A Bard Crawl Around London With Sh!tfaced Shakespeare

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A Bard Crawl Around London With Sh!tfaced Shakespeare
Actors dressed in Shakespearian garb posing for the camera - one of them has their head in a bucket
The Sh!tfaced Shakespeare gang take us on a distinctly untouristy pub crawl.

Tired of all the well-worn paths when it comes to Shakespearean-influenced 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. Slip on a cloak, wield a magic wand, and use 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.

2. Shakespeare's Head, Holborn

It's your round, so duck into this perennially popular Wetherspoons 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 — and really, it doesn't get more romantic than that.

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 Midsummer Night's Dream tea — and its Love Potion cocktail made with Earl Grey infused gin and prosecco — sounds, well, dreamy. But as for the Macbeth afternoon tea coming in August... how are you meant to order it without bringing bad luck on yourself?

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 bar tenders 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.)

Sh!t-faced Shakespeare perform Much Ado About Nothing at Leicester Square Theatre from 12 July-9 September 2023

Words: James Murfitt

Last Updated 10 July 2023