There are many pubs I visit on a regular basis for one reason or another. I go to The Old Ship because it’s nearby and friendly, The Griffin because it’s ceaselessly entertaining and The Euston Tap because there is an overwhelming amount of choice in beers. I’m not really sure why I keep coming back to The Owl and Pussycat though as every time I go I get annoyed by the same things.
I’m pretty sure that working behind a bar is not a career ambition for the majority of the population but it’s not the worst job the world has to offer. Someone cleans Bashir Asaad’s toilet, someone conducts strip searches on crack heads as part of their job description and some poor buggers have to look after ‘children’ all day. The bar staff at The Owl and Pussy cat are perhaps not aware of these facts which is surely the reason they are so sour faced and rude all the time. Ordering a pint, asking for a menu or requesting a rendition of Space Oddity played on the kazoo and you’re not going to get a smile; just the impression that you might have a derisive comment made about your not quite trendy enough clothing when you go and sit down.
Sitting down is an issue. As pointed out by my guest writer in his review of The Wagon and Horses it is reasonably accepted that you might have to stand up in the pub sometimes; and that’s ok. The Owl and the Pussycat is a small bar which on the one hand makes it feel intimate and cozy but on the other means there are seats for about twenty people. Decent weather neutralises this issue somewhat as you can spill out into the admittedly excellent beer yard (not a garden, gardens need plants and not just concrete, wood and patio heaters) or the pavement, yes, the pavement. If it’s not decent prepare for an impromptu game of sardines on a grand scale. There is an upstairs but it feels like you’re sat in a waiting room for an insane psychiatrist.
Why do I go back? It’s close to transport and just around the corner from Old Spitalfields market. The food is admittedly excellent and there is real ale; without breaking the bank you can eat and have a couple of beers. Not a lot of pubs in the immediate vicinity offer all of this in a neat package and you’d have to go as far as The Royal Oak for anything similar. If you’re only looking for a drink then check out The Golden Heart or The Griffin nearby. If you must eat and are too lazy and pathetic to head anywhere further afield then go here but if you’re more likely to see a seafaring cat being serenaded by a guitar playing barn owl than you are to get a warm welcome.