Pub Crawls in Soho

By now you have seen our posts of pubs in The Angel in Highbury/Barnsbury and more recently Camden area, but as London is a big place there are a lot of pubs and we figured it was time for another area.

This time Soho! 

First off let’s set the boundaries here. This post is strictly about pubs (not clubs) in Soho and Covent Garden, so that is from Great Queen St to the east, The Strand to the south, Berwick Street to the West and Oxford St to the North. Ash has been to a lot more of these pubs than Bob so there are a fair few comments of I have never been. A number of these photos have been found on Google as they have changed since we have last been. 

Let’s start at the top and the Craft Beer Co in Endell St.

We tried the Craft Beer at Covent Garden after having been to the Islington Branch and they had the Mojito sour!!!!!! Bob savoured every last drop! Again there was a lot of choices and the staff were ready and able to help. It doesn’t have quite the cosy, welcoming atmosphere of White Lion St, but it’s still a great place to sample tons of great beers. Plus if you go downstairs it can be deafening, with the acoustics of the basement room, all voices will be amplified and bounced about. 

The Cross Keys

We need to drink in here more, it looks so great from outside, inside it’s cosy aka small and always filled with groups of office workers. 

I have never been.

The Freemason’s Arms 

Go in here on a Tuesday night, once a month and you’ll find it filled with gentlemen in black suits, carrying strange shaped briefcases. for as the name suggests its the home of the Freemason, who meet across the road in the Masonic hall. The rest of the time it’s fairly ordinary pub, nothing special and usually you’re better crossing the road and trying the Rising Sun, but if that is packed then the Freemason’s is an OK back-up.

I have never been

The Sun Tavern 

This is one of our traditions, every Christmas we meet friends here.  It’s odd its got a side entrance that goes into a passage, where it seems to be a unofficial smoking area. It can get really busy and there’s not enough seats at the best of times. Upstairs is normally closed for private parties. The staff can be a bit offish and there isn’t a huge amount of choice in the beer.

The White Lion

Right opposite  the Nag’s Head, but completely different, it’s a bit flat, a narrow, pub filled (often)  with American’s thinking they have found a traditional English pub, they are just 4 miles too far west. Filled during the day more than the night.

The Nag’s Head

This is a thug’s pub, do you like a fight with your beer, then this place is for you, we have only been in here three times in all the times we have been drinking in London and every time there has been at least one fight, some nights fights are continuous all night.

I have never been

The Crown and Anchor – Neal St

 This place is a piss hole, literally, it stinks, it’s a dive, no wonder the street outside is always filled with customers and inside is empty.

Punch and Judy

Ash: A great pub on Summer evenings, stand on the upper terrace and watch the shoppers and buskers in the piazza below, the rest of the pub is a bit of a let down really, it’s too tacky and cheap – yet the prices are anything but cheap.Also even at Christmas the terrace is full and be prepared for spontaneous chorus of Good King Wenceslas with your pint

I have never been

The Lamb and Flag

Aka The Bucket of Blood, due to upstairs being a Bare Knuckle Boxing venue in its past, this is one of the oldest pubs in London and it looks like it hasn’t been decorated in 100 years. But it’s still good, it’s always busy, on Summer nights the road leading up to it is filled up, making for one of the longest queues for the bar ever! The alleyway down the side into Floral St is a quirky addition too, it goes under the pubs stairs and anyone of decent height has to duck as they pass through it!

The Roundhouse

One of those pubs that we walk past quite a lot but have never been in. It just doesn’t look inviting.

The Crown – Seven Dials

This place is well, to be honest it’s not a pub we have drunk in enough to give it a fair opinion of, but it is somewhere we mean to go back to again soon. 

I have never been

The Cambridge

A small pub really, there is an upstairs and seating outside, so you can enjoy the fumes of the passing traffic, it’s just a nothing kind of place.

I have never been

The Marquis of Ganby/ Brewdog Covent Garden

I was surprised to discover this pub had changed from the Marquis a few years back into a wine-bar I think, but then Brewdog started to grow and they took over the place. At first I was skeptical, but having been to two of their bars (and having tasty the Nitro Stout) I am pleased this change has happened.

And to note there is now another Brewdog in Poland St, but we have not been to that one – it’s next to another Coach and Horses, also unfrequented by us.

The Spice of Life

A big vast pub with no atmosphere, during the week they have bands playing and it’s often really busy, it’s just boring and dull in there.


The Coach and Horses

The only place in London where you can get Absinthe and have a knees up, sing  along on a Saturday night, Come on everyone.

‘Knees up, Mother Brown, Knees up Mother Browne, under the table you must go, ee-aye, ee-aye, oh’!

Also it’s the only Vegan/Vegetarian pub in London

The Three Greyhound

This is one of the more impressive looking pubs in the area, that mock Tudor exterior is a great facade, for inside it is just an ordinary pub, nothing special really, but it’s a better meeting place than the Montague Pyke around the corner.

