London – Westminster (Borough of) – Theodore Bullfrog

The Theodore Bullfrog is a Youngs pub located near to Charing Cross station and I have no idea why it has this name. CAMRA note that there has been a pub on this site since 1690, originally known as St. Martin’s Tavern, but that the current building dates (which does look a little out of place given the neighbouring buildings) from 1959. I understand from reviews that it’s usually a busy location, but, yet again, pub numbers are suppressed at the moment given the lack of tourists and commuters in the city.

The staff member mentioned that I could watch the football if I wanted, although, as might be expected, I didn’t want to. I was given a nice table well away from the action, just as I like it. As I write this, from nearby Trafalgar Square, there are huge numbers of Scottish fans around, I’m not sure I understand the excitement of coming without a ticket to watch the actual match, but I don’t think I really understand football and the atmosphere behind it. I do have some tentative visits to football matches in Spain and Poland later this year, which fall into my “we’ll see how this goes and I’ll likely dislike it” category, but who knows…..

Anyway, moving on from football, this is a large pub, with the ground floor being on slightly different levels, and there’s also an upstairs dining area as well. A few customers were dining at the pub and the menu is traditional pub fare, at quite high prices even for London. The price for half a pint of real ale (how decadent of me….) was reasonable and in keeping with their local neighbours (I mean the local pubs, not random people living nearby). The reviews are a little mixed, I think with the food pricing causing some issues at times, but I noticed this review:

“The barmaid upstairs was awful, I had a guest list of 20 people under the name of James and she was rude to everyone. She was argumentative, conflicting and unaccommodating, I won’t be coming back.”

Perhaps the pub’s response tells the whole story here…

“Hi James, i’m very sorry but we don’t allow our customers to consume alcohol brought in from outside the pub.”

It’s evident that the beer selection is usually somewhat more exciting, with five different real ale options and some craft beer choices sometimes available at least. I was left with the only option of Youngs London Original, which was fine and entirely well-kept, but, unfortunately unexceptional. I mentioned in my Brewdog post the other day how that chain might have difficulties in some areas, but it’s a country mile ahead in others. It’s evident from my visits to Youngs and Nicholsons pubs over the last few days that both chains are struggling on a wider level and I do wonder whether they’ll be forced into closing more locations over future years.

Anyway, I liked the environment of this pub and the staff members were friendly and the pub seemed spotlessly clean. They were using their own log-in system rather than the NHS track and trace, but at least they were checking details to comply with the rules. It was all fine, but there was nothing overly exciting to tempt me back…..