With a seemingly endless array of new venues, London is a beer drinker’s paradise. However, as much as I love the diversity the capital has to offer, sometimes I yearn for a traditional pub. The Old Fountain in Old Street is such a pub. Surprisingly, in these days of Twitter and whatnot, I discovered it the old-fashioned way; I’d started a new job and was walking home, northwards up City Road towards Angel, when I saw a sign heralding real ale and craft beer, so naturally I popped in.
The pub has two entrances, one on Baldwin Street and the other on Peerless Street, and by taking the latter you are greeted with a chalkboard tap list on entering. Cask and keg are held in equal esteem at the Old Fountain, with eight of the former and nine of the latter, including mainstays Guinness and Peroni. These stalwarts are an important reminder to me that not everyone likes, or has to like, craft beer or real ale, and ensures a diversity of drinker that is lacking in other places I frequent. It’s proximity to the City means that there are plenty of “suits” to complement the beer geeks and locals, all of whom provide plentiful opportunities for me to silently judge and ascribe fictional personalities and life stories to. “People watching” I think it’s called. God knows what they make of me.
It can be a calm port in the storm of Shoreditch and Old Street, although it’s very popular with the post-work crowd meaning tables are often reserved after 5pm. In fact, on one occasion, even the shelf below the Whitbread’s Stout mirror had a reserved sign on it, but I rested my pint there regardless – the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing, after all.
The Old Fountain is a great place for quiet contemplation, to collect your thoughts after a particularly busy day at work, and it’s an equally good venue for meeting friends, even though that carries the risk of consuming multiple pints of Cannonball (you’re a bad influence, Clay). The food is also better than decent, and there’s a lunchtime deal of a main meal and any cask ale for £10. Breweries featured include the likes of the Kernel, Five Points, Moor and Magic Rock, and plenty more besides. It’s an unpretentious pub, with well-kept beer, and welcoming, knowledgeable and polite staff. It also has vibe in bucketloads. I can’t think of a better work local. As a matter of fact, I think I’ll drop by today.