The Glasshouse Stores W1F 9UL (Tube: Piccadilly Circus)

I like the word throwback. It conjures images of Eurovision, flared jeans that would pass for a tent and Eamon Holmes on GMTV when all breakfast telly was tinted slightly tangerine. These things are not awful but they’ve had their moment and times have moved on, as things do, and it is essential to adapt or to disappear into the mists of time. Eurovision is now an almost global show of inexplicable bollocks, flares died and we live in hope that Eamon Holmes will soon vanish into the chasm of ages.

Sadly The Glasshouse Stores is languishing in a state that leaves it much more likely to disappear than survive and that really would be a shame. A hardy little Sam Smiths pub nestled neatly between Soho and Piccadilly Circus its frontage on Brewer Street is extremely eye-catching especially for a pub aficionado with a taste for real ale and a real old boozer. You’d think that such a busy through road between hotspots would secure a thriving trade, but alas this is not the case. Though it outwardly shows huge promise the Glasshouse is almost always empty and a little soulless.

Glancing around at the decor you’re in for a treat as you often are with pubs from this period. Cut glass, carved wood and polished bar are as standard. In the back there is a billiards table which I’m sure is a lot of fun but the last person who knew the rules died over a decade ago and its little wooden mushrooms roll hopelessly around the felt; which is now primarily a sponge for wayward drips of lager condensation.

I’ve made a good number of trips here over the years and each time I go with the forlorn hope that myself and my companion are going to witness something new. Unfortunately so far I’m disappointed and rather than having a pint in the heady atmosphere of a historic London drinking establishment I often find myself keeping my voice to a hush so as not to sound like a yob. What’s missing? It’s hard to tell but the competition nearby is fierce and perhaps simply being a good looking pub with cheap pints just isn’t good enough anymore.


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