the life and (drinking) times of phil chambers

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Qype: Font in Manchester

Manchester - Pubs & Bars - Bars

Really great bar just under the arches by Oxford Road station and what was A1 music back in the day, my own personal mecca for many years.

The best night out I had here was when the 'In The City' music festival was on in September 2001 and I saw the now legendary 'Honey Shop Screamers' perform "Songs from English Motorways' - a classic gig. The band, as far I know, are now sadly defunct, but the bar lives on.

Well worth a look.

Check out my review of Font - I am filchambers - on Qype

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Qype: An Khang in Hamburg

Hamburg - Restaurants - Other Asian - Vietnamese

Excellent Vietnamese restaurant in Hamburg?! Who'd have thought it? This is a low-key, friendly establishment, which is reasonably priced and has delicious food.

The staff are so friendly that when our credit card didn't work they said, just pay next time! When does that ever happen?!

Starters and mains for 3, including wine, comes to around €70. Recommended.

Check out my review of An Khang - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: The Basketmakers Arms in Brighton

Brighton - Pubs & Bars - Pubs

The Basketmakers is a real little gem of a pub hidden in some little lane in Brighton. I've never been anywhere quite like here, given the tradition of the punters scrawling tiny little notes and hiding them in the myriad old tobacco tins on the wall! This is UNBELIEVABLY fun! You can find wisdom, rhyme, phone numbers, lyrics and sheer randomness contained within.

But let's get down to business. On the beer side of things - it's a Fullers joint. This means, of course:

HSB (Gales - but bought by Fullers I learned)
Chiswick Bitter

You can't go wrong with Pride, ESB or Discovery, so I was happy. There may have been a non-Fullers guest. Or maybe not!

Excellent place.

Check out my review of The Basketmakers Arms - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Bar Zwo11 in Hamburg

Hamburg - Pubs & Bars - Bars

Fish fish fish fish fish. Yes, this bar has an amazing projector showing undersea scenes non-stop. Initially I thought it was some sort of gimmick, but when I saw that the names of the fish occasionally pop up, I realised it's actually a valuable educational tool!

Other than that, it's desperately stylish, with all the features that come with such a bar - overpriced drinks, uncomfortable seating that's a bit shiny and far too low, very dim lighting, no atmosphere, old women with dogs... oh wait...!

Yes it's true - this is the bar of choice for Lassie! 3 stars.

Check out my review of Bar Zwo11 - I am filchambers - on Qype

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Qype: osteopathy at roseandcrown in London

London - Health - Alternative Medicine - Health - Health - Alternative Medicine - Osteopathy - Health - Massage & Physio

Recently discovered the wonder of osteopathy as I decided to try and sort out my neck, shoulders and arms after years of abuse on the computer all day every day. Phil has a nice little room below the Rose and Crown hairdressers, where he clearly works wonders with his clients. The service is extremely professional, trying to find out what the root causes of any discomfort you have, and then manipulating the right joints to sort them out. He will also teach you useful stretches you can do yourself to help out.

If you have any sort of discomfort and have had no joy with your GP, I would highly recommend having a look at this.

Check out my review of osteopathy at roseandcrown - I am filchambers - on Qype

Monday, 25 August 2008

Qype: Eleven Cafe Bar in Berlin

Berlin - Cafes & Coffee Shops - Cafes - Pubs & Bars - Bars - Cocktail Bars

Delicious coffee and milkshakes, right by Potsdamer platz station. I couldn't fault the little heart shape that the waitress had lovingly crafted into my latte, and the chocolate milkshakes are also a winner.

Check out my review of Eleven Cafe Bar - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Adebar in Berlin

Berlin - Cafes & Coffee Shops - Cafes

Pretty decent late-night cafe bar that does a mean burger for just €4, and has no problem serving food well past when you should be eating it - i.e. at 2330. The beer is reasonable and it's fairly busy, no complaints at all really.

Check out my review of Adebar - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: bar lounge 39 in Berlin


Cool bar in Kreuzberg that's open really late with a weird mix of people sat down listening to minimal electro played by a DJ that's slightly off his face. Not bad at all really. But it was far past my bedtime.

The main point to note was the cool 80's technics speakers with built in digital VU meters. Always adds a bit of class to your DJ setup!

