Golden Eagle, W1U 2NY
An old-fashioned single-room pub in Marylebone.
Rowley Birkin QC visited on a Friday evening in January 2008. Quiet place; only apparent noise was customers chatting. I thought there was no piped music at all until a lull in the conversations when I heard some very faint music coming from the speaker (and I was standing right below it).
Everyone else seemed to be a regular, probably local, all aged 30s to 60s. The A-board outside advertises piano playing 8:30-ish to 11-ish Tuesday, Thursday and Friday nights. I doubt the place has been thoroughly refurbished for 30 or so years, but it's not run down. It's very clean (the gents is especially good, even if the ceilings are rather low), and I wouldn't be surprised if they simply get a painter/decorator/handyman friend/relative/regular to give the place a lick of paint/do odd jobs from time to time. On bob's March 2008 visit there was a noticeable odd smell, reminiscent of a hairdresser's shop.
Real ales are Pride (£2.95/pint), St Austell's Tribute (£2.95), and a guest ale (£2.90; Fuller's Chiswick in January 2008 and good it was too, Brakspear Bitter in December). Others include Tetley's (smoothflow), Stella, Foster's, Strongbow, Guinness.
Note that the bar is cash only (as of Kat's last visit in April 2014). This may be a factor in deterring the usual (noisier and younger) Marylebone crowds. The beer is still good value though - around £3.45 for a well-kept pint of Tribute.
No evidence of food. Old TV (high up, switched off).
Kat's verdict: I love this pub. I've never had a bad pint here, the guest beers rotate regularly and the old school decor (including carpet!) keeps the atmosphere comfortingly untrendy. The live piano player is definitely worth experiencing at least once.
Accessibility: toilets are down a flight of stairs.