The Market Tavern in Mayfair is a poshed-up backstreet pub so appropriate for its audience.
Nestled in Mayfair’s Shepherd Market, the Market Tavern takes on a boutiquey appearance from afar, its slick black frontage decorated with delicate gold lettering spelling out the pub’s name. This means it fits in to this posh part of town so well, and the interior doesn’t let it down either. As a part of the Mitchells and Butler stable of London pubs, individuality matters most here, and Market Tavern is a small and chic space with wooden floorboards, bold wallpaper, a cornflower blue colour code and pretty vases on windowsills. Seating is fairly sparse as the pub is so small and dominated by a rather large and three-sided bar in the centre. Upstairs is a separate dining room, which is dubbed the Chesterfield Room and takes on a much more broody look that suits its name, all red walls, dark rugs and formal table setup. It has its own bar and can accommodate around 15 to 20 covers.
This pub is so popular with after work drinkers – so much so that seating inside will be hard to come by and patrons fill out the pavement by the entrance from very early on. But that won’t matter, as you’ll be rubbing shoulders with a very select crowd of suited office workers from the Mayfair surrounds. Their swanky office location doesn’t mean they don’t like to let their hair down and the predominantly male crowd can get very lively on the right day of the week. Expect a bit of a wait at the bar, but that won’t matter too much when there’s such a buzz about the place.
Brunch, dinner and Sunday lunch are all options in the Chesterfield Room, and weeknight dining is extremely popular so you’d be advised to book ahead. Food does come with the Mayfair price tag, but you can order such tempting gastro pub grub as ox cheek and red wine pie (£12), Norfolk pork belly with caramelised apple mash (£15) or cider and tarragon battered cod (£12). Or for less posh pub dining, Market Tavern keeps it down to earth with a pork and chorizo burger (£11.25). A fixed price menu is more realistic for those unaccustomed to the high-rolling life, with two courses for £10 and three for £13. Included on this list is a salted caramel and chocolate tart with clotted cream, which is nigh on impossible to resist.
Lagers, real ales and a good selection of wine is stocked at the bar. Choose from Kozel, Vetlins and Grolsch on draught, to name a few, while Sharp’s Doombar, Oxfordshire Ales and Portobello Brewery’s VPA are just a few cask conditioned ales you can expect to see – after all, the pub has a Cask Marque accreditation to maintain. Stateside craft beers haven’t passed Market Tavern by either, with Brooklyn and Sierra Nevada both on tap. There’s an excellent selection of whites and reds by the glass to complete the round-up, including a refreshing and crisp Sauvignon Blanc at £6.35 for a large glass – well, it is Mayfair.
The Last Word
Market Tavern is a classy looking pub that fits in well to its Shepherd Market surroundings. Its excellent food and drink offering guarantee the suits in the area flock here after hours.