GOOD PUBS AND BARS
Queen Boadicea Pub - St John's Street, Angel Tube
A classicly eccentric English pub; full of mirrors, ferns, wood, golden tiles and stuffed beasts. Big comfy sofas and open fires can keep you there for hours.
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese Pub - 145 Fleet Steet, Blackfriars Tube
The oldest pub in London, built straight after the Great Fire of 1666, looks as though it hasn't changed in centuries. It's easy to get lost in the warren of narrow corridors and staircases but you can find cosy little wooden tables and chairs hidden in every corner. The top bar is the most atmospheric and they serve very reasonably-priced drinks under their novel own lable. The bottom is located in a large vault which can get a little noisy and crowded. There's a restaurant too which has dark wood-panelling, creaky floorboards and a stuffed parrot with an interesting history. The menu is traditional English and includes such things as Spotted Dick (steamed sponge pudding with raisins) and Bubble & Squeak (fried potatoes and sprouts).
Cafe Kick Bar - 43 Exmouth Market, Angel Tube
This young, trendy, busy bar reminds you of teenage summers in the south of France playing fussball and drinking cool beers. Friendly bar staff mix up some mean cocktails and according to a recent newspaper, is one of the places to see the odd celebrity. It's a little bit run down but has a certain grotty charm, especially in the summer when crowds spill noisily onto the street.
Freuds Cocktail bar - 198 Shaftsbury Avenue, Covent Garden or Tottenham Ct Rd Tube
Young, hip, cellar-bar that specialises in serving mean cocktails. The selection is huge, the drinks are excellent and the prices are low. It can get a little busy at weekends, especially when they squeeze in live bands as well, but it has a friendly, funky, student-like atmosphere.
Gordon's Wine Bar - Villier's Street, Embankment/Charing Cross Tube
Hidden away at street level behind its crumbling facade is Gordon´s Wine Bar - an underground former wine cellar now used as a rather unique atmospheric bar. You descend into the gloom, turn the corner and discover a load of little rickety tables hidden under the sooty vaults. Each table has a candle - there is no artificial light in the sitting areas - and is surrounded by a couple of wobbly wooden chairs. During the week the place is rammed full of MOD staff during the evenings but at the weekend there are just a few hidden cooing couples or lone university professors reading the paper. I much prefer coming for Sunday lunch; there´s a small buffet area where you can either have a ploughmans or you can go for the full Sunday roast. The foods not amazing but the cubby-hole atmosphere and port on tap more than makes up.
The Holly Bush - Country Pub, Hampstead Tube
Starter £5, Half Pint of Prawns - these are proper huge prawns - best I've had in London.
Mains £10, London Pride Chicken and Mushroom with Cheddar Mash and Salad
Desserts £5, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Bread and Butter Pudding
Gilgamesh - Bar/Restaurant, Chalk Farm tube
You will never have seen anything like this before. A vast Babylonian palace plonked in the middle of Camden market. It looks like the interior decorator stole most of the British Museum; there are vast Assyrian winged beasts holding up the ceiling and ancient stone-carved friezes on the way to the loo. It's completley over the top - that's why I love it.