where shall we meet? The Olde Wine Shades, EC4

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The Independent Culture
The interesting thing about Charles Dickens is that if he had really been a regular at all the boozers that claim him as one, not only would he have got excellent value from his travelcard but his liver would have packed up before you could say Chuzzlewit. This member of the El Vino chain, originally built in 1665, just in time to be burnt down again, is another of his haunts. Now it's full of suits talking brand labels. It's a shame, really: the staff are nice enough, though they look a little hunted, and the old wood decor and leather-chaired comfort levels are high. It's designed to look as though you're walking into another era. But the era you're walking into is the 1980s.

The Olde Wine Shades, 6 Martin Lane, EC4 (0171- 626 6876)

Serena Mackesy