No decision as yet on the birthday issue.
This weekend the wife and I had some friends to stay. It was their first visit to London (or, indeed, the UK) and so we thought we’d let them see the whole city rather than just SE5, but we did get the chance to show a few places in Camberwell to them.
On Friday night they wanted to go out for a drink in a “traditional English pub”; rather than inflict that on them we went to The Grove. There was a ‘casino’ night on so the place was packed; you were given a handful of free ‘money’ when you ordered a round, which was yours to spend on the roulette table.
We arrived at about 9.30 and when we left an hour later the croupier had completely lost control of the table as a crowd of drunks (myself excepted, obviously; although I was happily on my way) threw plastic chips at him. It was good fun, but there was little chance of us coming away as winners, and we wanted to get a couple more drinks in so decided to go to The Castle (65 Camberwell Church Street, SE5 8TR), which has a license to 2am.
As a result of being the only decent pub with a late license (at least, I think so; Redstar and Cube are clubs, The Silver Buckle is a hole and I don’t know of any others) it was pretty crowded, although the crowd seemed pretty decent. The music was loud and I drank one more Guiness than was good for me, so I don’t remember any specifics apart from being handed a flower by a girl, to my wife’s obvious dismay.
Everything I’ve read about The Castle seems positive, and I enjoyed myself on Friday so I’d like to try it out again during a quieter time.
I went back to The Grove on Sunday to watch the Manchester Utd v Arsenal match. Wish I hadn’t bothered. Later that evening we took our friends to Safa for a goodbye meal. They were really impressed, and I’m not surprised; the food is uniformly excellent, the prices very reasonable and by moving away from the look of a ‘traditional’ Indian restaurant they’ve moved away from the beery crowd as well. Not that there’s anything wrong with a beery crowd per se, I just prefer them in a pub to a restaurant.