Wednesday, 2 September 2009

White Horse, Parsons Green

As I said in my last posting, most pubs are likely to change character over time. Landlords will come and go, ownership will change, trends in refurbishment and decoration will move and food and wine fads will persistently alter the bar offering.

When Mark Dorber, one of London's legendary landlords over the last twenty years, said he was "retiring" to the country one could imagine that The White Horse in Parsons Green might see a few changes - and probably not for the better. Mark had worked at the pub, first as a cellarman, then as manager, since 1981 and had been the driving force that made the pub one of London's finest. He had also been one of the most influential people in London to bring rarer beer styles to the fore such as India Pale Ale and Old Ales.

Owned by one of the country's largest chains, M&B, there was always some concern that the pub would change its character once Mark had left in 2007.

It is my opinion that the pub remains one of the landmark pubs in London and its regular beer events continue to be among the year's most popular beer festivals.

The American beer festival held over the weekend of 4th July was so enjoyable that I was compelled to return for a second session. This despite many of the beers being 8-10% and queues for beer of twenty minutes - not due to lack of staff, just due to the sheer number of people attending.

The Belgian beer festival was held last weekend and was another great day out. There was a choice of forty odd Belgian beers in different styles together with a handful of British real ales brewed in Belgian style. A slightly smaller crowd meant that there were slightly shorter waits for a beer.

The current manager, Dan Fox, is only thirty years old but is emulating and improving on all of the good work that has been done at the pub over the years. It remains one of London's best pubs. Even without a beer festival, I would suggest that it has one of the best bottled beer menus in the country and continues to serve excellent choice and quality of real ales. Indeed it was again West London CAMRA branch pub of the year for 2009.

The next events are British Lager Week in the week commencing 12th October - in conjunction with The Campaign for British Lager (LOBI) - followed by the regular annual Old Ale festival in the last week of November. See you there !

Of course, Mark Dorber did not retire but went to run the Anchor in Walbeswick, Suffolk.


Bailey said...

There's no denying: it's a cracking pub. It doesn't half get busy, though. They could do to open a second one right next door, to take the overspill.

Jeffrey said...

I thought Dan was older than me. His younger sister was in my year at college so he must be.

The Beer Justice said...

Jeff, Apologies, unresearched point on my part lifting that infortmation from an interview published elsewhere to make the point that he is young - relatively speaking - to be the manager of such a succesful pub.