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The San Miguel Experience – London

The San Miguel Experience – London

Posted on 31 July 2017 by Chris Ford


Last week San Miguel invited me to San Miguel – The Experience in London.

Now this may sound like a chance to drink some of Spain’s favourite beer and it was but there was a lot more to it than that.

San Miguel have teamed up with some pretty inspiring people who we joined for an evening of inspirational talks, creative workshops and immersive experiences celebrating people from around the world who live life differently.

I’ve picked out a couple of my favourites here, the most noticeable one I guess was  the Virtual Reality simulator Birdly which makes you feel like you are soaring above streets of New York city, pretty dizzying realistic stuff!


Then there was Mike Kus, a British designer and photographer as well as pretty amazing Instagrammer.  Mike guided us through how he takes a photo for Instagram and generally how to take better snaps. It was the simple things like use interesting / different angles and the settings to use to enhance your image. Mike mainly uses the brightness, contrast and structure tools right in the Instagram app itself for his processing.  He also just uses a regular iPhone. I left feeling impressed and inspired that I can up my Instagram game (watch this space on that one!)

The other stand out session I attended was more interactive. We joined Belgian pastry chef and chocolatier Willem Verlooy for a really enjoyable class where we made our very own chocolate treats. I filmed most of the session in the video below, (sorry for the poor sound on this one my mic wasn’t working properly!)

After a few great talks we then had to of course check out the beer and food selections, being hosted by San Miguel there was course an array of their beer range on offer. I really enjoyed some of the less common offerings particularly like the 1516 which is made to conform to Germany’s strict purity laws and result in a fresh slightly smoky tasting spin which went down really well.  The other winner for me was the San Miguel Selecta 3 toasted malts and 3 specially selected hops creating a really smooth beer with a lovely slight hoppy finish. I really really liked this one!

I can’t wait for the San Miguel Experience to return to London next year, it was such a fun inspiring night.

For more info on San Miguel head over to , Mike Kus is on Instagram at @mikekus  and Willem Verlooy is at @willemverlooy

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The Regal Rogue boozy brunch

The Regal Rogue boozy brunch

Posted on 18 July 2017 by Chris Ford

Last month I received a curious invitation to join a brand called Regal Rogue for a bit of a boozy brunch on a Saturday morning to kick off London Wine Week.

Regal Rogue was developed by Brit-born Mark Ward. Mark realised, while living in Australia, that they produce some of the best wine in the world so why no vermouths?  Hence Regal Rogue was born.

I don’t think I have ever had vermouth before, so this was a bit of an education of me. We learnt that Regal Rogue was being used a base ingredient for an array of cocktails on offer and with the blazing sunny weather we were experiencing, they were perfectly refreshing while not too boozy for the early morning start.

On arrival we started off with a ‘Lively Spritzer’ consisting of Regal Rogue Lively White, fresh grapefruit, lemon, sparkling wine and a sprig of rosemary.  The grapefruit shone through on this one and really woke me up!


The brunch was served family style and to start we had a selection of five starters to try. I went for the Granola with Honey oaks, roasted buckwheat, quinoa and rosella yoghurt which was amazing, I would never ever normally order this for breakfast but it really was tasty, a game-changer for me breakfast-wise.

Then we went onto the main breakfast items, I particularly enjoyed the crispy haloumi as well as the smoked haddock and sea beet kedgeree. Again not things I would normally order for breakfast but this all felt like a real treat. To accompany our meal we had a choice of Regal Rogue cocktails.  My favourite was a mix featuring ‘Daring Dry’ with apple, celery, spinach and cucumber which complemented the strong flavours of the kedgeree perfectly.

The interesting thing about Regal Rogue to me is its actually quite low in alcohol making it an ideal mixer for summer cocktails. You can enjoy them and not worry about getting too tipsy in the heat. But as the brunch drew to a close we did up the alcohol game a bit and enjoyed a ‘Australian Rogroni’ which had Regal Rogue Bold Red mixed with gin, Italian bitter and a large slice of orange, and wow this really packed a punch! But so good on this roaring hot day.

