The history of pubs can be traced back to first-century Roman taverns in Britain. The modern pub concept, meanwhile, took off in early 19th century among the countries and regions under the British influence—even as London became the global pub center. So perhaps it’s fitting that Kathmandu too should have a pub dedicated to the famous city in the form of London Pub at Durbarmarg. “We wanted to establish a proper pub culture in Nepal,” says Bhuwan Shrestha, the pub’s operation manager, when asked of the rationale behind opening London Pub back in November 2019.
When you visit the pub, you are at once struck by the influence of British pop culture on it: Walls filled with jerseys of English football clubs; a screen running videos featuring different parts of London; British rock music. (The pub has daily live music after 2 pm.)
The pub is not the only thing that catches your eye when you’re inside the 1D Durbarmarg premises. London Pub owners have also opened the Japanese-themed Matsuri Tokyo next door. “This is a specialty Japanese restaurant where the food is categorized based on different Japanese festivals,” adds Shrestha. There is also a stall dedicated exclusively to ramen noodles. You get authentic Japanese food at Matsuri Tokyo, with all ingredients brought from Japan, Shrestha informs. Even the guests are welcomed in Japanese.
The combined establishment was closed during the seven months of the lockdown and even now, not all its clientele is back. Around 120 visitors used to come every day before the lockdown. Now, it has around 70 visitors a day, with the number climbing to 200+ during weekends.
Shrestha informs of another themed outlet that is being planned but the details of which the management is unwilling to divulge. They will select another global city, pick a unique specialty or culture from there and introduce it here.