traveling and meeting other cultures: ideas, destinations, reviews and tips
The Grenadier - Pub in London, United Kingdom
Grenadier from 1889 illustration (public domain image)
Belgrave Square - one of the grandest and largest 19th century squares in London. The statute of Robert Grosvenor, 1st Marquess of Westminster (1767 – 1845) is a good place to start searching for The Grenadier pub.
From Belgrave Square take Wilton Crescent - a beautiful semi-circle street with many embassies and extremely expensive apartments.
Do not miss Wilton Row - a small street off Wilton Crescent (not far from Luxembourg Embassy)
Once on Wilton Row, keep moving almost to the end of the street.
Next to pub entrance, instead of menu, there is a display with a brief description of Grenadier Guards and pub history. List of ales is included.
Do not be confused if you come to the pub from Knightsbridge Green through Old Barrack Yard - you will see another entrance to The Grenadier which is closed.
Address: 18 Wilton Row, London, SW1X 7NR, United Kingdom
F or those looking just for a pint (or more) of ale, The Grenadier, a tiny pub in London (United Kingdom) near to Belgrave Square and Hyde Park Corner, is not the place "to strive, to seek, to find." Same way, even if the food offered at this pub is good, I would not spend much effort to go there just to taste it. However, if you are searching for something exceptional and remarkable in English character and history, the pub can be very well what you would like to see and experience.
So, let's start wilt history. From the display next to pub's entrance, we learn that "18 Wilton Row was built circa 1720 as the home to The 1st Regiment of Foot Guards regiment and famously known as the Duke of Wellington's Officers Mess. Originally named The Guardsman as a Licensed Premises in 1818, and frequented by King George IV, the Grenadier enjoys a fine reputation for good food and beer." From the same display we also find out that the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards was created in 1656, and that 1st Guards were renamed by Royal Proclamation as the 'Grenadier Regiment of Foot Guards' because of their heroic actions against French Grenadiers at Waterloo in 1815.
As far as I understand, the latter statement may be not true since there are sources indicating that Grenadier Guards actually defeated French Imperial Chasseurs at Waterloo. Perhaps, the change of the name relates more to the elite status of grenadiers in 18th and 19th centuries when for whatever reasons (appearance or reputation) grenadiers were often viewed as an outstanding example of troops in different armies including the British one. I am not a historian, but the fact remains that the Grenadier Regiment of Foot Guards received numerous battle honors during many campaigns and wars from the War of the Spanish Succession in early 18th century to recent deployments of British forces in Iraq (beginning from 2003) and British operations in the war in Afghanistan since 2002.
Now, about the pub itself. First, The Grenadiers is really small. It is located off the beaten path, and I have not seen a lot of tourists here. One of the attractions at this place is the ghost of a young guards officer who was killed for cheating at cards.
If you want to eat in a dining room, I recommend to make a reservation. The pub offers a good selection of cask ales, as well as a fair choice of wines and spirits. Real ales include Fuller's London Pride, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Batemans XXXB, Weekly Guest Beer as well lagers such as Leffe Blonde, Staropramen, Kronenbourg 1664, Stella Artois, Fosters. You may want to try pub's Grenadier Bloody Mary (prepared with its secret recipe) for £7.50 (all prices are 2009).
The Grenadiers has what I would call bar area at the front of the pub with several tiny tables and high stools along the front window and around the original pewter bar. The pub is cosy with dark panels on walls covered with military memorabilia and pictures. Two small rooms (with total capacity of about 20 seats) are behind: here you can dine a la carte. Bar meals (a selection of traditional foods such as home-made burgers, fish and chips, sausage and mash) are from £5.00 to £14.00. Restaurant menu dishes are from £7.00 to £25.00. Among things you can try here is Beef Wellington (see sidebar).
Come and enjoy a pint of a good ale, good and honest food as well as the atmosphere of this charming piece of British history. You will not regret.
On the picture you see this second entrance from Old Barrack Yard and a fence in the background. Just go through the gate and you will find yourself on Wilton Row.
The Grenadier pub (London, UK) is very small - this is its front bar area with several very small tables. I think, at best, this area can take 20 - 25 people. But not to worry - you can buy your pint of ale and drink it outside (from a plastic cup). Photo copyright 2008© pluedog, published with permission.
The Grenadier serves good food - this is an area in the back of pub, the so-called Wellington Room where you can dine a la carte.
Wellington Room in The Grenadier pub (London, UK) is decorated in a traditional style with dark wood and epoch wallpaper.
If you lucky, you may witness on Wilton Row a rehearsal like this.
It turns out that Wilton Row, Morris Dance and The Grenadier with its unlimited supply of ale go very well together.