Tuesday, May 23, 2006
The Coach and Horses
Try as I do to sample all the real London institutions, I must confess to having missed out on the Norman Balon experience at the Coach and Horses, a Soho institution on Greek Street.
For over 60 years, Norman has famously held the title of London’s rudest landlord. Last night, at age 79, he handed over the reins of the Coach and Horses to a new owner. The Coach and Horses has long been a hangout for journalists and Soho personalities. It featured in Jeffrey Bernard’s Lowlife column for the Spectator and was the basis for a play staring Peter O’Toole, “Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell”. Most famously, the pub served as the site of fortnightly Private Eye lunches.
Norman Balon’s memoirs which are currently out of print are entitled “You’re Barred, You Bastards” and some of his more printable sayings which were included in a wonderful article about him in today’s Daily Telegraph include:
Here’s your money. F**** off.
You’re barred. You’re too boring to be in my pub.
I don’t care if you are a man or a woman, you can go now.
You’re so ugly you’re upsetting the customers.
Can’t you see, you idiot, that I’m on the telephone – to an MP trying to find the Private Eye Lunch.
And don’t come back.
How this venerable institution holds up without Norman Balon remains to be seen but I am very sorry to have missed his time.
Coach and Horses
29 Greek Street
Tel: 020 7437 5920
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia