the life and (drinking) times of phil chambers

Friday, 31 October 2008

Qype: Saturn Electro-Handelsges. mbH in Hamburg

Hamburg - Shopping - Household Appliances - Shopping - Music, Videos & Games

Saturn is like nothing I've ever seen outside of China. A giant electronics emporium on about 6 floors with everything in the whole world in stock. We went in with a friend intending to buy nothing and came out with a Nintendo Wii and I've now done more exercise this weekend than for the past year.

Fortunately I managed to restrain Andrew from buying the 65 inch LCD, so we're on the good old 12 inch black and white portable...
Check out my review of Saturn Electro-Handelsges. mbH - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Fab Cafe in Manchester

Manchester - Pubs & Bars - Bars

I never had anything but an amazing night here. A lot of my friends seemed to dislike it for some reason (sci-fi theme?!) but there was always a great fun crowd, loads of drinking and dancing, and Dr Who on the TV. Best night ever? When Joy Division came on. Love will tear us apart.
Check out my review of Fab Cafe - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Zur gemütlichen Tankstelle in Hamburg

Hamburg - Pubs & Bars - Bars - Food & Drink - Sweets & Chocolates

Part sweet shop, part den of alcoholism, this is a weird old place. Still, if you really like sweets (I did once) and beer (I do now) and jaegarmeister (I'm getting into it), you could do a LOT worse round here!
Check out my review of Zur gemütlichen Tankstelle - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Marble Beer House in Manchester

Manchester - Pubs & Bars - Pubs

Can you sit down in the Marble Beer House? I did once, I think. It's got the layout of a tiny cafe, and yet is an ale lover's paradise, as they have a load of decent ales in at all times. I think it's all from the Marble brewery, so established brands they are not. Which adds to the appeal. There's also some decent crisps and nuts. Cozy!
Check out my review of Marble Beer House - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Hardy's Well in Manchester

Manchester - Pubs & Bars - Pubs

I whiled away many a happy afternoon here during my mis-spent student days, and in fact, many of those afternoons turned into evenings. It was just about close enough to walk, about 10 minutes, and you had to walk because you didn't want to drink-drive, and if you did drive, your car would definitely get broken into. The bitter situation has improved over recent years and I would like to take credit (along with our mates) because we whinged about it everyday for 4 years to Clive. He likes a drink too!
Check out my review of Hardy's Well - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Sinclairs Oyster Bar in Manchester

Manchester - Pubs & Bars - Pubs

Definitely the cheapest pub in Manchester, nay, the world! Actually I have been to cheaper places in Beijing, but I can't recall getting 7 pints of bitter for under a tenner anywhere else in the UK. Sinclair's always has a fantastic atmosphere of very happy drinkers being merry. The building is a half timbered affair that the IRA tried to destroy but they moved it and put it all back together on its present site behind M&S. An oasis in a sea of rubbish shops. Lovely.
Check out my review of Sinclairs Oyster Bar - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Signature Room at the 95th in Chicago


A solid 5 stars for the best breakfast brunch I've ever had and indeed, the first place I ever tried eggs benedict! I'm sort of glad I didn't try them before, since I probably would have died of some sort of heart disease if I'd got into them at the age of say, 5. So, come here on a Sunday around lunchtime, make sure you book, and enjoy the all-you-can-eat feast to end them all. Being on the 95th floor makes it that little bit better as you wash brunch down with champagne. Mmm mmm!
Check out my review of Signature Room at the 95th - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Millennium Park in chicago

chicago - Arts & Entertainment - Landmarks - Arts & Entertainment - Parks

You walk in this downtown park and first glimpse the shining object that is the centrepiece, and think, 'what the hell is that'?!

That is 'Cloudgate', an amazing mercury-like sculpture by Anish Kapoor which will have you staring with childlike fascination (if you're anything like me) for hours.

