Is City institution Sweetings about to open for dinner?

Sweetings, the seafood restaurant that has served fish and oysters in the City of London since 1889, only opens for weekday lunch and doesn’t take reservations.

The restaurant goes back way further that 1889, by the way. Its first incarnation was as John S. Sweetings, Fish and Oyster Merchant in Lad Lane, Islington, in 1830.

Since then, the “Victorian time warp” of an eating house has gone on to become a place bedded into the London dining scene. Gangster George Francis is said to have once offered past owner Graham Needham £1,000,000 for Sweetings some time in the 1980s. That’s just one of the tales told.


Aside from the quality of its food and the beauty of the surroundings, the only real absolute when talking about Sweetings is that it’s a lunchtime-only sort of establishment (well, except for private parties). But that might be about to change.

Food critic Richard Vines tweeted on Wednesday that the restaurant is considering opening for dinner on September 19 and October 24.

Will City pinstripes stick around after a heavy day’s trading to tuck into the same food they enjoy so much from midday on?  Possibly not, but perhaps dining in the Square Mile is now becoming sufficiently well-established for this amazing Victorian timewarp to start to discover a new market after all these years …

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