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pubs/bars in three locations [London]

steve h. Jun 9, 2008 07:20 PM

deb and i will be in london beginning july 5. goofy scheduling means we'll be staying at the following: renaissance chancery court, high holborn; the landmark london, marylebone rd.; and the sheraton belgravia, chesham place.

any thoughts on neighboring pubs/bars where i can grab a drink and decompress a bit before "going home" at 6 p.m. or so? cost is not the overriding issue. comfort is. noise is ok if the vibe is benevolent.

thanks for your consideration.

  1. steve h. Jul 14, 2008 09:01 PM

    hi all,
    just back. here are some modest observations.
    first off, i'm a fan of the renaissance chancery court in holborn. been there before. it's comfortable shoes. the bar is a favorite. not just because it's comfortable but more importantly because it's a crossroad. we bump into old friends there. some even fly in from paris just for a drink with us (well, not so much for me but you get the idea.). the bar is fancy so i like to freshen up at the shakespeare's head near the underground. maybe the cheapest pint in london. definitely not a destination, just a large enough, no frills place to drink and decompress (no crowds) before heading back home. a korean dinner at nearby asadal seals the deal (really good kimchee).

    i never quite figured out marylebone. the landmark london is a superb hotel, regent's park is stunning and the whole student/artsy/cosmopolitan vibe is kind of interesting (i spoke french!). the globe provided a serviceable pint, volunteer, too. solo dinner at galvin bistrot de luxe was a hoot (deb had business commitments. she's sorry now). the mirror bar at the landmark is a joke. don't bother.

    belgravia is an oasis within a city. the sheraton was a disappointment but the district is wonderful. plumber's arms is a no-frills pub that puts a smile on your face (don't eat there). motcomb's makes a great martini. star tavern straddles the gap between plumber's arms and motcomb's. the thomas cubitt is loud, crowded and quite full of itself. i had to eat/drink there several times. truth be told, i miss the place.

    there you have it. i'm sure i've forgotten lots of places and details but that's the way it goes. thank you for all your recommendations. i promise to do better next time.

    1. s
      slonik Jun 16, 2008 07:32 AM

      In Holborn, I'd definitely vote for Princess Louise - it's run by the same company as Citi of Yorke, but has amazing art deco decor. There's no music so the noise shouldn't be an issue. http://www.beerintheevening.com/pubs/s/19/194/Princess_Louise/Holborn
      Also, for a change from the pubs, there is a nice Polish bar just behind Holborn tube. http://www.beerintheevening.com/pubs/...
      And if money really is no issue, the Chancery itself has a gorgeously glamorous bar called Pearl.

      1 Reply
      1. re: slonik
        Simon Majumdar Jun 16, 2008 08:14 AM

        I would be interested to know if, in the recent restoration of The Princess Louise they actually spent some money training their staff how to look after and serve the beer.

        It's definitely worth popping your head in to get a look at the decor, but it has always IMHO served one of the worst pints in London.


      2. steve h. Jun 10, 2008 12:04 PM

        thanks all.
        i'll report back by august.

        9 Replies
        1. re: steve h.
          Simon Majumdar Jun 10, 2008 12:30 PM


          Thank you for taking the time to respond.

          DST is right about the food at The Seven Stars, but the beer is always well kept

          Let us know how you get on

          BTW - The bar at TRH does a good "perfect" Manhattan


          1. re: Simon Majumdar
            mighty_ one Jun 11, 2008 06:23 AM

            In Belgravia, I really like the Thomas Cubitt on Elizabeth Street. It's very gastropubby and the dining room upstairs is pretty fancy (and the food is lovely) but it's an attractive pub on a nice street.

            And I completely agree about the Seven Stars. Great place to drink -- have never eaten there, mainly because you can never get a seat!


            1. re: mighty_ one
              DollyDagger Jun 11, 2008 07:22 AM

              Ooh yes, I second the Thomas Cubitt and they've just opened a sister place too - The Pantechnicon Rooms - that's got a lovely bar.


              1. re: mighty_ one
                Hermano Primero Jun 11, 2008 09:53 AM

                Sorry, the downstairs bar at Thomas Cubitt is hell on earth - imagine a bar packed to the rafters and the unrelenting sound of braying (think Eddie Murphy from the Shrek movies).

                Similary, if you want to hear hedge fund managers talk endless twaddle about their big cellars (is that a euphemism ?) then the Pantechnicon rooms would be perfect.

                Meanwhile the rest of us who just want a decent pint in a convivial atmosphere will be ordering the "Ordinary" in a proper pub like The Lamb (although I haven't a view yet on whether the move of Young's from Wandsworth to Bedford has ruined what was a very fine range of ales).



