What does a pub look like in 2019? That’s the question posed by the owners of the recently reopened The Devereux, which first came into being in 1677 as The Grecian Coffee House. A mere 343 years later, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was only the name that had changed – it’s hidden away in a courtyard in Temple’s legal quarter, flanked by old-fashioned hanging baskets and oaken barrels. Inside, it’s all dark wood panelling, with board games in the corner and pickled eggs behind the taps.
Look a little further, though, and you’ll see that The Devereux is actually modern – maybe even ‘woke’. While I wasn’t taken aback by the decor (not to mention the fact that the most exotic snacks were Tayto crisps), I was pleasantly surprised by the drinks. The pub champions Toast Ale, a London brew made from bread that would otherwise be binned. And the fridges were filled with beers by Lewisham’s Ignition, who employ locals with learning difficulties. Even plastic straws are out in favour of hollowed-out tubes of dry pasta.
It may not be extravagant, but The Devereux has heart – and a finger on the pulse of the capital. Add to that a surprisingly quiet location for somewhere just off the Strand, and there are far worse pubs for a very modern, thoroughly old-fashioned post-work tipple.