The challenge of the Monopoly Pub Crawl is to visit every named Monopoly square in London, in order, having a drink at each – and all on the same day.
It is a long day, but it starts with a sleep in. We don’t have to be at our first destination – Old Kent Road – until almost 11am.
Before you pass GO!
- Collect £200 (actually, this whole day will cost you about half that)
- Make sure you buy a Zone 1-2 Travelcard (I don’t trust the OysterCard for this)
- Dress as though you were going to a Mayfair club (because eventually you will be, and you don’t want to be refused service at that point)
- Familiarise yourself with the Monopoly Board, and the London Map
- Drink slowly, travel carefully, and stop for meals!
- Forget all about the details in the mad dash towards Mayfair!
If you’re a regular reader of everydaydream holiday, you may find this article to be a little more technical than usual.
If you’re here looking for a detailed, comprehensive guide to completing the Monopoly Pub Crawl, then read on: we have rules, routes, maps and pictures and videos to help! At the end, you can also download the guide I prepared, for myself and with detailed street maps because I didn’t own a smartphone then, which helped me to complete this world-renowned drinking challenge.
As a starting point, let’s reacquaint ourselves with the Monopoly Board … and then an actual map of where those squares are in real life.
On the board, you start at GO! and then move effortlessly around the board in a clockwise direction. How hard can that be to replicate on the ground?
Well here is a fabulous map of the Monopoly Pub Crawl created by the guys at monopolypubcrawl.org.uk. You can see that we start on the south side of the river, then mostly cover the east end and north London before diving into a random back-and-forth across greater London. It starts slow, builds up…and leaves us two train stations (in light grey) that will really mess with our planning later on!
1. Old Kent Road
The Lord Nelson, 386 Old Kent Road
Take the tube to Elephant and Castle. Find Bus Stop E. Catch 1, 53, 63, 172, 188, 363 or 453 to Old Kent Road, alight after Albany Rd
Monopoly’s first stop is also its only destination south side of the Thames River. First thing in the morning, the only people here are those – like us – doing a Monopoly Pub Crawl. We nod and smile at the groups carrying a board around with them; and at the lady serving us behind the bar – how she must wonder about the strange groups that make up the first half hour of every shift, and have so little in common with the rest of the clientele in this rough-as-guts neighbourhood.
There are plenty of drinking games you can play on the Monopoly Pub Crawl. Our mission today is to make it all the way to Mayfair, and to do all the squares in order; so we’re sticking with a routine of a half-pint of lager and a glass of water at every bar.
If you’re adventurous, or think getting horribly pissed and bailing out halfway through counts, here are a few ideas we’ve heard about or created:
- Order a drink that includes the letter that the pub’s name starts with (like Stella at the Lord Nelson) or the Street name starts with (like Fosters on Old Kent Road)
- Scull your drinks – first one to finish chooses the drink at the next stop; or last one to finish has to take a shot at the next stop as well
- Don’t order the same drink twice (pro tip: start with the strange drinks, because you do NOT want to be sipping a warm, flat craft ale in twenty stops’ time – refreshing lagers are your friend, especially towards the end)
- Roll the dice to choose your drink – either pre-set rules (1 = lager, 2 = ale, 3 = stout, 4 = imported, 5 = english, 6 = shot!) or based on the order of the beer taps
- Order the beer with the closest colour to this street in its logo
60 seconds later, and our first half-pint is gone! No doubt there are many wonderful stories to be told hanging about in this old pub, named after the hero of Trafalgar. But we have a bus to catch!
2. Whitechapel Road
The Blind Beggar, 337 Whitechapel Road
Catch Bus 78 from either Old Kent Road or Dunton St (heading towards ‘Calvert Ave E2’). This bus will take you across Tower Bridge. Alight, walk to Tower Hill tube station and catch the District Line Tube to Whitechapel.
Finding ourself on the same bus as the other groups is no surprise. But what’s this? We all alight together just after Tower Bridge, but they’re walking in a different direction!
To our amazement, most people who complete the ‘Monopoly Pub Crawl’ do it by cheating! While we man-up to the challenge of seeing all 26 pubs in order, these groups are heading to nearby Fenchurch Street Station (15 stops early!) because it’s more convenient to do it that way.
Wear our commitment to excellence like a badge of honour, team. All day long we will bump into other groups doing this challenge the sneaky way – be sure to tell them that we, and we alone, are doing it properly.
At The Blind Beggar we have a chance to experience London’s notorious ‘East End’ – when the UK version of Monopoly was converted from the US version, it was readily understood that the southside and east end would be the cheapest real estate – the areas are much better integrated now, but let’s just say we’re happy we’re not ending our day here after nightfall.
