Ed’s Central London Pub Directory

WC2 Covent Garden

London Pubs, Bars & Taverns in Zone 1 from

PUBNETWORK.COM™ and the barstool of Ed Vidunas

 

 

Posted November 2004

 

The Districts of Covent Garden and a bit of St. Giles & Holborn

At night the western edge of this is a buzz of activity around the garden. Moving east, things quite down a lot as you get more business and the courts. A walk down the Strand is very pleasant day or night.

 

The Pubs

            The coordinates [123 A1] locate the area in the Geographer's AZ London Street Atlas, the small book.  That is page 123 and grid A1.

 

Angel (Scottish-Courage) St. Giles/Holborn [140 BC7]

61 St. Giles High St WC2

Phone 020 7240-2876

Tottenham Court Road Station

This is my Sunday evening pub. Just a bunch of local lads shooting darts over a round of pints. Not noisy and that makes it a nice place to relax. There is not much street activity here during evenings but the area is safe albeit dark.

 

Angle and Crown Covent Garden

New Row WC2 at St. Martin's Court (St Martin's Lane)

Leicester Square Station

 

Battle of Trafalgar (Scottish-Courage)

Covent Garden

St. Martin Lane WC2

 

Belgo Centraal Covent Garden

50 Earlham Street WC2H 9LA

Covent Garden Station

Phone 020 7813 2233, Web www.belgo-restaurants.com

            This is not a pub but I am listing it here because of its beer selection.

 

Bloomsbury (Tavern) (Nicholson's) Soho [140 C7]

236 Shaftesbury Ave WC2 at Earlham

Phone 020 7836-5065

Leicester Square Station

Brewmaster

37 Cranbourn St WC2 at Charing Cross Road

Leicester Square Station

 

Bulls Head (JD Wetherspoon)

105 Charing Cross Rd WC2

This is the Moon Under Water. I do not know how I got the name Bulls Head.

 

Chandos (Samuel Smith) Covent Garden  [146 C1]

29 St. Martin’s Lane WC2N at William IV St

Phone 020 7836-1401

Charing Cross or Leicester Square Stations

You will find it across from the National Gallery.  A must stop for Sam Smith lovers who enjoy cask ales in the wood.  The Opera room upstairs (which has a separate entrance) opens at 09.00 for breakfast.  Food is available on both floors until 21.30.

In the rear of the pub you will find a dart room.  This room is off to the side and used exclusively for shooting.   The bar, during the day may not have many people but the staff can play the music too loud.  The evening hours may have a diminished noise level but it can be quite smoky.

 

Cheshire Cheese (Free House)

5 Little Essex St WC2R at Essex St

From Strand-Fleet St go down Essex St, Right on Little Essex St

Pub on the left

Phone: 020 7836 2347

Temple Station

 

Coach & Horses Covent Garden [140 D8]

42 Wellington St WC2E between Russell St & Tavistock St.

Covent Garden Station

This is the only pub in the West End to have Dublin Guinness on draft; until Guinness closed the Park Lane Brewery. The bar has two Guinness taps.  One tap serves Guinness as warm as the English Bitter the other has colder Stout, as you would drink it in Ireland.

 

Coal Hole (Nicholson's, now Six Continents) Strand [140 E9]

91 The Strand WC2

Phone 020 7836-7503

Charing Cross Station

Next to the Savoy, this pub befits the area with its interior and ales.  If you pass this pub without stopping then you're not Pub hopping.  The wine bar is in the basement.

Owner is Six Continents Leisure, per Jan 2003

 

Columbia Bar

 

Cross Keys Covent Garden [140 C8]

37 Endell St WC2 at Betterton

Phone 020 7836-5185

Covent Garden Station

This is a nice out-of-the-way pub near the north end of Soho.  It's a bit narrow and has a long cushioned bench seat.  It makes for a great viewing area to see all the posters signed by Elvis and the Beatles.  Yes I think they really came in here at one time and you should too.

 

Cove Bar Covent Garden (West Cornwall Pasty Shop)

1 The Plaza WC2 Covent Garden

Phone: 020 7836 7880

Covent Garden Station

The pasty shop is on the ground floor and the bar is on the first floor.

