Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Lies the Brits Told Me...

The drinking laws in Britain changed last fall, now permitting licensed establishments to serve alcohol 24 hours a day. Critics were convinced that such liberalization would result in "drink-fuelled Armageddon".

Well, it hasn't. Trust me. I've been looking.

The problem is that even though pubs CAN be licensed to stay open and serve 24/7, hardly any of them do. Most of the pubs in London still shut down around 11pm. Even mainstream hotel bars call last orders sometime between midnight at 2am. And last January, when Sheena frantically tried to google the address of the Maple Leaf Pub in a last ditch attempt to find a broadcast of the midnight-GMT-start final of the World Junior Hockey tournament, she was informed not to bother cabbing it over, they were closing at 11:30pm.

Last night after watching England tie the Swedes in a less-than-electric tepid hotel bar full of disappointed patrons who blew 3 quid on cover charge so the bar could rent a giant screen TV for the month, we popped over to the Canary Wharf location of All Bar One in an effort to find civilized conversation and perhaps some interesting tapas to kill the aftertaste of the pub pizza.
ABO is a great spot after work - designer gins, good wine list (including the lovely D'Arenberg Hermit Crab which is Sheena's 2nd favourite white), and all sorts of neat Pimm's concoctions.

The quality of the service changed quite drastically between our 7pm visit and our 10:45pm visit. At 7pm, the Pimm's Royale (Pimm's topped off with Moet & Chandon) had fruit slices and ice. At 10:45 it was plain. The kitchen shut down right as we walked in the door and we were rushed with the drink order because it was nearing 11. And despite the extensive gin list, they couldn't make a martini. Everything seemed so needlessly difficult. So my companion settled for a Blighty Mojito. Gin instead of white rum. And cucumbers added in with the mint.

Cucumbers. Ironic, eh? Trying to get pickled and all we get are cucumbers.


At 12:12 PM, Blogger Leatherhands said...

Anecdotal British drinking commentary, reminisced from a European concert tour in the late eighties:
Canadian road crew: Drank too much one night and were forced to set up while hung over the next day. We had a good laugh at their expense.
Brit road crew: Bailed out of jail three times over a three week period for drinking too much every night and brawling with "fucking Nazis" in Germany, "Cheap Irish bastards" in Ireland, and "Some French fuckers who looked at us funny" in Belgium.
Lovely drinking buddies, they.

At 5:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

as a scottish presbyterian, i must say there is no reason for drinking with company past 8:00 pm

At 5:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

great photo montage, by the way, sheena. it should be in every childbirth class.

At 8:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Do you have any crackho pictures?



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