This small but handsome Fuller’s pub in the heart of Sloane Ranger territory offers a warm welcome to a varied public and top quality fine ales.
A short step from Sloane Square and the Royal Court Theatre, the Antelope is a former mews pub originally intended for servants when the big terraces were being developed around here in the late 17th century. The interior of this small pub has been refitted much more recently but retains a traditional layout and style, and a basic, almost Spartan approach with a certain restrained elegance. There’s lots of old wood around an island bar, with simple benches and drinking shelves, leather armchairs around a real fire, a chess table, a lovely little room off to the left and extra space in the ‘Eaton Room’ upstairs, accessed via a staircase lined with Canaletto prints. Note the early Sunday closing.
Other pubs might have darts teams but this is Chelsea after all and the Antelope has a cricket club, although established only in 1991. Even so it’s an egalitarian place, a relaxed and charming retreat with one of those pub atmospheres where everything seems to fall magically into place. Prices are reasonable for the area, and cut glass accents are by no means obligatory. The big screen is reserved for major events, including cricket, on broadcast TV. The one wrong note is the recorded music, which is at low volume but given the main activity of quiet conversation, really doesn’t need to be there at all. Its absence could only enhance a traditional pub like this.
Appropriately the pub serves pub grub with flair, at prices which, though not bargain basement, are reasonable given the area. Main course options might include chick pea, cherry tomato and fresh herb salad (£8.95), home made burgers (£8.95), maple glazed gammon egg and chips (£8.25), game and mushroom pie (£9.95) or wild mushroom linguine (£9.50), while sandwiches and jackets are lighter options. The upstairs space was formerly used for restaurant-style dining but this is no longer the case and food is now ordered at the bar.
A well kept range of Fuller’s beers leads the drinks offer at this Good Beer Guide listed, Cask Marque accredited pub. The pub is a regular stockist of hoppy Bengal Lancer as well as London Pride, ESB and Discovery, plus (unusually for a Fuller’s pub) a guest ale which might come from, for example, Brains or Castle Rock. There’s a few Fuller’s bottles too, including 1845 and Past Masters beers, and Honeydew on keg. Over 30 wines are kept on a varietal-based list, with 12 by the glass (from £2.60). A small range of single malts rounds things out.
The Last Word
An understatedly excellent and thoroughly convivial place in which to enjoy a pint or two, perhaps while playing a game of chess or pondering a cricket almanac.