IN MY TOP TEN
6-8 Mill St, London W1S 2AZ
EST: 19th century. Monarch: Victoria
Nearest Tubes: Oxford Circus, Bond Street
It has to be said, the Windmill is nothing special to look at from the outside. And far from being tucked away in a cosy cobbled alley like my other favourite pubs it is situated in a rather dreary Mayfair street. But read on: inside there are untold delights.
Again, the relatively modern Windmill strikes a discordant note in a blog that is mainly about cosy, historic pubs. This part of Mayfair was built in the early 18th century and only a few of the original buildings remain – and sadly, the Windmill isn’t one of them. However there was possibly an inn on the site before The Windmill and if so, we can perhaps imagine the likes of Shelley, George Eliot and Benjamin Disraeli popping in for a pint before their weddings – all of which took place at the St George Hanover Square church just a few doors down and built in 1711.
Dark green panelling, blue ceramic tiles, mirrors and chandeliers create a setting that gives a nod to Victoriana. The interior of The Windmill is pleasant enough but it is the delightful “secret roof terrace” that makes this pub so blog-worthy. Nestled high among the fire escapes and red brick walls of the surrounding buildings is an enchanting space where groups of friends huddle around wooden tables decorated with jugs of herbs. On selected summer evenings the terrace is turned into a garden where magical summer picnics are held. For around 30 quid a head you can dine out alfresco on delicacies such as crayfish, asparagus, wild strawberries and Scotch quail’s eggs washed down with Sipsmith gin cocktails.
The other stuff
There are plenty of cask ales to choose from at this Young’s pub along with a range of guest ales that change daily. The Sipsmith connection (the distillery is just around the corner) means you can sample delectable gin cocktails including watermelon and mint or raspberry and basil. And then there are the pies. The Windmill”s three-times-national-champion steak and kidney pies feature an incredible 18 ingredients including Worcester sauce, mushroom ketchup and of course, Young’s bitter. What a find.
For a complete list of pubs, go to the home page.