for the long long wait that the Circle often entails, only to discover that a Metropolitan line train was sitting waiting for us, and after a quick consultation of maps and memories, it was boarded and set toward the next stop.

 12: Liverpool Street

Drinks

Directly opposite Liverpool Street tube station, and quickly accessible, the Station Tavern was the obvious choice. Joined briefly by Steve and Dave from my office round the corner, beer was drunk and pictures were taken of my fabulous hat. The toilets again came up trumps - while being particularly nasty in nature you could here the sound of rumbling trains...After a quick discussion, summed up by Steve's Zim laden "...mighty need for food!", we decided to descend upon Liverpool Street mainline and its nearby eateries

Liverpool Street - Food.

After much pointing and hand waving the group dispersed with a vague meeting up plan. When remustered we noticed a distinct lack of moustache, and wondered where Robin had gone. After some concerted munching and examination of the underground station entrance, we decided that Robin had got lost, but was intelligent enough to wait at the next station for us...So yet again we boarded the train, and popped out at Moorgate, where some lucky wandering (and Adam's magical homing sense) led us straight to Mr R and our next pub

 13: Moorgate

Drinks

Surprisingly empty for a city pub at this hour, the wooden floor made the place echoey and rather unforgiving. Some not particularly nice beer also helped our quick departure - although previous traipsing for food has caused a long enough gap that there were many trips to the bathroom - an area where some foolish decorator had decided that hospital green pipes led to an impression of cleanliness, an impression that was and is quite false. We left the pub, and after a quick return to pick up Martin's oft lost umbrella, we stomped down the stairs and onto a Barbican bound train. It was about this time that it was decided that we needed some way of making sure we were all there - numbering was the obvious choice. After several aborted attempts and requests for specific numbers, we had it sorted and almost got a complete sequence.

 14: Barbican

Drinks

Barbican is another station that seems strangely devoid of nearby pubs, but a quick u-turn to the right revealed a street bristling with bars. Making our way past the first rather dodgy looking glass walled bar, with neon signs declaring its availability for hire, we ended up at Ye Olde Red Cow. A small wooden bar with a small surround, populated by us, the landlady and either the master of regulars or landlord. Some fine Spitfire was drunk, and we were wished kindly on our way by the kindly proprieters. I'd recommend this pub for some nice afternoon drinking if anyone is in the area. We retraced our steps, and after a quick count off (that actually worked) we boarded the train for Farringdon

 15: Farringdon

Drinks

The Jerusalem is an interesting pub, and as such one of those slightly off of our beaten track that we wished to visit. The destruction of one of the local pubs by one of our party last time I did the crawl (I think it was Farringdon, and I know it was Weeeeeeeeeeeeeel that did it...) meant that we were only too pleased to wander. We arrived safely at the pub, or so we thought, and settled down at the back for a mid session rest and sup of the mighty fine St.Peters ale. It was at this point that we noticed that we were missing someone, quickly identified due to the lack of orange shirt, as Andy.

The drink was starting to set in, and noone could really remember when we last saw him, although we were all fairly sure that he'd left the station with us. Toilets were searched, and skips checked, all to no avail. Phil then announced that he was departing at this point due to a prior engagement and because "my stomach isn't big enough for all this beer. I can feel it lapping against the bottom of my alimentary canal". We abandoned Andy to his fate, and Phil to the rest of his beer, and departed at speed back to the station. On boarding the fairly full train, a strange smell was noticed...it got stronger causing mcuh complaining and screams about people's eyes and the enamel on their teeth. The mysterious egg based odour was blatantly from one of us, but noone knew who, and noone owned up. For the time being George took the blame, stating that he wasn;t really sure if it was him or not, but it could well have been...

Lost: Phil and Andy...

 16: Kings Cross

Drinks

A longish walk from station to pub, the rain decided to have another go at us causing much wetness and whinging from all and sundry. Eventually bob remembered the Dolphin, and as it was half way between King's Cross and Euston station (the site of our next pub) it was chosen as the next venue. Arriving shortly after the ale had been finished, we moved onto the Guinness again - this time George joined in, although seemed to regret it, and John tried the joys of bourbon. Richard took Phil's place as toilet obsessive and complained to me about the step and the fact that it was juse on big trough...

