Warwick Avenue

Warwick Avenue station first opened on 31st January 1915, exactly 100 years ago today, as part of the Baker Street and Waterloo Railway’s extension from Paddington to Queens Park. When I visited a couple of weeks back, the service information board already had a notice about the 100th birthday and a clip-art photo of a cake.

The station itself has no presence above ground, the ticket hall is accessed via two subways on either side of Warwick Avenue itself. On the platforms themselves, the station is listed as Warwick Avenue for Little Venice – Little Venice being the area in which the Paddington section of the Grand Union Canal meets the main Canal itself, forming a little harbour area. Warwick Avenue would also serve as the answer to a good pub quiz question, namely songs that share their names with London tube stations. In this case, it was the song from Welsh singer Duffy(where is she now?!) back in 2008.

The Pub: The Warwick Castle, 6 Warwick Place, W9 2PX

As a road, Warwick Avenue is made up of grand, imposing Victorian houses. The pub is a couple of minutes south down the Avenue, on a quiet little side street called Warwick Place. It too is based in an impressive Victorian building, dating back to 1867. I particularly liked the grand old street lamp that hangs in front of the pub.

The interior is also suitably traditional, the main room around the bar is wood panelled throughout and stained glass windows. There was also a roaring open fire on our visit which was much needed as it was a freezing day! The side room has an impressive chandelier and the marble fireplace which the pub’s website refers to as being mentioned in the ‘Treasures of Maida Vale.’ There is also some outside seating at the front of the pub. As its a quiet little street, I can imagine it being a nice spot in summer.

On the ale side of things, three were available when we dropped in – the dependable Doombar and Wandle, as well as Twickenham’s Naked Ladies – the name of which was inspired by the water nymphs in York House Gardens in Twickenham. We didn’t eat here but plenty of people around us were enjoying hearty Sunday Roasts.

The Warwick Castle is a friendly, traditional pub. If you find yourself enjoying the delights of Little Venice in the Summer,  definitely pop here for a drink afterwards!

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Goldhawk Road

Goldhawk Road station first opened on 1st April 1914 on the Hammersmith and City Railway, part of the Metropolitan Railway. The line that we know now as the Hammersmith and City Line only came into being in 1990, when the Hammersmith and Barking route was separated from the wider Metropolitan Line identity, along with the East London Line. This is how it appeared in maps prior to this. It joined the Circle Line in 2009 when the route was extended to Hammersmith and the Circle broken at Edgware Road.

Like all intermediate stations between Paddington and Hammersmith on this line, there are no platform indicators. Instead you get a PA system announcing how many minutes away the train is from various stations – if you’re heading into the City, Goldhawk Road is first, conversely if you’re heading to Hammersmith its last. You can also enquire at the information points, although when we tried it some bloke just told us 10minutes but the train arrived well ahead of that.

The Pub: Brewdog Shepherds Bush, 15-19 Goldhawk Road, W12 8QQ

Goldhawk Road marks my first visit to a Brewdog pub. Spawned from the Scottish Brewery that began life in 2007, their first bar opened in 2010 in Aberdeen and there are now several across the country and a few abroad too. It’s a short walk from the station, down Goldhawk Road itself towards Shepherds Bush Common. The Brewdog is just before the Common.

As you can imagine, there is a substantial beer list here. Many of them pack quite a punch so look carefully before buying. Their usual staples like Punk IPA and Brixton Porter are available in addition to many others.  ‘Beer cocktails’ and even Beer Milkshakes were also available on our visit but I wasn’t really in the right mood to take the plunge. They also do food here, mainly burgers, wings and fries.

The interior is kitted out in a stripped back, industrial-esque vibe, with wooden tables and bar stools. There are also booths dotted around the edges of the room and by the windows. It all felt very open on our visit which is in part due to the large front windows looking out on the street. I think the laid back jazz music also helped!

Towards the back of the pub, there are a couple of old arcade and pinball machines. I performed woefully on the AC/DC table, but it was fun while it lasted and the machines signs off with a gruff rock voice saying ‘Thank you’ when your go ends. As well as that, there are a collection of board games too.

In short, this is a nice, spacious pub. It’s definitely worth a visit  – it’s also very close to the Shepherds Bush Empire so a good spot for pre gig drinks!

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West Harrow

West Harrow station first opened on 17th November 1913, between Harrow on the Hill and Rayners Lane on the Metropolitan Railway. I think it ranks as probably the most basic and uninspiring station, architecturally and structurally, I’ve come across so far for the blog.

The platforms are empty and desolate bar two non-descript shelters. The one on our platform was locked so it wouldn’t have been much help anyway. The route from the platforms to the street is even more ramshackle – a small corrugated shed type structure offers minimal protection from the elements but the rest of the route is an uncovered path.  The small ticket hall is pretty basic too. The whole thing feels like it was a built in a hurry on the cheap during the underinvestment of the 1980s. It certainly feels like it deserves an upgrade!  Waiting for a tube here on these exposed platforms on cold winters days can’t be much fun!