The park is also home to a fine outdoor stage, which only this summer hosted a free gig from none other than the world's greatest living recording artist, Mr Andrew Bird. If I could give 6 stars for that, I would. Don't miss it.
Check out my review of Millennium Park - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Kingston Mines in Chicago

Chicago - Pubs & Bars - Bars - Nightlife - Music Venues

Another fantastic blues bar on North Halsted, just opposite the legendary B.L.U.E.S. They often do joint nights where you can go in both venues for one price, like I did for "Blues Diva 2007"!

It's a much bigger affair, with no less than 2 stages and simultaneous rocking going on all night long. You are pretty much guaranteed a really fun night. Don't miss it.
Check out my review of Kingston Mines - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Seven Arts Centre in Leeds

Leeds - Nightlife - Cinemas - Pubs & Bars - Bars - Nightlife - Music Venues - Arts & Entertainment - Theatres

Cracking bar, restaurant, cafe and arts centre in leafy Chapel A - LS7 Heaven as the locals call it, er, I think. My good friend Penny, a stalwart of the local arts scene and organiser of the renowned Chapel Allerton Arts Festival, the urban Glastonbury, took the plunge a couple of years ago and set up this place. And now, no one can chuck her out of the bar, because it's her bar.

There's a regular calendar of arty events, but if you're just there for the bitter and chat, you won't be disappointed either.
Check out my review of Seven Arts Centre - I am filchambers - on Qype

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Qype: Speiche Fahrradladen in Hamburg


Fantastic tiny little bike shop in Bleicherstrasse opposite the Edeka. You could easily walk past this shop and not see it, but you shouldn't! Why? Well - if you can possibly visit at a time when it's open (long lunches!), then you could:

- hire a bike to cycle round Hamburg for almost nothing
- buy a new one customised to however you want it
- or the best option: get a fleamarket 30 euro bike completely overhauled!

Yes indeed I had my wreck of an old thing brought back to showroom condition overnight!

The guy is really friendly, but doesn't really speak English - so take your best German bike-phrasebook!
Check out my review of Speiche Fahrradladen - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Sessanta Due in Hamburg

Hamburg - Restaurants - Italian & Pizza

Now this, is a really nice pizza place. Kind of Spanish perhaps (well they sell Sagres beer), and the service was ultra-friendly. I didn't eat, but my friend bought a really nice Pizza Tonno, and then I had loads of slices of that, and it was, as we say in Germany, sehr lecker!

For a quick bite to eat in the afternoon: recommended.
Check out my review of Sessanta Due - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Mutter in Hamburg

Hamburg - Pubs & Bars - Pubs

Mutter, a bar I have never managed to get into. No, not because of their door policy, but because all of the smokers of Hamburg and the rest of the world now congregate here and chainsmoke like beagles in a Huntingdon life sciences lab. Not I'm not one to whinge about passive smoking, far from it. But when the only way to survive in a bar is to don scuba gear... well, it's over for me. I can't swim anyway.
Check out my review of Mutter - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Aeroporto di Venezia Marco Polo in Venedig

Venedig - Travel & Hotels - Airports

Actually, not *everything* is great about this airport. Believe me, if you've spent a night on the cold metal benches with lumps in them, it's not that pleasant. At least they do let you sleep here, but god, I never want to do that again!

Also another time, I came here and asked where the Ryanair check in was. Not actually in this airport. Whoops. Guess I can't really blame them for that one.
Check out my review of Aeroporto di Venezia Marco Polo - I am filchambers - on Qype

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Qype: Oriental Pearl TV Tower in Shanghai

Shanghai - Arts & Entertainment - Landmarks

Fantastic landmark that defines the futuristic Shanghai skyline. I guess the architects had been watching a fair bit of Bladerunner when they designed this! Of course, you can't do much but go up it, and since it's almost 100% guaranteed to be really foggy in Shanghai, you get to see the insides of some clouds. That doesn't detract from the awesome engineering feat building something like this is! I believe it's the world's 7th tallest freestanding structure. Which is tall enough.
Check out my review of Oriental Pearl TV Tower - I am filchambers - on Qype

