Howzat! Historic Lord’s pub goes back to its roots

Lord’s Tavern brings back 144 years of dining in a bid to become heart of St John’s Wood community

FOR almost a century and a half, the Lord’s Tavern has sat next to the Home of Cricket providing St John’s Wood residents and cricket fans with a place to reflect on the day’s sporting endeavours.

After experimenting with fine dining and remarketing itself as a bar and brasserie six years ago, a newly refurbished Tavern is set to open later this month which will go back to its public house roots and reflect the culinary history of Lord’s.

Working on the theme of a history of food and drink at Lord’s, the new Tavern is aiming to attract local residents by bringing 144 years of dining back to St John’s Wood.

Jon Robinson, Marylebone Cricket Club assistant secretary for marketing and catering, said: “The Lord’s Tavern has picked up a bad reputation over the last five or six years.

“It was turned into a sort of fine dining emporium which it should never have been turned into. The prices were too high, the d�cor was all wrong and there was not reflection of cricket itself in the tavern. The local community has been frightened away from it.

“What we are trying to do is bring back some of the history of the tavern. The curator has come up with a lot of old menu cards for dinners at Lord’s that will be on the walls.

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“Our number one target is the local community. We want to get them back just to have a look and see if they like it.

“We want to be at the heart of the community.”

Dating back to 1867, the Lord’s Tavern began life as a hostelry and pub on St John’s Wood Road where the current Tavern Stand is located.

It was then controversially demolished in 1966, just one year before its centenary, and relocated to its present location by the Grace Gate.

As well as a number of archived menus in the new Tavern, different artefacts and pictures from the history of food at Lord’s will be on display while the original sign which hung outside the establishment in the 1950s will be located inside.

Mr Robinson says the menu will be simple British-themed tavern food with dishes such as haddock and chips, Lancashire hot pot, English ploughman’s, and sticky toffee pudding.

“We have done quite a lot of research in the area and there aren’t many options for a really good Sunday lunch,” he said.

“So that’s something we will be doing and we will have a brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays as well.

“Cricket is a long day by its nature so it does give people an opportunity to have breakfast, lunch and tea in the course of the day so food is enormously important to the Lord’s experience.”

He adds that in time, the Tavern will serve tea and coffee during the day in order to build a reputation for the Lord’s tea similar to that of strawberries and cream at Wimbledon.

The Tavern is set to reopen after a six-week renovation period on March 18.