Legal London is in shock at the news that it is about to lose one of its most popular watering holes. The Knights Templar (pictured above), the flagship branch of economy pub chain JD Wetherspoon, is to close on 17 March, Obiter has learned. 

The Templar, on the corner of Carey Street and Chancery Lane, is a stone's throw from the Law Society's HQ, the Royal Courts of Justice and legal offices large and small. It is a traditional finishing point of the annual London Legal Walk (this year on 13 June), which it proudly supports with an outside bar. 


The Templar's outside bar at the end of the annual London Legal Walk

Dating from 1865, the magnificent building is renowned not just for bargain beers. The one-time banking hall - it was the headquarters of the Union Bank, now part of Natwest - is lined with 20-foot cast iron fluted columns and high marble arches. Since its conversion to a pub in 1999 it has become a popular weekend wedding venue. 

We understand that a decision was taken not to renew the lease when JD Wetherspoon found no takers for its Penderel's Oak pub in Holborn, which was originally scheduled to close under the company's post-pandemic rationalisation. Some of the excellent staff are transferring to the Oak, but Obiter has yet to decide whether to follow suit.

JD Wetherspoon told the Gazette: 'The lease of the Knights Templar has come to an end. Since we have two other pubs within a short distance, we have, with regret, decided not to take up an option to renew the lease. We’ve had 24 great years at the pub and are very grateful to our amazing managers, Gerry and Jan Swords, their equally amazing team who work in the pub and to our wonderful and loyal customers. We are also grateful to our landlords, with whom we’ve always had an excellent relationship. All our staff will be offered jobs at nearby pubs.'