Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, "the most literary public house of London"
If one wants to get a sense of what a house from the "Fountain Tavern" the days of the Great Fire was like, one should go from the Fountain Tavern with its Peppy Memorial Room along Fleet Street to the most literary public house of London: "Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese". This is where they all came and went: Samuel Johnson who lived around the corner in Gough Square, later Charles Dickens, Alfred Tennyson, Queen Victoria´s favorite poet, Mark Twain, Arthur Conan Doyle and G K Chesterton (...)
Coffe houses were found in the western end of London, beginning at Covent Garden. But here in Fleet Street the primeval character with its tight spiral staircase, polished tables and decidedly unconfortable chairs still reigned. This is where an enduring urban literature developed, without refinement.
The pub opened its doors one year after the Great Fire in a building, by the way, that also escaped the flames. Its name also had an agenda, just like the conservative rebuilding plans for the City: tried and true Cheshire cheese versus the culinary experiments of the despised Catholic Continentals. The puritan motto applied to the City, too: one eats to live and not the other way around (...)
How dark i´s in the Cheshire Cheese' with its numerous small public rooms spread over two storeys, a house that in itself is a vertical labyrinth. Creaking stars, sawdust-strewn floorboards. Though they have a daily menu, there is no daytime. It is always equally gloomy in the Cheshire Cheese.
Görner, Rüdiger (2007). London Fragments. A Literary Expedition. London: The Armchair Traveller at the bookHaus. ISBN: 9781906598730. Page 77.