Cross Keys

© Jael Marschner
Covent Garden

Central London pubs with a local vibe are the rarest of things, which is hardly surprising when you consider price tags on Zone 1 property often sport more zeros than the binary version of ‘War and Peace’. But The Cross Keys is precisely that – with its canopy of copper implements, garish carpet and walls covered in vintage beeraphernalia, it feels like it hasn’t changed for 30 years. It’s a look which, these days, is uncommon enough to be endearing and, when paired with a line-up of mass-produced lager and real ale, evokes memories of a bygone era of boozing.

Best of all, though, despite the local competition, the Cross Keys makes zero effort to appeal to tourists. Sort of ironic really, as standing outside in the failing sunlight, sipping a pint, taking deep lungfuls of the aroma wafting down from the nearby chippie, is one of the most perfectly English experiences you’ll get in the West End.

Venue name: Cross Keys
Address: 31 Endell Street
Opening hours: Open 11am-11pm Mon-Sat; noon-10.30pm Sun. Food served noon-2.30pm Mon-Fri; noon-3pm Sat, Sun
Transport: Tube: Covent Garden tube

Average User Rating

2.2 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:6
1 person listening
Disgusted Londoner

We went there after our staff xmas party. The guy behind the bar is frankly shocking. We were outside and i was standing with one of the guys from work. The guy from behind the bar came out to collect glasses and instead of asking the guy i was with to move out of the way he actually pushed him out the way. This resulted in a scuffle and he didn't hold back on spewing foul, offensive comments. One of which was 'when you have worked out what to say in ENGLISH come and tell me yeah'. We were a party made up of a diverse range of people, English people included. I was frankly disgusted. Judging from some comments here we should not have been surprised. He then came back out and I then found him literally trying to strangle the guy who i had been with earlier with his own scarf. London is a multicultural hub and i was appalled to hear comments like his from someone working in central london. Will never return or recommend.


Thank god for 'time out' thankfully I read the reviews below and will not be visiting on my night out tonight! Homophobic behaviour is unacceptable! I hope these people learn to be decent!


Andy and partner ; if you do read this . I have contacted Brodies Brewery and they are taking my complaint further . Debbi


My group and I were sat near Andy ( see below) an his partner , we had an exchange with the bar manager sadly after Andy left and we realised what had happened, we thought them a lovely couple and holding hands with the occasional kiss, homophobic and arrogant behaviour by the bar manager , no email contact details on their web site to complain - Sorry Andy for not realising while you were still there ! Debbi 1 star as had to give to be able to post - but avoid it !


Homophobic bar manager. Told to drink up and go for sitting holding hands. Bar manager said "your sort should be in a sauna" and "this is a family place" and "don't bother complaining because it wont work" avoid this place like plague.

Al Blaney

Proper pub*. Welcoming but not over-friendly. Authentic atmosphere. Beer looked after properly. Food value for money. Real honest Britain. (*None of this new-age rubbish where the tourist pound is more important.)


I like Jeanie's comment, as I was working that night, which means that my service was just complimented. It's an awesome pub and there aren't many around like it, especially in Covent Garden. It is a little bit like working in a furnace though.


Really nice pub, staff are friendly great atmosphere load of interesting things on the walls and clean toilets!!!