Rose Street joins both Garrick Street and Floral Street, here you’ll find the Lamb & Flag, a small wooden fronted pub. The downstairs rooms are delightfully simple, with a well worn, olde-worlde charm, created by the low beams, wood panelling and bare pine floorboards. The back bar area has a fireplace and plain wooden settles. The Lamb fills up in the evenings with office and shop workers and can get a bit too busy. In the summer, drinkers spill out into the courtyard.
First licensed in 1623, it’s the oldest in Covent Garden, and possibly one of the oldest in London, if claims of a Tudor past are true. Like many an old London building, it has had to grow to meet the demand of an exploding population. The brick front and upper floors are 19th century but its core is from the late 17th century.
It used to be known as the Bucket of Blood because of the bare-fist fights that were held here. Today the only fight you\’ll see is the one to get to the busy bar. In 1679, the poet John Dryden is said to have been attacked by hired thugs in the alleyway at the side of the pub and was nearly killed. The upstairs bar is called the Dryden Room, presumably in honour of the man, rather than his beating. It’s a good place to escape to when the ground floor bar is heaving. Charles Dickens was almost certainly a customer, for in the surrounding streets before the big clear up in the late 1800\’s, he found much to write about; unbelievable squalor and poverty, an area riven with crime where the law feared to go.