We had a team bonding session over some gin last night, and it might have been the best £35 I’ve* spent in a while. *my boss
The Punch Tavern on Fleet Street is fairly low key from the front but is set in an historic Gin Palace (they were all the rage in the 1800’s). These days though as well as being a generally all round lovely boozer, The Punch Tavern houses over 40 different varieties of gin and serves award-winning pies! They’ve started doing weekly gin tasting masterclasses every Wednesday where you get a lot of bang for your buck and that £35 gets you pretty darn sloshed for a weeknight, and includes a pie of your choice served with mash and veg (thankfully- or else I might be writing this with a slightly sore head).
We rocked up just before 7pm and were still sitting there with our guy learning about gin, botanicals and mixers three hours later. My favourite gin related fact (that I will no doubt be throwing out casually to anyone who’ll listen) is that a Tom Collins cocktail is traditionally made with Old Tom Gin…the name Old Tom Gin came from wooden plaques shaped like a black cat (an “Old Tom”) mounted on the outside wall of some pubs in 18th century London. Owing to the gin craze of that time (water was unsanitary and dangerous to drink so they drank gin- chaos ensued), the British government tried to stem the flow of gin with prohibitive taxes and licensing, which drove the scene underground. Under the cat’s paw sign was a slot (to insert a coin into) and a lead tube. From the tube would come a shot of gin, poured by the bartender inside the pub. AMAZING.
All in all, a great evening spent and I was so impressed by the passion and friendliness of the staff in this place. They really are gin experts and this pub offers a warm hug after a heavy day in the city.
Location: Punch Tavern, 99 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DE
Nearest Stations: Blackfriars & St Paul’s