Records indicate that there‘s been an Inn on this site since 1423. It’s interesting to note that during the 15th century, London did not extend beyond Westminster and the city of London. Mayfair consisted mainly of open fields and farm land. In fact, the original pub was known as the Pound. Not the unit of currency but ‘pound’ as in an enclosure for holding animals. Our customers during these times were farm labourers and agricultural workers. It remained this way for 250 years and then, things changed in a momentous way.
In 1665 a bubonic plague raged through London, at its height, 7,500 people a day were dying from the disease. Horror upon horror, 12 months later in 1666 the Great Fire took place destroying 13,500 buildings in the city of London. The result of these two catastrophes meant that the wealthy and privileged moved west and so began the development of the area now known as Mayfair. Gone were the farm labourers to be replaced at the bar, by stable lads and servants from the big houses springing up in the surrounding streets and squares.
In 1888 Young’s brewery took over the lease of the Guinea and we remain a Young’s pub to this day.
Throughout our history, the Guinea remained a simple Inn providing ale to the working people of Mayfair. Until that is, 1952…
In 1952, a tenant by the name of Alistair leased the Guinea from Young’s and transformed the business with a very simple idea. He realised that following the end of the Second World War, Americans were beginning to holiday in Europe in big numbers. Tourists would often, travel through France and Italy before arriving on British soil by which time they were ‘gagging’ for a decent steak. A decent steak was exactly what Alistair provided. Prime Scotch beef from Aberdeenshire. Basically, there was no menu and no price list. You were simply given a knife and asked to place a mark on the steak to indicate what size you wanted. Suddenly the Guinea Grill was a hot ticket, film stars, politicians, world leaders and the wealthy flocked to the back room of our tiny pub.
We’re founder members of the Scotch beef club and we’ve been serving the very best steaks for 60 years. We’ve trialled beef from other parts of the globe such as the US and Argentina. They all have their merits but for depth of flavour none of them compare to prime Scotch and the finest of English beef. This is the basis of our continued popularity together with the fact that our restaurant is within a unique London pub. Many of our staff have been with us for years, and we place a high value on customer recognition and warm hospitality.