            The bar at Kenyon College, Ohio is called the Cove. This bar has a nautical look to it. Yes it was forced but the décor was not overdone. It is a pub for the young but a few of old guys were always near the bar. The aroma of the pasty shop drifted up to the pub and invited a look at the menu. The patio had heat for the customers. The manager on the

            This pub was not tied to any Cornish brewery but it sold only Cornish Ales.

The pub opened about 2002 and is the first pub for the Cornish Pasty Co. A second pub is scheduled to open in Chelsea in 2003. The bar carries mead on keg, which is a bit unusual for London pubs. I also found it odd that it would be noted on the menu and board as Mead Wine and not just Mead.

 

Crown & Anchor Covent Garden [140 C8]

Sheldon St WC2 at Neal

Covent Garden Station

 

Devereux The Strand & The Temple [142 G8]

20 Devereux Court WC2 off Essex St

Temple Station

 

Edgar Wallace (Whitbread) Victoria Embankment [141 G9]

40 Essex St WC2

Phone 020 7353-3120

Temple Station

 

Edinburgh Tavern (Scottish-Courage) The Strand  [141 G9]

1 Millford Lane WC2 off the Strand

Phone 020 7240-1441

Blackfriars Station

 

Essex Serpent Covent Garden

6 King Street WC2

Phone: 020 7240-0302

Covent Garden Station

 

Evergreens (Scottish-Courage) Covent Garden-Holborn [140]

36 Dury Lane WC2

Phone 020 7836-2019

May be a Sports bar

 

Faun & Firkin (Firkin) China Town Area Rd [140 B9]

18 Bear St WC2 off Charing Cross Rd at Cranbourn

This may have changed to Locomotion but now Bat & Ball, summer 2003

 

Fine Line Covent Garden (Fuller’s)

77 Kingsway WC2

Holborn Station

            Not a traditional pub but rather a chain-bar owned by Fuller’s.

 

Flyman & Firkin St Giles [140 B8]

166 Shaftesbury Ave. WC2

Phone 020 7240-7109

Leicester Square Station

 

Freemason Arms (Free House, formerly Samuel Smith’s) Covent Garden [140 D8]

Long Acre near Bow St WC2

Covent Garden Station

You can see the waves in the wood floor of this Green King Pub, which shows how long it has bee around.  It is just on the fringe of Covent Garden and is a bit quieter than most others in the area.  I really do know who owns this pubs if I can read my notes.

 

Fulmar & Firkin Holborn [140 D7]

Now called Parker Place, per summer 2003, and formerly the Kingsway Tavern

51 Parker St WC2

Phone 020 7405-0590

Holborn Station

 

George Fleet Street

Fleet St WC2 near Essex Street

Temple Station

            Across from the main entrance of the Royal Courts of Justice.

 

George

18 Great Queen St WC2 East of Newton St

Holborn Station

 

George IV Holborn [140 E8]

28 Portugal St WC2 off Kingsway

Phone 020 7405-6757

Holborn or Covent Garden Stations

            For the curious this pub is around the corner of the Old Curiosity Shop.

 

Gilbert & Sullivan (now the Hogshead)

23 Wellington St WC2 between Tavistock St and the Strand

Temple Station

This is now a Hogshead pub per Jan 2003. How sad too that they changed the name.

 

Globe (Nicholson's) Covent Garden [140]

37 Bow St WC2 off Russell St, next to Marquess of Anglesey

Phone 020 7836-0219

Covent Garden Station

 

Green Man & French Horn (formerly Chef & Brewer) Covent Garden [146 C1]

54 St. Martin Lane WC2 at Cecil

Phone 020 7836-7644

Leicester Square Station

 

Griffin Tavern Whitehall  [146 D2]

9 Villers St WC2 at York Place (off the Strand)

Phone 020 7839-3113

Charing Cross or Embankment Stations

This is a good size place but it seems too open and has too much clear glass.  This is more like an American bar than an “old pub”.

