Top 10: November 2009

Our November 2009 selection
Richard I, London
As long as we've known it - and it's been a long time - Richard I has been a great pub. It's everything a good local should be. As you'd expect, it does excellent Young's beer, the service is polite, friendly and prompt and the food comes recommended. As it is a popular place, seats inside can...
Coal Hole, London
Probably the most famous pub in the area, the Coal Hole is pretty much unchanged over the years, although it has had its ups and downs. Built in a corner of the Savoy Hotel complex, the pub has a medieval (circa 1904) style décor - dark beams, leaded lights, stone flag floors etc. - lending it a...
Old Red Lion Theatre, London
The ideal spot to sink your life savings in producing and premiering the play what you wrote - and then drown your sorrows on the proceeds of the handful of tickets you actually managed to sell. The little theatre upstairs...
The Dovetail Bar, London
Like its sister pub, the Dove in Broadway Market, Hackney, the Dovetail Bar specialises in things Belgian - strong beer beer, moules frites etc, plus more esoteric Continental stuff such as Genevers and the like. While typical English pub fare (burgers and lagers) is available, the more curious...
Fentiman Arms, London
Stepping out from Vauxhall station into the grim urban chaos which greets you, you'd never think you were only ten minutes or so walk from a smart gastropub. Though once you start passing the large Victorian houses of Fentiman Street you realise Geronimo Inns did their homework and that there are...
Duke of Wellington, London
For a few years now the Wellington has been a pleasant enough pub catering for the gentrified young locals who call Dalston home. However, a makeover took place in 2009 improved things considerably. The main room, is decorated in a toned down to a more pub-like black, but happily what was left of...
Cock Tavern, London
We were taken aback when we passed by here and saw signs advertising 'Live Jazz'. Given that the pub used to shut up shop of an afternoon the fact that it was even open at night - let alone showcasing live music - took us a bit by surprise. We knew Smithfield's future is far from secure but had...
The Cat's Back, London
Pubs that go for that 'junk shop' look often appear a tad knowing, but the Cat's Back makes it look effortless and as a result seems to get away with it. Sure, you're surrounded by more random objects here than in the BBC Props Department, but there's a pleasant feel to the place, helped by a...
Duchess, London
Now in new hands (again), the Duchess really isn't faring that well. Having briefly been a haven for whiskey lovers, this is once more heading towards the traditional run down pub territory. It looks rather dark and forelorn compared to some of the more boisterous boozers nearer Battersea. The...
Prince of Wales, London
The Flask seems to get all the attention round these parts, though we're not complaining as it usually means more space in this one. The Prince of Wales' olde worlde interior may not be as rambling as The Flask's, but it's certainly on the right side of cosy. Plenty of beers on tap and the menu...