Monday, 3 February 2014

Pelt Trader - (City of) London

They were sat at a table for four. Two suits, drinks in hand, phones in hand. Texts flying from boy to girl. Where are you? What time are you coming home? What are we eating for dinner? He was still at work, definitely. And he wasn't being whipped in to leaving the pub, even if he had dared to tell her he was there. The drink disappeared quickly after that, so did the suits. Ah, a table freed by a relationship of fear, mistrust, dishonesty, or because I stood close to them and muttered quiet gibberish beneath my breath. I'll never know.

How do you explain the drinking culture of England? Downing tools at 5.00pm and streaming to the nearest bar to neck a lightning fast beer and jog for a 5.31pm train. Three tins before you head off on a night out. Seeing sunshine as an opportunity to start drinking from lunchtime. He drinks, that's what he does. Tin follows tin follows tin follows tin. Exercising the right to get paralytic and fight.

Okay, ignore the last one. The Streets weren't right about everything. The English just appreciate a good drink and, increasingly, good drink itself. The rise of beer with taste is impressive. A flood across the country that's worth celebrating. The idea that ordering by the half is (almost) acceptable - and at £3.40 the Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Sumpin' (7.5%) is well worth it. Ultra smooth. Although if you are going to drink six of them, you may as well order pints.

Pelt Trader is one of the many bars in London that scream C-R-A-F-T from the rooftop - if it had one. Buried beneath Cannon Street station, this Aladdin's Cave of beer is decorated as a tribute to Jebediah himself, complete with a canoe swinging above the bar. Decoration is slightly unnecessary in a place so simplistically brilliant. One room, one bar, tables, stools, and knowledgeable staff who work fast. On a Friday, the two at the table were representative of the wall-to-wall suits. Not a surprise given the location, but most thinned out for trains to the suburbs, country piles, or back to work by 7.00pm. Food also follows this basic formula. A couple of pizzas chalked on the board, available in large or extra-large and at a price so low it has to be the cheapest square foot in London. Delicious, even if my taste buds were rendered almost useless by such smooth sweet beer. A thin crisp base, healthy quantities of cheese, and simple toppings. Each slice large enough for two hands and sturdy enough to prevent too much tomato spraying over my jumper.

Maybe it's the dairy fat from two pizzas in my veins, or the bubbles from the Lagunitas in my brain, but I took a real shine to Pelt Trader. A place the old sailors, the fat drummer, and even Ahab would struggle to find fault with.

Here's to drinking.

1 comment: