The Windsor Castle (ex-The Cardinal), Victoria
The bar is over 2 levels. On the ground floor it has a central bar area, with panel divided drinking sections around it and a large relaxing lounge area at the back with a very attractive stained glass ceiling. It has dark wood and ornate etched glass throughout and has a very traditional and cosy feel to it.
Upstairs there is a large dining lounge that has been done up in a similar style. They really have done a great job restoring this pub to how it once probably looked a hundred years ago and is certainly worth a little detour to visit.
The only down side is that you can't take your drinks outside and there is no outdoor seating area.
Sam Smiths' beer is the usual low quality, but combined with high prices here the place is often empty compared to 5 years or so ago, when it was humming every night.
They must be losing thousands - we were the last to leave at 10.15 one night this week. The manageress blamed it on the Olympics but I think it was the smell of her tramp customers (who sit at the table by the door and in the front snug - you won't miss the smell).
The Warwick Castle is a glorious cathedral of a pub, but just as cold. Pop in to admire the fixtures and fittings, but don't plan on staying for any longer than a half. It really saps your spirit.
So, it's a Sam Smiths, and you get exactly what you expect from a Sam Smiths: proprietary brand booze at reasonable prices and a subdued, perhaps slightly drowsy atmosphere. I actually kind of like what they've done with the back room personally. Anyway, didn't mean this as a detraction from the previous comment, but, facts and facts, y'know...
23 Francis Street, Victoria, London, SW1P 1DN
From Victoria Station head out of the main entrance, cross the Little Ben traffic island and head up Victoria Street. When you see the Cathedral, turn right and walk down the left hand side of it (Ambrosden Street), then left into Francis Street.