PUBS, PATIOS & BARS: London pub spins us right round like a record, baby!
There are more than 3,500 pubs in London but, to be honest, some lack the distinctiveness that truly sets an establishment apart when it comes to having a memorable and quintessential British experience when dropping in for a pint or glass of wine (or two).
Certainly, there are many establishments that do rate, whether based on their history, hospitality, or just plain fun. And one that’s near the top of the list is The Marquis Covent Garden, located a short stroll from Trafalgar Square and Charing Cross station.
A family-owned “free house,” the cozy bar has earned TripAdvisor status as a top 15 pub in the city and has attracted noteworthy (historically eclectic) clientele from Charles Dickens to Led Zeppelin, plus a host of famous footballers. The former is remembered in the “Dicken’s Corner” of the bar.
The Marquis also recently had a start turn in (the new) Mary Poppins film, plus other flicks.
But the celebrity endorsements are a mere footnote in the pub’s persona, which is chockablock with interesting clutter, not least rock and roll posters, photos, and paraphernalia – a framed photo of her former majesty included, crammed in beside an advert for The Small Faces (where Rod Stewart gained fame).
The vibe plays to The Marquis’ most unique attribute – it’s music, which is curated by devoted bartenders via vinyl albums and 45s, played on actual turntables. As befits the medium, the playlist ranges from the Stones to Oasis and the Jam to Dead or Alive, providing an experiential soundtrack with a classic British feel. Flyers on the wall invite patrons to make a request and suggest dozens of names from manager Tommy’s impressive vinyl collection.
On a late January visit, patrons ranged from an elderly couple from Essex having a pre-theatre meal and drink – “great food, great service, you don’t get that anymore,” they enthused – to 20-something investment bankers hell-bent on spending their superfluous salaries on rounds of beer and shots for a few grateful out-of-town visitors.
And while the bar is small, virtually forcing patrons to engage with their neighbours (a sign amongst the bric-a-brac declares: “There are no strangers here, just friends who ain’t met yet”), an upstairs “library” (albeit with book shelf wallpaper), provides extra space if not solitude, boasting a second DJ station with turntable and albums, and space for live performers.
Located at 51-52 Chandos Place, within sight of the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square, The Marquis is open from noon to 11 p.m. daily, midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, and 8 on Sundays.
Like most London pubs, it truly comes alive at night and, in this case, is guaranteed to, as Dead or Alive sang, “spin you right round like a record, baby, right round!”
With glass purposefully in hand, we at Travel Industry Today continue our series on some of the planet’s best bars, patios and rooftop venues. For more articles in the series, click here:
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First published at Travel Industry Today