The Maple Leaf, London

There’s a definite stigma attached to ‘theme’ bars that can be near enough impossible to shrug off.

A chain of Australian-themed pubs that need no introduction gets a fair amount of stick, most of it unjustified in my experience.

There’s usually very little that would have me heading for an Irish bar, unless I was in Ireland that is.

But Canadian-themed haunt The Maple Leaf in Covent Garden has been going strong for many years and is somewhere I always go for a drink when I’m in the Big Smoke. And if, like me, you’re a fan Canada, then this’ll give you your fix of Molson lager and poutine without having to head over the Atlantic.

It manages to maintain the Canada links without too much of the annoying tat that often ruins the appeal.

As well as Molson Canadian and Moosehead beers in bottles, there’s usually a selection of Sleeman’s ale on draft as well as a wide selection of non-Canadian drinks. And the food menu, while not wholly inspiring, will at least help prevent you taking on too much of that booze on an empty stomach.

Hockey and baseball memorabilia is present without being over-the-top and the whole vibe in the bar is pretty laid back ─ much like Canada itself.

The Maple Leaf’s biggest asset, aside from the vast space and array of seating, is their brilliant staff.

They’re pretty much rushed off their feet, yet are always happy to serve with a smile.

Pop in for a beer when you’re next in Covent Garden. You won’t regret it.

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