When i first started working in Russell Square over ten years ago there was a local pub, near the Tube Station called the Marquis Of Cornwallis. It was dark, smoky but had a feel of permanence to it.

Then it closed and god a major interior refit and became the Goose And Granite. Dirt cheap maybe, but of the sub-Wetherspoon chains proffering cheap food, cheap beer and lack of atmosphere, the Goose chain excelled primarily at the latter. Perhaps the thinking was to attract the local students (it did for a bit). Or the people living in the run-down Brunswick Centre (it did). A triumph then? (It wasn’t).

Then all of a sudden, a few months ago, it closed again to become: THE MARQUIS OF CORNWALLIS again. Possibly linked to the smartning up of the Brunswick, this was a definite smartning up of this pub. With a sign that looks a bit like a hologram, but isn’t, the pub has been part gastroed, part comfied up. They couldn’t do much with the barnlike space left by the Goose refit, but whilst the bar-staff are on the learning curve side of shonky, and the music is occasionally a touch too loud, there are too many good things about the Marquis to ignore.


From memory: Carling, Stella Artois, Staropramen, ScheiderWeisse, Peroni, Leffe Blonde, Kriek, Frambouizen, Fruli, Guinness, Green King IPA, Spitfire, Timothy Taylors Landlord, Black Sheep, Becks Vier, London Pride, Gouldenhous Blonde, Addlestones, Dry Blackthorn, Westons Vintage Cider, Budvar.

I might be forgetting some here too! Five draught wines (served by the litre carafe if you want). Pretty good food that is not too overpriced. Wonderfully dinky half pint pot for your Landlord. Whilst it is by no means perfect (staff really need to improve)

Basically, this means that Marchmont Street could be the best drinking street in London now. Selection if current shifting sands of atmosphere in The Marquis. The bonhomie and grey beer of the Lord John Russell (though beware their inflatable grotto). And the “not for everyone” Shepherd Neame fun of Mabel’s Tavern. I’d even put a word in for the Norfolk Arms!

And the Marquis Of Cornwallis is named after the man who lost the American War Of Independence. Smart!