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Fitzroy Tavern

16A Charlotte Street
Fitzrovia
London
W1T 2LY

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Opening Times

12-11 Mon-Sat; 12-10.30 Sun

Meal Times

12-3, 6-10 Mon-Wed; 12-10 Thu-Sun

Owner

Samuel Smith

About the Pub

The building started life as the Fitzroy Coffee House in 1883 and became the Hundred Marks in 1887; renamed the Fitzroy Tavern in 1919, by which time Germanic references were not popular.

Formerly a Charrington's house (and before that owned by Hoare and Co.), the Fitzroy was taken over by Sam Smiths and has recently undergone a complete transformation (along the lines of the Princess Louise in Holborn). A large semi-island bar serves six separate drinking areas, some connected internally. There is a profusion of well crafted etched glass, mirrors, tiles and wood panelling, on which Sam Smiths have really gone to town. Paintings, photos, posters and other memorabilia decorate many available walls. There are two real fires! Even hardened pub-goers should prepare to be impressed.

Prices would probably have a Yorkshireman reaching for his smelling-salts, not his wallet, but they are very reasonable - for London.

Fitzrovia, which is said to said to be have been so-named, by Tom Driberg alias William Hickey of the Daily Express, from the pub, had a distinctly bohemian flavour from the 1920s onwards, and the Fitzroy was its beating heart, where Pierrepoint the hangman mixed with Fabian of the Yard, Coco the Clown, writers Dylan Thomas and George Orwell, politicians Nye Bevan and Hugh Gaitskell, comedians Kenneth Williams and Tommy Cooper, sculptor Jacob Epstein and artist Augustus John . . . becoming one of the very few pubs to have its own biography, by the daughter of a previous licensee ("The Fitzroy; the Autobiography of a London Tavern" by Sally Fiber, available second-hand or from a good library).

Archive photos of this pub as a Charrington's house are available at www.historypin.org/en/fitzroy-tavern/.

Historic Interest

The development of the Fitzroy Tavern as the heart of eponymous Fitzrovia goes back at least two generations, to that of Judah and Jane Kleinfeld who migrated from Polish Russia in the 1880s. A naturalised British subject, Judah and his family lived in Phoenix Street, off Charing Cross Road. Judah was a master tailor in Saville Row counting among his clients the future King of the Belgians, and a leading member of the West End Jewish community. His greatcoat making business in WWI took him along Tottenham Court Road and into Windmill Street where on the corner stood the Hundred Marks, which pre-war had been in the heart of one of London's main German quarters. Nearby Charlotte Street was the main artery, known as Charlottenstrasse, and famous for its German restaurants and clubs. Judah decided to become a licensee, apparently regarded as a natural second career in his native Poland, and his personality and determination had persuaded brewers Hoare and Co. to let him take on the tenancy of the Hundred Marks. His business partner, not a British subject, could not join him in this new venture. Instead Judah's 15 year old daughter Annie, despite a successful school career and ambitions, was prevailed upon to assist him in the new business - the renamed Fitzroy Tavern that opened under its new guvnor and name in March 1919. The area north of Oxford Street had been associated with artists writers and musicians since it was developed in the latter part of the 18th century. John Constable was a famous resident in the 1820s and 1830s, and others were inspired or lived in the area including George Bernard Shaw, James McNeill Whistler, and Walter Sickert. A developing cosmopolitan and Bohemian community of struggling artists, immigrants, writers, poets, composers and sculptors responded with some enthusiasm to the outgoing and enthusiastic new licensee known as 'Pop', and the Tavern was more usually known as Kleinfeld's or Klein's. Many of the traditions, decorations, and customs developed over those years including an annual Derby Day outing, when Pop would hire a coach to take them and a party of customers to Epsom. It was on one of these in 1933 that Annie met and eventually fell in love with Charles Allchild, their coach driver. They married in 1934 and Charles became such an essential part of the running of the pub that soon he and Annie took over as joint licensees, with Pop and his wife Jane retiring to Hove, holding sway over the next decades of change and war. Though the golden age may have been the 1920s and 1930s, the Allchilds through the Blitz had made the Fitzroy into the 'Rendezvous of the World'. The cooling post-war ushered in a different era, and the death of Pop Kleinfeld in 1947. In the mid-50s the legal battle that became known as 'The Battle of the Fitzroy' while ultimately a victory for the Allchilds led to their own decision to bow out in 1956. And the Fitzroy entered a new era - still giving successive generations a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction, while all around has changed. More than just a London public house, it was a convivial heart of the area for over 37 years offering kindness, humanity, and good fellowship. It remains an essential part of our history, and continues to welcome locals, regulars and visitors alike.

