Walkers of St James is a warm, subterranean bar in Piccadilly that offers a rare combination: affordability and quality.
Walkers of St James is decorated to a modern standard whilst retaining its authentic English pub feel. As you enter and descend the wooden stairs, a massive Ford Maddox Brown painting of rural England (courtesy of the City Of Manchester) greets you. Descending further into the low-lit venue, it reveals itself as being more spacious than you might expect. The main seating area has a low ceiling and dark wood tables and chairs (gleaned from antique markets), and the walls are crimson complete with sport-framed mirrors and golden figurines. The bar itself is at a lower level at the far end.
With all that wood, dark decor and candles on the tables in the evening, Walkers of St James has a warm, snug feeling. The sort of place you could find yourself in for a long afternoon session with work buddies or friends as the hours tick by unnoticed.
The menu at Walkers of St James is based on traditional pub fare, but enhanced with quality ingredients and preparation. Expect dishes like beer battered fish and chips (£8.50) and beef burgers (£8.95), which are big and juicy. There is also a selection of salads and sandwiches for a lighter meal. A separate evening menu comprises some of the same dishes, plus a tapas selection including stuffed vine leaves, tortilla, patatas bravas (in a rich, sweet and spicy tomato sauce), chorizo and taramasalata, which is the natural, uncoloured kind and is particularly creamy.
Beers on tap include Peroni, Becks Vier, Cobra and Carling, as well as Deuchars, Black Sheep, Pedigree, Guinness and Addlestones cloudy cider. The price of a pint starts from a very reasonable £3.10. In bottles there’s San Miguel, Pilsner Urquell, Red Stripe, Corona and Bulmers cider. Wine comes in at between £12.50 and £25.50 a bottle (the latter being a rather good, dry, premier cru Chablis) with glasses costing between £3.50 and £5.50. There’s the usual range of spirits, with an emphasis on Absolut and Finlandia flavoured vodkas (raspberry, citron, cranberry, pepper, mango, mandarin and vanilla), as well as the house Smirnoff vodka.
The Last Word
Walkers Of St James is a traditional pub with all the modern touches you would expect. Warmly welcoming.