Another half-pint down, here’s my first video of the day:
3. King’s Cross Station
The Fellow, 24 York Way
Catch the Hammersmith & City line (Underground) from Whitechapel to King’s Cross Station
Train station bars having relocated to St Pancras, next door, we head across the road to The Fellow. There’s a slight look of amusement on the bartender’s face when we order a half-pint of beer and a glass of water, but no time to ask what she means by it – down the drink goes, and out we go.
Here’s where the geography of the Monopoly Pub Crawl (really, of the Monopoly Board in general) gets crazy. We have four stops: in order, King’s Cross, The Angel Islington, Euston Road, Pentonville Road.
And here’s a close-up on a map – you see that we’re going to do the same stretch of underground back and forth to stay in order.
Still, that gives us a chance to have lunch – supermarket sandwiches (bacon and egg all day breakfasts, of course) devoured on the underground. We’ve now been on the road two hours, and done just three stops – don’t worry, it gets quicker.
4. The Angel, Islington
The Angel, 3-5 Islington High St
Catch the Northern Line from King’s Cross 1 stop east to Angel. (Check the boards – there are two branches of the Northern Line that come through here – we want the Bank branch.)
Yes, there is actually a pub called ‘The Angel’ and it’s on Islington High Street.
To make things even more perfect, they serve the cheapest half-pint of lager on the whole Monopoly Board.
5. Euston Road
O’Neills, 73-77 Euston Road
Back to Euston Road, across the road from King’s Cross Station.
If you’re visiting London and want a pint, stay clear of the chain pubs.
If you’re on a tight schedule, like (hypothetically) a Monopoly Pub Crawl, then the nearest pub will always win out!
6. Pentonville Road
The Castle, 54 Pentonville Road
Catch the Northern Line from King’s Cross 1 stop east to Angel. (Yes, sounds familiar doesn’t it!)
Angel tube station has the longest escalator on the underground network. Feeling like we’re losing time backtracking, we decide to walk up it at pace. Ouch!
It’s a nice pub, and it’s good to sit down and savour our half-pint – that escalator walk hurt, plus there’s no point rushing it on top of those bacon sarnies.
And what timing we have, as just moments after we sit down a group of a dozen Monopoly pub crawlers (all dressed in cricket whites) come in. They are clearly in no rush – and possibly one of those groups that does 5-6 destinations and calls that complete.
7. Pall Mall
The Red Lion, 23 Crown Passage
Northern Line to King’s Cross Station; change there and take the Picadilly line to Green Park.
Turn right out of the station and walk down Picadilly to St. James Street on the right.
Walk down St. James Street until you reach Pall Mall and turn left.
We are now at the end of the first row on the Monopoly Board – time for another short video update, as we avoid jail en route to Pall Mall.
And then there’s a chance to order a drink at one of London’s oldest pubs, The Red Lion just off Pall Mall.
There’s little time to appreciate the history … but there is time to find the downstairs bathroom. 7 pubs of 26 down, and the seal has been broken!
The Clarence, 53, Whitehall
This is a walk – at last, stops close to each other! – to the other end of Pall Mall, around past Trafalgar Square (who created this board?!) and then onto Whitehall.
Whitehall is the politicians’ street (we walked down here on Monday with talk of beheadings and Downing Street), so it’s no surprise that there are plenty of bars to choose from.
Grab the first one that isn’t crowded, drink fast, and then it’s on to…
9. Northumberland Avenue
The Sherlock Holmes, 10-11 Northumberland St
Walk back up to Trafalgar Square, and spin around to the right.
Walk down the road and you’ll see The Sherlock Holmes ahead on the left, where Northumberland Avenue meets Northumberland Street.
I don’t want to give the impression that this is all about logistics and precision – a Monopoly Pub Crawl is hands-down THE best way to acquaint yourself with London, and a chance to tap into its history.
And its ales – The Sherlock Holmes even serves a Sherlock Holmes Ale, which of course we have to try while we’re here!
If you’re an ale drinker, it has some flavour to offer. For me, I find ales sit very heavily – not a desirable attribute in the middle of a marathon.
10. Marylebone Station
The Victoria and Albert, Marylebone Station
Walk up Northumberland Street and turn right to Charing Cross Station.
Take the Bakerloo line to Marylebone.
Enter the station, and go right to the end, where you will find the pub on your left.
