The London Pub
I have made no secret of the fact that I’ve wanted to go to the London Pub (on Southampton Row I think, though I’m not totally sure) for AGES. Anything that brazenly named has to be worth a look.
It’s as strange and awful a place as I suspected. Another pub that feels like a hotel lobby, which in fairness it might actually be, the London Pub is festooned with pure honest London Tat – badly drawn beefeaters, red phone boxes, bobbies on the beat, et al. The decor is 1980s to the extent that you feel the place should almost be given listed status, so total is the ambience of bygone naffness. Someone called it a ‘generic pub’ but in truth no pub looks remotely like the London Pub. The beer on the other hand is exactly what you’d expect.
(No, that’s not quite true – English pubs in minor European cities look like it.)
The pub was busier than you might have thought, but the clientele were a strange lot. Orphans of the London storm, they were mostly harried-looking forty- and fiftysomethings, quiet, well-heeled and thoroughly despondent looking. They were drinking in singles and pairs – this was not a pub used to large groups. This was not a pub at all, except in name. What was it? A theme park restaurant, a bad TV set, a corridoor – take your pick.