Hoop & Grapes, London

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SHEPHERD NEAME PERFECT PINT AWARD 2011

Dating from 1721, The Hoop and Grapes has a fascinating history. Saved from demolition in the 1990s and now a grade-II listed building, this pub was the location for secret ‘Fleet’ weddings during the 18th century. Originally opposite the Fleet prison, through a legal loophole secret weddings could be carried out away from the homes of the participants and without bands.

Now a cosy, traditional City of London pub, The Hoops and Grapes has a friendly, busy atmosphere. The pub offers a good range of pub food, great beers, wines and a selection of malt whiskies and cigars. Fairtrade coffee and teas are also served throughout the day.

The heated patio and balcony are popular throughout the year and the function room is free to hire. Darts and poker can be played in the games room.

On the site of St Bride’s Church burial ground, remains found during renovation were moved to the British Museum and it is believed that a ghost haunts the bars and cellar.

The pub is also a Book Crossing Zone. Books are given a unique identity, giving readers the chance to watch them pass through the hands of people all over the world. There are currently 888,481 members of BookCrossing and 6,610,232 books registered.