Punch Tavern

Greater London Central - London

A historic pub interior of regional importance

Listed Status: II

99 Fleet Street
London, Temple
EC4Y 1DE

Tel: (020) 7353 6658

Email: contact@punchtavern.com

Website http://www.punchtavern.com/

Real Ale: Yes

Lunchtime Meals: Yes

Evening Meals: Yes

Nearby Station: City Thameslink

Station Distance: 300m

Public Transport: Near Railway Station (City Thameslink)

View on: Whatpub

A well-known institution in lower Fleet Street (but avoid frenetic weekday lunchtimes when you are more or less expected to buy food). It could easily be missed were it not for Mr Punch outside and lavish tiling to the entrance as it lies up a corridor behind a couple of shop fronts. The pub is part of a block built in 1894-7 by architects Saville & Martin and at one time also incorporated the pub round the corner in Bride Lane, the Crown & Sugar Loaf. The entrance corridor is unlike anything else in a London pub and has extensive tiling, a mosaic floor, mirrors and, either side of the inner doors, large canvas paintings of a very sinister looking Mr and Mrs Punch (signed by W B Simpson’s who were no doubt responsible for the whole decorative scheme).

A well-known institution in lower Fleet Street (but avoid frenetic weekday lunchtimes when you are more or less expected to buy food). It could easily be missed were it not for Mr Punch outside and lavish tiling to the entrance as it lies up a corridor behind a couple of shop fronts. The pub is part of a block built in 1894-7 by architects Saville & Martin and at one time also incorporated the pub round the corner in Bride Lane, the Crown & Sugar Loaf. The entrance corridor is unlike anything else in a London pub and has extensive tiling, a mosaic floor, mirrors and, either side of the inner doors, large canvas paintings of a very sinister looking Mr and Mrs Punch (signed by W B Simpson’s who were no doubt responsible for the whole decorative scheme).

Inside there has been a good deal of rearrangement and refitting and it is now impossible to work out exactly how things might have been. The fixed seating on the left-hand side seems original and the lovely etched main panels in the bar-back also no doubt date from 1894. But the collection of glass in the lower part of the bar-back has clearly been shuffled. The two skylights in this room add much to its character.

The rear room was a bookshop until the 1990s and was brought into use after the Punch separated from what is now the Crown & Sugar Loaf. Here the Yorkshire brewer, Samuel Smith has recreated a fabulous Victorian-style interior in modern times. They brought the pub back to life in June 2004 with a stunning display of etched and cut mirrors, carved woodwork, a marble counter and lovely mosaic floor. The decorated ceiling is the only original Victorian feature but no matter – the whole thing is done with such fantastic panache.

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