The Great Beer Pull

I have blogged at length about our friends at The Marksman, I believe. But did I tell you that the landlady operates a barter system on a chosen night about once a month? A patron may make an offer to the landlady, usually for an item on her Wish List. If she likes what you offer, she might just buy you a pint! Apparently, an unnamed food stuff from the states and a few certain cds are a valuable trade indeed. The landlady graciously agreed to allow me to pull beer for myself and my lunch guests, Drew and Lauren, in exchange for her overseas treats. I am not sure she came out ahead in the deal, but I am really pleased to have memories (and photos) to share with you – and some day my kids.

Speaking of kids, the pitter patter of two more little feet are soon to be heard at The Marksman! Dawn and Gary do make a beautiful baby, so I look forward to meeting the January babe when mom and baby are out and about.

Why beer pulling? Yeah, I understand why you might be confused by my desire to learn this skill. It’s all part of my quest to understand the culture of the community pub. I couldn’t think of a warmer, more fun place than here among these people to learn about the art of pulling beer and pub ownership.

Just look at the glow. Doesn’t it just look like “the old” and “the new” got cozy here together in this pub?
marksman bar

First, there was a brief lesson on glasses.
lesson on glasses

Then, we started with the most complicated pull of the day: Guinness.

And then I waited for the Guinness to settle.
waiting on guinness

Lauren ordered a Red Stripe. Easy. (Please, forgive the face that I am making.)
lauren and red stripe

David, Gary – I can’t thank you enough!

Thanks also to Michael for the unexpected lesson in cocktail making! Can you bring the crew ’round to our new place for dinner and another lesson? Let’s say… housewarming party? I’ll provide dinner and materials.

My little blog is not much in the way of PUB-licity (hahahaha!) for my friends at The Marksman, but I am pleased to sing their praises nonetheless.

Hey there facebook friends, check out our entry on the web to really make my day! (Oh, and become a fan of The Marksman on Facebook.)

The Marksman

The Marksman, a lovely pub in Shoreditch, is a gem of a find.  Our aim in wandering that way was to give Jane and Quinn a local east side Sunday experience, complete with the wonder that is Columbia Road Flower Market and a proper Sunday roast.  We squeezed through the flower market with grumbling bellies and an eye on the threatening sky.  (Thankfully, we did not need a reservation, though next time I may make one, now knowing how popular this spot is.)  You might not have guessed that a Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, and Tammy Wynette song would be playing as we sat down or that Willy Nelson would serenade us through our pre-dinner convo…  David (as our fantastic server is known by day) quickly assured us that he did not know that we Nashville natives were coming  – the locals just request a little country music now and again.

David lined up a round for us and was kind enough to give us his recommendations. He also coined my new favorite phrase, “When in London, do as your friends from Tennessee do in London”.
marksman drinks

Jane and Quinn chose the traditional Sunday Roast option. After all, that was the point.

sunday roast

(Jane and Quinn enjoyed the roast.)

sunday roast leftover

Drew had a delicious pastry filled with oyster mushrooms and cream cheese.

marksman veg plate

(I can’t recall why I didn’t get a photo of my hummus salad, green beans, and fat chips!?)

So, the verdict on The Marksman? Book a table this Sunday. Take or meet friends. The food is tasty and a very good value. If you are lucky enough to meet David, engage him in conversation. He is a riot!

Marksman Pub
254, Hackney Rd
London, E2 7SJ
020 7739 7393


As you leave Holborn on your way to Covent Garden, a little off the main way, there is a great place to meet and eat called Lowlander Grand Cafe.  It’s a casual place to enjoy lunch and friends with an open door feel.

lowlander beer

I recommend trying something completely new.  However, do not be fooled by the menu-the chili sauce that comes with the (really great) chips is not spicy.  It’s good — I just don’t want you to have your taste buds ready to be set on fire or anything like that.

Dress casually and bring some friends to share a starter or a beer stick!

36 Drury Lane
Covent Garden
phone: 020 7398 8622

The Porterhouse Pub

Unfortunately, Porterhouse Pub is no secret.  The good news is that you can still squeeze in.  It’s located very near the Piazza in Covent Garden and is quite a lovely place to wander with friends. The atmosphere is great, even if a bit on the loud side. They feature live music, including traditional Irish music one day a week. Boasting loads of specialty beers and lagers, a beer drinker is sure to find something new that they always wanted to try, but never knew existed.

porterhouse pub

The Covent Garden menu looks pretty nice as pubs go and there is a nice sized (as outdoor pub spaces go) covered outdoor space as well. Stop in for an old or soon to be favorite!  The interior is very worth the short bar queue, especially on a Sunday afternoon or Bank Holiday.

The Porterhouse Covent Garden 
21-22 Maiden Lane
Covent Garden 
London WC2 E7NA 
tel: (+44) 207 379 7917
fax: (+44) 207 379 7991