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The Chequers Tavern, SW1

16 Duke Street

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 7 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Just a quick pint, then I'm off left this review about The Chequers Tavern

Distinctly compact, staple-shaped bar with traditional decor but limited space for furniture. Side passage and large shared yard to rear (no seating). No room for any tables at the front either, just a bench. Basic menu, but looked to be good value. Three handpumps, offering the regular Deuchars IPA and Pride (£4.25) plus the seasonal Over the Bar from Caledonian as a guest on my latest visit. Overall, not a bad place to stop for a pint (but probably to be avoided at the busiest times).

On 21st February 2016 - rating: 7
[User has posted 6002 recommendations about 6002 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

hondo . left this review about The Chequers Tavern

"Normal pub" in a rather swish area. 3 real ales and hot food. Precarious steps down to the toilet.

On 16th October 2015 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2693 recommendations about 2637 pubs]

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Pub SignMan left this review about The Chequers Tavern

In this fairly upmarket part of St James’, the last thing I expected to find was a down to earth local’s boozer, but the Chequers Tavern appears to be exactly that. Like many pubs in the area, it’s a fairly compact single room affair, although a break in the servery halfway into the room suggests a previous two bar layout. The front section has some decent seating to the right of the door including a nice padded button backed banquette which stands beneath a TV screen, showing Champions League football on my mid-week visit. The front windows are nicely decorated with frosted panes, as is the entrance door. The servery runs down the right hand wall, with a tongue and groove counter and bar back in dark wood and a pleasant stained glass canopy. A regimented pump clip collection has been neatly arranged on the bar back and some numbered bulldog clips are positioned to take food orders. The rear of the room has a drinking ledge and a short padded banquette underneath pictures of various black and white era movie stars. An old TV screen back here was also showing the football. The whole pub has been carpeted and there are dark beams crisscrossing the ceiling and a nice floral display in the front window, lending the place a traditional and comparatively cosy feel. A boisterous bunch of regulars propped up the far end of the bar in an area signposted as ‘Bullshit Corner’, close to the staircase leading down to the toilets which, in typical London style, was at a perilously steep angle.
There were three ales on the bar – Fullers London Pride and Caledonian Deuchars IPA and Autumn Red. The latter was a pretty well kept seasonal brew and I found it nice and relaxing supping my pint from a comfy banquette whilst reading my paper.
This pub feels a bit out of place, especially if you’ve previously visited some of the well heeled pubs in the immediate vicinity, but I liked it for its down to earth feel and well kept beer. If you like good, honest pubs, this isn’t a bad bet for this part of town.

On 6th November 2014 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2471 recommendations about 2471 pubs]

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Malden man left this review about The Chequers Tavern

A long, narrow single space with the bar to one side. A few tables front and rear and a drinking shelf to the side, facing the alleyway. Carpeted, with wainscotted walls and a dark red beamed ceiling. As the pub faces a square behind, it benefits from windows both front and back.There are a fair number of beer mats stuck to the side of a stair wall behind the bar, I assume indicative of previous guest beers. The selection on my visit was fairly mainstream, Pride, Doom Bar and Deuchers IPA. Not a bad pint of Doom Bar though.
A large TV in the front corner was switched off Friday PM. Food on offer included fairly priced toasted sandwiches and hot baguettes, generally between £4-£5.

On 28th February 2010 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1687 recommendations about 1663 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Steve C left this review about The Chequers Tavern

This tiny little pub was heaving on my recent Friday afternoon visit leading me to believe that I had walked into some sort of work party. It didn’t matter though as once I had fought my way to the bar I was promptly served a decent pint of Guinness by a very friendly barmaid. I was thankful for the covered alleyway running down the side of the pub so that I could escape the madness. Wandering around to the rear of the pub I came across a yard that is where I imagine punters spilling into on hot summer evenings.

Doom Bar and Ordinary where both available during my visit and there was another hand pump with its clip turned. The draught selection wasn’t the most exciting, but I didn’t see much lager being drunk. Very basic pub grub was available (sarnies etc), but I didn't spot anyone eating.

The large plasma screen was turned off and there was no background music that I can remember.

I’d have no problem popping back in here for a pint when next in the area.

On 3rd February 2010 - rating: 7
[User has posted 3586 recommendations about 3565 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Steve of N21 left this review about The Chequers Tavern

Really nice little pub just off Piccadilly. The poster below has described the Chequers very well so not much to add.
The three ales on at the time of my visit were Sharps Doombar, Deuchars IPA and Fullers Pride and the Doombar I tried was perfectly fine.
I imagine not a place to spend the evening with a crowd, but if you want a place for a decent pint just of Piccadilly, then the Chequers hits the spot.

On 17th December 2009 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1699 recommendations about 1648 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Rex Rattus left this review about The Chequers Tavern

This is a very small pub, with a warm and welcoming feel to it. Clientele seemed a mix of regulars and tourists. It was very comfortable throughout, being carpeted (I always think that carpets make a place more “warm” than bare boards), with a panelled ceiling and lots of dark wood. I noticed that all the tables were reserved for diners – I suppose in these days a pub can't afford to lose the income generated by diners if those only drinking are occupying the handful of tables.
Ales on were Deuchars IPA, Pride, and Bombardier. The IPA was fine. I also had a hot turkey and stuffing baguette which was pretty good at £4.25 – with Fortnum & Mason cranberry sauce no less. There was a large plasma screen TV – It was turned off on the Saturday lunchtime I was in, but maybe they switch it on if there is something worth watching. Won't get a lot of use, then. Definitely worth dropping in here for a pint if you are in the area. Oh, and thanks for the history lesson, Roger!

On 20th December 2008 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2575 recommendations about 2493 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Roger Button left this review about The Chequers Tavern

Originally the Masons Arms after the stone masons yard situated behind pub.According to Pub history, the pub was opened for the masons prepraing the stone work for the building of the nearby St James Palace and they used the pub as a base for playing chequers. By 1751 it had simply become known as the Chequers pub and the name has stuck ever since. The earliest records date from 1731 however as the nearby Palace was built some 40 years earlier, we can assume that there has been an pub here in one form or another since the end of the 17th century. The current building has a Victorian facade but theinterior is considerably older. The quaint, carpeted L shaped interior is quite small even allowing for the original rooms being knocked through. The décor is fairly simple with plain walls and a slightly wonky but heavily painted burgundy ceiling. There are various plates, bottles and figurines dotted around the high shelves and traditional features like patterned windows and a bar frame are still intact. A quite disproportionately sized plasma screen dominates the front of the bar. There are usually 3 Ales, Pride, Directors + 1 guest (Theakstons on my last trip) and an orderly collection of previous guest beer pump clips can be viewed behind the bar.

60's music lovers will be interested in taking a short detour down the passage at the side of the pub into Masons Yard itself. No 6 was the art gallery where John Lennon first met Yoko Ono who was holding an exhibition there, No 9 was the photographic studio of Gered Mankowitz who took many classic photos here of legends such as Hendrix and the Stones and No 13 was the Scotch Of St James Club that hosted many famous 60's bands and was a famous Swinging 60's hang out. I think we can safely assume that the Chequeres was probably the 60's equivalent of Camden's Hawley Arms.

On 6th February 2008 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1238 recommendations about 1232 pubs]