What a great traditional London pub tucked away off a side street. Being somewhat back of the beaten trail, the pub was crowded wit local workers enjoying an after work pint on a Thursday evening. Like a traditional pub, it was dark and offered a wide selection of beers. The staff was extremely good ensuring no one had to wait too long to order a beer.
I would highly recommend if you are in the Leicester Square/Covent Garden area to stop by for quick drink.
I arrived in London, somewhat bleary-eyed after an all night Transatlantic journey where sleeplessness, Sir Richard Branson on my seatback screen, airplane food, and mewling, screaming infants combined to produce a powerful disorenting effect. I went through UK Border Patrol somewhat zombie like, but my mouth moved and must have said the right words and/or produced the right documents, because the representative of HM the Queen who was assigned to me permitted me entry with a smile. The main purpose of my trip was to see world-famous genius/musician/singer/recluse Kate Bush perform live for the first time since 1979.
I checked into my hotel, and promptly took a two hour nap. Upon waking around 5:30 pm London time, I was ravenous. Still jet-lagged and with a mind that had all the dexterity of a duck that had been hit on the head with a mallet, I got on the Piccadilly Line and exited at Leister Square. I walked about randomly, looking for a pub that had the right look. After 15 minutes or so, I found myself in a strange, atmospheric pre-automobile age alleyway of some kind, and there my eyes cast upon the Lamb and Flag.
Immediately, something told me this was the right place to clear my jet-lagged mind. I entered, and the atmosphere was perfect. Just the right level of darkness and eccentricity. I decided to go to the upstairs dining room, and while using the stairs, noticed a bathroom wedged on the landing MC Escher style. That provided even more confirmation that I was in the right spot. The dining room was quiet, with its own bar, some kind of elevator that brought food from the kitchen up to us, and walls that spoke of long ago violence, Charles Dickens, and royalty...
The table service was friendly and prompt. There was a small error with my order that was promptly and cheerfully fixed. The ales were fabulous, and the chicken and ham pie I ordered was quite delicious and filling. My server was kind enough to walk me through the puddings menu and explain to me that an "Eton Mess" was nothing to be afraid of, but rather, to be enjoyed. I opted for the warm Treacle cake with vanilla ice cream. Delicious.
The Lamb and Flag did me well on that first, difficult, jet lagged day in London. I highly recommend it to anyone beginning their adventures in London, to achieve some comfort, orientation, and gustatory comfort and excellence...
I would love to post a review. The review, above is for ambience alone. Our family carefully selected the Lamb and Flag for dinner tonight. It met all our criteria. Traditional English Pub with an interesting history- check. Something on the menu for vegetarians- check. Family friendly- check. As we walked through the crowd of people in the alley and through the very cool pub area, I silently congratulated myself for finding this hidden gem. Up the stairs, properly creaky, past the clean bathroom-bonus points, and right up to the sign that said "closed for a private party"
#%^*!!!, sigh. We will try again tomorrow night.
The benefits of family vacations are overrated. Taking children along for the ride is a thankless task that can lessen your enjoyment of both the trip and your children. And that's why I say thank God for beer.
When I suggested a holiday trip to London neither one of my adult-in-training sons seemed very engaged by the idea. One asked whether we couldn't go somewhere more exotic and possibly go to more than one country. The other lamented the time not being spent with his friends. In the end, both went but that was all they did. Not long into our trip I had the distinct impression that neither son had a single thought on what they might want to see or do during their time in London.
How wrong I was.
It took several days for me to realize, but my 21-year old actually did have a vision for the trip. It wasn't my vision but still, a vision nonetheless. It looked something like this:
* Sleep in until around 11:30 a.m.
* Go out for breakfast around 12:30 p.m.
* Walk around for a couple of hours.
* Hit the pubs. Repeat until closing time.
You can't say that's not a vision.
So that's why I'm reviewing the Lamb & Flag, the pub which he proclaimed his favorite of the many we graced. Why this one, I don't really know but the fact that it's been here since the 1600's is a start; you can't find that in the United States.
As well as being the oldest pub you're likely to find, Lamb & Flag was also a favorite watering hole of Charles Dickens. Its down a narrow alleyway in Covent Garden and you're unlikely to come across it unless you specifically seek it out. They serve about 8 different beers/ales on tap, cocktails too (Brit style, meaning not so great), have a couple of different rooms to drink in, maybe some seating for you (or maybe not), and food is served upstairs.
