The Fitzroy Tavern

London's Fitzroy Tavern

London’s Fitzroy Tavern

16 Charlotte St, W1T 2LY

Nearest tube: Tottenham Court Road, 0.3 mile

Nearest attraction: Oxford Street 0.7 miles

The hook

The Fitzroy’s prominent corner position, attractive stonework and glorious Victorian mosaics will probably be enough to tempt you in. But “in” is not such a straightforward concept in this particular pub.

 

The history

EST 1887. Monarch: Victoria

It was during the rather frenetic era between the two world wars that The Fitzroy Tavern came into its own. After being taken over by Russian tailor Judah Morris Kleinfeld in 1919 the pub inherited a rather rackety crowd from the Café Royal who gravitated to Fitzrovia to follow their bohemian lifestyle.

This eclectic mix of drinkers included George Orwell, Virginia Woolf, George Bernard Shaw and Alesteir Crowley – the notorious Satanist and self-proclaimed prophet who hailed from Leamington Spa. Another Fitzroy regular was a dancer and model called Betty May who liked to be known as “Tiger Woman” and whose party piece was to lap champagne out of a saucer from the floor. You couldn’t make it up.

All this made the Fitzroy Tavern the perfect setting for the “roistering, drunken, doomed poet” that was Dylan Thomas (see the Wheatsheaf and the French House). The Fitzroy was another of Thomas’ haunts and it was here where he would pen verses on the back of beer mats and hand them out to attractive lady customers.

In 1936 Thomas met Caitlin Macnamara – by all accounts a fellow roisterer – in the Wheatsheaf around the corner and the pair married on July 11 the following year. The poet then spent the rest of his short life alternating between Wales and London, more often than not in a pub.

Between drinking sessions he wrote plays, poems and scripts for the BBC. His best-known play was Under Milk Wood – a manuscript that took years to complete and predictably, was temporarily lost in a pub. Other stories about the maverick genius include an occasion when Thomas fell asleep during a public poetry reading and another when he stopped dead in the middle of a live radio broadcast to announce: “Somebody’s boring me. I think it’s me.”

He died on November 9 1953 in New York aged just 39 with pneumonia given as the official cause of death. However, alcohol was strongly implicated.

 

The ambiance

The pub had the hushed air of a library or waiting room on our early evening visit, partly because the central bar caters for a series of rooms which are all screened off from one another. When staff are occupied looking after punters in other parts of the pub one begins to feel somewhat isolated. But the Fitzroy is dark and cosy with wood panelling and snob screens which give it a proper pub “feel”.

Inside London's Fitzroy Tavern

Inside London’s Fitzroy Tavern

The other stuff

Brewery: Sam Smith’s

Open Every day from 11.30am

Food: Every day from midday

Food choices include sandwiches, scampi, cottage pie and ham and chips – in other words, classic British fare. The rambling Fitzroy Tavern takes the cosy compartmentalised thing to a whole new level: we couldn’t work out which entrance to use since all doors seemingly lead into the same pub. We eventually realised that while the bars have separate entrances they are all connected underground via the toilets. Some of the darkly panelled rooms with their beautiful etched glass screens claim to be saloon bars and others are public bars in time-honoured tradition. But in today’s relatively equal society there seems little point.

For a complete list of pubs, go to the home page.  To see a list of pubs by their nearest tube station, go to Where’s my pub?

Visit: King Who? for more info about the monarchs mentioned in this blog.

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Star Tavern

6 Belgrave Mews West, SW1X 8HT

Nearest tube: Knightsbridge 0.4 miles

Nearest attraction: Hyde Park 0.4 miles

The Star Tavern in London's Belgravia

The Star Tavern, Belgravia

The Hook

Here we have yet another pub that feels – and acts – like a private house in its own little enclave. Situated through an archway in a quiet, cobbled mews and flanked by pretty white houses, the Star is an attractive haven that feels light years away from the bustle of central London.

The history

EST: mid 19th century. Monarch: Victoria.

Like the Nag’s Head and the Punchbowl, The Star catered for 19th century servants who worked in those posh Belgravia houses. But it wasn’t until the 1960s that this quiet mews tavern became a pub where history really happened.

The Star is infamous for being the place where the Great Train Robbery was planned. Masterminded by Bruce Reynolds and carried out in 1963, this daring heist was one of the most audacious robberies of our time. And weirdly, we British have developed a soft spot for its perpetrators and prefer to think of them as cheeky chappies with their eye on the main chance rather than the violent criminals they actually were.

