London’s theatre culture is world famous, and forms a major part of the local creative culture. One of the lesser-known aspects of theatrical life in the city, theatre pubs provide an intimate and convivial setting for plays and productions, as well as allowing new talent to find a platform. Here’s a few of the best theatre pubs in the capital…
Situated in Islington, this theatre pub is a popular spot for catching a new play in the city during your stay at a hotel in Chelsea. It first opened in 1995, and has since risen to become one of the most prominent fringe venues in London, supporting and fostering top new talent.
Yet as well as this support for new creatives, the theatre has also worked with big names – making it an intriguing and energising space which, alongside its theatrical works, also hosts regular comedy nights.
First founded in 1980, the Finborough provides a cosy 55-seat theatre just above a popular Brompton pub. The space has won rave reviews from critics, thanks to its support for emerging British writers in the genres of musical theatre and traditional plays.
In addition, the Finborough has made a name for itself amongst theatre fans for staging neglected pieces written predominantly during the 19th and 20th centuries. The venue has won a series of awards for its great work, and productions staged here have a tendency to eventually find their way to the West End.
Old Red Lion Theatre
Another Islington staple, the Old Red Lion was first built in 1415, and the theatre located on the first floor opened in 1979. This mixture of old and new provides a great heritage feel, and the venue has won a wide variety of awards as well as helping to transfer many of its plays to the West End stage.
As well as supporting great talent, the venue regularly hosts theatrically-minded figures including lots of popular celebrities from the acting world. While you’re staying at luxury hotels in Chelsea this is a great place to see a show or simply enjoy a few drinks in good company.
With 67 seats in its theatre, this venue is located in a Victorian-era music hall, providing a wonderful atmosphere. Having hosted some of the biggest talents of a bygone era, including the likes of Charlie Chaplin, it’s London’s first ‘multi-media theatre pub’, and organises regular art exhibitions as well as theatre productions, perfect for enjoying some local culture while you stay at your hotel in Chelsea.
Located in Notting Hill, this 75-seat theatre has capacity for a larger audience than many of the additions to this list, yet it’s also one of the smallest venues which classify as theatre pubs in the city.
The venue was established in 1925 under a different name, and located in Covent Garden. After suffering significant damage during the Blitz, the Gate Theatre replaced it, relocating to reside above Notting Hill’s Prince Albert Pub in 1979.