Pub #18: Museum Tavern, Great Russell Street

Museum Tavern was the very first pub I had set foot into in London back in August of 2009.  After a meander of looking for my hostel and the subsequent drop-off of my suitcases, my friend Ossie took me first to a comic shop where I met his friend Nathaniel, then we went to a nearby pub where Nathaniel would eventually meet up with us later.  I had gotten a pint of Theakston’s Old Peculier (yes, that is how it’s spelled), which was my first pint of ale in London.

I visited Museum Tavern again last month while I was scuttling around town, and went to the bar and ordered another pint of Old Peculier, which was £3.42.  It’s a good ale, which I drank while reading a book for my Japanese Culture & Society course.

The pub was crowded for a Monday afternoon; I wasn’t able to get a seat at a table, so I stood at the bar next to an older man who had his coat resting on a stool.  This older man, who was periodically muttering to himself and slightly swaying back and forth, later noticed me and removed his coat from the bar stool, muttering an apology presumably towards my direction.  I waited a bit before I scooted the seat closer towards me and sat down, as this man didn’t seem like someone I felt like engaging with at the time.  Luckily, he seemed far more preoccupied with the revolving number of pints before him than with me.

While drinking my ale, I noted how the place served as a local for the people around me.  The other two guys seated to my other side were talking about someone who had come around before that they hadn’t seen lately.  A regular greeted a barmaid behind the counter, saying he had asked about her and hadn’t seen her in a while.  The clientele tended towards the mature side–people around my father’s age, so people in their 40s and 50s and up.  With its proximity to the British Museum, it was interesting the place wasn’t filled with the tourist crowd at the time of my visit.

Museum Tavern has quite a pedigree, as the review from can attest.  It’s been a pub since the early 18th century, and apparently Karl Marx and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were former patrons.  I wonder if there were packets of peanuts around the time of their visit.


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