London's Haunted Pubs

The Grenadier Pub. Wilton Row. London.

Renowned as one of London's most haunted pubs the Grenadier is tucked away in a Belgravia backwater. Read More...

The Flask Tavern. Pond Square. Highgate.

This snug tavern in Highgate is home to a ghostly lady who makes her presence known in sundry ways. Staff have grown used to her . Read More.

The George. Strand. WC2.

The Laughing Cavalier.

Although the current black and white timbered frontage of the George dates only from the 1930’s, it stands on much older foundations and is haunt to a ghost of 17th century origin.

During a refurbishment in the 1970’s a gang of painters and decorators arrived to begin work at the pub one morning. Having allotted various tasks to his men, the foreman went down into the old cellar and set about whitewashing its walls. But after about twenty minutes he came racing back up stairs. “That feller down there, gu’vnor” the terrified decorator panted to the landlord “ he just looked at me, didn’t say nothin’, just stared.”

The landlord calmed him down with a glass of brandy and then asked him what the man had looked like. “All ‘istorical like them Roundheads and Cavaliers” came the breathless reply. The landlord nodded “Oh I shouldn’t worry about him” he reassured the unfortunate workman “That’s just the ghost. My wife sees him all the time.”

Quite who he is, or was, nobody has been able to ascertain, but there is a long tradition of his handsome phantom appearing to startled witnesses in the cellar of The George

The Viaduct Tavern. Newgate Street. EC1.

Down in the Cellar.

The Viaduct Tavern stands opposite the Central Criminal Courts (better known the world over as the Old Bailey after the road in which they stand). It dates from 1875, and is the last example of a late Victorian gin palace left in the City of London.

It is also prone to suffer from bouts of poltergeist activity. “Poltergeist” is derived from two German terms Poltern meaning “to knock” and Geist meaning “spirit.”

The restless spirit that haunts the Viaduct Tavern has a propensity to haunt the pubs cellars where several members have staff have experienced its unwelcome attentions.

In 1996, a manager was tidying the cellar one Saturday morning, when the door suddenly slammed shut and the lights went out. Feeling his way to the door, he found that no matter how hard he pushed it just would not open. Fortunately, his wife heard his cries for help and came down stairs to investigate. She found that the doors, which would not open from the inside, were unlocked and easily pushed open from the outside.

In May 199 two electricians, working in one of the pubs upstairs rooms, also attracted the ghosts unwelcome attentions. They had rolled the carpet up and were taking up the floorboards, when one of them felt a hand tap him on the shoulder. Thinking it was his workmate he turned round, but found that he was on the other side of the room. Believing he’s imagined it he went back to work and yet again he felt a tap on his shoulder. Standing up, he went over to his friend to ask if he was playing a prank, but the man denied any involvement. As he was about to return to his chores, both men watched as the heavy carpet, that lay rolled up by the window, was lifted into the air and dropped heavily onto the floor.

The Rising Sun. Cloth Fair. EC1.

Where Body Snatchers Once Lurked.

The Rising Sun is a cosy and traditional 18th century hostelry that lay derelict and empty for much of the 20th century until, in 1984, Tadcaster brewer, Samuel Smith, purchased and refurbished the building.

Its proximity to St Bartholomew’s Hospital has led to a local tradition that, in the early 19th century, a gang of body snatchers used the pub as a meeting place and later a hunting ground, for cadavers with which to supply the research needs of doctors.

Whether there is any truth in the rumour that this dastardly band would replenish their merchandise by drugging and murdering patrons of the Rising Sun is debatable.

But what is certain is that some long ago act of infamy has left a psychic stain upon the pubs ethereal plain and managers and staff have over the years, encountered several ghosts.

Two Brazilian barmaids who worked here in 1989 and lived in, would often be woken in the early hours, by a "presence" that would sit on the end of their beds, and which would, occasionally, slowly tug the bed clothes off them.

Several bar men who have been cleaning up in the downstairs bar late at night, have been disturbed by the distinct sounds of footsteps running across the floor of the upstairs bar. However, when they went to investigate, the room was always empty.

Finally, in 1990, the then landlady, was enjoying a shower in the staff bathroom one summer’s afternoon, when she though she heard the bathroom door open and close. The next moment, the shower curtain was pulled slowly aside and an ice-cold hand ran down her back. She turned quickly, but found the that she was alone.

Bow Bells. Bow Road. E3.

Flushed By The Ghost.

The Bow Bells Pub stands on the Mile End Road and has a down at heel ambience about it.

A ghost who has the singularly annoying, not to say alarming, habit of flushing the toilet in the ladies toilet when patrons happen to be sitting on it, haunts the pub!

In 1974, in a determined attempt to flush out the phantom responsible, the landlord decided to hold a sťance. As the sitters gathered round and asked the spirit to make itself known, the toilet door suddenly swung open with such violence that a pane of its glass was shattered.

Since then, successive landlords have grown used to sharing their pub with their phantom guest, who in addition to his, or her chain pulling antics, sometimes appears as a translucent mist that oozes from the floor of the bar.