Members of the gang thrashed out the finer details of their plot upstairs at the Star in groups of no more than four to avoid arousing suspicion. And they probably felt quite at home at the pub, whose other customers were an eclectic mix of wrong-doers and celebrities all co-existing happily on the edge.

The celebrity line-up included Bing Crosby, Princess Margaret, Peter O’Toole and Diana Dors. And the wrong-doers – like the Great Train Robbers – all held a curiously retro glamour. Instead of being branded thieves, rogues and vagabonds they tended to be described more romantically as art thieves, safe-crackers and cat burglars. And come to think of it, whatever happened to the cat burglar? Why do we no longer hear about light-footed men dressed in black turtlenecks leaping from roof to roof, breaking into buildings and leaving behind the odd box of chocolates?

In fact not one, but two cat burglars used to drink at the Star. George “Taters” Chatham (don’t ask) and Peter Scott worked both individually and as a team, each with their own modus operandi. During his 60-year career George Chatham stole furs, artwork, jewellery and on one occasion, the Duke of Wellington’s ceremonial swords. He also spent six weeks in hospital after falling four floors from the future Raine Spencer’s roof in a bungled burglary. And in 1982 he attempted to rob the Victoria and Albert museum via the roof – aged 70 – but had to abandon the operation due to a blizzard.

It was Chatham who taught Peter Scott the craft of cat burglary after meeting him in prison. Scott specialised in stealing from high-profile celebrities including Lauren Bacall, Judy Garland, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Vivien Leigh and Elizabeth Taylor.

He famously popped into the Star after stealing a £200,000 necklace from Italian film star Sophia Loren, announcing to fellow patrons: “I hear poor Sophia has been robbed” before extracting a huge roll of banknotes from his pocket. Scott liked to bamboozle the people he robbed with his nerve and style: when disturbed at work he would call out to his victim: “It’s only me” – and astonishingly would then be left in peace to carry on with the job.

The ambiance

Tucked in its own pretty mews, the Star is a pleasant bolthole away from the rather bland Belgravia mansions. The wooden floors, shabby furnishings and memorabilia-covered walls give it the air of a proper pub and the staff are friendly and pleasant.

Inside the Star Tavern in London's Belgravia

Inside the Star Tavern (before the lunchtime crowds)

The other stuff

 Brewery: Fullers

Open 11am-11pm Monday-Friday, noon-11pm Saturday; noon-10.30pm Sunday

Food: From noon-3pm and 5pm-10pm Monday-Friday, all day Saturday and Sunday

Pies, roasts and proper puddings are among the food options at The Star. And you can book a private event upstairs in the very room where the Great Train Robbery was planned.

http://www.star-tavern-belgravia.co.uk

For a complete list of pubs, go to the home page.  To see a list of pubs by their nearest tube station, go to Where’s my pub?

Visit: King Who? for more info about the monarchs mentioned in this blog.

And follow me on Twitter at: @PubsPoemsPast

The Windsor Castle

114 Campden Hill Rd, W8 7AR

Nearest tube: Notting Hill Gate: 0.3 miles

Nearest attraction: Portobello Market 0.8 miles

 

The hook

The village inn-style front of the Windsor Castle

The village inn-style front of the Windsor Castle

Situated in an elevated position, the Windsor Castle is a quiet oasis away from the bustle of Notting Hill and Portobello Road. Its sprawling, whitewashed frontage give it the air of a village pub – and a slightly scruffy one, at that. The incongruity of such an establishment in opulent West London intrigued me sufficiently to tempt me in.

 

The history

EST: 1835. Monarch: William IV

Today’s Notting Hill is home to socialites, young professionals, students and the odd celebrity. But a mere 150 years ago it was overrun with pigs. Yes, actual pigs as in scratchings, sausages and oinking.

Pigs were a big part of life in historic London. In the 13th century they would roam around the city, hoovering up decomposing waste and starting fires (yes, that’s right – arsonist pigs. You heard it here first.) Apparently they had a habit of dislodging straw by the sides of roads and knocking it into dying embers. Though any society that keeps its dry straw next to its dying embers deserves all it gets in my opinion. Medieval pigs also had a nasty habit of biting –  sometimes even killing – small children. So all in all, not a great addition to London living.

