Life in a “Local”
Inside one of London’s legendary pubs.
More than just a watering hole where everybody knows your name, the British pub is a cultural institution of sorts. For a quintessentially London experience, there’s no beating a visit to The French House in Soho.
La Vie Boheme
Its classic wood-paneled interiors were once a petri dish for creativity, housing bohemian clientele like famed journalist Jeffrey Bernard and artists Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon.
French Toast of the Town
Aside from a wide selection of eaux de vie, champers and aperitifs, The French House’s Gallic provenance stretches back to its genesis. Despite actually being founded by a Belgian, it was a favorite of French patrons like boxer and actor Georges Carpentier and famed musician and performer Maurice Chevalier.
War and Aperitifs
As historical pubs go, the French House has more than its fair share of dramatic tales, the most famous of which was how it served as a base for Charles de Gaulle and his Free French Forces during World War II. It was in the bar’s dining room on the upper level where the General reportedly wrote À tous les Français — a speech that rallied his fellow countrymen to retake France from the Germans.
Over a century old, The French House demonstrates how the pub is the brick-and-mortar equivalent of a social network — it stands firm on its no-mobile-phone, no-TV-policy so visitors have to rely on old school conversation to form real world connections.