If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to get drunk with Charles Dickens, I’m here to answer, well, at least part of your quandary. Dickens may be long dead, but it is still possible to drink like the famed author would have. Ready to drink like Dickens? Here’s my guide to a mini Dickens pub crawl, all tried and approved by yours truly!
The Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is bound to be a bit crowded, especially on the weekends, and this is because, besides being one of Charles Dickens’ former haunts, it’s also one of the best and oldest pubs in London.
Supposedly, the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese was one of Dickens favorite places to hang out, and he even had one particular spot inside where he always sat. As soon as you walk in the door, take a peek into the alcove on your right. Dickens’ former spot would have been to the right of the fireplace, just opposite the bar.
2. The One Tun
Another regular haunt of Charles Dickens is the One Tun. Some believe this pub to be the inspiration behind the Three Cripples in Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist (where Bill Sikes and his gang of thieves liked to hang out).
It’s a little hard to imagine Sikes, or any other nefarious character, drinking at the One Tun these days–as it’s been renovated and is actually a bit of a posh joint. My favorite part? The paintings of dogs posing for portraits in different suits, uniforms, and outfits. It lends the One Tun a bit of character!
If I had to choose a favorite discovery during my Charles Dickens pub crawl, it would probably be Cittie of York. Don’t be deceived by the unimpressive entrance, if you push your way to the back you’ll discover a cavernous room straight out of the Victorian Era.
Dickens features the Cittie of York in some of his novels, but under a different name: Grey’s Inn Coffee House. I could easily envision myself wasting away an afternoon in this place. It comes complete with cozy booths, a fireplace, and a high vaulted ceiling! Straight out of a novel indeed.
4. Lamb & Flag
The Lamb & Flag seems to be something of a local Covent Garden institution, and is a hugely popular hang for almost everyone from tourists to locals. Dickens enjoyed the occasional pint here, but back then the pub had a different name: The Bucket of Blood.
It deserves that name and more because the Lamb & Flag is chock full of seedy character. There are multiple floors to the pub and even, weirdly, a women’s toilet that opens right onto the main stairs. If you want to feel like you’re back in Dickens’ scruffy London, this is the place to go!
5. George Inn
The George Inn may not be within walking distance of the other pubs on this crawl, but it’s one place that’s totally worth the extra effort to get to. Why? This pub abounds with history and wasn’t only a Dickens’ haunt, but a favorite if the Bard himself: William Shakespeare.
On top of its brilliant literary color, the George Inn also happens to be the last galleried coaching inn in London. Be sure to hunt around for Charles Dickens’ life insurance policy. It’s framed and hanging on one of the walls of this pub, and signed by the great author himself!
Which pubs would you try on your Charles Dickens pub crawl? Share your suggestions and experiences down in the comments section!