'Beautifully laid out without being stuffy'

The Imperial Arms

Open Mon–Thu 10am–11.30pm; Fri–Sat 9am–midnight; Sun 9am–11pm

“A pub for everyone” claims the website for the Imperial Arms. It’s rather hard to disagree with that statement. After all, the Imperial Arms is beautifully laid out without being stuffy, presents an interesting menu that is still familiar enough not to alienate people looking for traditional food and, finally, comes with a crowd that is well placed between a regular boozer and a proper restaurant.

I don’t know if the Imperial Arms will ever be a destination restaurant (or pub), but it’s very easy to imagine it being extremely popular with the local crowd while also being very welcoming to the tourist or out-of-towner looking for a decent meal and a good bottle of wine (or cocktail) before moving on to somewhere noisier.

If you were going, I would recommend what I had; wasabi steak tartare (an unusual twist on a classic), the roast chicken breast and potato gratin (a less unusual choice, but still decent), and a chocolate brownie with raspberry ripple ice cream (oh yes).

After that I would definitely recommend getting a coffee, and by coffee I mean an espresso martini, because the ones they have at The Imperial Arms are very good indeed—far better than you could reasonably expect to have in a pub, and a good indicator of what seems to be a rather comprehensive cocktail list.

If you’re looking for a solid meal and a few drinks it’s hard to argue against The Imperial Arms. If you’re looking for a proper restaurant you may find it lacking but—seeing how they have all the basics down to perfection—I can imagine this may change in the years to come.

The Imperial Arms, 577 King’s Road, Chelsea, London, SW6; www.the-imperial-arms.com; 020 7736 6081

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Bars & Pubs |