Live Fun Travel – Having lived in the UK, every city in the United Kingdom has its traditional pubs or taverns, and obviously, London was not going to be left behind! When putting together the 7 best historic pubs in London, we wanted to transport you to an earlier time. A time when you went to the pub to meet your mates, to write your novels or to just have a pint.
In the British capital, we can find pubs that were standing before the time of Shakespeare and still operating. Who knows, maybe, you sit in the same place where Charles Dickens used to sit to write one of his novels?
The Lamb & Flag
In the heart of Covent Garden, you can find another oldest pub in the city. The Lamb & Flag was established in 1772, but as per the records a pub was already running in the same building in 1638.
During the 18th century, the locals called the pub “Blood Bucket” (cube of blood) because of the frequent fights organized by the drunken customers inside and outside the street.
This pub is usually full of people, especially between 17:00 and 20:00 when the workers enjoy the typical after-work. Its dining room located on the second floor is reputed to offer one of the best “Pie”s (meat pies) in the area.
The Churchill Arms
This pub is very close to Notting Hill and is one of the most photographed in London, mainly because its facade is an authentic urban garden, spending a whopping 25,000 GBP on flowers annually.
And if the exterior of the pub is astonishing, the interior is not far behind. 101 urinals hang from the ceiling, and the walls are decorated with paintings and shelves full of books and Winston Churchill memorabilia. The pub was built in 1750, and among the illustrious patrons who have drunk here would have been Churchill’s grandparents, who drank here regularly in the 19th century.
The Churchill Arms boasts of being London’s first pub to offer Thai cuisine set amidst a greenhouse, with a mini waterfall having real fish. It is undoubtedly one of the strangest pubs in London, and yet, in its eccentricity, is endearing.
The Viaduct Tavern
The Viaduct Tavern opened in 1869 and is the last remains of a 19th-century Gin Palace left in the city. The most amusing thing about this pub apart from the decor is that it has cells from the old Newgate Prison, and the barman will be able to show you around if you ask. The cells in its cellar are believed to have served as a debtors’ prison between 1700 and 1853.
In addition, this pub is recognized by lovers of paranormal phenomena. It is believed to be inhabited by a person’s ghost, who was sentenced to death and executed right in front of the pub. Despite this shady past, The Viaduct Tavern has a great atmosphere and is an incredible option to stop to rest and enjoy a cold beer.
Sherlock Holmes Pub
The Sherlock Holmes is a themed pub dedicated to the famous fictional detective, located very close to Trafalgar Square. The pub was originally a small hotel opened in 1880, known as the Northumberland Arms and its connection with Detective Holmes is due to the hotel appearing in one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books.
The pub is a must for all fans of the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Watson and a free alternative to the Sherlock Holmes museum on Baker Street. On the upper floor, it is decorated like the detective’s apartment, and you can enjoy all the objects while you take the opportunity to eat some typical British pub dishes.
The French House
The French House is one of the most reputable and historic pubs in London’s Soho. This pub was opened in 1891 under the name “York Minster”. It was renamed after a fire broke out in the church of York known by the same name.
Donations to rebuild the church were made by parishioners from around England and poured into the pub. When forwarding this money to its correct recipient, they realized that the church had been receiving boxes of wine (which they never returned) belonging to the pub for years.
The pub got its name because of its popularity among the French inhabitants of London, including General Charles de Gaulle during his exile after the occupation of France by Nazi Germany. It is believed that the General wrote the famous “À tous les Français” speech from this pub, encouraging the French people to rise against the occupation.
To make it easier for customers to relate to each other, they never play music and do not like anything when you look at your mobile because they consider it disrespectful. They believe that a pub is a place to drink and socialize, not for talking on the phone.
The Jamaica Wine Bar
Finding the pub is not going to be as it is hidden in an alley next to the church of St Michael. Originally this location housed London’s first coffee house, The Pasqua Rose Head, founded in 1652.
The arrival of coffee was a great success among the merchants of the s. XVII because most businesses took place in taverns, and coffee was always a better option to reach a good agreement than beer and wine.
The tavern’s interior remains a wholly unspoiled and magnificent example of its time, divided into small compartments by partitions of polished mahogany, with an oak bar and plain pine plank, dark linen underfoot, and enamelled pressed paper in tobacco between great beams on top.
The Old Bank of England
The Old Bank is undoubtedly one of the most impressive pubs in London and gets its name because it was the Bank of England branch of the Court of Justice from 1888 to 1975. It was not opened as a pub until 1994. The underground vaults were used for storing gold bars, and even the Crown Jewels were kept for a while. Its interior decoration is truly spectacular.
The pub is located on Fleet Street, and legend says that the notorious murderous barber, Sweeney Todd, killed his customers. He then quartered and shredded them so his wife could make meat pies at a great price. Whether true or not, the pub stands out apart from the decoration and the beers, for its traditional meat pies.
Our Final Word
Some of my best memories is heading to the pub with my friends. I loved pub food and the relaxation of hanging out in the pub and the conversations were always lively. America truly has missed out not having a true pub culture and it is one of many items that makes the UK special.