I get out to Mile End Road a few times a year and yet the Blind Beggar has eluded me all this time. I have wanted to go to this pub since before I was old enough to drink, fascinated with the Krays mostly due to the 30 minute long Piranha Brothers sketch on Monty Python’s Flying Circus. It really didn’t disappoint, although it was not at all what I expected.
More-or-less across Whitechapel Road from the Royal Infirmary that housed John Merrick (the Elephant Man) and at a good turning point if you are doing a Jack the Ripper walking tour, the pub is kind of open with a bar taking up most of the northeast quadrant but with a very modern beer garden through a side door, sporting walls made up of tanks of tinted water with bubbles coursing through and loads of vines trailing from hanging baskets. Smooth jazz and samba music is piped out at low enough volume to allow a chat. Very copacetic, belying its past as the birthplace of the Salvation Army (no shit, William Booth preached his first sermon out front). A good place to die, although Georgie Cornell may have begged to differ; for me, it was a good place to kill off the thirst developed at the Great British Beerathon earlier in the day.