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Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, Fleet Street

I have written in defence of the CCheshire Cheese before now, but after this evening I don't see it happening again.

A good, convivial evening had a most unpleasant and upsetting ending tonight. As we have a number of times over the last few years a group of friends took one of the upstairs rooms to share good food, drink and company with people getting up to recite a poem or lead in a song. Folk songs and familiar tunes like Hearts of Oak and Hard Times of Old England. Traditional stuff well suited to a place like the Cheese and in the past it has been welcomed by staff. We met as usual, took a drink, tucked into our food, gave toasts and sang as we have in the past.

However, after an hour or so of this the McDonalds reject in charge for the night informed the chap who had booked the room that we were not allowed to sing. The reasons given seemed to change each time he was asked about it. “The Law”, Sam Smiths new rules and allegedly complaining neighbours were all quoted. To say it soured an otherwise wonderful evening is putting it mildly. It has also soured my memories of a pub I have a great fondness for. We have had good rousing nights in the Cheese before and no trouble has ensued. The singing that goes on is in a private room and can no way be said to be “public performance”.

We go back, despite the often barely acceptable food, the price of that food, and the sometimes grudging service because the place itself is just so suited to our taste and is the perfect setting for our purposes. I for one won’t be going back after tonight’s nasty little encounter. Nor will I recommend it, as I used to, as a fine example of what English pubs used to be and should be. If a pub of the Cheese’s pedigree really has fallen into the hands of bean counters and pencil necks then we really are in trouble.

Once more with feeling….
“When you have lost your inns, drown your empty selves, for you will have lost the last of England.”
Hilaire Belloc

26 Oct 2010 01:19

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, Fleet Street

One of the (very) few pubs where you can really feel what a pub from before the industrial revolution might have been like. The tourists that get brought in by guides and then sod off whithout so much as a half of shandy are annoying, but they go with the territory, and they leave swiftly. I think the "tourist trap" lable is unfair, the beer is much cheaper than elswhere and the pub is genuinely very old, those that come in search of an "old" English pub get better value here than in many other pubs. Dr Johnson may well not have drunk there, but given its proximity to his house in Gough Sq I'd be surprised if he never darkened its door.
I've had more enjoyable chats with random strangers in the tiny "front" bar than anywhere else in London and the staff are usually pretty friendly too.
Of course there are tourists in here, get over it! The ones that stay for a drink are the ones that appreciate the feel of this very special pub. In a world where the "Wig & pen" is now a Thai restaurant this place is to be treasued.

21 May 2009 15:58

The Kings Arms, Hampton Court

Confused by oldskool47's comments about the current couple running the King's. They work hard at making a success of a good pub that's hampered by its being on the "wrong" side of the Palace. The pubs over the river and nearer the station have an easier time of it.
The atmosphere in the King's is much friendlier than the rather clanish Albion or the clean but clinical Prince of Wales, as for Cloud 9, I'm amazed that someone who posts on this site would darken the doors of such a ponced up wine bar.
The beer is better than it has been in the past and both the staff and regulars are friendly and welcoming.

21 May 2009 15:45

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Davethebadger has been registered on this site since 21st May 2009