 

Halfway to Heaven Trafalger Square Area [146 C1]

7 Duncannon St WC2 between St Martin’s Place and the Strand

Phone: 020 7321-2791

Charing Cross Station

 

Hand & Racquet (Scottish-Courage) St. James [146 B1]

48 Whitcombe St WC2

Phone 020 7930-5905

Piccadilly Station

 

Harp Covent Garden

Charing Cross Station

Near the Marquis of Granby [146 C1] 51 Chandos Place WC2 or 142 Shaftesbury Ave

My Jan 2003 notes has the street at Brydges Place.

 

Hercules Pillers Covent Garden [140 D7]

18 Great Queen St WC2 west of Newton St

020 7242-2218

Holborn Station

            Closed Sunday

Not to be confused with the Pillars of Hercules 7 Greek St W1

 

Hogshead Covent Garden [140 E9]

23 Wellington St WC2 at Tavistock St

Temple Station

This was the Gilbert & Sullivan prior to Jan 2003

 

Hogshead Ale House (Now the Sun since 1999)

21 Dury Lane WC2 at Betterton St

Phone 020 7240-2489

Covent Garden or Holborn Stations

This is a small and very interesting pub.  The ale selection was quite interesting as well.  They had a limited number of taps but they rotated the stock between brands often.  So many pubs run the same beers that variety is hard to come by in London these days.  The Hogshead had a reputation for variety and cask ale.  Many people cramed into central Covent Garden pubs that smaller pubs like this one often get passed by and often become haunts for the locals.  I find that you can see some of London's finest characters in pubs like this.

 

Hogshead Ale House Strand & Temple [141 G8]

It may also be known as the Hedgehog & Hogshead

Essex St WC2 at Deverux Court off the Strand

Temple Station

Some interesting ales can be found here.  A restaurant on the first floor (second floor to you Yanks) has a small bar as well.

 

Hogshead in Covent Garden (Whitbread) Covent Garden [140 D9]

23 Wellington St. WC2 between Lisle and Leicester Square

Phone 020 7836-6930

Covent Garden Station

A Real Ale pub

 

Imperial Leicester Square (formerly Clifton Inns’) [140 B9]

5 Leicester St WC2

Phone 020 7437-6573

Leicester Square Station

 

Kemble’s Head (Inntrepreneur, formerly Chef & Brewer) Covent Garden [140]

61 Long Acre WC2

Phone 020 7836-4845

Covent Garden Station

 

Knights Templar (JD Wetherspoon)

95 Chancery Lane WC2A 1DT

Phone 0207 831 2660

 

Lamb and Flag (Inntrepreneur) Covent Garden  [140 C9]

33 Rose St WC2 at Floral (off Garrick)

Phone 020 7497-9504

Covent Garden or Leicester Square Stations

            Interior or exterior features are architecturally impressive.

Just across from the Roundhouse, walking up a narrow cobble stone walk will take you 300 years back in time.  It has a very small room in the back that is entered from a side door. If you are able to find a seat you may never want to leave this most quintessential of London pubs.

This pub has a drinking area at the front of the building and along the bar.  But the best place to drink in the back room.  Back rooms are the best place in many types of establishments for they are the most interesting.  Here you will find a nice glowing fireplace in a cozy room made warmer by the small number of groups of people.

 

Lemon Tree Covent Garden [140]

Jack Beard’s at the Lemon Tree

Bedfordbury WC2

Leicester Square or Covent Garden Stations

This pub looks like it’s a part of the Irish theme but it looks authentic.  They have a nice selection of ales on tap but Guinness seems like the beer d' choice.  The Lemon Tree could be right out of Dublin with its charming and appealing look.

This pub advertises out front that it is the first so-called public house in London.

 

Lyceum Tavern (Samuel Smith) Strand [140 E9]

345 Strand WC2 at Wellington

Phone 020 7836-7155

Temple or Covent Garden Stations

This is a very old looking pub that has some very private booths. Many of the Samuel Smith pubs have "booths" such as these. In all respects this is a good pub.

