5 Unusual Pubs in London

Black Friar Pub

Black Friar Pub (http://www.aglimpseoflondon.blogspot.com)

My other half has generously volunteered to try out any pubs of interest I happen to come across in my research for this site. Here are a few of our recommendations, based on funny names, interesting decor or lots of history.

The Pineapple

51 Leverton Street
London, NW5 2NX
Tel: 020 7284 4631

You’ll find the Victorian pub the Pineapple at Leverton Street, Kentish Town. Worth visiting just for the pineapples decorating the outside of the pub. It was very nearly closed in December 2001, but for an admirable campaign run by locals and luminaries such as Rufus Sewell, Ken Livingstone and Andrew Motion to keep it open. The full story is told on CAMRA at Saving the Pineapple

The Only Running Footman

5, Charles St
London, W1J 5DE
Tel: 020 7499 2988

Formerly known as I Am The Only Running Footman, this one’s in Mayfair, named after the poor dears who ran in front of wealthy men’s carriages in the 18th century. Decent gastropub food in the Mayfair area (Charles Street, just off Berkley Square).

Prospect of Whitby

7 Wapping Wall, Wapping
London, E1W 3SJ
Tel: 020 7481 1095

Named after a ship docked nearby, this Wapping pub was formerly known as the Devil’s Tavern because of the smugglers and villains who used to gather there in the 18th century. It actually dates back to 1543 and as such is the oldest pub in London. You’ll find it at 57 Wapping Wall. A 400 year old stone floor, nautical bric a brac, noose hanging outside and former regulars Dickens and Pepys it’s a must-see. (Eat before you go – it’s not a gastropub.)

The Bleeding Heart Tavern

off Greville Street
London, EC1N 8SJ
Tel: 020 7242 2056

Featuring in Little Dorrit, this restaurant/bar near Chancery Lane tube station in the City has a long and strange history. It featured in Little Dorrit – Dickens found some relish of ancient greatness about it and has a fascinating murder mystery attached to it. Lady Elizabeth Hatton was supposed to have danced with the devil on the premises (or the European ambassador – much less interesting) and was found the next morning dead, her heart pumping blood. You can see more of the story on the Bleeding Heart’s own web page. The restaurant specialises in contemporary french cuisine, but don’t go if you’re in a rush – service can be a tad slow.

The Black Friar

174 Queen Victoria Street
London, EC4V 4EG
Tel: 020 7236 5474
Nearest Underground: Blackfriars

A pub that looks like an arts and crafts version of a church. Georgeous mosaics and lots of cheerful monks. This pub fills up with city workers on weekday evenings, but any other time is a lovely haven not far from St Paul’s Cathedral.  You can see more pictures of the interior at pubs.com and they do very nice fish and chips.

PS thanks to Jacqueline Banerjee for the photograph at the top of this post – it’s beautiful :0)

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