The beer was starting to take its toll, with the rain and cold not helping. Morale was low, and Robin became the first to drop a pub...leaving his beer upon the side as we left...We moved on through the still heavy rain, on towards Euston. The party soon seperated with Richard and George disappearing into the distance and Adam, Bob and Martin bringing up the rear. This would normally be fine, if it wasn't for the fact that neither George or Richard had any idea where they were going...Eventually the Head of Steam appeared as the rain disappeared to be replaced with sunshine, and all 3 groups converged on the pub from different directions, even the front party who had guessed and guessed correctly. We briefly paused to renumber ourselves after the passing of Andy, and the continued.

 17: Euston Square

Drinks

I departed to find food in the station, and the others wandered upstairs to partake of the HoS's excellent selection of ales. In an effort to redeem himself Robin ordered a pint, and paid for the round. The decision was made to sit around for a bit after the walking and raining, and a mild sobering, along with a raise in spirits was noticeable.

It was at this point that Steve received a call from Andy...He had got lost on the way to Farringdon, and had jumped into the nearest pub and chucked down a half to make sure he didn't fall behind. Then, on realising he didn't know where the station was, he started walking. After a while he found a station, although it was (to his distress) Cannon Street - he then phoned and organised to meet at Great Portland Street.

Lost member discovered, the party upped sticks and walked off to Euston Square, where we caught our next connection. On arriving at Great Portland Street we were jumped by a young lady in a skin coloured leotard and a bright green novelty fig lead, tastefully placed, who was handing out leaflets advertising a local gym. We scampered on in fear and did a quick circumnavigation of the station, looking for Andy. He was nowhere to be seen, so Richard grabbed the young lady's companion, and young man in a body stocking and fig leaf, and instructed him (drunkenly) to grab anyone he saw with a beard, long hair and a bright orange shirt and point him towards the pub. Our duty to our fellow man thus discharged we wandered on to the pub.

 18: Great Portland Street

Drinks

Split across the pub between the bar and a window seat, where lookouts for the orange clad lost one sat, the beerers soldiered through halves of the very dark Ridley's Rumpus, while John went for a nice Lagavulin. The jukebox was examined, and proclaimed to be a Good Thing(tm) and "Pinball Wizard" and "Smooth" (by Santana) were played. The toilets were also examined and declared to be a Bad Thing(c) due to them being on a seperate music circuit - one playing Hanson...

As if by magic Andy appeared...he related his story and the addition of the more recent events of him being accosted by a seemingly naked man in the station, who had cried "YOU! Orange Shirt! You are wanted in the pub!" Andy was quickly handed a beer that had been bought for him and the rest finished there's, apart from robin who had given up on the evil darkness of Rumpus and had thus donated his half to Andy, after some sampling by myself and bob. We returned to the station, took many flyers from themaninthefigleaf, obtained photographic evidence of his existence for later, reallocated our numbers and got on a train - our second Circle Line of the day.

 19: Baker Street

Drinks

An easy pub this one - Wetherspoons and upstairs in the station (as you can see in the picture, the underground entrance is rather near). On first viewing hailed as a wine bar, a more detailed viewing of the inside did not help matters - decorated with flags and many many balloons, it looked like the Queen's birthday party gone wrong. They did however, in fine Wetherspoons tradition, have some nice beers on at not a lot of money. Bob started his final stretch with pint, while the rest continued with more sensible halves, and John returned to the safety od Glenfiddich. The bathrooms were duly examined, and Martin was worried by them - heavily front lit mirrors and laid out so that everyone could be seen in a mirror...the layout of a room fitted with 2 ways mirrors...the fact that there were 3 steps down followed by 16 steps up to them was also duly noted.

Beers finished we prepared to go, but in high spirits as he was Andy managed to destroy a balloon display by merely touching it (or probably grabbing and giving it a big pull), causing tens of ballooins to fall to the floor and start flowing towards nearby tables like a sea of rubber. We left quickly and after our now traditional confusion of platforms boarded a train to Edgware Road. Within seconds of the doors closing the evil stench arose from someon in our group - all eyes turned to steve, who was standing rather sheepishly by the doors. The finger of suspicion was pointed and we retreated to the other side of the carriage, although we were still unable to escape the ever permeating evil...

