Recently, I had beery evenings over three successive nights that took in three very different kinds of pub, almost a tour of London’s pub history in a way. It got me thinking about the internal layout of pubs and how this too has changed over time. I mean, mainly it got me thinking about how nice beer (and socialising with friends over beer) can be, but this isn’t a beer blog, so back to pub interiors.
Figure 95. The bar in the back room at The King William the Fourth (Leyton E10).
Moving swiftly along as ever, let’s return to the Monopoly board (UK edition). This is the only property on the board named for a single building, and that building is, thankfully for our purposes, a pub. Or perhaps rather an “inn”. Though there’s nothing especially precise about any of the terms used for drinking places, it is one of the oldest and represents an establishment that serviced travellers with food and lodgings,1 which the Angel once did.
Figure 88. The Angel Inn (Islington N1), now closed.
Of course, nowadays it’s neither pub nor inn and offers none of those functions: it’s a bank. There’s a plaque commemorating its inclusion on the canonical Monopoly board, but there’s nothing to indicate its former use (aside from the existence next door of a Wetherspoon’s pub, opened in 1998 and opportunistically named The Angel after its predecessor). Before it was a bank, it was a restaurant. It hasn’t been a pub since around 1921, when it was sold by the brewers Truman Hanbury Buxton to Lyons, who promptly reopened it as the Angel Cafe Restaurant.2 Which means it wasn’t even a pub when the Monopoly board was set.
So what’s the reason for its prominence, giving its name as it does not only to a tube station, and by extension an area of London, but also to a (fairly cheap) property on Monopoly?