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28 January 2011

Drink at the French House

A favourite of many of those who work around Soho, the French House styles itself as a bohemian hangout, and maintains its gallic stubbornness so well that it even refuses to serve beer in pint glasses.

Originally opened by a German, and subsequently owned by a Belgian, it wasn't until the Second World War that The French House took on its Frenchness, apparently being patronised by Free French Soldiers looking for a nice bar. It is even said that Charles De Gaulle wrote his famous speech, "À tous les Français" in the pub.

The French House subsequently became popular with local artists and writers, who enjoyed the bohemian style of the bar, with Brendan Behan, Dylan Thomas, Francis Bacon, Daniel Farson, Lucian Freud and John Mortimer all having apparently popped in at some stage.

The pub, which had previously been called The York Minster, changed its name in the 1980s, becoming The French House. Today it is known for its attractive downstairs bar, its wines and cocktails, and its atmospheric upstairs dining room.

For more information, see http://www.frenchhousesoho.com/


  1. Great spot for a drink. They serve Breton cider as well, which is always welcome!

    According to Farson's autobiography, they changed the name when they started receiving cheques for the fund to repair the other York Minster after it got hit by lightning in 1984...

  2. And Madness's Suggs' mum worked there. Apparently a wee Suggs would be sat outside in his pram while she worked inside. (Insert gasp of horror from modern parents)