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French House information

Soho's French House is a busy bar with a colourful history. They offer a selection of beers available by the bottle or half pint only, along with an extensive range of wines and their renowned Bloody Mary. Mobile phones are not allowed in the bar so you can enjoy your drink in peace.

Ranked #1487 of 5241 restaurants in London

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French House reviews



By M S.

Shockingly unfriendly and, based on website information, economic with the facts regarding children access - this website for example directs that children are OK until 6pm. Avoid would be my recommendation.


By Louise B.

A beautiful little gem of a pub. I like the fact that it has its rules and sticks to them, only halves served here.


By Nick S.

Staff are terrible and miserable! We were a small group having some drinks and chatting on a Saturday afternoon and spent a small fortune on drinks but at two points we were told to 'Shhhhh' Like we were children! The female bar staff clearly that 'shhhh' us were just rude!


By Steven J.

Disappointed. Having picked up a free London guide from a railway station this morning that included a review of the French House, I thought I'd pop in after work and have a look. On entering, the place looked as though it might be interesting, but was so cramped and crowded that there was no chance of taking a look around. As for the 'ladies' behind the bar ... uncharming, unwelcoming and decidedly lacking in customer service skills. Probably won't visit again.


By Kelly H.

The French House is a bohemian refuge and has long been a Soho institution. And so trendy media types continue to flock here, along with anyone seeking out the equally popular Polpetto restaurant upstairs…

The Venue
The French House has a fantastic location right in the heart of Soho. It’s a very historic place, having been the meeting point for the French Resistance during World War II, and also proving to be a popular spot for writers Dylan Thomas and Francis Brown, and this is evident in its (non-cheesy) theme. Well, a little cheesy. The exterior is inviting, decked out as a traditional British boozer all in black with a bold golden sign – the only thing that suggests otherwise is the name emblazoned on that sign and the French flags hanging outside. Inside, the dinky little space has a real Bboho vibe that you can’t help but think would benefit from ignoring the smoking ban (and I say that as a non-smoker) as it’s easy to imagine the smoky atmosphere heightening this pub’s appeal. As it is, the heavy wooden bar and few wooden tables and chairs and high stools have the welcoming charm of any other traditional pub, and it’s all cosied up thanks to the dark red walls literally covered in photos of famous French people. Upstairs used to be the French House restaurant but now houses the incredibly popular Polpetto restaurant.

The Atmosphere
The French House has a slight air of pomp about it – like it knows it’s a cool hang out – but then it IS a cool hang out, so it’s difficult to judge it too harshly for being just a bit smug. It does attract a disproportionately high number of Soho media types, but it has started to become a more diluted crowd thanks to the fame of Polpetto upstairs, which has led to more diners popping in for a quick pre-or-post-dinner drink. And that is a good thing as the slight air of pomp has also become diluted. Bizarrely, they claim to have a no mobile phones rule, but this does not seem to be adhered to – and why should it? Maybe it’s to stop people taking sneaky phone photos of all the ‘celebrities’ that drink here. They may well do, but don’t hold your breath.

The Drink
The French have introduced a lot of great things to Britain: creme brulee, fine wine, French kissing… But the half pint? Yup, that’s right – you cannot buy a pint here. And it’s a little hard to see why they’ve adopted this measure as they do offer draught beer here. And, of course, they have an above-average (mainly French, naturally) wine list that really does look to showcase why they believe they rule when it comes to the grape.

The Last Word
The French House is certainly a cool bohemian hang-out. The only problem is, it really knows it.


By Steven C.

The bar staff almost immediately took a dislike to us, I suspect because our group did not fit their preferred clientele profile. i.e. pretentious and Caucasian. They were very rude almost from the outset and one female member of staff was particularly set on making us most unwelcome. Although the doorman was stood approximately 2 metres away and paid us no mind, the aforementioned female member of bar staff (who was at least twice the distance away) started shouting at us to "shush" across the noisy bar room in a very aggressive manner. She was particularly picking out my Chinese girlfriend as the source of the entire din in the bar. On two occasions my girlfriend wasn't actually speaking at the time when she was ordered to shush and when she does speak she is softly spoken. A couple who sat near us protested her innocence as they saw she wasn't actually speaking at the time. We were a group of 4 (one Iraqi, one Chinese and 2 English) and we were not making more noise than anyone else and we certainly were not being rowdy, she just didn't like us. People do talk in bars but not this one, not unless you want to be confronted by a growling barmaid and thrown out. A second female member of staff followed us out and started shouting at my girlfriend in an attempt to escalate the situation on the street. The place is staffed by unprofessional, aggressive, vacuous, pretentious, wannabees (with the exception of the doorman who was professional and polite throughout). This is the first bar I have ever been in where the bar staff try to start fights. All style, no substance and certainly not the place to go if talking to friends or having a good time is your thing!


By Richard D.

That was 'The Rubbish Men', and a dandy pair they are. This is the only pub in Soho I ever go to, not so much a pub as a front room. Why does this website show a pint at the top of this listing when we only serve halfs? Why? To keep the riff raf out of course! You still get morons indignantly ordering 'Two halfs then!' when told we don't serve pints. Once bitten you will never enter the portals of another watering hole in Soho again. Very good dining rooms upstairs too sir.


By W.

Went to the French House last night with a friend. Absolutely fantastic place - very lively, very friendly, great atmosphere, and loads of interesting drawings/photographs all over the walls. It's a very small place, but somehow this "smallness" actually makes for a better venue!

There was live music in the corner - a couple of guys dressed in 18th century attire, singing "Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells" whilst playing a keyboard. Everyone was joining in with the singing. Tremendous fun. One of the best pubs I've ever been to.

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