Guinea

Greater London Central - London

A historic pub interior of regional importance

Listed Status: Not listed

30 Bruton Place
London, Mayfair
W1J 6NL

Tel: (020) 7409 1728

Email: guinea@youngs.co.uk

Website https://www.theguinea.co.uk/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/GuineaGrill

Real Ale: Yes

Lunchtime Meals: Yes

Evening Meals: Yes

Nearby Station: London Charing Cross

Station Distance: 1450m

Public Transport: Near Railway Station (London Charing Cross) and Bus Stop

Bus: Yes

View on: Whatpub

This Young’s pub occupies a three-storey brick building with a prominent oriel window, and the front windows have etched glass bearing the name of the pub. Its chief interest lies in the evidence of the way Victorian pubs were subdivided. On the left the door glass identifies a ‘private bar’ while that on the right mentions a ‘lounge bar’. Inside there is the very rare survival of a screen on the left-hand side which still retains its door. The right-hand side would have had a screen between the front and rear areas (note how the ceiling differs: boarded at the front, plain plaster at the rear). The Victorian bar counter, with panelling and console brackets, remains as do parts of the bar-back. The restaurant area at the back left has old panelling and has probably long been a pub room.

Although operating as a Grill restaurant, it has a bar and is worth a visit to see the low screen still with a door, a rare survival of the way Victorian pubs were subdivided. The interior is little-changed since 1952 and three small dining rooms are well worth a visit if you plan your visit at a quiet time.

Rebuilt 1741 and licensed in 1754, this Young’s pub, in a back street in the heart of Mayfair, occupies a three-storey building of London brick with a prominent oriel window on the first floor. They claim it is ‘London’s original steakhouse since 1952 and it has two small rooms at the rear that have probably long been in pub use a long time. Bar staff say the interior is “unchanged since 1939”. Front windows have ‘Wines’, ‘The Guinea’ and ‘Spirits’ etched panels, which look like replacements. The right hand door has a ‘lounge bar’ etched glass panel and leads to the main bar. The left hand front door has an etched ‘Private Bar’ panel, the front inner door has ‘Restaurant’ and if you enter this in the evenings expect to be met by a ‘penguin’!

The main bar is L-shaped with a bare wood floor, old, possibly Victorian, panelled bar counter with console brackets all along it. The counter curves to the right where it is U-shaped. The bar back is fairly plain so could be 1930s work and has a small piece on the right return. The lower shelving remains on the return side but has been lost at the front. The ceiling is panelled and painted but a small rear part has a plain plaster one; added to other signs in the ceiling it looks like there was at some time a partition on the right hand side / a screen between the front and rear areas, but the date of its removal is unknown.

Inside the left hand door there is the very rare survival of a low screen, which separates a tiny part of the front bar on the left-hand side from the main bar on the right. Screens like this were once absolutely standard equipment in thousands of London pubs. The three bay screen still retains its door (however, recent photos show it has been taken off and re-instated), which has a sliding bolt on the ‘restaurant’ side. A tiny metal ‘loop’ allows you to open the door and go through to the main bar. Two of the bays – the nearest to the servery and the door - have narrow etched and frosted panels in the top; also, there is a tiny partition siting on the bar counter top with a frosted glazed panel.

On the left, from the front small section of the bar through a doorway with a Tudor arch there is a small room with lots of steaks in a display cabinet like that seen in a butchers shop from which customers can select their own cuts as they enter - they are cooked on the grill behind. Some steaks are so big they are for sharing! Continuing back through another a doorway with a Tudor arch there is a small dining room, always been part of the pub, and has very old dado panelling all around it.

In 1952 a flat roof extension was added at the rear right and an additional dining room opened in it. It too has dado panelling all around it that looks almost identical to that in the left-hand dining room but it only dates from 1952.

From the rear of the right hand main bar is a passage to the rear dining rooms (and toilets (modernised), also a staircase to the first floor which has modern dado panelling. On the first floor at the front is what is called the ‘Boardroom’ which incorporates the oriel window. This small dining room has full height old panelling all around it dating from c1900, a marble surround fireplace with ornate decoration, and just one large oval table. If paying a visit at a quite time (they encourage visitors to tour the building) when in the upstairs room ask to see the mini bar cupboard!

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