Notting Hill became London’s pig epicentre much later, in the 1820s. This was when the Bishop of London decided to redevelop the area around Marble Arch, once the site of many a pig farm. So the displaced farmers headed west in search of a new home and ended up around half a mile or so from the Windsor Castle.

The Piggeries were so named because its porcine population – of around 3,000 – outnumbered humans by three to one. But the last thing this area needed (apart from 3,000 pigs, that is) was a new name. It was already firmly established as the Potteries after a flourishing brick-making business.

Local brick-makers would dig out clay pits and leave huge holes in the earth which would quickly become filled with stagnant water, pig excrement and possibly the odd dead pig as well. You might think this sounds pretty unhygienic and you’d be right. Notting Hill was rife with cholera and the area’s life expectancy fell far short of the dizzy heights of 37 which was the average for London at the time. No, a Piggeries inhabitant could expect to live to be just 11 years and seven months. And this shocking situation continued until the 1870s.

The Windsor Castle was rather pretentiously named after its royal namesake which could be glimpsed from the pub’s upper windows. After opening in 1835 it served ale throughout those pig-infested years to farmers on their way to market at Notting Hill. With their pigs? I like to think so. It’s worth a thought, anyway, when you’re tucking into your pork loin or horseshoe sausage.

 

The ambiance

Inside the Windsor Castle, Notting Hill

Inside the Windsor Castle, Notting Hill

It was standing room only in this attractive, bustling pub when we dropped in one Sunday afternoon. The village inn vibe extended inside which was rambling, woody and filled with nooks, beams and benches. There was also a ridiculous Alice-in-Wonderland style door which divided one side of the bar from the other: it was so small that in order to use it you had to step up and bend down simultaneously. Doubtless it catches out many a drunk.

 

The other stuff

Brewery: Free house

Open Every day from midday

Food: Served from midday every day

Meals at the Windsor Castle fit well with the pub’s posh-but-British branding. All the usual burgers, steaks and sausages are available but the prices – like the pub’s position – are somewhat elevated on account of fancy enhancements such as brioche buns, horseradish butter and “jus” of various descriptions. That being said, every table was occupied and most with diners. There’s an eclectic beer choice and an attractive “secret garden” – with many large signs giving away the secret. But don’t even attempt to glimpse Windsor Castle from the pub’s upper levels anymore since there’s now a dirty great block of flats in the way.

thewindsorcastlekensington.co.uk

For a complete list of pubs, go to the home page.  To see a list of pubs by their nearest tube station, go to Where’s my pub?

Visit: King Who? for more info about the monarchs mentioned in this blog.

And follow me on Twitter at: @PubsPoemsPast

 

Hand and Shears

1 Middle St, EC1A 7JA

Nearest tube: Barbican 0.1 mile

Nearest attraction: Museum of London 0.3 miles

The Hand and Shears pub in London

The Hand and Shears pub

The hook

Aldersgate Street’s vast walls of drab concrete may dampen your spirits as you exit Barbican station. But turn right, left, then right again and suddenly you’ll find yourself in a quiet Georgian enclave dominated by the magnificent chequered frontage of 12th century St Bartholomew the Great. Occupying a corner position among the pretty houses is the attractive Hand and Shears whose leaded light windows, hanging baskets and locomotive green paint will lure you in.

 

The history

EST 1532. Monarch: Henry VIII

St Bartholomew’s Fair was a big deal in the olden days. In fact it was an important calendar highlight that ran for an incredible 700 years, beginning in 1133 as a trade fair where cloth merchants would meet to buy and sell their wares. Every August the Lord Mayor would officially open the fair in the doorway of the Hand and Shears. In fact some claim that the tradition of cutting a ribbon to open an event actually began at this pub.

 During jolly old Charles II’s reign the fair evolved from a textile trading opportunity into a fortnight-long bunfest. People would flock to St Bartholomew’s Fair to watch the fire-eaters, dancing bears, puppet shows, glass-blowers, wrestlers, performing monkeys, albinos, Red Indians and ventriloquists. What a line-up. Even more bizarre was an elephant that could extract a cork from a bottle of wine and a pig that could tell the time or pick a card out of a pack…. blindfolded. Allegedly.

Besides being the venue for the great fair’s opening, the Hand and Shears had another important role: a temporary court would operate upstairs to settle disputes among visitors and hand out swift justice to wrongdoers. This was known as a “piepowder court” – from the French “pieds poudrés, referring to the powdery, dusty feet of incoming visitors.

