The finest pub view in all London
Ladies and gentlemen, this week we welcome back Ed. You loved his last post so much that I’ve invited him to be a regular on here. This post has got me in the mood for summer. Apricot cider anyone? (Sorry Ed, I had to include at least one line of fruitiness in here).
Sam Smith pubs
When I tell people I work in a church, more often than not they assume I must be religious.
While I dig the whole spiritual side and adore the music, I really have no faith at all. In fact the closest I’ve come to an act of devotion is a pilgrimage to the small North Yorkshire town of Tadcaster.
Perhaps calling it a pilgrimage is a little strong, but since moving to London four years ago, this small town, many miles away, has been the inspiration for any number of great nights. For Tadcaster is, right at its heart, a brewery town.
Both John Smith and Coors are brewed there, but my interest is in a much smaller and far more interesting name; Samuel Smith, Yorkshire’s oldest brewery at 255 years old and more importantly, independent.
Ok, but what am I doing on Lady Loves Cake talking about a Yorkshire brewery? Well, you’re all well-used to Kat unearthing some of the very best and quirky places to eat and drink in London, and when it comes to interesting pubs, Sam Smith has the monopoly.
Inside the M25, this small brewery runs almost 40 pubs, some of them well known, each of them interesting in its own way.
It’s likely you may know Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, a favourite of Charles Dickens; or the Princess Louise, with it’s wonderful duck-under bar dividers; or the Cittie of Yorke, with its intimate booths. If you’ve been on a summer’s walk along the Thames, you may have stopped at the wonderfully situated Angel or the magnificently restored Captain Kidd for some refreshment. And if you’ve been out in Soho, chances are you will have passed the John Snow, now infamous as the scene of the 2011 gay kiss scandal.
First and foremost, all Sam Smith pubs have character.
The next thing to note is what they sell – and more importantly, what they don’t sell. In a pub world dominated by Stella for the boys and Jacob’s Creek for the girls, you won’t find any of that in one of Sam’s pubs. In fact, nothing you’ll find is branded in any way. No Carlsberg. No Smirnoff. No Gordon’s. No Walkers. Everything is either Sam Smith’s own brand or essentially white label.
This may sound odd, and at times it does seem to confuse a punter or two, but what’s on offer more than makes up for what isn’t. All of the beers are worth a try, especially the Taddy lager and Old Brewery bitter. And some genius also came up with the Alpine lager – all the taste of a good pint but only 2.8% alcohol – perfect for school night drinking! There’s also an extensive range of bottled ciders and beers in all kinds of flavours – I’d heard of raspberry and strawberry beer, but apricot is new on me!
The best find, however, is the gin and tonic – for some reason it just tastes better than a Gordon’s and Schweppes – I don’t know why, it just does.
When it comes to food, it’s straight down the line pub fayre – nothing to write home about, but big, tasty and cheapy-cheap-cheap. Most pubs run a similar menu, but some are slightly more gastro-conscious than others.
Some of you who read Lady Loves Cake may be regular pub-goers, and others not. All I can say is that if you’re looking for a pub which shows all the best of what a good old-fashioned pub should really be, if you see the white Yorkshire rose, you’re onto a winner.
Ed’s Top 5 London Sam Smith pubs:
5. The Rising Sun, Cloth Fair, EC1A
A cute pub, with plenty of board games
4. The Cittie of Yorke, High Holborn, WC1V
One of the bigger Sam Smith’s pubs with excellent private booths
3. The Glasshouse Stores, Brewer Street, W1F
Like the Tardis, bigger on the inside that you’d imagine
2. The Captain Kidd, Wapping High Street, E1W
Wonderfully restored riverside pub with plenty of history
1. The Angel, Bermondsey Wall East, SE16
Off the beaten track and without a doubt, the finest pub view in all of London
A cat which greets you outside the Angel
Find your local Sam Smith pub, both in London and across the country:
There is also a Sam Smith pub finder app called: Find-a-Smith.