Fleet Street, the spiritual home of British news, used to abound with journalists bar-hopping between jobs. The notorious El Vino – where women weren’t allowed to order at the bar until 1982 – was at the epicentre of a street where alcohol was said to flow like water.
However, since the Sunday Post’s departure from the iconic third of a mile in August 2016, the long lunches have had to move to pastures new. XCity Plus gives you a rundown of journalism’s new local public houses…
Old Blue Last (VICE)
If you’re a Victorian gentleman, you may want to save yourself some blushes and avoid the Old Blue Last. For there is many an ankle on display – a sign that cropped trousers (and therefore hip Shoreditch types) are about. Choice nudity is ingrained in the place, after all – it used to be an illegal strip club from the 1970s to the 1990s.
Now this “hipsters’ paradise” is owned by Canadian trendsetters and the rising princes of world media, VICE, who also own its little sister down the road, club/bar Kamio (reputedly named after one of their particularly boisterous interns).
Standing as a beacon of east London cool on the corner of Great Eastern Street, the Old Blue Last holds free club nights and gigs upstairs that have included performances by The Arctic Monkeys, Amy Winehouse and Florence and The Machine.
The Barrowboy and Banker (The Times and The Sun)
The Times and The Sun have been based across the road from the Shard in News UK’s plush surroundings since September 2014. Named after the barrow boys who used to ply their trade down the road in Borough Market, The Barrowboy and Banker should be renamed in honour of the thirsty journos now found there since the move.
There are many Australian lagers on offer to members of the Murdoch empire, but just in case anyone has a hankering for an Argentinian rioja, there’s an Oddbins across the road.
Prince Of Wales (The Independent and the Daily Mail)
If you ever find yourself on Kensington High Street, keep an eye out for Daily Mail journalists finger-clicking down the road, singing their hearts out at their Independent counterparts, West Side Story-style.
For both the Daily Mail and The Independent are based at the luxurious Northcliffe House, where a mere two-minute traipse away, the Prince Of Wales pub stands as a time warp of 1970s British nostalgia amidst Kensington’s trendy boutiques and vegan superstores.
The Old Bank of England
The only pub on this map still located in the traditional heartland of journalism, the Old Bank of England’s place next to the Royal Courts of Justice make it a reliable stomping ground for crime reporters fresh from a day in the courts. These are where all the real journalists are anyway, since they’ve all got shorthand.
It’s a grand establishment, adorned with chandeliers, art nouveau railings and overblown murals of merchants pulling weary donkeys through the streets of old London. The Sports Journalists Association use the pub’s club room to hold lunches that have included guests such as darts player Phil Taylor and Wales rugby head coach Rob Howley. Fun fact: during the First World War, the pub held the crown jewels in its vaults.
The Red Lion
There are many pubs around Westminster where journalists can pick up gossip that could lead to their next scoop. The Red Lion is the finest among them, thanks to its location opposite Downing Street and the Treasury.
It’s so loved among MPs that they’re trying to nationalise the pub for when they have to temporarily move to the Department of Health (where alcohol is banned) in 2020, while the House of Commons is refurbished. It’s also rumoured that a replica of the pub is built in a bunker under the Houses of Parliament.
The Blacksmith and The Toffeemaker (City, University of London)
If ever there were a crystal ball into the future of journalism, it’s more than likely contained in this raggedly stylish pub across the road from City.
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