For those not fortunate enough to have a home in town (or have friends or family to stay with), there were hotels which could serve as a home base. If we’re talking Regencies, though, don’t put your heroines in a hotel. Please. We’ll discuss that later, in 50 Ways to Ruin Your Reputation.
Even those who did live in London would eat at a hotel or restaurant, rather than at home or the usual clubs (yawn). A few of the best known were the Clarendon, Limmer’s, Ibbetson’s, Fladong’s, Steven’s, and Grillion’s.
The Clarendon had a French chef who served (one assumes) authentic French meals for around three pounds. At the Clarendon, a bottle of genuine French champagne cost a guinea in 1814.
Limmer’s was dark and dirty, but a bastion for the horse-crazy sporting set. It was usually crowded, if not packed, and served plain English food, famously good gin punch, and port.
Ibbetson’s was a sanctuary for clergymen and university students.
Fladong’s was located in Oxford Street and served as a base for naval officers. Read this chapter of Rodney Stone by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for a description of the great coffee-room, or even better, the 1817 novel Three weeks at Fladong’s, by a late visitant.
Stephen’s, in Bond Street, was popular for army officers and fashionable bucks. Strangers who tried to eat in their dining room would be turned away by servants, who would tell them there were no available tables. During the Regency the food at Stephen’s was plain: meat and boiled or fried fish. Early Atkins?
Also, did anyone else think Stratford Canning was hot, or is that just me? I’d never looked at his picture before.