 20: Edgware Road

Drinks

We burst off the train fighting for breath, losing George and John in the process as we discovered half way to the pub. At first it was not certain who was missing, as the conversation was shouted drunkenly between myself and bob at a fairly large distance (caused by my running as bob called an impromptu kangela) and George and John merged into the single personage of "Geonge", who was quickly found, having taken the wrong exit out of the station and ended up round the corner.

The Chapel was a bit upmarket compared to some of the pubs we had visited so far, and we were congratulated by the bar staff for our endurance so far. The bathrooms were also a cut above the rest, with ornate tiling and LCD screens (unreprogrammable according to an increasingly unlucid steve) showing adverts for perfume and Jackass: The Movie. Yet again spirits and heads started to droop - but with only 7 stops left we finished quickly, and returned to the station. We boarded the train, and within moments the smell of death yet again filled the carriage. Unfortunately, this time the perpertrator had backed himself into a corner and was forced to admit - the toxic stench was the doing of Richard. He was confined to the opposite side of the carriage for the rest of the short journey, although the distance barely helped...

 21: Paddington

Drinks

Running up the escalators we arrived at the top of Paddington Station, and the Mad Bishop and Bear, to discover that Kate had received instructions from the Sekret Cabal of Sheep (bob) and had purchased a round ready for us. Being strange and colonial (potentially welsh) she was drinking cider, and due to her late joining decided to drink pints and doubles in an effort to catch up.

The pub is highly recommended, being the best "pub in a station" that I have ever been to, and also a good pub in its own right. The Pride went down nicely and without incident until steve managed to detable a glass and then stamp on it. Much drunken fussing went on and most of it was cleared up before we started to leave - I let the bar staff know, and while pointing out the destruction to the barstaff noticed a distinct smell in the air...

 22: Bayswater

Drinks

Jumping out of the train and running up the stairs as quick as possible, we found ourselves in the rather crappy Rat and Parrot to the left of Bayswater station (the name of which has always struck me as silly, as it is halfway down Queensway and a few minutes walk away from Bayswater road, while Queensway station is at the top of the road, at the intersection between Queensway and the Bayswater road...it would make so much more sense if they were swithced...but i digress). Lacking cask ale as they always are, the party was divided between John Smiths and Guinness, with ex-lager boy George on the Kronenbourg, and John back on the Jameson - Kake kept her end of the bargain with a large Gin and I fed on caffeinated fuel

George disappeared all of a sudden - there was a sipped drink and an indented chair, but no body. The bathroom was searched to no avail, and all hope was lost for a moment, when all of a sudden he returned with a large bag of cheeseburgers from the nearby McDonalds. Moments later he was off again, performing the fastest purchase of 2 cheeseburgers we had ever seen, with a turnaround time (including crossing the road) of under 2 minutes. Richard yet again returned enthusiastically from the bathroom, waxing lyrical about the perils of steep steps and the confusing nature of having portholes on the toilet door.

Burgers eaten, and dodgy pints drunk we wandered back to the station, and after a longish wait for a Circle line during which steve fell over for no apparent reason, we started our travels to the next pub.

On arriving at Notting Hill the group started its normall self destructive run through the now crowded station. Andy and Steve continued their normal act of attempting to trip, kick, punch and blind each other, and in retaliation to some real or imagined slight, Andy launched himself in a particularly elegant arching flying elbow smash at steve. On connecting with side of his head, Steve was thrown into a passing innocent, driving his glasses into the side of her head...she fell to the ground clutching the side of her head, and Steve's glasses flew in two different directions, one arm seperated. Andy disappeared, steve considered a moment and followed, and the young victim retrieved her shopping, made an unimpressed face and wandered off...

Drunkenly the party continued onto Kensington Church Street, and onto the Churchill Arms

 23: Notting Hill Gate

Drinks

The Churchill is a popular Fuller's pub, known for its excellent thai food - however we weren't stopping that long. The pub was packed, and we squashed into a corner with drinks, scaring a young lady who was hovering vulture-like over a nearby table. Steve wobbled drunkenly, almost spilling his half, and seemingly confused over which group of people he knew. Adam made very strange noises in the toilet (small and with many doors). Andy grinned a lot. We finished up and continued down the road towards High Street Ken. Richard started getting confused and started telling people that eyes seem to work better when you only use one...

