Call off the search, because this tiny watering hole tucked down a Fleet Street side alley might just be the purest Sam Smith’s pub ever to do it. Pull up a stool next to an ageing cast of genial old boys and settle into a good old chat, with nothing in the way of background noise save the padded footsteps of approaching death.
Farringdon is always eerily quiet come the weekend, and this cavernous pub offers the perfect canvas for an afternoon of half-remembered anecdotes and rose-tinted nostalgia. “Remember when Mr. Andrews fouled himself on that field trip to Swanage?” Glorious scenes. Gamma Ray on draft in the main bar, Negronis in the cocktail den below, and the guarantee of a seat in whichever one you opt for.
Picture the scene… a London pub with outdoor seating in the first flush of summer. Two panicked barmen facing down a cider-soaked horde. Truly a hellscape the great Hieronymus Bosch would be proud of. But what’s this? A little-known wine bar with a bona fide sun-trap of an outdoor courtyard, right under your nose? Order yourself an ice-cold Chablis and let the good times roll.
From the outside, the Zetter’s Marylebone site looks like the kind of smoking-jacket-mandatory operation populated exclusively by Tory party grandees, but in actual fact, it’s open to anybody. Better still, nobody else seems to have realised, meaning the tweedy cocktail lounge is often blissfully empty. The drinks list comes from cocktail hero Tony Conigliaro, meaning you can expect a note-perfect Old Fashioned as well as elbow room at the bar.
While the Soho and Seven Dials sites are usually packed to the rafters, you can tuck into a pint of Elvis Juice in relative peace in BrewDog’s Clerkenwell outpost. With 18 taps of delicious craft foam to work your way through, you’ll be cruising from, “uh… so how’s work?” to “yeah, so the thing about me and Dad is we’ve never really figured out how to cry together” in no time.