Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Sober In London: Ignoring The Signs Of Booze

Even when you try your hardest to stay away from booze, London still wont let you forget, by Christian Rose-Day

I am moving into another week of sobriety and even closer to my final destination: the London Marathon. As mentioned previously, I am attempting to stay booze-free from January 1st until the afternoon of April 21st in order to make marathon training that much easier, which, to be fair, is confirmed to be true: running with a clear head is easier.

What isn’t so easy, though, is the staying deputy editor of an reputable online bar and restaurant guide to London as a teetotaler. As you might expect, a certain amount of invitations for new bar launches and one-off pop-up tastings appear in my inbox each day, leading me to spend fair too long in the men’s toilets staring into the mirror, practicing my best “I’ll just have a cup of tea, thanks” response without allowing my face to contort with bitterness.

You’d think it might be easier on the weekends; when I’m not at work; when I can escape the alcoholic tractor beams that are fired at me during the working week. Then again, London has different plans for me.

Last Sunday I endured a barrage of signs which had the devil on my shoulder giggling with glee. 
First, there was my steaming cup of non-alcoholic, hot morning coffee, brought to me with love and genuine tenderness, in THIS mug.....
OK London; it was only 10am and you’d already got me thinking about wine. As it was a Sunday, I’ll let you have that one. 1-0 to you.

Once dressed, breakfasted and ready to face the sober world, myself and my companion ventured south from Tufnell Park via a convoluted series of unfortunate ‘rail replacement’ bus journeys that tested our stomachs, our patience, and our resolve. Getting from A to B was not so easy when X, Y and Z were involved.

We stepped off the bus at Euston station and had walked not even ten paces when a 3-foot high A-board jumped out from behind The Euston Tap bar and mugged me with the following comment.....
Yes, yes, OK London, I hear you. I was asking the right questions and ‘BEER’, it seems, was the answer to them all. Fine, 2-0 to you, London.

Yet, despite the alluring qualities of one of London’s finest collection of beers, I remained steadfast in my sobriety and ventured on towards the tube. Screw you London, you’re not going to get me today; I thought.

We had set out on this epic journey towards Westminster Bridge and the London Eye because we had a review booking at The Library Lounge Afternoon Tea on the South Bank. Yes, it has this view.
Afternoon tea; nothing remotely sinister or deviant about that great British pastime. I would surely be safe in the soporific environs of the Library at the Marriott Hotel, sipping on Lady Grey tea and nibbling at miniature cakes and scones. Surely the signs of booze couldn’t get me here.

“Just to let you know,” the friendly waiter let us know, “that we are currently offering UNLIMITED COMPLIMENTARY CHAMPAGNE to all customers taking Afternoon Tea with us.”

My companion’s eyes lit up as though she had just won a small fortune on a scratch card.

I, on the other hand, screwed my face up with bitterness and replied, “I’ll just have a cup of tea, thanks.”

If, unlike me, you’re able to drink at the moment, I’d advise booking the fabulous Library Lounge Afternoon Tea using the reservations calendar below and when you arrive just ask the staff if they’re still doing the UNLIMITED COMPLIMENTARY CHAMPAGNE deal. You might just get lucky.

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