Check out my review of bar lounge 39 - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Cake in Berlin


Cozy cocktail bar in Kreuzberg with awesome staff and a slightly dodgy DJ! This place was fairly quiet when we rocked in at 2300 but it certainly gets busy later on, although I'm not really sure if it was the music (bizarre South Pacific themed), or the drinks that draws the punters. Anyway, if you're sat at the bar, you're sorted (when isn't that true I wonder?)

Excellent selection of cocktails for around €5 each, and they put a fair bit of work into each. Check it out.

Check out my review of Cake - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Café Luzia in Berlin

Berlin - Cafes & Coffee Shops - Cafes

Absolutely rammed on a Saturday, this "cafe" bears no resemblance to one at night! Decent tunes, loads of people, cheap drinks, nice decor and a really cool upstairs seating area that you have to climb a ladder to get to. Decent.

Check out my review of Café Luzia - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: aki tatsu in Berlin

Berlin - Restaurants - Japanese & Sushi

Cheap and cheerful sushi cafe on Oranienstrasse, handy for a quick bite to eat before hitting up the bars in Kreuzberg. It's not out of this world, but neither are the prices.

Check out my review of aki tatsu - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Lux 11 in Berlin

Berlin - Travel & Hotels - Hotels

Just spent the weekend here and I absolutely loved it. If you're looking for something a bit different to a standard hotel - then Lux 11 might be right up your street. It's basically a serviced apartment building, with a hotel reception and breakfast. It's in a great old building, with ultra-modern rooms done out in a minimalist, but not at all uncomfortable style. I should have taken more photos actually.

Our room was a generous 30sq meters, and it came with fridge, microwave, great walk in shower, huge concrete sink, flat screen, dvd player etc etc. The bed was supremely comfortable, and there's no one tidying up your stuff every morning and annoying you - it's just like living there.

Absolutely ideal for weekend away with a healthy dose of clubbing and a nice space to recover and gloat over the British medal haul at the Olympics!

I might add - breakfast @ €12 isn't that cheap, but the setting was great (in Shiro nextdoor), and everything about it was perfect.

Lux 11 is right in middle of the action - in Mitte, just a stone's throw from Alexanderplatz - and so, 5 stars in my book.

Check out my review of Lux 11 - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Alpenstueck in Berlin


Excellent and fairly stylish German restaurant in Mitte, just around the corner from Nordbanhof. The menu is not extensive, 4 starters and 5 mains to choose from, consisting of various German classics - some of which you will have heard of, and others you may not.

I opted for the cheek of pork with bulgar wheat to start, and followed it up with an excellent rabbit dish, all washed down with a decent dry riesling.

Starters are priced at €6-8, and mains at €14-17, and for the quality of the food, it's reasonable.

Service could be a little better, so I'll save that 5th star for a repeat visit.

Check out my review of Alpenstueck - I am filchambers - on Qype

Friday, 22 August 2008

Qype: U-434 in Hamburg

Hamburg - Arts & Entertainment - Museums

My long ambition to get onto more submarines is finally coming to fruition. I've seen 2 in a month! My fascination with these relics of the cold war stems mainly from enjoying "The Hunt for Red October" so much.

U-434 is a Soviet vessel dating from 1976. She is a Tango-class (NATO designation) attack boat, armed with 24 torpedoes. Powered by 3x 5200 shp 6 cylinder diesels, she was, I believe, the largest non-nuclear submarine in service at the time.

A German businessman thought it would be a good idea to buy her for around €1M in 2002, and she was transported back from Russia for a further €1M and now lies in Hafen City. Admission is around €12 with an extra €3 for the guided tour, which ou can have in English. I highly recommend the extra tour as you get to see areas of the boat (command room etc.) that you wouldn't be able to otherwise. Sadly, as she was still in active service as a training boat until 5 years ago, the Ruskies removed quite a bit of equipment from her before she was sold. Therefore, you won't be plotting a firing solution as the torpedo computer has gone, along with sonar and communications. For the most part though this is as authentic as it gets.

One ping only.

