RCA ‘On Tour’ Bars:Live
The world of bars and drinking venues is in a constant state of flux. But with nearly 60 racecourses and heaven knows how many bars amongst us we felt it was time for the RCA On Tour team to knuckle down and go on a bar crawl.
A gallant group of researchers from racecourses including York, Goodwood, Ascot and others set off, suitably after the yard arm, to work through an itinerary covering everything from the branded group to the most bleeding-edge independent.
Round 1. The Folly, from Drake & Morgan
Drake & Morgan really are the masterclass in the large format combined eating and drinking venues which have popped up, masquerading as independents, across London. Set over two floors in the City, The Folly seats 300 in an environment which suggest that drinking without eating is so very last year.
From the big chain to the biggest street food cluster you may have ever seen. To edgy Shoreditch and to the most fun we’ve had in street food and cocktails for years.
Onward and upwards..
Just across the way from Dinerama is The Tea Building, a Shoreditch behemoth, housing the achingly fashionable Pizza East. It may be only a pizza joint but when it’s next door to ultra-hip Shoreditch House hotel we know to expect more.
Resisting the temptation, yet again, to settle in we moved on. Up the Bethnal Green Road to a ‘rediscovered’ traditional London pub.
Round 4. The Well & Bucket, Brick Lane
The old ‘Well & Bucket’ is a traditional Truman’s pub, just down the road from the famed Truman Brewery on Brick Lane.
All the elements of the old London pub and Oyster House appear to be intact. But on closer examination you find that this pub reflects the largest social change recorded in London in the last 80 years. Gone are the Pearly Kings and Queens, gone the rhyming slang. In its place we have the Hoxton Hipsters with trimmed beards and a flat white in hand.
It’s around this time that we lost some of our team.
Round and round…
Perhaps the coolest, and most popular places in London just now are the ones you can’t get into. These are the new generation Speakeasies of which The Mayor of Scaredycat Town (yes that’s a real name) is one of the best. On the ground floor these innocuous eateries hide a dark secret. For each has a large fridge, and through the fridge (yes you walk in through it) is a private passage to a basement speakeasy. Of course we no longer have prohibition – now we just have marketing and social media. It’s just as effective.
Round about 6
Strolling on we arrive at Mission, one of East London’s most celebrated new world wine bars.
This might be famous but it didn’t do it for us. Obsequious staff, one ‘that’ll be cool Guys’ too many and an interior which we cannot remember. Most memorable of all was being offered a chilled bottle of orange wine, perhaps it was getting late. Duly tried and rejected by our discerning team we drank up (waste not want not!) and shuffled along.
That Paul Swain, who is from Hull and knows his pies, is a bit of a fan of our last haunt, Hawksmoor. This highly regarded temple to beef is known for its excellent and full priced steak. What fewer people seem to know is that they also run a mean cocktail bar in Spitalfields.
Off we go downstairs and are ushered into a deep booth seating ten. It’s been a long day but the team push on. All we have to say about this last venue is pure quality. Excellent at-table service, beautiful cocktails, well chilled beers, thrice fried chips in Lime Pickle Mayo, try that one at home, and the very best XO Chicken Wings.
Round and round
After 8 hours of eating and drinking the grown ups in the group crawled off, team Goodwood were off to a party and the younger members went in search of another speakeasy. For those of you who couldn’t make it we’ll try and update this next year – so get your drinking boots on and we’ll see you there.