Skip To Content
Rules still flourishes, the oldest restaurant in London and one of the most celebrated in the world.
In over 200 years, spanning the reigns of nine monarchs, it has been owned by only three families . . . just before The Great War, Charles Rule, a descendant of the founder, was thinking of moving to Paris; by sheer coincidence he met Tom Bell, a Briton who owned a Parisian restaurant called the Alhambra, and the two men decided to swap businesses. (During the war Tom Bell was an officer in the Royal Flying Corps, and left the running of the restaurant to Charlie, the Head Waiter, who had served Charles Rule for many years.) During the second world war, Rules stayed open but its structure was reinforced with thick wood. It was only open from 1pm to 3pm and offered the compulsory rationed meals at five shillings but could offer copious rabbits, grouse and pheasants which were not rationed. A lady was the Head Waiter during the war. The restaurant could never open on Sundays because it was on Church grounds and could not get a licence.
In 1984 Tom Bell’s daughter sold Rules to John Mayhew, the present owner. Today Rules seats around 90 people and employs 90 staff.
Rules serves the traditional food of this country at its best – and at affordable prices. It specialises in classic game cookery, oysters, pies and puddings.