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  • “Widely regarded as the oldest and best pub in London, a title of which it thoroughly deserves.” in 66 reviews

  • “And they're reasonably priced: 5 pints for 11 pounds was the best deal we found all trip.” in 45 reviews

  • “I'm a big fan of the Sam Smith's bitter from the cask and my girlfriend loves the pure brewed lager.” in 10 reviews

Recommended Reviews

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  • 5.0 star rating
    30/3/2014
    1 check-in

    Loved everything about this pub - it's one of the oldest pubs in London, which made the experience even better.

    Located on Fleet Street, keep your eyes peeled when looking for this place. It's tucked away in an alley and can be easily missed. We walked right past the alley a few times before finally finding it.

    There are three levels, you have to take a flight of really tricky stairs to go to each. You literally have to hunch down to get through - I hit my head going back up when we were leaving, so be extra careful.

    We went down to the 2nd level and found some seats. The place is really charming. Loved the ambiance - it's dark and candle-lit, but still very lively. Definitely felt historic. As we sat down, there was a huge group of Brits trickling in for what seemed like a family reunion; they were having an awesome time. It kind of felt like we were watching a British movie, haha!

    You seat yourself and to grab drinks and food, you have to go down to the basement level, which was my absolute favorite. Sadly, it was way too packed, so we couldn't find a seat down there.

    Their fish & chips were DELICIOUS! Just what I had been searching for. Definitely the best I had during my trip and believe me, I tried it at several popular places.

  • 4.0 star rating
    23/8/2014

    If you are coming for dinner, be sure to stand in the dining room to get acknowledged by the server first, then go grab a pint.  You will get seated faster this way.  If you approach from the East, it's worth the adventure to take the first alley just to see the sign to tell you to turn around.

    Fish and chips were delicious. Beer was delicious.  Server was del... well... he was exactly what you should expect.

  • 4.0 star rating
    21/8/2014

    Super fun old English pub where I've heard Dickens used to drink and write. looks like a great spot for groups to catch up over some pints, but was enjoyable for a tourist visit as well. The coolest thing about it is how old it feels. it's tucked away in a small alley with half of the bar in the cellar. there are so many small rooms, it feels like a maze trying to navigate it!

    The fish and chips! fantastic. get that. We also had the vegetable shepherds pie, which was okay, but felt mostly like a few carrots and peas underneath a massive amount of mashed potatoes.

    Go for the fish and chips and the ambiance. Super cool.

  • 4.0 star rating
    23/5/2014
    1 check-in

    I couldn't not go here since it's the oldest pub in London. Like Suki B. said, I loved everything about this pub.

    I liked:
    1) How it's in an alleyway off a main street
    2) How there are like 3 bars/dining rooms
    3) How the walls are all dark old wood
    4) How the ceiling is low in some doorways
    5) How they serve amazing draught beers from a cask
    6) How the fish and chips were exceptional
    7) How the mac and cheese had a British twist I've never tasted (it's called Cheshire Cheese)
    8) How it wasn't crazy busy when I went in the late afternoon
    9) How the prices are very reasonable (like £2 for a brew)
    10) How lots of locals actually go here and doesn't seem like a tourist trap

    With these things said, I highly recommend coming here not only because of the history, but because of the great atmosphere and yummy food. The fish and chips were great but not the best I've had. Get the mac and cheese for sure. At the least, you must grab a beer and wonder which random famous British people sat where you are sitting.

  • 4.0 star rating
    2/8/2014

    Very good pub in the city Of London.  Great atmosphere,  Can be a little touristy.  Good food.

  • 2.0 star rating
    9/3/2014
    3 check-ins

    This is supposed to be one the oldest pubs in London, having been rebuilt just after the Great Fire of London in 1666. There has been a pub on this site since 1538, although the vaulted cellars may have belonged to a 13th-century Carmelite monastery. I would estimate that the shepherd's pie I had here certainly dated back a few centuries....

