Sometimes I feel that I am the only one who likes the Chandos – a large Sam Smiths pub near Charing Cross station where the downstairs always feels kind of old and stuck in time, and the upstairs like a velvet throne of luxury and depraved decadence in comparison! Upstairs, I have witnessed sights that should not be seen, downstairs I am pretty much always sure that I will find sawdust on the floor. WHY this pub makes me think of a Globe-era London (are those bear baiters by the fruit machine?), I don’t really know. The stained glass makes everything shine reds and oranges (see below the jump), making yr prettier companions prettier and your beer more lustrous… (as if such a thing could ever happen to the strange unnatural beauty of a pint of lady sovereign ahem).

Perhaps it is THE MAN with THE KEG who safeguards the pub who makes it so great – (if you squint in the above picture you can see him but pub correspondants will be out with their cameras to capture his full glory soon) – plenty vicarious fun can be had in merrily eyeing the door for a minute or so. The man with the keg stands above the door, bearing the keg.
Given kegs are not very light…oOne day that keg is going fall and rain a rain of BEER on the righteous/unrighteous. I have debated whether I would welcome the deluge were it to rain on me. On the plus side, I would smell like a champ. On the negative side, I could have DRUNK that beer. Is the keg a deterrent or an incentive?

Is it true that yon man is called TAN O SHANTER btw? Anyone?!

And speaking of beer, the Chandos can always keep its beer well – unlike the next pub in the list, where I have had sulphurous pints a plenty. OK OK, the Harp down the road might serve a load of indie beer and have liver and bacon bubbling away behind the bar, but good luck if you can ever fit in there without praying to the baby Jeebus and sacrificing a few fried chicken bones well in advance. The Harp also has a split personality – a strangely ornate room upstairs, a bit conference room-y and a little corridor downstairs and whilst I should be so fond of the little indie pub, it can feel a bit insidious in a way that the Chandos never has a pretension of bein’.

To be fair, sometimes it can be crowded, and it is a little southern than my drinking companions usually prefer. It can feel sparse, if you like things like carpets on the floor. Still, one of my softest pub spots is for the Chandos. It is the pub where I like to go and have a pint when I don’t feel like just catching my train and going home, it is where I have gathered Pub Drunks Who Like Doctor Who To Talk About Doctor Who, it is where I dragged my friend to come and meet me straight off her plane from far away climes, and the pub where I made my debut as Russell Brand in Trig Brother 2006 with a knitting needle with a shiny tin foil covering. This is all downstairs, of course. Upstairs has witnessed horrors of which we fear to tread, but the Chandos is all about the downstairs, the booths, the spiral seats in the centre and those stained glass windows.

Apparently they do food as well, but in years of going there, I have never seen anyone eat there. Either downstairs is for VAMPIRES, or food is restricted to upstairs (this is more likely, but THIS WILL NOT STOP ME FROM CHECKING THE DOWNSTAIRS CLIENTELE FOR *~SPARKLES~*). Yay, the Chandos <3