Grade II-listed French pub in London's Soho lifts ban on pints

Grade II-listed French pub in London’s Soho lifts 100-year ban on pints to reduce contact between staff and customers amid coronavirus crisis

  • The French House in Soho, London, has only served half pints of beer 
  • Distancing rules mean there’s room for one bartender, where there’s usually five
  • The French House has counted Francis Bacon and Dylan Thomas as regulars 

As a bohemian mecca, The French House has counted Francis Bacon, Dylan Thomas and Lucian Freud among its regulars. But none of them could enjoy a pint at the London watering hole.

The landmark Soho pub has only served halves of beer to preserve its Gallic ambience. But now Covid-19 has put paid to that century-old practice.

Distancing rules mean there is only room for one bartender and serving pints will mean less visits to the bar.

Landmark Soho pub The French House has only served halves of beer to preserve its Gallic ambience

Landlady Lesley Lewis, 65, said: ‘On a Friday night, there would usually be five bartenders to serve hundreds of customers – now we can only have one. It is a shame.’ Ms Lewis and her late husband, journalist Noel Botham, took over the listed pub in 1989.

Artist Anthony Hawken, 72, visits four times a week. He said: ‘I won’t be drinking a pint in here. It’s not right. I understand why it’s had to be done, but I won’t break the tradition.’

But diehard regulars can be glad one tradition has survived – mobile telephones are still banned.

Landlady Lesley Lewis, 65, said they would usually have five bartenders to serve hundreds of customers on a Friday night but they now only have one

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