Check out my review of U-434 - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Al-Quds in Manchester

Manchester - Restaurants - Take Away - Kebabs

The shop where Abdullah, my favourite Afgan kebab-craftsman came to work after graduating from the Caspian school of excellence. Maz didn't want to give out a part share in the business, such is politics on the 'mile. We didn't come here as much as 'scaps, but only by virtue of it's location. The food is great - you can't beat freshly made dough slapped onto the side of a vertical clay over with tender chunks of marinated lamb and lashings of sauce. You really can't.

Abdullah had come over here from Afganistan after his dad was killed by a soviet landmine in the war. He was a lovely guy, very quiet and unassuming, but disillusioned about serving the hoards of idiot drunken students at 4am, as well you might be after a while. Not sure how we avoided being tarred with that brush, but me and Toucs became friends with him and even exchanged numbers. Last I heard from his brother that he'd gone back home, I hope he's doing ok.

Check out my review of Al-Quds - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: The Battered Cod in Manchester

Manchester - Restaurants - Take Away

There are a serious lack of decent chip shops in Rusholme/Fallowfield! Fortunately, The Battered Cod is there to fill that gap. Thinking about this chippie fills me with pangs of regret for ever having left university. Ouch.

Check out my review of The Battered Cod - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: "Hesburger" Restaurant in Hamburg

Hamburg - Restaurants - Fast Food & American

I sort of imagined Hesburger to be some sort of gourmet burger place for some bizarre reason - perhaps its Finnish roots. It's not.

A weird McDonalds clone, there are several of them on the Reeperbahn. It looks kind of like a generic takeaway from the outside, no distinct branding. The burgers are ropey as hell - basically, like McDonalds, except they make no effort to hide the fact you're eating crap that's being cooked from frozen. No, indeed, they whip out the frozen cardboard meat and slam it on the hotplate in front of you. A machine swings down over the top for around 30 secs and often the burgers get stuck on it as it goes up again - leaving it hanging and dripping with fat.


Check out my review of "Hesburger" Restaurant - I am filchambers - on Qype

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Qype: Wildwechsel in Hamburg

Hamburg - Cafes & Coffee Shops - Cafes - Pubs & Bars - Bars - Cocktail Bars

I knew this place was cool when I saw the hand-dryers were branded "Airwolf 100". Unfortunately I didn't have my camera on me tonight, but I'll be sure to be back and get a shot of that class.

The cocktails are nice and varied, and I'd never seen an Absinthe Sour on offer before, so, what with it being a Monday, I had to try it. Quite a short drink in reality, but lovely and bitter - just up my street.

There's free WiFi, and low lighting... what more could you want? Absolutely ideal for a late-night ssh session into your Debian/NSLU2 back home... if only I wasn't being serious.

Check out my review of Wildwechsel - I am filchambers - on Qype

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Qype: Cafe Paris in Hamburg

Hamburg - Cafes & Coffee Shops - Cafes

I'm really in two minds about Cafe de Paris. On the one hand, it's a lovely building, serving semi-decent steak frites. On the other, the service is pretty poor, and they've evidently never actually tried cassulet in France, because their version tastes nothing like.

Even though it has it's downsides, I still come back here from time to time, probably because I miss France too much...

Check out my review of Cafe Paris - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: The Alvanley Arms Inn in Tarporley

Tarporley - Pubs & Bars - Pubs

Picturesque Cheshire pub just outside Eaton village on a bad bend on the A49, a popular stop for the traveling trade. It's a cracking looking building, and there is a big shire horse connection - the inside is decorated with hundreds of photos and rosettes, and there is a shire horse centre nextdoor.

It's got an olde-world feeling to it - not in a 17th century way, but it looks like not much has changed for about 30 years inside. Which is nice. Sadly, I'm only going to give it 3 stars. I had a decided average ploughmans lunch here yesterday, which at 9.95 was super-expensive. For that sort of money, it would have to right, and it wasn't all there. The ham was good, but there wasn't much of it. The cheese was pretty standard mild supermarket fayre, and the salad wasn't up to much either.

Robinsons is on tap, but again my first pint of bitter in about 4 weeks was a touch on the ropey side.

Worth a look, but don't order the ploughmans. I should have had the gammon.