St Bartholomew’s Fair was a haven for thieves, muggers, drunks and prostitutes so the court was in high demand. But even the justice meted out at the Hand and Shears wasn’t enough to save the fair from being axed in 1855 due to its increasingly notorious reputation.

Bizarrely, inquests were also held upstairs at the Hand and Shears. Another of the pub’s claims to fame is that Charles II is said to have dined in its basement (probably entertaining Nell Gwyn. How that girl ever managed to sell an orange is beyond me). And before setting off for a day out to watch a hanging at Newgate, revellers would pop into the Hand and Shears for a last drink. Those mediaevals certainly knew how to party.

 

The ambiance

Tourists visiting modern-day middle England  may be familiar with the Blists Hill Victorian Town, part of the Ironbridge Museum and an authentic replica of a community from the late Victorian era. The recreated pub in this open-air museum is uncannily similar to the Hand and Shears which was obviously refurbished in the 19th century. Unlike the more ostentatious Argyll Arms and Dog and Duck there are none of your etched glass, shiny mirrors or glazed tiles here. No: the Hand and Shears feels like the real deal with its dark panels, bare wooden floors, old pictures and worn benches. One practically sees it in sepia. But it’s a cosy space for all that with fires, nooks, crannies, a warm atmosphere and jazz tunes playing in the background.

 

Inside the Hand and Shears pub in London

Inside the Hand and Shears

The other stuff

Brewery: Free house

Open: Monday to Friday from midday (closed weekends)

Food: Served midday to 3pm, Monday to Friday

A handful of Mediterranean dishes such as gazpacho and baked camembert sit awkwardly alongside the traditional British burgers and bangers. Other menu choices include devilled whitebait and scampi in a retro-style Seventies basket. Now THAT’s history.

 

For a complete list of pubs, go to the home page.  To see a list of pubs by their nearest tube station, go to Where’s my pub?

Visit: King Who? for more info about the monarchs mentioned in this blog.

And follow me on Twitter at: @PubsPoemsPast

 

The Punchbowl

41 Farm Street, W1J 5RP

Nearest tube: Green Park 0.4 miles

Nearest attraction: Green Park 0.4 miles

The Punchbowl, Mayfair

The Punchbowl, Mayfair

The hook

The Punchbowl is a mediocre-looking pub in a bland street filled with anonymous-looking garages and characterless buildings – with one exception. Just across the road is the stunning Farm House whose stonework and mullioned windows give it the air of a Tudor relic. However, it was actually built in the 1900s and once belonged to film star Gloria Swanson. The Farm House doubtless harbours many fascinating secrets – during the 1930s Wallis Simpson used to “entertain” the future Edward VIII here, for instance – and it gives Farm Street (and by default, the Punchbowl) some added cachet.

 

The history

EST: 1729 Monarch: George II

Spoiler alert: Farm Street is situated on the site of a former farm. It was actually called Hay Hill Farm and the surrounding streets are called rather unimaginatively Hays Mews, Hill Street and Hay Hill.

Little is known (at least by me) of this agricultural enclave in rural Mayfair apart from the fact that it once belonged to rich landowner Lord Berkeley. Eventually the area was turned into stabling for the Berkeley estate and the Punchbowl – established around 1729 – was no doubt the drinking den of Lord Berkeley’s footmen, butlers and stablehands. Perhaps they used to meet here to grumble about their employer. Whether or not he was a good boss is unknown, but it’s no secret that the derogatory word “berk” comes from “Berkeley”, as does the even more derogatory Cockney Rhyming Slang term “Berkeley Hunt”.

All that aside, the Punchbowl’s real claim to fame came about much more recently when it was bought by film director Guy Ritchie and pop diva Madonna in 2008.

Being owned by such a famous duo turned out to be a mixed blessing: the Punchbowl began to attract the likes of David Beckham, Robert Downey Jr, Leonardo DiCaprio, Justin Timberlake and Jude Law along with our delightfully boozy princes William and Harry. This made for a fascinating night out for your average star-struck celebrity hunter– provided they’d let us in. Punchbowl regulars were often told to sling their hooks in order to make way for Guy and Maddie’s more famous friends, resulting in much disgruntlement. Even Lord Berkeley’s servants were probably treated less shabbily.

