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French House

Bars and pubs, Pubs Soho
5 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(32user reviews)
French House (Ed Marshall / Time Out)
Ed Marshall / Time Out
French House (Ed Marshall / Time Out)
Ed Marshall / Time Out
French House (Ed Marshall / Time Out)
Ed Marshall / Time Out
French House (Ed Marshall / Time Out)
Ed Marshall / Time Out
French House (Ed Marshall / Time Out)
Ed Marshall / Time Out

Time Out says

5 out of 5 stars

If you like to drink in places where the history’s as important as the drinks list, the Grade II-listed French House should be on your list. Charles de Gaulle used the pub as a workplace during World War II; Dylan Thomas and Francis Bacon both drank here… the list goes on.

The interior reflects both the Gallic connection and its long standing in this most exciting of London neighbourhoods. It’s small, memento-filled, and very crowded when the place is busy. You may end up joining the regulars on the pavement outside, but that’s just part of the French House experience. Food is served during the daytime only, and beer, famously, is served only in halves. This is Soho history. Come and suck it up.

By: Richard Ehrlich



Address: 49 Dean Street
Transport: Tube: Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus tube
Opening hours: Open noon-11pm Mon-Sat; noon-10.30pm Sun. Food served Bar noon-4pm Mon-Fri. Restaurant noon-3pm, 5.30-11pm Mon-Sat
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Users say (32)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

3.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:8
  • 4 star:11
  • 3 star:6
  • 2 star:3
  • 1 star:4
1 person listening

A great atmosphere inside, the bartenders were lovely, the wine was tasty, and the crowd was buzzing. On a Saturday night, my friend and I popped in for a drink and were greeted by a sea of people but luckily, we managed to find seats at the bar to have our wine. It can get quite noisy but it's good for a quick drink if you're in the area. It's definitely cosy inside, as there isn't much space - a few tables at the back, some bar stools along the bar, and the rest of the crowd was mostly standing. 


"Two glasses of white, please." "That would be seven forty." "Excuse me?" "You heard me." That's right, ladies and gents, you heard her. It's seven pound forty pence for two glasses of no name but very drinkable white. That in the very heart of Soho, year being 2017. That's French House for you, an old boozer steeped in history in that little bit of Dean Street where it intersects Old Compton Street. I haven't been in years. I forgot how wonderful it is. It hurts to think how much money I could have saved. The place is small and covered in photo frames and memorabilia and a warning not to use mobile phones. There's also a dining room upstairs (serving food during daytime) and a tiny strip of roped off pavement for the clientele to spill into. Everyone is nice and there's that nice French touch: beers served by half pint, Breton cider and wine being a common drink of choice. Luckily, you can take us out of EU, but you can't take our French House.


This cute little Soho pub has won a stack of awards in its time and I think it's adorable. Just off Old Compton which is seething with busy bars and restaurants, The French House stands the test of time. It's absolutely miniscule and as a result always full and spilling onto the street outside. You'll get great French beer and lots to look at around the place (if you can manage to get in the door, of course). 

If you're sick of novelty bars and pop ups this stalwart of central London is the place for you. Nestles in the heart of Soho its perfectly located for after work drinks and is often bustling after half five (or a fair bit earlier around Christmas time...and the summer...) 

It's traditional, peaceful and serves a cracking red wine. do be warned it will be busy if you go at rush hour. It's central London, you will probably have to drink your drinks al pavement - but that's half the fun of it! Especially when the sun is out. 

Where else can you find a pub that only sells beer by the half pint luvey.
It's a theatrical melting pot.

No mobile phones, no footie on the telly... peace and quiet if you get into the corner ...! ! !

I honestly do think London is becoming quite oversaturated with themed pop-up novelty bars these days. They start to feel a bit soulless, and are really no more than just another Instagram opportunity. If you're looking for a place to go that's the complete polar opposite of this, you should definitely try the French House. It's got great vibes, friendly staff, and attracts the kind of crowd who actually like to make conversation rather than gazing at their smart phones all night. You could come here to meet a friend, or even out on a date - It's the perfect all-rounder bar for any and every occasion. So much warmth and character for a little old Soho pub.


It feels like this bar draws a dedicated crowd. There is always a large crowd outside! The inside is very homely. Feels like a local pub rather than a "soho" pub.

Nothing better than a Soho pub safari , and The French House is a MUST on the tour.

Love the vibe here - and the scene on the pavement when the sun shines, or the evening is warm. Our recent safari took in 6. The Dean Street Townhouse (posh but good Harviestoun beer ) The Toucan (for a Guinness) The Spice of Life (music room downstairs) The AlleyCat on Denmark Street (the place is jumping to live music ) and sadly , but it was late, The Crobar on Mannet Street (It said beer , whiskey and Rock and Roll on the window so we followed the interactions)  The French House was one of the quieter but fun stops en route. 

 The bar has a homely vibe - its the sort of place you want to hole up for a good long while and tuck into a book and some cracking wines or beers.

Recently visited this pub again after quite a few years and was pleased to find it unchanged by the passing of time. Still just as atmospheric with an eclectic mix of customers. A good place to visit if you want to experience Soho as it was before gentrification set in. Crowded (it's so small it only takes about twenty people) but full of colourful characters.


