Just the sort of rambling, low-ceilinged tavern you imagine London is full of (and was, once), it was built behind Fleet Street in the wake of the Great Fire in 1666, and because of steady log fires and regularly strewn sawdust, it still smells like history hasn’t finished passing it by. In later generations, it played regular host to Dr. Samuel Johnson (who lived behind on Gough Square), Charles Dickens (who referred to it in A Tale of Two Cities), Yeats, Wilde, and Thackeray. You can get pretty well thackered yourself today: There are six drinking rooms, but the cozy front bar—of pallid light, candles in the fireplace, and antique paintings of dead fish—is the most magical. Observe the stuffed carcass of Polly the Parrot, enshrined above the bar since 1926 and “whose adept use of profanity would have put any golfer to shame,” according to her obituary in the New York American. Don’t confuse this place with the Victorian-era Cheshire Cheese pub at Temple.
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
Wine Office Court, off 145 Fleet St
Our Rating Neighborhood In & Around the City Hours Mon–Sat 11am–11pm Transportation Tube: Blackfriars, Temple, or Chancery Lane Phone 020/7353-6170 Cuisine Type Pub
MapWine Office Court, off 145 Fleet St London
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