306 Earls Court Road, London SW5 9BA
“Welcome to Mango Lounge, an intimate late night bar and club, conveniently situated minutes from Earls Court underground station & Exhibition Centre. You’ll find an inviting, relaxed and unpretentious cocktail bar on the ground floor. In the...” more...
7 reviews of The Red Lion in English
The selection of beer is good and the location is extremely convenient, being just off Jermyn Street in Piccadilly. However, if you swung a cat in here, you’d probably decapitate half of the punters.
At its heart a good, old-fashioned pub but either choose a quiet time, or go after work for 20 minutes before moving on to somewhere where you can actually breathe!
Kind of a pit stop pub, just behind Piccadilly, and close to St James Church. This is more of a workers’ pub and the actual bar is quite small and squished, but in the good weather everyone spills out onto the street. Service isn’t bad for what can be a very busy bar.
I find it hard to believe I haven’t reviewed this pub before. if you’ve never visited, then pop in next time you are in the vicinity of Piccadilly: the pub is just behind St James’s church.
The reason for a visit is for its late-Victorian interior, which is simply spectacular: it is on both the London and the National Inventories of Pub Interiors of Outstanding Historic Interest (the list is a joint effort between English Heritage and the Campaign for Real Ale) and is a grade-II listed building.
There’s been a pub on the site since 1788, though the present building dates from 1821, and the frontage from 1871. The interior may have been inserted later.
The exterior is impressive enough, with plenty of delicate wood carving and elaborately stained and etched glass. But walk inside, and the interior takes the breath away: seemingly every inch is covered with cut and etched glass mirrors and panels. Above is an elaborate decorative ceiling above a decorative frieze. The effect is almost magical, and makes the inside feel much larger than it really is (this is actually quite a small pub).
There are two small bars with side of an island counter, although - unbelievably - when built it would have had three separate entrances and have been even further subdivided inside, reflecting the social divisions to which the Victorians were so wedded.
The toilets are downstairs, past a spiral staircase with yet nore elaborate ironwork. Beers include Fuller’s London Pride, and on my last visit Jennings Cumberland Ale and Deuchars IPA - yum. They also serve food at lunchtime. Service is OK, but can be a bit slow (and my pint needed topping up and I had to ask).
It’s worth trying to visit in the afternoon or late evenings, as it does get very crowded in the early evenings with tourists and office workers, and the interior is seen to best effect without lots of bodies in the way. Note that it’s closed on Sundays.
The red lion takes its real ale seriously. Their selection ranges from standard ales such as London Pride to more exotic and unusual guest ales, and each of the many different taps is complete with conscientiously filled out tasting notes. It's also pretty cheap for central London, probably the cheapest we came across on our mini pub crawl that night. It's small and cosy, with the bar itself taking up most of the space.
Beware of the narrow, winding staircase you need to traverse to get to the bathrooms though.
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