Friday, 17 January 2014

The Jerusalem Tavern - Clerkenwell

Beer fast becomes a hobby. Surprised by that first bottle or draught that actually had taste, so the curiosity begins. Before long copies of the Good Beer Guide appear on the coffee table, every trip to a new destination involves a consultation with Twitter, and now, with Untappd, each sip is recorded, each destination marked, and each badge cherished.

I'm still ignorant. That bottle of St. Peter's Ruby Red Ale sat in the fridge for a month. The strange shape telling me this was some weird spirit, to be avoided at all cost. Luckily, I know people who aren't so stupid and while reading the lines of Twitter one day, I realised that this was beer. Good beer from a good brewery. Unfortunately, someone else had already drunk it.

Not to worry. The information now committed to memory, when a lunchtime meeting was suggested in central London, The Jerusalem Tavern - a pub owned by St. Peter's - was my sole and selfish recommendation. A dogleg away from Farringdon Station, nestled between furniture designers and corporate PR agencies, the imposing doors of The Jerusalem Tavern stand solid and closed. People barely visible through the dark windows on either side, the only indication that the place is open. Inside, it's a tourist's dream. More wooden panels than wall space. Small tables in unexplained pokey corners. An Ollivander's Shop of a pub.

Pointless to say, but the beer is good too. A silky pint of bitter slips down easily, perhaps too easily. This is a haven of the lunch meeting that turns in to an all day session, and from the almost wall-to-wall suits sat there at 2 o'clock I'm not the first to think that. The food is well suited to this audience. The dishes slightly more complex than you'd find in a standard pub, providing a good excuse to meet here more regularly. Of course, the litmus test is still the burger and it didn't disappoint - medium-rare, a strong bun, and a healthy dash of salad. The chips, all four of them, did. Potato that thick takes some cooking and there was far too much of a starchy chew to this side.

Apparently, The Jerusalem Tavern isn't open at the weekends. That's a shame as I'll need a day off to complete my mission of one beer from each tap and one more day to recover. Alternatively, schedule a lunch meeting here, just don't expect to make it back to your desk that afternoon.

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