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The archetypal 'old man's pub', a true classic of the type, and among the oldest licensed premises in the West End.
Ageing carpets, old stained windows, more stained glass above the bar and lovely wooden paneling around the walls must have all been stared at by countless generations of London's drinkers. It's wonderful to think of the arrangements and deals that must have been made in the Red Lion over the centuries, with high-flying finance types and shadier characters (if such exist) equally at home within these four walls. The long-serving lady behind the bar gives as good as she gets amid the ongoing repartee around the counter.
Mind your head as you creep down precarious steps to the gents, passing the 'Nell Gwynn Cellar' on the way. The ladies is on the second floor, past the little-known first floor lounge — an indicator that female convenience wasn't uppermost in the thoughts of the pub's architects.
There's nothing special about the beer or wine (Tribute is about as exciting as it gets), and there's barely any food to speak of, but that's not really the point; people come to feel the history and they don't leave disappointed.
Last updated July 2015.