Another in a series of articles on Pimlico, putting words to page on an area of London that I’ve lived in for a few years. If these read well, I might cover other parts of London I know or explore in the same manner. You can use the ‘Pimlico’ category tag on this site to see the other posts. This one is about the pubs and the bars to be found in Pimlico.
If you enjoy a drink in comfort, but don’t want an all-nighter until the early hours, Pimlico has you covered. Especially if you prefer your drinks in a simple and comfortable setting. There’s Cask, The Queens Arms, The Warwick, The Brougham, Clarendon Cocktail Cellar, The Gallery, The Grosvenor, The Jugged Hare, The Brass Monkey…. and more.
If you need swank, exclusivity and high-end bars… Pimlico doesn’t really provide. With Chelsea and Sloane Square so nearby in one direction, and Mayfair in the other, it’s not like the competition for high-end bars is really necessary. Instead, Pimlico gives you comfort and simple quality. And it does that pretty well. It’s entirely possible to manage a pub crawl completely inside the boundary or Pimlico without once feeling like you are in an unpleasant pub – although there are some in the area (not listed above) that I’ve never found myself inclined to spend time in.
Here are a few of the ones that I enjoy from time to time.
My locallest local, and I know it well. It’s a simple but friendly pub that specialises in craft beers. It provides basic foods: concentrating on burgers most days, and roasts on Sunday. Good roasts. The beers rotate regularly, with a few regular ones at the end of the bar, in case you can’t find something new you want to try. The accommodating staff are well versed in beers and are happy to provide samples and advice. On Sunday afternoons, from about 4:30 to 7:30 they also have a resident band that sit around a table and play folk music. Cask is definitely a comfortable place to relax in and try out some new tastes. It has appeared on ‘best pub’ lists for London several times, so it is often busy in the evenings can attract quite a crowd on a weekend night.
A relatively small pub on the ground floor, with a second floor that focuses on serving food. But with plenty of stools at the bar, The Marquis is probably one of the better pubs for striking up a conversation with a fellow patron or the staff. A pub that quickly recognises its regulars, it is very easy to feel welcome here when you need conversation or companionship.
They usually have a guest craft beer, but otherwise most of the drinks on offer are fairly regular pub fare. The food can be quite tasty, with the pie and winter vegetables being something I’ve gone back for more than once. The music here is usually played off on of the staff’s playlists, and is usually pretty good for background noise. It’s a pretty intimate place, and another go-to of mine.
It has several big and comfy Chesterfields. Some of these are on a small lower level past the bar, with another group in one corner that make for a really nice area to take over with a few friends. Or, like me, to lurk in and read a book. It’s a medium-sized pub, and another one with an upstairs dining area if that is what you want. I’ve not really had a meal there before, but have partaken of the bar snacks and would recommend the chicken goujons. For its location in the centre of Pimlico, it can be strangely quieter than some of the other pubs around, even when those are busy. But it really makes up for that on Sunday nights.
As you will rapidly find out, should you attend, Sunday night is quiz night. A popular one, too. From about 7pm onwards the place starts to fill, and by the start of the quiz at 8pm it’s completely full. Every table gets reserved for the quiz night, and you’ll very quickly understand that the camaraderie here is the real thing. Well worth a visit.
Once known as The Elusive Camel, it tends to be my ‘first date’ bar. It’s the most, in my view, bar-like of the Pimlico watering holes, and is just a short walk from Victoria station. It is a long and slim bar, with a low sofa that runs most of the way along one wall, opposite the bar. It picks up quite an after-work crowd, but thins out again before long. It’s also not terribly pricy on the wine compared to some parts of London, and makes for a convenient spot to meet someone for the first time. They also do really good wood-fired pizza. I recommend it, for certain.
There’s a small raised area that says ‘VIP’ in big lights on the wall and often looks reserved. Pro-tip: it usually isn’t, and the staff will happily let you sit there if it is available. It can make for a nice spot away from the crowd during the busy part of a night.
Another spot that can be nice for a date, but probably best not to arrange to meet down there – it’s underground, so can be patchy on the signal. It’s technically a ‘secret’ bar, but isn’t hard to find or actually hidden. Simply locate Cambridge Street Kitchen (guess what street that is on), and it is underneath there. Head on in and ask for the cocktail cellar and you’ll be taken down.
It’s small, reserving a seat is a good idea – but I have still managed to get one on the times I’ve been on impulse. And the cocktails are very much worth it; the place lives up to its purpose. With names themed after movies, they have a fun attitude and reward exploration of the menu. I recommend the Kill Bill. The bar has an exposed brick feel, and a small alcove giving some seclusion. It has tasteful and simple decor.
That’s a quick overview on my favourite Pimlico bars and pubs. There are more, and it is not a bad place to check out if you’re in the area – especially if you like a nice beer. If you do make it to the end of the evening and still want to keep going, the Rose over in Vauxhall can accommodate you until the early hours. Or you can yield to the call of Chelsea, Mayfair and Covent Garden, all of which fairly nearby – or even make use of the 24-hour Victoria Line, and take the short ride to Kings Cross or Highbury & Islington.
You can use the ‘Pimlico’ category tag on this site to see the related posts.