Saffron Hill used to be main north / south thorough-fare round here before the wonderous Fleet was wickedly covered over, and the Farringdon Road was created. It was a very dodgy area by all accounts, so I'm sure many an interesting character has had many an interesting time in The One Tun in its long history. But I must admit from the outside it does a bit plain, smart but plain. I was expecting a comfy, modernised identi-kit central London pub, like so many more. Bar-staff in smart black shirts and name-badges, and not really wanting to be there. Beer battered fish, and 'famous' pies, Greene King IPA and all that. Not bad things, but very common. So in I went ... and oh! What a lovely surprise.
What a lovely, cosy, airy, unpretentious boozer. They had music on - but it was very quiet and it was the Top 100 soft-love-ballads on VH1 or something like that. Not at all intrusive, so we'll let them off there. The furnishings were how I like it, soft chairs & banquettes, proper pub tables of the sort that are designed for socialising rather eating. Carpet! Wallpaper! AND wood panels! A trendy-design-advocate would probably have a heart-attack, but this is exactly what is required from a pub. Pubs should never be trendy. Trendy is an awful thing. Short-sighted. Daft. Trends by definition don't last. This pub is real. It should last.
So to the bar, and some important drinking of fine ale - which is what a pub like this is all about. The bar area is wonderfully cluttered with souviners and knick-knacks, giving a nice personal touch. And above is a beautiful illuminated pub sign. I like that font! The choice was good - four ales to choose from... I forget which tho. They all looked good if I remember rightly. I went for a glass of Cumberland Ale at 4% for £1.65. Very decent it was. By the door to a very secluded beer garden (or should they be 'smoking' gardens now?) there is a corner dedicated to photos of locals and punters and general good pub times. A good sign of a good pub that values its customers - and knows what a pub is about.
|Round the corner|
On the wall opposite the bar they had lists of all the Prime Ministers since the pub opened, and also our Monarchs. But most interestingly they'd also put up a list of all the publicans that had been there. Fascinating stuff! I did notice that the current tenants are by far the longest serving - 20 years this year. I think the landlady spotted me looking at it, so I asked her about it. She was very proud of the list - a rightly so! It took them 2 years to research. She was also rightly proud that they were the longest serving. I asked them if they were going to have a celebration on their 20th anniversary - "Every night is a celebration in here!" chuckled the very affable landlord. What lovely people.
|The guv'nors, new & old.|
|The guv'nors, new & old!|
It was very quiet, being around 3 or 4o'clock, just a couple of lads sat round the corner. Two more men came, and mentioned they were on a pub crawl. They were retired and seemed to spend their time travelling round the country visiting football grounds, guided by a Good Beer Guide. It's a hard life! They'd already been to all 92 league grounds at least twice, and were off to White Hart Lane that evening. So while we talked football, pubs & beer I got another drink. A 1/2 of Harvey's Best for £1.60.
This was my first visit here, although I'd walked past many times I'd never been tempted in before. I think maybe because the frontage looks a bit intimidating? I don't know. But I think now it will be my pub of choice when I'm round Farringdon way. A wonderful, friendly, no-nonsense boozer - no doubt all thanks to Caroline & David, happy 20th! Committed landlord make a good pub. And may you reign long. See you soon.
|A-top a top pub.|