Aug 8 16

The Grenadier, Wilton Row, Belgravia, SW1X

Jack Cutforth

Visited: 6 August by JC & JB


This strange but brilliant little pub shows how pointless it is trying to give pubs a numerical rating based on drinks, service, cost and atmosphere.

When you find the Grenadier – and it’s so well hidden, on a small mews, that it takes some effort to find it – you realise those four categories don’t really capture what makes a good pub. The drinks selection in the Grenadier is pretty average. A few ales, and then the most adventurous lager is a Hop House. Which wasn’t cheap at £5.60. Service? Friendly, but with just one person behind the bar on a busy Saturday it wasn’t exactly quick. Despite all that, we’d absolutely recommend you give it a visit as soon as possible.

Why? Well, it’s just interesting and unique in that way that only a great London pub can be. It’s got a certain…I don’t know what. I just wish there were an expression to describe what we mean.

Built in 1720, as a mess for the First Royal Regiment of Foot Guards, it’s as brilliantly old fashioned inside as you’d expect; a series of small and dark rooms.

The walls and ceilings are covered in banknotes. This tradition dates back to a soldier who was supposedly beaten to death over a gambling debt – visitors ever since have left money to pay it off for him. We figured his debt had probably expired by now, whereas ours are very much still active and growing, so we helped ourselves to a few.*

The rest of the clientele were for the most part unspeakably wealthy, unsurprising given the location. One group of pastel wearing socialites were hotly debating which was better: Sydney or Melbourne? And then, what about Cape Town or ‘Jo-Berg’? Once we’d finished cringing ourselves inside out we were inspired to have our own debate on the comparative benefits of Luton and Swindon, sorry, ‘S-Don’. We’re like social chameleons, fitting in anywhere we go.

But ignore the socialites. This fantastic, weird, historic and unusual London pub is a must visit for anyone who loves London, or pubs.

Beer: 2
Price: 2
Service: 3
Atmosphere: 5

Do they do food? Looks like a solid menu, and plenty of people were eating.
Are they in the 21st Century? They do take cards, yes.
Are there dogs? Definitely dog friendly.
I want to smoke: Small area outside.
Are there televisions? Lol no.

*Just a note to say THIS IS OBVIOUSLY A JOKE for the hordes of internet users who don’t understand irony.