Think of common pub names and you would come up with what? – Red Lion, King’s Head, Rose & Crown, White Hart, Duke of York, etc. (BTW, one of my favourite pub-related jokes refers to the latter. Some years ago Prince Andrew, when it still generally permissible to mention his name, rang the home of a golf professional who was giving him the occasional lesson. The pro’s son answered the call and asked who he should tell his father was calling. The reply came: “The Duke of York.” The kid put down the receiver and shouted out: “Dad. It’s the pub on the phone for you!”
Anyhow, my guess is that the name Blue Posts would not feature in your selection. And no wonder. According to the Pubs Galore website, it doesn’t rank in the top 250 names of pubs in the UK. However, there are five Blue Posts within roughly a 15-minute walk of each other in central London. If you arrange to meet someone in the Blue Posts in Soho, you need to be more specific than that: Berwick Street, Kingly Street or Rupert Street?
This phenomenon (if it could accurately be called that) first came to my attention when I read the Nicholas Royle novel The Director’s Cut, published in 2000, shortly after yet another Blue Posts, on Hanway Street, just off Tottenham Court Road, had closed down. That still leaves five to go to, however. Four of them are in London W1, the outlier being the one in Bennet Street, SWI, the sign of which is shown on the home page.
Why the Blue Posts? As seems to be suggested by some of the signs displayed outside the pubs, it may be that they indicated what was the forerunner of the modern taxi rank, which in bygone days meant getting into a sedan chair rather than a motorised cab. The signs outside the pubs in Bennet Street and Newman Street even depict blue posts, so that would seem to provide the likely historical explanation. The five are all pretty different in character but I don’t have a particular favourite. Maybe I should visit them all again to try to ascertain that?
Back to where we came in, on the way to Heathrow from home in late August I noticed that there’s a pub in Acton called the Red Lon & Pineapple, perhaps in an effort to distinguish it from the 536 other Red Lions. It surely has to be worth a visit as well?