Dotted around our fair city are plenty of pubs with chin-stroke-inducing names. A plethora of these reference obscure traditions. Some tell of unusual past lives the building once had. Others, are named for figures of local interest. And finally some are named after people — or animals — that only exist in works of fiction. Today, we’re focusing on that last category, fictional characters immortalised in London’s pubs.
The Owl and the Pussycat, Ealing/Shoreditch
There are two The Owl and the Pussycat pubs in London, both inspired by Edward Lear’s masterpiece. Let’s start with the lesser known of the two, The Owl and the Pussycat micropub in Ealing. This is west London’s first micropub, and it’s taken up residence in a former children’s bookshop. The pub serves beers from the owners’ Marko Paulo microbrewery based in the back room, along with kegged beers, which is rather unusual for a micropub.
Amusingly, the pub’s website has an employee of the month competition. By August 2018 the pussycat had won the title 13 times, compared to the owl’s paltry eight.
The other pub named after Lear’s poem lives in buzzy Shoreditch. Or perhaps it’s the other way round; on some Friday evenings it feels like Shoreditch’s buzz emanates from The Owl and the Pussycat and the swell of people spilling out onto the street. This is much more than a post-work drinking hole though — there’s an extensive menu offering pies, roasts, fish and chips and other pub classics. But if it’s booze you’re after, then head upstairs to the dedicated cocktail bar enticingly/unnervingly (delete as appropriate) called The Jago.
The Owl and the Pussycat (Ealing micropub), 106 Northfield Avenue, W13 9RT
The Owl and the Pussycat (Shoreditch), 34 Redchurch Street, E2 7DP