Oi, where do I begin to describe this night.
Undiscovered London, the same group that does the free walking tours that I did earlier, also does other tours as well, including the Camden Pub Crawl, which takes you to several bars and clubs in the Camden Town area of London. The other tours and excursions are not free though, but since I did the free walking tour, I got a discount. I think it was £12 for a Saturday, but that’s also the same price as if you would have bought your tickets online (minus any processing fees, I suppose). I had wanted to visit a pub while I was in London, but I wasn’t really confident enough to go alone, so being part of an organized group seemed like it would be the best way to go. The pub crawl started at 7:30 PM, which I think is early, but I guess it makes sense since you are hitting up multiple venues throughout the night.
Before I left the hostel, I asked one of the people at the reception desk about what was the best way to get to Camden and the guy let me know that there was actually a bus nearby that would take me straight there. I hadn’t used the buses yet in London, but they were part of the whole travelcard deal on my Oyster so I decided to skip the tube and stay overground this time.
When the double-decker bus pulled up, I just took a seat on the bottom level before thinking, “what the heck am I doing?”, and moving to a seat at the top. Riding the bus definitely gave me a different view of London and I would probably have used it more during my trip if I had a better grasp of the routes. I didn’t have cell service in Europe, so I couldn’t just look up which of the many buses I would need to take to get to a certain destination, but it was always pretty easy to figure out how to get there by tube.
Anyway, we were supposed to meet at The Beatrice, but it had actually closed. This confused me at first since, the sign saying that we should go straight to Belushi’s across the street was pretty nondescript so I missed it and spent maybe half-an-hour walking up and down the street trying to figure out where The Beatrice actually was (the pub’s sign had also been taken down so even though I was where the GPS said it would be, I didn’t know it was actually there). Eventually, I did see the notice and headed to Belushi’s to get my wristband.
I had wanted to get to the pub crawl earlier since I think it’s easier for me to meet people when everyone is awkwardly waiting for more people to arrive, but since I got lot, a good amount of people were already chatting with each other and that was intimidating. We got a free shot here and I met a few people who I started talking to. I did buy a drink, so that helped. Eventually, everyone who was on the pub crawl got herded outside for a group picture before being taken to the next stop.
My memory of where we went that night is a little fuzzy and the blurry pictures that I took don’t really help, but I believe that we went to Lock 17 next. There, we had another round of free shots. I feel like we weren’t there for too long before it was time to head out to the next place.
The next stop was SoundTracks at The Monarch, which happens every Saturday night. This was by far my favorite stop of the whole night and I would definitely go here again if I am ever in London on a Saturday night with friends. You should go too! Basically, all the music are iconic tunes taken from movies. Free shot again, but I met more people this time and kind of wished that we didn’t have to leave.
Afterwards, we were taken to Barfly, a live music venue. At this point, I don’t quite remember if there was live music playing when we went, but I’m sure there was. I basically hung out with some people from Brazil that I met, but they were cool and I was really comfortable being around them. I remember singing along to songs that they played over the speakers, so maybe there wasn’t a live band the whole time we were there. I also remember taking a free shot.
The last stop of the night was this place called Proud, which apparently is a “200-year-old horse hospital turned into a club with stables fitted out as drinking booths, complete with stripper poles”. We weren’t even inside the club yet when we were treated to our last free shots of the night. The vibe in there was definitely different from all the other places that we had been. It seemed like quite a few people from the club crawl didn’t really know what to make of it. The layout is pretty interesting and there definitely were stripper poles in these horse stables.
I was pretty exhausted from the night and I wasn’t in the mood for the dance music that they were playing so I decided to head out. It seemed like quite a few people were doing the same as well. I headed to the Camden Street underground station and realized that it’s incredibly late and the tube was closed! Oi, this was a predicament. I had no internet so I couldn’t figure out any other alternatives to go back to the hostel (other than paying a taxi and I definitely did not want to do that) and I was still a little (just a little) inebriated. Luckily, I was able to find a bus schedule nearby that showed that there was actually a night bus that was in service with a stop in Swiss Cottage, near my hostel.
I was able to find the bus stop with not too much of a hassle and made it back to the hostel safely. It was an interesting night.