As Alan ‘Good Beer Blog’ McLeod reports, there was a bit of collective nosying about the internets last week researching the German-owned Spaten Beer Buffet/Cafe/Restaurant which was in the basement of the London Pavilion, Piccadilly Circus, from c.1895. Here’s yet another little nugget from Goodbye Piccadilly by theatrical type Walter Macqueen-Pope (1960), recalling the period before World War I:
Underneath the London Pavilion [music hall] was a beer cellar which announced its presence by a large shining red spade trade mark — Spatenbrau. There you could get the best glass of lager in London, there you could get the dunkel lager — the München-Löwenbräu — just as one drank it in Germany. There is a good bar there still. But it is no longer the Spaten.
He goes on to mention another business which we guess was also German-owned and which also sold lager:
Across the road, at the top of the Haymarket, was another landmark. Here you could get a light meal and a drink free from any annoyance or the importunity of the prostitutes, who thronged the Circus. It was called Appenrodt’s and was a famous delicatessen shop. It was cheap and it was superlatively good…. There were Continental delicacies of all kinds, sausges in bewildering variety, wonderful salami, splendid lager and coffee it was a privilege to drink…. When the first war came and English firm took over and of course it was never the same.
Lager everywhere. If it hadn’t been for those pesky world wars, would the lager boom have happened fifty years earlier?
Our next mission: find a photograph of the interior of the Spaten Restaurant.