Who drinks where - in pictures

Visit a Media Week gallery of the London hostelries regarded as home turf by media's finest. Meanwhile, Adam Woods explores which media types are likely to drink where.

  • Fitzroy Tavern

    Fitzroy Tavern

  • Marquis of Granby

    Marquis of Granby

  • The Hope

    The Hope

  • The Sun & 13 cantons

    The Sun & 13 cantons

  • The Lamb

    The Lamb

  • The King's Arms

    The King's Arms

  • MWA - MEC copy.jpg

    MWA - MEC copy.jpg

  • MWA - Sales.jpg

    MWA - Sales.jpg

  • Grand Prix

    Grand Prix

  • The Fellow

    The Fellow

  • The Eagle

    The Eagle

  • The Green

    The Green

  • The Plumbers Arms

    The Plumbers Arms

  • Carpenters Arms

    Carpenters Arms

  • MWA - room.jpg

    MWA - room.jpg

  • The Refinery

    The Refinery

  • The Garrick Arms

    The Garrick Arms

  • The Hospital

    The Hospital

  • Le Beaujolais

    Le Beaujolais

  • The Foundry

    The Foundry

  • The Bull

    The Bull

  • TalkSport.jpg


  • MWA Steve.jpg

    MWA Steve.jpg

  • Media Week Awards

    Media Week Awards

  • Soho House

    Soho House

  • The Endurance

    The Endurance

  • The Square Pig

    The Square Pig

  • White Horse

    White Horse

  • The Perseverance

    The Perseverance

  • Imbibe Bar

    Imbibe Bar

  • The White Hart

    The White Hart

  • The Adam Street Club

    The Adam Street Club

  • MWA Boyle.jpg

    MWA Boyle.jpg

  • Shoreditch House

    Shoreditch House

  • MWA - Rising Star.jpg

    MWA - Rising Star.jpg

  • City AM

    City AM

  • Charlotte Street Hotel

    Charlotte Street Hotel


To view the photographs click here.

The Dudley Arms stands on the Harrow Road, in a corner of Paddington that was probably a bit nicer before the Westway came and sat on it in the 1960s. Twenty years ago, when London had only one media agency in the modern sense, it also had only one media agency pub, and this was it.

The Dudley is a thoroughly ordinary pub that owes its media notoriety entirely to the fact that, around the corner in North Wharf Road, Zenith set up as the UK's first big buying shop in 1988. Evidently, it was thirsty work, and the pub became a virtual extension of that office until ZenithOptimedia finally moved to Fitzrovia.

And when more agencies evolved, they clearly needed their own pubs. Media consultant Mark Palmer, formerly of BMP and OMD, remembers the strict divide between neighbouring agencies, manifested in their chosen hostelries.

"It used to be very territorial - everyone from BMP and OMD went to the Prince of Wales and everyone from Zenith went to the Dudley," he says. "Chris Amor [OMD joint head of buying] would do most of his negotiations in the Prince of Wales on a Friday afternoon."

Paddington is quiet now, and Noho, as the area north of Oxford Street is sometimes annoyingly known, is the epicentre of today's media drinking world. Throw in Soho, Covent Garden and Holborn, and on a sunny evening you have all the pubs, bars and pavement you need to accommodate about 90% of the agency world's finest - and progressively foggiest - young minds.

Deals are done here, contacts made, relationships forged and teams built. And all over central London, pubs still fly invisible flags bearing the logo of a local agency. "It is a bit like West Side Story," says Lisa Batty, head of business development at IPC Weeklies - and she is not entirely joking. "You can't have two agencies in the same place because there would be a fight."

Slightly more mature media fun is being had in London's private members' clubs - Soho House, Shoreditch House, the Century Club and the Adam Street Club - where the drinking and mingling are less segregated and the characters more senior.

Some believe the media industry's social drinking culture of the 1980s and 1990s has settled down somewhat, but Lawson Muncaster, managing director of CityAM, believes it would be a sad day if it ever stopped altogether.

"Going out is still a very important part of the media business," he says. "You can't run a company from a spreadsheet - it doesn't matter who you are. You have to get out and about and meet people, and that's not going to change in five years, 10 years or 20 years."


What's the media scene?

A disproportionate number of agencies are now based in Fitzrovia. Presumably it's only a coincidence the area is named after a pub - The Fitzroy Tavern on Charlotte Street - but it is an apt one. Starcom, MediaVest, Vizeum, Walker Media, OMD, PHD and ZenithOptimedia are all not far from Tottenham Court Road and all have a local boozer.

Walker Media frequents the King & Queen on Foley Street, OMD chooses the Devonshire Arms on Duke Street or The Duke of York on Rathbone Place and PHD has a bar in its own building, as well as an informal residency at The Hope on Tottenham Street. In a remarkable show of tolerance, Starcom and MediaVest share The Carpenters Arms with Vizeum, while Saatchi & Saatchi and I-Level also live and drink locally, with the Marquis of Granby London's unofficial agency common room.

Agencies may be learning how not to think in silos, but they still tend to drink in them, or from them, on particularly big nights.

Who can I expect to see at the bar?

Pick an agency and make an informed guess. The pubs are blokier, while "some of the nicer planners" go to the Charlotte Street Hotel or retro basement bar Bourne and Hollingsworth, according to IPC's Batty.

She has a picture in her head of OMD's joint heads of buying, Chris Amor and Neil Johnston, in The Duke of York, OMD's head of communications planning Tim Forrest in the Charlotte Street Hotel and MediaVest's Neil Allen, Elliot Parkus and Gill Huber in The Carpenters. In The Marquis, it's a lucky dip.

How should I break the ice?

If you're in someone else's pub, then don't. If you're not sure exactly who you're dealing with, say: "Your lot seem to be doing better than most these days."