Regular Beers

This pub serves 1 regular beer.

  • Samuel Smith Old Brewery Bitter

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Fitzroy Tavern, London

Features

  • RealAle Real Ale Available
  • Quiet Quiet Pub

Facilities

  • DisabledAccess Disabled Access

    To the pub; ambulant disabled toilets downstairs.

  • LunchtimeMeals Lunchtime Meals
  • EveningMeals Evening Meals
  • FunctionRoom Function Room

    Whole upper floor; own bar with handpumps.

  • RealFire Real Fire

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Sat Nav Reference

51.518549, -0.134708

Transport

  • <Bus Close to Bus Routes
  • <Station Close to Railway Station
  • <Underground Close to Underground/DLR

Nearby Bus Routes (300m)

Various

Nearby Station (1100m)

Euston

Nearby London Underground/DLR (250m)

Goodge Street

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FeaturesClose

  • Real Ale Available Real Ale Available
  • Cask Marque Accredited Cask Marque Accredited
  • Quiet Pub Quiet Pub
  • Family Friendly Family Friendly
  • Pub Garden Pub Garden
  • Lunchtime Meals Lunchtime Meals
  • Evening Meals Evening Meals
  • Smoking Area Smoking Area
  • Wifi Wifi
  • Beer Festivals Beer Festivals
  • Close to Railway Station Close to Railway Station
  • Close to Underground/DLR Close to Underground/DLR
  • Close to Bus Routes Close to Bus Routes

FeaturesClose

  • Real Ale Available Real Ale Available
  • Cask Marque Accredited Cask Marque Accredited
  • Lunchtime Meals Lunchtime Meals
  • Evening Meals Evening Meals
  • Smoking Area Smoking Area
  • Function Room Function Room
  • Close to Railway Station Close to Railway Station
  • Close to Underground/DLR Close to Underground/DLR

FeaturesClose

  • Real Ale Available Real Ale Available
  • Cask Marque Accredited Cask Marque Accredited
  • Lunchtime Meals Lunchtime Meals
  • Evening Meals Evening Meals
  • Close to Railway Station Close to Railway Station
  • Close to Underground/DLR Close to Underground/DLR

FeaturesClose

  • Real Ale Available Real Ale Available
  • Cask Marque Accredited Cask Marque Accredited
  • Family Friendly Family Friendly
  • Pub Garden Pub Garden
  • Lunchtime Meals Lunchtime Meals
  • Evening Meals Evening Meals
  • Smoking Area Smoking Area
  • Sports TV Sports TV
  • Wifi Wifi
  • Member Discount Scheme Member Discount Scheme
  • Events Events
  • Close to Railway Station Close to Railway Station
  • Close to Underground/DLR Close to Underground/DLR
  • Close to Bus Routes Close to Bus Routes

FeaturesClose

  • Real Ale Available Real Ale Available
  • Cask Marque Accredited Cask Marque Accredited
  • Lunchtime Meals Lunchtime Meals
  • Evening Meals Evening Meals
  • Real Cider Available Real Cider Available
  • Smoking Area Smoking Area
  • Wifi Wifi
  • Member Discount Scheme Member Discount Scheme
  • Close to Railway Station Close to Railway Station
  • Close to Underground/DLR Close to Underground/DLR
  • Close to Bus Routes Close to Bus Routes
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