The story goes that good old Mr Phileas Fogg was travelling around the world in 80 days when his beloved Aunt Gertrude passed away, leaving him the sole beneficiary of her estate, including a delightful pied-a-terre in Covent Garden. Mr Fogg honoured his Aunt’s wish and permitted long-time housekeeper Fanny McGee to create a tavern for her friends and theatrical acquaintances downstairs, whilst keeping the upstairs salon as a much needed refuge for himself and friends.
And so to the present day, which sees Mr Fogg’s Tavern open on St Martin’s Lane. Set over two floors, Mr Fogg’s Tavern has an ‘upstairs downstairs’ theme with a Victorian Tavern on the ground floor and a refined Gin Parlour and Salon upstairs.
The downstairs space features a warm wooden interior with nineteenth century artefacts adorning the walls and hanging from the ceiling, a focal point being a large aviary filled with plants, stuffed birds and other oddities. Staff in traditional overalls will serve up real ales, batch brews, ‘mother’s ruin’ gin cocktails and grog in traditional tankards and pewter cups. Weary travellers will be able to tuck into honest fare served throughout the day and evening including, in Auguste Escoffier’s opinion, ‘The Best Pie in London Town’ served with traditional liquor, alongside roast game, fowl and beast. There is an array of salted, smoked and preserved meats as well as freshly caught sea dishes and local vegetables, sourced daily from the market or foraged from the wild.
With a separate entrance for ladies and gentleman to enter discreetly, the upstairs Gin Parlour and Salon is just as the lauded actress left it, with a large cabinet displaying her antique theatrical props, wigs and old scripts. The Salon features Aunt Gertrude’s ornate glass chandeliers, damask curtains and bijoux objects. To make himself feel more at home, Mr Fogg has added some of his souvenirs from around the globe, with stuffed animals, annotated maps and worldly treasures.
Mr Fogg’s immaculately turned out staff will greet visitors on arrival with a refined section of gin, tonics and botanicals lining every inch of wall space in the Gin Parlour. Moving into the Salon, they will then be served punch, the Victorian tipple of choice, in authentic silver punch bowls, alongside an array of cocktails inspired by the nineteenth century. ‘Tipsy Tea’ will be served at the weekends, where guests will enjoy a delicate array of dainty sandwiches, cakes, pastries and petits-fours with cocktails beautifully presented in teapots.
We think we’ve spotted a chaise longue with our name on it, shall we meet you in the salon?
58 St Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4EA
www.mr-foggs.com | Twitter: foggstavern | Instagram: @foggstavern