No, it’s not in Ireland. Or near Faliraki. It’s in Essex. Will it be all “Gav-narrrrr” and XR3is or can it serve up some decent slosh?
1 The Railway 2.05pm
A stone’s throw from the station, two boozers face each other. The Crown looks nicer, but that’s an extra ten yards away. Creaking open the door to The Railway, we know we’ve made a mistake. The sole patron slowly turns his scarred head, looks us up and down, and resumes gazing into an empty pint. Too polite to turn back, we gulp down two Heinekens and scarper.
2 The Crown 2.15pm
The Lush is comforted by the nicer surroundings, but disappointed again by a lack of potential drinking companions. The Crown’s had some money thrown at it, but no bugger’s here to enjoy it. We chat to the husky-voiced barmaid for longer than she’s probably comfortable with. She eventually suggests we try The Mayflower.
3 The Mayflower 3.55pm
Either that was further than the five minutes promised, or we got lost. Anyway, there are some people here, which puts it a notch above either of the previous offerings. We stump up a tenner deposit for the cue ball and challenge two tracksuited youngsters to a game of doubles. After six games in which we pot a total of four balls, we accept our inadequacies, polish off our Sols and ask the landlady to call us a cab.
4 The Blue Boar 5.45pm
We pull up behind a white Subaru just as four platinum blonde girls pile out. Stomachs gassy with too much beer, we peruse the ‘cocktail menu’. Egged on by a horde of overfriendly ‘hope they’re legal’ Paris Hilton-alikes, we plump for a combo of Monster Mash and Frisky Bison. There’s no music in here, but does that stop The Lush doing a little head-bop walky-dance as we exit past a flock of short-skirted stunners? Does it ’eck.
5 The Chequers 7.30pm
Considering it’s chilly, there are a lot of people drinking outside. A venture inside explains everything – The Chequers (below left) is a lovely little pub but ‘little’ is the word. A small family of field mice could make this place look packed. Maybe it’s the relaxed bar staff, maybe it’s the three double whisky & gingers; for the first time we feel at home. We could stay all evening, but no, we force our way through the crowd and out into the night.
6 The Red Lion 9pm
We’d heard Billericay was a small town, which must mean the entire population is in The Red Lion or outside The Chequers. Squeezing our way to the bar, we bump into ex-England midfielder Ray Parlour. A boozy conversation follows: “At the end of the day, right… what the England team needs… y’know… is… right…better players… right?” Right. A couple of Strongbows later we’re being dragged out by three girls on a promise of what every drunk man desires… karaoke.
7 The White Hart 10.30pm
Turns out karaoke’s only on Sundays. We don’t care. Our new hosts are so lovely and pretty and kind and lov… maybe we’re a bit drunk. Several Jägerbombs, a sing and a dance later, and we’re in the mood to party hard.
8 The Ivory Rooms 12.10am
Hmm. The bouncers are surly, there are posters promoting a Stacey Solomon night, the DJ is making conversation impossible but nobody’s dancing, the drinks cost more than our shoes, and a bunch of Footballers’ Wives extras are snooting at us. We’re cheered by the glut of attractive women but none of them are seduced by our offer of a kebab and an ‘after party’. Ah well, their loss. Sod this, we’re out of here…
SCORES (out of 10)
Quality of hostelries: 7
Quality of women: 8
Chance of a beating: 3
Chance of returning to The Ivory Rooms: 0
Been out in Billericay? Done your own Lush-esque pub crawl? Let me know on Twitter @cmedland