The Pub: The Shaftesbury, Shaftesbury Avenue, HA2 0AJ

It’s all very suburban around the tube station so it’s about a ten minute walk to the pub. Head out of the station onto Vaughan Road, turning onto Drury Road. Keep along here until you veer right on Whitmore Road and then down onto Porlock Avenue which leads you onto the Shaftesbury Circle. This 1930s circular collection of shops and restaurants also houses The Shaftesbury, nestled incongruously among them.

I think the pub only reopened a couple of years ago; everything seemed in decent enough condition when we visited. There wasn’t any ale on when we visited, although it looks like they usually have Greene King IPA,  but a pint of San Miguel only set me back £3.30 which can’t be bad. The signs suggest they do Sunday roasts here and Thai food during the week.

Its quite a sport focused pub as you’d imagine from the England flags. There are a couple of pool tables and a dart board in the back area of the pub which I guess is the games room. The Salisbury was also advertising regular Poker Nights and ‘Killer Pool’, which sounds intriguing. The TVs in here were split between showing At the Races and a movie on Channel 5.

There are a number of pictures of Old Harrow on the walls, as well as a 1940s advert for the Underground saying it will take you to the heart of the country – ‘Harrow, Sudbury or Perivale’ For what seems like the first time in ages on the crawl, we also came across a quiz machine. In an even rarer occurrence, we even won £5 on Pub Quiz and were a couple of questions off a tenner!

The Shaftesbury is a decent enough boozer in an area that’s really barren on the pub front. If you want a drink round here, this is probably your only option!

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Ruislip Manor

Ruislip Manor first opened on 5th August 1912, as an infill station between Ruislip and Eastcote on both the Metropolitan and District Railways. Like many others in these parts, the station itself served as the catalyst for housing development in the local area. The District Line services were transferred to the Piccadilly Line in October 1933.

By the 1930s, the growing demand necessitated the reconstruction of the station – this rural looking image from the London Transport Museum of the old station shows how much things changed.  The buildings do have that definite ’30s air to them but lack some of the gravitas of the Charles Holden efforts. However that isn’t to say there aren’t a few nice touches lurking around the station – I especially liked the art deco clock on the wall of the subway linking the two platforms. There is also a rather craftily located bench in an alcove half way up the steps to the platforms.

Where Ruislip Manor really comes into its own is the railway bridge as you exit the station. It is lit up in a wide array of dazzling colours and is definitely the most striking illuminations I’ve seen so far on the crawl. On dark and gloomy winter evenings, I think it’s just what the Dr ordered, although it might get a little trying if you lived very close by…

The Pub: J.J Moon’s, 12 Victoria Road, HA4 0AA

J.J’s is right by the station, just head up the road, passing under the light show railway bridge and you’ll come to the pub.  J.J Moon’s is the first Wetherspoons, I’ve visited since The Coronet on Holloway Road.

As far as the interior goes, it’s a pretty standard spoons layout. Wooden finish and well lit throughout, there are two sections – the area around the bar and then a raised section towards the back of the pub. There was a sign saying that area is reserved for people eating during ‘club'(i.e: curry club) nights. On the Thursday I visited, nobody seemed fussed we were just having a drink here initially. One curious thing is the illustrations of owls, pelicans and other animals on the pub walls.

JJs had a strong range of ales on, including London Pride, Bombardier, Doombar, Broadside and even Alan Partridge’s favourite, Directors. You can also get all of these as part of the beer and burger(and other food) deals – spoons have now expanded the range as I’m sure it just used to be a pint of Ruddles Best/the cheapest ale they had. Talking of cheap, the beer and burger deal costs a mere £5.49 here, it must be some sort of outer London tariff.

JJ Moons is a perfectly decent Wetherspoons. You won’t find anything unexpected here but it’s fine to have a pint here. The burger wasn’t too bad either!

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Stamford Brook

Stamford Brook first opened on 1st April 1912 on the District Railway, between the existing Turnham Green and Ravenscourt Park stations.

The station has a traditional ticket hall with old style lamps and the crest above the entrance way, like other stations on the District and Hammersmith and City Line in West London. A small claim to fame for Stamford Brook is it was the first tube station where ticket barriers were installed. This took place back in 1964 and is captured in this Pathe News film.

The Pub: The Cross Keys, 57 Black Lion Lane, W6 9BG

The Cross Keys is just under 10 minutes walk from the station. Head south down Goldhawk Road to reach Chiswick High Street, head east along it until you reach Black Lion Lane, the Cross Keys is a short distance down the road, nestling amongst very charming West London townhouses.