    It's a wonderful place to go and have a drink - loads of small dark wooden panelled rooms on several different floors that seem to change location every time you turn around. I'd suggest dropping breadcrumbs when venturing to the loo, but the sawdust everywhere would mask them.

    My gripes are this: I was too cold in here (it was winter and we were in a room that did not have an open fire, as we wanted something more substantial to eat.) I was uncomfortable (they may look amazing, but 14th century wooden pews were not designed for bottom-luxury). The food was not brilliant (think school dinners).

    I would strongly suggest that if you have not been here before, then go and hang out where Dickens once drank, but don't eat here, and don't expect too much other than history, a sore bottom and a chilly draft.

  • 5.0 star rating
    3/7/2014

    We went to 3 Sam Smith Pubs.

    The Chandos
    Anchor Tap
    Ye Old Cheshire Cheese

    There are about 40 Sam Smith Pubs. I wish we could have known about them the first day we there. For the most part they are very similar.

    First and foremost, their beer is great and very reasonably priced. My wife loved the Teddy Lager (she is more of Blue Moon type). I got the Extra Stout and it was excellent. I can see why the English drink so much.

    Second, we fell in love with a dessert called Sticky Toffee Pudding. The locals get the pudding topping but we went with the ice cream. The size of the scoop of the ice cream did vary from pub to pub.

    Third, was the food. We tried different items each time (except we did order the Fisherman's pie and Bangers & Mash twice). The food was ok. Nothing special. The fish on the Fish & Chips were good but the Chips were not crisp. I would recommend getting regular peas instead of the Mushy Peas. I thought they would taste similar but they don't.

    In all the pubs you order at the bar and sometimes you pick up your own food and sometimes they bring it to you. Could be it depends on how busy it is.

    The service in all the places were very good and the female bar keepers were very friendly.

  • 4.0 star rating
    22/1/2014
    ROTD 2/3/2014

    I really liked the ambience of this pub. It's has strange floor plan and staircases made for people from the past (ie...when people were shorter) but it certainly adds a charm to this place.

    Apart from W9 beer which was ... well a good beer I had fish & chips and they were nice, crispy and ... traditional.

    They don't play music I noticed - which makes it a great place to meet up with someone you'd actually want to talk. It attracts mainly City folk but also some random crowd (City folk on a dress down day?) too.

    In fact - the play is longing for old knights shouting for a serving wench and downing ale by the cask.

  • 5.0 star rating
    9/2/2014
    1 check-in

    This is one of the oldest and most historic pubs in London; well, it's really more of a complex than one pub. There are several floors but the basement is the neatest, as long as you're not claustrophobic. In the basement, you'll see pics of how the bar used to look back in the day which is pretty cool as you compare the area you're sitting in with the pic.

    I think it's super cool the notion that this has been around since the Great Fire and people still flock here after work to get a pint or two and try the meat pies. We are, after all, on Fleet Street (Yes, I really like Sweeney Todd). The food is actually pretty good (I LOVED the mushroom beef pie) and of course they have chips galore which goes splendidly with all the beer they have on tap.

    Be forewarned, the place is standing room and elbow room only. We happened to snag a table and some grateful locals shared it with us. Others, who were sitting or standing on steps that rainy day, weren't as fortunate.

    This pub is just NEATO and AWESOME AND AUTHENTIC, and why you go to London pubs in the first place.

  • 3.0 star rating
    14/5/2014

    We originally planned to have dinner but the set up is confusing and it was really crowded so we ended up just having a drink in the lower level. The building itself is really cool with lots of different levels and alcoves. A hostess might help make things a little smoother, although perhaps that is part of the ambience.

  • 4.0 star rating
    21/12/2013

    I dropped in here during the middle of the day and the drinkers were in full swing. Pints and pints, everywhere, liquid lunches being enjoyed like there was no tomorrow. Ha ha's and hee hee's rang through the darkness at 1:15pm.

