I have now finally completed the second half of my Top Ten Central London pubs. The first part can be found here
. Only by listing them have I realised that 6 of my favourite pubs are in the same area and most of my favourites are either run by Fullers or Sam Smiths. Fullers are London's last remaining family brewers based in Chiswick. Sam Smiths based in Tadcaster are Yorkshire's oldest brewers having been founded in 1758. Not only do Sam Smiths run great pubs but their beer is cheap too. Even after two significant price rises this year a pint of Old Brewery Bitter is still £2.72 which is cheaper than the equivalent in most other London pubs except perhaps Wetherspoons
I think I need to start venturing to some other parts of Central London and will re-visit my Top Ten next year.
In no particular order but starting with 3 Sam Smiths pubs ...
Hidden away in the mews of Marylebone not visible from the main road but only yards from Portland Place this pub is worth seeking out. I include this on my Marylebone pub walk
and even on a Saturday afternoon it is fairly empty. Much of the pub is wood panelled and in my mind has a similar feel to the Star Tavern
in Belgravia in that you feel like you are in someone's front room and could while away a couple of hours with the papers. However as far as I know it's not open on Sundays.
This pub is very close to Dr Johnson's house
in Gough Square although there is no proof that he actually drank there but it's hard to believe he didn't. The sign on the outside of the pub reads "Rebuilt in 1667" after the Great Fire.
The Cheshire Cheese is on the tourist trail but there are many rooms on many different levels and depending on the time of day you are likely to find space somewhere. I love the amazing cellar bars. One word of warning though don't arrange to meet someone there without previously agreeing which bar you will be in as there is no mobile reception.
The final Sam Smiths pub in my Top 10 is completely different from the two above and if you haven't visited before you will gasp as you enter the main bar on the ground floor with its vaulted ceiling, long bar, giant wine vats above the bar and individual seating compartments. This pub can get very busy and is probably best visited at the weekend to appreciate its many qualities and to get a seat. There has been a place of refreshment on this site for many hundreds of years but the present incarnation isn't as old as it looks. The cellar bar is worth visiting too and is much older than the rest of the pub.
Ye Olde Mitre is only a few minutes' walk from the Cittie of Yorke.
Walking up Hatton Garden from Holborn Circus look out for the lamppost with the blue mitre by a hidden passageway. This is the entrance to Ely Court which links Hatton Garden to Ely Place and where you will find The Mitre another of the area’s fantastic pubs. None of the pubs in this blog post are especially good for food being more drinking establishments and food at The Mitre includes traditional snack items such as pickled eggs. Checking out a link to this pub I have discovered it's now run by Fullers - I had no idea! One thing to note it's usually closed at the weekends except for very occasional beer festivals.
A few minutes' walk from the Cheshire Cheese (above) the Blackfriar has an amazing Art Nouveau interior and is best visited at the weekends when it is less busy and you can appreciate the interior. This is where I ended up after last year's Lord Mayor's Show
where we were entertained by Morris dancers. However you will have to wait a few weeks to visit this pub if you haven't already as it's closed for refurbishment until 23 February.
This won't be my last post on pubs as am sure I can think up a few more Top Tens notably those that I want to visit this year. In fact I'm going to make a concerted effort to visit as many pubs I haven't visited before as I can.
My next public pub walk will be Belgravia
on Sunday afternoon 26th February but if you would like to book any of my other pub walks privately the full list is here
The author of this blog (Joanna Moncrieff) is a qualified City of Westminster Tour Guide who specialises in food and drink themed walks in the West End.
Details of all her walks are listed here and upcoming public walks are here.
Labels: Chancery Lane, City of London, Fleet Street, hidden pubs, Marylebone, pub tours