Black Friar is in the 2008 Good Pub Guide
174 Queen Victoria Street, EC4V 4EG [IoE
Built in 1875 near the site of a 13th-century Dominican
priory from which the area (and this pub) takes it name, the Black Friar
looks strangely interesting from the outside (with its mosaics and
statue of a rotund and jolly friar above the main door). However,
nothing will quite prepare the visitor for the extraordinary interior.
Somewhat reminiscent of an ornate medieval church, marble-clad walls,
mosaics and bas-relief bronzes depict merry monks and carry mottos such
as “don’t advertise, tell a gossip”. Begun in 1904, the décor is a
forerunner to Art Noveau. It’s a real arts and crafts extravaganza with
the intricacy of the work, humour of the subjects and sheer bizarreness
of the whole thing making for an engaging pint.