Address: 18 Argyll Street, W1F 7TP (020-7734 6117, nicholsonspubs.co.uk/theargyllarmsoxfordcircuslondon).
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...
Address: Brown’s Hotel, 33-4 Albemarle Street, W1S 4BP (020-7493 6020, brownshotel.com/dining/the-donovan-bar).
Opening hours: Mon-Sat, 11am to 1am; Sun, noon to midnight.
Transport: Green Park tube.
Go for: Rum, whisky and fabulous photographs.
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...