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Saturday, 22 August 2009

Alcohol-related crime wave

I see the Manchester police have launched a crackdown on alcohol-related violent crime.

Yesterday as a prelude to my birthday my radiant companion and her sister planned to take me on a mini-pub crawl from Holland Park to chez nous in Chelsea. I had even sorted out the best pubs to go to.

Before you conclude that I'm back to the bad old days when friends knew me as Bird The Lurch, I only had a list of 5 places, so I guess you might call it more of a hop than a crawl,

In the end we didn't do it. Instead we went with friends to the Mandarin Kitchen in Queensway; best lobster with noodles in London, then Gelato Mio in Notting Hill Gate; best ice cream in London.

All this has nothing to do with violent crime, except that I decided some sort of crackdown was in order when I went to the Cadogan Arms - a very ordinary pub round the corner from us on the Kings Road - and they asked me for well over £3 for a pint of bitter.

This is actually an incitement to violent crime. The only pubs in London that charge sane prices for beer are those belonging to Samuel Smith of Tadcaster. Yorkshire Best Bitter, £1:90.

This rather old fashioned policy, which is called giving value for money, may be the reason why Sam Smith's pubs tend to be gratifyingly full while others close down every day. The Cadogan Arms has just reopened for the second time in two years. Very pretty pseudo Victorian, but a total rip-off.

Even Sam Smith's are not a crime-free area. Their prices for wine - and theirs is not very good - are as extortionate as most other pubs'.

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