Most beery nights out in this country seem to end up with some form of badly packed meat. (fnaar..) It's inevitable that we'll end up in the local kebab, pizza or burger joint, many of which haven't changed in years, despite the general increase in food quality across the country. I can track my life by these places. Drunken nights in Balham ended with the famously titled Chicken Under The Bridge. This substituted for a university institution in my affections, the doner meat pizza from Primo Pizza in Hull, itself a replacement for the Grantham Charcoal Grill, where I first witnessed the power that grilled meat, heavy seasoning and raw onion can hold over a grown man. And so it continues. Regardless where I'm lucky enough to trough these days, I'll always have a soft spot for the simple joys of a post beer bite. Sometimes you've just got to keep it simple.
Here's a couple you may or may not have tried, I'll add more over time... Where:Katzenjammers, Southwark Street, London Bridge How much: Food is between £7 and £10 a head but you're here for the Bavarian lager predominantly Come here if: you fail to get into Brindesa and don't fancy any of the pricy options nearby. In a nutshell: Barvarian style bierkeller in Borough. The name translates as caterwaul, appropriate for somewhere designed around low slung ceilings and loud, communal conversation. It was half full but still verging on too loud, not somewhere to take a date certainly, but the kind of place an office party could get their vocal chords limbered up before heading to a discotheque. The beer list is solid, lengthy, German and available in steins. The food list is perfunctory and pig flavoured. A number of different sausages come with (badly) fried chips, the other specials include Wiener Schnitzel, a plate size slice of pork, covered in breadcrumbs and forced into the fryer. Germany perversely manages more Michelin starred restaurants than any other European country other than the UK and France, but manages to have a universal reputation for bad, fried food. Katzenjammers offers a fun night, but won't change your mind about the cuisine.
Where: Maoz Falafel, Old Compton Street, Soho How much: £5.50 for a Maoz Royale (three falafel in pitta with hummus and fried aubergine, served with a massive salad bar) Come to either: if you just can't cope with another lamb shish or dubious chicken inna bun In a nutshell: Post drink dining for vegetarian drinkers.
The idea of a vegetarian fullstop on an evenings entertainment isn't everyone's idea of fun (and never used to be mine). Then I met Maoz. Freshly made falafel, a large salad bar and Belgian style fries. Cheaper than you're average 'bab, and a darn sight healthier. Service is quick, and you get all manner of crazy sods through their glass doors, spilling onto the basic formica tables. You order your falafel, small deep fried sphere of chickpeas, they arrive served in a pitta pocket that you then fill from the extensive salad bar. I'm a particular fan of the roasted cauliflower, coriander and red chilli sauce combo. Each to their own, just try and forget that there's no meat...