Marylebone is ideal for a relaxing drink in gorgeous surroundings. Purl is styled like a New York speakeasy and has a drinks menu that reads like a chemistry experiment. Langham Hotel's bar, Artesian, takes its visual cues from Victorian bars, whilst its cocktails are second to none. Those looking for a straightforward pint will prefer The Temperance, which has a large selection of draught and bottled beers and wine.
The Mason’s is one of those pubs you’re happy to stumble upon – unless you lived in this transitory neighbourhood just east of the Edgware Road, you’re hardly likely to make a beeline for it. But, once having found it, you would be equally happy to discover draught options of Badger’s Original, Tanglefoot and Hopping Hare, Stingo barley wine, Peroni, HB and HB Extra Cold. The interior couldn’t be more publike, all dark wood and scuffed floorboards, the seating areas divided in two by a horseshoe bar counter manned by attentive, smiling young Spanish staff. There’s food too: eight types of sandwiches or baguettes (steak and red-onion chutney; ham, grain mustard and new potato salad), snacks (messy garlic bread; potato wedges) and mains (‘Our Famous’ Sussex Smokey with white and smoked fish in crumble; steak and Tanglefoot pie). Outdoor seating is overhung by baskets of greenery, while an upstairs space comes into good use on rare busy evenings. All in all, the perfect place for a quiet pint or to conduct a discreet lunchtime affair.
With the Swedish Church across the road and the embassy around the corner, Marylebone watering hole The Harcourt Arms was always popular with our friends from the north. So much so that they’ve gone and bought it. The new Swede owners have dropped the ‘Arms’ from the name and turned it into more of a high-class ‘dining room in a former pub’ style set-up, but not much else has changed. The wood-panelled walls, bar and bustling atmosphere (heavy with Scandinavian voices) are still evident; but now the customers are here for cross-Nordic fine-dining rather than just öl (that’s beer in Swedish, Scandophiles). Tempting starters include sliced heritage beetroot, burratina and walnuts, glazed ox cheek and house gravadlax. Mains feature the inevitable reindeer, potato and sage dumplings, and Swedish meatballs, pink in the middle and flounced on a bed of homemade pasta. Private dining areas are also available and, if you still hanker for a beer at the old ‘Arms’, the smokers’ area at the back has been transformed into a swish, enclosed bar area. We’ll cheers – or rather, skål – to that.
Venue says: “Join us for a Scandanavian 'fika' selection. £12.50 for a choice of sandwich, cake or bun, and tea/coffee.”