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Feb '18

Trip Report: London

In my usual lazy travel way, I choose one major thing to do each day – and today, that would be the Beefeater Gin Distillery!

Since the printer at the “business center” (one computer and a broken printer) was dead – I just took a photograph of the GoogeMaps page to find my way:

It was amazingly easy to find (after yesterday’s hour tromp around Hounslow).

I had a reservation for the noon tour, but got in on the 11:30 – and this distillery you could take photos, just no flash. I had time to chill in the gift shop whilst waiting:

The tour started in a self-guided history of Gin and Beefeaters that was WAY too much time, though if there was a group of 20, I could see the reason.

And then we were onto the real tour:

Liquor safes and a very pretty tour participant.

And the ORIGINAL still from the 1860’s, brought back to life to do their small batch specialty runs.

And then, what we were all waiting for!

Turns out our tour guide used to be the bartender at the Plymouth Gin Distillery I toured last week!

Discovered this (and a giant Tesco grocery store) on the stroll back to the tube station:

Yep, that would be the London Eagle – a gay leather bar. Since it doesn’t open until 9PM, no reason to wait around. Lots of cities around the world (including Seattle) have gay leather bars called The Eagle.

There were street stalls set up a couple of blocks from the hotel – and I had lunch from one of the food stands:

Complete with fruit stands, clothing stands, Polish honey stands:

My lunch – chicken over vegetarian noodles:

In the background you can see the Poundland (think Dollar store) that was closing that location so everything was 25% off – making it, with the exchange rate, one US dollar. Over the course of the visit, I was in there three times finding more things to fill the suitcase.

As I mentioned in the previous post, Hounslow is a long-term immigrant neighborhood, right down to the Transylvanian grocery store next to the Polish restaurant:

These days most of the residents are from the Middle East and India.

For breakfast the final day I went to one of the local pubs – which seem to all feature “British Pub Food” and some Indian/Asian menu:

I went for the full English breakfast for $GB 4.95.

That’s a lot of food! And it definitely was a pub:

My plan had been to tour the Sipsmith Gill Distillery today – but when I went to book, their tour was expensive ($GB 25) and didn’t start until 6:30 in the evening. Instead I wondered around the neighborhood for the afternoon.

Speaking of pubs, looked in the window of this historic “bandit” pub – which also served Thai food, but decided against it for dinner:

Opted for the Polish restaurant, only to find that they were cash only – and while it smelled great in there, the patrons thought I’d just landed from Mars. Instead I just said “fuck it” and went to the restaurant in the lobby of the hotel.

And boy was I surprised! The meal started out with one of the best Negronis I have ever had, complete with sour apple slice and blueberries:

I didn’t need a ton of food, so I just opted for the Mixed Grill starter:

Which turned out to be amazing.

Not bad for my last supper in London.

In the morning it’s back to The States and work.


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