Down a creaky little alley just off Fleet Street is the entrance to one of the oldest (if not the oldest) pubs in London, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. A labyrinthine little warren of staircases and ancient wooden benches, low archways and grande olde bars, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is a beer paradise, a touristic hell, and a piece of living history all at once. Full of gloomy, Dickensian charm, the Cheese is a Samuel Smith’s pub. Whenever we have friends or family over from the States, we pop round for a pint of their organic lager!
Purportedly a regular of Dr. Johnson and of Tennyson, the Cheese is a classic example of olde worlde pubbery at its finest. It’s delightful to have a little wander wound the various rooms and flights, looking over the guest books from past decades and centuries, but It can be pretty hard to find a seat in this place because it’s so well known and so popular. While the crowd is international, one is definitely more likely to hear a Boston or a Californian accent than one from Lancashire or Surrey. Despite all the bother and the throngs of tourists, a pub crawl of the area would be a poor one indeed that did not include the venerable old Cheese.