“All around them men drank alone, staring out of their faces.” When Denis Johnson wrote that line I don’t think he was describing the experience of drinking in a Wetherspoons, but he might as well have been.
The Sir John Hawkshaw is a peculiar little pub, sat within Cannon Street station. Wetherspoons are rarely destination pubs, and neither are station pubs. They are stopping-off points, placeholders, they mark the beginning or the end, rarely do they host the whole evening’s festivities.
And so The Sir John Hawkshaw, as both a Wetherspoons and a station pub, is particularly transitory. Everyone perches, or hovers. Everyone just one swift movement away from leaving, or at least grabbing a rare free seat.
The trains are a mess today, so it offers solace and shelter from the cold. But you get the impression we’re here out of function rather than joy. We would rather be home. The Christmas revellers about to go out feel especially out of place in this pub.
I could damn it with faint praise in saying it serves its purpose. But sometimes that is all you really want from a pub. No matter what it is and where it is. A place to wait. And to stare out your face for a while.