The Churchill Arms – London, England - Gastro Obscura

Gastro Obscura

The Churchill Arms

This pub was 238 years old when it decided to revamp its image: It started serving Thai food. 

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If you’ve ever been to London, you’ve passed a Fuller’s Pub. The family of drinking establishments are ubiquitous in England’s capital, having served Londoners and visitors alike under the Fuller’s name for close to 200 years, though some of their pubs can trace their histories back centuries further. Most pubs in town, Fuller’s establishments notwithstanding, offer up English fare to pair with their ales, from fish and chips to bangers and mash, and so on. But only one of the Fuller’s family—the Churchill Arms—has become a staple for its accompanying familiar British beers with Thai food.

The Fuller’s brewery is just three miles from the Churchill Arms, in Chiswick, making the pub extremely close to its beer menu’s source. Now 270 years old, the Arms falls among the older pubs in London. Named for Sir Winston Churchill after World War II, the pub’s connection with the famous British family actually dates back a century more, to when Churchill’s grandparents, the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, John and Frances Anne Spencer-Churchill, drank at the pub. (Every year, around the younger Churchill’s birthday, the pub has their 1940s-themed “Churchill Night.”) 

Most everything about the pub’s interior feels British. It has a dark interior, made cozy by the warm lighting and lack of space. Churchill portraits and paraphernalia adorn every nook and cranny, except for the ceilings, from which sprout potted plants and a variety of antiques. The canopy crammed with British gear, much of it looking to date to the ’40s, can make a visitor forget the quirk that is the Churchill Arms’s menu.

From porters paired with pad Thai to ales for washing down side plates of spring rolls, the Churchill Arms’s Thai menu offers a twist to the standard English pub. Since the Arms began serving Thai in 1988, other pubs followed suit, according to Mic—no doubt they realized the popularity of the unconventional idea. Contrary to some tragic tropes about London’s food scene, the Thai on offer has resounding reviews (perhaps made even better by a quality pairing with the pub’s locally-sourced alcohol).

Among its externally evident eccentricities, the pub’s facade is covered in flowers; $32,000 worth, according to Secret London. During the holidays, the pub switches out its hanging gardens for Christmas cheer, annually hoisting nearly 100 fir trees and thousands of lights to make the place strikingly sparkly in the upscale neighborhood of Kensington.

Know Before You Go

The pub is a couple streets over from Kensington Palace, and is directly accessible by public transit. The Sheffield Terrace bus stop is outside the door, and the Notting Hill Gate tube stop (on the Central Line) is just about a five-minute walk north of the pub.