The Two Chairmen is thought to be one of the oldest pub businesses in Westminster and is located in a small cul-de-sac between St James’ Park and Parliament Square.
The unusual name for this traditional pub comes from men who used to carry sedan chairs for the well-to-do people of London in the 18th century. The sedan chair was originally brought to England in the 17th Century and was popular with wealthy people who did not want to walk through the dirty, smelly, muddy streets of London at that time.
Situated opposite the pub was a theatre called the Royal Cockpit where the upper classes would bet on cock fights. The men carrying the sedan chairs would for their next fares in the pub, hence the name The Two Chairmen! It also is said that when wanting to attract the attention of one of the chairmen the call was “Chair Ho” which is where the word “cheerio” comes from. There is a painting in the bar showing “two chairmen” carrying a sedan chair.
The pub has kept many of its original features despite being rebuilt in the mid-18th century, these include oak beams, ornate fireplaces and a mural on the back wall. There are also chandeliers, wood panelling and comfortable leather furniture making it a truly authentic London pub experience in which to relax and enjoy our food and great range of drink and cask ales.
The area around The Two Chairmen is full of attractive townhouses, quiet mews and small alleys giving the feel of a bygone age. There are many blue plaques commemorating the many influential statesmen, lords and admirals that lived in this area of Westminster.
Of course Westminster is also the area of London with some of the most iconic tourist sites, Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament and 10 Downing Street. The Two Chairmen is a short walk from St James’ Park and Horse guards Parade and of course is convenient for St James’ Park underground station.