Topics to avoid?

Saying flattering things about a rival agency in another agency's stronghold is never terribly wise. The collapse of online display click-through rates ought to be safe ground, given that traditional tends to outnumber digital around here.



What's the media scene?

More varied, with more media owners than Fitzrovia. There is outdoor (Clear Channel), radio (Absolute Radio), digital (Facebook, The Search Works and InSkin), cinema (Digital Cinema Media) and magazines (NatMags), plus many creative shops.

The drinking in Soho is as avid as it is on the other side of Oxford Street, but because agencies don't rule the roost, the territorial competition isn't so fierce. James Appleby, broadcast account director at Mediaedge:cia, says: "People like to keep as separate as they can if they think they are going to get a bit loose-lipped and start shouting about agency pricing."

Who can I expect to see at the bar?

Anyone from anywhere. The White Horse on Newburgh Street is a particular locus of media activity. No less popular are The Sun and 13 Cantons on Great Pulteney Street - a former Microsoft and Starcom haunt, and still on the media map - and The Endurance on Berwick Street, a favourite of DCM and InSkin.

InSkin commercial director Phil Townend says: "If you want to stay out and chew the fat over the course of an afternoon - with the odd check of the BlackBerry, pretending you are busy - that place really does work."

Shaftesbury Avenue's Century Club and Soho House are classics among the smart set - Greg Grimmer and friends descended on both at his leaving party from Zed Media last year, in that order.

How should I break the ice?

Soho is for professional drinkers, so probably don't bother.

Topics to avoid?

Soho is the home of the single, beautiful creative idea, so it would be rude to hammer home the whole media fragmentation thing too hard.


Holborn to Chancery Lane

What's the media scene?

There are fewer agencies in and around Bloomsbury, but still some major players - MediaCom on Theobalds Road and Carat on Parker Street - plus ITV and ShortList Media.

Who can I expect to see at the bar?

Carat staff are die-hards at The George on Great Queen Street. MediaCom - like PHD and MindShare - has its own bar, Rich's, but its staff are catholic drinkers too, distributing themselves across the area in pubs such as The Lamb and The Perseverance, both on Lamb's Conduit Street, The Square Pig on Procter Street or The Queens Larder on Queen Square.

How should I break the ice?

Congratulations on the Radio Advertising Awards or the Merlin pitch for MediaCom, or best of British in the agency of the year category at the Media Week Awards for MediaCom and Carat.

Topics to avoid?

Don't mention Vodafone in The George. Or the Merlin pitch, come to that. And management is a bit of a sore point if you happen to run into any ITV people.


South Bank

What's the media scene?

Southwark is well away from the pulsing media nodes of Soho and Fitzrovia, but Mediaedge:cia, GMTV, IPC, TalkSport, the Financial Times and Ofcom all make their home in this rural spot.

Who can I expect to see at the bar?

It's all a bit more spread out than central London, so locals really are locals down here. MEC's TV department can often be found in The King's Arms on Roupell Street, while the Rose & Crown is on the agency's doorstep in Paris Gardens, and Imbibe, further down Blackfriars Road, is another haunt.

IPC's devotion to The White Hart in Great Suffolk Street is further evidence of the strictly geographical logic behind favoured pubs. IPC's pickier drinkers choose The Refinery in the Blue Fin building or Baltic on Blackfriars Road, and just for the Wallpaper crowd, there is Skylon in the Royal Festival Hall.

How should I break the ice?

Are you talking about Baltic? It's not actually cold, that's just a name.

Topics to avoid?

Don't mention the Tories in earshot of nervous Ofcom types in the pubs around Southwark Bridge.


Farringdon/King's Cross

What's the media scene?

Initiative and UM live in Farringdon, Hurrell Moseley Dawson & Grimmer is based further up Farringdon Road and Guardian Media Group is settling into its smart new offices in King's Cross.

Who can I expect to see at the bar?

The Guardian and Observer types have left the Coach and Horses on Farringdon Road behind, and they have a more fragmented drinking scene now they have moved up the road to King's Cross.

The Cross Kings, the Lincoln Lounge and The Fellow, all on York Way, are vying for the title of GMG's new favourite local, along with the King Charles I on Northdown Street, The Driver on Wharfdale Road and Canal 125 on Caledonian Road.

Back nearer The Guardian's old turf, UM and Initiative frequent The Priory on St John Square, The Green and The Crown Tavern on Clerkenwell Green, and The Jerusalem Tavern on Britton Street, without prejudice. Meanwhile, HMDG has the bars of Exmouth Market right under its noses.

How should I break the ice?   

In pubs loyal to The Guardian, talk of Radiohead or organic beetroot ought to get a conversation started.

Topics to avoid?

The long-term future of The Observer is obviously assured, but it has been a nervous time.


City and East End

What's the media scene?

Somewhat mixed. CityAM lives in the area it serves and Lawson Muncaster's associates can be found in The Bull, off Bishopsgate. Head east into Shoreditch and you will find Last.fm, Poke, Glue London and any number of trendy digital firms. Further out still are News International in Wapping and Trinity Mirror in Canary Wharf.

Who can I expect to see at the bar?

The Foundry in Shoreditch is probably the default media pub and Miles Lewis, senior vice-president of European advertising sales at Last.fm, recommends it for unscheduled encounters with denizens of the so-called Silicon Roundabout. Shoreditch House gives more senior drinkers an excuse to come out east, although not quite as far east as Sun locals such as The Caxton and The Old Rose in Wapping.

How should I break the ice?

Say: "Is that a new iPhone?"

Topics to avoid?

Nathan Barley jokes are old hat in Shoreditch. And Wapping is probably not the place to air your opinion that if you charge for news websites, people will just switch to the BBC.



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