There were also complaints about the noise – 37 of them in one year to be exact. Madonna and Guy Ritchie divorced within a few months of buying the pub and though Guy kept it on for a while, he finally threw in the (bar) towel in 2013. The Punchbowl has carried on happily in relative obscurity ever since.

 

The ambiance

This is a pleasantly buzzing pub with a friendly vibe and a clutch of cubby-holes for private dining. Some of these are almost too private – I mean, why go to a pub if you don’t want to see or hear the other punters? But one cannot deny the cosiness of the Punchbowl, particularly on a cold winter’s evening.

 

The other stuff

 Brewery: Free house

Open: Every day from midday

Food: Every day from midday

We managed to secure a nice little booth where we could still feel the vibe. We hadn’t planned to eat but were reluctant to leave our nook on a cold winter’s night and were pleasantly surprised by the British fare which included venison, duck, Cumberland sausage and the inevitable fish and chips.

https://www.punchbowllondon.com/

For a complete list of pubs, go to the home page.  To see a list of pubs by their nearest tube station, go to Where’s my pub?

Visit: King Who? for more info about the monarchs mentioned in this blog.

And follow me on Twitter at: @PubsPoemsPast

The Wheatsheaf

The Wheatsheaf pub in Soho, London

The imposing front of the Wheatsheaf pub.

25 Rathbone Place, W1T 1JB

Nearest tube: Tottenham Court Road 0.2 miles

Nearest attraction: British Museum, 0.5 miles

 

The hook

 The Wheatsheaf resembles an old coaching inn with its mock-Tudor frontage and stable yard-like alley. So it’s hard to believe that this attractive pub hails from as recently as the 1930s. I felt the urge to go in immediately but having discovered it on a Sunday, no amount of prowling around the perimeter would allow me access to this surprisingly nice pub.

 

The history

EST: 1931 Monarch: George V

One of the Wheatsheaf’s claims to fame is that author of 1984 George Orwell once threw up over the bar (though we only have the internet’s word for it, there’s no blue plaque or anything). This is also the pub where a heavily-pickled Dylan Thomas met a pretty London Palladium chorus girl and proposed to her that very evening. They were married a year later.

But there’s a lesser-known writer who plays a crucial part in the Wheatsheaf’s history. Julian Maclaren-Ross was a reprobate, bar-fly, sponger and brilliant writer. Everyone who writes about him does so either with helpless admiration or searing contempt, and most agree that he was the architect of his own doom. Today he would probably be given counselling and a spell in rehab. But in the Forties, he was left to his own devices and consequently frittered away his life in the pub.

Born in South Norwood on July 7 1912 of Indian, Cuban, Scottish and English descent, Julian never quite fitted in anywhere. During World War II he fought in the army but went AWOL and was discharged after a psychological evaluation. He then began his marathon pub crawl that lasted till the 1960s.

A distinctive figure with his sharp suit, camel-hair coat, dark glasses and cane, he would prop up the bar at the Wheatsheaf and hold forth to his fellow drinkers, either as a fascinating raconteur or a pub bore (a matter for debate). Then at closing time he would stagger home, dose himself up on Benzedrine and become a prolific writer of radio plays, film scripts, novels and autobiographies.

His abode was by no means fixed: it went from hotel to boarding house, friends’ sofa to park bench. The BBC was his “poste restante” and when people (usually creditors) showed up asking for him at the broadcasting house offices, staff would simply direct them to one of the local pubs.

By the 1950s – “a decade I could have done without” in Maclaren-Ross’ own words – his life was already spiralling out of control. In November 1964 he made the fatal decision to celebrate the arrival of a royalty cheque with a whole bottle of brandy consumed at the Wheatsheaf. He subsequently died of a heart attack aged just 52.

Despite being such a prolific writer, Maclaren-Ross gained little recognition during his lifetime. His best-known work –  Memoirs of the Forties – were published posthumously in 1965.

 

The ambiance

Ketchup and mustard bottles on every Wheatsheaf table gave it the air of a tacky suburban Sunday lunch venue rather than an inner London pub. But this irksome detail was offset by other, more traditional pub features such as stained glass, wood panelling, wall shelving, high stools etc. And even on a Tuesday evening the Wheatsheaf was pleasantly buzzing with arty types. Julian McClaren-Ross would have approved.

 

Inside the Wheatsheaf pub in Soho, London

The welcome sight of my husband buying me a drink at the Wheatsheaf.

