Golden Lion is a classic old pub in the bustling centre of St James with many finely restored Victorian features.
Golden Lion is a small, compact boozer on King Street, just off St James Street. On two levels, with a dining room upstairs and a bar on the main floor, it is packed out most evenings. There is a small, sheltered area to the side for outdoor drinking and smoking. The Golden Lion is handsome and its period features have been lovingly restored. The fine-looking tiled frieze over the bar and stained glass windows are nice touches, as are the etched mirrors behind the bar.
The Golden Lion is filled with a pinstripe suit crowd of bankers and hedge fund workers. They are polite and orderly - queuing at the bar is essential. The bar staff pull pints as quickly as they can to keep up with demand and are friendly.
London Pride, Timothy Taylors Landlord Ale and Hogs Back Brewerys Tea Ale are on draught alongside Kirin, San Miguel, Amstel and Fosters, all at regular Central London prices. Wine by the glass and bottle seem to be a popular choice with the sophisticated crowd.
The Last Word
This is a lovely little genuine pub - authentic and very real - in surroundings that can often seem surreal in their opulence.