    Didn't spend too much time there, I just wanted to see what one of the oldest pubs in the world looked like. As I mentioned, it was dark and the layout was a bit strange but very charming. You can travel room to room to get your drink on, with the main bar and seating area being the largest, loudest, and most fun.

    Pure curiosity and appreciation for its history brought me to this bar and I was glad to have seen it at least once. Even though I knew that it was spots such as this that led this one bloke to drunkenly stumble into me and grab my private parts on the tube wtf....

    Spri

  • 1.0 star rating
    22/4/2014
    1 check-in

    TOURIST TRAP. Sure the place looks charming-- but DO NOT eat here. Come, take your picture, have your beer and leave, ASAP. This was the WORST food I had in London. I ordered a "spicy chicken breast".. what I got were three chicken tenders with some fries and a few greens. It was just horrible. My husband ordered a burger, which was worse than an American school cafeteria meal. Also feels like a cafeteria since you basically serve yourself. Yep, pickup your food at counter and haul it to your table. Everyone in there had a backpack, which should have tipped us off.  Just awul.

  • 3.0 star rating
    20/11/2013

    For the historical value, it's definitely a good stop along Fleet Street. But it's not a place I can see myself going to regularly. The rooms in the basement are all split levels and cavernous which is cool for the first pint. It gets pretty stuffy after the the second and third pint. The ventilation down there is not awesome. And my date was going downhill so the fact that there is no phone service meant I couldn't even nicely claim a friend needed to talk so I had to duck out early. I can't really blame the pub for that, but it did color my experience.

    The food was average, the drinks weren't badly priced, but any place that serves sticky toffee pudding (my favorite dessert ever) gets a happy face from me.

  • 5.0 star rating
    25/9/2013
    1 check-in

    I think for the pure historical aspect of it, this place gets five stars from me, hands down.

    I also think I must be the WEIRDEST person they have ever encountered, ever. I came here on a rainy day when I was wandering around London by myself. I had gone to a couple of places early in the morning and managed to check off a ton of things on my list including an awesome little coffee spot that I found near this area to have a sit down, legitimate, cup of joe - complete with latte art and all.

    When I showed up here, it was tipping 11:30am. I was pretty much the only person in here because they had opened at 11am. The lunch service was not available until 12, and I had other places to be on my crazy whirlwind tour. So of course, I sat down at the bar, and ordered a beer.

    Yup. 11:30am. On a Monday. I did that.

    And guess what, IT WAS AWESOME.

    The beer was actually quite delicious, and sort of refreshing as I gazed outwards on this rainy day in London. The inside had this musty but comforting smell to it, like something familiar and safe. There was a nice fire place, but unfortunately it wasn't that warm. The bartender was more than happy to make conversation while I took DSLR shots of my single little beer, but alas I was done in less than 10 minutes. Still, great place, I wish I could come back when it was more happening!

  • 3.0 star rating
    5/5/2014

    Went here whilst visiting London due to the historic cool factor. Hard to find walking with gps but we made it.  Husband had the chicken mushroom pie, which is now his nickname because it's just fun to say. It was yummy. I had a burger...it was ok but you can't beat the weird factor with good beer. If you are looking for a culinary adventure go elsewhere, but if you are just a tired American seeking a cool place to have a pint and say you have been here, do it!

  • 4.0 star rating
    13/8/2013
    1 check-in

    So, we had just arrived in London, it was stinking hot and after noon, we were jet lagged and starving, and our absolute first order of business after checking in to our hotel was to find a pub. Enter the Cheshire Cheese, just down the road, and a must do on my touristy list. Perfect.