The other stuff

 Brewery: Free house

Open Mondays to Saturdays from midday (closed Sundays)

Food: Served from midday every day except Sunday

The Wheatsheaf is the regular meeting place of a group that calls itself The Sohemian Society of which Julian Maclaren-Ross has been named the “President in Death”. For a small fee everyone is welcome to go along and listen to guest speakers exploring various aspects of Soho life. And as a sign of respect for the departed bar fly, drinking during the talks is actively encouraged.

http://www.thewheatsheaffitzrovia.co.uk

 

For a complete list of pubs, go to the home page.  To see a list of pubs by their nearest tube station, go to Where’s my pub?

Visit: King Who? for more info about the monarchs mentioned in this blog.

And follow me on Twitter at: @PubsPoemsPast

The French House

49, Dean Street, W1D 5BG

Nearest tube: Leicester Square, 0.2 miles

Nearest attraction: Piccadilly Circus, 0.3 miles

The un pub-like exterior of the French House in Soho, London

The un pub-like exterior of the French House

The hook

When you first spot the French House you will wonder: Is it even a pub? I mean: blue awnings, what’s that about? The bland frontage, blue paint, limited signage and queue barrier give it the air of a private club and most people stepping inside will either have done so before or will have been told what to expect.

 

The history

EST 1891. Monarch: Victoria

The French House is so eccentric that it could be English. But despite its name it isn’t even French.  The pub was opened in 1891 by a German and was taken over by a Belgian when World War One was declared.

In fact there’s much to perplex the visitor about this well-known pub and the stories that circulate around it. For one thing, it traded for years under the highly British name of The York Minster. But during World War II it became the unofficial headquarters of the Free French Forces – France’s government-in-exile after the German Occupation – which led to its French House designation. Charles de Gaulle was a regular and some even say he wrote his famous speech rallying the French to action in the pub. But others say he didn’t.

Dylan Thomas allegedly left his manuscript of Under Milk Wood in the French House after a particularly heavy night’s drinking. But the booze-hound-cum-playwright was in the habit of leaving his work around – usually in pubs – and whether he lost it at the French House or in the Swiss Tavern up in road is another matter for dispute.

What does seem to be rooted in fact, however, is the story behind the pub’s name change. It retained its York Minster designation until 1984 when the ecclesiastical establishment of the same name – the Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter in York – was damaged by fire. The pub’s landlord Gaston was somewhat perplexed when he started receiving cash donations towards the repair of his premises. But being an honest cove he contacted the cathedral to explain the situation and to return the money – only to be told that cases of claret intended for the pub had been turning up at the York Minster for some time. Presumably the cathedral staff were ignorant of their London namesake and had accepted the wine as some sort of a divine gift. Anyway, Gaston decided to take no further chances and officially changed the pub’s name to the French House.

 

The ambiance

The pleasantly woody interior of the French House in Soho, London.

The pleasantly woody interior of the French House

As soon as one steps inside this small, wooden space one breathes a sigh of relief. This is definitely a pub, but one with continental leanings and a nod to the 17th century French salon where witty conversation was more or less compulsory. The space is so small that people congregate around the bar and strangers actually talk to one another. Mind you, there’s little else to do since TVs are absent and mobile phones are banned. But this is not one of those sniffy pubs that make newcomers feel uncomfortable with their churlish rules: the landlady very reasonably explained that texting and googling were acceptable but that the tiny pub becomes too noisy when people talk loudly on their phones. And that’s another reason why the French House is a proper pub – it has an actual landlady. Casual bar staff can pull a pint, but some fail to deliver the warmth and bonhomie of the charismatic pub host.

 

The other stuff

Brewery/chain: Free house

Open: 12pm – 11:00pm Monday-Saturday, 12pm – 10:30pm Sundays

Food served Monday to Friday only

The wine choice is plentiful and you can buy champagne by the glass, but beer is served in half pints only. This stems from an occurrence in the 1920s when a bunch of rowdy sailors used their pint glasses as weapons and smashed each other over the heads with them. An unforgiving place, the French House.  If you really want to enjoy a pint you’ll have to wait until April 1 when for one day a year, pints are pulled by celebrities for a charitable cause.

http://www.frenchhousesoho.com

For a complete list of pubs, go to the home page.  To see a list of pubs by their nearest tube station, go to Where’s my pub?

Visit: King Who? for more info about the monarchs mentioned in this blog.

And follow me on Twitter at: @PubsPoemsPast