The Old Bank Of England

194 Fleet Street, The City, London

A visual feast but an auditory assault...

The Old Bank Of England, exterior picture

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Address:194 Fleet Street
The City
Map:Map & nearby
Venue Type:Public Houses & Inns
Region:The City
Nearest Station:Temple
Opening Hours:

Mon:07:30 - 23:00
Tue:07:30 - 23:00
Wed:07:30 - 23:00
Thu:07:30 - 23:00
Fri:07:30 - 23:00
Sat:12:00 - 18:00
About: This Italian style building was built in 1888 and was formerly the Law Courts branch of the Bank of England. It became a pub in 1995. Fullers have spent a lot of time and money redecorating this building and the result is a lavish, extravagant interior. Bar food is served but there is also a restaurant which serves food between 11am and 9pm. They can cater for private parties of up to 200 people. It gets very busy at lunchtime and in the evenings.

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Nearby alternatives

  1. Ye Olde Cock Tavern (0.0 miles)
    Fleet Street, The City, EC4Y 1AA
  2. Essex Street Brewery (0.0 miles)
    Essex Street, Covent Garden, WC2R 3JF
  3. The George (0.0 miles)
    Strand, Charing Cross, WC2R 1AP

The Old Bank Of England features in these AIL lists...

After work drinks
This spectacular pub has long been a favourite among Holborn workers, whether it’s for lunch or a post-work pint. As the name suggests the building is where the Bank of England traded from 1888 till 1975, and its magnificent murals and chandeliers remain. One of London’s most beautiful drinking holes.

Some of the best bars in The City
In terms of décor alone, this is the capital’s most spectacular pub. Its opulent interior remains true to its former incarnation as the Law Courts of the Bank of England - golden chandeliers, carved balustrades and frescoes have beenrestored to their 19th century glory. Legend has it that Sweeney Todd transported his victims from his barber’s to the nearby pie shop via the tunnels beneath the building, and in a nod to this story the pub now specialises in handmade pies (albeit filled with Dorset lamb and ham hock).

"A visual feast but an auditory assault..."

Review Rating: 7 / 10
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Friday evening wandering around Midtown City at about 8pm – where to go? The area is stuffed with historic, traditional and full of character bars and I had always heard good reports of this Fullers pub so we decided to go in.

As we entered this huge hall (it was originally the Law Courts Branch of the Bank of England – hence the name) we were hit by a wall of friendly noise. It was heaving. Yet we were delighted to find a small table (placed on traditional tiles near a carpeted area) at which to sit and take in the surroundings.

There is a huge island bar (on this occasion sadly littered with glasses waiting to be washed) on top of which is a clock tower. But your eyes are drawn to the high sculptured ceilings and the enormous chandeliers. You can’t fail to be impressed by the amazing classical murals, grandiose decor and the magnificent massive curtains over those oh-so-high windows. Makes you proud to be a Londoner. If it didn’t spoil the natural charm of the place, it would be a great place for tourists to add to their itineraries. You also notice the upper balcony level (where the loos are located) – again, this was really busy.

The walls bear a busyness of pictures, photos and other interesting artefacts – including old currency. We couldn’t tell what music was playing – it was impossible to hear against the roar of people having a thoroughly good time.

On the ground level there are a number of side rooms that can be rented for private events. When we were there Coutts (the Queens Bank) were in noisy residence – looked like they were having a fabulous event. Did they get their bonuses? But the rest of the place had a jolly assortment of mostly office workers with a sprinkling of tourists.

Our drinks were fine (we weren’t being particularly choosy) and the bar service was swift and pleasant enough. There were signs up indicating that they did evening platters if you decided you were hungry.

We didn’t get a chance to get out into the walled garden and courtyard which is meant to be spectacular – let me know what you make of it. Wednesdays offer live jazz evenings. Oh, and they do weddings here as well, what a fabulous location!

So. A visual feast but an auditory assault. And, by what we saw, party central for the local office workers.

KimT reviewed The Old Bank Of England on Thu 30 Jul 2009

The Latest User Reviews of The Old Bank Of England

Member since: May 2004
Posts: 12
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I quite like this place. It's got really high ceilings and quite grand surroundings, yet has a nice pub-like atmosphere rather than that of a swanky bar.

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