11 of the strangest pub names in London

London pubs have a reputation for being filled with many a weird and wonderful person; but what about the pubs that gain their weird reputation on name alone – in the most literal sense.

Here’s our list of the pubs with names that make us stop and look twice, before going into them to ask the barman for a drink and a quick explanation.

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese

This pub takes the classic Ye Olde name to new cheesy heights.

The grade II listen public house pulls in the crowds not just because of its oddball name: It’s said that famous literary figures such as Mark Twain, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens and P.G. Wodehouse all drunk away their sorrows in this establishment.

So if you’re into drinking, reading and ridiculously named pubs, you shouldn’t pass up the chance to take a whiff of Ye Olde Chesire Cheese.

The Hung, Drawn and Quartered

This pub isn’t just named Hung Drawn and Quartered to stand out from the crowd: it’s actually situated adjacent to the famous Tower Hill execution site. Such famous historical figures as Thomas Cromwell and Sir Thomas More have come to an untimely demise near this drinking hole.

Be careful not to drink too much here – you might just lose your head…

The Pyrotechnists Arms

Ewan Munro / Flickr/  CC

This proper old man’s boozer has an explosive reputation for being a fire-cracker of a place to drink. Known for bringing people of all walks of life together, The Pyrotechnists Arms is a source of many talking points with its Guy Fawkes memorabilia plastered walls, hinting at governmental plots and clandestine engagements.

Built on the site of an old gunpowder factory, fireworks have been known to go off in this place on a Friday night… figuratively speaking that is.

The Walrus and the Carpenter

The walrus and the carpenter
Ewan Munro/ Flickr / CC

For those who are thinking that you must have missed that particular story in the Bible – you really have to catch up on your Lewis Carroll reading.

The fantastically named The Walrus & The Carpenter is a reference to the narrative poem which can be found in Carroll’s childhood classic Through The Looking Glass. 

It’s appropriately named, as once you step into this pub you enter a wonderland of craft ales and gins. Just watch out for Tweedledum and Tweedledee in the corner, they’re downright trouble makers…

Job Centre

This is one job centre where you are sure to get some of what you’re looking for.

The rather unsettling fact about this pub is that it was an actual proper job centre before it became the trendy hangout it is today. It’s generally been seen as a manifestation of gentrification in certain areas of London – airing a little too close to mocking the working class that once resided in the newly renovated surroundings.

If you’re more about drinking the brew than signing on to it, then this could be the watering hole for you.

The Bleeding Heart Tavern

If you’re thinking about taking your first date to the romantic sounding Bleeding Heart Tavern, perhaps you should think again.

The pub gets its name from the 17th Century legend of Lady Elizabeth Hatton, who was captured and killed by one of her suitors. In the morning she was found tore limb from limb, as her beating heart still pumped blood on the courtyard.

That very courtyard is where pub is alleged to be situated, hence the lovely romantic sounding name.

I Am The Only Running Footman

This upscale gastro-pub situated in the heart of bustling Mayfair is famed for great food and the most charmingly ambiguous of names.

The name actually has (as many of you history buffs will know) rather odd connotations: the running footman was the manservant of Georgian aristocrats, who would run behind their carriages and pay toll-fees. The pubs location is rumoured to be where the footmen would meet on a regular bases – seeking solace from their masters.

Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town

Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town
Ewan Munro/ Flickr / CC

This trendy, hipster magnet of a bar lives up to its idiosyncratic name.

To enter it you must announce that you’re here to see the mayor then pass through a Smeg fridge that acts as a front door. If you thought that was fun enough, inside you will be treated to a host of unusual and wonderful things from a wall mounted moose head to “the world’s second smallest disco”.

C’mon, how much fun does that sound?!

The Moon Under Water

This J.D. Wetherspoon owned establishment gathers visitor the world over. Why would a Wetherspoons ever garner vistors from anywhere, you may ask? Well the secret is all in the name.

The Moon Under The Water is a nice enough sounding name, but once you are made aware that it was the title of the essay by George Orwell on what will make the perfect pub, the popularity of it begins to make a little more sense.

In the essay he laid down 10 rules in which a pub should follow to be perfect. Somehow I’m sure they didn’t include 1pm chugging sessions followed by a Thursday night curry club special…

The Case is Altered

The Case is Altered
Maureen Barlin / Flickr / CC

Yet again another literary reference, The Case is Altered is named after the little known Ben Johnson’s comedic play.

This obscurely named pub isn’t a one off either: there are dozens of public houses all over the country named the very same, making his work nearly as celebrated as his significantly more celebrated rival for the bard, Shakespeare.

I’d take a pub name over torturing high school students the country over anytime.

Dirty Dicks

With a name that sounds like it could be a location in a Carry On film (or a stripper joint depending on your disposition), Dirty Dicks must attract as much people who stand outside it to take a picture as it has people drinking inside it.

The name is a little more innocent than it sounds. The original Dirty Dick, was an 18th century dandy who, after the death of his wife, refused to clean up anything around the establishments that he owned. His shops and house became so filthy that his dirty nature was known far and wide.

Let’s just hope that the owner of Dirty Dicks doesn’t take the pubs inspiration too literally – no one likes a dusty pint.

Main image: Maureen Barlin/ Flickr /CC

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