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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Weekend Watering Hole: The Lamb, London, England

As a regular weekend feature, Lyke2Drink will visit some of the world's great watering holes. This week we head to London to visit a great Victorian era pub.

The Lamb
92 Lamb's Conduit St.
London WC1N 3LZ (Bloomsbury)

While I was a junior at Syracuse University back in 1980, I was lucky enough to spend a semester in London studying, among other things, bitters, real ales and barley wines. It was my first time outside of the United States, not counting a few visits to Canada. My flight from JFK to Heathrow on TWA was the first time I was ever on an airplane. When we first arrived in London, we were put up in dorms at the University of London and given a few days to rent flats. That's when a few of us discovered a great pub nearby called The Lamb.

As you would expect, The Lamb has a cute small white creature on its sign. It's misleading because both the pub and Lamb's Conduit Street, where the pub is located, are named after William Lamb. In 1577 Lamb built lines that brought fresh water to people living in that section of London. The first pub on the site was built in the 1720s, but was updated in Victorian times. Thankfully for the people of London, the urban renewal that took place at the turn of the 20th Century was much more classical than what many American cities endured during the 1960s and 1970s.

The Lamb is a Young's house and one of the better places in London to get a full range of that brewer's beers. Like most traditional pubs, you can get a decent meal and a pint for a reasonable price considering you are in the middle of a big city. One of the unique features of The Lamb are "snob screens," a Victorian-era piece of bar decor that has pretty much disappeared. A snob screen consists of framed etched glass on a swivel that can be adjusted to obscure the view of others in the pub. Ever felt like you could use a little more privacy at a bar or wish you could build a wall to block out a nearby jabber jaw? The snob screen is for you.

The Lamb is the kind of a London pub you'd expect on a Hollywood backlot. There's lot's of wood, comfortable seating, old photographs and a collection of interesting stuff. There is a small patio and some seats just outside the front of the pub, perfect for warm evenings. Thinking back I wonder how many other students in London during the last quarter century have discovered The Lamb?

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