I went to this place ages ago now, but essays I had to complete (or in my case, half-ass) took precedence over writing about Pub on the Park in London Fields, the latest pub in the 100 Pubs Project. Now that I am freed of those stressful obligations, at least until the end of this term, I am able to go back to the project and continue with my ongoing London pub ethnography.
Yes, that’s what I’m calling it now, or one of many terms I’m going with to make me sound smart and clever.
My Pub on the Park visit was a short one. I walked in, and there was a bit of a smell, an odd smell. Now, I should preface this by saying I have a rather keenish nose. I mean, it’s not the keenest nose, but I tend to smell things other people don’t happen to smell. In this case, Pub on the Park kind of smelled like, um, a bathroom. Seriously. Not trying to be mean, and if the Pub on the Park is your local, don’t be cranky with me. But on this occasion, the Pub on the Park smelled like a bathroom. Not a piss-smelling toilet or any real foul smell, mind you, but that distinct “bathroom/toilet” smell of water and perhaps some sort of quasi-neutralizing bathroom cake/air freshener that actually works to make the bathroom smell more like a bathroom.
Know what I mean?
Well, it was this smell that sort of made me rethink my idea of participating in pubbery in Pub on the Park. It was the afternoon. I wasn’t *really* needing a beer. But, you know, once you walk into a pub, you kind of have to follow through, especially if you are alone, which I was.
I opted for a half of the Flowers IPA, poured for me by the very nice lady behind the bar who was probably thinking I was a bit odd for my hesitation after entering. The cost was £1.55, so presumably a full pint would be £3.10, which is quite decent outside of student bars. I sat at a table with my half, and had a look around. Despite the place smelling like a toilet (am I the only one who smelled this?), the pub was decently full for a Saturday afternoon. I was coming from Broadway Market en route back to Hackney Downs, and I imagine many of the folks were in similar modes of transit. I remember overhearing a lot of North American accents, and a lot of people with bags from Primark, having done some post-holiday shopping possibly at the one in Hackney Central. Aside from a small contingent of older men in the corner right as I walked in, the crowd was fairly youngish 20-somethings and 30-somethings, perhaps even a few early 40-somethings. The staff of Pub on the Park seemed really friendly; one of them was trying in vain to fix a wobbly table for a couple or group seated around it. The place serves food, but I didn’t have the time nor money to indulge in it, having spent a considerable amount of my pocket change on fudge at Broadway market. And nothing really jumped out at me on the menu written on the chalkboard, to be honest. I was getting over my cold still that I had over Christmas, so my appetite was (and still is) minimal (aside from desiring copious amounts of fudge). On the television screen, a game of football was being played.
Overall impression of Pub on the Park: it’s a pub, on the park. Not bad if you’re in the area. London Fields is a nice place to walk through, and Pub on the Park, despite smelling a bit odd, seemed like a comfortable place to set one’s shopping down and have a pint (or half) before carrying on back home.