Red Lion - Soho
14 Kingly St, Carnaby, London W1B 5PR
Deceptively massive Sam Smiths pub in the heart of Soho, king of the darts jungle! Despite so many pubs around in Soho south of Oxford Street, so few offer darts. Shame on you, the John Snow. Shame on you, Coach & Horse. Shame on you, O'Neills, for many reasons. Luckily the Red Lion is here to save the day. Upstairs in this busy old Sam Smith's pub you'll find a dartboard to the right of the bar, in good condition with chalkboard but no electronic scoreboard. The board is close to the bar, and in this busy pub it doesn't take for long drinkers to occupy this space with scant regard for those of us wanting to play darts ("scum, sub-human scum"). There are no flat-screen TVs to distract from the darts, and leather stools and comfortable armchairs abound, once you're tired of the arrows.
Easy to get on the board?
The pub's popular with local office workers so it gets busy quickly on any night from Wednesday onward, which makes it tricky to get a game of darts, even if no one's actually on the board. Good alternatives nearby to check out if the board is taken include: http://www.dartslondon.co.uk/pubs/the-champion-oxford-circus http://www.dartslondon.co.uk/pubs/glasshouse-stores-piccadilly-circus-soho
Rest of pub
The pub is split into three bars, with two downstairs and one upstairs. The front bar is cosy with a working fireplace, perfect for a cold December's evening. The wood-panelled bars and armchairs give the pub a cosy welcoming feel throughout. In summer the crowd from the pub overspills onto Kingly street to enjoy the sunshine.
Sam Smith's classic selection, reasonably priced but limited choice.
How to get there
Five minutes walk from Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus, within 15 minutes walk of Bond Street, Green Park, Tottenham Court Road and Leicester Square