Swiss Cottage is a member of that small group of tube stops named after a pub. The station that stands today first opened on 20th November 1939 when a new deep level tunnel was built between Finchley Road and Baker Street as part of the transfer of the Stanmore branch of the Metropolitan Line across to the Bakerloo. There had previously been a station at Swiss Cottage on the Metropolitan Line at sub-surface level which opened in 1868. This briefly survived the opening of the new station and was integrated within it but closed the following year. Remnants of the station remain and are well documented on the abandoned stations website.
There are no station buildings at street level, bar a towering ventilation shaft, one of which has a Underground roundel on it, acting as some sort of beacon! I had wondered whether there had been structures here swept away by ’60s redevelopments and road schemes, but this picture from 1953 suggests there wasn’t much there then either! Great old advert in the background though. I think my favourite feature of Swiss Cottage tube is the atmospheric old lights on the escalators up to the ticket hall. There are also the small decorative talls on the platforms as previously seen as Aldgate East and elsewhere.
The Pub: Ye Olde Swiss Cottage, 98 Finchley Road, NW3 5EL
Given it was the pub that named the station here, I had to visit Ye Olde Swiss Cottage. As well as that, I think its the only pub round here. As you might expect, its right by the station(next to the Odeon) and quite literally has the appearance of a Swiss Cottage or Chalet. The pub first opened way back in the 1840s and is Grade II listed, beginning life as a coaching inn for those arriving into London from the north. Today it stands out in contrast to the busy road and modern buildings that surround it.
The alpine lodge theme is maintained inside too, with wooden panelling and beams throughout. Alongside the expected photos of bgyone Swiss Cottage, there are also paintings of Horses on the wall – Swiss horses I assume! There are a good few comfy sofas as you come in before reaching the bar. The lighting was quite mellow on our visit which combined to give it the air of a reception/bar area of a traditional hotel. While there were a fair few people here when we visited, it had a rather quiet and subdued atmosphere. Maybe everyone was chilled out by the lighting and the sofas?
As a Sams Smith pub, it has the usual range of ales and Alpine Lager at their incredible cheap for London prices. Pints are under £3 here which is even unheard of in Central London Wetherspoons. The food menu is standard pub classics- burgers, pies and the like. The Cottage also has an outside seating area but it does back onto the busy Finchley Road so I’d say you’d be better inside on all but the hottest of days. There is also an upstairs room, which I assume gives access to the first floor terrace, but this was sadly shut on our visit.
The Swiss Cottage is a decent, well priced option for a drink in this part of North London. Its always felt quite a quiet pub on the few occasions I’ve visited so don’t pop in here expecting a raucous night out!
(The pub has no website)