Simpson’s Tavern | 40y

Last year Jean and Maureen celebrated their 40th year at Simpson’s Tavern in the City of London.

Maureen is in charge of the tiny bar in the pub’s ground floor grill restaurant, while Jean rules the roost in the downstairs bar. They remember the days when the ceramic-housed open fire (still in situ upstairs) churned out platters of steaks and chops to be displayed in the windows of the front room that were transparent at the time. Now only cheerful banter and lunchtime gobbling can be glimpsed through the etched, frosted glass.

The tavern, London’s oldest chophouse, hasn’t changed much at all over the years and the dining room still retains a Victorian feel: old features such as brass rails to hold the top hats of bankers remain in place.

Maureen tells me that when the licensing laws prevented post-3pm drinking, people would come in to share a sneaky bottle of port and the famous stewed cheese. One particular policeman was always trying to catch them in the act and, on the day of his retirement, he walked past and saw the perpetrators at it once again. He ran next door to telephone the Liverpool Street police station but by the time they came over, everyone had hidden the booze and had moved on to coffee!