I guess the take home from the Rogues brunch though wasn’t the food. It was that Vermouth can be used as an excellent and light replacement for spirits in things like gin and tonics or negroni with surprisingly fresh and delightful results. Give it a go especially as we continue to enjoy this glorious weather!


for more info on Regal Rogue head over to







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Silver Lining Service – Marriott County Hall

Silver Lining Service – Marriott County Hall

Posted on 27 June 2017 by Chris Ford

Last week we were invited to the launch of the London Marriott County Hall’s new Silver Lining Service, enlisting a Meteorologist the hotel now offers a weather reactive service at their 5* hotel by Westminster bridge.


So what does all this mean?

Marriott have enlisted the help of Senior Meteorologist Kirsty McCabe, who currently presents on Sky News. Kirsty will be presiding over local weather matters, helping hotel guests get the most out of their stay— come rain or shine.

With Kirsty’s help the hotel has launched its Silver Lining Package – a weather reactive service for guests staying in their 12 premier suites, meaning that the rooms will respond, in real time, to the conditions outside.  A little cloudy? A light therapy lamp will be on the bedside table. Things turn a bit windy? A hair stylist will be on hand to make sure you look your best for the evening ahead. A downpour? Wellies and raincoats will be at the suite door. Sun’s blazing? Find a selection of luxury skincare already in the bathroom.  So you get the idea, you don’t have to worry about the weather the hotel anticipates your needs to help you enjoy your stay in London no matter what the weather. And as a Londoner myself I know full well that our weather is far from predictable so good to have the professionals on board to help out!

So while we were there Marriott kindly let us stay in one of their rooms for the night so we can experience a bit of what the hotel has to offer and the Silver Lining Package. Last Monday was a scorcher so the room should reflect that right?  Well when we entered the room we were greeted with a weather care package including some sun cream and moisturiser for the sunny day ahead oh and an umbrella because its London and you never know right? To top it off ice, gin and tonic was left on the desk  – a perfect sunny day drink and a lovely greeting as we entered the room.

The whole hotel was recently refurbished late last year and they have really gone to town on instilling the London theme throughout the room and the hotel itself.

From the artwork on the walls subtly themed on areas of London to the wallpaper in the room featuring a lovely map of the whole city. Even the TV cabinet had the shape of the River Thames running through it.  A lot of effort has been made to make your stay special and I’m sure tourists would love these little touches.  Even as a Londoner I couldn’t help but smile – even the hallway had bowler hat wallpaper!

The Hotel itself is located just by Westminster Bridge so as you can imagine the views from the window were pretty spectacular. I’m not sure my photo does it justice but waking up to Big Ben outside your window is pretty special indeed.

View from our room, amazing!

One thing we noticed was the friendliness of the staff and I mean all the staff. Everything happens with a smile and nothing is too much trouble.

Check out this video of the barmen – I ordered an Old Fashioned and the barman infused the drink with smoke. I have never seen this before and drunk many Old Fashioneds in many a bar and hotel, I was really impressed.

We went through the menu and also had the most amazing gin and tonic and my girlfriend loved one called the Mary Poppins. It tasted like chocolate and that was good enough for her.


After a few drinks we decided to head back to the room and order some room service – when you have an amazing room and view like that, why go out for dinner?

The room service comes from the hotels restaurant Gillray’s Steakhouse so the obvious move for me was to try the steak which was amazing, my girlfriend went for the fish and chips which was really good too but I could see a bit of steak envy in her eyes.

Staying in our Big Ben view room we also had access to the newly renovated M-Club Lounge – a bit like a airport lounge in the hotel with snacks, drinks and computer access along with another stunning view of Westminster and Big Ben, pretty cool to say the least.

We had a lovely stay at the Mariott County Hall and felt thoroughly looked after throughout. Consider us impressed.

