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Soho Pub Crawl
There is no shortage of pubs in Soho, and good ones at that. It would be pointless just to list them, so this is an attempted to highlight the best of Soho’s old-man traditional type pubs. It will come as no surprise to regulars at pubs.com that this will be an All Bar – None guide.

A former hunting ground for Henry VIII, its name is said to have been a hunting call. Despite development of the area, Soho never acquired the same status as some areas in Westminster and has always been the poor relation. What it hasn’t had in kudos it has made up in culture and character.

To most Londoners Soho is synonymous with prostitution, sex shops and strip clubs, and until fairly recently, organised crime. But it is so much more. Bound by Oxford Street to the north, Shaftesbury Avenue to the south and Charing Cross Road and Regent Street to the east and west, this tiny London village is a catalyst for creative talent.

It is home to many involved in the creative industries, such as film and television production, advertising, graphic arts, fashion, journalism and music. It’s home to satirical magazine Private Eye, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club and Carnaby Street, with its myriad boutiques.

Of course many famous names involved in these activities met in the numerous Soho pubs.

Argyll Arms Argyll Arms, 18 Argyll Street, Soho, Westminster, London W1F 7TP

A good place to start is on the edge of Soho at Oxford Circus, a few yards down Argyll Street is the Argyll Arms. This gleaming little pub has one of the best preserved Victorian interiors in the country. Most rare are the small cubicles that line the front bar. Lavish etched and cut glass screens in crafted hardwood frames, form cosy, discreet boxes. Most of the decoration and fittings here are original.

TIP: If you are doing a daytime walk this pub opens early, does excellent coffee and will be yours to inspect.

Directions: Turn right out of the Argyll, pass the Palladium and turn left at the end of the street at Liberty’s. The mock Tudor store was built in 1924 from the timbers of two war ships HMS Impregnable and HMS Hindustan. (Wikipedia). Turn right into Great Marlborough Place at the side of Liberty, which leads into Carnaby Street. Pass Will Shakespeare hanging out from the pub and take a right into Ganton Street, then left into kingly Street and head to the Red Lion on the left.



Red Lion Red Lion, 14 Kingly Street, Soho, Westminster, London W1B 5PR

The Red Lion, Kingly Street is a bit of a recluse, it hardly shouts out at you. This is a nice pub, bigger than it looks from the front. It has lots of panelling and the cosiest of bars at the front. A large room at the back has a dartboard. A Samuel Smith’s pub, it has (had) no real ales, but some interesting substitutes at good prices.

Directions: Left out of the Red Lion, left into Brewer Street, walk the length of Brewer Street, right briefly into Wardour Street and left into Old Compton Street (pass the Admiral Duncan pub on the left, the site of a horrific nail-bombing in 1999) then right into dean Street and the French House.



French House French House, 49 Dean Street, Soho, London W1D 5BE

Soho is a magnet for immigrants, first the Huguenots settled here, and then the French. During World War Two the Free French gathered at this pub and de Gaulle is supposed to have written his declaration of defiance to the Nazis here, \'A Tous Les Francais\'. It’s an unusual place, beer served in halves, wine the preferred drink, and good food. Formerly the York Minster, everyone knew it as the French pub and it eventually changed its name. Regulars included ; Dylan Thomas, Brendan Behan, Peter O’Toole, Oliver Reed and Jeffrey Barnard.

Directions: From the French House turn left and left again into Romilly Street, look for the red pub, the sign says Norman’s.



Coach and Horses Coach and Horses, 29 Greek Street, Soho, Westminster, London W1D 5DH

The Coach and Horses was run by one of Soho’s ‘characters,’ Norman Balon. He had a reputation of being rude to his customers and barring them. In time it became a badge of honour to be thrown out by Norman. Now retired, Norman’s Coach and Horses continues as a good pub and has regular ‘sing songs’ around the piano.

Directions: Leave the Coach and Horses and head up Greek Street to the Pillars on the right.



Pillars of Hurcules Pillars of Hurcules, 7 Greek Street, Soho, London W1D 4DJ

The Pillars of Hercules in Greek Street is another Soho institution. It has a cosy country pub bar and some good ales. In Dickens’ ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ the Hercules Pillars is this pub’s predecessor. The Tudor here, is of the mock variety. Great sign though.

Directions: Back track slightly and walk down Bateman Street to the Dog and Duck.



Dog and Duck Dog and Duck, 18 Bateman Street, Soho, London W1D 3AJ

The Dog and Duck is a Soho favourite. Small but perfectly formed, it has some lovely tiles and original decoration, meriting its inclusion in CAMRA’s National Inventory. A good bustling atmosphere and some excellent ales, including Tim Taylor’s Landlord as a regular. George Orwell has a room named after him, is this The Moon Under Water?

If your favourite Soho pub is missing from this list, or our main database, please contact us and tell us why you want it listed!

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