A historic pub interior of national importance
Listed Status: II2 St Johns Hill
Tel: (020) 7228 2076
Real Ale: Yes
Real Cider: Yes
Lunchtime Meals: Yes
Evening Meals: Yes
Nearby Station: Clapham Junction
Station Distance: 80m
Public Transport: Near Railway Station (Clapham Junction) and Bus Stop
View on: Whatpub
A splendid, showy pub of 1887, handily placed for Clapham Junction station. The interior is extraordinary and its island servery and very tall back fitting (complete with office in the middle) has the longest counter in Britain measured at the circumference. This was originally just over 125ft, exceeding the famous long counter at the Horse Shoe Bar, Glasgow, which weighs in at just over 104ft. A rather tasteless and wider counter top added in 2014 at the rear has extended the circumference even more. Much of the original arrangements survive. At the corner is a large public bar (originally with partitions) and at the rear a luxuriously panelled room (pity about the garish modern glass in the skylights). On the left-hand side is a snug enclosed by a glazed screen. Adjacent is a lobby where the original glass has portrayals of the eponymous falcon and the words ‘private bar’. The most interesting glass is in the rear room, showing the pub in its humble predecessor states and its grander, present manifestation. You can see funeral corteges stopping off at ‘Death’s Door’, the nickname for the pub when the landlord was a Mr Death!
Mightily impressive pub-cum-former-hotel of 1887 with many original features, including The counter is the longest in the country at 125 ft (the runners up are the Bowland Beer Hall, Clitheroe, Lancs (105ft: modern) and the Horse Shoe, Glasgow (104ft: late Victorian). Built as a hotel-cum-pub, it is a showy building of red brick with stone enrichments and on the ground floor are stone and granite pilasters. The interior has three distinctive sections – the main part on the right is almost U-shaped and would have been sub-divided by internal partitions as there are three entrances to it; also a tiny screened ‘private bar’ on the front left and at the rear an L-shaped area restricted to diners at certain times.. There are castiron columns with stylised Corinthian capitals painted gold.
The left-hand entrance has a large lobby with a figure ‘5’ on one of the inner doors. A passage with terrazzo floor and panelled walls including a large Old Bushmill’s whiskey mirror leads to another set of double doors with deep etched and frosted ‘Billiards’ panels beyond which is a luxuriously panelled room It has panelled walls to picture frame height with a number of decorative wood carvings and pilasters with decorative capitals. On the left hand side are two short screens with stained glass panels. It is a pity about the garish modern glass in the pair of skylights. On the rear wall is a large ornate timber fire surround with modern brick infill and a plain mirror in a good wood surround above.
A large stained glass window featuring some notable glass in three panes. The first features a painted depiction of the pub in its humble pre-1887 guise with the wording “The Falcon 1883’; the second shows funeral carriages stopping off at ‘Death’s Door’, the nickname for a former landlord, a Mr Death.with the wording ‘1801 Deaths Door’; and the third features a painted depiction of the present, grander manifestation and has the wording ‘The Falcon 1887’. On the right-hand side of the rear ‘dining area’ section is a curved panelled area with a doorway linking it to the rear part of the main bar.
In the middle is a large serving area enclosed by a curvaceous counter which is claimed as the longest in Britain (its only real rival is the Horseshoe Bar, Drury Street, Glasgow, Scotland). This serves all three rooms with virtually identical panelled counter fronts and pillasters but the bar top in the very rear area is wider than elsewhere so may be modern and part in the rear right area looks more inter-war than Victorian. The elaborate pot-shelf on the rear right of the counter is modern work.
In the centre of the servery is an enormously high bar-back with etched glass mirrors throughout including a top section held up by square pillars; fridges have replaced most of the lower bar back shelves. The stairs to the cellar also lead from within the bar back.
The private bar at the front is formed by a three-quarter height timber and glass partition wall beyond which is the terrazzo floored passageway, which has a middle row of deep etched and frosted panels of a floral design and two low partitions attached to the counter. The low partitions have five narrow bays each, the middle of which is now a doorway having originally been a barrow door with good etched and frosted panels with floral designs.
The large public bar has a vestibule entrance on St Johns Hill side with lovely stained glass panel depicting a falcon in the right hand inner door and a ‘Private Bar’ panel on the left hand door. The corner entrance has some deep etched and frosted panels with floral designs.