A Bard Crawl Around London With Sh!tfaced Shakespeare

Last Updated 09 July 2024

A Bard Crawl Around London With Sh!tfaced Shakespeare
A group of unruly looking actors in Leicester Square
The Sh!tfaced Shakespeare gang take us on a distinctly untouristy pub crawl.

Tired of all the well-worn paths when it comes to ye olde pub crawls? Sick to the back teeth of every tavern dubbing itself 'the one and only pub Shakespeare drank at?' Well don your ruffs, hoist up your pantaloons and disregard the mildest yearning to learn anything remotely linked to the Bard — this is the alternative Shakespeare pub crawl you never knew you needed!

(Just make sure you drink responsibly, and don't end up getting Bard barred.)

1. The Cauldron, Stoke Newington

"Double, double toil and trouble..." at The Cauldron in Stoke Newington you can make like the three witches by slipping on a cloak and harnessing molecular mixology to brew some extremely drinkable elixirs. Maybe you can even magic yourself into an interesting person with a five-year fixed mortgage and an Ultimate Frisbee participation medal. But probably not.

2. Shakespeare's Head, Holborn

It's your round, so duck into this perennially popular Wetherspoon to save some shillings! Among the Curry Club posters and pro-Brexit paraphernalia, you'll find some interesting Shakespearean titbits scattered on the walls, as well as the balcony scene from Romeo & Juliet blown up massive on a wall in one of the bogs. O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore fart thou Romeo?

A cauldron bubbling with green smoke
Image: iStock/emyerson

3. The Hung, Drawn & Quartered, Tower Bridge

This stately pub ordained with chandeliers, marble columns and gold framed historical portraits also boasts an unmissable view of the very tower in which Shakespeare villain/Leicester car park celeb Richard III is reported to have abducted his two infant nephews for safekeeping while he schmoozed his way to the crown. They also serve chicken wings! (The pub, not the nephews.)

A painting of Richard III in royal garb

4. The Swan, Bankside

What more fitting place to visit than a boozer neighbouring the Globe Theatre, which also lays on Bard-themed afternoon teas? The Much Ado About Tea stars a Don Pedro panna cotta and Beatrice's Seville orange cake — while a separate gentleman's afternoon tea features a Caesar salad, which you presumably stab multiple times with a knife.

Actors dressed in Shakespearian garb posing for the camera - one of them has their head in a bucket
If booze be the drink of love, booze on. Or something.

5. Bear & Staff, Leicester Square

Want to experience the feeling of a defenceless animal being harangued and bated by drunken theatre goers, just like in intervals at the original Globe Theatre? Simply observe the bartenders working at the Bear & Staff, while nursing an overpriced craft ale!  

A statue of Shakespeare in front of some trees
Image: Londonist

6. Leicester Square

Time to pop into an off licence, pick up a few tinnies and raise a can of Special Brew to the big man himself, at the William Shakespeare statue in the centre of Leicester Square. (While you're there, you can raise one to Indiana Jones, Mary Poppins and Bugs Bunny too.) Then hit the Leicester Square Theatre round the corner, to watch Sh*tfaced Shakespeare! The theatre has four bars — just sayin'.

Sh!t-faced Shakespeare perform A Midsummer Night's Dream at Leicester Square Theatre from 10 July-7 September 2024

Words: James Murfitt/Will Noble