Top 10: January 2009

Our January 2009 selection
Compton Arms, London
For a long time, we've had the impression that the Compton Arms likes to think is somewhere out in the wilds of Surrey or Sussex and come to that, the locals seem to, too. But that's OK with us. The Compton certainly does look after its beer really well, with an extensive and ever-changing range...
Prince Arthur, London
The Prince Arthur has long been a favourite of ours, and when things started to change we were a bit worried. While we might have hankered for a bit of Thai food last time we were in, we can't say the new menu has been a bad choice - far from it, even if it is more gastro now than pub grub. The...
Shakespeare's Head, London
Going by the exterior, it's easy to write this one off as a grim estate pub, but actually crossing the threshold reveals not a fight over the pool table but a friendly boozer. Both in terms of atmosphere and decor, it's pretty much as close to a pub from 30 years ago as you're going find....
Lamb, London
The Lamb is a genial old boozer with lots of Victorian charm - and that's just the locals. The beer's good (Young's, plus guests), the food's pretty basic, it's got some quaint Victorian fixtures and fittings, without it being too olde worlde - it gets the balance just right. The clientele are...
Evening Star, Brighton
This is a real gem of a pub for real ale lovers. And, while it's very close to the main station, it seems to avoid the problems of a lot of station pubs, with a good crowd of convivial locals and regulars, but friendly at the same time. It's not a huge place - being what estate agents might call...
Coach & Horses, London
Even though it's long-standing, famously rude landlord Norman Balon retired in 2006, this one-time Soho institution hasn't changed much since. Indeed posters in the window still describe it as Norman's Coach & Horses. For those who aren't au fait with Soho history, the Coach & Horses once boasted...
Slim Jims Liquor Store, London
Late on a Sunday night this place can be a haven if you are just not prepared to let the weekend die. With a huge selection of bourbons and whisky, an excellent cocktail menu, and decent tap lager, there's something for everyone unless ale is your only tipple. A year or so ago, we were quite...
Windmill, London
There are a one or two pubs in the West End that aren't the usual tourist traps, theme pubs or restaurants in disguise you get in these parts - they're just good, honest pubs that would be a delight for any discerning pubgoer to call his or her local. The Windmill, just off Regent Street is one...
The Camel, London
If you like the nearby Florist, but find it getting a little too crowded and noisy for you, then your best bet is to try this pub. Run by the same people, The Camel is a friendly, family affair. The great original external tiling is intact but its been smartened up inside - the framed photos of...