Visited: Saturday 16 January by JC & JB
This is a very old pub with a long and diverse history which symbolizes everything that’s great about Europeans working together. I’m really not sure why we decided to review it this week, it just popped into our heads for some reason. Weird.
It was opened by a German in the 19th Century, before being sold to a Belgian at the outbreak of the First World War. During the Second World War, when Charles de Gaulle escaped to London (back then Britain’s response to a crisis in Europe was to get stuck in rather than run away) he’s said to have written speeches in this very pub. It’s situated in the heart of Soho, an area of London which has been the home to Europeans fleeing persecution for hundreds of years. And it’s a fantastic pub.
It’s busy as hell: you will have to fight your way to the bar, past an extremely eclectic mixture of people. And at times the wait for service will verge on ‘should I just give up’ territory. They only serve beers in half (demi) pints which would usually irritate seasoned alcoholics such as ourselves, but when the selection is this good we can forgive them (God gave us two hands for a reason).
This is a must-visit if you’re in the area: it’s a real local landmark and it also somehow combines qualities of France with qualities of an old fashioned British pub (using your mobile is frowned upon, for example). In other words, everything which makes London (and this country) great. Long may it continue.
Do they do food? Yes, but we haven’t tried it.
Are they in the 21st Century? Contactless and no minimum spend.
Are there dogs? Seems dog friendly but would be too busy at peak hours.
I want to smoke: Mingle on the street outside and enjoy the atmosphere