The Coach and Horses
Soho coach and horses 1.jpg
The Coach and Horses (January 2006)
Coach and Horses, Soho is located in Central London
Coach and Horses, Soho
Location within Central London
General information
Address29 Greek Street, London
Coordinates51°30′47.6″N 0°07′48.8″W / 51.513222°N 0.130222°W / 51.513222; -0.130222Coordinates: 51°30′47.6″N 0°07′48.8″W / 51.513222°N 0.130222°W / 51.513222; -0.130222
OwnerFuller, Smith & Turner

The Coach and Horses at 29 Greek Street on the corner with Romilly Street in Soho, London, is a grade II listed public house.

In the 20th century the pub became notable for its association with the columnist Jeffrey Bernard, the staff of Private Eye magazine, other journalists and as a haunt for Soho personalities. Through their writings its former landlord, Norman Balon, became known as "London's rudest landlord".[1]

Early history

There has been a pub on the site since the 18th century.[2] The current building dates from the early 19th century and is Grade II listed with Historic England.[3]

20th century

In the 20th century, the landlord for over 60 years was Norman Balon, who developed a persona as "London's rudest landlord". He began to work at the pub in 1943, when he left an engineering course to serve at the bar, after his father became the landlord there.[1][4]

The pub became a favourite drinking spot for the journalists of the satirical magazine Private Eye and the location of their fortnightly lunches, at which it was hoped a plentiful supply of cheap wine would prompt an indiscretion from one of the guests, such as Member of Parliament John Hemming's admission that he had got his mistress pregnant.[5] It also featured regularly in The Spectator's "Low Life" column by Jeffrey Bernard, who was a regular at the pub until his death in 1997.[5]

In 1989, the interior of the pub was recreated on stage for the biographical play about Bernard, Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell.[6] The play was successful, and Balon's memoirs followed in 1991, titled You're Barred, You Bastards: The Memoirs of a Soho Publican.[4]

Clive Jennings says of regular clientele such as Bernard that "the lethal triangle of The French, The Coach & Horses and The Colony were the staging points of the Dean Street shuffle, with occasional forays into other joints such as The Gargoyle or the Mandrake ... The Groucho or Blacks".[7]

21st century

Norman Balon was succeeded as landlord in May 2006 by Alastair Choat, Greg Stewart, and Melanie Krudy. Norman's Coach and Horses. In 2019, Fullers ended the lease with Alastair Choat and transferred the pub into its managed estate.[8]

Notable patrons


  1. ^ a b 'You're Barred, You Bastards!', The Memoirs of a Soho Publican, Norman Balon with Spencer Bright, Sidgwick & Jackson, London 1991
  2. ^ "Coach and Horses, non Civil Parish - 1235282 | Historic England".
  3. ^ Historic England. "Coach and Horses public house (1235282)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  4. ^ a b Passed/Failed: An education in the life of Norman Balon, the rudest Soho landlord. Jonathan Sale, The Independent, 21 September 2006. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  5. ^ a b Time called at Bernard's watering hole. Mark Honigsbaum, The Guardian, 2 July 2005. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  6. ^ O'Toole's triumphant return. BBC News, 5 August 1999. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  7. ^ Jennings, Clive. "Drink-Up Pay-Up F-Off: Tales from the Colony – London's Lost Bohemia". artlyst. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  8. ^ Booth, Samantha (21 June 2019). "Pub boss's love letter to Soho in emotional farewell". Camden New Journal. Retrieved 1 February 2022.
  9. ^ Steve Boggan (22 October 2011). "He went his own way to oblivion: Fleetwood Mac's former guitarist is found, a little the worse for wear, in a hostel for London's homeless". The Independent. Retrieved 27 March 2017.