Check out my review of The Alvanley Arms Inn - I am filchambers - on Qype

Monday, 18 August 2008

Qype: The Albert in London

London - Pubs & Bars - Pubs

I wasn't over keen on this place. I think I have a talent for sniffing out Greene King venues before I walk into them, and on seeing Abbott Ale and GK IPA on tap, my worst suspicions were confirmed. The tables had that "we're been cleaned, but we're not clean" look of many a faux-gastro establishment. A shame, cause I think you could make this place really nice.

The barmaid was incredibly rude when my girlfriend had a rare moment of hesitation before ordering the usual white wine, despite there being no other customers waiting. Which means just 2 solitary stars...

Check out my review of The Albert - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Trojka Russian Restaurant in London

London - Restaurants - Russian

Situated in leafy Primrose Hill, along a particularly pleasant stretch of Regent's Park Road, what better place than Trojka for dinner on a summer's evening? I had been promised gorgeous decor and even more gorgeous waitresses, they delivered on the first. But the jazz guitarist was an unexpected bonus! OK, we did get charged a 2 pound "music fee" on the bill, but with Ukrainian borsch at only 2.95 and mains at around 8 quid, you don't feel ripped off here, just remember where it is!

Highly recommended.

Check out my review of Trojka Russian Restaurant - I am filchambers - on Qype

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Qype: Paddington Station in London

London - Travel & Hotels - Stations

A lovely classic British station, which happens to be home to some of the most expensive rail routes in the world! But I won't hold that against them. In fact, only this morning, despite being robbed on the Heathrow express, I was filled with a sense of wonder on stepping out of the train and gazing at the lovely ironwork and light seeping through to the diesels below. Yes, the Great Western Railway still doesn't seem to be electrified - maybe that's why it's so pricey?

Check out my review of Paddington Station - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Heathrow Express in London

London - Travel & Hotels - Airports

FIFTEEN POUNDS FIFTY PENCE! It's not often I write in capitals, but I nearly threw up all over the ticket machine this morning when enjoying the swish new T5 Heathrow Express station. Incredibly expensive for a 15 minute train ride. Just enough time to fall asleep, and bang, you're shoved onto the Bakerloo line, broke and upset.

Still, what a station!

Check out my review of Heathrow Express - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: The Cambridge in London

London - Pubs & Bars - Pubs

The Cambridge is a decent central pub that is always always packed due to its location right in Soho. The crowd are a real mixture of pre-clubbing 20-somethings, tourists who accidentally landed there, and some regulars. The landlady is a particularly nice Irish girl who always will attempt to fit you in upstairs for food, and doesn't tend to get irate despite the overcrowded nature of the place.

I've never been anything but impressed with the beer. It's well-kept, and they tend to have 3-4 guests, plus often a trad cider or perry on draught.

Generally it's better to drink here in summer as you can stand outside comfortably and watch the bustling tourist crowds getting into rickshaws and other such gimmicks. Otherwise, prepared to be bumped into quite a lot...

Check out my review of The Cambridge - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Charlie's Karaoke Bar in Manchester

Manchester - Pubs & Bars - Bars - Nightlife - Karaoke

Pretty bloody funny karaoke place just off Princess Street, right in central Manchester. Funny because, as much as you are keen to do your best rendition of "Sweet Child O' Mine", the proprietor, Charlie himself, will insist on having a dabble around every 3rd song!

Still, great to see someone who loves their work so much! Classic night out.

Check out my review of Charlie's Karaoke Bar - I am filchambers - on Qype

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Qype: Christiansens Fine Drinks & Cocktails in Hamburg

Hamburg - Pubs & Bars - Bars - Pubs & Bars - Bars - Cocktail Bars

Superb establishment. Everything everyone has said is true, I realised as much after my own personal "cocktail consultation" on "massage Mondays"!

What do you like? What tastes, what spirits, what mood are you in? What's your favourite colour...? What's your name, where'd you come from, how many.... no wait.

I got recommended a Hendrick's crush, which contains crushed kumqats! What an invention, a fruit that no one had any use for before, apart from ornamental, of course. Anyway, it was delicious.

I've since been back and sampled the flammkuchen (also great) and watched the fish a lot. An impressive tank.

On Monday nights every customer gets a free massage too - slightly surreal, but great!

