When first landed in the Smoke, I worked in the grey 1970’s building that you can see behind the sign of Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese in the featured photo. I spent a lot of time in “The Cheese” often getting up to what my Grandmother called “no good.” On one memorable occassion I drank vintage port and lucozade slammers here until falling over. I was in my very early twenties.
Built immediately after the Great Fire and opened in 1667, quite some time before I arrived in the area I hasten to add, the pub had many famous regulars including Dr Johnson, the dictionary-maker, who lived a stone’s throw away.
Inevitably Charles Dickens liked a tipple here, but probably not port and lucozade, and describes it in Tale of Two Cities “up a covered way, into a tavern..” on Fleet Street.
The rooms of the pub look and feel as though they remain in the seventeeth century. When I drank here in the 1980’s some of the food tasted as though it had been in the larder since those times. Now the food is good. In the 1980’s the clientele were printers and journalists from the nearby newspaper offices and accountants from the then Big 6 firms nearby. The accountants are still there but nowadays the papers have moved from the area to be replaced by lots of tourists who tend to look worried about entering such a dark dusty place.
The pub was rebuilt in the time of the restoration of Charles II on the site of an earlier pub which had perished in the fire of 1666.
If you walked from the grey building and past the pub you would come out on to Fleet Street. If you look right before reaching the pub you can see Dr Johnson’s house.