The Lamb and Flag
This central Covent Garden pub used to be known as the ‘Bucket of Blood’ but don’t let that put you off, there are much sketchier places to drink in London. The bare-knuckle boxing days are long over and today the Lamb and Flag is popular with everyone from tourists busily banging their heads on the low wooden ceiling beams to local workers taking up their places by the bar as though they’d been there for 300 years themselves – as indeed the pub has. Six million customers including poet John Dryden have imbibed here, and in the post-work rush, it can feel as though they are all fighting to be served at once. However, head for the upstairs bar and grab the window table if you can for a view out over Covent Garden life. Food here is cheap and tasty; the doorstep sandwiches and the weekend roast are particularly estimable. There’s an ever-changing line-up of ales and, in summer, punters spill out into a makeshift beer garden for open-air socialising.