I have never been

Montagu Pyke

This, believe it or not, used to be the original Marquee Club, where The Who and The Stones played (and more importantly for me, where my Mum and Dad met!) – that is the narrow, section at the back was, the pub now is a large open space, knocked through from Charing Cross Rd, to Greek St and is a mecca for anyone trying to get plastered before going out to the surrounding clubs, or for watching the football on the massive screens that fill the walls. The place is loud and chaotic and not in a good way. This is not a pleasurable pub and one I would not recommend to anyone.  It also used to be cheap as it was a lloyds bar but now it seems to have raised its prices dramatically.

The Porcupine

This looks good from the outside, but it’s way too touristy and way too unfriendly, the ‘time to go home’ lights are on all the time, making it fill unwelcoming, the beer is horrid and the staff are worse.

The Phoenix Artist’s Club

This is truly the best pub/bar in Soho. It’s underneath the Phoenix Theatre and only accessible to members and artists, actors and the local theatre crews. Although it is at the desecration of the doormen, try convincing them you work in the local playhouses and you may be ushered in without paying any entry fee. Once inside it’s a kind of secret den, lots of tables, lots of people and you will do the ‘ohh that’s that guy from that thing, oh what was he in?!’ But better than that it’s so much fun and in a way you can’t quite work out why!

I have never been

Pillars of Hercules – Greek Street 

A strange building, seemingly part tunnel and the rest is a tiny, old den, all made of wood, creeky and pokey. But it has that certain something, atmosphere. It’s usually packed and finding a seat is a mission unto itself. But it’s worth a stop on a pub crawl.

The Soho Theatre Bar

During Pride this is one of those places to find, when everywhere is packed, the bar in the foyer of the theatre is filled with a more eclectic assortment of people than any other bar in the area. During the rest of the year, it’s a more chilled out bar, more a glass of wine and good conversation with the locals kind of place. Up stairs there is often a standup comedy night with beers afterwards.

The Dog and Duck

This is one narrow pub! It doesn’t have a lot going for it though, the beer is pretty bad and the tables and chairs are odd, either too big, too small or in weird places.

The Nellie Dean of Soho

We have not been in here for years, it always looks good from outside and as soon as it’s warm enough the punters all fill the street outside, but I can’t honestly say there is anything I remember about this place (maybe that’s because it was such a great night in there, but I doubt it)

I have never been

The French House

We have been in here and then promptly left when we discovered that they only serve half pints and really expensive ones at that!

The Golden Lion

Looking for a photo of this place I didn’t even know what it looked like! We have drunk in here a fair few times over the last couple of years, it’s a good place to head to at Pride and at other times the upstairs is full of random people, it’s quite a good pub all round, but the route from upstairs to the toilet is a weird mission!

The Green Man

I have only been in here once, it’s ok, it’s a fairly ordinary pub, not somewhere i’d go out of my way to go to, but it’s good to know it’s there, should you be in the area and want a drink, just don’t expect craft beers or much of a selection. 

This was my ‘after work hideaway’ when I worked in Oxford St. It was always filled with sales staff, fairly quiet until the shops shut and then it was packed.

The Admiral Duncan

We include this as it is a big pub in Soho, but we have never drunk in here, it is THE gay man’s pub, but it’s rather old-school in it’s almost exclusively for gay guys. So we tend to just keep on walking. 

I have been in here for a New Year’s drink and a Christmas Eve Drink and both times have had hugs and kisses from some really nice people. 

The Ship

We have been in here once, during pride, when we stood outside because it was packed! We watched a rainbow dyed dog outside. It was playing rock music during pride, which is weird!

The Crown and Two Chairmen

First off, the award for weirdest names contender, for sure. It’s a decent place, music, atmosphere, a ‘Stand outside’ kind of place. One of the better pubs of Soho.

The Tottenham/Flying Horse

‘The Tottenham’ as it was known until a few years ago has one unique feature, it is the only pub actually on London’s Oxford St. It was always a bit touristy, but used to be good for a pre gig drink, if you were going to The Astoria. Now it’s just Touristy!

Mr. Fogg’s Tavern

Mr Foggs Tavern was something we had read/heard about, with its wild decor and around the world in 80 days theme, we thought why not!

This was a very strange pub, with really peculiar things hanging from the ceiling that didn’t seem to have anything to do with anything. The drinks were really overpriced! The stout tasted like tinted water and left a really odd after taste. The cocktail though really nice ( Gal-Sneaker) Was ridiculously overpriced! Why are cocktails so expensive?

It did close very early and we were pressured into leaving.

Well there you go, We don’t claim that this is everything. This is only our opinions of the pubs that we have tried over the years. Let us know if you like any of them? Or have any recommendations for others? We haven’t included clubs in this because its a mega post we will probably come back to it at some point. 

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