 

The Maple Leaf Covent Garden [140 D9]

41 Maiden Lane WC2

Phone 020 7240-2843

Covent Garden or Charing Cross Stations

This is a London pub that caters to the Canadians.

 

Marquis of Granby (Free House) Covent Garden [146 C1]

51 Chandos Place WC2 or 142 Shaftesbury Ave

Phone 020 7836-7657

Charing Cross Station

 

Marguess of Anglesey (Young's)

Covent Garden [140 D9]

39 Bow St WC2 at Russell St

Phone 020 7240-3216

Covent Garden Station

This pub has a beautiful interior with a cherry wood bar. This London pub is English splendor inside and out.  It is by far the grandest pub in the square.

The Association of London Brewers declared this pub as being the capital's best food pub in 1997. This was accomplished after only 4 months after new licensee Steve Williamson took over.  Source: CAMRA, What's Brewing, August 1997.

 

Moon Under the Water (JD Wetherspoon Free House) Leicester Square [140 B9]

28 Leicester Square WC2 on the Charing Cross Rd side of the Square

Just up from Old Compton St. Note: Greek St is in W1

Phone 020 7839-2837

Leicester Square Station

This is a bit more modern pub, but so were the old ones when they first opened. It will mellow with age and become a classic.  They have real ales on tap from across England with new ones coming in often.  They serve lunch also but read the directions first.  This is one pub where they bring it to you.  I think this is the jewel of Leicester Square.

 

Moon Under Water (JD Wetherspoon) Soho

105-107 Charing Cross Road WC2H 0BP

Phone 0207 287 6039

Leicester Square Station

            On a personal note I have to say that I like JD pubs but they need to be more creative with their names.

 

Nag’s Head (McMullen Pub) Covent Garden [140 D9]

10 James St WC2 at Floral St

Phone 020 7836-4678

Covent Garden Station

With only a few McMullen's pubs in London a stop here is a must.  The ale is quite good (as well as the food) and rare since the big chains have most of the market in London.  Before you launch your assault on Covent Garden have a meal and a Mild.  The Spice of Life in nearby Soho is another McMullen's pub but I think this is the nicer one.

 

Nell of Old Drury (Inntrepreneur) [140 E9]

29 Catherine St WC2

Phone 020 7836-5328

Covent Garden Station

 

New Savoy Tavern Victoria Embanment

Embankment or Temple Stations

 

Newton Arms Covent Garden [140 D7]

31 Newton St WC2 between High Holborn and Parker

Holborn Station

 

O’Neills Covent Garden [140 C9]

14 New Row WC2

Phone 020 7836-3291 or 020 7557-9831

Leicester Square Station

 

Opera Tavern (Taylor-Walker) Covent Garden [140 E9]

23 Catherine St. WC2 between Russell & Tavistock Streets

Phone 020 7836-7321

Covent Garden Station

 

Outback Inn Covent Garden Now the Walkabout Inn

11 Henrietta St WC2

Covent Garden Station

 

Polar Bear (Now a nightclub) Chinatown  [140 B9]

30 Lisle St WC2 at Newport Place and Little Newport St

Phone 020 7437-3048

Leicester Square Station

The name of the pub is also given in Chinese. It is no longer a pub but now a night club. Per my January 1999 trip.

 

Porcupine

48 Charing Cross Rd WC2

Phone: 020 7836-0054

 

Porterhouse Brewpub

21-22 Maiden Lane WC2 E7NA at Exchange Place in Covent Garden

Between Bedford Street and Southampton Street

Exchange Place can be entered from the Strand

Phone 020 7379 7917, Web www.porterhousebrewco.com

Covent Garden Underground Station

            A modern: visually impressive, restaurant and bar. The roots of this pub grew in Dublin, Ireland yet the make-up of the facilities is firmly Industrial England. I am not taking the space required to say what needs to be said about the beers. The impressive menu displays a good range of draft ale and a great bottle selection that should satisfy anyone’s thirst.

 

Porters English Bar Covent Garden [140 D9]

17 Henrietta St WC2

Phone 020 7379-3556, Web www.porters.uk.com

Their web-site has a web-cam looking up Henrietta Street

Covent Garden Station

This is (I think) a tied house.  Rather, not to a brewery but to a restaurant.  Porters Restaurant which has a nice bar itself opened this tavern next door in 1997.

