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  • Writer's pictureSteve Matthews

Thence, after eating a lobster for my dinner……….

The line above comes from Samuel Pepy’s diary of February 5th 1667. Having read through his diary he doesn’t come across as much of a “Foodie”, but that’s not to say he didn’t eat and drink well, and this is the topic of this entry.

I’ve set out a list below giving some of my favourite establishments that are in the locations of the various tours that you can find on the website. Researching the tours has been a lot of fun, but has also lead to sore feet. The need for a rest and something to fortify me has been an opportunity that I’ve rarely passed by.

These are my favourites, some of which are mentioned in the tours themselves. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Beyond the Fringe Tour

Fitzroy Tavern 16 Charlotte St, Fitzrovia, W1T 2LY

“The Fitzroy is like the Clapham Junction of the world, everyone goes in and comes out at some time or other.” – Augustus John

Once the local for Dylan Thomas, Michael Bentine, Jacob Epstein and the famous occultist and all-round mischief maker Aleister Crowley.

The Wheatsheaf 25 Rathbone Pl, Fitzrovia W1T

Popular with London’s bohemian set in the 1930s. Its customers included George Orwell, Dylan Thomas, Edwin Muir and Humphrey Jennings. Other habitués included the singer and dancer Betty May, and the writer and surrealist poet Philip O’Connor, Nina Hamnett, Julian Maclaren-Ross, Anthony Carson and Quentin Crisp.

Salumeria Dino 15 Charlotte Pl, Fitzrovia W1T 1SP

Obviously not a pub, but possibly the best sandwich shop north of Oxford street. Great lunchtime stop with friendly staff.

Taking Liberties Tour

The Blackfriar 174 Queen Victoria Street EC4V 4EG

Strangely shaped pub just across from Blackfriars Tube Station. The pub is located on the site of the medieval Blackfriars Monastery. Lovely Art Nouveau interior.

The Harrow 22, Whitefriars Street EC4Y 8JJ

It is a Grade II listed building, built in the early 18th century, and was originally two houses. Apparently has it’s own ghost, but find me a London pub that hasn’t.

Another Brick In The Wall Tour

The Crutched Friar, 39-41 Crutched Friars, EC3N 2AE

Nice Comfortable city pub with dining. The pub takes it’s name, as does the street from the local Monastery that was home to the order of Friars that carried a staff with a cross on the handle (Crux)

The East India Arms, 67 Fenchurch Street, EC3M 4BR

Stands on the site of the Magpie Tavern which dates from 1645. The existing building was built in 1829 and was part of the block that housed the Headquarters of The East India Company.

In The City Tour

The Ship, Talbot Court, EC3V 0BP

Old atmospheric pub tucked away in an ancient courtyard. The original was burnt down during the Great Fire of 1666.

Crosse Keys, 9 Gracechurch Street, EC3V 0DR

Cavernous former banking hall with stained glass cupola in the roof. Adjacent to the site of the Bell Inn, that along with the original Crosse Keys Inn held plays written by William Shakespear in the late 16th century.

Simpsons Tavern 38 1/2 Cornhill EC3V 9DR

The address is not a typo it is Thirty eight and a half Cornhill! Last remaining original London Chop House, which dates back to 1757. Situated in a maze of alleyways, which hark back to a much different London. Gets very busy, so

advisable to book.

Not Avenues, But Alleyways Tour

The Cheshire Cheese, 5 Little Essex Street, WC2R 3LD

Higgledy-piggledy layout with timber beams. There’s been a tavern on this site since the 1500’s

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, 145 Fleet Street EC4A 2BU

One of the first buildings to be reconstructed after the Great Fire. The original building dates to 1538. It has many famous literary figures among it’s former clientele. Samuel Johnson lived not far away, and Oliver Goldsmith, Mark Twain, Alfred Tennyson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, G.K. Chesterton, P. G. Wodehouse and Charles Dickens are said to have been regulars.

Crossing Boundaries Tour

Ye Old Mitre, 1 Ely Court, EC1N 6SJ

Started out as servants accommodation for the nearby Ely Palace, which dates the original building to around 1550. The current building is from around 1773. Look out for the petrified cherry tree used as a roof support.

Fox and Anchor, 115 Charterhouse Street, EC1M 6AA

Cosy little pub with late Victorian detailing. Designed by William Neatby, who also designed the interior of Fortnum & Masons.

London Calling Tour

The Montague Pyke, 105 Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0DT

Formerly a cinema built in 1911 and then lately the last incarnation of the famous Marquee Club. Some nice music memorabilia on the walls.

The Clachan. 34 Kingly Street, W1B 5QH

Busy Victorian pub built in the late 1800’s. Has a central wooden bar and carved ceilings.

East Of Eden Tour

The Grapes 76 Narrow Street E14 8BP

Riverside pub who’s building dates from the 1720s and is on the site of a pub built in 1583. Dickens knew the area well and the Grapes appears in the opening chapter of Our Mutual Friend.

The Prospect Of Whitby, 57 Wapping Wall, E1W 3SH

The tavern was formerly known as The Pelican and later as the Devil’s Tavern, on account of its dubious reputation. It claims to be the oldest riverside tavern in London dating from around 1520.

Sets, Squares & Syntax Tour

The Lamb, 94 Lamb’s Conduit Street WC1N 3LZ

The Lamb was built in the 1720’s and the pub and the street were named after William Lamb, who had erected a water conduit along the street in 1577. The Lamb was refurbished in the Victorian era and is one of the few remaining pubs with ‘snob screens‘ which allowed the well-to-do drinker not to see the bar staff, and vice versa.

Swan, 7 Cosmo Place, WC1N 3AP

Nice Victorian decor inside and a stunning back of bar display.

#Food #London #Pubs

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