The Salisbury is one of London's jewels. Originally built in 1892 as a restaurant called the Salisbury Stores, evident by the double 'S' etched into the windows, it was transformed six years later into the glittering pub we see today. The 1890's was the boom decade for Victorian pubs and this refurbishment was an expensive and lavish affair.
Huge... More decorative mirrors, cut and etched glass and gleaming mahogany, created a dazzling and extravagant interior. Perhaps the most extraordinary items are the art nouveau light fittings; beautiful bronze nymph figures support long stemmed flowers, with light bulbs at their centre. These electric lights showed Victorian customers that this was an upmarket and modern pub.
The comparatively less exuberant exterior is decorated with fluted columns and mythical figures. Above the entrance a small canopy is supported by two angels, between them, the Cecil coat of arms. The gentleman on the pub sign is the Marquess of Salisbury, Robert Gasgoyne-Cecil, three times Prime Minister from 1885 to 1902. His family once owned the pub's freehold.
The Salisbury offers not only a slice of sumptuous Victorian history, but an international menu with some classic British favourites and up to 6 well kept real ales. The pub is one of just two pubs in the country to receive the Beautiful Beer Platinum Award, so you can expect an exceptional pint. Staff will also help suggest ales to compliment food.Less
This is a real ale buff's dream, six regional ales on tap, plus a couple of polypins of perry and cider in the chiller. Most important of course, is turnover, and there's no shortage of that in this bustling little pub. The Harp's enthusiastic customers are a mix of office workers, shoppers, tourists and black polo-shirted stage hands from the... More nearby theatres.
In summer, the pub's narrow frontage is festooned with attractive hanging baskets which cover the multicoloured harps set in the stained glass windows; these are not Irish , but Welsh harps, the pub was formerly named the Welsh Harp. Why the change?
The relaxing, dark wooden interior is covered with portraits and photo's, mainly of actors. Around the bar counter, beer mats of the many ales that have been served here are proudly displayed like gymkhana rosettes. Space is limited and it's standing room only, save for the high stools that line the bar's perimeter. When it's cheek by jowl downstairs, there's a pleasantly furnished room upstairs, in which to take refuge.Less
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is one of the few pubs in London that can justify the 'Ye Olde' in its name. It was well known in the 17th century and many pubs have previously occupied this site, one of them, the Horn Tavern is recorded in 1538. The earliest incarnation was a guest house belonging to a 13th century Carmelite Monastery, the pub's vaulted ... Morecellars are thought to belong to that building. The pub was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666 and rebuilt the following year.
Approached through a narrow alleyway (Wine Office Court) the Cheese beckons you into a bygone world. By the entrance a board lists the reigns of the 15 monarchs through which this grand old pub has survived. The dark wooden interior is an enchanting warren of narrow corridors and staircases, leading to numerous bars and dining rooms. There are so many, even regulars get confused.
On the ground floor are two rooms. The smaller is a very dark panelled bar with a large open fireplace and high mantle, above which is a portrait of William Simpson. He started as a waiter here in 1829 and his portrait has been passed down to successive landlords.
The Chop Room across the corridor is usually reserved for diners. Here high backed settles have been arranged back to back to create small booths. A portrait of one of the Cheese's most famous patrons, Dr. Samuel Johnson (his house is around the corner) hangs on a far wall, and his chair set upon a shelf. A copy of Johnson's dictionary should be nearby. Another painting of Johnson and his biographer, Boswell, was found in a cellar relatively recently and restored.
In the main stairwell increasingly narrow steps lead up to a couple of atmospheric dining rooms and to private quarters. Unfortunately these rooms are often closed, which is a shame as they give a feel to the rambling nature of this wonderful old building.
Negotiating the narrow and awkward steps down to the cellar bars is rewarded with the discovery of the vaults, a fascinating series of tiny, honey coloured stone rooms. These vaults were part of the original guest house's chapel. The steps continue into the cellar proper, where a further bar and dining area can be found.
Volumes of visitors books were kept and signatories include Ambassadors, Prime Ministers and Royalty. Unfortunately these records began after the likes of Dr. Johnson, James Boswell, Voltaire, Thackeray and of course Charles Dickens (originally a Fleet St. journalist) drank here. One famous resident was a parrot whose mimicry entertained customers for 40 years, its death was announced on the BBC and obituaries appeared in newspapers all over the world.Less
'Unique’ is a much overworked word when it comes to describing pubs. But that’s exactly what the Black Friar is. There’s nothing else anywhere remotely like its fabulous decorative scheme, either in style or content. On a sharply triangular site opposite Blackfriars station, the pub was built in about 1875, but what makes it so special is a... More remodeling from about 1905 by the then publican, Alfred Pettitt, and his architect H. Fuller-Clark. Fuller-Clark trained at the Lambeth School of Art and began practice in 1893. His artist was Henry Poole R.A., and both men were committed to the Arts & Crafts Movement which embraced a love of high-quality materials, hand craftsmanship, and often a very free, original approach to design.
