Far from its humble beginnings in the bawdy back streets of London, gin has become the tipple of the discerning drinker. Our relationship with this most English of drinks goes back as far as the 17th century and much as the drink itself has evolved, so have the places associated with it.
Such was the popularity of gin we even built palaces to drink it in, in all of its juniper-scented glory. Although none of the original gin palaces survive, their design inspired later Victorian pubs, even after gin had fallen from favour. The ornate mirrors, mouldings, etched glass and gilding inspired the late 19th century style, the heyday of urban pub building.
Find out where to quaff your highballs in authentic surroundings on World Gin Day this Saturday 13th June:
1. The Philharmonic Dining Rooms, Liverpool. Grade II*
Look out for stone sculpture of musicians and musical instruments amid the rich copper and glass interior. A perk for the gents’ – the toilets survive in their original decorative design.
2. The Tottenham, Oxford Street, London. Grade II*
When the Tottenham was built it was located a few doors down from the Oxford Street Music Hall and there is something of the palace of varieties about its interior. One of the best-preserved pubs in London.
3. Argyll Arms, Oxford Circus, London. Grade II*
Although only a stone’s throw from Oxford Circus, parts of this pub are little changed from Victorian times. Particularly impressive are the large mirrors which miraculously survived the blitz.
4. Barton Arms, Birmingham. Grade II*
The best example of its kind in Birmingham, the Barton Arms retains a complete suite of Public Bar, Saloon-Smoke Rooms, Club Room, Committee Room and Billiard Hall.
5. Punch Tavern, Fleet Street, London. Grade II
A barrel vaulted skylight will greet you at the entrance, leading you to a bar with much of the original design. The previous building on the site was renamed the “Punch Tavern” in the late 1840s because of its association with Punch Magazine which had its offices at that end of Fleet Street.
6. The Vines, Liverpool. Grade II*
Known locally as ‘the Big House’, this much loved local landmark has a glazed cupola, original bar fittings and two fire places.
7. Bakers Vaults, Stockport. Grade II
Previously known as the George and Dragon, The Bakers Vault was built around 1775 and rebuilt in the gin palace style in 1861. It reopened in July 2014 after a seven month closure and it is hoped that the revitalised pub will bring much needed regeneration to the market area of Stockport.
8. Viaduct Tavern, Holborn, London. Grade II
The fine pub interiors include a wall of alternating mirrors and fine paintings of Pre-Raphaelite style women set in marble and alabaster architraves.
9. The Salisbury, Harringay, London. Grade II*
Magnificently elaborate, the entrances have ornate wrought-iron screens and elaborately tiled lobbies and mosaics. The large room at the front was at one time a concert room. Sip your G&T in the large billiard room beneath the vine painted glass roof.
10. The Princess Louise, Holborn, London. Grade II*
A rich example of a Victorian public house interior. Gents should also spend a penny in the basement WC to see some of the original tiled walls and fittings.
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Find more stunning pictures of pubs near you in the Historic England Archive