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London on screen: the pub from ‘Help!’

Written by
Thomas Hobbs

Planning a mosey down the Thames? Pop in for a pint at the Fab Four’s favourite Chiswich drinker. Though mind the tiger in the cellar.

The location: The City Barge, 27 Strand-on-the-Green, Chiswick.

The scene: Chased by assassins, John, Paul, George and Ringo escape to a nearby pub in their classic 1965 caper. There, Ringo orders ‘two lagers and lime, and two lagers and lime’, only for a trap door to drop him into the cellar where a tiger is waiting. Disaster is narrowly averted when The Beatles start singing Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’, which placates the famished feline.

Then: Built in 1484 as The Navigator’s Arms, this pub was renamed in the nineteenth century due to the Mayor of London’s habit of mooring his grand barge outside and popping in for a pint. Its ancient bar and atmospheric look saw it picked for Richard Lester’s film. The Fab Four had an affinity with Chiswick: Ringo filmed a scene in ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ on a nearby towpath, and they shot ‘Paperback Writer’s video at Chiswick House.

Now: Beatles fans still flock to the pub, according to general manager Rob Leader. Its exterior is the same as in its ‘Help!’ days but the interior is unrecognisable – the pub is now part of the Greene King chain, who refurbished it in 2014. Still, it’s probably better not to go down to the cellar on your own. 

For more of the city on screen, check out our list of the 30 best London movies.

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