Despite looking rather small from the outside, it’s quite large inside. It was near-on packed to the rafters on our Friday night visit, but we just about managed to grab a table near the bar. The red ceiling, frosted glass windows and wooden bar give the interior a traditional feel.  The back rooms have a more spacious vibe, in part due to the higher ceilings. There is also an outside seating area for those sunnier days ahead.

Its a Fullers pub so you’ve got their standard range of ales available on tap. On the food front, I had a very tasty burger, the rest of the menu seemed like solid pub fare. There is a dart board in the main room and they have a Sky Sports Licence too. Talking of sports, there are a number of trophies above the bar.

What really stood out for me about the Cross Keys was how it seemed like a real neighbourhood pub, with plenty of regulars. Apparently it is also frequented by some famous faces including James May who himself starred in adverts for London Pride not too long ago. Lady Gaga also visited back in 2010, although I doubt she had an ale.

In short, The Cross Keys is a cracking pub. It’s friendly, lively and well looked after! It’s not too far from Hammersmith and well worth the trek.

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Moor Park

Moor Park first opened on the Metropolitan Railway as Sandy Lodge on 9th May 1910. It was renamed as Moor Park and Sandy Lodge in 1923. It gained its present name in 1950.

The station was rebuilt in 1959 – the platforms have been left fairly bare bar a couple of small shelters which adds to the remoteness you feel out here. I rather liked the ticket office building – it’s pretty small and unassuming but has that functional ’50s feel to it.

Right from when I started the blog, I had been looking forward to coming to Moor Park. My initial look on a map suggested the station was slap bang between golf courses and forests! Indeed, when I got off here I was struck by the greenery that surrounded me. It couldn’t be further removed than the last stop I visited, Dollis Hill.

The Pub: Ye Olde Greene Manne, Batchworth Heath, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, WD3 1QB

Given its a sparsely populated area,  it’s a bit of a walk to the pub. The route, up Main Avenue from the station and then along Astons Road and Batchworth Lane, takes you along wide, leafy avenues populated with very spacious houses.

Ye Olde Greene Man immediately jumps out as an archetypal country pub in a large building, complete with mock tudor frontage. Inside, the low ceiling and wooden beams further add to the traditional atmosphere. The pub’s walls are decorated with photos of the area in days gone by.  There are plenty of comfy seats dotted around the place. The pub is divided in various sections, we went in the area by the bar as it felt less orientated to diners than the rest of the Greene Manne.

On our visit, there were a couple of solid ales on tap in the shape of London Pride and Brakespears Bitter. It feels like quite a ‘foody’ pub and we saw plenty of people eating here.  Given its countryside setting, there is outside seating both in the back garden and also in a small area infront of the pub. Ye Olde Greene Man has made it onto the big screen too,  appearing as a setting in films like Raiders of the Lost Ark and Withnail and I, and far less surprisingly, Midsomer Murders.

The Olde Greene Man is fine country pub. If you find yourself at Moor Park for whatever reason, a cheeky round of golf perhaps, it is well worth the 30 minute or so schlep from the station to reach it.

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Dollis Hill

Dollis Hill first opened on the 1st October 1909 on the Metropolitan Railway. In 1931 it was renamed as Dollis Hill and Gladstone Park, however it reverted to its original name two years later. In 1939 the Bakerloo Line began calling it, with Metropolitan Line services withdrawn the following year. In 1979, it along with the entirety of the Stanmore Branch, was transferred over to the new Jubilee Line.

Architecturally, the station doesn’t really have any stand out features, with the standard shelters on the platforms seen at other stops on the Jubilee Line stations north of Baker Street. A bit of colour has been provided in the subway in the shape of artwork from Amanda Duncan, which combine historic maps of the local area with ‘interpretations of classic star maps’, according to Wikipedia anyway.

The Pub: Tony’s Bar, 356-360 High Road, NW10 2EG

Getting off at Dollis Hill, the first impression I got was the area around the station had seen better days – it all seemed a little bleak! Nearby the station, we stumbled on the slightly odd sight of model iron(I assume!) horses in a scrapyard. Our original plan was to visit 8s but this looked rather forboding so we went for Tony’s Bar instead. To reach it, head down Cooper Road from the station onto Dudden Hill Lane. From there, head down Colin Road to reach the High Road where you’ll find the pub.

Tony’s is an Irish pub – with references to the Gaelic Games around the place. There are a number of trophies above the bar which have probably been won by teams linked to the pub.The pub has poker and live music nights. It has a number of TVs – At The Races was on when we visited, but they also advertise showing live Football and Rugby.

Sadly there were no ales on tap so we had to make do with lager. Tony’s does serve food along basic pub grub lines, burgers, soup, sandwiches and the like, as well as steaks from their grill menu.  As suburban pubs go, Tony’s was fine. That said, I doubt if you want a pint in these parts you’d have many other places to choose from!

(The pub has no website.)