This is London’s and therefore the world’s original smoke-stained, candle-lit cellar bar, loved by all, it remains an essential destination for any casual visitor to the city. Forget Buckingham Palace, The National Gallery, Madame Tussauds etc – if you have to be packed in anywhere with an eclectic bunch of out of towner’s do it here, at least here the booze is plentiful.
Even a teetotal hermit will find something to love in this dingy Dickensian atmosphere, heaped plates of cheese and pickles, cheap and extensive (if old school) wine selection and large Sherry measures, straight from the barrel.
Go deep into this cave like place, with its impenetrable gloom and standing room for hobbits only, and you’ll find a great place to squint at and fondle an ugly date – forget footsie, you can enjoy a full-on feel up without attracting the attention of the neighboring table, who’ll be heads down in their stilton.
The garden in summer is always full of amusingly varied wine-heads, there’s a solid communal spirit, and no ones ever in a rush. Take old friends or lovers and exchange them for new ones as the Sancerre, Rioja and amontillado replenishes with affordable abandon.