Cider Crawl North Central London: Episode 1, The Queens Head

It’s Easter. That means it’s time to celebrate Jesus giving birth to the Easter Bunny with four night’s of boozing, without having to go to work with a hangover. And hot cross buns.

I’ve hurriedly arranged a cider crawl. My ciderkick is keen to escape the bunch of mental, drunk lasses from Rugby in his flat, and agrees to meet up and drink cider all day. Bless.

I’ve been meaning to visit a few pop-shops in the vicineritery of Kings Cross, London, for  some time. Thanks to some two thousand year old bloke in a dress, I now have the opportunity. With the help of my book: A London Pub for Every Occasion, and Google, I find a few gems that are ripe for the plucking.

Queens HeadWe meet at the Queens Head. I’ve been past this pub a couple of times and thought it would be nice to pop in, but it’s in rather a transition street, you know the sort–busy street but nowhere to stop–just off Gray’s Inn Road.

Inside, the pub is very traditional looking, like it’s been redecorated by a Victorian hipster. It has lots of wood, a fireplace, tiles, etched windows, even an upright piano. Great for a knees-up, though it tends to be more often a prodigal Chinese baby playing public pianos, than some jolly old geezer, these days. It’s about 3pm, so the place is not very busy. Plus it’s Easter, so every bugger has pissed off on holiday–if you count two weeks in Center Parcs with a pair of screaming brats a holiday!

Queens Head BarAt the bar, I ask for the Beesting. It’s a strong one, but I reckon I’ll start the day with a kick. Better than Ready Brek. Beesting is a 7.3% perry. Ok, so I start the cider crawl with a perry, that’s ok, I like a juicy pear as much as the next guy, but Lilley’s call their perry ‘pear cider’. I hope it is made from pears, and not just pear-flavoured cider. Just to clarify, calling perry ‘pear cider’ is like calling coffee ‘bean tea’,–just ain’t right. Stop it.

Beesting has a rather sweet taste, pear-drop like. I’d almost be fooled that this was a keg cider but it’s hazy and has a hint of old boat. It’s certainly easy drinking and one can’t tell it’s so strong.

However, this is a cider crawl, and this post is about finding places for good ciders (and perries). I do like the Queens Head. Not only did they grab the queensheadlondon domain name, but it feels like a friendly place, with a beer garden, several boxes of proper cider behind the counter (I should have asked what was available before I chose from the taps), and, as any self-respecting modern pub now has, a selection of books above the piano.

Bree Luise InsideHistory, community, proper booze–I’d like to have my own pub like this, I must come back when it’s busier, though I’m quite glad to have it almost all to myself. My ciderkick is checking the pub guide for the next location, but says he’s ‘more visual than reading’, so I show him where to go.

And so, we venture on to the second of the venues and ciders. Onwards and upwards–though backwards and lying down is more probable.

Verdict: 4/5

Gorgeous gem of a pub, I must come back on an evening, when I’ve had some practice for the piano.


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