Our second train station, and almost as far away from the other stops as you could imagine! Seriously – the four train stations on the Monopoly Board (King’s Cross, Marylebone, Fenchurch St, and Liverpool St) are all major commuter stops – but so too is Charing Cross station which is RIGHT. NEXT. DOOR. to Northumberland Ave.
Still, Paddington would have been worse – and at least there’s a pub actually inside this station. In front of us in the queue is a group asking the bartender to sign their Monopoly Board – we don’t mean to pry, but it’s only their sixth signature so we know we are well ahead of them. Plus they’ve order a round of Guinness pints – they’ll be here for a while, but we wish them luck anyway.
11. Bow Street
The Marquess of Anglesey, 39 Bow St
Take the Bakerloo line. Change at Piccadilly Circus for the Piccadilly line to Covent Garden.
Come out of the station and turn right, walking along Long Acre (away from Covent Garden itself). Turn right onto Bow Street.
Back now into the heart of London’s West End – this is my favourite part of the city, the theatre district running from about here (Drury Lane is nearby) west into Soho and Leicester Square.
We’re going to cover most of that within this colour group (which, incidentally, is the best set of squares to buy on the Monopoly Board. Statistically, more players land on Bow, Marlbourough and Vine Streets than any other squares.)
12. Marlborough Street
O’Neills, 37-38 Great Marlborough Street
Turn right back up Bow Street; turn right at the end and walk down Long Acre/Great Queen Street to Kingsway; turn left and walk up to Holborn tube station.
Take the central line to Oxford Circus. Exit on the SE corner and walk down Oxford St toward Tottenham Court Road.
Turn right onto Argyll Street and left onto Malborough Street. O’Neills is on the corner of Carnaby Street.
Strictly speaking, there is no Marlborough Street in greater London, but Great Marlborough Street is (by consensus) the destination for this stop. If the pub experience isn’t already starting to feel repetitive, this stop (almost half way through) will do it. We’re heading into another O’Neills chain pub…
… and sitting outside is the group of Guinness Drinkers from Marylebone Station. How did they beat us here, we ask? Geography – they’ve gone just 3 tube stops, while we had to head all the way over to Bow St / Covent Garden and back.
We’re almost halfway through though, and it’s only 4.30pm. I’m feeling good about our prospects.
13. Vine Street
Gauchos Grill (Swallow St)
Walk down Carnaby Street and turn right onto Beak Street, then left onto Warwick St.
The pubs are at the end of the road as it meets Glasshouse Street.
Vine Street is the only stop on this pub crawl that has no pubs to offer us. In fact, it’s an odd street to be on the board at all, given how small it is, tucked away behind Regent’s Street.
We’re aiming for Gauchos, an upmarket Spanish restaurant that can be picky with their clientele. Thankfully, we’re well dressed and well ahead of the dinner rush … they want to sit us at a table and show us the menu; we’re happy to sit on the lounges inside … but yes, let’s order some bar snacks to keep us going (how long will they take to arrive? We’re in a hurry.)
14. The Strand
The Coal Hole, 91-92 Strand
Head to Piccadilly Circus Tube – catch the Piccadilly Line two stops to Covent Garden
Cut through Covent Garden and down to the Strand
Halfway there – it’s time for a video update.
As you can see, Covent Garden is a busy place at this time of day. The Coal Hole is too, and proves to be one of the nicer bars of the day (despite a hilarious name – or is that just 13 half-pints of beer talking?).
We’re now on the Red Squares, the turning point on the board between low prices and the top end. It’s not that obvious in real life, however – but then, we are less than a kilometre from Whitehall and Northumberland Ave!
15. Fleet Street
Ye Olde Cock Tavern, 22 Fleet St
Walk or catch a bus along The Strand – it kind of just turns into Fleet Street
What did we say about funny pub names? There’s not much of a journalist legacy on Fleet Street anymore, with the exception of a number of drinking establishments.
16. Trafalgar Square
Halfway II Heaven, 7 Duncannon St
Take the 11, 15 or 23 bus back up along The Strand to Charing Cross Station or Trafalgar Square
Most Monopoly Pub Crawls recommend the Chandos (at 29 St Martin’s Lane) for the Trafalgar Square stop. That’s a fine English pub, no doubt, but it’s an extra few minutes walk so we’re heading in to Halfway II Heaven.
You’ll probably notice a lack of female companionship here. Not uncommon in a pub, true, but here there’s a better reason – it’s actually a gay bar.
Not that that stops them from happily serving us up our half-pint of beer and a glass of water.
