The old English pub is an institution. The term “pub” is short for “public house”; these were actually historically private houses that were licensed to sell alcohol to the public. A pub was (and is) often the focal point of a village, town, or community.
Pubs date back to Roman taverns which were founded in England by the Romans centuries ago, and from the Anglo-Saxon alehouses from the fifth century AD. The first pubs were inns, where travellers could stop, rest, and refresh. People would congregate in the pub, and they became so prevalent across England that in 965AD King Edgar was forced to create a decree allowing only for one alehouse per village.
Many pubs in England today date from centuries ago. A place to eat, drink, socialise, and soak up the atmosphere, no adult visit to London is complete without enjoying the hospitality of an old English Pub. Here are a few of London’s nicest old pubs, well worth an outing from the Best Western Palm Hotel, one of the best hotels in North London…
Pineapple in Kentish Town is a justifiably popular heritage-listed establishment. Located in the back streets (Leverton Street) it dates from the 1800’s and has an ambiance with an unmodernised bar, weathered wood, and a conservatory in back. This pub also hosts the occasional beer festival.
The Star Tavern in Belgrave Mews was built almost two hundred years ago and is a grand space with a great selection of Fuller’s beers. It is also the site of where the The Great Train Robbery plan was hatched in 1963.
The Grenadier on Wilton Row was built in 1720 and was originally the Foot Guards’ officer’s mess. It converted to a pub in 1818 and today retains its traditional, cosy English aesthetic. There is even a resident ghost (a former soldier who cheated at a game of cards and was murdered for his efforts).
The Seven Stars, situated behind the Royal Courts of Justice on Carey Street, is one of the few buildings in the area which survived the Great Fire of London in 1666. Popular with legal professionals, it is a small but busy pub with real ales to enjoy.
The Lamb on Lambs Conduit Street in Bloomsbury is three hundred years old yet retains a Victorian atmosphere. It is said that Charles Dickens frequented this pub. It has a varnished horseshoe bar, a secret patio, and great beers and meals on offer. It even retains its 1890’s frosted glass snob screens.
Finally, Spaniards Inn at Hampstead (not far from Palm Hotel, the finest Best Western Hotels London) was established in 1585 and is situated on the edge of Hampstead Heath. Dickens referred to it in The Pickwick Papers; John Keats is said to have written Ode to a Nightingale in the garden of the pub; and according to legend, highwayman Dick Turpin was born and grew up here. The rooms are small, the ceilings are low, and history seeps from every corner.