My favourite place to hang out and have a drink in Soho. One of my friends from London took me here first and I loved it from the start - you can feel the history of the place and meet a variety of Londoners with loads of stories to tell. I love taking my foreigner friends in here!

Staff is not the most polite you can find around but it kind of fits the place. It's definitely worth a visit, actually, you MUST go there if you are in London!

best pub in Soho - the mix of people you won't find anywhere else - as the saying goes from prince to pauper making for a great atmosphere with great staff !!

This unpretentious soho pub is a must visit and makes a nice change to all those over the top cocktail bars springing up all over London. This place is old school and that's why I love it.

Staff Writer

Go here if you want to experience a fun Soho crowd. I love it because its unpretentious. It can get pretty packed after work, but great on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

Staff Writer

Often enjoy a drink in this venerable old pub. The history of the place gives it an added flavour of authenticity in an area which has seen so much change. Given it's small bar space it can get a little crowded on most evenings, especially on Friday and Saturday, and this does often mean a cramped drink with friends, which might put some off, but would definitely urge people to give it a try!  

There's a lot of history that goes with The French House and this is mainly why it's fun to go. You can sense how past London pissheads - artists, writers, actors - have spent their boozy nights in here, drinking their delicate half pints, or washing down gallons of wine. Whatever you do don't ask for a pint as they'll look at you funny.  The service is brash and often a bit rude and we were told off for talking loudly recently, which I think it a sign that the French House may be beginning to have seen better days. But it's still one of the most real places to drink in Soho. Although trying to get in on a busy Friday night is impossible. Daytime drinking you'll have more luck.

moderatorStaff WriterTastemaker

I find The French House a little bit over-rated, as it is not the most comfortable of establishments. The history associated with the place is clearly part of the attraction.

Staff Writer

The French House is one of those places, you love it or perhaps not love it so much. Personally I have always loved the place. Great for drinks winter or summer. Try the Normandy cider, and the wines are good too. Gives a real feel for the local area with some of the characters who frequent and dine more regularly.

A client said he really wanted to go so I was happy to give it a go, I was very pleased with the lunch and wine selection. Will definitely go back.

I will be visiting The French House for the first time next Monday when I hope to enjoy convivial company with professional wine brokers but on reading the comments contained in the remarks from visitors as recent as the 15th June 2014 I am filled with dread at the possibility of bad mannered and surly staff!

I tried to telephone the number indicated in the website but was told that despite using my landline and disclosing my ex-directory number there was a recorded message stating that " this service is not compatible with this call".

Perhaps this is all part of the perceived "French Belligerent Charm" that clearly does not sit well with the majority of patrons so why do the owners not acknowledge the complaints as they cannot all be wrong or is it me?

How do they take reservations and how or why are they still in business?

I usually have better things to do with my day than become involved in these comment pages but as a Senior Citizen I do not wish to waste time and money travelling from Hampshire for an Away Day Tipple only to find that it was ruined by staff that should have attended an anger management and charm school course.

If the owner/owners read these comments I would be delighted to establish from them if they consider the criticisms valid or that all the patrons criticism is not justified.


I was really excited about taking some American visitors here for my first visit. What a let down...I asked for my burger 'rare' but it couldn't have been more bien cuir.....when I complained to the waitress she had words with the chef. His explanation....."the herbs in the meat make it appear darker" ........REALLY!!!! My Bordeaux superior was rough to say the least. The Americans enjoyed their food but I suspect they were just being polite.


A great place for an early drink with the papers on a Saturday but the bar staff appear to have taken lessons from Parisians - very curt!!

Just noticed the negative reviews below. Yes perhaps the staff aren't always smiley and talkative but that's not what this historical pub is really about. It is an oasis of 'local' in the centre of one of the most touristy area's of London and for that I love it. It has a great history of well known artists, writers and actors who have frequented it over the years and you can feel theirs and the team who run it's character emanating from the walls from behind the many paintings and photo's.  I wouldn't want it to change for the world.

Boring useless barmaids who seem to have an adversion to conversation, deeming it too "loud" .. IN A PUB !!!... Are you sure your'e in the right minimum wage job, losers?

The barmaid who served us clearly believes she owns the place, and can only be described as obnoxious. We reckoned she's trying to be an actress but can't find any work, due to being completely up herself, which is a shame as it otherwise seemed like a nice place to go with a friendly crowd.

Staff are terrible and miserable! We were a small group having some drinks and chatting on a Saturday afternoon and spent a small fortune on drinks but at two points we were told to 'Shhhhh' Like we were children! The female bar staff clearly that 'shhhh' us were just rude!

This must be for rich Frenchmen.A large glass of house wine was £7+

As an annual visitor from Australia, I found this gem some years ago. It is my favourite pub/wine bar in London. The staff are all friendly and talkative, one of the bonuses is one of the staff, Dwayne from Australia. Always pleasant and happy to recommend a good wine. The list is impressive! A great spot to people watch, some real characters there. It's a bit like a French Brasserie, beer. wine, food, very civilised. It does get crowded, but that's part of the price for being a very good, atmospheric and friendly bar just near Theatreland. I'll be back in June with friends and can't wait to try Polpetto, the restaurant upstairs. Contrary to some other opinions, the staff are casual, but that's what I like as an Aussie, no pretensions here.

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