    I love an old pub, and Cheshire Cheese is definitely that. Maybe the oldest in London, maybe not, but this place oozes history. And tourism, but as a tourist myself, I'll overlook that and just soak up the history. My sun-dazzled eyes couldn't take in most of the upper floor, as it was much darker inside than out, but in short order we were directed down the stairs and into the cellar area. As others have mentioned, watch the stairs and the ceiling. It's a miracle that my klutzy self didn't get a concussion or fall down the stairs! Ah, atmosphere. (Honestly, I did love it.)

    The cellar area is the very oldest part of the pub, so it was officially my favorite. Plus, it was nice and cool down there! We ordered a glass of wine, a beer, the Fisherman's pie (me) and the Cottage pie (my husband). The tables in that area are pretty much communal, so be prepared to share. The food came out relatively quickly, and while I'm somewhat suspicious that the mashed potatoes came out of a box, we were starving and the food filled the hole nicely. It wasn't gourmet by any stretch, but it was pretty solid pub food, and a good portion for the price, which is exactly what I expected.

    I probably wouldn't head back to the Cheshire Cheese for food, but would certainly come back for a drink and some more historical atmosphere if/when I'm in the area again.

  • 5.0 star rating
    3/9/2013

    I had an old car once that caught on fire in a freak accident. I still needed a car, so I replaced it. Now, I sometimes still refer to my 2011 vehicle as the "new" car, and the now-no-longer-in-existence vehicle as the "old" one.

    My "old" car, if I still drove it, would be more than 330 years newer than the "new" incarnation of the Cheshire Cheese pub. The "new" bar, only 110 years old, is in the cellar.

    A place like this would be worth checking out just for the history, but to have a place like this on Fleet Street that was NOT setting out to gouge tourists made our visit even more special. Prices were actually quite reasonable, the staff was very friendly and welcoming, and the kidney pie and local ale made for a nice stop in London. We saw enough locals in the cellar bar playing cards, chatting and drinking, that I could almost see another life if ancestors hundreds of years back hadn't bailed.

    A fantastic place to visit and grab a pint.

  • 3.0 star rating
    12/4/2014

    Had to make a stop here, heard it was the oldest pub in London still in operation.  Cool old building.  We got a table way downstairs.  Had a few drinks and I went with the fish and chips.  Chips were perfect, crispy on the outside soft inside.  Fish was just good.  A little greasy (but then again, fried, is fried) great for the atmosphere, "rebuilt in 1667" that place has seen some things!

  • 3.0 star rating
    9/1/2014

    Nice place to stop off for a nightcap and obviously very historical. Not my favorite pub in London, but it's worth a trip just to have a drink in one of the oldest pubs in the city.

  • 5.0 star rating
    6/4/2013

    This is one of the oldest pubs in London, as indicated not only by the Charles Dickens memorabilia everywhere, but also the low ceilings and tiny steps!  It is a really cool pub to drink at in the middle of London, as most other pubs look relatively similar (ahem wetherspoons) and are new and refurbished.  Cheshire Cheese has managed to maintain is old charms!  Just walking around, you will find rooms and little nooks and crannies that are hidden around the corner that have slipped your eyes earlier.  There are also wonderful dining areas upstairs, and the prices for the food are relatively decent!  I've been here three times and I still find new rooms and areas that I haven't seen before!  

    I ate dinner with my boyfriend here, and felt as if we were transported back in time!  There is a cozy fireplace and dim lighting, and large wooden seats, you can feel the history on those ceiling beams :)  The services was wonderful and everyone was exceptionally friendly!  There is another bar area downstairs where you can order cheaper, quicker pub food!  But be careful when walking down the stairs, I've hit my head every single time.  I literally have to almost touch my toes to avoid getting hit in the head. Cheshire Cheese is a great place to take visitors, and also for a relaxing night out with friends, as well as an intimate dinner with your loved one.  it is quite a unique experience, and definitely one of my favorite places in London!

  • 5.0 star rating
    29/4/2013

    Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese was our first pub stop in London and it delivered as promised.  

    Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, rebuilt shortly after the Great Fire of 1666, is one of the oldest pubs in London. There are several famous literary figures associated with the place: Oliver Goldsmith, Mark Twain, Alfred Tennyson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and G.K. Chesterton are all said to have been 'regulars'.  Ye Olde Cheshire  is absolutely charming and crammed with tons of history.  The low door entries and tiny steps give you an idea of how short people used to be!  

    It took us a few moments to locate the dining area. Initially we thought the stand up bar area was the entire pub!  If you walk downstairs, towards the bathrooms, you will see two levels of dining areas.  We lucked out and were able to grab the last table as a group was leaving.  Since our table seated 8-10 we decided to be neighborly and invited another couple to join our table.

    The atmosphere is very casual.  Order drinks and food at the bar and the bartender will give you a pager while you wait for your food order.  Whoever said English food sucks is absolutely nuts!  Our fish and chips and Shepherd's Pie were awesome!!!  I did skip eating the lackluster peas and carrots on the plates, but overall I was very impressed with our "pub grub"!  The prices for our meals were also very resonable.

    It was tempting to spend the rest of the night here, but we had other plans in Hampstead and eventually had to leave.  I highly recommend checking out this pub if you are visitng London and want to experience an old fashioned English Pub!

  • 4.0 star rating
    23/5/2013

    Quick glance:
    + wonderfully atmospheric
    + traditional pub grub
    + big portion of food

    The pub was rebuilt after the Great Fire of London in 1666 and all I could think while sitting in the cavernous basement was, what would the walls say if the walls could talk? It's great to imagine that this pub has been around when straws probably lined the road, and Lamb Street actually was a marketplace for sheep rather than home to investment firms.

    Visiting this tucked away pub is great for the imagination. There is an upstairs dining area which you need to book, but downstairs is a fairly roomy and atmospheric basement where you can tuck into a selection of traditional pub grub, washed down with a pint of ale, cider, or stout.

    The selection of food and drinks may not be extensive as the everyday modern pubs we are accustomed to, but that just adds to the whole experience. The food itself was good and came in large portion, so definitely worth coming back with friends who have never been. And despite its rather touristy status, the food was fairly priced - a main and half a pint was less than a tenner.

  • 3.0 star rating
    30/1/2013

    I'd give it 5 stars but the staff seem annoyed by tourists.

    - They gruffly said the upstairs was closed, when all I did was ask if it was interesting.

    - They refused to serve our group  a final round, even though it was not quite 11 p.m. - by everyone's electronic devices.  The barkeeps said they had to go by "the time that's on the till"  and refused service and income.  Strange.

    As such, I'd suggest going there in the day or early evening.

  • 3.0 star rating
    25/3/2013 Updated review

    I'm sure I'd already written a review of this place already, but I guess not.

    I used to really like this pub with all its different sections and nooks. In fact, I still do like the place, but the novelty has worn off slightly. It is still a nice place to come and drink, especially in the winter when coming in from the cold streets somehow accentuates the warmth and cosiness of the venue.

    I like the innovative solution they have found to serving food in a pub with so many hidey holes. They give you a beeper, so that you know when to come and pick up your meal. Of course everyone prefers their food brought to them, but that would be tricky here.

    So for drinks there is the usual cheap Sam Smith's selection, which I like as a change, but get a bit bored of if I visit their pubs too regularly. I don't go that often recently anyway...especially since I learned what jerks they are - oldham-chronicle.co.uk/n….

    The vaulted cellars may date back to the 13th Century, the rest of the pub was rebuilt after the great fire of London reduced it to fondue. It also has its fair share of famous patrons if you care to look it up.

    3.0 star rating
    6/6/2012 Previous review
    I'm sure I'd already written a review of this place already, but I guess not.
    I used to really like…
    Read more
  • 5.0 star rating
    9/7/2013
    1 check-in

    I had a good time here. We came in from the heat and went 3 floors down to an almost crypt-like bar. They say the place hasn't changed since Dickens was there and I think I believe it! I'll admit if it wasn't famous for being a favorite of Charles Dickens, I would not have found this and that would have been a shame.
    Great place and it was nice and cool.
    The prices were fair and the portions were good.  Yes, I had to try the Steak and Ale pie since it IS on Fleet Street and all...

