(London Pub of the Year)
LPOTY Past Winners
Express Tavern, Brentford
On Kew Bridge Road on the east side of Brentford, standing opposite Kew Bridge this pub hardly seems to have changed since it won the first of these awards.
A three room pub, including a separate public bar, very rare in London these days. Back in 1980 Draught Bass and Youngs Ordinary were the beers on tap, as they still
are today, along with a guest ale or two. Very much a quiet retreat from the busy main road outside and a pub out of the old school. The SPBW mirror presented in
1980 remains just inside the doorway to the saloon bar.
Cross Keys, Hammersmith
Like the previous year’s winner, this one was nominated by Campden Hill branch. This was, and remains, a Fullers pub in Black Lion Lane
between King Street and the Great West Road. Nowadays the pub has two smallish drinking areas around the bar counter and a larger room to the rear which
‘boasts’ big-screen tv. The pub has really lost much of its character and charm over the years.
Royal Oak, Romford
No longer a pub – a traffic roundabout!
For several years this was the regular meeting place for Wantz branch. In its original incarnation this had one very
small bar and a much larger one before it was knocked through into one large room. Despite this, the pub retained its character as a friendly community pub.
The Royal Oak was a Charrington house offering IPA and one or two others from that stable; not very exciting in retrospect but the beers were always served in
good condition and beers from non-Big 6 brewers were unknown in Romford at the time. Sadly, even when the award was presented, the pub’s days were numbered.
A new ring road was in the advanced stage of planning and the Royal Oak, along with adjacent housing, would be swept aside to make way; the last pints were drawn in 1985.
Kings Arms, Waterloo
This was presumably nominated by Special Branch whose meeting place, the Rose & Crown, was just a couple of hundred yards down the road.
The KA was a cosy two room pub in Roupell Street, a quiet back road of terraced housing close by Waterloo Station. It was run by a friendly couple who took great
pride in the place, not least the extensive collection of spirits miniatures which lined the walls. The Kings Arms was owned by Allied Breweries and at the time
had been badged under the Taylor Walker banner, serving two or three Allied brews. John and Mary moved on a few years later and these days the beer range is extended
Star Tavern, Belgravia
This is one of the best known pubs among London beer aficionados, and one of only two in the capital to have appeared in every edition of the
Good Beer Guide. Back in the mid-1970s very few Fullers houses offered non-dustbin beers and the Star was the only one of them in central London. Hence it was an
essential place to visit for the London Pride and ESB. The pub has barely changed since other than to reflect the increased range of Chiswick ales. As you go through
the front door, look immediately to the wall on the left for the SPBW mirror presented in 1984. The bar area is to the right but the main action is in the large room on
the left. The pub is tucked away in Belgrave Mews West, just off Belgrave Square and not at all easy to find, but very much worth the effort.
Fish & Ring, Stepney
Another Wantz nomination and another now defunct pub. This was a two roomed free house which offered unusual for London beers such as Thwaites and Davenports.
I can’t really remember much about the place other than that it was a friendly oasis for good beer in an east London back street.
Ye Olde Leather Bottle, Belvedere
Nominated by Woolwich branch, this is surely the least distinguished of all past winners. It was a Courage house in an almost rural area of this south eastern suburb.
The only time I ever visited was for the presentation and it didn’t make a lasting impression. This pub is the only LPotY winner that has never appeared in the
Good Beer Guide.