Some London Clarets making the most of the visit to
The Grill in Aberdeen
Pub of the Season
The Pub of the Season is a fairly recent award but there is a long history of pub & beer (preferably proper beer) related activity within the London Clarets which we will gather together here in due course including Firmo's infamous Pub Guide from his earlier website.
Roll of Honour
2018/2019 - The Grill, Aberdeen (Aberdeen away)
2017/2018 – Sambrook’s Brewery Tap, Wandsworth (Chelsea away)
2016/2017 – Westow House, Sydenham Hill (Crystal Palace away)
2015/2016 – The Black Horse, Preston (Preston away)
2014/2015 – The Roscoe Head, Liverpool (Liverpool away)
2018/19 award heads north of the border.
Apologies for the delay. The judges were, er, busy. But we’re delighted now to be able to announce the results of the official London Clarets Pub of the Season award for that long-distant time, the 2018/2019 season.
For the winner, one must travel all the way back to last summer, to that sunny then misty then rainy July day when an entire couple of Claret generations took their tentative first step into European football of the kind that doesn’t involve half-watching a pre-season kickabout against a scratch team of Italian waiters. Yes, the winner is the Grill in Aberdeen, a true home from home which we claimed as our own before and after the match, a proper, well-used and weathered pub, and all the better for it. Certificate to be presented next time we visit. Best not to hold your breath.
The Grill triumphed over a stellar shortlist, and unusually was also in the place where we were playing, in a season when the customary transport mayhem meant we often found ourselves drinking someway distant from the home of the opposition. The runners-up were:
Beer Time, Athens (Olympiacos away)
Just because we can, and it’s going to be a long time before we can again, and this was the pick of the Athens craft beer scene by virtue of its rigorously enforced two-half-litres-for-the-price-of-one-don’t-think-you-can-have-just-one happy hour policy.
The Express Tavern, Kew Bridge (Fulham away)
To which we retired at the end of a pretty dismal day, and because it’s secretly perhaps the best pub in London (go before they finish building Brentford’s new ground around the back and ruin everything).
The Magic Rock Brewery Tap, Huddersfield (Huddersfield away)
Everything a brewery tap should be, and just a shame we probably won’t be going again for a while.
The Brewer’s Arms, Lewes (Brighton away)
An old favourite, and a reliable and friendly source of impeccable Harvey’s and significant food.
The Free Trade, Newcastle (Newcastle away)
A ramshackle place with magnificent Tyne views. Why had we never been here before?
The Raven, Wigan (Liverpool away)
A pub as traditional as they come, where pie-eating appears to be compulsory.
The Dorset Arms, Derby (er, Everton away)
A circuitous route home opened up the delights of leisurely sitting-down drinking in pubs we normally cram into for rapid vertical consumption at away games, and this turned out to be a previously unsuspected gem.
The home pub of the season winner was of course Burnley’s Ministry of Ale. Visit while you can.
Turning to the choice of worst pubs, it gives us little pleasure, but the loser is the Snooty Fox at Three Bridges (Brighton away – more transport contortions). Truth be told, this wasn’t as bad as those pubs usually are that claim this dubious award, but hey, someone has to win it and it was the basic customers and terrible local band that tipped the scales.
Rest assured that we are already hard at work during the current season, undertaking a punishing schedule of visits, tasting what we can and making assiduous notes all the while. A further report follows next summer.