                1. re: Hermano Primero
                  greedygirl Jun 11, 2008 12:22 PM


                  Actually, Lamb's Conduit Street is a good source of pub/bars. I used to go to Vats quite a lot back in the day, and The Perseverance has quite good food.

                  1. re: greedygirl
                    Joan Kureczka Jun 12, 2008 10:06 AM

                    The Lamb on Lamb's Conduit is a great pub, and at least last August the food was quite good. Had one of the nicest chicken tart's there in memory with a wonderful rich cream sauce for one lunch, and my companions enjoyed their fare as well.

                    1. re: Joan Kureczka
                      Hermano Primero Jun 12, 2008 12:47 PM

                      Interesting to hear that. I usually choose pubs for either drinking or for eating (the gastro variety) but very rarely for both. I used to drink quite regularly at the Sloaney Pony but never ate there - I wonder what the grub's like.

                  2. re: Hermano Primero
                    DollyDagger Jun 11, 2008 02:14 PM

                    Suggestion retracted - possibly not what the OP had in mind. To be fair, I've only really seen both venues fairly empty and free of braying Belgravians so maybe I need to revisit.

                    1. re: DollyDagger
                      Hermano Primero Jun 11, 2008 02:54 PM

                      Well, you know, I've only visited each venue once. But it was more than I could take. Much as I enjoyed Raef "Prince or Pauper" Bjayou in The Apprentice there's only so much of that haw-hawing noise that me, an honest middle class grunt, could take.

            2. greedygirl Jun 10, 2008 07:06 AM

              I used to work on Gray's Inn Road and my favourite pub was The Duke of York, tucked away off the main road near the ITN building. The Calthorpe Arms is also on Gray's Inn Road and has won CAMRA pub of the year a few times. Also not far from there is The Eagle.

              I also used to work on Marylebone High Street and I never really liked the Marylebone Tup. Much better to get off the beaten track a bit. The Dover Castle isn't bad, I seem to recall, on Weymouth Mews.

              And now I come to think of it, I've worked in Belgravia as well (albeit quite a while ago now)! For a bit of history you could visit The Plumber's Arms, famous as the pub where a bloodstained Lady Lucan announced that her husband had tried to kill her! We also used to like The Ebury Street Wine Bar, but haven't been for years.


              3 Replies
              1. re: greedygirl
                DietStartsTomorrow Jun 10, 2008 10:01 AM

                I'd avoid the food at the Seven Stars - when I went there I had some of the worst food I've ever had in my life - lukewarm grey meatloaf. Yuk.....

                1. re: DietStartsTomorrow
                  steve h. Jun 10, 2008 12:04 PM


                2. re: greedygirl
                  steve h. Jun 10, 2008 12:02 PM

                  greedygirl knows her pubs! thanks so much.

                3. d
                  DollyDagger Jun 10, 2008 05:55 AM

                  In Holborn, I'd recommend the Cittie of York:

                  (That website might be quite useful for searching for pubs in the areas you've mentioned).

                  In Marylebone, the Marylebone Tup is pretty reliable.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: DollyDagger
                    steve h. Jun 10, 2008 12:01 PM

                    thank you dd. the marylebone tup it is.

                  2. Robin Joy Jun 10, 2008 12:59 AM

                    Just 100 yards from the Sheraton are both the Star Tavern in Belgrave Mews West and Motcombs bar and restaurant in Motcomb St. Both good.

                    Also nearby and lively is the bar in the Rib Room of the Carlton Tower hotel. Amusing to see many Middle-Eastern gentlemen with their nieces, who all appear to be Russian, oddly enough. Take lots and lots of money to this one.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Robin Joy
                      steve h. Jun 10, 2008 11:59 AM

                      thanks robin. i promise to hit them all. where does one rent a russian niece?

                    2. s
                      Simon Majumdar Jun 9, 2008 10:51 PM

                      The bar at The Renaissance actually has a couple of solid mixers as does the bar at Pearl, the restuarant in the same building

                      The Seven Stars Pub on Carey st is close too and worth a visit


                      As is The Mitre on Grays Inn Road ( out of the hotel and turn right, walk for five mins and its on the left


                      The latter is a particularly famous old pub and on the CAMRA trail, so dependable for a good pint.


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Simon Majumdar
                        steve h. Jun 10, 2008 11:57 AM

                        thank you simon. seven stars and the mitre are just what i'm looking for. i'll share an entertaining story with you about the bar at the renaissance when we get back.

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