Monday, 27 October 2008

Qype: Club 9005 in Hamburg

Hamburg - Nightlife - Clubs

To be honest, I've been twice now, and the first time there was a power cut and it was dead, and the 2nd time, well, it was dead again. Private clubbing sounds cool, but in reality, it is not. Oh, and it's not really private - it's free for members but they charge your mates €5, which kind of annoys them all! Oh dear...
Check out my review of Club 9005 - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: I am Kloot in Hamburg

Hamburg - Concerts & Festivals - Pop & Rock

Manchester's finest at their best. Despite what had clearly been a fairly heavy night out in Amsterdam the day before, they gave it all and put on a stellar performance. Man, these guys are tight! But there was also a great atmosphere, loads of banter with the crowd (well, us mostly!) and all of the classics. Bar 86 TV's. We crashed their dressing room later on and they gave us some free beers too! Great night.

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

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Qype: Copa Cabana Sportsbar in Hamburg

Hamburg - Pubs & Bars - Bars - Sports Bars

A kind of surreal cross between a warehouse of cleaning products, a betting shop, a drugs clinic, and a bar. That says Irish Pub on the outside. Bloody brilliant, in certain situations.
Check out my review of Copa Cabana Sportsbar - I am filchambers - on Qype

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Qype: aLii's Birthday Local Pubs - Pub Crawl in Hamburg

Hamburg - Nightlife & Social - Nightlife & Social - Social Events - Birthday Party

A classic. What seemed liked a slightly mental idea turned out to actually be, well, a stroke of genius. You know, Hamburg has a lot of of cool bars. Hamburg also has a lot of cooler bars, which don't look as cool as the cool bars, but which in fact, are a lot cooler. I might put on Lupe Fiaso's "The Cool" right now.

Check out my review of aLii's Birthday Local Pubs - Pub Crawl - I am filchambers - on Qype

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Qype: Altan Hotel in Hamburg


Wow what a bar! It's got it all, where all means:

- solid glass chess set
- thumping techno with trippy milkdrop visualisations
- an er, hotel with rooms for €19!

There's a cool 'airport lounge' style feel to this place, almost like you're trapped in some freaky dream. But not the one where you're a guinea pig with your own face, a different one.

Check out my review of Altan Hotel - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: SlimJims in Hamburg

Hamburg - Restaurants - Take Away - Restaurants - Italian & Pizza

Lovely and well-hidden independant pizza place just by the number 3 bus stop! It's got St. Pauli checklist: free table football, beer fridge, standup tables... incredibly friendly couple running it and making bloody lovely pizzas for you. It's been going around 5 months now and I'd never seen it, maybe they should get a bigger sign. Get in there! I had the quiche!
Check out my review of SlimJims - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Bar in Hamburg


I've lived around 45 seconds walk from here for 15 months now, and I've never, ever been in. I've even looked in quite a few times and thought, well, I'll never go in there. What a mistake! This place is awesome. Electronic darts with a hilariously random machine, pool, gambling machines, Polish beers in big bottles. What more could a alcoholic gambler want?!
Check out my review of Bar - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Welcome Inn London Pub in Hamburg

Hamburg - Pubs & Bars - Pubs

This pub definitely looks like the kind of tourist trap place you'd always avoid as a Brit abroad. However, I've accidentally been here about 3 times now in the day (football) and the middle of the night (too drunk to know better) and it's actually really good! Loads of very keen German football fans who will let you know all about the Liverpool result - so, you can't really fault that can you?
Check out my review of Welcome Inn London Pub - I am filchambers - on Qype

Monday, 20 October 2008

Qype: Real Ale limited in Twickenham


Fantastic real ale shop (what a great concept!!) that sells a massive range of ale out of their Twickenham shop (just over the Richmond bridge), but also delivers to the UK via their website. If you're fed up of paying pub prices, or your local has closed down, here's the solution!

Unfortunately due to tax/documentation reasons and shipping costs it's not possible to deliver outside of the UK - boohoo for us (now) expats.

