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London Tube Pub Challenge: one man is drinking his way around all the Underground stations

Posted at 6:30 pm, March 17, 2014 in Food & Drink, Transport
Anglesea exterior ©Sam Cullen

Over the last year, Sam Cullen has been on a one-man mission to visit a pub for every station on the tube map. Timed to coincide with the tube’s 150th birthday, the ‘London Tube Pub Challenge’ started at Paddington, where the first Underground journey began on the Metropolitan Railway on January 9 1863, and so far he’s since visited 103 stations. After visiting so many pubs, Sam admitted that it was hard to choose his favourites, but we forced him to narrow it down to a neat ten.

The Anglesea Arms (South Kensington, Piccadilly, Circle and District lines)
‘The Anglesea Arms is a pub oasis in the desert of tourist nick-nack shops you get around South Ken and the museums. The red walls, mellow lighting and wood panelling throughout help create a warm, cosy atmosphere. It’s also got great beer, especially Harvey’s Sussex Best.  It’s a fine example of how a British pub should be!’

Atlas exterior ©Sam Cullen

The Atlas (West Brompton, District line and London Overground)
‘You’d miss it if you didn’t know it was there. The Atlas is tucked away down a side street just past the station and it’s a really light, airy and welcoming pub. I think it has the perfect balance between the modern gastro market while keeping the spirit of a traditional pub. We came for one and ended up staying all night, which says it all really.’

White Cross exterior ©Sam Cullen

White Cross (Richmond, District line and London Overground)
‘Richmond is blessed with plenty of good pubs so this one was a very hard choice. In the end we went for the White Cross because it’s got a light, smart interior and large windows facing out to the river. Its outside area is where it comes into its own as you can drink beside the Thames and a have lovely view of the nearby area. An essential stop if you’re nearby!’

Dirty Dicks  ©Sam Cullen

Dirty Dicks (Liverpool Street, Central, Circle, Hammersmith and City and Metropolitan lines)
‘A great pub with real history. You can’t miss it with its bright neon red sign! The ‘Dirty Dick’ in the pub’s name is Nathaniel Barley, whose fiancée died on the eve of their wedding, leaving his wedding cake untouched and providing the inspiration for poor old Miss Havisham. This pub has real character; the wooden beams and low ceiling reminded me of the Medieval Zone from the Crystal Maze for some reason.’

Grange Exterior ©Sam Cullen  

The Grange (Ealing Common, Piccadilly and District lines)
‘The Grange sits perfectly with the suburban atmosphere round Ealing Common. From the outside, it even looks like a village railway station. As well the colourfully illuminated garden, there is a conservatory and summer house.  The impressive garden and laid back homely interior make it well worth going to.’

Trinity Exterior ©Sam Cullen

Trinity (Harrow on the Hill, Metropolitan line)
‘This was my first visit to the outer limits of London – and it didn’t disappoint. There’s £2 drinks on Tuesdays and Thursdays, plus a classic rock vibe, with live music upstairs and a good atmosphere all round. You even get free peanuts if you ask behind the bar. If only central London drinks were so cheap!’

Blind Beggar Exterior  ©Sam Cullen

The Blind Beggar (Whitechapel, Hammersmith and City and District lines)
‘Doing a blog combining London history and drinking, I couldn’t have missed out where the Krays committed murder in broad daylight! Given the changing demographics, the pub has a more hipster clientele these days and the garden has rather funky fibre-optic lighting.  The interior retains enough of that traditional East End feel to make it well worth visiting.’

Coach and Horses Exterior ©Sam Cullen

Coach and Horses
(Rickmansworth, Metropolitan line)

‘This has been my favourite of the ‘rural’ pubs. It’s got a lovely interior that feels like an old barn with good ales too. When I dropped in, squirrels in the trees surrounding the spacious garden added to that countryside feel. Coming somewhere like here reminded me just how far out the tube goes and the massive variety of the areas it serves.’

Brown Derby Exterior  ©Sam Cullen

Brown Derby (Oval, Northern line)
‘This place was totally different to anywhere else I’ve visited.  With the dark lighting and exposed brickwork, in many ways it feels more like a bar but at the same time boasts a great selection of ales on tap and hearty pub food. It has a unique and eclectic range of decorations inside with an old jukebox and various globes wrestling for your attention. My personal favourite is the hypnotic leaf shaped fans.

Victoria Exterior  ©Sam Cullen

The Victoria (Lancaster Gate, Central line)
‘A brilliant example of an ornate, Victorian era pub. The downstairs bar has grand old lamps running along it while the upstairs room is decked out as theatre bar, complete with faux-balcony. This is a fine Fullers pub in the heart of Zone 1. Charles Dickens even used to pop in from time to time when he was writing ‘Our Mutual Friend.’ It is even rumoured Queen Victoria herself once visited.’

Read more of Sam’s adventures at innsidetrack.wordpress.com or follow him on Twitter on @innsidetrack.

To see more of London’s great pubs click here.

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