London residents and visitors alike looking for a peaceful and engaging afternoon spent in good company might do much worse than a stroll around Berkeley Square followed by some fine dining at one of the nearby restaurants.
While it may not be a major London attraction, Berkeley Square certainly has its fair share of history – Maggs Brothers Books has been trading from Number 50 since 1853 and Gunter’s Tea Shop once stood at Nos. 7 and 8. Berkeley Square is still a light and airy space with a number of interesting features; two statues over 150 years apart can be found within the square as well as the iconic pump house dating back to 1800 which sits at the centre of the four quadrants that makeup the space.
From Berkeley Square you can make it to Oxford Street and Regent Street in just a few minutes on foot, however the Square itself remains relatively quiet and laid-back despite its central location. It’s a great location to unwind after a busy day walking the streets for the latest in innovative Christmas gifts and at just 6 minutes’ walk from Green Park tube station you can access the rest of London in no time at all.
A walk in the square followed by dinner at one of the many surrounding restaurants can make the perfect end to a busy day. With that said let’s take a look at some of the top choice for dining near Berkeley Square.
The Guinea Grill
30 Bruton Place, Mayfair, London, W1J 6NL (see map)
While prices may be just the wrong side of dear The Guinea Grill is the perfect destination for those on the lookout for truly traditional British food. An atmospheric, dimly lit location provides the perfect setting to warm up, with a selection of cooked-to-perfection steaks and a fine assortment of savoury pies, during those cold winter months. Seating is said to be a little on the cramped side however the staff are excellent and provide a warm and welcoming front to what it a very class and well established (since 1952) dining location near Berkeley Square. History: A tavern has existed on this spot since the 15th century. Bruton Place formerly housed the stables and coach houses of the residents of the Square. Look closely and you’ll find vestiges of this use in the existing architecture and hardware on the street. Mayfair servants, including coachmen and footmen, frequented the Guinea Tavern, as well as the nearby Coach and Horses and The Only Running Footman (below).
The Punch Bowl
41 Farm Street, Mayfair, London, W1J 5RP (see map)
A place brimming with history The Punch Bowl has been around since 1750 as a public house and is currently a grade two listed building. Until recently the pub was owned by Guy Ritchie and has had a stream of a-list celebrities for customers over the past years. On to the dining itself and you can expect the standard range of British fare and pub classics at The Punch Bowl with reasonable prices (for Mayfair) to boot. Maybe not the pick of the bunch when it comes to dining, The Punch Bowl as a location is hard to surpass and is almost always full with happy diners. History: Farm Street takes it’s name from Hay Hill Farm, as the area was known in the 1700’s. Building began on the stables and mews in the street in the 1740’s.
The Only Running Footman
5 Charles Street, Mayfair, London, W1J 5DF (see map)
Just a minutes’ walk from Berkeley Square The Only Running Footman is certainly accessible for that after stroll dinner. The pub come restaurant is set out over four floors with the upper three offering fine dining and the ground floor serving up a well-rounded selection of pub grub. Perhaps better known for its atmospheric and roaring downstairs pub than quiet and relaxed upstairs dining, The Only Running Footman provides a plentiful menu at reasonable prices; you can expect efficient and friendly service from the staff. History: Originally called The Running Horse, a pub has stood on this spot since 1749, at least.
26 Bruton Place, Mayfair, London, W1J 6NG (see map)
Another steakhouse, Greig’s Grill is all about the steaks which never fail to get rave reviews. Large, exquisitely cooked steaks are the bread and butter at Greig’s and you’d really be missing out if this was not your dish of choice; not least because of the mediocre reviews accompanying their other offerings. An old-fashioned traditional feel complete with wood panelling and luxurious chandeliers help to give the place an authentic feel. Prices for steak are reasonable although you may find you get a little less than you paid for with some of the other dishes. The staff are dependable and the wine equally easy on the pocket as the steaks.
44 Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London, W1J 5QB (see map)
With one of the biggest reputations in London, some may argue the world, Annabel’s is best known as an elegant nightclub where old-time rockers, aspiring business women and of course the regulars converge at this members only location situated within Berkeley Square. You’ll hear little of the food, which is described as good and dependable, because it’s all about the experience of being at one of London’s top and most exclusive clubs. Expect an expensive night and bear in mind that the biggest barrier may well be getting invited; being a members only club you’ll either need to signup or be invited by an existing member. History: Opened in 1963 by Mark Birley, the Club’s earliest members included Frank Sinatra and Princess Margaret. Ownership changed hands in 2007, when Annabel’s was purchased by Richard Caring, who also owns The Ivy.