Keep up the good work chaps!
Check out my review of Real Ale limited - I am filchambers - on Qype

Friday, 17 October 2008

Qype: meine kleinraumdisko* in Hamburg

Hamburg - Pubs & Bars - Bars

I can't believe I've missed this little gem for so long! Meine kleinraumdisko is a deceptively tardis-like bar/club just opposite the REAL supermarket by Feldstrasse U-bahn. Low key beats being mixed at conversational volume, cool sofas in a number of corners, trippy visuals on projected on the walls, and Augustina beer for 3 euros (which doesn't give you an Astra-style hangover of death) make it a compelling destination! I'll definitely be spending a lot more time here.
Check out my review of meine kleinraumdisko* - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Parc Güell in Barcelona

Barcelona - Arts & Entertainment - Parks

Well worth a visit if you're out and about in Barca. It's very up hill and down dale as I recall, hot and dry, but with fantastic views over the city, and of course a lot of Gaudi tiling. The bench (longest in the world?) is quite a sight, and is particularly nice if you've seen l'Auberge Espagnole - yes it's the same one!
Check out my review of Parc Güell - I am filchambers - on Qype

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Qype: Deutsche Bundesbank Hauptverwaltung u. Filiale in Hamburg

Hamburg - Financial Services - Banks

No idea who had the idea of building this monstrosity of a building at the top end of historic Deichstrasse, but, it's not exactly in keeping! It's not a retail bank, but it is a serious one, as you can see by the size of the armoured trucks full of lovely new euros that come in and out of here everyday!

Apparently the fountain outside can operate at a lower temperature than any other fountain in world, or something.
Check out my review of Deutsche Bundesbank Hauptverwaltung u. Filiale - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: neat's-Salatbar in Hamburg

Hamburg - Restaurants - Bistros - Cafes & Coffee Shops - Sandwiches - Cafes & Coffee Shops - Juice, Shakes & Smoothies - Restaurants - Soup - Restaurants - Take Away

I love goulash, I do, I love you goulash, I do... I love you goulash, I do... oh... you get the idea. Hamburg is a generally a freezing, rainy city, and there is little better than a generous bowl of hungarian stew to warm your cockles at lunchtime. Today's was absolutely fantastic.
Check out my review of neat's-Salatbar - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Source in Richmond

Richmond - Restaurants - Bistros

Source is a lovely little indy foodie shop/deli just nextdoor to Richmond station. You can find everything from reasonably priced sandwiches, made on site, to take away curry, thai, italian meals. They will heat them up too if you're in a hurry, or you can take home cold is rahter cute cardboard containers. There is a good range of local produce, and various finer foods/cheeses/pate and what have you.

This is also the home of the legendary Taylor St. Barista's, who I believe to be good, not that I really coffee myself!

Be sure to say hello to Jeremy who runs the place... a nice chap to have a pint with!
Check out my review of Source - I am filchambers - on Qype

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Qype: Volks Railway in Brighton

Brighton - Arts & Entertainment - Landmarks

Quite a amusing and slightly cringe-worthy attraction (if you're sat on it!), I none the less had great fun on the Volks railway! The best part about it is the fact that hoards of children will wave at you as you 'fly' past at about jogging pace! Not sure when it opens, but we went at Easter in a bracing wind with a dash of sleet - lovely weather for the open carriages.
Check out my review of Volks Railway - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Ständige Vertretung Gudrun Hübsch & Eleonore Koch in Hamburg

Hamburg - Restaurants - International

Nice authentic lunch venue from Cologne. Modelled on an embassy or consulate, thus the walls are crammed with portraits of German politicians throughout the ages. The building really has character, and is also fairly huge, so you'll definitely get a seat.

They have various specialities from the regions, but I enjoyed the Flammkuchen the most, which is a sort of very thin square pizza.

