After the exotic nature of our away-day to Liechtenstein, it was time to re-focus on our core business and undertake a pub crawl in London using public transport. Thus Stationlink presented itself as the ideal choice: a bus which goes to all of London's major railway termini in a circle.
The idea was actually cooked up by the stragglers of the Liechtenstein trip, while having a celebratory drink in the Shires in St Pancras station. As Tim put it: "Isn't there some bus that goes round all the stations? What about that?" Initially we thought we would actually visit the station pub in each case for example, Coopers in King's Cross, Coopers in Euston, and Coopers in Waterloo but we quickly realised that "the nearest pub to the station" might make for a better theme. Next it dawned on us that in most cases, everyone had been to the nearest pub to the station (probably in an attempt to avoid Coopers while waiting for a train), so we resolved to find the nearest pub to the station which no-one had been to before. This seemed like a strong idea (though you'll be pleased to learn that we did actually visit a couple of station pubs), so all we had to do was figure out where exactly Stationlink stopped, and how often the buses ran.
As you can see from this map, Stationlink takes in all the mainline railway stations apart from Charing Cross:
This seemed like a reasonable challenge ten pubs though we decided to separate out King's Cross and St Pancras because we felt like it. It became clear, however, that timing was going to be an issue, since Stationlink (at that time) ran approximately every hour from each stop. Still, having scrutinised the timetable, we felt confident that if we stuck to our schedule, we should be able to manage. How wrong we were.
The date we picked was Saturday 1 September 2001 (which is significant for English football fans, but we'll come to that later), and it looked like six of the group were going to be taking part: Alan, Pad, Tim, Simon, Alex and myself (Robert). However, on the morning of the crawl, Alex rang me with some half-arsed excuse about having a bad knee or something like that, which was basically a pathetic smokescreen for wimping out at the last minute.
Our first stop was to be Marylebone (the idea being to travel anti-clockwise around the route, ending at Euston). Unlike previous crawls, there were no particular rules or forfeits. However, the night before, I prepared some elaborate forms to be filled in for each pub, so that we would have a vague record of where we'd been and what we thought about the pub in question. So at each stop you will see a form like this, with a self-explanatory set of options in each of four categories:
There was also a section for additional comments (some of which are sadly illegible after the event), and we gave each pub an overall mark out of ten.
Anyway, that's more than enough explanation, I think, so on with the first pub. (Or, if you're bored already, you can go back to the home page.)