The long-awaited Greenwich Beer & Jazz fesival turned out to be a major disappointment on Saturday. We arrived at 4pm to join one of the two 100-people long queues in the drizzle. After fifteen minutes we had shuffled forward approximately six feet, and decided to have a couple of pints of Flowers in the Admiral Hardy to let the queue go down. Whilst we were downing those we were joined by other would-be festival goers equally thristy and disconsolate looking about the slow moving queue. We decided to have a pint of Spitfire in the Spanish Galleon as the queue was not shortening or moving any quicker. From there it was a pint of Adnams in the Coach & Horses and another in the Mitre before wandering back to the Naval College.
Unfortunately, there was no improvement on the queue and we found out that one of the queues was for ticket holders and the other for pay-on-the-day. This appeared to make no difference as both queues were equally long and slow moving. By now we had moved from the £7 pre-5pm entrance fee to the £12 charge but no impact on queuing. The trouble, it appears, was a strict security policy around bag searches. What a shame that they couldn't organise this without inconveniencing the drinkers amongst us who were clearly not carrying bags and could have been frisked and relieved of our entrance money in minutes.
As it was, we refused to wait in the rain and moved on....to The Trafalgar, The Yacht, The Cutty Sark, The Pelton Arms, The Royal Standard, The William 4th and back to the Rose of Denmark.
The pubs around Greenwich town centre were busy and lively, due in part to a mix of tourists, festival goers and a good number of people back from the Thames Barge Race. I think it would be fair to say that a lot of people were well on their way to drunkeness and we suspected things might get livelier still as the evening wore on. The pubs in east Greenwich were understandably quieter but most of them were only entertaining a handful of Customers. The halcyon days of the public house look long gone and like my dear old Charlton Athletic, I suspect we may never see them again.
I'm feeling very old and tired all of a sudden. I need a break to freshen the spirit and invigorate the soul.