Nov 09

The FT Top 25 Pubs of the 00s No 22: The Lord Clyde

FT8 comments • 888 views

Walking past Disney Place through twirling snowflakes that melt on your nose and eyelashes, there’s a childlike magic in the air – it’s the last day of school! Er, I mean, work.

The last Friday before Christmas is of course Demob Day. Even if you have to nominally work for a few days the following week, you know it’s going to be in a half-empty office, and your most pressing concern will be improving your Souvlaki Tetris high score. Demob Day means you can finally relax. It means all the usual suspects will be in the same pub for once. It means arriving already half-cut thanks to extended lunchtime drinks with your colleagues. It means leaving work early anyway despite said lengthy lunch and bagging a good table.

Step through the thick red curtains into the Lord Clyde and you’ll find a cosy, no-nonsense local’s pub – the kind you’d expect to be open for a few hours on Christmas Day itself – with a central bar crammed with familiar, reliable ales. There may well be a cauldron of mulled wine in the corner too. Everyone is nattering excitably about plans for pub crawls and New Year’s Eve parties and the best way to braise red cabbage. There’s a giant holiday special Dirty Crossword on top of the table and a bag of chocolate brownies from Borough Market underneath it. Three old giffers are tunelessly yodelling along to ‘New York New York’ round the other side of the bar – any other day of the year this would invoke the Gruff Londoner Tut and scowled muttering into one’s pint, but on Demob Day everyone joins in for the chorus.

I’ve been here on a stifling hot summer day and had a lovely (if somewhat cramped) time, but the Lord Clyde comes into its own as the pub equivalent of ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ – a warm retreat from the frosty weather, getting unashamedly sozzled with good friends, safe in the knowledge that school’s out for the year.

(The Lord Clyde Fancyapint page)


  1. 1
    A newly-registered but logged-out Katie on 24 Nov 2009 #

    Are you referring to the lovely-but-cramped summer’s day when we decided it would be a smashing idea to drink some CIDER? Urrgh, never again (well, not Strongbow, at least)… (was that also the day when we made a list of Potential Kitten Names for Marna?)

    I think that was the only time I’ve ever been in the LC! Clearly this must be recitified.

  2. 2
    Tracer Hand on 24 Nov 2009 #

    This is a tremendously beguiling description of a pub! Of PUBNESS, even!!

  3. 3

    Is there still a POORLY STUFFED KITAN over the bar?

  4. 4
    katstevens on 24 Nov 2009 #

    That was indeed the cider day!

    Obv I have not been in the LC since last Demob Day so the stuffed kitan presence or lack thereof is an unknown factor to me.

  5. 5
    burkesworks on 24 Nov 2009 #

    The Clyde’s a big, big favourite of mine on my regular London trips; a proper, unspoilt family-run pub that’s just close enough to the attractions of the Borough and just far enough off the trail to keep the Tarquins and Jocastas out. Duff pints are unheard-of here, too. I’ve spent many happy hours in here with some of my favourite people.

    I did not notice the presence of any KITANS, stuffed or otherwise, behind the bar on the last visit there a month or so ago.

  6. 6
    marna on 24 Nov 2009 #

    Aww, I remember that cider day, although I’m sure I had the sense to stick to Healthy Lifegiving Ale. It would have been June 2005. MY CAT IS SO OLD!

    I’ll have another KITAN to name next week, if you want to make up more names. (Or possibly two! Anyone want one?)

  7. 7
    Matt DC on 25 Nov 2009 #

    This is a wonderful pub and I have very happy memories of it from the Borough Christmas pub crawl in 2006.

    (The London Bridge – Borough axis is doing pretty well so far in this list)

  8. 8
    Waldo on 25 Nov 2009 #

    Mmm, talking of cats (#6), I recall a small pleasant hostelry in Barnes, not far from where Bolan got stoked, which had a log fire in the corner. To the side of this was a leather upholstered bench seat and plonked on this at the end closest to the fire sat a large old sleeping moggie. This pub, whose name I have alas forgotten, was an integral part of our crawl but we were never in there for more than one round. Even so, whenever we were in there, so was the cat. Or perhaps whenever the cat was in there, so were we. Perhaps when we were not in there, neither was the cat or the pub was always minus the cat when it was similarly minus us, neither of which could ever be substantiated either by the cat or by us. One evening, our little group piled in there and what do you know? Cat. The pub was quiet and there was nobody (apart from the cat) sat on the bench. We thus took our drinks over there and remarked on what a wonderful carefree life this animal must have led, only to have its mysteries revealed to us when one of us attempted to stroke it. The reason it had been a constant presence on the bench is because it had been nailed there.

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