This is actually a cool, historic pub which doesn't shout that fact. Go here, throw back some pints, imagine Dickens doing the same, and be on your way.
This pub has the seal of approval not only from me but also from my 21-year old and 18-year old sons. Yes, they can drink at 18 over here, and boy does that ever improve the family vacation.
It's very rare I get to meet colleagues on my team as we're spread out across the United States. When I knew I was going to be in London for a few days, I e-mailed one of my business partners to see if we would be able to meet up for a pint or two. We met him in Leicester Square and made our way over to the Lamb & Flag.
I was playing the part of the American tourist and went for the Fish & Chips. There's no more proper order than Fish & Chips when in spending my last day in London. The fish was a nice golden brown. The mushy peas blended well with the cream & chips. Another great Fuller's pub with a friendly staff.
Finding this pub is a little interesting as you do feel like your walking through the back allies of London, but nothing to be scared about.
Another historical pub that you cannot miss while in London. We were looking for Lamb and Flag and saw a sign pointing along a narrow alley uhhhh that's about the only time you'd get this NYC girl to walk through an alley. Originally buily in 1638 the first mention of the Pub dates back to 1772 when it was formerly called Coopers Arms and changed to Lamb and Flag in 1833. It's 19th century reputation as "bucket of blood" due to the prize fights, not to mention much earlier orchestrated attack on poet John Dryden by 2nd Earl of Rochester John Wilmot in the late 1600s. Notable was that Lamb and Flag was a favorite of Charles Dickens and inspiration to his Oliver Twist. Nowadays the pub is alot more friendlier, friendly bar staff, patrons and locally sourved english beer. Do not miss, please sir I want some mo'!
Bathrooms are old and the walk up the narrow flight of stairs after a few beers can get treacherous and frightening.
Great selection of Fullers on draught.
Genuine British pub.
Inexpensive! Pint and half pint ales at £ 5.60
Calmer not as crowded.
Visitors would pass by this place if they weren't looking for it since it's located down alley. One of our good friends, who is part owner of a restaurant we love here in the US, recommended this restaurant. This is not a place to miss.
My husband and I got the seat in the window looking out onto the street which was absolutely gorgeous. It was the perfect setting for such a wonderful lunch. Once we got some menus I was shocked by the variety of food offered at the Lamb and the Flag. I'm a vegetarian, but my husband eats meat. There was something for everyone and we loved both our meals. He had the gourmet burger and I had a vegetarian sandwich with hummus, watercress and rocket.
Such a great, hidden pub. Set back from the street in an alley in Covent Garden, this is a great place to grab a pint with locals. I went twice while I was in town to have a beer and chat. I'd just stand somewhere and would either casually enter a conversation or get approached by a buzzed Londoner. Friendly staff, good beer, dark wood, and clean restrooms. I love this place and will definitely frequent it again in future trips to London.
On of the oldest pubs in London, The Lamb and Flag has been wetting the collective whistle of Covent Garden since 1623. As such it is a place rightly proud of its history and this is refelcted in the interior which is rustic and filled with interesting knick-knacks that keep your eyes darting about. There's something notalgic and almost romantic about The Lamb and Flag with the exception of the TV constantly tuned to sports channels.
Due to its relatively small size and proximity to Covent Garden shopping, The Lamb and Flag can become very crowded especially immediately after five and at lunchtimes as such if you're looking for a more relaxed drink then it's best to head here during office hourse of on a weekend afternoon.
The food is as traditional as the rest of the pub with standard of offerings of British favourties including a Sunday roast. Likewise the drinks lean to the traditonal with a large selection of real ales and a cracking choice of whiskeys.
This place may be spoilt somewhat by the presence of tourists and city boys but it still retains its historic charm.
I work round the corner from this place so headed down for a lunchtime treat.
Picture this...If an alien was to land and ask you to take them to a quintessential english boozer this would be the first place you'd go. Loads of brown wood, ale on tap and roasts a plenty.
I went for the ploughmans lunch which was yum...although a little on the small side and i got very jealous of my mate Pepriano's chicken and mushroom pie with mash and veg which looked and smelt AMAZING! The doorstop sandwiches i can highly recommend aswell, carbtastic.
