Built in 1872 and named after Queen Victoria's fourth daughter, the Princess Louise is one of London's most beautiful and historic pubs. Its classic Victorian interior has been gloriously preserved; from the high and heavily ornate plastered ceiling, flamboyantly decorative tiles, huge dark carved wooden bar and elaborate cut glass and mirrors. It is a Grade II listed pub and is also on CAMRA's National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors.
During 2007 the pub went through a comprehensive restoration which saw the reinstatement of the wood and etched glass partitions, creating the sort of subdivided drinking areas common to the popular and lavish nineteenth century "gin palaces". It has created a wonderfully confusing warren of snugs and alcoves, each with its own access to the central island bar.
The pub is now owned by Sam Smiths, a notable if rather eccentric independent brewery from Tadcaster, North Yorkshire. Common to all their pubs, the Princess Louise sells only Sam Smiths branded drinks. Their own range of lagers, ales and ciders is reasonably comprehensive and good quality, some available on draught and some only bottled. Their Old Brewery bitter is a great pint when on form and at £1.99 is staggering value, even if this wasn't Central London.
The location and unassuming exterior means it would be easy to pass by the Princess Louise, but if you are in London it is definitely worth a detour for a lovely pint of traditional ale in amazing surroundings.
208 High Holborn, Holborn, London, WC1V 7BW