Historic London Pubs: Unusual Drinking Dens

The Cockpit

True to its name, the pub hosted illicit cockfights until the 18th century, and that rather sordid past is reflected in its rooster-themed decor and raised gallery area, where spectators would have once stood.

That moment in English history is key, as following King Henry VIII’s reign Protestantism was declared the official state religion. That meant that Catholics had to worship in secret—and this pub was one place for them to do so.

Ship Tavern

The Blackfriar

It’s not often that you find drinking establishments with museum-quality artworks inside, but this 19th-century pub is worth visiting for its decor alone.

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese

One of the oldest pubs in London, it dates to 1667 (it was rebuilt after the Great Fire of London in 1666), though a pub has stood on site since the 1540s.