Full details of the Sliver Lining service and the hotel in general can be found on their website





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Top Ten Winston Churchill motivational quotes

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Top Ten Winston Churchill motivational quotes

Posted on 14 June 2017 by Chris Ford

This week sees the release of ‘CHURCHILL’ starring Brain Cox as Britain’s iconic Prime Minister Winston Churchill, covering the days before the infamous D-Day landings in June 1944.  As allied forces stand on the south coast of Britain, poised to invade Nazi-occupied Europe, they await Churchill’s decision on whether the invasion will actually move ahead.

With the release of Churchill we thought we would compile our top ten Winston Churchill motivational quotes to inspire you through the week :

  • “There are a terrible lot of lies going about the world, and the worst of it is that half of them are true.”
  • “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.”
  • “One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half.”
  • “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”
  • “Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.”
  • “There is only one duty, only one safe course, and that is to try to be right and not to fear to do or say what you believe to be right.”
  • “This is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
  • “It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time.”
  • “If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time-a tremendous whack.”
  • “Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.”


Churchill is released in UK cinemas this Friday, 16th June


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Interview – Film Weapons Master Tim Wildgoose

Interview – Film Weapons Master Tim Wildgoose

Posted on 15 May 2017 by Chris Ford

Tim Wildgoose (left)  photo from @AccessTheAnimus

Last week I had the opportunity to chat with Tim Wildgoose who has built a career as  Weapons Master for a number of amazing film and tv shows including Band of Brothers , Transformers, Edge of Tomorrow and now the new Assassin’s Creed movie which is out on DVD and Bluray today, here’s what he had to say


How did you get into the weaponry side of movie making in the first place?

I am a huge film-fanatic and wanted to work on films from as early as I can remember – I always wanted to work for Industrial Light and Magic and make props on a Star Wars movie.  I ended up doing a degree in sculpting and model making at the university of Hertfordshire aimed towards prop making.  I landed some work experience in my second year on a HBO/Dreamworks TV show that was shooting nearby called Band of Brothers and ended up doing the entire shoot of the series with the Armoury department dealing with the weapons and firearms on set and it turned into a career making weapons for movies that has lasted around 20 years so far.

Band of Brothers prop gun, photo from Prop Store .com

Do the actors ever have input into the weapons you use in production? I have read for example Daniel Craig likes to be involved in the watches, weapons etc used in a film.

Occasionally actors will have input into the weapons but these will usually be in the form of the practicality of a particular weapon’s use when on set. For example, extending a sword handle so it is easier for them to use in a fight scene.  Sometimes an actor will request a certain weapon to use but generally it is down to myself, the director and production designer as to what they will carry and to design the look of them.

In films where the weaponry is from the future or a different world it seems the guns at least tend to have a base of an existing weapon what’s the reasoning generally for this?

Very often a weapon will be required to fire blank rounds on set in order to get a flash on the actors face and surrounding scenery/set as they fire to help the VFX department add and tie-in the actual projectile/laser/whatever that should be coming out of the end of the weapon later in post-production.  Also some actors like the feedback/noise etc that firing an actual firing gun gives them when acting.

The regular way to do this is to build the futuristic weapon around an existing blank firing gun or mechanism as this saves time and money as you already have a fully working mechanism ready-made and engineered to reliably fire blank rounds.

This then has a knock on effect of having the outer-shell of the weapon resembling in some way the blank firing gun inside it.

There are other methods to achieve this and more so now with the help of better VFX, so the requirement for a blank firing gun inside is not always necessary anymore.  I have worked on movies recently where the usual blank firing mechanism has been replaced with a super-bright LED in the barrel and a recoil mechanism – meaning the design/shape of the weapon does not have to stick to any particular design constraints.

Assassins Creed

You worked on things like Band of Brothers, is it hard to source period accurate weapons for something like that?