  • 1.0 star rating
    27/11/2013

    The historical aspect and home brewed beer is the only reason to stop in. The interior is dirty, cramped, and stuffy. The food is subpar. My pork chop had more fat than meat on it! If you're just looking for a beer for the lads this is the place, but for a nice sit down meal I would suggest moving on.

  • 4.0 star rating
    18/8/2010

    As a Cheshire lad myself then I award 1* for the name alone and I award myself 1* for being able to find it.....

    If Pubs were Racehorse then the Cheese would be 'Red Rum'. Mature, full of character and never lets you down.
    It provides full on good grub (Steak & Kidney pie is delish) and a pint (or three) of Sam Smiths will see you right.
    I had not been here for yonks and was not surprised to see that nothing, abso-bloody-lutely nothing had changed. Awwe Bless.

    It's like a home from home and you get the usual eclectic mix of locals and tourists wandering in. We always used to use the Cheese as our 'meet up' spot. Rule was ... 6PM in the Cellar bar on any given Thursday or Friday night whenever you happened to be in town and it is setup such that, even when the place is packed, you feel like you have your own 'ickle' private niche. We have had some brilliant pissupz in here, you just can't knock it for that 'Feels like a proper Pub' effect.

    I also think this particular boozer was formative in my fascination with ceilings. Take a look up whilst you're there ... see the charring on the Oak beams? Could that have been from the Great Fire of London 1666 ?.. take a look outside and see the sign that says "rebuilt in 1667" Nuff said. This place puts the 'Story' in history

    As a side note .. many moons ago I worked at the John Smiths brewery in Tadcaster and the story behind the two brothers, Sam & John is fascinating stuff. Go WIKI it and, if you get the chance ...go to Tadcaster and do the brewery trip. Trust me.

  • 4.0 star rating
    11/2/2010

    I now know what it feels like to be a mouse, to have a lust for cheese and to inhabit an abode that is nothing but tunnels, alcoves and doorways. Finding a group of friends in here is not an easy task unless they have a homing devise on the. Unfortunately non of mine did, so I called them and they came out to find me.

    This unsuspecting doorway off Fleet street opens out into a rabbit warren of a pub, serving honest British basic food and Sam Smith beers. A round for 10 cost less that £30, thats £3 a drink... in central London. Bargain! This pub oozes atmosphere and a chilled out vibe, great for drinking wine and escaping the rain in the city or snuggling up with a hot date. It shows the people you take here that you really know the hidden gems of London... just don't tell they you found it on Yelp! ;O)

  • 4.0 star rating
    2/10/2009
    ROTD 3/8/2010

    Where better to end a month-long hiatus from drinking than at a historic London spot like the Cheese?

    It's Sam Smith's, so I probably should have picked a beer instead of a glass of red, but I wasn't in a beer mood. And the wine was pretty good!

    I love the entrance, I love the maze of rooms, I even love the stink of booze in here. But only because it's the cheese.

  • 4.0 star rating
    10/2/2010
    1 check-in

    As my late granny would say, 'cheeses darlin', this place is AuLD!' In fact, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is much older than my 99-year-old grandmother was when she passed, although it's hard to believe that anything other than Cher and cockroaches could survive for near on 350 years.

    Well go on then, YOCC! 344 and counting!

    This maze of a pub is sure to tick all of the boxes for your "traditional London pub" experience, with low ceilings, secret drinking spots, cosy wine cellars, seemingly endless stairways, and the smell of 300+ years of drinking den debauchery. Basically, it's amazing.