17. Fenchurch Street Station
The Fen or The Windsor, Fenchurch St Station
Walk to Embankment Tube Station (Past Charing Cross)
Catch the District or Circle line to Tower Hill, and walk up to Fenchurch Street Station
Now we know why so many people cheat and take the logical route, instead of doing the Monopoly Pub Crawl in order. Here we are, back at Tower Hill more than 6 hours after our last visit!
Our destination is Fenchurch Street station – and here’s a timing problem. The best day to do the Monopoly Pub Crawl is Saturday – simply because more bars are open later, and you and your mates don’t have to work.
But within the ‘Square Mile’ of the official city of London, not much is open on a Saturday. And that includes Fenchurch Street Station! (Weekends are also more likely to see maintenance closures of tube lines – always check the Transport for London website for updates before heading out.)
If you can’t get in to the Station, expect a mad scramble around the area. There are a number of pubs nearby … but most are closed on Saturdays (weird, but true). That’s how we once found ourselves at Proud, a nearby Burlesque club that isn’t really open for casual drinks (or people wearing jeans) but could sense the desparation in our voices, and the pounds in our wallet.
18. Leicester Square
The Moon Under Water, 28 Leicester Square
Catch the Tube back to Embankment; change to the Northern Line for Leicester Square
I don’t want to belabour this point, but Fenchurch Street station just lost us 45 minutes. It’s honestly a 5 minute walk from Trafalgar Square to Leicester Square – hell, the Harry Potter premiers ran a red carpet along that road! – but it’s taken us almost an hour.
Still, the yellow squares are fabulously close together and connected in a logical way. That gives us some time to contemplate dinner…
19. Coventry Street
Busaba Eathai with Dinner, or The Comedy, 7 Oxendon St
Walk across Leicester Square and into Coventry Street
Meals are an important part of a pub crawl that lasts this long – for sustenance, to soak up the alcohol, and to provide you with a kick of energy.
Fast meals (like our supermarket sandwiches) are the best way to do this, and keep to schedule. If you want a sit down, Busaba Eathai just off Coventry Street is a good option – you’ll get here about the right time, and they don’t take reservations for small groups so you don’t need to know exactly when you’ll arrive, and you’ll still probably get seated quickly.
Just let them know two things:
1. You’re in a rush (this is the theatre district, they’re used to that and will help out) and
2. You want your beer served immediately – it’s far too deep into this pub crawl to have to start sculling beers!
Henry’s Café Bar, 80 Piccadilly
Catch a tube on the Piccadilly Line from Piccadilly Circus to Green Park
You can walk down Piccadilly and head for the first bar that looks good. But the fastest guaranteed way is to jump on the tube for this one stop trip, and duck into Henry’s Bar which is just outside Green Park Station.
(Is that the same Green Park Station that takes you to Pall Mall? Yes, we’ve been here before!)
21. Regent Street
All Bar One, 289 Regent St
Catch the tube from Green Park (Victoria Line) or Piccadilly Circus (if you stayed at that end; Bakerloo Line) to Oxford Circus (1 stop).
Head away from the city along Regent Street – it’s between Margaret and Wigmore
Onto the home stretch now folks! Depending on the time of year, night time (even if not night fall) will be on you. But we have several hours still up our sleeve. This is looking good.
This is definitely doable.
I am definitely, definitely, drunk.
I suppose, 21 x half pints = 10.5 pints, and I’ve been running around now for almost 11 hours! But now, suddenly, I can feel the exhaustion and the beer affecting me. I try to focus on the task at hand – only five bars to go. But wow, do those five feel like a lot of effort. And there’s more booze hitting my system with every second. Must concentrate. Suspect rambling is about to begin.
22. Oxford Street
The Explorer, 23 Great Castle St
Walk back down to Oxford St and turn right (towards Bond Street Tube)
Oxford Street is a very popular commercial street. But don’t think that means there’s a pub on every corner! Oh no, you have to go looking for them.
And now they’re filling up. And so am I. I’m looking at the time. I’m staring at that half-pint of beer, willing it to go down.
It’s not the booze. It can’t be the booze. Much. Surely? 11 pints in 11 hours, a man of my size and with my liver’s decade of training, should be able to handle that.
No, it’s the tiredness – magnified by the alcohol. Which I manage to get down, followed by a few sips of water to get the taste out of my mouth. Onward…
23. Bond Street
8 Dering St
Turn left onto Bird St until it turns into Bond Street
Again, you would think finding a pub in London would be easy at this time of night. But no – Bond Street is fancy, it’s jewellry and art galleries, not half pints of beer in the evening. We get a little bit lost trying to find this one. We don’t have time for that!
And the feeling of space that being in a pub at 1 o’clock gives you is long gone. I need the bathroom – third pub in a row. Can you order me a drink? Great. Back in 5.
