No television. No cell phones please. The French House, on Dean Street, serves beer in half-pints only, except on April Fool's Day. Its wine selection is large, & a lot of Ricard is downed.. Former regulars include Brendan Behan, Dylan Thomas, Lucian Freud, and (see above) Francis Bacon, and it's still known as a hangout for the arts and theater set.
The small barroom is worn & comforting, and the walls are lined with black and white photos of its earlier days. It's clubby. Not un-friendly exactly (perfectly polite), but essentially a private party. There isn't much need for new faces, and you can't help but be jealous of the chosen. I went in at lunch, and watched from a seat at the side of the room as a handful of locals - mainly older men - walked in and struck up muted, knowing conversations with the barman. Nothing much but murmurs, and the clinking of a glass or two. A perfect place to soften the realities of a two o'clock world.