Jermyn Street - the sights
The Chequers Tavern, Duke Street
For those in the know the Chequers, just off Jermyn Street, is a great place for a drink if you’re shopping or working in and around Jermyn Street. I once met a guy who’d been a window dresser for Tommy Nutter in the late 60’s. After work on a Friday, with wife at home, he would try to sneak in to the Chequers for a quick one without being seen by Tommy. He was always spotted, the Chequers is that kind of pub, and our chap would be stuck there till closing time whether he liked it or not, whilst Tommy regaled him with outrageous stories. I asked him, “Why didn’t you drink somewhere else then?” his answer was rather predictable; “we always drank at the Chequers”. It really is that kind of pub.
At any time after 6pm you might bump into staff from Lobb, John Bray (a shop that will be badly missed), Church’s, our own Foster & Son or any of the clothing and shoe shops on Jermyn Street. All enjoying a drink; asking after family, gossiping about work or any of the other things that people talk about in pubs. You’ll see what a democratic and diverse place St James’s is.
Rumour has it that after Lord “Lucky” Lucan disappeared in 1974 the first place that the police went looking was Foster & Son. We don’t quite know why, or whether or not to be pleased about the notoriety. In any case they should have been asking in the Chequers instead, even if no-one had any information for them, they could at least have had a pint.
It’s a small pub, barely room to stand sometimes, but all the better for that, physical proximity was always a feature of city pubs. The beer is very good, the food excellent and not expensive. It has a feel of a local’s pub, which, of course, it is. I don’t know how old it is but suspect George III, maybe 1790’s from the façade. The walls really do talk and it’s amazing how atmospheric it is, as if generations of clothiers and shoemakers have left an indelible impression on the place.
Next time you’re in St James's have a drink in the Chequers and think about the footsteps you’re walking in.
Foster & Son