I was originally going to write this last night, but failed. Part of the faliure was due to me having had a few pints, and I simply couldn’t be bothered.
It was a very hot day. The kind of day where after work you want a nice cool pint. Working as I do in the heart of London’s West End, outdoor drinking is limited to a few tiny beer gardens, or one of the boats of the Thames with bar facilities.
But for a sticky evening there is somewhere better. What you need is a cellar bar, pleasently chilled due to it being quite far underground.
And so it came to pass that I went to Champagne Charlies – a delightful cellar bar, somewhere well underneath Charing Cross Station.
Decked out in a old-worlde-pub style, the decor was plain and soothing, with burning candles shoved in old Champagne bottles. And there was sawdust on the floor.
Being owned by a wine merchants, there was plenty of the red and white stuff around, but we avoided that and opted instead for the ‘home’ brew – Davy’s Old Wallop.
A foaming metal half-gallon jug full of the stuff was placed on the bar. The jug was one of those ones that nowadays you see on TV history shows on Victorian life, or in museums in the ‘how we used to live’ section. You know the ones. They’d always mention doing down t’pit.
As if this wasn’t enough, three (for thats how many we needed) pewter tankards were removed from their position, dangling invitingly above the bar, which we duly took to the table, and poured out our beer.
Okay, it’s not truly old-worlde. It looks like a modern pub trying to be traditional. But you can’t beat a good drink of Old Wallop out of a pewter tanker.
Champagne Charlies is at 17 The Arches, off Villiers Street, Charing Cross, London WC2N 4NN. Nearest tube stations are Embankment and Charing Cross. Nearest national railway station is Charing Cross.