    Back to my earlier tangent, I can't tell you why or how granny could always make two syllables out of monosyllabic words like "AuLD" (or would it be "Owl-ed"?) But what I can tell you is that good 'ol granny Francis - built from hearty, corn-fed, mid-western stock - would have loved this place for all 99-years of her life, and would haunt the place in a heartbeat if she knew of its existence.

  • 5.0 star rating
    25/3/2009
    ROTD 17/5/2009

    Cheeeeese. I love this place. There is not a single bad thing about it. The multiple levels and different areas of this labyrinth of a pub. They serve a good mix of beers and have McCoy's chips.

    One of the best nights since I've been in London came to fruition courtesy of the Cheese. I prefer the down-downstairs part as there is an easy access bar and tables.

    My only recommendation is for YOU to go here. It is just fantastic and why I love going out on Fleet Street. This is definitely the place you go after you've already had a couple. This is where you spend the remainder of your night till they kick you out and you find somewhere still open nearby.

  • 5.0 star rating
    22/2/2010
    ROTD 13/4/2010

    The best pub in London.  Historic, cheap beer and you're likely to get a seat.  

    The building  is so wonderful they can have sawdust on the floor and not be stupid.  This pub out pubs them all.

    PS I forgot to mention that they open the cellars at 6pm, so if you happen to be a-lurking you get your pick of the nooks and crannies.  Also, you'll get to bang your head on the stairs.  This is a very important ritual.  I've heard if you bang your head on the stairs at the Cheese you'll have a clear head No Matter How Much Cheap Beer You Drink..  Yes indeedy, this is a FACT.

    PPS Err In the Summer on a stuffy day the cellar is... even stuffyer.  The pub is next a court yardy area where you can go but  still.  Bluegghhhh

    PPPS  This is a pub you go too to get slowly drunk and bond with people.  Do Not Buy Food here.  No non noonnooo...  Gastropubs have a whole new term all to themselves for a reason people and the Sam Smiths chain have worked out that they will sell food two groups of people,   no 1 Tourists who don't come back - and no 2 Drunk people - they don't remember..  Locals come here for the cheap cheap  beer, the lack of music and the four centuries of ambiance. These are great reasons.  Absorb these as your reasons before you go!!!
    NO FOOD.  Ok?  Good.

    PPPPs Ok, except chips and wedges.  You may have chips and wedges.

  • 4.0 star rating
    17/9/2009

    It's an institution, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese.  You might think, 'What the hell kind of name is that?  It must be a gimmicky olde englishe London pub'.  But, in fact, you'd be wrong.  I mean, this place is on official maps of London for crying out loud!

    10 Downing Street... check
    Shakespeare's Globe... check
    British Museum... check
    London Eye... check

    Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese?  Yes, it's there on the map too.  Check.

    Compartmentalised into numerous drinking and eating rooms, with several bars, the Cheshire Cheese has old (at least I hope) signs that say things like, 'This room is for the enjoyment of gentlemen only'.  I stayed out of that room, not because I'm a woman but because it was at the entrance and I preferred to explore the pubs other, more cavernous rooms.

    This place is down an alleyway off of Fleet Street, offering it absolutely no opportunity for natural lighting; its interior is dark and dank with low ceilings. It's positively gloomy inside.  But, I say, the atmosphere is just perfect for some afternoon drinking on a miserable, rainy London day.

  • 5.0 star rating
    14/3/2009

    Try not to go here when already drunk and locate someone. It's really difficult. And mind your head!

    You've got to love somewhere that has a wine list of two: red, or white.

    The place is great: it's full of history, nooks and crannies, tons of seating space, standing space, eating space, getting lost space... Olde and Englishe and a perfect place for a pint or five.

  • 5.0 star rating
    11/10/2011
    Listed in Londontown

    Have you ever heard the phrase "Polly wants a cracker"?  Well, if the story I heard from the bartender is true, it was invented here.

