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The Argyll Arms

Posted on: 28th Apr 2014

Address: 18 Argyll Street, W1F 7TP (020-7734 6117,

Opening hours: Mon-Thu, 10am to 11.30pm; Fri-Sat, 10am to midnight; Sun, 10am to 11pm.

Transport: Oxford Circus tube.

Go for: Wonderful Victorian décor and excellent ale.


There’s been a pub here since 1742, when Argyll Street was built, but the current establishment dates from 1869 and was remodelled in the 1890s. It’s a large, Grade II listed, Nicholson’s establishment, with lots of original Victorian fittings, including etched glass, mahogany, mirrors and an ornate plaster ceiling. It also has screened-off drinking areas known as ‘snugs’ and designed to separate the social classes (something the status-conscious Victorians were keen on).

The Argyll Arms might be sited at one of London’s busiest pedestrian hubs, but it’s relaxed inside and has a ‘beer menu’ with a wide range of well-kept British and international brews. You can taste before ordering, with a ‘sip before you...

The Donovan Bar

Posted on: 28th Apr 2014

Address: Brown’s Hotel, 33-4 Albemarle Street, W1S 4BP (020-7493 6020,

Opening hours: Mon-Sat, 11am to 1am; Sun, noon to midnight.

Transport: Green Park tube.

Go for: Rum, whisky and fabulous photographs.

donovan bar 2

One of London’s older hotels, Brown’s dates from 1837 and is renowned for being among the capital’s most elegant and discreet destinations. Like the hotel, the Donovan Bar is a fine blend of old and new, and succeeds in being both glamorous and laid-back at the same time.

The bar pays homage to the late Terence Donovan, world-renowned photographer – hence the name – and is decorated with around 50 of his black and white prints. It’s worth visiting to see this gallery which portrays an earlier age of elegance – and also to enjoy the drinks. The well-constructed wine list offers many choices by the glass as well as the bottle; there are also...