Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Lamb - a London pub

Located in Bloomsbury at 94 Conduit Street, south of Guilford (just east of Russell Square).

There may be a lamb on the sign, but the pub and the street were named after philanthropist William Lamb. In 1577, he improved the conduit that brought fresh water to the people of the area. Today, Lamb's Conduit Street is a three-block stretch of book and music shops, clothing stores, pubs and restaurants, each of them independent; there's not a single chain retailer. This popular pub was built in the 1720s but "improved" in the 19th century, when much of the original structure was lost. What remains is a fine Victorian pub in the heart of Bloomsbury.

The exterior is fairly typical with the exception of striking green tiled walls. Inside, at head level above the U-shaped counter, are rare snob screens. These small pivoting panels of etched glass were positioned at head height to conceal a drinker's identity from the pub staff. The pub would have originally been divided into several small bar areas, each with its own access to the central counter.

Dark wood, tufted leather banquettes, smoke-brown walls, a polished wood plank ceiling, sepia photographs and Victorian artefacts provide a bygone atmosphere. A Polyphon, a kind of Victorian juke box , occupies one corner, and by all accounts it still works. At the rear of the pub is a small covered patio.

The service is friendly and the Young's beers are invariably in top condition. There's a good variety of set meals and daily specials at reasonable prices, such as savory pies, bangers and mash, and fish and chips.

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