Before entering the pub there is much to admire on the exterior. There is a deep mosaic fascia carrying the words "Saloon / 174 / The Black Friar / 174 / Brandies" on New Bridge Street side. A grand segmental arched entrance on the far left is surmounted by stone carved figures and above it a colourful mosaic of two monks fishing. The exterior lobby itself has walls and ceiling of marble. All along the exterior (well illuminated at night) are beautiful copper signs most featuring one or two friars such as an ‘Worthington Ales in Bottle’; two ‘Worthington Ales on Draught’ ones; ‘To the Saloon’, ‘Booths Gin’; and a couple of ‘Saloon Bar’ signs, one of which bears a couple of friars pointing you towards the saloon and helpfully tells you it is 9 yards away. Above the corner door (no longer in use) is a ‘174’ in mosaic; a large stone figure of a friar; and a clock with a mosaic face. Above the Queen Victoria Street entrance on the right is a mosaic of a friar with wine in carafes flanked by stone carvings of friars. The fascia on this side has ‘Brandies’ in mosaic.
Throughout the pub are friars – or at least jolly, modern reinvented versions of them – they appear everywhere in sculptures, mosaics and metal reliefs. So we have a theme (what’s new about theming a pub?) based on the Dominican Friary established here in 1278. The whole thing is a glorious piece of nonsense but it’s carried off with wit and verve. The most prevalent activities concern the serious matters of eating, drinking and generally enjoying oneself. Hence over the left-hand bar is a scene entitled ‘Tomorrow will be Friday’ showing fish and eels being collected for the ensuing meatless day. ‘Saturday afternoon’ above the arches to the second room sees the friars gardening and gathering produce. There is a magnificent fireplace recess, framed by a broad tripartite arch, which includes corner seats; a grate with firedogs surmounted by imps; overmantle has bronze bas-relief of singing friars entitled "Carols", flanked by 2 friars' heads with swags above. Above the seats are marble panels with mahogany surrounds, monks’ head in copper relief and the word ‘svmmer’ on the left panel and ‘winter’ on the right panel. A stained glass exterior window depicts a friar in a sunlit garden.
The most special space is the arched windowless room with a barrel vaulted ceiling approached through three openings from the saloon area and added as a snack bar under the railway in 1917-21. There are two more copper reliefs on the pillars and on the inside walls of entrances are more reliefs i.e. another 6. The small room is lined with marble and alabaster and has a series of jokey scenes in bas relief and inscriptions. The end walls each have a bronze relief, the south wall one is entitled "Don't advertise, tell a gossip" with a group of monks doing the weekly wash. The north wall one is entitled "A good thing is soon snatched up" depicting monks pushing a trussed pig in a wheelbarrow. On the cornice below, are devils representing music, drama, painting & literature. On the east wall are ‘Industry is all’ with a monk snoozing; ‘Haste is slow’; and ‘Finery is foolery’. On the west wall there is ‘Silence is Golden’; ‘Wisdom is raLess
(From Chancery Lane - go to Hatton Garden and look for the alleyway between 9 and 10; From Faringdon - walk into Ely Place and look for the alleyway near the first lampost on left hand side)
CAMRA Awards: East London and City CAMRA Pub of the Year 2006, 2008, 2010; Runner Up CAMRA London Regional Pub of the Year
Finding this vibrant, historic... More pub in a tiny alley between Hatton Garden and Ely Place is a test of pub-going initiative, but success will be rewarded by a range of real ales and guest beers. It is said to have been founded in 1546 to minister to the servants of the Bishop of Ely who had his London residence in the vicinity. The site and adjacent properties in Ely Place were cleared when the Crown took over the area in 1772. It was rebuilt at the end of the 18th century. The building has three storeys with glazed timber front on the ground floor. The interior is a remodelling of around 1930 with lots of panelling in the then-fashionable Tudor style. There are two rooms (both called ‘lounge bar’) either side of a central servery, a small, cosy one at the front and a slightly larger one at the back. Off the latter is an intimate little snug, now named ‘Ye Closet’.
The front bar is completely panelled to picture frame height, it has a 1930s panelled bar counter and the bar back shelves look to be of similar date, but some may have been added later. The fireplace has a 1930s brick interior and a marble exterior. Note that there were originally three doors into the room but it has been a single space since the 1930s. The corner of the front bar near the entrance is glazed in to reveal the trunk of what is said to be a cherry tree - note the plaque above stating "The Mitre Tavern - Built by Bishop Goodrich in 1546. The Cherry Tree marks the boundary between the Bishops Garden and the part leased to Sir Christopher Hatton (who was Queen Elizabeth I's courtier).
