The Imperial is a friendly, comfortable pub in central London that offers a reprieve from the chaos of Leicester Square.
This Taylor Walker pub in Leicester Square is a refreshing change from the glut of tourist traps nearby. Though the website claims the pub is based in Soho, The Imperial is in fact a two-minute walk from Leicester Square tube and sits opposite the dreadful M&M World store. However, it's just hidden enough from the main square (down a side street) that there isn't a huge amount of passing foot traffic, and so it doesn't fill with tourists as quickly as you might expect.
From the outside, The Imperial looks very traditional, and a sign by the door informs punters that the pub is named in honour of Queen Victoria, Britain's longest reigning monarch. Though inside, it feels more modern than the pub's name would have you believe. Chesterfield sofas, floral wallpaper, wooden floors and chilled pop music in the background definitely bring The Imperial nicely into the 21st century, while theatrical fringed curtains give a nod to the culture and history of central London.
Despite being a fairly simple, traditional London pub in Leicester Sqaure, The Imperial has a really nice, cosy vibe. Not terribly busy during the day, it's a nice place to get some peace and quiet in the midst of the hustle and bustle of London's busiest tourist hub. The staff are very friendly and aim to make everybody feel at home. A beautifully illustrated blackboard welcomes customers to The Imperial 'from Mark and the team', which is a friendly touch. They also have a sign at the bar stating they make regular donations to Great Ormand Street Hospital and encourage punters to cough up, too.
The lengthy, hearty menu is consistent with the rest of the chain, offering classics like bangers and mash (£8.49), cod and chips (£11.99), and chicken burgers (£10.49), but there are also more unusual offerings like red pepper and brie cheesecake (£10.49) and Korean spiced chicken salad (£9.99).
On draught you'll find Old Rosie, Lancaster Bomber, Tribute, Leffe and Guinness, as well as a selection of world beers including Punk IPA and Honeydew. There's also a large collection of malt whiskeys available. A glass of house wine goes for just £3.99.
The Last Word
This is one of the nicer and more affordable pubs in Leicester Square and you're always guaranteed a warm welcome, so The Imperial is definitely worth a visit for lunch or a few afternoon drinks if you're in town.