Great to visit if your in the area for good honest food and a pint guvnor!
Another favourite pub in the West End tucked away at the back of Covent Garden. You have to know where it is which maybe explains why it manages to keep more of a special identity in both character and customers.
It's pretty small inside and has that appealing slight wonkiness of an old pub that's been around for hundreds of years although probably morphed slightly over time.
Good Fuller's beers on tap and reasonable prices too.
Efficient bar staff and well managed.
It appears to have had a subtle refurbishment since my last visit but thankfully one that respected the original character of the place. The outside has been spruced up a bit and inside they have installed new toilets in the tiny space which is great; it really needed it. The previous loos did appear to in fact date from the middle ages - which wasn't a good thing.
There's a little courtyard area in the front where people gather and an upstairs room which I never go to (always outside or in the main bar). I've heard a small jazz band playing up there on one occasion. The pub can get very crowded at peak times so bear that in mind.
Love the atmosphere. While visiting my fav girl in London we took the tiny little passage way directly beside Lamb & Flag on a daily basis. As each day passed I became more and more intriguied by the crowds that gathered outside everyday.
Finally, our time had arrived. As we nudged our way inside I became giddy with anticipation. I love these Londoners. Just out to have a refreshing brew after work without any false pretense. I wish America was like this. Everyone heading to the bar after work for one reason only ... to blow off steam. All having a jolly ol' time.
The inside is full of charm and character aged by the many that have visited this establishment throughout the hundreds of years of business. It's a must!
Tucked away in a Covent Garden backstreet - Rose Street off Floral Street (noticing a theme here?!) - this is your quintessential London / English boozer! I'd been meaning to try this pub out for years and when Mama P visited today, and had read about it being one of THE London boozers to try out, we decided it was time to try it out!
This is one of the most historic pubs in town, dating back to the 17th Century and Charles II's era and frequented by characters such a Charles Dickens and John Dryden back in the day.
If you're after a quick drink after work or between your weekend shopping or sightseeing or want a good pub lunch, this is the place to go.
For a drink only you stay downstairs - though be warned it is quite small so I image on a busy evening it's very tight space wise! - and even outside on a nice day and if it's food you're after, stroll on upstairs to the first floor.
We both decided on a pint of cider and a good old Ploughman's lunch, both very nice and possibly the biggest Ploughman's I've encountered and 5 hours later, I'm still full! The service from our waitress was a little sketchy and not too friendly but the waitress who gave us our bill was really friendly and nice. The prices were quite high but typical of Central London, we were a bit taken aback and disappointed that they'd run out of our first choice of meal, fish and chips.
Would like to return for just a drink and see what the atmosphere is like then too and to try their Sunday lunch too.
Wonderful location, really close to both Covent Garden and Leicester Square and the Strand.
I like this pub!
It's tucked away but signposted, and is a really lovely, authentic historic pub, right in the heart of Covent Garden but within easy reach of Leicester Square/Strand.
There is a large selection of ales (although I went for a Simmons cider) and plenty of standing room out the front for the summer time. Upstairs there is a large area of tables/booths and chairs and I BELIEVE they serve food - the ketchup bottles on the table were an indicator - although I haven't eaten there yet.
This pub is VERY popular with Thursday/Friday after work drinkers and the very narrow bar area can feel very tight. I was last there last night (Monday), and it was absolutely fine.
My only real gripe is the harsh, bright lighting upstairs. I came for a relaxing drink and catch up with a friend so we sat upstairs, but the lights are as bright as a toilet cubicle which just made it feel a little less 'chilled'.
Other than that, a very endearing place.
I am one of the only people I know who doesn't care for this place. Really at all, but it hasn't done anything horribly offensive to me so it still gets three stars.
It's cute from the outside and tucked down a side street. That's about where my fondness of this place ends. It's cute on the inside, too, despite me not wanting to stick around.
It fails for me for the following reasons:
-Price (though I guess it's not awful for this area of London)
-Comfort (I wouldn't want to sit here for hours on end, ever. It's a stop-in or meeting-up pub for me and that's it)
-Friendliness (It just never feels that welcoming)
I feel guilty giving a pub a meh review. They feed me beer, after all. But I just cross my fingers that nobody tries to get me to meet them here in the future. I'd rather go somewhere else.