By the entrance and between the front and rear bars note the original off-sales hatch. The rear room is also completely panelled to two-thirds height with a small 1930s panelled bar counter. This small room has a fireplace of 1930s brick with a cast-iron and wood surround; there are fine carved chairs, an old settle and it is lit by a skylight. Off to the left is 'Ye Closet', a tiny snug measuring some six feet by ten feet and completely fielded panelled to two-thirds height with settle-like benches around an oblong table.
Look for the narrow staircase, the walls of which are covered by wide, horizontally-laid panels which may date back to the original late C18 construction. The upstairs ‘Bishop’s Room’ - which is open at busy times -was fitted out about 1990. The interior is small and many customers stand outside to drink using as tables the array of casks running all along the passage around the exterior of the pub. This passage has glazed tiles above the dado and it leads to the outside gents' – how rare is that in a London pub? Closed Saturday & Sunday with the exception of the weekend at the end of the Great British Beer Festival.Less
A truly remarkable pub. It was rebuilt in 1923-4 (possibly to designs by Ernest R. Barrow) and is a self-conscious, romantic evocation of an Olde Englande. Part of the nostalgic mythology of the world of drinking is the idea of good cheer and company in the medieval great hall or Tudor inn - such is what we have recreated here. Outside in the... More four-storey frontage we have Tudor detailing in the windows. The entrance is on the right and leads first to a panelled room of the type common in inter-war pubs and which evokes ideas of the late-sixteenth or early seventeenth centuries. The bar counter is a modern addition.
But what really counts is the long bar at the back which seeks to rediscover the atmosphere of the great English timber halls. This amazing room is unlike any other in a British pub. The roof is high-pitched and open, and at either end, at first floor level, are glazed-in upper rooms from which you might imagine the lord of the manor might keep an eye on the proceedings below. In fact the room at the far end is, less romantically, part of the manager's flat!
On the right-hand side is a resplendent three-bay arcade with clerestory windows above. Beyond is an aisle is filled with seven small carrels which serve as drinking booths (there are three more at the rear left); such features are to say the least rare in traditional English pubs (but similar to the compartments which are prominent in historic Northern Irish pubs). On the left-hand side the dominant feature is a formidable array of casks, some of enormous side and evidently of some antiquity (as are the cast-iron columns supporting the shelving). A high-level walkway stretches the length of the room. Splendid triangular stove with a flue escaping under the floor.
The direct connection to the front room is a modern addition - this room has painted roundals of famous figures from history and did have a modern bar counter until it was removed in 2010. The brick cellars from the previous building form the Cellar Bar, but this is only open when food is served so is closed in the afternoons and after 9pm. The special character of this pub is reflected in its being grade II* listed. Closed Sunday.Less
ight by Tottenham Court Road Tube station, this is the last-remaining pub on whole length of Oxford Street and is busy morning, noon and night. It was built in 1892 in a Flemish Renaissance style to the designs of architects Saville & Martin (who also designed the Punch Tavern, EC4) and occupies a narrow plot which no doubt reflects a long... More history. The pub now consists of a long, single space which is the result of the amalgamation of at least two rooms from the original Victorian pub. Note there are two distinct parts to the ceiling - the front one has a series of four painted roundels of Classical subjects and a modest frieze; the rear part has a frieze, skylight and two more painted roundels.
There is a good deal of decoration to admire here, especially in the rear part where there is a tiled frieze with swirling foliage, an ornate mahogany-surround fireplace, mirror and mahogany panelling, and a skylight (which has been ruined by unbelievably inappropriate modern coloured glass). Down the right-hand wall is a series of mirrors and paintings which depict three of the four seasons (number four has been lost at some stage). Some mirrors are plain and others are very decorative having been painted and gilded. The left-hand wall is lined with carved mahogany panelling with large mirrored sections and small bevelled mirror sections at the top. There are tiled panels between the paintings and mirrors and also on the dado of the front section of the pub.
The bar counter looks like the original one but is not parallel to the wall so it may have been moved (possibly into a former passage that gave access to the rear section?). The present window frontage is a later addition - it could be that the fourth painting is situated on the right hand wall just inside the front door and now covered by modern panelling? Downstairs, now only accessible from the rear left of the main bar, is a room now the Astoria Restaurant which has a modern bar counter and bar back.Less
An amazing survivor from the days when Southwark was a major terminus for the coaching trade between London and southern England. The George was rebuilt in 1676 after a major fire in Southwark and is the last galleried coaching inn in London – but even this is but a fragment of its former self. It used to extend round the four sides of a... More courtyard – just as the New Inn in Gloucester does to this day. Part of it was demolished in 1889 to make way for the construction of the railway. The galleries gave access to the first and second floor rooms have plain, white-painted balusters. The upstairs rooms are panelled and are particularly fine. Most of the pub’s spaces involve modern fittings but the first bar you come to has some of the oldest woodwork purpose-fitted for a pub anywhere (some of it might even date back to the rebuilding of the inn). The two fireplaces suggest it was two rooms at one time but they have been amalgamated.
