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Fox hunting might have been banned, but Fox & Anchor hunting is a must. This is one of central London's most characterful pubs, a confection of dark wood and leather upholstery.
This is a Young's venue of two halves. The front bar area is long, narrow and usually bustling. (You might discover the occasional Smithfield employee having a cheeky post-work pint at 10am.)
Toward the back is a more intimate dining area. Here, the choice seats are in one of the cosy booths — among the most enjoyable places to sit in the whole of London. If you're lucky enough to secure one of these, you won't want to leave.
The Fox & Anchor is perhaps most famous for its breakfasts. It's one of the few London pubs that opens from 7am on weekdays, and does a roaring trade in meaty fast-breaking.
Star of the show is the City Breakfast (pictured), which comes with a pint of Guinness. At £30 (a £10 increase on 2020), it might be a stretch for some, but it should remove the need for lunch:
"Two eggs cooked to your liking, sweet cured bacon, pork and leek sausages, calves liver, angus flat iron steak, lamb kidney, black and white pudding, roasted cherry tomatoes, mushroom, Boston beans, fried bread and a Guinness pint."
With Smithfield Market on the doorstep, you can be assured of fresh ingredients. A recent December visit found the pub packed out with office Christmas parties... at 9.30 in the morning.
The pub also maintains six guest rooms above the bar. We've stayed in a suite, and it's above and beyond any kind of pub accommodation you might have in mind. Think copper roll top bath, vinyl player and private terrace. You can get a room reasonably affordably too; look out for deals on the usual booking websites.
Last updated January 2020. Images courtesy of the Fox & Anchor, except the City Boy Breakfast and the mosaic entrance.