Small poky one room pub whose small pokiness is often accentuated by being in Soho, having a dripping ceiling, a galley bar in the thinnest part of the pub and – oh – a bloke out back playing 45’s with flying barbie dolls dangling from his equipment. Said barbie dolls are usually decked out in fetishwear, a Ken wank fantasy while the slow grind of some early reggae or rock’n’roll ’45’s soundtracks the oddest tiny sized porno ever. But enough of DJ Wheeliebag for now, back to this pub which could so easily be the anonymous back alley pub nestled by sex shops in Soho. It even comes with its own built in back passage for you to slip up. Apparently there has been a pub on this dogleg of Greek Street for hundreds of years. Be that as it may, this is a more turn of the 20th century stab at reliable pubness, and just about convinces with age (holes in ceiling help). But it gets all the basics of being a pub absolutely right.

So how does an old Mitchell & Butler identikit pub make it into this list? With its “pies of the day” and little tabletop fake chalk promotions of Winter Pimms. Well for some reason the Pillars never fit the old M&B mould, despite having to carry that stuff. Its pies were actually really good, and have kept on being good. The beer was always kept well and you were guaranteed an interesting pint or too (and not afraid to just serve bitters which were just bitters). Its pokiness rewarded a smart table grab, its proximity to our corner of Soho helped. Not a pub we have ever picked for a Friday night drink, that would be madness, but Wednesday nights with Wheelie Bag, the odd Saturday afternoon and Lollards Sunday’s.

Here is where pubgoing is all about the personal. We used to record the first series of Freaky Trigger and the Lollards Of Pop on Sunday lunchtimes at Resonances old studios on Denmark Street. The show was on at noon, so we soon fell into a ritual. Cafe Nero at 11.30, studio at 12 and the Pillars of Hercules at 1. Often we were the only people in there for quite some time. We would usually take the booth at the front of the pub to the left and drink for a few hours. We would marvel at the texts of congratulations, dissect our performance and greet fellow travellers as they joined us. It even got a name “Lollards Nights”, it was the show we wanted to do. Second series Resonance moved to London Bridge and Lollards Nights got a new home (The Kings Arms, back up this list), but you never forget the initial venue for something like that and the Pillars was a perfect host. And it remains so now.

Just a few weeks ago I popped in on a Saturday afternoon. It was packed, so we moved on, but I forgave it. It is that kind of pub. For all the times I have cursed the poky toilets in there. For all the times I have not been able to hear a conversation due to Wheelie Bag being a bit too close. For that time when the roof leaked on us and the pub did not believe us. All forgiven for the lovely feeling of walking down the alleyway from Charing Cross Road, under the arch of the pub and back in through its pretendy olde worlde doors. As in its namesake in the Straits of Gibraltar, The Pillars will always abide.

Look it even has a Wikipedia page!