The Coal Hole occupies a corner of the Strand’s Savoy Building. The theme of pale stone, dark wood and leaded light windows carries on into the street level bar. Here the ceiling is high; heavy black beams and hanging banners suggest something medieval, but no, this pub was decorated in 1904. Beneath the mock beams is a beautiful marble frieze of wistful maidens picking grapes. In a corner beside the bar is a magnificent fireplace, heavily decorated with a relief of vines. New lighting has brought to life the pubs wonderful features and the gallery bar is a good vantage point from which to view them. This rare art nouveau décor was a brief interlude between the brashness of the late Victorian gin palaces and a new sentimental movement which was to favour the fake “ye olde inn”, harking back to more wholesome times. A far cry from the pub that stood here before, the Fountain Tavern, a pub where ‘coal heavers’ drank. But even in Edwardian London this pub had a darker side. It was in the basement that the Wolf Club was founded by actor, and lush, Edmund Kean. Supposedly a place where hen-pecked husbands could enjoy a sing-song and hearty supper, but its real role was less innocent, and involved heavy drinking and loose women. Now the popular cellar bar carries the name of wayward actor, but without the antics.