So, i used to work around the corner from the Lamb and Flag and this was the place you went to when you wanted a cold pint, a cheap bite to eat and avoid the tourists.
be sure to head upstairs for a bit of space as the down stairs gets rather crowded. =)~
Ahhhh, gin! After a hard days work sitting in this pub with friends and a gin (although I do count gin amongst my friends) is my idea of heaven. If you get in there early enough you'll avoid the tourists, get the good seats and when they come in they'll see its full and leave! You will encounter some twats in suits, bad service, skanky bogs and an awesome atmosphere.
Everyone - this is what a real pub is like. You don't go to a kebab shop asking for a fine dining experience so don't come here looking for a country pub. This is the kind of place Fagan would hang out, his little scraggy cat in toe! Ah, how I love this place. It's a fab place for after work drinks.
Great brews (including traditional cask ale's- if you're into that)... reasonable prices (by London standards), cool history and laid back atmosphere.
Thoroughly enjoyed it... even on a Sunday night!
Terrible service! Will never go back. We waited forever for our food to come out and did not even get an apology! Food was not that great either. Big thumbs down.
Very old pub smack in the middle of Covent Garden. It's a fun place to meet people because it's genuine and it's busy: you're as likely to have to have your pint standing outside on the pavement with your glass perched on a ledge.
It's small and low and unrenovated. There are a couple of TVs that will show whatever big sporting event England might happen to be losing at the moment. The ales and lagers on offer are typical.
Gets very busy right after work, as people stop in for one on the way home.
Yeah, I like it here. It's got a cosy feel to it upstairs which is perfect for sneaky chit chat, but you can also watch the telly and talk to the nice bar staff downstairs as well.
It's a rickety old pub with tiny little staircases, and the wine is pretty good. I haven't been in a while, and I remember that it was really lovely in winter. This is a great place to come after a bit of shopping on Oxford Street. You're just far away enough from the hustle and bustle to relax.
A bit of a London curio this one - somehow it has managed to build up a reputation as some sort of London legend by nature of it being around for rather a long time. In reality it's got a good name, its got some friendly staff, and it attracts a nice crowd and it sells good beer. All of these things are valuable in a pub.
However, it could really do with a bit of doing up on the inside as it's verging on tipping from all over the place shabby chic into tatty rubbish; the outside area is fine in the evening when you cant see the slightly worrying alley - not so good during the day when traffic crawls past and the stench of the bins wafts towards you.
So all in - yeah its fine, but its most definitely over rated.
The Lamb and Flag is one of the oldest pub in London. It is tiny, cosy and full of that brilliant British pub atmosphere that so many other places are lacking. The food upstairs is top notch pub fare, (try the roast lunch!) and the service is more than friendly.
If you can't get a seat inside, it's worth standing outside as most people do on a fine London evening. This is without a doubt one of my favourite pub.
Quality, authentic cosy pub.
Claims to be one of the oldest pubs in London, it's nestled in pleasant surroundings, certainly a venue for the summer, where local drinkers spill out onto the cobbled street in front of the pub.
Serves standard lagers plus a few ales, worth a visit if you're in the area.
The Lamb and the flag is located in a quiet street near to Covent Garden. It is one of these pubs in London with a lot of history and character. Inside the pub, in the ground floor there is a bar and some tables. In the first floor there are more seats and tables and you can order some food. The selection of beers is good (including Ichiban beer in tap!). They serve Sunday roast too.
The pub is a bit old and the toilets are not very nice but considering that is a historical pub this is also part of the ambiance of the place.
Great meal had here. Check out our shanks! Reasonably priced and everything you'd expect for an english pub experience. Clean, well lit, and friendly staff. Great bar selection... I would go again and recommend this place to friends.
Maybe I recommend this pub only because one of my friends works there;) nooo....I think I actually really enjoy spending time in the crowded atmosphere of one of the oldest pubs in London.
The staff is great and even though the pub is always full they find time to talk to you for a little while. The beer that they serve tastes absolutely fantastic and the way they serve it is very proffessional.
Lovely ancient pub hidden down a back alley in Covent Garden.
Narrow, cramped and busy in the way an old pub should be. Good for taking future wives on first dates and after work drinks with colleagues.
A lovely old traditional pub with good real ales!
A bit of a tourist trapas it features in most of the overseas travel guides! But do goit's tucked away behind Covent Garden and is a good find!
