Inside the Fox and Anchor, Michael Pucknell is nursing an after-work lager as the kitchen is taking first orders for English breakfasts. A young man with a blood stain on his shirt wanders into the pub, greeting us tiredly before ordering a pint.
In Dublin, Slatterys is one of a number of early houses still going strong near the old markets. In Leith, Gladstones used to open at dawn to serve railway workers, cabbies and postmen, but now just keeps regular hours.
While market worker drinking culture has declined over the decades — hit by the anti drink-driving campaigns in the 80s, the congestion charge in and most recently price rises — the early house tradition is being kept alive by others looking for a morning pint.
Giulia Barbos, who tends bar at the Fox and Anchor, says the rising price of a stout and full English has Ewst the crowds have moved from market workers towards office workers, who might have a bit more money to spend.
Increasingly, early houses have become haunts for people who work nights for all sorts of reasons, not just the markets.Lonely Seeking Real Sex West Palm Beach
The surviving dawn drinkers are cihy throwback to a part of London life that many will not ever have been aware of, a time when market hustle was a vital fabric of inner city life. Smithfield used to have at Wana meet at East Smithfield city saloon half a dozen early houses, but they have slowly closed down over the years.
Pucknell remembers how the walls at the Newmarket used to be covered in badges worn by bummarees, the Smithfield porters: Meat has been traded at Smithfield for years, and it remains Smithgield only market not to have relocated from central London in search of more space or cheaper rent.Zwiesel Bbw Zwiesel
But the rising cost of living in London means Smithfiels people working at Smithfield now increasingly commute from Essex and Kent, many opting to get home to att the congestion charge rather than go to the pub. Inside the pub feels collegial, as drinkers share the fate of working unsociable hours. Four men are sat by the front door, Wana meet at East Smithfield city saloon a couple of pints before heading home to Southampton after a 12 hour shift on the nearby Crossrail construction.
Historically, all pubs would serve from first light, before this was stopped in the first world war because it was seen to hamper the war effort. But an exception was made for market pubs.
Today, due to changes in licensing laws inany drinking establishment can apply to be open all hours.
The last call for the morning drinkers at the Market Porter rings at 8. Some Smitufield the shift workers are going home to sleep, and a few of the Crossrail workers are going to grab one more up the road at the Bunch of Grapes, which opens at 9am.
Pints at dawn: is this last call for London's market pubs? | Cities | The Guardian
In two hours, the Porter will open again to serve lunchtime pints to office workers sitting in the same seats. But unlike at 6am, not everybody knows your name. Follow Guardian Cities on Twitter and Facebook to join the discussion, and explore our archive here.
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