Pubs in Westminster
There are a few decent pubs in Westminster close to the Houses of Parliament; some are a five minute walk away, but we think the effort well worth it. All have real ales and passable food. Follow the links for opening hours, food times and a full review. MAP
The Red Lion
"Red Lion, Parliament St."
, Parliament Street
This pub is in Parliament Street which becomes Whitehall a few yards along – just to cause confusion. Like most of the pubs around here the Red Lion has BBC Parliament on the tv and a Division Bell, this tells members of Parliament that the House is dividing for a vote and they should get back – sharpish. To be fair it’s probably journalists and civil servants rather than MPs who will be watching the proceedings from this pub, members have several subsidised bars to use. The Red Lion has a fine stone frontage and many noteworthy original features inside including some cut glass mirrors and sturdy joinery. It’s a busy pub most of the time (with limited seating) and the dining room upstairs is used to cope with the overflow. The food is decent pub grub and the Fullers beers usually in good condition – albeit at £4 a pint.
Lord Moon of the Mall
"Lord Moon on the Mall"
This Wetherspoons pub is at the top of Whitehall near Trafalgar Square and is an ideally placed refuge for the weary tourist. A former branch of Lloyds bank this building lends itself well to its new role as a pub. The high ceilings and tall windows in the main hall contrast with the cosiness of the bar area at the rear. As with all Wetherspoons pubs there’s a wide choice of cask ales, lagers and stronger liquor, all at prices below the norm for this part of town. The food is good value if not fine dining but wholesome enough. The figure on the pub sign is none other than Tim Martin, lord of the J.D. Wetherspoon empire.
The Westminster Arms
, Storey’s Gate
High on this pub’s first floor wall is a sign saying “Red Lion Restaurant – Rebuilt 1913.” So we can deduce ‘Westminster Arms’ is a title more recently adopted because of its proximity to Parliament. Before the vast QE2 Conference Centre was built opposite, the pub had a view of Big Ben so some of the renaming relevance is lost. It is also in spitting distance of Westminster Abbey so well placed for sightseeing. Kent brewer Shepherd Neame took over this pub a few years ago and there’s a comprehensive selection of their ales. There’s a cellar wine bar and an upstairs restaurant that both serve good food.
, Great Peter Street
Another pub with a name attached to the Mother of Parliaments. On the face of it this is a fairly ordinary corner pub, pine panelled and decorated with caricatures of parliamentary figures. A sign in the window proudly says it has no tv, music or gaming machines. It does have some well-kept cask ales, two staples and a couple of changing guests, some good home-cooked food and a friendly welcome. There’s a nice explanation about The Speaker of the House of Commons who doesn’t speak, takes no part in debates, isn’t a minister and is not a member of a political party, but acts as a moderator. The first Speaker was Sir Thomas Hungerford designated in 1376. He and many of his successors were either jailed or executed by the king for their outspokenness.
"The Albert, Victoria St."
This attractive Victorian pub is a survivor. Dwarfed by high rise offices built and rebuilt during the Albert’s lifetime – it escaped redevelopment in the 1960s and withstood the best efforts of the Luftwaffe 20 years before. When it was built in 1862 it had the Artillery Brewery attached but that too was demolished. The Albert has a reputation for good food served in the bar or in the large restaurant upstairs. There are lots of original features to enjoy while supping a pint including some etched and cut glass windows. Grade II listed.
St Stephen’s Tavern
"St. Stephens Tavern"
, Bridge Street (Temporarily closed for repairs in February 2012 - sorry)
The nearest pub to the House of Commons, St Stephen’s Tavern lies in the shadow of Big Ben and is next to Westminster tube station. It’s easily recognised by the enormous lantern hanging outside and its ornate windows. A Hall and Woodhouse pub you’ll find the Badger range of beers from the Dorset brewer and some fine late Victorian architecture. This pub stood empty for a decade or so until it was rescued and re-opened in 2004 following extensive restoration.
To see a map and more pubs in Westminster click here