Tucked away in a narrow alleyway, the premises were originally built as two houses in the late 17th century and then converted into a chop house and coffee shop. Coincidentally, it is a stones throw from where the first coffee shop in London was located.
The Grill Room looks just like how a chop house would have looked like in the 19th century. It is arranged in stalls and still has brass rails to hang your hat. According to the Simpson’s website, it was one of the first restaurants (in London? in the UK?) to employ female waitresses and until 1916, only men were allowed to dine there.
Predominantly a restaurant, there is also a small gentleman’s bar tucked away in the corner. Apart from one or two stools it’s standing room only. Most people spill out into the alleyway where there are some barrel tables. The beer available when I visited was Bass, Harvey’s Sussex Bitter and Adnams Bitter. The prices were usual for London.
Visiting Simpson’s Tavern
Located near the Bank of England, tourists are few and far between and like every other pub in the area, it is closed on weekends. It also has unusual opening hours. The restaurant is open between 0800-1100 Tuesday – Friday for breakfast and between 1130-1530 for lunch. The bar is open between 1130-1530. It’s strange that it’s not opening later to catch city workers on their way home.
As far as pubs go, Simpson’s is nothing to rave about, but you just have to go so that you can experience a place that someone like Samuel Johnson or James Boswell would have known.
More Photos of Simpson’s Tavern
Tel: 020 7626 9985
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