An iconic boozer that’s stood the test of time in Soho and even played its part in World War II, The French House is perhaps best known for the crowds that litter the pavement outside its doors, a continental-sized half pint of lager in their hands. But its frontage has been quiet since March 20, when the pub shut its doors to the public following the government’s order that all social venues across the UK must close.
The pub, affectionately known as The French, is now calling on its regulars, and even those who have visited just once but will never forget it, to chip in to a crowdfunder to help it survive a very difficult spell. The Save The French House campaign calls for donations for a pub it describes pretty aptly as one of ‘the last bastions of old Soho’.
The crowdfunder, set up by Friends of The French House, will use donations from the public to help its landlady of more than 30 years, Lesley Lewis, continue to pay the pub’s rent and other business fees while there’s no income to the boozer. If you’re in need of an incentive beyond keeping The French alive, larger donations will be met with rewards. Give £20 for a French House t-shirt or tea towel, £100 for a discount meal once the upstairs restaurant reopens after lockdown, and £1,000 for a specially designed three-course menu for you and three friends (presumably within your social bubble).
If the crowdfunder is successful, the pub threatens that full pints might even be served to celebrate when it reopens – usually a tradition reserved for April Fool’s Day only. Lord knows we’ll all need a big drink when the time comes, so chip in – vite, tout suite!
Check out the crowdfunding page for another Soho icon, Bradley’s Spanish Bar.
Find more ways to support London’s bars and restaurants during lockdown.