A proper traditional pub with friendly staff good beer and great sandwiches in the heart of Covent Garden.
Gets very busy in summer; perfect on a weekday afternoon in the winter when it's raining and the coal fire is lit.
Visited the L&F yesterday for a couple of pints with some friends visiting London for the US. It was as good as ever :-)
Lets be honest. This pub is within the media in relation to other pubs in London. It's a classic English pub, old certainly, but with a feature that makes it unique. On Sundays at about seven in the evening a jazz band lit every corner of Lamb and Flag playing classic jazz like Art Blakey, Eubie Blake or Original Dixieland Jass Band.
Its members, all over 60, have a special energy that is transmitted in the fluidity with which relate to throughout their performance.
I recommended this gig for Sunday afternoons. If you want to grab a seat, you should arrived early.
I like the location of this pub. You are walking down whatever main street there is and then off, down what looks like an alley, is this pub. There is actually a really narrow alley that cuts to some back street, but that is not the purpose of this write up. Two floors, the first is where all the action is. On a Tuesday afternoon, it was not too crowded and the bartendar was polite and professional with one drunk that walked in. A Fuller's Pub, they mostly had IPA, Pale Ale and British Bitters. Food is offered, but I stuck with the beer. A nice break from the rainy weather.
(Pub #3 on our Top 20 Pubs of London cyber-crawl)
Ahhhh, you found it. I told you it's not far away from The Harp. The Lamb and Flag can be hard to find though, especially if you've already had a pint or two. Hidden down a Covent Garden alleyway, I've certainly made a wrong turn, or two getting here. Now, I am glad you didn't go running home crying to your Momma when I told you this place's nickname was (and yeah, maybe I like to still use it) The Bucket of Blood. Back in the day, bare knuckle boxing matches used to occur here upstairs, so be on the lookout for Shorty Johnson's front teeth wedged between the floorboards when you walk up the steps.
Can you feel that atmosphere. Ahhhh... This place goes back to the 1600's. Think of all the characters that have walked through the front door. I've been coming here since 1995, and have sipped on some fine ales with good company. Too bad there's not live music upstairs tonight. I've heard some good bands in the Lamb and Flag. Even heard a decent New Orleans jazz band bring some Cajun sound to this place. Nothing beats a pint, and a walk through these hallowed halls. Did you see the letter up on the wall in the frame? Some money hungry gits wanted to tear this place down a few years back, but it took the help of some friends of the pub, especially the Yank who wrote the letter, to save this spot. Can't believe anyone would want to get rid of this place. I love the bumper stickers with the Union Jack that they printed up, and slapped all over cars in the States. This place sure attracts good people. Like me. Ohhh, you need to use the loo? Yeah, its a little scummy, and fellow Yelp reviewer Lizzie G. called it "a skanky bog" , but you're using "The Men's Room", and we really could care less how filthy it is. Right? Down the steps. Go, on then...
...You're back. Your fly is down. And why are you grinning? What did you do in there? I don't want to know. Anyway, you must be getting a little hungry. I've never had food here, and my mates tell me its more on the rubbish side of edible, so let's get moving. Finish that pint. Good boy, you have 17 more to go. Now its time to hop on the tube. Meet me at The Windsor Castle. No, you idiot. Not where the Queen lives. The pub. In Kensington. 5 minute walk up the street from Notting Hill tube stop. I gotta go talk to a guy about a thing. I'll meet you there. (See my earlier review, and the crawl will carry on...)
On our first night in London, we went to the Lamb & Flag drinks. This place was everything you could ask for in a pub - loud, crowded and somewhat rowdy, but with very attentive and efficient bartenders. It was fun to grab a couple of beers and find a corner to people watch. A large party entered celebrating a 50th birthday party. They had clearly been drinking for a few hours by the time they arrived here, and provided fun drunken entertainment for the evening. I'd love to come back when I'm not completely exhausted from taking the overnight flight from NYC to London.
Good old London Boozer, great location for Covent Garden etc, smell like an Engish pub too (in the nicest sense)
This is a classic pub tucked into a quiet side street near Covent Garden. I've never tried the food, but it's a great place for a drink -- small, cosy, and very authentic. It's one of the oldest pubs in London.
Awesome pub w a chill crowd. indoor and outdoor space. inspirational story of how the pub was saved. Can't wait to come back again on a music night!
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