Having lived in London for a few months now I’m getting pretty used to hearing that this or that pub is hundreds of years old and Charles Dickens just happened to go on a bender with William Wallace here. Okay, that’s a bit of stretch, but I have been to pubs that Dickens frequented when he was writing his horribly depressing books (I’m looking you right in the eye Hard Times). Anyway, we had some friends visit recently who wanted to check out some pubs that used to be banks. Rick Steves tipped them off and it’s true, more than a few old bank buildings have turned into pubs. Turns out ATMs and some crisis that recently happened have negated the need for fancy old buildings in the banking industry, but the depressed bankers that remain still need to drink.
We ended up heading to the Counting House, which was built in 1893 as Prescott’s Bank, but is now a Fuller’s pub. They carry the whole Fuller’s line on tap or in bottles and I was pleased to enjoy a delicious Fuller’s London Porter (or five), which is surprisingly not readily available in London. The building itself was quite ornate for a pub, typical of the over the top opulence on display near the Bank tube station. If you’ve never been to London’s financial district, it is impressive. We’re talking fancy cars, everyone in suits, and people running around making deals that actually affect fluctuations in currency and the price of petrol (British for gas). As such, I really enjoy heading to the area in a t-shirt, shorts, and flip flops. If you enjoy drinking tasty beer in a pub that is a product of the financial industry’s well deserved misfortune, I recommend checking out a pub that used to be a bank.