I worked for a well-known and long established armourer called Simon Atherton on that job who sourced all the weapons for Band of Brothers.  There are many armoury companies based all over the world that keep a stock of a selection of all period weapons so it is not too much of a problem for movies to get hold of what they require. Any particular items that do not exist or are difficult to source can also be built/reproduced.

Band of Brothers

You have just worked on Assassins Creed, how close to the video game did the characters weaponry have to be or were you given freedom to come up with something new for the movie?

It was a good mix of both. We knew we wanted to keep the fans happy so we tried to cram as many of the games weapons into the movie as possible. So many of the scenes and some minor characters have weapons faithfully reproduced from the games hidden in the background.  We considered these the ‘Easter Egg’ weapons.  As a fan myself it was a pleasure to reproduce some of these iconic weapons that I myself had played with in the game over the years.  We also had some of our actors playing actual characters out of the games so again we faithfully reproduced these as closely as possible.

Then we had our new characters and Assassins – Aguilar, Maria and so on – unique to this movie which made up the rest.  We spent a long time with director Justin Kertzel designing and making our own versions of the wristblades, mechanisms and other Assassin weapons and tried to come up with weapons that were interesting and new while still keeping within the realms of the established Ubisoft/AC universe.

Assassin’s Creed


Filming in the UK where the gun restrictions are a lot stricter than places like the US how does that affect the weapons you would like to use / source for a Particular film?

This has little/no effect, it is very hard to get a section 5 licence required by the government to hold certain firearms but licence holding armourers have no problem sourcing what they require when they do.


I’ve seen in the past actors use a combination of real guns and rubber prop guns, when we are watching at home when does the gun tend to be the rubber kind and what’s the purpose of them?

Generally rubber guns are used as a safety element to protect an actor doing a stunt, for example if an actor is jumping or falling we will use a rubber weapon in case they were to fall on it to prevent injury. The rubber weapon bends and in most cases is indistinguishable from the real thing unless close up. Real guns are heavy and there is a lot of weight behind them that could cause a lot of damage if it was to hit you.  We also use rubber weapons in a situation where a person might get hit/struck with a weapon as part of the story, for example clubbed round the back of the head with a pistol – A very soft rubber pistol might be used here.

How much training does an actor get with a weapon on say something like Assassins Creed?

This depends on the weapon. Generally, actors will do weeks if not months of training with the stunt teams/fight coordinator in most case using the weapons, or as close as possible, the weapon that they will be using in the movie. We want the actor to look like the sword or whatever they are carrying as a character is second nature to them.  In the case of firearms, actors will usually go through a safety training/profficiency course with the firearms they will be using beforehand.


Assassins Creed

Brandon Lee famously died due to live rounds being placed in a gun instead of blanks, since then has safety been stepped up a lot to ensure things like that never happen again?

Arrghhh this question! sorry but I get asked this a lot.

In the Brandon Lee case my understanding was a series of unfortunate and avoidable events that occurred due to negligence and was not the case of having a live round making its way into a blank firing gun.  Any professional movie armourer would never have live rounds on a movie set for obvious reasons. Many checks are made to make sure this kind of thing cannot happen and blank firing guns cannot generally fire a live round due to the way they have to be altered to enable them to fire a blank round.

Other safety checks are in place as well, for example barrels are checked regularly/religiously for anything lodged inside. Where possible weapons will not be fired directly at an actor, as more often than not this can be achieved by ‘cheating’ the weapon a little to the side, so from the cameras perspective it looks like an actor is being shot when in reality the weapon is pointed elsewhere

What’s the most exciting project you have personally worked on and why?

