30 Bruton Place, W1J 6NL
Nearest tube: Bond Street
You can almost see the tumbleweed blowing down Bruton Place as you approach this quiet backwater from the hubbub of nearby Bond Street. The Guinea Grill is a cosy-looking pub and if you are a history buff, the Est 1675 sign outside will doubtless tempt you in.
EST: 1675. Monarch: Charles II
Despite the aforesaid Est 1675 sign, the current building dates back to the 1720s and a pub has stood on this site since 1423. Confused? It’s hard to imagine today but Mayfair in the 15th century mainly consisted of farmland and open fields and most of the clientele of the original pub –the Pound – were made up of farm labourers and agricultural workers.
London’s wealthy began moving to Mayfair after the Great Fire of 1666 and soon the pub was filled with stable lads and servants in place of the farm labourers. These new customers worked at the big houses that had started springing up in the surrounding streets and squares. Much of this area was acquired by the First Lord Berkeley of Stratton – a commander in the Civil War – who received the lands when Charles II was restored to the throne. Bruton Place was the site of the stables and coach houses for the grand houses in Berkeley Square and Bruton Street.
A charming pub with wooden screens and panelling, the Guinea Grill is decorated in warm colours and there are many old paintings and prints on display. In the summer the customers spill out onto Bruton Place and create a convivial atmosphere.
The other stuff
Open: Every day
Food: Every lunchtime except Saturday, every evening except Sunday.
The Guinea has been a Young’s pub since 1888 and serves three regular Young’s ales plus an ever-changing guest ale. The bar specialises in award-winning steak and kidney pies – just like the Windmill around the corner – and the restaurant prides itself on its excellent steaks and British staples such as Devonshire crab, rock oysters and Beef Wellington.