 

Porters English Restaurant Covent Garden [140 D9]

17 Henrietta St WC2

Phone 020 7836 6466 Web www.porters.uk.com

Their web-site has a web-cam looking up Henrietta Street

Covent Garden Station

This is not a pub but is included anyway.  It has a full bar off to the side with a nice set of tap handles.  Charles Wells ales are served which is reason enough to enter.  Other ales may be found from time to time but the key is that real ale can be had in a place you may not expect.  Look up to see the Egyptian fans over the bar.

 

Prince of Wales (Scottish-Courage) Covent Garden [140 D8]

150 Drury Lane WC2 at Long Acre

836-5183

Covent Garden Station

 

Punch & Judy (Scottish-Courage) Covent Garden [140 D9]

40 The Market WC2

Covent Garden Station

This pub is in the middle of the market and has an outside seating are on the second level.  If you are fortunate to get a balcony seat you can see the world go by.  Technically the Punch and Judy are two pubs in one place. One is the upstairs pub and the other is in the basement.

 

Queen Mary (This is a Ship) (Bass)

Victoria Embankment WC2

 

Queen’s Head Holborn  [140 E5]

64 Theobald’s Rd WC2 at Emerald Court

Holborn Station

 

Rat & Parrot (formerly Chef & Brewer) Covent Garden [140 D9]

24 Tavistock St WC2

Phone 020 7497-2796

Covent Garden Station

This is not a quite pub as it is designed for the younger crowd.

 

Roundhouse (Scottish-Courage) Covent Garden [140 C9]

1 Garrick St WC2 at New Row

Phone 020 7836-9838

Covent Garden or Leicester Square Stations

They had a fine rotating line of fine ales and stouts in the late 80’s and early 90’s but I have seen the beer menu decline over the years. All in all this is a fine pub for a beer.

 

Round Table (Scottish-Courage) [140 C9]

26 St. Martins Court WC2

Phone 020 7836-6436

Leicester Square Station

This pub looks a bit old and well used, most likely because it is nestled in a well-traveled lane.  Tucked in the middle of St. Martins Court it is between two well-traveled roads on a well-traveled short cut.  The staff has always been friendly and so are the patrons.

 

Royal George Soho [140]

133 Charing Cross Rd WC2

Phone 020 7437-9369

Leicester Square Station

The marquee above this pub had this quote by Joseph Hilaire Pierre Belloc (1870-1953), English poet born in France. “When you have lost your inns, drown your empty selves, for you have lost the last of England” in speaking about losing a local pub. The quote was removed in 1998 and replaced with a sports mural.  How sad! Incidentally, Mr. Belloc died the year I was born, which means nothing to no-one but had to be said.

Do not confuse this pub with the Royal George Eversholt NW1

 

Salisbury (Free House) Soho [140 C9 should be opposite New Row.]

90 St. Martin’s Lane WC2

Phone 020 7836-5863

Leicester Square Station

A beautiful Edwardian pub similar to the Audley with cut and etched glass.

 

Savoy Tup The Strand [146 E1]

2 Savoy St WC2 just off Strand

Phone: 020 7836-9738

 

Seven Stars Holborn [140 F8]

53 Carey St WC2A 2JB between Portugal and Chancery Lane

Behind the Royal Courts of Justice

Phone 020 7242-8521

Holborn Station

They close about 09.00 weekdays and all day Sat. and Sun. They may be opn on Saturday but I would call to be sure.

One door is marked General Counter and the other is marked Private Counter.

Point of Interest: Look for the boundary stones for the parish of St. Clement Danes (in the Strand) and St. Dunstan-in-the-West (Fleet Street) near Carey and Searly St.

