Candidate #7- Southampton Arms, Kentish Town, London

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I think the blurb on their website best summarizes The Southampton Arms: “18 handpulls full of lovely ale and cider and a fridge full of lovely meat”

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After pub-crawling through Little Venice and the Camden canals, The Southampton Arms really stood out. Bar snacks here are taken seriously, and the sausage roll is testament to the quality. If you are lucky, someone may be playing the resident piano.

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Venue: 6/10

A bit of a trek from the Zone 1 sights, so it’s mainly filled with locals. Which is great. A very London-feel about it.

Beer: 7/10

18 cask ales and ciders; a great depth of selection.

Worthy? Yes

No doubt other London venues can hold a candle to the Southampton Arms, all I can say is it is definitely better than some of the run-of-the-mill entries for the USA.

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8. Kulminator, Antwerp, Belgium

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I really wanted to love Kulminator. On paper, it excels; around 800 beers: unique personal furnishings; a resident cat; a long-serving, frail, elderly couple running the place since the 70s. Unfortunately, these proprietors are arseholes.

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Our beef with the owners is different to some reviews on ‘tripadvisor’, which mention a stunning, vocal over-reaction by the landlord to people sitting in his seat. We ordered a beer we were both familiar with, which we rarely see stocked: Timmermans Pêche. Being a generally poor beer, but a great fruit punch, Kulminator’s patrons usually come for something more renowned. Which is probably why ours were four years past their expiration. The carbonation kept the flurry of sediment circulating, some chunks of which were over a centimetre long. You know when you add warm butter to an egg mix too soon, and it creates a chunky mess?

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My girlfriend went to the bar to ask for a spoon for something fresher. Failing to grasp the concept, the grandmotherly figure said that they just have to put a date on the bottle, like this was some kind of explanation. Protesting further, the woman curtly replied that it won’t make us ill. Thanks grandma, I’m sure it was better in your day, when kids had respect for their elders. Once her arching back ambled away into the garden to deliver an order, we bolted.

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Venue: 4/10

Eerily quiet, although I’ve heard rumours about queues outside before opening.

Beer: 3/10

If you want to eat your beer, then it’s great. 800+ is too many for their customer base, their stock rotation too poor.

Worthy? No.

Rude.