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Book Review : A London Pub For Every Occasion by Herb Lester Associates

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One of the pleasures of living in London is the range of London Pubs that are available, even the most ardent pub crawler would hardy make a dent on covering the estimated 7000 pubs in the Greater London area.

Pub guides are nothing new but are generally concerned with the quality of the beer or  the architecture and history of the pub itself.

A London Pub for Every Occasion is concerned with such things but is more concerned by whether the pub suits your particular mood or needs.

So we get recommendations for pubs to go to on a sunny or a rainy day, somewhere to meet before a show or a trip to a museum, somewhere to chat with friends or if you want to be on your own.

The writer confess his preference for “pubs with real ale, real fires and little or no music; for friendly staff ,dim light and a couple of animals roaming around” but suggest that the selections are based on “dogged research filtered through these prejudices.”

If you get the impression that it was written by a grumpy old man in a quiet pub who likes to stare at his pint and glowers at anyone enjoying themselves, you will be relieved to learn that the reviews of the pubs are actually light and whimsical.

In the section, It’s not too early is it ?, the writer recommends the Simpson Tavern because ” if breakfast in a tavern appeals, but perhaps without the aroma of last night’s slops, at this remarkably unaltered 18th century establishment you can tuck into a full English.”

In the section, When you just want to be alone, our intrepid drinker is in the Fox and Hounds in Chelsea it is “a single room hostelry decorated with junk shop finds. From somewhere above comes the sound of barking dogs, on the top of a bookcase stands a stuffed fox, the barmaid politely but firmly informs a family peering though the door that their licence forbids children. All is serene.”

In the nearest thing to a favourites section, Because there’s nowhere you’d rather be,  we find ourselves at the Three Kings near Farringdon ” it is remarkably ramshackle ,with outlandish décor (the rhino head is unmissable), quiz nights and an air of bonhomie.”

It is within this tone, that the book sweeps though 161 London Pubs giving snapshots of history, quality of beer, ambience  and habits of the locals . The amusing and slightly offbeat illustrations match the text with their attention to many of the pubs interiors and exteriors.

At the back of the book there is a handy fold up map which charts the areas and locations of the pubs.

If any London visitor wants to understand the British or London character they perhaps should study this book and then visit some of the pubs and meet the locals.

This unusual and entertaining guide is the type of book in which to read in a quiet pub, smiling to yourself whilst occasionally staring at your pint and glowering at anyone enjoying themselves.

Visiting London Guide Rating  – Highly Recommended

If you would like to buy a copy of the book visit the Ebury press website here

Great London Pubs – The Princess Louise

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Princess Louise

Location – 208-209 High Holborn, London WC1V 7BW.

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Considered one of the finest Victorian Pub interiors in London, The Princess Louise is situated in High Holborn but near to Bloomsbury. Although the outside of the pub is unremarkable, walking through the doors is like entering a Victorian world frozen in time. The first surprise is series of booths surrounding the bar, each booth is large enough for around 8 – 10 people. Each booth has wood panelling and glass partitions, whilst the larger bars have wonderfully tiled interiors.

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The pub has a Grade II listing and unusually even the men’s toilets with their marble urinals are listed. The Pub is owned and run by the Samuel Smith Brewery who sell their own beer which is considerably cheaper than most other pubs in London.

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The Princess Louise often features in the Top London Pubs lists for its stunning interior rather than the quality of its beer.

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For a list of London’s Top Ten Pubs visit  Visiting London Guide