Assassins Creed has been my favourite project to date, firstly because I am a gamer and was already a huge fan of the games before I even got on board the film. Assassins Creed as a universe and by the nature of its story spans many time periods in history. Usually on a movie you might get to make weapons from one or two time periods at the most. On this movie we must have made weapons from around fifteen different periods of history right up to modern day/futuristic and got to design weapons to suit

We also got to make many cool gadgets.  The AC universe is full of intricately designed ‘Da Vinci’ style mechanisms such as wristblades, wrist crossbows, dart-launchers, wrist grapples, smoke bombs and all sorts of other interesting contraptions and interesting weaponry.  The brief I worked to with my department of talented modelmakers, sculptors, painters and leatherworkers was that everything we created had to be beautiful, any mechanisms/gadgets had to work for real and it all needed to be museum-worthy. I think we achieved this and it was a pleasure to go through the whole process from start to finish. I honestly believe we created some of the most beautiful weaponry ever put on film.


Assassins Creed is out now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download.


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Review – St Barts – Smithfield

Review – St Barts – Smithfield

Posted on 19 April 2017 by Chris Ford

Last week I popped along to a dinner for bloggers at St Bart’s Brewery in Farringdon so they could showcase their new menu, as well as their drinks offerings.

Overlooking Smithfield’s famous meat market, St Bart’s is part of the Hush Heath Estate group (with another London location by Liverpool Street). Their new ‘barbecue soul food’ menu offers fresh and sustainably sourced British meat, fish and vegetables, smoked using apple wood from their Hush Heath Estate in Kent.

We began with a selection of small plates from the menu to share. The highlight for me was the most amazing Scotch Egg made with a duck’s egg. The yolk was rich and gooey and it was worlds away from the M&S picnic eggs I confess I’m used to eating. Sadly I had to share this with the table as I would have gladly eaten it all there and then!
For the main I decided to look beyond my go-to choice of steak (although the person sitting next to me had it and it looked amazing!) The ribs sounded like a tempting option and made the shortlist too. But in the end I had to go for the smoked brisket. And I’m so glad I did. It was absolutely melt-in-the-mouth and some of the best meat I have tasted in a long while. This is no doubt down to the care that has been taken to source good quality British beef, combined with the apple wood smoking.

Our host for the evening Laurence Bowes, operations director of the Hush Heath Estate group explained: ‘We’re not trying to reinvent the industry or even to be the very best in London. The industry is already altering people’s perceptions of quality meats and barbecued food – St Bart’s is coming along for the ride. What we are doing is offering real food, cooked well and served in a relaxed environment.’

So the food is good, very good, but what about the drink? First of all the award winning English wines from their Hush Heath Estate are front and a must try when you visit. Not much of a wine drinker myself, I thoroughly enjoyed the fruity sparkling Balfour Brut Rosé. The house IPA Jakes Orchard Session IPA was very drinkable too and while Hush Heath don’t make this themselves Laurence told me they were heavily involved in its development and the results are a great IPA which can stand up with the best of the big names out there (and in some cases beat them).

We finished our meal with a last bit of indulgence in the for of a knickerbocker glory, wow just wow!
One final note I’d like to mention the prices. Several of us noted that most of the plates were only £10 each which, considering the location and quality, is a very welcome surprise.

I would without hesitation recommend St Bart’s to anyone, in fact I already have so that says it all really.
St Barts ,66 West Smithfield, London EC1A 9DY
Nearest Tube – Farringdon or Barbican

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Brunch at Galvin HOP

Brunch at Galvin HOP

Posted on 20 March 2017 by Chris Ford

Last week we reviewed a bottomless brunch at Kupp in Paddington. This week we check out another brunch with bottomless delicious Czech beer but this time its Pilsner Urquell at Galvin HOP.
Located in London’s Spitalfields Square Galvin HOP is their more relaxed pub like annex to the popular Galvin La Chapelle restaurant. Offering more simple straight forward dishes and with Pilsner Urquell (my favourite beer) in their tanks I was keen to check out their brunch offerings.
The brunch menu is served between 11.30 and 4pm Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays with the option to upgrade to bottomless Pilsner Urquell , Bloody Marys or Prosecco for a really very reasonable £10 for two hours.
As we walked in at 1pm I noticed already the place was busy (I’d suggest you definitely book ahead) we walked through the bar area to the main glass-roofed seating area for our brunch. Having never been here before I didn’t actually specify I wanted to sit here but it was a real bonus as Saturday was a lovely sunny day and the room really lit up through the transparent roof.

