Following various comments with regards to venue for next months Bloggers Social, usually via e-mail, I decided to find somewhere which had a TV and outside tables.
Now as I have already stated, I put down St. Stephen's Tavern or The Coal Hole as possible venues, but decided that a little rece was in order. Was going to do a spot of shopping in Cambridge today, but felt that this was more important ;). So I spent this afternoon scouting for a suitable venue in the Westminster/Covent Garden area.
So here are the candidates:
NAME: St Stephen's Tavern
LOCATION: Next to Westminster Tube Station and right opposite Big Ben.
EXPERIENCE: Been there for the odd social and/or meal. Plus it has lately become a casual venue for the Christian Socialist Movement Youth youth group's after-meetings drinks.
OUTSIDE SEATING: Zero.
INDOOR TELEVISION: Zero.
AMBIENCE: Delightful. Bit like a small gentlemen's club upstairs. Mock Pugin, with green leather chairs and benches. Hmm, wonder why that is! ;)
OUT OF FIVE: Three and a half. It failed on one and a half points for not taking advantage of the football season. Geography mean that outside chairs and tables are a non starter.
NAME: Westminster Arms
LOCATION: Opposite Westminster Abbey, next to Methodist Central Hall and directly opposite the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre. Nearest Tube, St James'
EXPERIENCE: Been there for the odd pint with a mate. Also occasional casual meeting place for Christian Socialist Movement Youth Group's after-meetings drinks.
OUTSIDE SEATING: As you can see, the odd table and chair.
INDOOR TELEVISION: Yes. Flat screen in front of entrance.
AMBIENCE: Okay. Downstairs a bit like an old tavern, but sadly that is closed by half'six and that is the non smoking area.
OUT OF FIVE: Four. Indoor smoking with no obvious room for avoidance
NAME: The Red Lion
LOCATION: On the border between Whitehall and Parliament Street. Directly opposite the Treasury.
EXPERIENCE: Semi-regular when socialising in London, but personally now prefer St Stephen's Tavern, as it has more room.
OUTSIDE SEATING: A couple of tables and benches down the side of the building.
INDOOR TELEVISION: Opposite the Bar, but not often any sound from my experience.
AMBIENCE: Nice and comfortable, with interesting tidbits of the history of Parliament on the walls, but can get easily crowded.
OUT OF FIVE: Three. It's drawback is the semi-claustrophobia it can induce at peak times. But hey, it's a very popular place!
Actually there doesn't appear to be a pub down there. Best move on!
NAME: The Clarence
LOCATION: Towards the end of Whitehall, facing Trafalgar Square.
EXPERIENCE: I think I have been there for the odd pub lunch
OUTSIDE SEATING: None
INDOOR TELEVISION: Must be one, they are advertising the World Cup on the banner
AMBIENCE: Unless I have got my vague memories mixed, it is spacious with some enclaves.
OUT OF FIVE: Four. No outside seating.
NAME: The Coal Hole
LOCATION: The Strand. Directly opposite Covent Garden market.
EXPERIENCE: Have been there with a few friends from time to time. Note there are two doors there. The one on the left of The Coal Hole leads to a wine bar. My friend Liz recommended this place to me some years ago and I regard her has an expert and connoisseur in picking places to hang out.
OUTSIDE SEATING: A couple of tables and chairs down the side.
INDOOR TELEVISION: Yes
AMBIENCE: Crowded, but pleasant. Bit Tudoresque. Wine bar is a nice area.
OUT OF FIVE: A tentative five, am not sure about the smoking
I also rechecked The Lord Moon of the Mall, where the Bloggers4Labour anniversary took place. Unfortunatley it has no TV and no outside seating.
My vote is either for The Westminster Arms, or The Coal Hole, veering towards The Coal Hole, and unless I come across strong protestations to the contary I will try and book a couple of tables on Wednesday