The Argyll Arms
18 Argyll Street, Soho, Westminster, London W1F 7TP
Tel :020 7734 6117
"This eighteenth century pub had a 'makeover' in 1895. The result is one of the most magnificently decorated pub interiors in England. What makes it so special is that it has survived at all, when so many of its contemporaries were either destroyed by wartime bombing, or brewery blunder.
Most rare are the small cubicles that line the front bar. Lavish etched and cut glass screens in crafted hardwood frames, form cosy, discreet boxes. Their purpose was to separate the different social classes and were commonplace in the late 19th century.
At every turn are decorative mirrors and richly carved mahogany joinery, under a heavily embossed ceiling, over-the-top by today’s standards, but the height of sophistication in its day. Fashions may change but the quality and craftsmanship are breathtaking. This makeover would have cost a small fortune.
Pubs like this were designed to attract the discerning drinker. There was plenty of competition, Oxford Street alone had more than 20 pubs. So it is surprising how ordinary its exterior, easily missed if rushing to Oxford Street tube next door. If you are not in a hurry, take time to explore the Argyll's ample assets.
The pub and street take their name from the Duke of Argyll who had a mansion where the London Palladium now stands. Its location just off Oxford Circus mean it's busy most of the day, later morning or mid afternoon are quietest. There's a good selection of real ales and reasonably priced food."