British literature, reflecting the rich culture and history of the UK, is famous across the globe. Not to mention, boasting some of the best authors, poets and playwrights of the world, London itself has been a cultural centre for artists for more than a thousand years.
Now although the writing style of these great artists may have been different, they had one thing in common – their love for pubs.
In fact, almost every other well-established pub was frequented by some famous artist – be it T.S. Eliot at Marquis of Granby or Dylan Thomas at The French House, literary pubs have been a popular destination for decades.
This means exploring the local pub scene with the added experience of literature will be a memory you won’t forget.
Even more, with unique interiors and features like vintage furniture, moody lighting, ales on beer mats and hearty comfort food, these pubs boast a lively and comforting atmosphere. Perhaps while sipping on a glass of chilled beer, inspiration may persuade you to write a few lines yourself.
With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of literary pubs for those fascinated by literature as well as a good old pub. If you’re in London, these literary pubs are places you must visit.
Let’s get started.
1. The Lamb
Located in one of the most famous neighbourhoods that housed Charles Dickens and Virginia Woolf, The Lamb is a place you must check out. This Victorian pub is located in Bloomsbury and boasts its own set of influential writers known as the Bloomsbury Set.
A stunning interior with the right literary atmosphere, The Lamb leaves you with a truly memorable experience. Why not head to the pub the first chance you get and enjoy your drink while contemplating about society as Dickens did? Or not. It’s completely up to you!
2. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
When it comes to well-based drinking establishments, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, an iconic destination, tops the list. Its moody lighting with an intense atmosphere can transport the customer to a different world entirely.
What’s more, featuring several rooms and antiques, this pub was frequented by many patrons like Mark Twain, P.G. Wodehouse, and Arthur Conan Doyle, to name a few.
If you want to escape your mundane life while enjoying the ultimate literary experience of London, then Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is where you’d want to be. It’s the best place to drink your favourite local beer and reminisce about the literary greats who walked past its door.
3. The Dog and Duck
With its quirky name, The Dog and Duck is a place you won’t forget. Luxurious Victorian interiors and a bespoke ale selection – this London pub has maintained its standards over the years. Moreover, known for its food and ambience, the pub still retains its original features.
A regular for the great George Orwell, The Dog and Duck is a historic place you should definitely consider visiting. Good food, great ambience and well-maintained standards, what more can one ask for?
4. The Flask
Full of traditional British charm, The Flask brings together the old and the new while creating a perfect harmony. With its warm ambience and great food, The Flask is like a story unravelling around you.
A favourite spot of Lord Byron and Keats, its bespoke interior and alluring originality have made the pub very popular amongst all meaning The Flask is a place you must explore.
If only they had a beer coaster printing option available with signatures of these authors, what a memorable souvenir that would make!
5. The George Inn
Dating back to 1540, The George Inn is a favourite amongst both locals and tourists. With its rich history and long galleries, the pub was visited by one of the best playwrights of all time – Shakespeare.
Originally a coffeehouse, this pub also staged plays in its galleried inns. However, it now serves as the perfect pub to enjoy both a drink and wholesome food.
When in London, don’t forget to visit this pub.
6. Marquis of Granby
The Marquis of Granby, named after a famous Marquis of the 18th century, is a classic pub known for its British hospitality. With its excellent collection of cask ales and great pub food, it is frequented by both locals and tourists.
Its rich history, lavish interiors and lively atmosphere, all make the pub a unique place to visit – after all, it was one of T.S Eliot’s favourites.
The perfect mixture of history and great food, the experience provided by this pub is like no other!
7. The Grapes
Featured in Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle’s works, The Grapes has left a very evident impact on many. Although considered eccentric and different, this pub is very unique and lively.
With the rich history surrounding the bar, and the pub itself being acquired by Sir Ian McKellen (Lord of the Rings anyone?), it’s popularity has only increased.
If you’re looking to visit literary pubs in London, The Grapes must be included in your list.
To Sum Up
Sitting with a chilled beer or ale (on a beer coaster, of course) while embracing the lively atmosphere, pubs provide a truly unique experience.
With the additional literary advantage, the pub experience becomes all the more impressive. So why not add these pubs to your list and enjoy a unique literary pub crawl in London?