The Coach and Horses W1D 5DH (Tube: Leicester Square)

Pickled items are a mainstay of British pub fare but you don’t see them that often anymore. The humble picked onion or egg has been usurped in favour of the more glamorous gourmet scotch egg (see The Jerusalem Tavern or Cutty Sark) or overpriced pork pie (see The Fox and Anchor). Fear not though because if you really must have a pub snack that is guaranteed to make you look and smell repulsive to other humans then you can visit the Coach and Horses and its nine jars of pickled hen periods.


The Coach and Horses is just on the edge of Soho and is the kind of pub you wander into aimlessly when you have a bit of time to kill before seeing one nonsensical musical or another. Honestly what the hell is Cats about? Sometime in the past half century this pub had a refurb which has robbed it of a lot of its original character and has left it feeling a little tired and sad. The carpet is shabby, the wallpaper is dog-eared and the stools are balding at a more worrying rate than I am.


The layout almost makes it feel like a corridor and that impression that you’re passing through lingers. Despite very much enjoying my pint of Hotspur, which is a luscious little treat I’ve only seen here, I couldn’t have seen myself ordering another without a strong reason. This does occasionally arrive in the form of the famous piano sing-along which is genuinely worth making a beeline here to join in with.


The pickled eggs I think are a sign of a pub that sort of got stuck on its way to the 21st century. There are elements of quaint half cock Britishness that make this pub charming in a similar vein to The Old Ship but sadly The Coach and Horses lacks the advantage of being a cosy little local and is competing with some big city boys. Without a sympathetic update I worry that The Coach and Horses really will become a lost pub.


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