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Chequers, St James's

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user reviews of the Chequers, St James's

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

A little gem of a pub. Properly staffed with four friendly and efficient barmaids at busy times. I had Revd James Golden Bitter which was excellent. There's overspill space in the quiet courtyard behind.
simontheeditor - 27 Mar 2017 15:30
Popped in today for a couple on the way to the Athenaeum Club. Had to try the Flying Scotsman as the iconic loco is back on the rails and wasn't disappointed. Lovely little pub nand will certainly visit again. The food looked good too!
roobs52 - 11 Jan 2016 23:22
Late last night we found this quiet and pleasant pub, handily situated halfway between Green Park tube and Piccadilly, so a good final stop for a west-end pub crawl. The Deuchars had just gone off but the Pride was good.
Christo - 19 Feb 2013 17:09
After staying local in London we found this pub just round the corner from our appartment. The food they served was fantastic value, The bar staff were first class, We ate there on 3 different days each time the staff were very helpfull,Good value for money, Good pint of Admans, Very busy little pub get there early to get a table. Chris/ Nottingham
christifershire - 11 Aug 2011 12:38
Like several other pubs around here, pleasantly small and quiet, with a fair supply of beers. If you're there on a Saturday evening, it's best to make it your first port of call because it closes early.
16jamesdoc - 18 Jul 2011 09:41
Went in Sunday afternoon to find it rather quiet - sat at the end of the bar with my £3.95 pint of Heineken - the barmaid dropped some glasses, made a phone call and burst into tears. Everyone felt awkward - then I left.
adamwalsh - 9 May 2010 19:10
Nice old pub in a historic area. Can get rammed at tea time. Service not 100% but generally as you would expect for a compact pub. Bar staff are friendly but not always on the ball.

Pricing OK for the area.

Choice of ales OK too.
MayfairDandy - 4 Apr 2010 21:59
Went in the other night, stood at the bar for 5 mins with a tenner cocked - one barmaid doing nothing and the other struggling with an order of 3 drinks. Left.
dancingbrave - 24 Mar 2010 10:47
A long, narrow single space with the bar to one side. A few tables front and rear and a drinking shelf to the side, facing the alleyway. Carpeted, with wainscotted walls and a dark red beamed ceiling. As the pub faces a square behind, it benefits from windows both front and back.There are a fair number of beer mats stuck to the side of a stair wall behind the bar, I assume indicative of previous guest beers. The selection on my visit was fairly mainstream, Pride, Doom Bar and Deuchers IPA. Not a bad pint of Doom Bar though.
A large TV in the front corner was switched off Friday PM. Food on offer included fairly priced toasted sandwiches and hot baguettes, generally between £4-£5.
Maldenman - 28 Feb 2010 12:20
for such a small pub it seems to have a lot of staff, who appear whenever the landlord exits and treat it as a canteen come social club.I understand the poor dears have to eat but not to the detrimement of service to the customer.Also if someone could fix the door which remains open whenever someone enters or exits,this will stop the rolling of eyes and black looks from the locals on unsuspecting visitors.Oh and can someone show the staff how to pour a guinness apart from this not a bad little pub.
countyjim - 25 Dec 2009 14:06
Really nice little pub just off Piccadilly. For detailed description see first posting from RogerB below. The three ales on at the time of my visit were Sharps Doombar, Deuchars IPA and Fullers Pride and the Doombar I tried was perfectly fine.
Not a place to spend the evening with a crowd, but if you want a place for a quiet decent pint just of Piccadilly, then the Chequers hits the spot.

Gann - 17 Dec 2009 13:42
Haven't reviewed here before, but a long time fan of The Chequers - always the one I use when in fancy St James's - certainly small, but in better weather at least the sense of space helped by the side passage and use of Masons Yd at the back to congregate in. Always some local workers of all types in, and visitors and shoppers. Interesting villageysense later in the weekday evenings when many have gorn home. Various beers, London Pride amongst them, and all the usual stuff; and usually good staff to serve them. Good grub as well and just the place to stop after organizing ones food delivery at Fortnums.....
gonetolunch - 19 Jul 2009 09:56
Really really nice surprise. Reasonably priced beer, reasonably priced good food, friendly staff. It is very small but doesn't feel crowded.
Big screen was showing Wimbledon but with the volume down and they turned it off when it finished.
Always avoided the place assuming it would be expensive and pretentious given the area but it is happily neither.
popiellajones - 12 Jul 2009 11:34
A solid enough place to while away an afternoon. 3 solid well kept real ales on tap.
mr_goatboy - 13 Mar 2009 17:53
This is a very small pub, with a warm and welcoming feel to it. Clientele seemed a mix of regulars and tourists. It was very comfortable throughout, being carpeted (I always think that carpets make a place more “warm” than bare boards), with a panelled ceiling and lots of dark wood. I noticed that all the tables were reserved for diners – I suppose in these days a pub can’t afford to lose the income generated by diners if those only drinking are occupying the handful of tables.

Ales on were Deuchars IPA, Pride, and Bombardier. The IPA was fine. I also had a hot turkey and stuffing baguette which was pretty good at £4.25 – with Fortnum & Mason cranberry sauce no less. There was large plasma screen TV – It was turned off on the Saturday lunchtime I was in, but maybe they switch it on if there is something worth watching. Won’t get a lot of use, then. Definitely worth dropping in here for a pint if you are in the area.

It strikes me as a bit unusual that a decent pub like this, which has been around for several hundred years, and in the centre of London has only been reviewed by two people (although Roger’s review should perhaps count double! And thanks for the history lesson!) and rated by four. Just one of things I suppose.
RexRattus - 20 Dec 2008 22:03
St James's is somewhere you are unlikely to visit unless you work in the area or have expensive tastes in art or shirts. There's certainly little reason to go out of your way to spend time in the Chequers Tavern. This pub is terrifyingly average. Sure, there's a bit of history and, yes, the beer is alright but I came away with a completely blank feeling. Fine for a pint or two after office hours but that's it. And don't bother with the food, which is mediocre verging on inedible.
DholeMoney - 26 Jun 2008 23:19
Originally the Masons Arms after the stone masons yard situated behind pub.According to Pub history, the pub was opened for the masons prepraing the stone work for the building of the nearby St James Palace and they used the pub as a base for playing chequers. By 1751 it had simply become known as the Chequers pub and the name has stuck ever since. The earliest records date from 1731 however as the nearby Palace was built some 40 years earlier, we can assume that there has been an pub here in one form or another since the end of the 17th century. The current building has a Victorian facade but theinterior is considerably older. The quaint, carpeted L shaped interior is quite small even allowing for the original rooms being knocked through. The décor is fairly simple with plain walls and a slightly wonky but heavily painted burgundy ceiling. There are various plates, bottles and figurines dotted around the high shelves and traditional features like patterned windows and a bar frame are still intact. A quite disproportionately sized plasma screen dominates the front of the bar. There are usually 3 Ales, Pride, Directors + 1 guest (Theakstons on my last trip) and an orderly collection of previous guest beer pump clips can be viewed behind the bar.

60’s music lovers will be interested in taking a short detour down the passage at the side of the pub into Masons Yard itself. No 6 was the art gallery where John Lennon first met Yoko Ono who was holding an exhibition there, No 9 was the photographic studio of Gered Mankowitz who took many classic photos here of legends such as Hendrix and the Stones and No 13 was the Scotch Of St James Club that hosted many famous 60’s bands and was a famous Swinging 60’s hang out. I think we can safely assume that the Chequeres was probably the 60's equivalent of Camden's Hawley Arms.

RogerB - 6 Feb 2008 15:00

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