Kettners Bar (Soho – London)

Kettners Bar

Kettners is a private venue just north of Shaftesbury Avenue. There are bars and dining areas on the ground floor and private rooms and a bar on the floors above. On the second floor there is a small bar with a large mirror behind. There aren’t many places to sit but the selection of drinks is reasonable and the venue suits a good work function. The jagermeisters seem to be a little large when served.

Overall a good all round private venue, pretty good access to public transport via Leicester square and to continue to rest of the night in Soho - 7/10

Jolly Butchers Pub (Stoke Newington – London)

Jolly Butchers Pub

An unmarked venue with no name over the door, the interior is a small hall of tables with a long bar serving food and drinks along the left side. The decor is very minimalist and almost dirty, undoubtedly attracting a trendsetting crowd. The drinks are a good selection however and the plates food comes out looking rather mouthwatering. The toilet however are in a dingy cellar and quickly become unusable.

Overall a pretty good place if you should find a table, there are some outside under the red glow of a heater but they really don’t look inviting – 5/10

San Pino Bar and Restaurant (Dusseldorf Flughafen – Germany)

San Pino Bar and Restaurant

A big part of me wishes this restaurant bar combo didn’t serve alcohol at all. After a thirsty day I was eager to sink my teeth into a cold soft drink and landed on a cider by mistake. The restaurant itself does seem to serve up some culinary oddities which perhaps don’t really belong together such as multi-cultural pizzas but I get in line (it is quite canteen like) and get served very quickly which is always a must when travelling.

Overall a fairly pleasent place, the chairs were a little awkwardly crammed together (which doesn’t bode will when carrying large hand luggage) – 5/10

Callehans Bar (Russell Square – London)

Callehans Bar

Cleverly disguised, this venue is really the bar and restaurant serving the hotel that sits on top of it and can sometimes just be a walkway for hotel guests. The venue looks very pub-like and tries to lean toward an irish appeal, there is lots of wood on show and the bar service is not the best. Drinks are a little on the expensive side and the selection isn’t great either. Very average and there are a lot better pubs nearby.

Overall a slightly disappointing 4/10

The Black Heart Pub (Camden – London)

The Black Heart Pub

The black heart rests just behind the first parade of shops on Camden high street after coming out the station and offers a dark but mature retreat for those who have a passion for rock music. The bar is rather dominating and takes up a good portion of the room with a good selection of beers on tap. There are bar stools around it and to the sides of the venue are some small tables and booths. The black heart seems to get filled up quite quickly at the weekend so don’t expect a seat during busy times.

Overall a very agreeable venue when compared to other more goth outfits in the area: 6/10

Jetlag Bar (Fitzrovia – London)

Jetlag Bar

Jetlag was billed as a slightly upmarket sports bar – cocktails and “street food” rather than beer and burgers. In the event it sold both, and was a pretty good venue to watch a game. The screen was huge, and there was plenty of comfortable seating to settle into. The food was pretty good too. On the downside, the place smelled of bleach (mmmm), there were only 2 staff serving food and drinks to a floor of people, and they managed to turn the sound and vision off at key points during the game. Did I mention that it smelled of bleach?

All in all, not a bad venue, but the smell was not very pleasant, maybe they need to improve their ventilation – 4/10

Barrio Central Bar (Soho – London)

Barrio Central Bar

A small looking venue just down the road from Rupert street – the Barrio Central bar is something of a hawaiian or exotic drinks venue with a restaurant upstairs. The venue is pretty popular, there is a queue outside and after checking our bags we head downstairs to a loud and very busy bar. The room is very narrow and clearly over capacity as we flail and reach over for cocktail menus among the other waiting drinks at the bar. The service is pretty fast even for the stranger additions to the order, they have a good selection of spirits and a happy hour to boot. Within an hour the room is dancing and the odd mud hut mockup next to the DJ booth is teeming with folks heading in and out.

Overall a very good night out, the happy hour really hits the spot and the atmosphere was great – the only drawback is the miniture size – 7/10

Oddfellow Bar (Chester Town Centre)

Oddfellow Bar

With bouncers on the door and the rain really coming down outside we dash into Oddfellows leaving the miserable northern weather behind us. Heading up a flight of steps we find ourselves in a hallway much like an old fashioned house with a stairwell up one side. The room beyond has a bar to the right which is blooming with a fantastic array of beverages. Stools are parked at the bar which makes accessing it a little difficult. Service is also not particulary fast and strangely there is no music, only conversation. Taking a wander, we stumble into a room which has been furnished upside down, a dining room table and chairs on the ceiling and a lamp share upturned on the floor humorous but don’t do a lot to dispell the glances of arrogant faces turning their noses up in our direction. We promptly finish our drinks and head out to the rain.

Overall a more up market venue but a little too over dressed and with no music even a vast haul of spirits isn’t enough to raise the spirits of this crowd – 6/10

Beirhaus Bar (New York)

Beirhaus Bar

In keeping tradition with two of the best new yorkers I know, we attended our second global “Beerhouse” this time in New York and in true New York style this medium sized bar is located one storey up, above some other shops. The Beirhaus is very loud, a live rock band are playing away to a room which is not even half filled with people and actually the music drowns out our conversation, much to my disappointment. The bar staff are friendly but take a long time to notice us when we had a query. The beer menu was very limited as they were out of stock of the seasons haul and the food was nothing particuarlly nice (as seems common in all the Beerhouses I have ever visited.

Overall certainly a lively venue with a good atmosphere – perhaps not suited for midweek drinking - 6/10

The American bar (Hale – Manchester)

The American bar

Hale is a quaint little village not too far from Manchester Airport and offering a relaxed but perhaps arrogant invitation to outsiders. It’s 10am when I arrive to find a cafe for breakfast and instead this American bar or rather diner looks rather polished and suggestive. We head inside to find an almost desolate venue and head for a comofrtable looking booth. The waiter catches us on our beeline and remarks that the booth is reserved, showing us to a tiny and rather miserable looking alternative. Two hours pass in which the bar shows no other sign of life and our breakfast arrives cold, and with an even colder look on the face of our host.

Paying up at one of the most expensive meals of my short career, I embark towards the train station, glad to leave hale behind me – 3/10