I decided to revisit some of my old drinking dens of times past & enjoy a few whiskeys along the way.
The High Cross, Tottenham N17
How could I resist this?
A recently opened micro bar in an elegantly designed 1920’s public toilet that I can’t recall ever using – despite living round the corner for years – but do remember passing daily.
It looks the same on the outside. You enter via the ‘LADIES’ – which is a little disconcerting being a man – and behold a white tiled space replete with chunky wooden tables & chairs. The bijou bar at the ‘GENTLEMEN’ end of the building offers a good selection of local craft beers, assorted spirits & a tasty range of wholesome bar food.
Spotting a Nikka From The Barrel on the top shelf I went for it.
This blended whisky drew me in with clean & fresh flavours offering decent depth & complexity – with a bit of bite from the 51.4% ABV too.
I’d happily have this one again.
The Beehive, Tottenham, N17
It’s probably around 30 years since I last had a drink in the Beehive.
I remember a traditional bar with carpeted floors, comfy sofas & polished wooden tables leading to a grassy beer garden.
I found a bare wooden floored open space – filling up with Spurs fans – leading to a concreted patio adorned with large sports screens.
Ah well – change is the only constant in London.
From the small whiskey selection Four Roses Single Barrel made my glass – or rather plastic cup – Spurs were playing.
Now Four Roses haven’t exactly bowled me over. Their entry Bourbon is decent enough – and this Single Barrel did boost the flavour experience with it’s higher ABV & higher rye content.
Just not enough character to enthrall me.
I toyed with The Ship – but the pre-match crowds were getting larger – so a short bus ride to Wood Green & a spot of lunch set me up for an invigorating walk up to the magnificent Ally Pally with it’s panoramic view over North London.
The Phoenix Bar, Alexandra Palace, N22
It felt like I’d just been taken back to the time my better half – now wife – and I spent an anxious few hours here over 20 years ago. All our worldly possessions were in a transit van nearby awaiting the exchange of contracts allowing us to move into our first flat down in Turnpike Lane at the foot – almost – of the wooded slopes beyond the fine windows of this very establishment.
A Dewar’s White Label was ordered.
Having just been introduced to the delights of Dewar’s 12 Year Old Ancestor blend – a lovely balanced example of peated Scotch – the White Label was rather more basic.
Aged – in this instance – is better.
The Great Northern Railway Tavern, Hornsey, N8
A fine venue to round off the day.
I found it poignant to be in London celebrating a 60th entering a bar where a memorable 30th was had by one sadly departed.
The Great Northern has had a facelift since then. Gone was the sticky carpet & shoddy armchairs. In was a sleek craft beer selection & fine foods with varnished floors & comfy seating.
The whiskey choice was a bit thin though.
I’d previously enjoyed a wonderful Compass Box here – but made do with Jura 10 this time.
A soft smudge of peat over a sweet caramelly base just didn’t cut it with me.
Never mind – It’s all part of the rich tapestry of life.
Bar of The Day – High Cross.
Whiskey of The Day – Nikka From The Barrel.