Warrington Hotel, Maida Vale

93 Warrington Crescent
Maida Vale
W9 1EH
020 7286 8282

Traditional Pub, 3* Heritage Pub

The spectacular entrance of the Warrington with its golden ceramic columns and mosaic tiled floor is just a taster for the glories within (photo 1). Take the right of the three doors into the main bar and you are met with a wonderfully extravagant gin palace. On the left is an intricately carved semi-circular wooden bar counter with a marble top, but also look up to see the canopy with carved cherubs and paintings of lightly clad young women (photo 3).

The walls are covered in multiple small mirrors divided by spiral columns and there is an elegant grey marble fireplace behind two matching columns. Sadly (for me anyway) the columns were wrapped with glittery fabric for Christmas so there’s no photo. At the far end of the room is an alcove created by an arch with an art nouveau stained glass window and a ceiling with more painted ladies, all fronted by a curved leather-buttoned sofa (photo 5). Half way round the room under another archway is the elegant staircase which leads up to the restaurant (photo 2). The staircase features in an illustration by Edward Ardizzone called The Lounge at the Warrington in Maurice Gorham’s 1939 book The Local. The character heading up the stairs is looking a bit the worse for wear (photo 4).

The glamorous interior was added in an 1890s refit but the Grade II listed building was built in 1857 (photo 6). In this photo you can see one of the three 1927 K2 telephone boxes outside the pub, also Grade II listed, designed by George Gilbert Scott. 

The pub was part owned by chef Gordon Ramsay from 2008-11 and hosted an upmarket restaurant. Its subsequent owners continued the gastro theme but it was recently taken over by Ewe Hospitality who clearly think that old school pub grub is the way forward. Cask beers were limited to Old Speckled Hen and the ubiquitous Landlord on my visit, and keg beers included the almost-as-common Camden Pale.

The Warrington featured in the 1965 film Bunny Lake is Missing starring Laurence Olivier, and Boak and Bailey give the scenes in the pub a fascinating write-up on their blog.

The story that the pub, or possibly just the upstairs room, was once a brothel seems unlikely but it probably inspired the naked lady paintings which actually only date from the early 1960s. The story is also said to have been the source of the word “randy”, coming from the street to the side of the pub, Randolph Avenue. Must check the OED for that one.

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