The Counting House has the model good looks but is there a personality to match?
Surrounded by the quaint public garden of St Peters church is the behemoth that is the Counting House. Its grandeur is only eclipsed by its size and it muddles minds with its beauty. There are two entrances, one is from the street but the more enjoyable route will take you past the church and along a narrow passageway to its rear.
Upon entry you’ll be greeted with a small study complete with large, green leather armchairs, low lit reading lamps and thick cosy carpet. This is just one of the many rooms that surround the main bar. On the short journey through to the pub proper the attention is grabbed by gold framed pictures of London landmarks that line the walls and guide the way.
Entering the main bar, the huge glass dome that hovers over the room will call to you with sunlight streaming through its gaping chasm above. The large grand bar is at the epicentre of the room, situated below the dome, and is a sight to behold. There are plush leather sofas, armchairs and a mezzanine hitched up into the air where golden chandeliers reside for voyeurs to enjoy the sights below them. From this viewing gallery you can see that it’s a bit of a shame that things below are spoilt by the flashing LEDs of fruit machines and the foreign shapes of cigarette machines, their presence upsetting the history of the place. This is really a mute point though as the Counting House seduces all with the classy charisma of its interior.
The foundations of the Counting House must shake when it hears the drab sounds of radio pop trickling through the speakers and this is a place that deserves better. Classical strings should play over the bar, bouncing off the domed windows and creating drama in a setting that craves it. Instead, it ends up feeling a little like a Wetherspoon chain pub and although there’s nothing wrong with this in some cases, here it’s a travesty.
The clientele are a mixture, from the local City crowd to all day drinkers who relish the surroundings. The volume of the pub means that it takes a lot to look like it’s anywhere near full during the day. The evenings are packed though and the balcony fills up quickly with people looking for the number one spot. By night and with the cover of loud, excitable voices, the shortcomings of the atmosphere during the day are forgotten and there is a pleasant and controlled rowdiness.
The menu isn’t covering any new ground here and the main meals can be found at all the Fullers pubs. The standard pub fare is about all you should expect but quite rightly the pies have been commented on positively. Also platters are an interesting proposition if you’re attending with company. They include a vegetarian plate, pie tasting plate and meat plate. There is a specials menu that comes out daily and if you’re looking for anything a little out of the ordinary then this should make more exciting reading.
The Fullers powerhouse is in full effect here and there’s a real treat to be had with so many beers on offer. There is the crisp Discovery or the sweetness of Honey Dew and Porter. Beware though, these are on the expensive side. If you gaze across the bar then you’ll see all your favourite brands including Leffe, Becks Vier and Peroni, while there is a further selection of ales like Chiswick, London Pride and HSB.
The Last Word
The Counting House is a strange place to work out because on one hand it’s one of the true beauties of the pub scene, but on the other it’s a product of its environment within the Square Mile and lacks a great deal of diversity.