Better make that 10. And there’s no toilet paper in the men’s room. We do not have time for this! I’m walking into the ladies, grabbing a roll, and coming back.
Taking matters into my own hands. That’s what I’m doing. I’m drunk, and I’m tired, but more than anything I am committed.
WE WILL GET THIS DONE!
24. Liverpool Street Station
Hamilton Hall, upstairs from the station near the Bishopsgate Exit
Head back to Bond Street Tube – Catch the Central Line to Liverpool Street
Who the flipping hell put Liverpool Street Station here on the Monopoly Board? Look at that map again – this is an hour’s round trip out of the way, and it’s now after 10pm. Still, it’s 15 minutes (each way) on the tube so I’m taking a nap.
Hamilton Hall is exactly what you expect a train station pub to be like late at night. Nobody is here because they thought ‘that looks like a nice pub’. Everybody is here because they would rather be somewhere else – in most cases, that somewhere else is at the end of a train journey from Liverpool Street station.
For us, the somewhere else is Mayfair, via Park Lane. And if I can just get this beer down we’ll be on our way.
TWO STOPS TO GO!
25. Park Lane
The Rose and Crown, 2 Old Park Lane
Catch the Central Line back to Marble Arch
Turn left onto Park Lane, and continue on down
Wow, has that detour ruined what remained of our schedule. After Regent Street, it felt like the night was young and this was easily finished.
Now it feels late. Very late. There’s no longer any guarantee that pubs will be open. We’re headed for the Rose and Crown, at the far end of Park Lane. I’m looking at the time. It’s almost 11.30, and we’re walking down a dark street, and so help me god if we get to this pub and it’s closed and we don’t finish the Monopoly Pub Crawl I will cry and scream and, well, and fall asleep on the front step of the bar.
But what’s that? Hawaiian noises? Downstairs, underneath the Park Lane Hilton, is a really dodgy Hawaiian bar. But I’m desparate, and in a hurry, and damn well committed.
A ten quid cover charge is ridiculous. Any other day of my life I would tell this man to stick it. Instead, I pay it and – because I couldn’t possibly sit here and watch the minutes tick past staring a beer and wondering what will still be open in Mayfair – I order a shot of Malibu.
The first time I ever went into a bar, my dad bought me a shot of Malibu. He was born in London. There’s a connection.
My god I’m drunk. But I’m back outside now. There is one more stop to go and we will have completed this epic, this challenging, this amazing Monopoly Pub Crawl in order.
Ye Grapes, Shepherd’s Market, Mayfair
Walk down Curzon or Hertford St. There is a Mayfair Place here for photo purposes
It’s closed. Pub number 26 of 26, and it’s now ten minutes to midnight and we have been running this marathon and drinking those beers for 13 hours!, and the pub is closed.
Everything is closed. Mayfair is dead quiet. This is another city business area, and the local lawyers, and bankers, and Russian oligarchs have all decided to go home early tonight. I am gutted. I am devastated. I am walking around Mayfair until I find…
…an Indian restaurant, with the lights on, and customers inside!
My friends, we are in luck. We have success! We also have naan, and Cobra beer to wash it down with. Cobra Beer and Naan is the taste of success.
WE HAVE DONE IT!
I have to say, the feeling I have right now is one of relief. I’m not sure if that’s because we have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, or if it’s the more comprehensive awareness of how epic this day has actually been.
There’s also some exhilaration. I have been wanting to do the Monopoly Pub Crawl since I first heard Dave Lister talk about it in Red Dwarf. I once wrote a Christmas special called “Doctor Who and the Monopoly Pub Crawl of Doom, or pardon me, have you seen my Tardis?”. I am such a Monopoly nerd that I can quote square-purchasing strategy while drunk and standing on Regent Street!
And I have now completed the actual Monopoly Pub Crawl!
Was it more difficult than I expected? Hell yes! Was it worth it? In so many ways.
I wanted to do another video right now, but I am dead on my feet and asleep on the tube. But tomorrow morning, oh yes, here is my take tomorrow morning:
Want to go? Need to know!
- Here, as promised, is the guide I wrote for myself when I originally planned this Pub Crawl. It hasn’t been updated based on our experience above.
- I also recommend monopolypubcrawl.org.uk – there are a lot of helpful sites out there, but I found their map the most helpful when planning
Have you completed, or do you plan to complete, the Monopoly Pub Crawl in London? Let us know your thoughts and your questions in the comments below.
And do you think completing this out-of-order, like so many people seem to do, is cheating?