The beer is Kölsch (i.e. from Köln), and you WILL be topped up unless you stick your beer mat on top of your glass!
Check out my review of Ständige Vertretung Gudrun Hübsch & Eleonore Koch - I am filchambers - on Qype

Monday, 13 October 2008

Qype: Joy Foods in London

London - Restaurants - Take Away - Restaurants - Moroccan - Restaurants - Middle Eastern - Restaurants - International

This place embodies everything I hate about the London lunch scene. Crappy music, rubbish expensive food with lashings of really dry couscous, pretentious weird drinks that you wouldn't find in the North of England. It it wasn't for the incredibly lovely waitress I might have given it one star, but I can't. (also - I secretly love Elderflower cordial, and used to shop in Waitrose)
Check out my review of Joy Foods - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Metropolitan Hotel in Manchester

Manchester - Pubs & Bars - Pubs

Huge and well known watering hole in West Didsbury, frequented by all walks of life. Fat Bob lives just around the corner I assume, since I've seen the comedy genius in here a few times. There are real ales, tables spread across many rooms, and a spacious beer garden which is packed in summer. A Didsbury institution.
Check out my review of Metropolitan Hotel - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Axons in Manchester

Manchester - Food & Drink - Butchers

Axons is my favourite butcher in the world. I cannot count amount of times I've loaded up on ingredients for the "Ultimate Didsbury Full English" and received a hero's reception on frying them up after a houseparty. Actually I can count that, it's 3. But, my point is, although everything in Axons is excellent, the sausages are what steal the show. With everything from pork with black pepper, to Italian Mozzarella, and all made in the back of the shop, you're not short of choice. The guys from Axons also triumphed in the British Sausage Awards and romped home in a few categories.

So what are you waiting for?!
Check out my review of Axons - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Lago Bay in Hamburg

Hamburg - Pubs & Bars - Bars

What could be better than sipping a nice glass of riesling whilst watching some bloody big container ships go by down the Elbe? Well, if you want to do it on the white sands of Lago Bay, you're out of luck now, because yesterday was the last day. Yes, indeed, they're shutting this amazing bar in favour of a bloody cruise ship terminal. And that's progress?

If I knew which politicians had passed this plan... I wouldn't vote for them. Top bar. Sehr schade.
Check out my review of Lago Bay - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Gekreuzte Möhrchen in Hamburg

Hamburg - Education - Culinary Schools - Cafes & Coffee Shops - Cafes

Fantastic cafe in St. Pauli for sunny days. There's a little ledge outside you can enjoy your coffee on, and it catches the morning sun perfectly. Delicious bread, eggs, meat, cheese and salad. And nice people. Recommend.
Check out my review of Gekreuzte Möhrchen - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Luba Luft in Hamburg

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

This might be my favourite bar in Hamburg now. Luba Luft put the "hidden gem" in er, hidden gem - does that work? Anyway - it's opposite Roosen bar in darkest St. Pauli, and although not originally meant to be a cocktail bar, has turned out to be one because they're so bloody good at it. I literally could, and will, spend hours sat at this bar. In fact I didn't really want to go home last night before I'd tried every single recommendation of the delightful hostess, Vera. Sadly, I am more sensible than that these days, but today is another day!

Try it. Now.
Check out my review of Luba Luft - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Roast in London

London - Restaurants

Without a doubt, a really fantastic space. They haven't compromised on trying to squeeze more people in here - the tables are well spaced and absolutely huge, so much so you might have to speak up to make yourself heard across them! In conjunction with the lofty roof, it gives the place a grand, classical elegance, and of course, the price of everything is adjusted to match. Still, I did enjoy my boiled eggs and soldiers, although the bread is cut far too thickly to fit into an egg. Maybe an ostrich egg would have been a better match.

The full English is priced somewhere between astronomic and ridiculous, and I wasn't hungry at 0745 anyway, so we didn't try it. But, perhaps next time. If you're struggling to find the entrance - note well - it's inside the market under cover, and the place is above you!
Check out my review of Roast - I am filchambers - on Qype

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Qype: Grüner Jäger in Hamburg

Hamburg - Pubs & Bars - Pubs - Nightlife - Music Venues - Arts & Entertainment - Public Viewing

A club that looks like a scout hut! A first - but as bad as this concept sounds it's actually pretty good. If I wasn't so damn ill I'd be there tonight.