 

Shakespeare's Head Covent Garden-Holborn [140 E7]

68 Kingsway at Twyford PlaceWC2B 6BG (opposite Parker St)

Africa House

Phone 020 7404 88464

Holborn Station

 

Sherlock Holmes (Whitbread) Whitehall [146 C2]

10 Northumberland St WC2

Phone 020 7930-2644

Charing Cross or Embankment Stations

Mr. Holmes’ “study” can be viewed on the second floor.  Why isn’t this pub on Baker St. I ask?  Prior to 1957 it was the North­umberland Arms Hotel, which is mentioned in “The Hound of the Baskervilles.”  No Restaurant service on Sunday.

 

Ship & Shovell (Hall & Woodhouse) Whitehall Area [147 C2]

1 Craven Passage WC2 between Craven St and Villiers St

Craven Passage runs under Charing Cross Rail Station

Phone 020 77839-1311

Charing Cross or Embankment Stations

            Two pubs having one name, across from one another on Craven Passage.

 

Ship Tavern (Younger’s) Holborn/ [140 E7]

12 Gate St (off Kingsway) WC2 at Little Turnsstile (off Holborn)

Phone 020 7405-1992 (020 7405 1992)

Holborn Station (Exit the Station and turn left and left at the corner)

Closed on weekends. Sister pub to the Blue Anchor, Rolls Passage EC4

 

Soho Brewing Co. Covent Garden (Brewpub) now part of the Freedom Brewery.

41 Earlham WC2

Phone 020 7240-0606

Covent Garden Station

This is one of London's newer brewpubs.  The main brew is lager and it's not cheap.  Soho closed in about two years and it is now the Freedom Brewery. Freedom and this venue may no longer be operating as a brewery-pub.

 

Sun (Formerly the Hogshead Ale House until 1999) [140 D8]

21 Dury Lane WC2 at Betterton St in Covent Garden

Phone 020 7240-2489

Covent Garden or Holborn Stations

 

Sussex (formerly Chef & Brewer) Covent Garden [140 C9]

20 Upper St. Martin's Lane WC2

Phone 020 7836-1834

Leicester Square Station

 

Turk’s Head Soho, but long gong [140 B9]

Gerrard Street WC2

Boswell indicates in his book The Life of Samuel Johnson, page 169, that he and Johnson had their last social evening at the Turk’s Head Coffee House. Page 177 places the Turk’s Head on Gerrard Street, in Soho, (before it became China Town).

 

Two Brewers (Inntrepreneur) Covent Garden [140]

40 Monmouth St WC2

Phone 020 7836-7395

Covent Garden Station

 

Walkabout Inn Covernt Garden Formerly the Outback Inn

11 Henrietta St WC2

Phone: 020 7379-5555

            It doesn’t matter if you walkabout in the outback, this is still an Oz pub.

 

Wellington

351 Strand WC2 at Wellington

Phone 020 7836-0513

Temple or Covent Garden Stations

 

White Hart (Charrington Free House) Covent Garden [140 D7]

191 Drury Lane WC2 at High Holborn St

Phone 020 7242-3155

Covent Garden or Holborn Station

An inn has been here since 1201 and was a nunnery at one time.  It may look narrow but it is long.  A sign was posted out front that patrons are wanted.  They were not serious but need I say more about this once-fine pub?  This really was a grand pub at one time but I noticed during my January 2000 tour that it changed from a butterfly to a moth.  I hope the owners can see the light and the damage they have done.

 

White Horse, Ye Old Holborn [140 F8]

2 St Clements Lane WC2 off Portugal St

Phone: 020 7242-5518

Holborn Station

            This is not a tourist pub as it is nestled in the back street of Holborn. The area is not well traveled late at night but it is safe. This may be why it closed at 21.00 in January 2003.

 

White Swan (Free House) Covent Garden [140 C9]

14 New Row WC2 at Bedford

Phone 020 7836-3291

Leicester Square Station

 

Ye Old Cheshire Cheese The Strand & The Temple [141 G9 off Essex St.]

5 Little Essex St. WC2, Essex St from Strand-Fleet St, down Essex, turn right.

Phone 020 7836-2347

Temple Station

            I was here the evening on my birthday in 2003 and could not have been happier. I met some nice gentlemen and the manager; a gentleman himself. Not to be confused with Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese at 145 Fleet St EC4