World ? Europe ? England

England: The Best Pubs

  • Salisbury (London; tel. 020/7836-5863): Glittering cut-glass mirrors, old-fashioned banquettes, and lighting fixtures of veiled bronze girls in flowing togas re-create the Victorian gin-parlor atmosphere in the heart of the West End. Theatergoers drop in for homemade meat pie or a salad buffet before curtain.

  • Grenadier (London; tel. 020/7235-3074): Arguably London's most famous pub, and reputedly haunted, the Grenadier was once frequented by the duke of Wellington's officers on leave from fighting Napoleon. It pours the best Bloody Marys in town, and filet of beef Wellington is always a specialty.

  • The Ship Inn (Exeter, Devon; tel. 01392/272040): Frequented by Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh, this pub near Exeter Cathedral is the most celebrated in Devon. It still provides tankards of real ale, the same drink swilled by the likes of Sir John Hawkins. You can also eat here; portions are large, as in Elizabethan times.

  • The Cott Inn (Dartington, near Totnes, Devon; tel. 01803/863777): Constructed in 1320 and believed to be the second-oldest inn in England, it's a low, rambling, two-story building of stone, cob, and plaster under a thatched roof. A gathering place for the locals of Dartington, it's a good place for a drink on a windy night, as log fires keep the lounge and bar snug.

  • The Punch Bowl Inn (Lanreath, near Looe, Cornwall; tel. 01503/220778): Licensed since 1620 as a pub, this was a former rendezvous for smugglers. High-backed settees and old fireplaces evoke the atmosphere of old England. Sample drinks in one of the kitchens -- among the few "kitchens" in England licensed as bars.

  • The Turk's Head (Penzance, Cornwall; tel. 01736/363093): Dating from 1233, this durable local favorite is filled with artifacts and timeworn beams. Drinkers take their lagers into a summer garden or retreat inside to the snug chambers when the wind blows cold.

  • The Lamb Inn (Burford, the Cotswolds; tel. 01993/823155): This is our favorite place for a lager in all the Cotswolds. In a mellow old house from 1430 with thick stones and mullioned and leaded windows, it's a good place to spend the night, have a traditional English meal, or quaff a beer. Snacks are served in the timeworn bars and lounges or in a garden in summer.

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