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Fitzrovia's The Champion can be summed up in one sentence: imagine a typical Sam Smith's pub, and then throw in some remarkable stained-glass windows.
We'll elaborate a little more, but not much. This is indeed Sam Smiths by numbers, with the usual limited range of draughts (better buy bottles), hearty comfort food, and a gorgeous, timeless interior.
But it's all about those windows. Each shows a Victorian champion — using the widest definition. You may recognise hirsute batmeister WG Grace, for example. Other champs include Channel swimmer Matthew Webb, boxer Bob Fitzsimmons and jockey Fred Archer.
Further Victorian celebs such as Florence Nightingale, David Livingstone and Edward Whymper — the first person to climb the Matterhorn — grace the corners.
You might imagine these to be an original feature, but in fact they date only to 1989 and are the work of Ann Sotheran.
The light from those windows can play strange tricks, and you can lose all track of time. There are worse places to do so.
Last updated April 2019.