The actions of an apparently capricious landlord has forced London’s oldest surviving chophouse to close.

Simpsons Tavern has been open in its narrow alley location since 1757 and is famous for its unfussy food and much more, its determined retention of 19th-century dining, with communal tables shared by diners. Those age-old tables are from the underwriting room of Lloyds and were soaked in its ink and now the Claret from generations of Brokers, underwriters, and agents.

It also serves a decent breakfast with regularly topped up coffee, which is a boon if you’ve been working overnight in the City.

Like most restaurants, Simpsons was forced to close during the lockdown and says that it was seeking to negotiate a settlement on rent that the landlord was still demanding to be paid in full. A lot of landlords have been fair in treating long-standing tenants hit by the lockdown, and while Simpsons says that they thought the negotiations were progressing, it seems that the landlord may have been stringing them along.

The chophouse believes that the Landlord had been using this period of negotiation to deceive and run the clock out on the government arbitration process and then cynically seize the property, which they have now put up for sale as a vacant building.

In a message sent to their customers, Simpsons said that they “remain shocked and dumbfounded by the callus and unnecessary actions” taken by the landlord, who exercised a clause in their lease to enter the property a couple of weeks ago and evict them.

Simpsons says that their rent has been paid for this quarter to December 2022, and they’ve been taking Christmas bookings from customers and ordering Christmas food.

But now the doors are locked, the lights are dark, the coffee is cold, and the sausages aren’t sizzling.

The eviction notice placed on the windows of the tavern is dated 16th October, and as an indication of how unexpected this is, there’s also a notice from the City of London planning department confirming permission to use the alley space for tables and chairs — dated 11th October, less than a week before they were evicted.

As Simpsons has no income due to the eviction, they’ve launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to secure the future of the chophouse.

Simpsons Tavern is one of those eternal secrets of old London town that young people starting in the city are introduced to by their bosses, and in turn, they pass on the knowledge to the next cohort of regulars, and generation after generation, are able to keep one of the city’s foodie traditions alive.

The Save Our Simpsons campaign has started, and details about how to stick one up at the landlord are here.


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  1. bargle says:

    I speak with zero experience or knowledge of such things so I’m hoping for someone to correct me, but I assumed most very long standing businesses owned the premises they operated on?

    • Dominic says:

      No – a lot of commercial property is leased. For example, of the c. 32 pubs put up for sale by Wetherspoons recently 1/3 were freehold.

  2. Robert Turner says:

    Such a sad piece of news. In my City life I visited Simpsons probably well over 100 times. It was an experience to savour.

    The landlord should be ashamed of himself.

  3. Mike moore says:

    As an age old frequenter of this magnificent, historic eatery in the heart of the City for well over 50 years I’m both appalled and saddened that this has happened. I just hope the Citadel of gastronomic pleasure with service and quality food and personnel can be saved for those still in need of such sustenance!

  4. Kai says:

    Deliberate Misuse of the Eviction system must be stopped, especially during the Ongoing Covid19 Recession time. Deliberate Misuse does nobody any good in the long run.

    • Brian Butterworth says:

      It’s not an eviction if it’s business, it was a simple failure to negotiate a contract. Unless you buy the freehold a business has no legal rights beyond contact to trade from a given location.

  5. Ron says:

    I’ve just discovered that alley and have been there twice. It was shut both times ( my timing was poor). Gutted I can’t visit.

  6. Joan Conner says:

    Too sad to comment other than say how sad that this wonderful piece of City heritage and much loved and fondly remembered institution which I knew well in the 1970’s 80’s and 90’s is to be no more. Have donated to crowd funding but there’s a long long way to go

  7. Tim Bennett-Goodman says:

    Capitalism red in tooth and claw! This is how it operates but maybe some city slickers can redeem themselves by rescuing Simpsons.

  8. NG says:

    Should the “Landlord” not be Named & Shamed?

    • ianVisits says:

      The details are on the Simpsons campaign page.

    • Christopher Chanter says:

      Out the directors and major shareholders, may they be barred from every house, party, shoot, hunt, river gathering of any kind in our fair isle!

  9. Michael warren Lewis says:

    I have moved from London and I am appalled at the actions of the Landlord ! My Grand parents, My parents and family had often dined at Simpsons. Who ever has the misfortune to set up a business in place of Simpsons, will find this action, will ensure very few customers walk through the “cursed ” doorway of this fine establishment.

  10. Scott Rooney says:

    Greed is a terrible thing !!These faceless people who have their tax avoidance scam business set ups in some tax haven should be hounded out of the country!!

  11. JP says:

    This has been run as not only a City institution and a rite-of-passage venue but it’s so quietly famous that even Disney classics such as Mary Poppins couldn’t depict the gold-paved streets of “Ol’ London Town” without paying homage to this Chop ‘ouse by using a thinly-disguised facsimile of it in streetscenes.
    Heavens, its likeness is even in “One of our dinosaurs is missing.”

    I knew that I’d arrived in the City when I could show a tourist the quickest route from The Monument, say, to Saint Paul’s through the Yards and Passages with my eyes closed. At that time, a good proportion of them had a Chop House in them.

    I note that we’re all being gentlemanly and not naming the Bermuda-based blaggards. They may be lovely in every other way, they may have a new Vegan modus operandi.
    They are certainly no respecter of nationally important ships of the line such as this vessel of viands and victuals from vay back ven.

  12. Robert Duncan says:

    The landlords seem to be one of the very best offshore companies at their game of greed,total disrespect of British heritage,tax avoidance ect.It’s sad to think that whatever business replaces the current one (till recently) is positively doomed to failure because of militant action it would attract by a populace that has now ‘had enough’.

  13. Rob Gullen says:

    That’s outrageous – Simpsons is an institution.
    I was taken there when I started as “the office boy” at printers in the City in 1963 and dined there quite frequently over the next few years. [It was a perk of my job – I went with the boss and had the dubious task of escorting him back to the office after he had over-imbibed the fine claret]

  14. David Morris says:

    Oh dear how sad if we lose this wonderful City institution to an unprincipled landlord.Do they not realise what a gem Simpsons is ?!!?

  15. Alec mackenzie says:

    This rescue needs to be stage managed by a large city institution ie LLOYDS OF LONDON or perhaps LLOYDS BANK,or NCR LTD someone really big to give it a rollerball touch.

  16. Sarah Johnson says:

    So kick in a fiver everyone, and you’ll be back drinking their coffee in no time.

  17. John Shetcliffe says:

    How sad to lose this City Institution with so many special memories?

  18. Mary Grimmer Nee Mills says:

    I am so so sad to read this about Simpsons please let someone rescue it.

    My lovely dad worked as a waiter there before and told us many a story about his time there.

    We took him back there and they loved his stories. Wish had written them down

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