I have spent a fair amount of my procrastination time in these difficult months reflecting on this past year studying at LSE. One part of this experience that I frequently recall concerns the local pubs.
No, I don’t think I am in need of some sort of intervention. Beyond the frankly astonishing number of bars on the campus itself, the area surrounding LSE has some of the best, most historic, and most fascinating pubs in the city. Strictly for the benefit of the readers, I made it my goal this year to visit these and survey some essential parts of the London experience.
Lockdown means that these institutions are, for the time being, closed. As such, this post serves chiefly as a guide to some of the pubs that I hope that every future LSE student gets a chance to visit. It is also a tribute, if you will, to some of the places which helped to make my personal LSE experience what it was.
So, without further ado:
1. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
You cannot go wrong with a pub beginning with “Ye Olde”. And this one truly lives up to its name. A pub has existed here since 1538, although the current premises seem to date back to the Great Fire of London in 1666. With the history and the great food and drink, you will not want to leave. It is also highly possible you will get lost and consequently be unable to leave. This pub is a maze of cosy rooms complete with hearths, booths, and low ceilings – you have been warned tall folk. An amazing establishment.
2. Ye Olde Mitre
Another “Ye Olde” pub I hear you cry? You cry correctly, and like the near-by Cheshire Cheese, this place could easily act as a setting for a BBC period drama. This wonderful little pub takes its name from the bishops who used to own the land it stands on. The fact that it is quite difficult to find only adds to the experience. If you are lucky enough to find it, you can enjoy a homely atmosphere, a wonderful little biergarten, and the satisfaction of having actually made it to this hidden gem.
3. Old Bank of England
No “Ye Olde”? No worries. At a youthful 186 years old, this is still a fine, fine pub. Housed – funnily enough – in the old Bank of England, it opened in its current form in 1994. Yet with its ornate interior, it still looks like it could be the setting for a drama series about the 1929 market crash – you know, if you edited out the bar, the marvellous beer garden, the booths, and added in a lot of troubled looking stockbrokers.
4. The Seven Stars
Another one pre-dating the Great Fire, and a very short walk from campus, this cosy pub has a fantastic atmosphere. And it really leans into its proximity to the Royal Courts of Justice, with some added quirk. Look for the barrister wigs in the window, an array of old posters and books, and also a very pleasant cat, sometimes dressed in a ruff collar. Do not expect to improve your grasp of the law in here, however.
5. Cittie of Yorke
Not “Ye Olde” but bonus points for the very old-school spelling of “City” and “York”. Just to the north of campus, this is a grand old London pub, with great food and amazing architecture. Disclaimer: not to be confused with the actual city of York, which is not within walking distance of LSE.