Behind the Scenes LBTM/LCYW – The Pub Edition

In Behind the Scenes, Travel, Writer's Life by Jacquelyn Middleton0 Comments

Welcome to ‘behind the scenes—the pub edition!’
Jump into the pages of London Belongs to Me and London, Can You Wait?
(updated February 21, 2018)

Titans collectible ‘Moriarty’ on the piss at the Castle pub

It was unavoidable. I couldn’t write books set in Britain without involving a pub, or two … or four. Oh, the fun I had researching the pub scenes. My friends and husband certainly didn’t complain.

London Belongs to Me and London, Can You Wait? both feature several wonderful public houses, and each one is worth a visit. Pull up a chair, take off your coat … I’ll get the pints in!

The first pub mentioned in London Belongs to Me is located in London Fields in the borough of Hackney. The Pub on the Park (below) on Martello Street only gets a passing mention in chapter four. The action here takes place off the page-it’s where Tom meets the pushy redhead who later on, almost chins Alex with the front door to the flat. This pub is just down the street from Harry’s flat, and is the perfect hangout on a warm summer’s day. It has this huge outdoor patio that overlooks London Fields, so you can people watch in the sun while you sup your pint. Speaking of which, the next round is on you.

Ah! A new venue. This next stop on our pub crawl is in the borough of Chelsea. This neighbourhood isn’t one that Alex would normally frequent for shopping or a night out—it’s way beyond her price range—but it tops Olivia’s go-to list for a Saturday morning shopping spree, or quick drink with girlfriends. It’s also home to Sloane Square and one of Alex’s must-visit destinations, the Royal Court Theatre. The Fox and Hounds pub is located in the middle of a residential area on Passmore Street, down the road from the Royal Court. It’s very tiny, basically one small, long room as you can see from the photos below.

The pub scene takes place where that older gentleman is sitting. Cozy with leather couches and a fireplace, it’s the perfect spot to catch up with friends and relax. The pub also allows dogs. For that reason alone, it tops my list! Okay, drink up. It’s time to head to our next pub.

Hop on the Tube at Sloane Square, and head to Angel station on the Northern line. We’re off to The Castle on Pentonville Road, a wonderful pub in Islington (and just down the street from the Old Red Lion, and Almeida Theatres).This lively pub is sun-filled and comfy with plenty of indoor space and a rooftop patio, which is popular even when the temperature plummets. The photo on the right shows the  corner nook where the gang hang out—the perfect spot to enjoy some wings and watch the evening unfold around you. But don’t relax too much. Grab your coat, we have one more stop.

This Tube journey takes us to Mansion House station. Get ready for a wander through the City, down narrow Bow Lane to where Ye Olde Watling pub sits proudly on the corner. I had a yummy fish finger sandwich here once in the gorgeous upstairs dining room. Sadly, Alex didn’t get to sample any delightful English fare on her brief stop here, but something tells me that food was the last thing on her mind …

Now onto the London, Can You Wait? pub tour

The Peasant Pub…I visited this pub so many times while I was writing London, Can You Wait? but never actually got to go IN until November 2017, a month after the book came out! The reason? This place is booked all the time for wedding receptions. Hmm! I managed to do my writing research by peeking through the windows (classy!) and by doing plenty of online sleuthing. Take a look at the shots I snapped when I finally got to take a seat and have a drink…look familiar, booklovers?

Next pub on the London, Can You Wait? boozy tour, is the Marquis Cornwallis. A short walk from the Russell Square Tube station, the Marquis appears in a scene featuring Alex and Lucy. I’ve eaten at this pub several times with my bestie gal pals (hey Vicki and Charlie!) and with it being just down the road from Gay’s The Word bookstore (which is also name-checked in LCYW), it made sense to feature it in my book. And yeah, I did have the meal Alex enjoys in the book.

Onwards to the east, my book buds! The Cat & Mutton located on Broadway Market in London Fields gets a lot of love in London, Can You Wait? and for good reason. This great two-story pub is where the gang goes for pub nights and it’s also featured in a BIG scene (I won’t spoil it if you haven’t read that far in London, Can You Wait?). Here’s a glimpse of the place.

And how about a little taste of Ireland, eh?

Welcome to Dublin and the Stag’s Head pub. My friends Seamus and Paula brought me here after seeing Andrew Scott’s breathtaking performance of Simon Stephens’s Sea Wall a few years back. It left an impression and ended up in my book!

Outdoor Stag’s Head pub photos courtesy of Seamus!

London Belongs to Me and London, Can You Wait? feature many scenes out and about in London, Manchester, Dublin, and New York City.

For more behind-the-scenes fun, check out the theatres featured in the novel and the person who inspired me to start LBTM. Take a quick look at Northern Soul Grilled Cheese in Manchester, visit London Fields, snoop around the National Theatre (and get the inside scoop on where THOSE scenes happened), drool over all the crazy food the characters love, discover what my ‘Yes, they’re real’ post is all about, and find out why the ‘meet-cutes’ in the book are based on some wacky, can-you-believe-it encounters I’ve had in real life.

(all photos by Jacquelyn Middleton)

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