On hitting the High Street, we continued on past the station on towards our next pub far off the beaten path.

 24: High Street Kensington

Drinks

The Britannia is pub number 2 of the illustrious 3 on the crawl - like The Westminster Arms, The Britannia has been every edition of the Good Beer Guide. We wandered in and took over the front wall of the pub. Martin was by this time only just able to speak, and as such got me to order the round. Bob disappeared to change over some tapes at work just around the corner, and shortly after the beer was doled out steve nodded off fell asleep against the side of his chair. While gesticulating wildly John managed to knock his drink over, luckily missing the floor but hitting his legs instead - he replaced it and sat back to continue drinking.

While ordering a couple of missed drinks, the landlord pointed over at steve, "He can't sleep in here you know...if you can't wake him up and keep him awake he'll have to leave". Steve was quickly slapped into wakefulness and saved any further slapping by retreating to the toilet. Around this time the landlord and row of regulars guessed what the sight of a bunch of very drunk people drinking halves meant...we were congratulated and asked to change the order of pubs so that in future the Britannia would be the first pub we visit...

Bob arrived fresh from his tape changing mission, steve returned from the toilet still able to walk, and we departed. Wandering outside we discovered andy propped wobbling and precarious against a nearby motorbike, and while walking up the road, he and an almost as wobbly (although he was ferocioulsy protesting his sobriety) adam managed to take out a push bike on the corner (Adam maintains that he was an innocent bystander who merely stood the bike up...but we have our doubts). We reached the station in faily good order, although the volume of some members of the party had reduced to nothing (steve) while others had found true voice (richard). A surprising Circle Line (number 3) appeared, and we were whisked off to Gloucester Road where we quickly detrained and ran across the road to the next pub

 25: Gloucester Road

Drinks

This is where we slowed down...On the train on the way it was realised that it could well be possible to get to The Star by 9pm, and therefore get there in time to partake of their really rather excellent steaks. In order to do this we would have to rush this and the next pub, and maybe send someone ahead as a food orderer (most probably myself). After some discussion it was clear that the increasingly drunk state of the posse was making this less and less likely, and so a pause was called for food and sobering. Although by the time that this was decided, Andy and Steve had already disappeared, reappearing 10 minutes later laden with fish and chips

While most of us ran around grabbing food, the less hungry and more recently fed hid in the pub where the brief but torrential rain showers couldn't touch them. A strangely sober converstation about the nature of the recent gulf war conflict ensued, with Richard, a veteran of the region, conversing quietly and lucidly. However, within moments Robin and George had entered a friendly yet heated discussion of the entire middle east situation.

Nachos arrived, nachos were eaten, beer was finished and we moved on - next pub was a walk down the road and round the corner to the Anglesey. On the way, in true Circle Line style, the group seperated and disappeared into the murky half darkness, assembling finally at the Anglesey

[No picture because I forgot] 26: South Kensington

Drinks

Robin and george wandered to the bar continuing their increasingly heated discussion, and a round was placed on the table before us. As penultimate pub we expected the alcohol to be taking its toll, and toll it did. Steve fell asleep, john had troubles leaning in the corner and everyone started to droop.

Bob then made a funny noise and the lens fell out of his glasses, leading to a frantic firkling around on the floor searching for a missing screw. This was to no avail, and we drank up and left. Robin and george, seperated by toilet breaks (down stairs and small, but nicely tiled) finished their discussion, leaving it as a draw. Hitting Old Brompton Street we started walking towards South Kensington Station, when all of a sudden kate shouted "taxi" and the way forwards was clear...all of us but steve (who decided that unable to stay awake as he was, going for another drink was probably not the best idea) clambered into a couple of taxis and went on for the final stop.

 27: Sloane Square

Drinks

Finally. Our goal in sight, beers were bought, cigars were smoked and much sitting down was done. The Star, our regular haunt, is the 3rd pub that has been in every edition of the Good Beer Guide, and is also purveyor of some of the best steaks we have found. Martin, suffering quite badly from a combination of drunkeness and exhaustion, had a sip of Honeydew and went looking for a train. George braved a tequila and lemonade, and Richard was very loud. One by one we finished our drinks, thanked the landlord and slunk off into the night...

Aftermath