Searching for proof that you can find decent beer in That London if you really look for it, I visited two new Guide stragglers near Regent’s Park.

For all its problems keeping beer in good condition, W1 remains a great place to get lost, particularly if you then stumble across places like the Ship, next to the BT Tower (Can you climb that ?).

Bass, and Holsten shrine

“A must-visit location for anyone interested in the history of brewing, especially Bass”  says WhatPub, but only after I got home, so all I have is memories of what might have been. Not sure it was worth suffering a warm pint of Doom Bar to see this apparent shrine though.


Two minutes on, and the Stag’s Head looked distinctly unimpressive, reminding me of those bars built into tourist hotels in St Pancras. Nothing inside to fill you with joy either. Posing tables, promotional tat, Tring Side Pocket (again) and Pride.

But what Pride it was, enjoyed in as basic an environment as I’ve enjoyed in the City.  A mix of professional drinkers, students and oddballs, served by a charming barman.  The atmosphere could (almost) have been from The Pride of Spitalfields.

I doubt any tourists ending up here would think this was a great English pub, but at least they’d leave knowing that the English (and Fullers particularly) make decent beer.

The Guide has a habit of changing it’s geographical labelling for London pubs, which this year is in Fitzrovia, whatever that is. The last GBG newbie is very definitely Marylebone, and looks it.


As Mark Kermode would say, the Thornbury Castle has its flaws.  Thai food I can cope with, but Rugby Union, £4.20 a pint and one other issue you might deduce from the photo below mark it down.

Spot the bar

That said, it was very friendly, and the Session IPA from Three Sods was near outstanding, when I really didn’t expect much. I’d go back for that, and a Pad Thai.

Two very worthy new entries to the Beer Guide, in sharp contrast with the City’s efforts.

16 thoughts on “THE STAG’S HEAD – A BASIC GEM IN W1

  1. Unfortunately I have spotted no less than three greengrocer’s apostrophes in this piece, which is due retribution for your traducing of the great sport of Rugby Union.


      1. I think your apostrophe was appropriate whereas the signmaker left it off, obviously not paid by the character.
        I’m only marking time until I have a worthwhile comment on the pubs or beers.


  2. My understanding is that the BT Tower isn’t open to the public and I think it would be outside my capabilities to climb up the outside or break in, so my answer is no, I can’t climb that. I’m sure others could though.

    I see the following flaws in the photograph of the bar at the Thornbury Castle:
    1) daft glasses
    2) over complicated beer menus
    3) daft miniature blackboards presumably with beer tasting notes cluttering up the bar. A bank of pumps with clips will suffice, with a blackboard showing a list if you must.
    4) fake foliage around the bottled beers


      1. The BT Tower had a revolving restaurant at the top of it when it first opened,so was open to the public,when i was with my wife at the top of St Pauls Cathedral and saw the Post Office Tower we decided to go there but by the mid 90s it was not open to the public,i am sure it was called the Post Office tower when it first opened.


      2. There was a proposal to reopen the rotating restaurant fairly recently but I understand the plan faltered. You are right that it was originally the PO Tower.

        Marylebone has a railway station but not a train station unless there is an American Marylebone of which I am unaware.


  3. I have done all of those London pubs on your post.
    I think i have done all proper pubs in Marylebone and Fitzrovia.
    I took the wife down to London for a five day stay and we was in the Travel Lodge outside Marylebone train station,we did loads of pubs around London but after ending up in the Thornbury Castle on our first night Wednesday 19th March 2008 we did it two more times as we loved the pub,comfy bench seating and a good lively atmosphere,Friday night was even more wild with a karioki disco and loads of pissed up suits and their women friends.
    The pub only had three real ales on which did not bother us,the Adnams Bitter went down well along with Spitfire and London Pride.
    That pub will always stay in our memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I dont speak the Queens English properly as i live in the Nottingham area,when i see a mate i will say aye up,and if going out i would say to my wife are we guing owt
    So if i see a building with trains in it to catch it is a train station in my eyes.
    I may be doing a new blog on Sunday if i have recovered from the Nottingham Beer Festival,so you may be able to read what train station i caught my train from.

    Liked by 1 person

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