Applied Linguistics graduate and freelance writer. Visit my twitter: @heyclairemarie
Published January 26th 2014
St. Stephen's Tavern is ideally located just across the road from the House of Parliament. It was, of course, packed with tourists when we visited, but you can also imagine it being a favoured watering hole for M.P's as well. Apparently it has been frequented by the likes of Stanley Baldwin, Winston Churchill and Harold Macmillan. It wouldn't seem out of place in the fiction of Arthur Conan Doyle or Agatha Christie. Big Ben can also be seen outside the window.
The corner pub was closed for decade, however the Dorset brewer Hall and Woodhouse have effectively restored the Victorian building to the way it originally was. And stepping inside is like stepping into the past. Like the Red Lion around the corner, the pub is a throwback to an earlier time. In fact, its current interior closely resembles a photograph of the pub's interior taken in 1899. They even have the original division bell which rings, giving a warning to Members of Parliament relaxing in the tavern that there are only a few minutes to vote. The decor is pleasing to the eye; glints of red are combined with intricately carved heavy dark wood.
The small dining area is upstairs with cosy green leather booths and tables with stools. There are two traditional bars downstairs. If visiting the dining area, try to grab one of the booths as they are much more comfortable than the other tables. The bathrooms are situated down in the basement of the building, ensuring you come across the welcoming bar on your way down.
The food is simple pub fare. I chose ham, egg and chips and found it to be just right. It is also well priced for somewhere in such close proximity to the palace of Westminster. There isn't a huge selection of food on the menu but everything that was on it looked appetising. There is a good-range of beers on the hand pumps including Tanglefoot and Badger's Best.
The tavern is plush yet traditional, a perfect place to duck into on a cold winter's night. Come on up and enjoy the atmosphere and delicious food.