On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff
THIS PAST week has been what began years ago as the Monterey Weekend, and I got to reminiscing about the late lamented Sherlock Holmes Pub & Restaurant in The Barnyard Shopping Village in Carmel, California. I guess that’s how my mind works. The pub was one of several must-visits during Monterey, along with dinner at Golden Buddha, also gone, also at The Barnyard; and calamari breakfast at Katy’s Place, still there on Mission Avenue.
This in turn got me researching the London locales that Sherlock Holmes and his chronicler Dr. John H. Watson would have visited and whether these establishments still exist more than a century and a quarter later. Here’s what I gleaned.
Holmes and Watson first met at Barts, London’s St. Bartholomew Hospital. But this came about because of another chance meeting of two people at a London bar.
The Criterion on Piccadilly is where Dr. Watson renewed acquaintance with young Stamford, who had been a surgeon’s assistant with him at Barts. It was Stamford who introduced Watson to Sherlock Holmes.
In The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, editor Leslie S. Klinger cites the Criterion, more formally the American Bar at the Criterion, near Piccadilly Circus, as “one of London’s then more expensive bars.”
“Today,” [in 2006] Klinger writes, “the Bar is gone, but the Criterion Brasserie has returned to its former architectural glory, and a plaque at the Brasserie commemorates the meeting of Stamford and Watson.”
And, in fact, today, 2017, the Savini at Criterion combines what its website calls “Milan’s most celebrated hospitality name now showcasing the finest all-day dining in one of the world’s most spectacular and historic restaurants.”
Does it seem incongruous that the Holmes-era “Cri” is now an Italian eatery, albeit an extremely elegant one?
Indeed, Holmes and Watson were not unfamiliar with Anglo-Italian cuisine. In “The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans,” Holmes sends his colleague a note: “Am dining at Goldini’s Restaurant, Gloucester Road, Kensington. Please come at once and join me there. Bring with you a jemmy, a dark lantern, a chisel, and a revolver.—S.H.”
Watson writes, “It was a nice equipment for a respectable citizen to carry through the dim, fog-draped streets. I stowed them all discreetly away in my overcoat, and drove straight to the address given. There sat my friend at a little round table near the door of the garish Italian restaurant.”
According to sherlockholmes.stanford.edu, “For Holmes, eating at an Italian restaurant would have been considered ‘slumming.’ During the mass migration of Italians into England in the mid-19th century, Italians were looked down upon as violent and uncivilized.”
Sure enough, when Watson arrives at Goldini’s, Holmes says, “Try one of the proprietor’s cigars. They are less poisonous than one would expect. Have you the tools?”
Tomorrow, we’ll visit a couple of places that were perhaps more in keeping with Holmes, Watson, and their ilk. ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2017