One thing the West End isn’t famed for is for the traditional British pub – but if you’re visiting this London area you really should indulge in this most UK of venues because, yes, it’s brimming with brilliant boozers…
The Argyll Arms
(18 Argyll Street W1F 7TP)
This Grade II-listed pub dates as far back as the 1740sand enjoys a huge tourist pull being next door to Oxford Circus Tube station and a few steps from the legendary London Palladium theatre (in fact, a secret tunnel is rumored to connect the pub and the theatre). Inside, take in the beautiful brown-ridged ceilings, the wonderful wood work and etched mirrors. After emerging from the Underground and on to Argyll Street, you might find a tipple here irresistible.
Coach & Horses
(1 Great Marlborough Street W1F 7HG)
Increasingly a trendy retreat for young ’uns, this Victorian-built and real ale-toting place nonetheless retains a hreat charisma and thus remains one of the best West End pubs, where locals mingle with tourists and everyone in between.Moreover, you might even be ‘lucky’ on your visit and experience a sing-song on the old Joanna (piano) – the height of British lo-fi entertainment.
(11 Macclesfield Street W1D 5BW)
An absolute West End institution, this is a pub you must visit if staying in one of the best hotels in West End London. A one-time pub-cum-oyster house originally leased by a Dutch sea captain in the 17th Century, it quickly established itself as a mainstay for Netherlanders in London, not least the exiled WWII Dutch Resistance. During the 1960s it became a favourite of pop-rock movers-and-shakers such as Georgie Fame and Andrew ‘Long’ Oldham, while nowadays it hosts comedy– it was where absurdist comedy giants The Mighty Boosh were discovered – and is admired far and wide for its eclectic choice of ales from the Low Countries.
The Dog & Duck
(18 Bateman Street W1D 3AJ)
A marvellously wee little watering hole in the heart of colourful Solo that, as a genuine ale house, isn’t just full of charm, but also serves damn good independent ales on four separate pumps (as opposed to just branded lager and the like). It’s a fine example of Victorian architecturalpreservation, featuring gorgeous green tile-work within and pub food served upstairs, and once boasted George Orwell and John Constable as regulars; nowadays, like it or not, it has to make do with this very blogger as a regular – whenever he’s in that part of town.
The Blue Posts
(28 Rupert StreetW1D 6DJ)
Finally, one of the best kept secrets in West End bar culture. There’s nothing artificial or hipster about this place, it’s old-school Soho;once inside, it feels like you’ve stepped into a trendy yet grounded Central London boozer out of the ’70s or ’80s, with its appealing but unpretentious décor and always laid-back atmos and clientele. Best of all, though, it too serves real ales and pub food and hosts comedy nights and jazz sessions on Sunday afternoons.