Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese

This pub has been voted by our readers as the best in the City of London. See the full list of winners here. This pub was also voted by Londonist readers as one of the top 10 'ye olde' pubs in London. This pub was voted among the top 10 pubs in central London by Londonist readers.

Quite possibly London's most famous pub. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese has been around since the days of Pepys and Wren, nourishing such luminaries as Samuel Johnson and Charles Dickens. Another resident celebrity was Polly the Parrot, who sparked international headlines when she died in the 1920s — see if you can track down her taxidermic remains, on show in one of the rooms. Another lost tradition from that era was for the pub to give eminent visitors a free pipe and tobacco upon entering. Times have changed, and you'd now be thrown out for smoking your own.

The pub's unique interior sprawls out over at least four levels (we discover new areas every time we visit). Be sure to head down the narrow stairs to the lower vaults, which are thought to predate the 17th century upper-storeys. One highlight no longer on display is the series of pornographic tiles that once adorned the fireplace. Hilariously, The Telegraph is too prudish to publish images of them. Speaking of the fireplace, it was supporting a roaring coal fire last time we ventured inside...on the hottest day of the year so far.

As a Sam Smith's pub, the food and drink range is unexciting but inexpensive. With a dozen rooms, no phone signal, and — to confuse things further — a pub of similar name just around the corner, this is about as challenging a rendezvous point as any in London. But you can't beat that history.

The basement bar.
The basement bar.
Hanging sign.
Hanging sign.

Address: 145 Fleet Street London EC4A 2BU

Phone: 020 7353 6170

Email:
info@yeoldecheshirecheese.com

Website:
/pubs/ye-olde-cheshire-cheese

Monday: 11am-11pm

Tuesday: 11am-11pm

Wednesday: 11am-11pm

Thursday: 11am-11pm

Friday: 11am-11pm

Saturday: noon-11pm

Sunday: noon-4pm

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Martin

If they served something other than Sam Smith's, I'd put this in my top five. The building is wonderful, but the beer lets it down.