The larger part of this room has a mighty fireplace and a glazed-in servery with vertical sashes. Inside you can see a now disused set of ‘cash-register’-style Victorian hand pumps (the handles move in quadrant-shaped slots to draw the beer). Their maker’s name – South of Blackfriars Road – is prominently in evidence. In the part nearest the road is full-height horizontal boarding; simple fixed seating against the walls and in the window; and an ancient fireplace with a wooden hood. The tap room houses a 'Parliament clock' - in 1797 a tax of five shillings was levied on people who possessed a watch or clock. Not surprisingly many disposed on their timepieces and relied on clocks in public places. The one at the George was one such. The pub is owned and leased out by the National Trust which acquired it in 1937.
The National Trust currently own nearly 40 pubs including the other Britain's Real Heritage Pubs the Swan, West Wycombe, Bucks; Vine, Pamphill, Dorset; Fleece, Bretforten, Worcestershire; and two pubs in Northern Ireland the Crown, Belfast, and Mary McBride's, Cushendun, Co Antrim.Less
A well known pub for this affluent neighbourhood, the Windsor Castle is the most complete surviving example of an inter-war version of the survival of Victorian-type drinking arrangements right down to the 1930s. This plain, two-storey building of around 1825 sits at the summit of Campden Hill Road and was refitted about 1933. We know this because... More in the ‘Sherry Bar’ there is a plaque helpfully explaining that the oak used in that room was felled in the period 1930-32. The 1933 refitting created three small rooms separated by screens on the left-hand side of the property. Also helpful is the fact that the door glass names each of the three traditional rooms in red paint on frosted windows.
The Sherry Bar is entered off Peel Street, the Private Bar is on the corner, while the Campden Bar lies along Campden Hill Road. Perhaps it says something for the upmarket nature of the area in the 1930s that the rooms have fancier names than the usual public bar, saloon, etc. Pride of place goes to the two screens, which create the three rooms very much in the manner of a Victorian public house. The Sherry Bar has fielded panelling on both the walls and on the bar counter, a brick fireplace and, over it, a much yellowed picture of the eponymous castle, and attractive fixed seating. Between the Sherry Bar and Private Bar is a floor-to-ceiling screen with leaded glass panels in the top.
In order to reach the Private Bar you have to crouch to get through the door in the screen, which is only 3 feet 6 inch high. This low service door gave access to pot boys and cleaners as in the past customers would normally enter a particular bar from the street. The Private Bar is also panelled and has a baffle by the door with an iron rod attached to the top and fixed to the wall above the door. There are two sections of attractive fixed seating and the bar counter is of raked matchboard panelling. The screen between the Private Bar and the Campden Bar is only about 5 feet 6 inch high and the door in it to access the Campden Bar is only about 5 feet high.
The Campden Bar has more wood panelling, more attractive fixed seating and a bar counter with raked matchboard panelling. The mahogany bar-back is the sole survivor from the Victorian era. There is some pretty Arts and Crafts door furniture. To the right and opened up to the Campden Bar is a further room on two levels known as ‘The Ordinary’, which may be former private quarters brought into public use at a later date, and has few old fittings. The pub’s name is said to come from the fact that on a clear day Windsor Castle could be seen from it.Less
Between Paddington Station and Hyde Park, this Fuller’s-owned corner-site pub has some very early and spectacular fittings. Such was the amount of pub renovation at the end of the 19th century and since, that any fittings before the late-Victorian era are incredibly rare. Those at the Victoria are stylistically mid-Victorian and a precise date –... More 1864 – is suggested by the date on a clock in the bar-back fitting. This, and a side wall, have large mirrors with intricate gilding and coloured decoration, each panel being separated from the others by detached columns with lozenge and fleur-de-lys decoration. In the angle of the building is a delicate Regency-style fireplace containing a print of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their numerous progeny.
The counter is no doubt a piece from 1864 with panelled bays divided by fluted pilasters. It still retains a brass water-dispenser for diluting spirits – still fully functioning. Mounted on the long wall are coloured prints of soldiers in wooden frames but these are most probably a relatively modern (though now smoke-stained) addition. There are several outside doors and these would have led originally to a series of internal drinking areas, separated by screenwork. Upstairs the Theatre Bar has ornate fittings imported from the Gaiety Theatre about 1958.Less