Galvin Hop
Firstly we had to select our drink, I knew already I wanted to go for the bottomless Pilsner Urquell, my girlfriend chose likewise and as we studied our menus our beautifully poured beers quickly arrived.

Galvin Hop
To start we shared some bread with quite possibly the tastiest smoked salmon I’ve ever tried, it seemed so fresh and flavoursome (maybe I’ve just always had bad salmon?) it really was rather good. The portion for the price was really generous as well.

Galvin Hop
Then onto our mains, by this time I was feeling more in a lunch frame of mind so I went for the deluxe burger which came with a fried pickle on top as well as amazing crunchy fat chips.

Galvin Hop
My girlfriend went for the steak and eggs which I was immediately jealous of when it arrived but I can’t eat two meals so it just means I will have to return so I can try it!
Throughout the meal Galvin Hops staff were excellent at staying on top of refreshing our beers and barely did I have a mouthful left before they were over with a replacement. What more can you ask for?
As we finished our meal our charming server explained she had recently returned from Pilsen in the Czech Republic (now called Czechia) where she had been trained how to pour the perfect pint of Pilsner Urquell. She asked us if we would like to see the different pours on offer, we of course said yes!

Galvin Hop
As you can see in the photo above the two pours were on the left the Hladinka pour with over a third of the glass foam results in less carbonation and a smoother drink. On the right the Milko pour which has a small amount of pilsner at the bottom with the rest of the glass filled with the wonderfully sweet pilsner foam, a desert in itself some Czechs argue! If you go I would highly recommend you ask to try these pours after your meal.
We thoroughly enjoyed our brunch at Galvin HOP, in fact we are already planning our return so I think that tells you all you need to know.

Galvin Hop
Galvin HOP ,35 Spital Square, London
Nearest Tube : Liverpool Street



*Galvin HOP offered us a free meal but agreed we would write an unbiased review, all words are the writers own and my love for Pilsner Urquell is strong and true.

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A Beery break in Brno, Czech Republic

A Beery break in Brno, Czech Republic

Posted on 09 March 2017 by Chris Ford

Brno is the second largest city in  Czechia (formaly the  Czech Republic), Prague being the first, and in  my mind a far nicer place to go. Yes Prague has a lot of history and is beautiful but there are so many sites devoted to the place I thought I would talk about my favourite Czech city Brno.

The first thing you notice is there are no stag parties like in Prague, the locals simply won’t tolerate it, bars won’t let men in in big groups for fear of the town getting the Stag destination reputation that  Prague has and for this I’m very thankful for. Brno is a place you can go with a small group of friends or as a couple and feel right at home. Here are my top beer and food tips from my multiple trips to Brno in recent years.


The Czechs aren’t using the Euro yet so you will need some Czech Krouns , we found a weekend of generous drinking and eating left us with plenty of change from the £100 we brought with us, so Brno certainly won’t break the bank.


We stayed at the Barcelo Palace, it’s a nice hotel located in I think the perfect spot as its central while not right in the town centre either, within two minutes you are able to get to some top spots.


The Czech Republic’s national drink of choice is beer, and they tend to have the pilsner style (having invented it hardly surprising) and you will find no shortage of watering holes around the city, here are some of my favourites


Pivnice U Poutníka – Starobrněnská 16, 602 00 Brno, Czechia

A Small front room bar with a larger back space.  There were t wo taps on my visit, the double hop Poutnik and the nefiltrovany Poutnik 12 lezak, both delicious and the only place Im aware of to get them in Brno. This place gets really popular in the evening and things keep going until the early hours.

Pivnice U Poutníka

Starobrno Brewery , Mendlovo nám. 158/20, 603 00 Staré Brno, Czechia


Starobrno is the big beer of Brno and this is where is made right here in town. The Taproom and restaurant is massive and has been completely refurbed in recent years offering modern décor with classic traditional dishes and more contemporary both served to excellent standards. Of course the beer is as fresh as can be served directly from the brewery next door it doesn’t have far to travel!



