Two Chairmen is thought to be the oldest public house in Westminster. Its pub sign, featuring two men carrying a sedan chair, can be traced back to 1729. The pub is near Birdcage Walk, where James I had aviaries for exotic birds, and close to St. James's Park tube station. It has been called 'The hidden gem of Dartmouth Street' by The London Evening Standard.
The pub is located on Dartmouth Street opposite the infamous early theatre The Royal Cockpit, which was known as a cockfighting arena. Rebuilt in 1756, It is named after the two men who used to carry sedan chairs for wealthy patrons who frequented the pub in its early days. Apparently the Sedan chair carriers would wait in the pub for fares which would appear after the cockfights had finished.
Notable clientele and mentions
- In 2007 Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, gave an interview to The Daily Telegraph journalist Robert Watts.
- Former Whitehall civil servant Damian McBride was a regular at the Two Chairmen where it is reported he released secrets about Gordon Brown to journalists.
- Political Editor for The Mail on Sunday, Simon Walters, first met former Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam at the Two Chairmen.
- It is alleged that several members of the Liberal Democrats including Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne met at the upstairs room in the Two Chairmen to plot the downfall of party leader Menzies Campbell.
- The Two Chairmen is mentioned in a book by author John Rae entitled The Old Boys Network: A Headmaster's Diaries 1972-1986, where the author receives a call from the pub landlord to go and collect several drunk students.
- In a book entitled Betjeman by the author A. N. Wilson the pub is mentioned in correspondence between John Betjeman and Eric James where Betjeman writes "Wrong. The Two Chairmen is a pub near here. If you have the courage to say that you are very sorry, but you have to leave, I'll come with you and we can go to the Two Chairmen."
- Author Michael Dobbs mentions the Two Chairmen in his book A Sentimental Traitor where the character Jemma comments that the pub is "entirely presentable but scarcely The Ritz".
- History of Two Chairmen from Function Rooms website
- Westminster report mentioning Two Chairmen
- London Evening Standard Review of Two Chairmen
- Two Chairman information on location near Cock Fighting arena
- Visit London page on Two Chairmen
- History of Two Chairmen from the official site
- Bit About Britain information on Two Chairmen
- Founding of the Society of Civil Service Authors
- Robert Watts interview with Nigel Farage at Two Chairman
- Damian McBride article where he mentions Two Chairmen
- Simon Walters meeting with Mo Mowlam
- Liberal Democrat plot to overthrow Menzies Campbell
- Mention of Two Chairmen in a book by John Rae
- Two Chairman mentioned in a book by A. N. Wilson
- Michael Dobbs mention of Two Chairman in his book