One of London’s most magnificent pubs, a must see on any visitor’s list. From the outside it looks pleasant enough, plain brick with some ornate ironwork, typical of many in town; inside there’s a wonderful and surprising contrast. Dazzling ‘brilliant-cut’ mirrors cover the walls, their intricate patterns sparkle as they catch the light, giving the impression of a much bigger space. This pub is really quite small and it seems remarkable it was once divided into several smaller bars. The island counter made from rich polished mahogany adds to the glare. Glass and mirrors were very fashionable in the late 1800s and as the technology improved, the designs became more ornate and intricate. To modern tastes it may seem almost too garish.
Built in 1821 on the site of a previous pub, the Red Lion was redesigned in the 1870’s. It is often described as a ‘gin palace’ but was refitted long after the ‘mother’s ruin’ gin era. This pub was designed to impress and create an aura of opulent respectability. It served the staff of the surrounding grand houses and, in its own way, provided some of the sumptuous ‘above stairs’ living for those ‘below stairs’. Taken over by independent London brewer, Fullers, in 2009, it now stocks most of their regular and seasonal ales, plus guests; all in tip-top condition. The food is ‘home made’ and freshly cooked, with classics such as steak and ale pie, fish and chips and bangers and mash. Good, knowledgeable staff add to a friendly atmosphere.