“ 145 Fleet Street / St. Pauls. „
* Prices may differ from that shown
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is a gem of a pub (if you'll forgive the erroneous use of "Ye" - technically that reads "You Old Cheshire Cheese", which could I suppose be an 18th century expletive but I think perhaps not...)
Located in the hustle and bustle of Fleet Street, it's easy to walk past, and just as easy to not find the door! There has, apparently, been a public drinking establishment on this site since 1538 though that current incumbent makes good use of the Victorian wooden panelling and lack of natural light creating a lovely, cosy atmosphere.
You could be mistaken on first entering the pub that it is the smallest you have ever come across! Two small snugs and a bar barely 6 foot wide. However you must keep going deeper and deeper into the caverns where you will find ever more and ever larger rooms and bars culminating in a vast room, 3 levels down, which is where the "action" is! In between you will find cosy snugs and booths, apparently hewn into bedrock (though I suspect it has more to do with the old wine cellar arches and some plaster work) meaning that the Cheshire is very adaptable for a range of uses whether it be an intimate drink with your lover, a discrete chat with a journalist, or a rowdy session with friends or colleagues.
Like every other old pub in London, the Cheshire boasts a number famous literary patrons including the ever present Charles Dickens the inn referred to in The Tale of Two Cities is, apparently, the Old Cheshire Cheese?!) and Samuel Johnson, as well as Mark Twain and Arthur Conan Doyle. Whether this is true or not, it feels believable and everyone likes a little provenance attached to their watering hole.
The pub is currently operated by Samuel Smiths Brewery. To the uninitiated, this means a: home brand and home brand only, and b: you pay less than £2 a pint! They do an excellent bitter, a stout, a white beer and a couple of lagers as well as the expected range of spirits and mixers, all of which made by and exclusively for Sam Smiths. This may divide that camp for some - I know that some people like to stick to their well known, more commercial brands. In which case Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is not for them!
The clientele tend to include members of the legal profession and printed media industry, as well as a smattering of City workers, tourists and those "in the know"...
It is definitely a pub I would recommend to any visitor to London, or to those who live or work in the vicinity. It is charming, cosy, and steeped in history. And it's darned cheap to boot!