Drayton Court Hotel West Ealing

November 30, 2012

The Drayton is our nearest pub. And now it is an hotel again. But don’t let that fool you. This is still a classic London boozer. One of those huge cavernous ones, with various rooms fulfilling various functions. And a great party room cum theatre (yes really) downstairs.

But the other Friday night we went to it as a pub, meeting friends and their friends for a drink and bite to eat. I have to declare an interest here. I love pubs. Always have. From the days of sitting outside in the car as a small child and being brought ginger beer and a packet of crisps, through the progression to being allowed in the back room aged 10 or so, on to the first visits as a paying customer for my lager and lime or vodka and lime starting at about 12 or 13. That’s life in the country for you. There was no ID-ing in those days apart from if the landlord knew you, so you had to choose pubs where the staff wouldn’t be put in an awkward position by knowing you were well underage. For me, my first proper pub drinks were in Clun, a neighbouring village where nobody knew me at all, but they had dances on a Friday night. I’d already been drinking at Llanfair at the Everest Hall dances where there was a bar that would serve you.

And of course there is no night bus or taxi to ferry you home from these far flung villages. Sometimes I would lie and say I had a lift organised to bring me home and take dangerous rides in cars with lads who were probably over the limit. Sometimes we would hitch hike or walk the seven miles home. Sometimes Dad would come and get us. He too would often be over the limit. I remember one night coming back from Llanfair (which was only about 4 miles away) and we must have pre-arranged it as there was no phone box in Llanfair that I remember and no mobile phones of course. About six of us squeezed in to the car, all fairly wrecked aged about 14, plus my sister and her friend. My father was tearing round these tiny lanes that he knew well. It was a perfectly clear night but he had the wipers on. My sister’s friend asked him why. “Jussht in case it rains,” he replied.

As soon as I was old enough I started working in bars, following my sister’s footsteps in to every job she left at home. Then up in London as a student, it was one of my favourite jobs (apart from the incident I blogged about here  http://wp.me/p2kjYh-c5 ) and I have continued to love them. They are egalitarian, unassuming, easy and engender community. Obviously some I like more than others, but the classic boozer like the Drayton works for me.

So we turned up after work on Friday and started drinking. There were no tables left big enough for the the nine of us so some of us sat at a high table whilst some stood. We chatted and drank. And drank and chatted. The place was busy busy, but not so that you couldn’t move or get to the bar. And we had food which was hit and miss – bangers and mash, ham egg and chips, fish and chips all OK standard pub fare. Pork belly rubbery , nachos enormous and overgenerous toppings.

But what did for us the most was the fact boozers don’t shut at 11 pm any more. So we kept on drinking until we were thrown out at twenty past one. A quiet drink with friends had inadvertently become a major session. Gotta love it.


2 Responses to “Drayton Court Hotel West Ealing”

  1. Natalie Says:

    oh my god laughing aloud at the thought of a drunk taid with the wipers on and loads of girls in the back haha great story!

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