Immediately on walking into this pub, I am faced with a large, bearded man attempting to eat three pickled eggs in less than forty seconds. He fails, but I’m still impressed. Behind him, a cat lay lapping up water next to a sign offering “kittens on toast”. Already, it’s pretty clear I was onto a winner here.
The Bag o’ Nails sits on St George’s Road, surrounded by estate agents and curry houses. It’s a beautiful old traditional building, matched inside with an interior that still has all the traditional features under a thick layer of oddness. There are many rules. In particular, I like the hastily scrawled rule above the bar: “no fucking stupid inflatable animals or fish”.
The walls are lined with bottles of Belgian ales, but the real stars here are the pumps – four on today, though I’m assured there’s usually more. Behind them on the back wall, there’s a row of “hipster beers” on tap. In case you were starting to think this might be a reputable establishment, to the left of the bar is a tap serving Babycham. It’s a bit weird.
The bearded man has just made another attempt at the pickled egg challenge. That’s six pickled eggs in the space of fifteen minutes. I sincerely hope his spouse was born without a sense of smell.
The Bag o’ Nails kept me guessing the whole time I was there, with its strange, busy decor, feline bar staff, and liberal rule lists. It made a very pleasant place to stop off for a pint and a pork pie, and I can see myself dropping by for many more. 5/5