The French House (49 Dean Street, W1) is one of my favourite pubs in London.
This boozer has a tiny bar and gets very crowded. According to Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant this is his “favourite bar in the world”. During WWII General de Gaulle and the Free French adopted the York Minster (as it was then known), prompting the acquisition of its present name. Officially renamed in 1985, it’s no surprise that it serves more Ricard than any other British outlet.
Oddly enough it was founded by a German fellow by the name of Schmidt in 1910. However in 1914 it was bought by a Belgian Victor Berlemont, when Schmidt was deported as an enemy alien on the outbreak of World War One.
Wall space is crammed with former patron’s memorabilia, including original cartoons by the London Evening Standard’s Jak, complete with printer’s marks. Former guests include painter Francis Bacon, Oliver Reed and Guns and Roses. Don’t order a pint though, beer only comes in halves, save for the year’s first pint, traditionally drawn on 1 April by Madness singer Suggs. It’s a family thing; his mother was a barmaid here.
Upstairs there is a restaurant, must try it one day.