    As we sat drinking our many pints of Samuel Smith's various ales and talking with a couple of scots we met (who bought us many of those pints), my friend inquired about the stuffed bird in the glass case above the bar.  Apparently, back in the day, (way back) many of London's journalists and writers would drink there and they taught that bird, Polly, all manner of dirty phrases.  One of the favorites apparently was "What will you have to drink?"  Polly would respond with "I'd like a scotch."  Apparently, Walt Disney visited and heard the story.  At that point, he decided to make Polly a part of Pirates of the Caribbean and thus "polly wants a cracker" was born.

    The Polly story is the only introduction that you need for this place.

  • 5.0 star rating
    16/3/2010

    This is the best pub I have ever been to.

    They have cheap, yet delicious beer on tap.  It is right in the center of London.  There is not just history here, but you almost feel as if you are a part of it just by winding down the short stairs and into a dungeon-esque atmosphere.  There are all sorts of corners to sit in, and did I meantion that they have cheap delicious beer?

    If you can find this place off Fleet Street, it is your duty to enter.

  • 5.0 star rating
    5/7/2009

    This is the second time I have eaten here and both times were great fun.  This is the most interesting restaurant I have ever eaten in.  In reality it is multiple restaurants in one.  Every section is a different menu and motif.  Last year we ate at the upscale section, this year we ate in the basement pub.  The most confusing part of the entire restaurant is that each area has its own hours.

    The food is consistently good and the service was excellent.  We had beef shepherds pie on our last visit and it was very good.  Last year we had fish & chips and I forgot what else.

    The entrance is tucked away in an alley so you have to keep your eyes open for the little signs.

  • 3.0 star rating
    26/9/2010 Updated review
    ROTD 22/10/2010

    One of the oldest pubs in London is a quirky, nooky little Sam Smiths joint selling cheap but strong lager and other own brand treats.

    More rooms than you can shake a stick at and as most of it is underground you're best off meeting friends in the usual spot, or outside the front door if you want to make sure you find them. It's old. Very old.. an ideal place to take Americans in London.

    The food isn't up to much. Cheap and fried for the main. You're better off without it to be honest, there are plenty of places nearby to fill up on first.

    3.0 star rating
    26/9/2010 Previous review
    One of the oldest pubs in London is a quirky, nooky little Sam Smiths joint selling cheap but strong… Read more
  • 4.0 star rating
    17/1/2011
    ROTD 15/6/2011

    Like all Sammy Smith pubs the beers are cheap and the food is decent enough, but it's the historic feel of this pub that draws tourists and locals alike.

    From the alleyway entrance to the wooden tables in the second basement, the venue embodies the feel of an old London pub.  Whether this is your first or hundreth visit, the first thing to do is head down the small staircase to the basement areas.  Don't expect to find a table after 5pm Thurs - Sat, but you will never be alone if you slip down for a cheeky pint at lunch.

    I have impressed many visitors when I bring them to this pub for the character and history of this pub, though I have been assured by pub guru Hitesh P. that Ye Olde Mitre is actually older than this pub.

    Always worth a look and will undoubtabley be back for a pint.

  • 4.0 star rating
    17/1/2011

    Walking into Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese you instantly get the notion of how much smaller the patrons of this pub were back in 1667 when it was rebuilt. Being 6'3 I find myself doing gymnastics just trying to get through the low hanging walls and small crevice-like doorways.

    This being said - my colleague Mark S. gave me a shout one afternoon after work and told me to come meet him at this 17th Century locale. It was a cool spot with mucho historical ambiance fuming from its walls. I became quite enamored when I discovered that it was a Samuel Smiths pub - - which immediatly drew praise and made the cheap pints flow much quicker.

    Cool place to hang out and enjoy a pint in the heart of St. Paul's. If you are into London historical locales - you have found the pub for you. If you are into having a cheeky pint with friends - you have for the pub for you. Go here and enjoy yourself, just please watch your head & step when moving about.

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