Grüner Jäger means "Green Hunter" in German. My good friend in absentia is also a Hunter - so I will take him here when he gets back.

The beer is cheap, there are comfy sofas, a big dance floor, regular live music, young crowd, table football upstairs... it's a very decent hangout. Not as stylish as the Sofabar across the road, but more music going on.
Check out my review of Grüner Jäger - I am filchambers - on Qype

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Qype: Absinth in Hamburg

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

Absinthe is certainly something different. Run by a couple who had been "talking about setting up an Absinthe bar for 6 years", they got around the legal issues of selling such poison a year ago, and are now living the dream.

There's something very odd about this place. The ambiance is almost out of a vampire film, and quaffing copious quantities of the green stuff only amplifies it.

The selection of spirits is extremely comprehensive. I would guess they basically have everything, and serve it in style. You could also take a beer here, but why would you?

If I had to pick holes (apart from the ones in the walls!), I'd be that the seating is not conducive to curling up and going to sleep. I'd imagine this is deliberate!

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

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Qype: Make Mine in London

London - Cafes & Coffee Shops - Sandwiches

Just like everyone else, I can't give it 5 stars because of the queue. Actually, screw it, I will. My sandwich was bloody lovely today, incredibly good ingredients used here - lovely rare beef, awesome parmesan, crisp rocket, lightly toasted... yes please.

Actually, it was 4 quid, so what do you expect? I've had so many bad 4 quid sandwiches though, I will give it the extra star.
Check out my review of Make Mine - I am filchambers - on Qype

Monday, 6 October 2008

Qype: Lock 17 in London

London - Pubs & Bars - Bars

Fairly dreadful bar on with a decent location - guaranteeing no matter how bar the ambient music is, it'll still be full. Thankfully we got in early and got a table, but it's still quite a crap experience. No ales, sticky tables, crappy loud music, loads of people pushing past you at the bar, and really really pricey. I bought a glass of wine and a leffe and it was about 8 quid! Don't do it.
Check out my review of Lock 17 - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: The Victoria in London

London - Pubs & Bars - Pubs

Nice secluded watering hole and drinking haunt of Alexa Chung + her arctic monkey. One day, she will be mine. In the meantime, I've been drinking London Pride there in the hope of getting her phone number after she listens to my amazing picks on the jukebox. I would give this place a 4, however I paid 2 quid for 7 tracks and I only heard 3 of them after the barmaid insisted on turning it off at 2300, not leaving any music for our statutory 20 minutes drinking up time. Anyone would think she didn't like late ninety's indie!

In short: a great place to come if you want to go out in Camden/Primrose Hill and not meet anyone else. It's dead.
Check out my review of The Victoria - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: Boutique Chocofeh in Hamburg

Hamburg - Fashion - Shoes

Definitely the best accessory shop I've ever been in! If you're a girl, you'll really love this place. I'm not a girl, and I loved it anyway. It's a veritable treasure-trove of jewelry of every type and description. Necklaces, earrings, belts, shoes, broaches, etc etc. The decor is so cool, it's just a delight. There are hilarious pictures of the shop's dog, Lottie, all around the walls, and when you need a break she's pretty keen on being petted. I didn't catch the owner's name, but she's probably the most stylish woman I've ever seen in my life, and is very helpful on picking something out. What are you waiting for?
Check out my review of Boutique Chocofeh - I am filchambers - on Qype

Qype: The Camden Arms in London

London - Pubs & Bars - Pubs

Very quiet on a Sunday! A nice enough place to come and read the paper, or sit and drink bitter with your MacBook like the other 4 guests were doing. They have free wifi, and a single ale on tap - but it is Hobgoblin, so bonus points.

Right now they're 'between chefs' so there's no food on, but you could do worse than to drink here.
Check out my review of The Camden Arms - I am filchambers - on Qype