There’s been a tavern here since God was a lad. This version sprang from the drawing board of prolific pub architects Eedle & Meyers, & it’s a boozer that ticks all Victorian design boxes: the decor has its full quota of bow windows, stained glass, brass & mahogany, while its list of former patrons includes the likes of Napoleon III, Oscar Wilde & Edward VII’s bit of skirt, the actress Lillie Langtry. The Golden Lion even has its own ghost – a barmaid murdered within is said to stalk its stairs. The Theatre Bar commemorates the elegant former St James’s playhouse next door, demolished in 1957 & replaced by a bland box. Messrs Eedle & Meyers would be crying into their Gale’s Seafarers – or whatever passed for a fine drop back in the day.
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