Výtopna, Starobrněnská 339/12, 602 00 Brno, Czech Republic

While you won’t be blown away by the food here ( think fast food, burgers etc ) all your drinks are delivered by the model train that travels around from the bar to all the tables, you have to have one pint of Starobrno here just to experience that!

U Bláhovky – 54 Gorkého St.

U Bláhovky

This place has had a cult following since the late 1990s. Excellent Plzeň (Pilsner lager) on tap in fact this place was recommended to my by Vaclav the Pilsner Urquell head brewer as serving a great pint and hes right it does. You should get here early though this place fills up quickly in the evenings but it’s worth the visit and you will most certainly be drinking with locals. One warning this place is about a 20min walk from the main square but not an unpleasant one and google maps is your friend.

Pivnice U Kocoura, Biskupská 6, 602 00 Brno, Czechia

Pivnice U Kocoura

Along with their own brand lager and Pilsner Urquel this place has a rotating tap menu from different Czech breweries and was the only place in Brno I had an IPA which was both Czech And delicious. The bar and inside seating area is quite small but outside is a large beer garden boasting a fantastic view for you to take in while enjoying your beer.


Potrefená Husa Brno , Starobrněnská 334/3, Brno-město, 602 00 Brno-Brno-střed, Czechia

Potrefená Husa Brno

This place is part of a chain owned by the Staropramen brewery but don’t let that put you off we really like it. Its modern cool bar with great food and the entire Staropramen range including the excellent unfiltered version. Also has a nice outside seating area.

Pegas Brno , Jakubská 4, 602 00 Brno-Brno-střed, Czechia

Pegas Brno

This is a cool beer hall and microbrewery, they only sell their beers and they are really good. Lots of locals in here and grumpy waiters, but worth it. Theres also a hotel upstairs which I have stayed at in the past , but in my opinion not worth the premium they charge for it.


Monte Bú restaurant,  Údolní 532/76, 602 00 Brno, Czechia

Monte Bú restaurant

This place is a bit of a cab right away but so worth it. Certainly the best steak Ive ever had and really cheap too, I had the tomahawk steak which is served and cut at your table, all washed down with fantastic pilsner even talking about this makes me want to go back.

Monte Bú restaurant


If you are London based like me Ryanair fly directly into Brno airport from Stanstead , Id also recommend booking a taxi in advance for airport pickup as there isn’t a rank as such and most cabs hanging around are already pre booked. There is a bus service from the airport into town but I have yet to try it.

I hope this has inspired you to take your own trip to Brno its one of my favourite places to holiday and maybe it will be yours soon too.



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Spirit of Sharing – New Irish Drinks you should know about

Spirit of Sharing – New Irish Drinks you should know about

Posted on 03 March 2017 by Chris Ford

Last night I was invited along to the Irish Embassy in London for ‘Spirit of Sharing’ an event which is designed to showcase new beer, wine and spirits from the Emerald Isle.  With St Patricks Day just around the corner I thought it would be perfect timing to share my favourites from the tasting event  so with not a Guinness in sight here’s my favourite new discoveries from Ireland


Muldoon Irish whiskey Liqueur

Muldoon is Irish whiskey laced with natural flavours of toffee and hazelnut topped odd with Irish spring water. Well it tastes and smells exactly like a Cadburys Crunchie bar no joke this is liquid Crunchie ! where has this been all might life?   Muldoon won the silver award in the International Wine and Spirit Competition in 2016  and the Irish Whiskey awards in 2014, we can see why, love this!

REGION: Co.Waterford


MetalMan Brewing –  Chameleon Ginger Ginger

Last night we met Founder and head brewer of Waterfords Metalman Grainne Walsh who ran us through a flight of MetalMans offerings, the standout for me amongst a great selection was their Chameleon Ginger, a blonde ale amped up with freshly chopped root ginger to create something rather wonderful. It’s also lovely to see a female brewer in a what seems at times a male dominated space.

