Mar 29 16

The Stag’s Head, New Cavendish Street, Mayfair, W1

Jack Cutforth

Visited: Friday 5 February by JC and JB


My most endearing memory of this small but perfectly formed pub is the smell of burnt jacket. Just to clarify: the pub doesn’t always smell like burnt jacket, but at some point while we were there someone’s jacket decided to become better acquainted with a candle flame, emitting the unmistakable smell of burnt jacket.

But more on that in a minute, first: what is the pub like? Like most Mayfair pubs it is fighting an uphill battle against a lack of space. It’s not a large pub by any means and on a Friday you will be lucky to even find anywhere to stand. It’s a friendly crowd though, and even at peak times it’s not uncomfortable or unpleasant.

A fairly average selection of lagers of which Frontier was our favourite (less than a fiver a pint as well which is very good for the area), and three ales are on offer. Unusually they don’t do Guinness on draft, only bottled. As well as some tasty looking baguettes on offer for £5.50 which would make this good for a pub lunch if you work in the area, they also sell an interesting collection of crisps including Monster Munch and Squares. I don’t know about you, but we’d take Monster Munch over whatever posh crisp most pubs try to charge you £1.50 for any day of the week.

This was a pleasant find in the midst of Mayfair: cosy, friendly and very reasonably priced. If you work in the area you really should check it out either during or after work (or before, we’re not judgmental).

But anyway, back to that burning jacket. It’s funny, really. You never know how you’ll react in one of these life or death situations until it happens to you. We’re sure you won’t be surprised to discover that Boozehound’s reaction was nothing short of heroic. I was the first to notice that the candle had set fire to the carelessly discarded jacket, and immediately sprang into action. I knew just what I had to do. I needed to come up with something suitably witty to say about this as soon as the drama subsided.

I stood there, watching the rapidly spreading flames devour the jacket, but cool as a cucumber I refused to betray any sign of my knowledge to the rest of the group: the longer it took them to discover and extinguish the fire, the longer I had to come up with my quip. Sure, the jacket would be mostly destroyed, but it wasn’t my jacket. I don’t own a jacket. I lost it. So fuck whoever owned this jacket. It’s a dog eat dog world out there.

Several seconds had passed by now, and it was really quite surprising that no one else had noticed the flaming coat, or the really quite acrid smoke. I could see the flames beginning to lick the curtains now: much longer and the entire pub could have gone up in smoke. But I refused to raise the alarm: not until I’d come up with my quip. It wasn’t easy to stand there, staring at a rapidly spreading fire but not telling anyone about it. But I managed it. Not all heroes wear capes.

Eventually someone else spotted the conflagration, moved the candle away and patted out the fire. The jacket was beyond repair; the pub was filled with enough fumes to get a rhinoceros high. And I still hadn’t managed to come up with anything funny to say. The smoke was already clearing and I was still struggling with some kind of ‘hot jacket potato’ joke which deep down I knew would raise a polite smirk at best.

My friends still don’t know the extent to which I endangered everyone’s lives that day in my heroic but doomed quest for the perfect joke. They can never know. Fortunately no one reads this far into one of my overlong, meandering reviews. My secret is safe forever.

Hang on, SMOKING JACKET. I could have just said ‘Nice smoking jacket, mate’. Goddammit.

Beer: 2
Price: 4
Service: 4
Atmosphere: 4

Do they do food? Yes. All mains are £8.50 and baguettes are £5.50.
Are they in the 21st Century? Minimum spend is £10, which is annoying. Two pints will come just short of that (which means it’s quite cheap for the area, at least) so you’ll have to buy some Monster Munch as well.
Are there dogs? There was a hilarious Scottish Terrier when we were there.
I want to smoke: On the street. Unless you’re a jacket in which case you can smoke inside.
Televisions? Yes.