The Open Guide to London: the free London guide - Differences between Version 12 and Version 11 of Pakenham Arms, WC1X 0LA

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summary='Postie pub, which serves real ale with interesting hours' website='' summary='Postie pub, which serves real ale with interesting hours'
summary='Postie pub, which serves real ale with interesting hours'

Photos by Ivor Williams, 2005

Pakenham Arms

Side view

Pawnbrokers sign

Not particularly close to any Underground station, the Pakenham Arms is an unexpected Real Ale pub on the eastern borders of Bloomsbury. This pub is referred to in some circles as the "postie pub", owing to the large clientelle from the Mount Pleasant Sorting Office, just across the road.


London Pride is standard, but there are usually six or seven other real ales on handpump.

Summer Ale £2.50 as of June 2003.


Some people who have rate this quite highly. Cheap and copious.

I had the lasagne at £4.25 - it was quite competent, came with chips and a small but nice salad. (Prices as of June 2003) Other dishes were things like Thai green curry, sausage and mash, fish and chips, pork chops, chilli con carne, that kind of thing. All around a fiver or less. --Kake

In November 2005 I had a rather good chicken Caesar salad there for, I think, £4.95. -- Earle

Service and Ambience

Sporting events are covered (sometimes two at once), but even then it's possible to find somewhere to sit down. This place is the local for the Mount Pleasant Sorting Office (hence the late licence); it's a cheerful crowd for the most part.

Service is fairly efficient; they won't take away a glass that still has beer in it (unlike some more "modern" establishments).

The walls are covered with old-style bar mirrors and 1930s(?)-era film posters.

No music.


One large U-shaped room surrounding the bar; wooden chairs, benches and barstools.


The toilets are apparently of variable quality; they're also down and up a few steps.

Other Reviews

A recent experience (free beer and food): IvorW writes

Having given the evening over to finding a venue for the OpenGuides BOF at the London Perl Workshop (the workshop is at City University), I find myself meandering in Clerkenwell and Farringdon.

I checked over the Betsy Trotwood, and peered into a few other pubs, including the Calthorpe Arms, before gravitating to the Pakenham Arms, where I knew I should be able to get a decent pint.

When I went through the door, I was presented with a numbered ticket entitling me to a drink (in my case a pit of real ale).

Having claimed my pint, I found myself getting into conversation with the proprietor about OpenGuides, arrangements for Saturday and much else.

As the evening progressed, several bar maids circulated with trays of nibbles. From King Prawns to Canapés of olives and cheese, fish cakes and mussels in garlic.

This was altogether a pleasant experience. They were celebrating getting their late licence approved, and were also celebrating a "relaunch" - presumably, new management of the pub.

I am recommmending this venue for the BOF with no hesitation.

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