Part 1 - BelgraviaThe first stop on this tour is The Star Tavern, west of Belgrave Square, at the north-western end of Belgrave Mews West (the German embassy is at the other end). This is one of the select bunch of pubs which have been in all editions of the Good Beer Guide, like our own Queens Head in Newton. On my visit, being lunchtime, and having famously good beer and food, all seats were taken, with a mix of clientele. They had a new Fullers seasonal on: Mr Harry (£1.55/half) - rich, malty - superb.
After a slight zigzag to the east, head northwards up Kinnerton Street. Toward the top end is The Nag's Head. (Jerry Brown sampled its delights in ALE 330, although wrongly locating it in Mayfair.) Upon entering, one sees an odd-looking low-level bar about three feet high, with low stools around it. When the staff appear, one sees why: the pub is on three levels. On the staff side of the front bar, the floor is lower than the customer side, being reached by a step up from the next-door lower bar area. There's also an upper seating area.
On this visit the handpumps had Adnams Bitter and Broadside (£1.70/h) and Bitburger. The walls of the front bar are covered with all sorts of nicknacks and especially showbiz-related pictures with the likes of Robbie Williams and Bono. There are lots of cartoons about the pub and old machines such as the peepshow "Life like presentations from London, Paris and New York in 3D. Still pictures." There's a no-mobile-phone policy. Fats Waller jazz was playing quietly.
Backtracking and crossing Belgrave Square leads to Chester Street. The first right there is Wilton Street and ahead on the corner with Little Chester Street is the Grouse & Claret. As the front bar was busy, I went to the spacious rear bar, with wood and glass panelling. Very quiet music was playing - how rare these days. King & Barnes Sussex Bitter, Badger Bitter, Tanglefoot, and Fursty Ferret (£1.55/h) were on.
Next head northwards along Grosvenor Place (with the back wall of Buckingham Palace across the road) to Hyde Park Corner. To get to the north side of Piccadilly, one has to negotiate the pedestrian-unfriendly roads and subways.
Part 2 - Mayfair
Carry on past the pub up Hertford Street to Curzon Street.
Turn left and then right, up Chesterfield Street. This whole area is a paradise for blue plaque spotters.
Further up Waverton Street at the junction with Farm Street is The Punchbowl. Yet another traditional pub, moderately busy.
Follow Farm Street round into Berkeley Square and cross it to Bruton Street. On the right is the Coach & Horses on a narrow triangular site (not visited - Tim Taylor Landlord and Sharps Doom Bar were visible out of 5 or 6 hand pumps). At the far end turn left along New Bond Street.
Carrying further on leads back to Piccadilly.
(Bus 9 goes east to Trafalgar Square and on to Aldwych, or west to the museum quarter in Kensington, with some Routemaster buses operating.)