Located on Fleet Street, a road which connects the City and Westminster and can be recorded as far back as 1002, the Cheese was rebuilt in 1667 after being burned in the Great Fire of London in 1666. The pub that was destroyed by the fire was built in 1538 and prior to that it is believed that the vaulted cellars belonged to a 13th century Carmelite Monastery which once occupied the site.
Inside the pub is a warren of dimly lit rooms spread over 5 floors (perhaps 6 or 7 as the cellar is split over separate connecting levels) with the two rooms near the entrance being the oldest.
On the right as you enter is a small bar containing what might be original panelling, simple seating, a large fireplace, a large Victorian bar and sawdust sprinkled on the wooden floor. This bar can be eerily quiet even with people inside. There were half a dozen people in the room when I visited and all you could hear as the clock ticking.
Outisde the bar is a small serving hatch and a very old looking tap and sink which no longer appears to be in use. Above the door is written ‘Gentlemen only served in this bar’, a rule which no longer applies.
Across the hall is the Chop Room, a panelled eating area which resembles one that the likes of Johnson or Boswell would have frequented in the 18th century.
To the rear of the pub are two more modern bars – one with just a few seats, the other much larger. These are a lot more modern than the rest of the pub and were added in 1992. The upper three floors are in restaurant use and contain wood panelling from the 20th century.
Head down into the cellar (mind your head) and you will find a huge seating area split over three floors and yet another bar.
Many famous people are thought to have visited the Cheese in the past including Oliver Goldsmith, Mark Twain, Alfred Tennyson and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Charles Dickens had been known to use the establishment frequently and the pub is mentioned in a Tale of Two Cities.
The pub is operated by Samuel Smith so the usual beers are available. The pub is both popular with tourists and city workers so it’s best to visit when the pub opens or mid-afternoon.
More Photos of Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
145 Fleet Street
Tel: 020 7353 6170
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