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5 pubs to visit after the Virgin Money London Marathon

Top watering holes within stumbling distance of the finish line

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You did it. You completed the Virgin Money London Marathon and you earned yourself a drink like you’ve never earned yourself a drink before. But how can you get hydrated now your body has completely given up? Here are five suggestions…

Health warning: Consuming alcohol after running a marathon may not be the smartest of moves. If you really need that celebratory beer, just don’t go too wild. Remember you want be on good form to show off your medal in the morning!

1. The Red Lion

48 Parliament Street, redlionwestminster.co.uk

After running 26.2 miles you’ll probably be too exhausted to order a beer at the bar, let alone engage in impassioned debate. But this magnificently restored pub, located within yelling distance of Downing Street, might just galvanise your political side – there’s been a pub on this site since 1434, so more than a few prime ministers and MPs have feuded and plotted here. And if it’s good enough for Winston Churchill and Charles Dickens, both of whom were once regulars, we dare say it’s good enough for you.

2. The Admiralty

66 Trafalgar Square, admiraltytrafalgar.co.uk

At the precise moment you cross the finish line on the Mall you’re probably not going to be thinking about neoclassical architecture. But that incredible building you can see just down the road, the one standing between the Mall and Trafalgar Square, is Admiralty Arch – and this reliably good pub from which it takes its name is right round the back of it. It’s the most central pub in London and so close to the finish line that you could crawl to it, which may be necessary if you can’t find a mate to carry you there. Its home to heart-warming pies, pints of Pride, and it’s modelled on the decks of HMS Victory, which – little known fact – stands for Happy Marathon Sunday. Why would we lie to you?

3. The Cork and Bottle

44-46 Cranbourn St, thecorkandbottle.co.uk

If you’ve just run a marathon, your legs will be begging you not to subject them to a staircase. They have a valid point, but there’s wine and cheese in this cellar bar – and the rest of your body is craving both wine and cheese. Silly legs. This Leicester Square institution, which opened at a time when a glass of chardonnay seemed incredibly exotic to most English people (1971), has hundreds of bottles to choose from for your post-race celebratory vino.

4. The London Beer House

24 Charles II St, @Londonbeerhouse

If beer abstinence has formed part of your marathon training schedule you wouldn’t want to waste your return to the fold with flavourless big-brand lager. This tiny, elegant bar specialises in characterful craft ales from the UK’s top microbreweries. There are nine beers on tap, suitably nerdy staff to help guide you through them, and – most importantly if you’re feeling a bit peckish after a big day out – scotch eggs.

5. The Old Shades

37 Whitehall, oldshades.co.uk

The decorative floor tiles are a highlight of this Grade II listed pub, and if you drink too much after running a marathon you may find yourself unexpectedly well acquainted with them. Despite its closeness to Trafalgar Square, this 1898 pub is not showy or touristy or tacky. It’s just a classic London pub, doing what it’s always done, which makes it a perfect low-key choice for a post-race pint or two.

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