no score

Awaiting More Ratings

Type: Bar

61- 62 St Giles High St
London, England, WC2H 8LH
United Kingdom

+44 (0)871 984 1260 | map

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Added by wl0307 on 05-28-2006

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Ratings: 1 |  Reviews: 1
Photo of wl0307
3.86/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Amongst quite a few Samuel Smith's pubs in Central London, this one is by far the most low-profiled gem to me. I used to live down the same street in a student accommodation in 1998-9, but every time when I passed by I was more than reserved to think of going in. So only after reading Bob Steel's brilliant pub-guide, "London Pub Walks", did I finally decide to pay this unusal pub a visit.

Adjacent to St. Giles church, this pub is not hard to find at all, within easy reach for both shoppers from Charing Cross area (to the east) or tourists from the direction of British Museum (to south-west). But from the outside of the pub, one could be excused for thinking that it's not an "approachable" pub or even a dodgy place (at least for me...). Why? Given its two separate entrances and a wide layout on the front, the glass windows are only semi-transparent to block one's probes.

Pushing open the door daringly at last, I was greeted with a well-preserved, late-Victorian interior, which was allegedly carefully-renovated in the 1990s. The high-ceiling room doesn't have much decoration apart from two large hanging lamps, a fire-place, and some photos on the walls. The tables and stools are arranged in a rather relaxing manner, making a quite comfortable feel altogether. A low wood-panelled wall separates the public bar with a saloon bar at the rear of the same room, both served by a single oval-shaped, three sided bar also connected to another small function room for darts and fruit machines. Another special feature of the pub is the indoor alleyway on the side--a "coach-passage" to be exact, which is now served as a sitting area and through which punters could enter the saloon and the beer garden from the public bar.

The jade-green+French-mustard patterned walls with etched and low-relieved tile-works from Victorian times, plus the mock-Baroque ceiling, are vivid witnesses to the pub's history, although the clientele now is unpretentious local real ale drinkers and students, plus two beer tourists (me and GF). The beer range is as Samuel Smith's as one could imagine, with the full range of bottled beers, some lagers brewed under-license, some SS ales on nitro-tap, and only one real ale (OBB) occupying three handpumps. The mid-40s barman is a bit stand-off-ish, but knows how to pour a perfect pint. In fact, this was my only visit to any SS pub in central London during the past two years when I DID NOT (hooray!) have to ask for a proper top-up!

I sincerely recommend a visit to this amiable and relaxing pub, if one's in Holborn/Charing Cross area. A Samuel Smith's fan with some interest in Victorian architecture wouldn't be disappointed, and surely has to combine it with two other sister pubs in the same area: Princess Louise and Duke of Yorke.

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Angel in London, GB2, United Kingdom
3.86 out of 5 based on 1 ratings.
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