When real ale and craft beers became fashionable, a new breed of pub, operated and populated typically by hipsters, sprang up to quench our thirst. The City Arms is different: it has all the good beers but is far from hip. It is a long-established, traditional city boozer, with a clientele comprising suits from the city, old-time regulars, occasional drinkers in search of the real thing and hapless wanderers who don’t know the real thing – all of whom help to make it what it is, a proper pub where social drinking is the order of the day and night.
I like it for all of this and more: it maintains a good selection of cask beers and ciders and makes no pretensions to being anything other than what it is. My favourite time to go for a beer is around five o’clock, when I catch the after-work crowd and surf on that fleeting feeling of liberation from the grind of the office that permeates the bar and keeps the rounds flowing.
For one-to-one conversation I like the back saloon, where the walls are the colour of nicotine (which I suspect is a painted colour, not a residue from the bad old days) and the mottoes displayed refer to the pleasure of drinking. Go here to experience what a thriving city pub is all about.