Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, Fleet Street, London
Truly fantastic pubs are few and far between. Me, I’m a fan of The Red Lion in Ealing – fits the bill perfectly.
You can’t go to the same pub all the time and so it came to pass that I found myself in a true marvel tucked away on Fleet Street in Central London.
Despite having a highly dubious name, the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is actually an old pub. It was built in 1667 after the original burnt down.
Over the years it has grown and been lovingly looked after. Looking at some photographs from the 1920s, its hardly changed since then, and probably much longer.
The pub is split into a myriad of small rooms which reek of atmosphere. Upstairs contains a restaurant and a number of function rooms.
On the ground floor, a small bar area and ‘The Chop Room’ – one of only a handful of these traditional English eateries left. Sadly I haven’t tried the food (yet) nor have I seen in that room, the bench where Dickens sat.
In the cellar, dark, covey, two medium sized rooms and a small narrow one in between, with painted brick walls and candles on the tables. The cellars were once part of an abbey, and show it. The narrow room was once the abbey archive. Only the music playing in the cellar bar room brings you back to the current year.
Let’s Do The Timewarp, Again…
It is a bit like a time warp, a reminder of all that has been lost to modern refurbishments and typewriters stuck to the wall. Up the road is another once traditional pub, now little more than a rent-a-kit pub cruely painted in beige, with armchairs and standard lamps, thanks to the misleadingly named Original Pub Company. But their mistreatment of our pubs can wait for another day.
Thankfully Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese has a kind, considerate owner in the form of Yorkshire brewer Samual Smith (whose beers are worthy of a rave all to themselves – their Taddy Porter is just divine) and the recent additions to are entirely in keeping with the character of the pub.
The Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is a true gem, in a world of fake, boring, dull pubs – especially in the centre of London. It’s popularity is amazing – despite the fact that Fleet Street is next to empty at weekend, there are still plenty of people inside the Cheshire Cheese on a Sunday.
It’s a remarkable pub. If you’re ever in the area, give it a whirl. It’s a piece of history in a world of fraud.