It’s been a staple in London’s bustling Picadilly Circus for more than 140 years. Bruce Wayne claimed ownership of the mosaic laden restaurant in the Dark Knight and where Dr. Watson sat at the long bar when he met his prospective roommate, Sherlock Holmes in the first novel in the series.
Being a total pop culture junkie, I love to explore filming locations while I travel. Though there have been many more, some of my favorites were sitting on the benches from The Fault in Our Stars and Forrest Gump, running the stairs like Rocky did at Philadelphia’s Museum of Art, finding six of the Real World Houses and actually appearing in an April 2004 episode of TRL. So naturally, visiting the legendary Criterion Restaurant was a must while we were in London.
The Criterion restaurant has earned it’s spot in the Top 10 most historic and oldest restaurants in the world. Luckily, I dined there just days before they announced that due to a surge in rental pricing, the fantastically glamorous restaurant would be forced to close. The Criterion served it’s last tea on August 19, 2015.
The Criterion was originally constructed in 1873 – designed by famous architect Thomas Verity. The neo-Byzantine interior features an abundance of mosaic art from floor to ceiling. The ceilings are astounding with gold and marble shining bright against the dim lighting fixtures. Dining here was a real treat.
Teasing you with this just isn’t fair, but check out our food! If only we could dig into these main courses again…
Although the Criterion is no longer an option for future London travelers – there are a few other food and drink spots we hit that you can and should check out.
If you fancy the Sherlock Holmes experience, head on over to the Sherlock Holmes Pub. You’ll love the abundance of assortment of Sherlock Holmes-y beers on draft.
I loved this restaurant! Not quite as fancy as The Criterion, but equally good food. It was near the theater district and featured amazing three-course lunch specials. They were very nice to this party-of-one.
An all-around cool hang out; right by the Baker Street tube stop. It was packed to the brim with locals enjoying an after-work beverage and some fish and chips. It was also close to The Metropolitan Bar.
It’s enormous, and it’s decor is having a serious identity crisis with areas reflecting transitions over many decades – but the people are friendly and the beer is good. Bonus: you can get on free wifi [rare find in London].
This place is the very likely the cutest place I’ve ever been. While you’re there, try one of everything.
McGlynn’s Free House
Last but certainly not least, if you’re in the King’s Cross area be sure to pop over to this neighborhood pub. It’s inexpensive, they’ve got lots of local beer selections and the bartenders are happy to see you.