Check out my review of Christiansens Fine Drinks & Cocktails - I am filchambers - on Qype

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

i am so dumb

So! I finally got some time this evening and decided to rip open my laptop and replace the hard drive, something I've been meaning to do for a year. Well, it all went swimmingly, right up until the point when I did an update on the new drive, and hadn't bothered to screw everything back together. Impatient, I was going to put the bottom screws in at the same time, and er, pulled the power cable out, forgetting I had no battery in. Jesus. Old disk is back in now. Back to square one. I feel a little bit like killing myself.

Labels: , ,

Monday, 11 August 2008

Qype: Obst & Gemüse Salat Bar in Hambourg


Oh joyful salad bar, you are my first love for lunch! Yes, it's true, despite it being SO NICE here that I consistantly overeat, I've no hesitation in recommended you all do the same and put on some weight.

Walk in, grab a tray, get some of everything, take it to the weigh in. Grab a load of free bread. Depart with a smile on your face.

What's on offer?

Lots. Feta, beans, avacardo, cous cous... the list is endless really. I think I may have had my last schnitzel sandwich from nextdoor...

Check out my review of Obst & Gemüse Salat Bar - I am filchambers - on Qype

Friday, 8 August 2008

Qype: Ten Ten Tei in London

London - Restaurants - Japanese & Sushi

Rundown? Check. Cramped? Check. Great food with huge portions, at reasonable prices? Check.

We went here for lunch today, and to be honest, I didn't know what anything on the menu would be like. Which led us to the interesting question: when Japanese people come over here, are they also as confused about egg, chips and beans?

Anyway, I couldn't even come close to finishing my noodle soup with dumpling, and now feel rather fatter than I did even this morning.

Check it out.

Check out my review of Ten Ten Tei - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Viking Centre (Jorvik) in York

York - Arts & Entertainment - Day Trips

Does every English school child get taken here on a trip I wonder? I'm pretty sure we did, and of course, everything smelled in Viking times. How do they actually know this I wonder?

Anyway, I remember it being a funny smell, nowhere near as bad as when my freezer defrosted and was left for a week recently... nowhere near at all...

Check out my review of Viking Centre (Jorvik) - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: The Princes Head in Richmond

Richmond - Pubs & Bars - Bars

The Princes Head is a pretty good Fuller's establishment in an excellent location, right on Richmond green. In summertime, there's not much better than getting a pint of chilled Discovery and lying on the grass, watching the combination of cricketers, football, kids, frisbee etc. and of course, the excellent view of the planes coming in to Heathrow. The points I've scored in this very place on "identify that aircraft challenge"... ah.

The staff are good here, the food is standard pub fayre, but nice with it. The interior is a bit sticky, but they have open fires and sofas which are cozy in winter. All in all, not bad.

Check out my review of The Princes Head - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: The Didsbury Inn in Manchester

Manchester - Pubs & Bars - Pubs

Can't believe I haven't reviewed the Didsbury yet! It was, after all, just down the road when I lived here.

What better place to get a refreshing pint of ale after an energetic stroll through Fletcher Moss? Lovely period building, loads of car parking, fantastic food. OK, it's popular, so the service can be a biiiit slow (at the bar) sometimes, but all the more reason to double up on pints!


Check out my review of The Didsbury Inn - I am filchambers - on Qype

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Qype: LOMO in Hamburg

Hamburg - Restaurants - Italian & Pizza - Pubs & Bars - Pubs

Bloody great pizza. Not traditional Italian, but fatty German style, loads of cheese, and not shy on the toppings either. We tried to order large pizzas for more money, but they said that any pizza in any size was just 5€ - well, simplifies the order anyway!

It was all really good, fatty, and filling. A highly recommended grease-fest.

Check out my review of LOMO - I am filchambers - on Qype

Friday, 1 August 2008

Qype: Eldorado in Hamburg

Hamburg - Pubs & Bars - Bars

If you're into your music, and you like drinking, you could do a lot worse than hop into Eldorado. I don't know how, but everytime I come in there's always something I really like that is obscure (Andrew Bird anyone?!), and also new stuff that I've never heard of. They must give the bar staff some sort of musical taste test before they get a job here.

Anyway - the place is pretty dirty and scruffy, and you can still smoke inside, and there's no outdoor seating. But I love it for tunes. So it's a 5.

Check out my review of Eldorado - I am filchambers - on Qype