You cannot go to Britain without at least one visit to a genuine pub. They are open day and night (only till middnight though!), and they always seem to have patrons whether it’s 9am in the morning or 9pm at night. It will be pints for the men’s ‘book club’ in the mornings as they tell their wives, the ladies Bowles club in the early afternoon for a round or two of shandys and the evening will be a mix of families and those looking for a good sturdy meal washed down by a drink or two.
British pubs otherly known as public houses or alehouses date back to the Bronze Age. At one point the local pub was so popular that King Edgar himself in 965 declared that there should be no more than one alehouse per village. Nowadays there are approximately 53,000 in the country.
What I love about pub history is that way back in the day, the job of brewing the beer was actually a job for the the females. The ‘alewife’ as she would be known would put a green bush on top of pole to announce to the villagers that the brew was ready. Alewife has a great ring to it, don’t you think? “Do you take Mary to be your alewife as long as you both should live…” That is bound to get a definite yes from any man.
Having spending 2 months in Britain, I guess you can say I have come accustomed to heading down to the pub to finish off the day. Actually sometimes the day ended at midday, but we don’t need to go into that do we! The pub is a place that doesn’t judge. Many a times you would of caught me there in trackies and a hoody. I always did manage to pop on a touch of mascara though. I wasn’t completely daft.
I have been staying in North Finchley and of course the local became my favourite pub. You can’t bet a pub that is 2 minutes up the road and almost a third cheaper than pubs in central London. The Tally-Ho, as it’s known to the locals, is part of the Wetherspoon franchise of pubs. It has all you can want, plus some great specials. During the day you can get a decent plate of fish’n’chips for a mere £3.50 and at all times they have a 2 meals for £6.50 deal. Of course this doesn’t cover everything on the menu but there is a decent selection.
My favourite meal had to be the Gourmet chicken burger. Char-grilled butterfly chicken breast – topped with two bacon slices and a spicy Monterey Jack cheese and pepper sauce. It comes with fries of course and the most amazing onions rings you will ever eat, i promise! Okay so it was £6.59 for the meal but it did include a drink, so that’s not too bad! If you do opt for this, make sure not to choose te Fetzer Coldwater Creek White Zinfandel Rose as your drink – it seriously tastes like pumpkin – I’m not kidding!
The wine menu is not too shabby either for a pub, which is more known for its beers and ciders. It is a simple one-page menu however if you can’t find anything you like on the menu then you shouldn’t be in a pub anyway. A bottle of Veuve Yellow-label is the same price you would buy a bottle at the local supermarket, if not less – £34.50. How great is that!
The Tally-Ho also has an outside beer garden, which I bet would be raging during summer. The interior is nothing to rave about really, old leather chairs, old books on a bookcase etc. Very British. The weird thing I found, is that there is zilch background music, not even that boring ‘hold’ music they make you listen to for hours when calling up government departments. Actually maybe that is a good thing.
If you’re in the area, you must give it a ago. However if you’re going to go in and be snobby about things, then you may as well not go in at all. It’s a pub with decent grub and drink, nothing more, nothing less.