Back in 2007, Speights Brewery in Dunedin set a lovely idea in motion: transport a pub around the world to supply the Kiwis in London with their beloved Speights. Indeed, a pub was fabricated out of a container, put on a ship and before you could say ‘Good on ya mate’, the little pub was plonked on the edge of the river thames, just around Temple station. Speights obviously thought this was a good idea, and later transferred the whole idea of a Speights pub in London into a ‘proper’ building in Essex Street, just around the corner from the High Court. Being an associated Kiwi living in exile I thought it would be a good idea to pop aorund and have a drink. I was dreaming of a nice, cosy place with some kiwi music and spirit where I could sit and reminisce about the penguins on my front lawn in Kakanui.
Well, I was obviously too optimistic. ‘The Southerner’ is a pub in a basement with cheap looking furniture devoid of character, overlit and soulless. There are some rugby paraphernalia on the wall, and there is indeed the whole Speights range available (and a Mac’s Gold for 3 pounds). In the sixty minutes I was there the music was standard fare without any reference to New Zealand’s vast musical heritage. Barstaff made themselves rare and were not particularly keen to come out and serve. On top of that screens everywhere.
Disappointing, to say the least.