REGION:  Co. Waterford


Coole Swan Irish Cream Liqueur

Well this is nothing like Baileys, Coole Swan is made from a blend of Irish Whiskey ,Belgian white chocolate and fresh Irish Dairy cream all from a family farm in Co. Meath.  The White Chocolate is just outstanding here well-done guys.

REGION:  Co. Meath


Finnbarra irish Craft Cider

Now Im not much of a cider man, but this crowd changed my mind, but I really enjoyed the Medium dry cider from Finnbarra , it had a wonderful fresh apple juice aroma with a lovely sweet hit of apple flavour.

REGION:  Kinsale, Co. Cork

Móinéir Strawberry Wine

Yes you read that right Strawberry wine, in fact each bottle contains on average 150 small strawberries inside and you can really taste them in there! I was really blown away by this I shall be back for more , perfect for the summer.

REGION: Wicklow



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Whisky Tasting at Milroys of Soho with The Quarry

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Whisky Tasting at Milroys of Soho with The Quarry

Posted on 22 February 2017 by Chris Ford

In the office here we love whisky and we love pretty much anything HBO does.
From the Sopranos to Game of Thrones and The Wire they know how to put together a drama so we of course said a big YES PLEASE when HBO invited us down to whisky bar Milroy’s of Soho for a evening of whisky tasting to celebrate the DVD / Blu-Ray release of HBO’s latest show Quarry.

You may ask what does this have to do with the show? Well the main character, a Vietnam vet, is rather partial to a drop hence the theme of the evening.
Milroy’s of Soho was founded over fifty years ago by John ‘Jack’ Milroy in 1964. Now it’s owned and run by whisky lover Martyn Simpson, who would be our guide for the evening ahead.
I confess I’m no expert in whisky. I like what I like and am constantly learning, So I think what I liked most about Martyn’s approach to the tasting was he made clear there was no right or wrong answer for what makes a great whisky – it’s all down to personal taste.
He for example said he doesn’t get on with the Jack Daniels range which I have always quite liked, especially the Single Barrel, our tastes are constantly developing and changing. Martyn himself started off drinking Bells in his youth.

So here’s everything we tried:
Kavalan, a port cask finished single malt from Taiwan (the closest Martyn could get to Vietnam explaining that while Vietnam do make whisky it really isn’t very good!)
Next we moved on to Kentucky USA via Blanton’s single barrel bourbon, notable by the model horse on the bottle cap, because the distillery is next to a racecourse.
Then to the familiar grounds of Scotland we tried the Glenfiddich 21 Year Old Gran Reserva – a notable change of pace from the bourbon and most enjoyable it was too. I think this was my second favourite of the evening.
European Bourbon Rye Association – cask strength, single barrel bourbon rye, this one was a bit too strong for me, maybe one day I will grow to appreciate it but I think most of the room was in agreement with me.
We finished back in Kentucky with a with a sour mash from Michter’s called, possibly my favourite of the evening. In fact I think I shall be seeking out a bottle of this one!

If you are looking to experience something like this yourself Milroy’s have regular tastings in their shop upstairs and also the excellent basement bar where this tasting took place. The staff are all very knowledgeable and have a passion for what they do, a rare thing indeed.

Milroys of Soho can be found at 3 Greek St, Soho, London W1D 4NX
A bit about Quarry

Quarry stars Logan Marshall-Green as Max Conway is a disillusioned Vietnam War veteran who returns home to Memphis in 1972, only to find rejection by his loved ones and demonised by the public. With whisky only friend he is approached by a mysterious man known only as The Broker, he is drawn into a network of killing and corruption that spans the length of the Mississippi River.

Quarry is out now on DVD and Blu-Ray and having watched it this weekend I can thoroughly recommend it.

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