Six Hidden Pubs that Changed London

The Jolly Tapster, Camden

Lonely Planet revellers may want to duck their head in the Jolly Tapster to catch where Britpop legends Dodgy and Babybird had their famous 90s shoving match. The tourist trap however still retains a little of its charm and boasts some of the stickiest surfaces anywhere in clubland.

The Botany Room, Soho

Any 1950s flaneur worth his oyster grit would be locked in the Botany until well past his bedtime before commuting back in from St John’s Wood to do it all again the next day. Provided you’ve sworn your way past the awfully butch door staff, on a good day you might be able to catch Francis Bacon life drawing a senior clergyman or George Melly with a particularly sexy-looking rainbow trout hanging from his fly.

The Chequers, Croydon

Contrary to what people like Adam Curtis or Burial might tell you, dubstep really ‘happened’ over a mixed grill meal deal and a ringtone battle at a humble Wetherspoons. Legend has it, on their school lunch break notorious truants Skream and Benga got up on Table 16 and delivered an impromptu set to nine stunned regulars. Tony Wilson later declared on his deathbed it to be the most ‘significant event since the crucifixion’.

The Land’s End, Sloane Square

It’s the 60s and London and George Best’s first liver are swinging. The only place serving Italian Peroni and spearheading kettle chips is his favourite fashionable corner-pub off King’s Road, where you might grab a snog with Jo Lumley, share a cheeky pork pie with Ray Davies or trip out to an 18-hour long raga in the outside cushioned area during one of Ravi Shankar’s frequent open mic sets.

The pub now has long since been converted to oligarch-friendly luxury apartments despite protests from Hugh Grant and other impassioned locals who live in nearby luxury apartments.

The Hamlet, Hoxton

Never mind eavesdropping in on Blake Fielder-Civil’s boasts of a latest overdraft extension, Pete Doherty’s bathroom mucus art or even catching Donny Tourette pulling himself a pint giving approximately zero f*cks, what made The Hamlet the place to be in the early Noughties was its pioneering use of wooden spoons to make sure pub grub landed at the right table at the right time just about when Gastro was really kicking off.

In reality, the spoons were used mainly by local drug dealers and legend has it a young off-the-wagon Tom Hardy performed an eye-popping sex act with one soon earning it its own dedicated MySpace fan page.

The Pig and Pantry, Isle of Dogs

It’s 1992 and Black Wednesday, and if you don’t remember being blind drunk at 11.30am and short selling on a prototype mobile phone you probably weren’t really there at all. During the heat of the crisis, it wasn't uncommon to see Norman Lamont and a boozed-up David Mellor in his full Chelsea strip ferociously explaining to a fresh-faced Graeme Le Saux the finer points of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism.

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