How did we miss the fact that it's National Pub Week?
Ok, so CAMRA have a bit of way to go before they lose the beard-stroking, 'I've got my own tankard I have' image but with the onslaught of crappy, generic chain drinkeries we need all the proper pub-lovers we can get, plus the fact that they've just brought out a London Pub Walks book doesn't hurt either.
The book is billed as a "practical pocket-sized guide combined with architectural notes to many of London’s best pub buildings." and apparently "uncovers some hidden gems right across the region". But, be warned, don't call it a 'pub crawl' book or the author will be hop-ping mad (sorry):
Plenty of books have been published about London pubs, often claiming to be of historic pubs, although many of these have little authenticity left. Few London pub guides take you from one pub to the next, but I have purposely avoided the term pub crawl for a reason; good beer and good buildings are part of our heritage and not to be rushed.
And talking of authentic, historic London taverns, something else CAMRA have been doing this week is debunking some pubby urban myths.
In order to London find those establishments worthy of the special Pubs in Time plaque, School of Economics academic Simon Davies had to painstakingly research pubs across the country which claimed "to have played a pivotal role in historical events" (oh, what a nightmare job that must have been).
Of course along the way Simon found a few people had, shall we say 'exaggerated', their claims to fame: "The great poet John Dryden was supposedly nearly killed in an alleyway next to one London pub, but CAMRA discovered the alley was not built until 71 years after his death," while others had just disappeared: "The Roebuck in London’s King’s Road where Johnny Rotten auditioned for the Sex Pistols is now a restaurant.”
There are two London pubs that have made the shortlist of 14 who will receive the first round of plaques though. And they are: The Town of Ramsgate on Wapping High Street where "the infamous Judge Jeffries, who presided over the Bloody Assizes, enjoyed his last moments of freedom before being captured and beaten while waiting for a passage from London," and the Clissold Arms in N2 which saw "the first public performance of Ray and Dave Davies, founding members of the Kinks, in December 1960."
London Pub Walks is priced £8.99 and available from CAMRA or by calling 01727 867201.