I like wedge shaped pubs. There is just something about them, the way they sit astride two roads with a "Look at me, aren't I bloody great?" sort of way. They are always interesting inside too, with quirky layouts and all the better if they have floor to ceiling windows from which you can smugly peer at those unlucky enough not to be inside supping ale. Well that's the theory anyway, so how does an actual one measure up in the real world?
The Finborough Arms is a wedge shaped pub, so there's a good thing right away. It is painted in a very fetching pale green that I have to say suits it. The second good thing is that it has been recently acquired by well known London licensee and ex beer blogger Jeff Bell, who has successfully - very successfully - built the Gunmakers in Clerkenwell into the thriving and popular pub it is now. The Finborough Arms it seems had been a wine bar for some years and has a small theatre above it. Well that should be a ready made "audience", so a flying start there. It is situated in a busy residential area in Brompton, just a few hundred yards from Earls Court Exhibition Centres, though Brompton West is your tube stop. The area around all looks pretty well heeled so, second tick in the box. The Finborough should attract customers, as I didn't see any other pubs in the immediate area.
But pubs are all about the offer aren't they? Here Jeff doesn't disappoint with a canny but solid offering of six handpumped beers, two real ciders and a gleaming array of tall keg fonts offering Koenig Pilsner as his "cooking lager" with Lagunitas IPA on a permanent pump too and, in a bit of a coup, Tipopils, an Italian pilsner of some repute, (though I have to say not to my taste), but doubtless an attraction to many.
On its opening night last night the place was bursting as you'd expect and was admirably run by Jeff in his usual ebullient way. His very efficient staff seemed to hit the ground running too. The beer - strictly middle of the road, but well thought out - Jeff knows his London public and what sells - was, as you'd expect, in top condition and cool. There won't be any problems in that direction. For those interested in such things, the bar is basically wedge shaped too, with one leg of the wedge dedicated to keg and t'other to cask. Toilets are both upstairs and downstairs and there is a further room and seating, though it looked a work in progress. The windows are just as you'd like too.
All in all impressive. He'll do fine.
Not sure if there will be food, but I did see pickled eggs if that'll help.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer author, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
This blog mentions specifics; pubs and beer, good and bad. The opinions will be forthright, but you can always disagree, just don't be offended. Comments from those mentioned are particularly welcome and a right of reply is hereby offered.
The Royal William, Stowmarket, Suffolk
The best pub in town, according to the local CAMRA. Hidden away on a back street (but not far from the mock Elizabethan railway station). Ten real ales - all...
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