Book of the week: Great Pubs of London is a tour of London’s great pubs in a manual

Great Pubs of London (Updated edition) by George Dailey is a beautifully illustrated book published by Prestel which showcases the best pubs in the capital, many gems I have never heard from and that I will visit soon.  For centuries the pub has been an essential part of London’s cultural and social fabric. This beautifully illustrated book takes readers through the doors of 22 historically and architecturally significant London pubs. It is an ideal Father Day’s gift presented in an expensive looking hardcover. 

Great Pubs of London (Updated edition)

Through gorgeous photographs Charlie Dailey specially commissioned for this project, readers can explore these institutions — from smugglers to poets, from 400-hundred-year-old flagstone floors to etched glass and polished brass. The stories told are engaging and highlight what makes each pub so special: things I have always wanted to know like their place in London’s history, the personalities who have frequented them, the events that occurred inside, and the ways pubs have contributed phrases such as “on the wagon” and “one for the road” to the modern lexicon.

Cittie of Yorke pub - Holborn LondonImage copyright CHARLIE DAILEY

For example, this book reveals why The Lamb and Flag in Covent Garden earned the nickname the “Bucket of Blood”, and features a pub that Charles Dickens described as a “great rambling queer old place”. It also suggests that Casanova paid a visit to The Dog and Duck in Soho, and uncovers the location of Charles De Gaulle’s favorite wartime watering hole. These and other amusing anecdotal histories make this fascinating and luxuriously illustrated book a must-have for anyone with a love for the good old London pub. There are such cool facts throughout. 

What I also love about this book is the foreword by Sir Ian McKellen which features his very own pub – The Grapes. 

The Nags Head pub - Belgravia, London

The Nags Head pub – Belgravia, London – Image copyright CHARLIE DAILEY


The Nags Head pub - Belgravia, LondonImage copyright CHARLIE DAILEY

The Prospect of Whitby - Wapping, LondonImage copyright CHARLIE DAILEY


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