Old Coffee House
49 Beak Street Soho London W1F 9SF
Despite its West End location, this lively, very mixed Soho haunt has the feel of a genuine local. It really was a coffee house in the 18th century, devoted to temperance not tippling; now a friendly pub, set slightly off the usual tourist track, it welcomes anyone who wanders in. Besides the tables squeezed into the central floor space, there’s usually room along the bar, while assorted nooks and crannies accommodate more private chats. Every inch of wall space is crammed with random bric-a-brac, from Edwardian advertisements to World War II recruiting posters and stuffed animal heads, and there’s even a few electric guitars dangling from the ceiling. All the beer comes courtesy of excellent East London microbrewery Brodie’s. Five handpumps serve five different brews each week, such as Bethnal Green Bitter, London Fields Pale Ale or Dalston Black. Cheap pub food is served at lunchtimes only.