The Tottenham/The Flying Horse

“This was the bar where you went to drink when you found out that the person you loved was unfaithful.” – Career of Evil

“… the place [Strike] associated with escape and refuge.” – The Cuckoo’s Calling

The Tottenham – renamed The Flying Horse in 2015 – was built in the 19th century and is now the last pub on Oxford Street. No. 6 Oxford Street, to be exact.

The Flying Horse

It’s on the Campaign for Real Ale’s National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors — with good reason. Check out this interior!

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(Look — you can see Tottenham Court Road Station outside the windows. And you can also see the “wooden display” from which “Strike tweaked a tourist leaflet” to copy down Wardle‘s number from Anstis in The Cuckoo’s Calling.)

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We can see why this is Strike’s favourite pub and general hangout.

A busy, busy bar.
Strike has enjoyed many of these here over the years. In the spirit of our man, we had to imbibe as well.

We first encounter the Tottenham in The Cuckoo’s Calling:

“The ornate Victorian face of the Tottenham pub rose up behind the rubble and roadworks, and Strike, pleasurably aware of the large amount of cash in his pocket, pushed his way through its doors, into a serene Victorian atmosphere of gleaming scrolled dark wood and brass fittings. Its frosted glass half-partitions, its aged leather banquettes, its bar himmirrors covered in gilt, cherubs and horns of plenty spoke of a confident and ordered world that was in satisfying contrast to the ruined street. Strike ordered a pint of Doom Bar and took it to the back of the almost deserted pub, where he placed his glass on a high circular table, under the garish glass cupola in the ceiling.”

Here’s that garish glass cupola in the ceiling….

Garish, indeed.

Here’s the “large and blurry painting of a Victorian maiden, dancing with roses in her hands, directly opposite him. Frolicking coyly as she gazed at him through a shower of petals….”

The Silkworm also mentions the Tottenham’s art: “Strike bought a newspaper and went to the Tottenham, sitting self beneath one of the voluptuous women painted by a Victorian set-designer, cavorting with flora in their flimsy draperies.”

And here, one of “the painted panels on the ceiling; bacchanalian revels that became, as [Strike] looked, a feast of fairies: Midsummer Night’s Dream, a man with a donkey’s head.”

See donkey-head man on the left?

More Tottenham artwork by decorative artist Felix De Jong (1863-1924).

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 Sharp’s Brewery

In The Cuckoo’s Calling:

  • Strike goes here to escape Robin on her first day as a temp.
  • Strike goes here after finding out Charlotte is engaged to Jago Ross. Robin follows him there and saves his thoroughly drunk arse.
  • Strike meets Jonah Agyeman here at the end of the book.

In The Silkworm:

  • Strike chooses not to go to The Tottenham to avoid future press incursions after discovering Owen Quine‘s body.
  • Later in the book, Strike goes here with a newspaper after a day of work.

In Career of Evil:

  • Strike and Robin go to The Tottenham in the aftermath of the severed leg being delivered to their office. They sit downstairs.
  • Robin goes here to get drunk after finding out Matthew had been unfaithful … and she and Strike depart the pub like this….

In Lethal White:

Strike interviews Sam Barclay for a job early on in the book, after Strike sacks another subcontractor who crashed his car while on a surveillance job.

In The Ink Black Heart:

  • After meeting Allen Yeoman, Richard Elgar and the Ledwells at the Arts Club, Strike and Robin go to the Tottenham for a pint and to discuss how to go about the investigation.  Whilst they are there Robin’s estate agent calls and, much to her delight, tells her that she has succeeded in getting the flat on Blackhorse Road.
  • Strike goes here for afternoon drinks. However, on deciding that it is too busy, he walks to The Angel, which do not allow mobile phones. He therefore ends up in The Cambridge, which is a pub also featured in The Silkworm.
  • After an incident on Denmark Street, Strike, Robin and Pat sit downstairs in the Tottenham whilst the police ask Pat questions.

In The Running Grave:

  • The pub has been renamed The Flying Horse.
  • The pub’s basement room is occasionally used for agency team meetings.
  • Strike talks to Bijou in here.
  • Pat confesses something to Strike in here.

The downstairs of the pub includes extra seating and a second bar. The room is also available for private hire if anyone wants to host a Strike meet-up one day…

When we were first there in 2016, even though it’s now the Flying Horse, the receipt still read The Tottenham.

In 2016, J.K. Rowling said that the owner was changing the name back to its original name of The Flying Horse, which it was named before being called The Tottenham.

One final note on this location:

The first time we see Strike in the Tottenham in The Cuckoo’s Calling, he has gone here to escape Robin and … take care of some business.

“Strike … headed straight into the Gents, which smelled strongly of piss.”

Yep. It smells strongly of piss.

“Ten minutes later, and feeling considerably more comfortable, Strike was a third of the way into his pint….” Strike spent 10 minutes in there. He was doing more than pissing. Eww.

The real Tottenham pub wasn’t used in filming the Strike TV series; instead, they filmed at a pub called the Duke of York, located in Fitzrovia. You can read about it here.

Here’s the Google Maps location for The Flying Horse:

Doom Bar on tap.
Our man’s favourite vices: Doom Bar and Benson & Hedges Gold.
Doom Bar
Across the street from the pub, a Tube station that’s mentioned a lot.
A little pub history.