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Gunmakers, Clerkenwell

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user reviews of the Gunmakers, Clerkenwell

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

Very recent refurb with blue paint and metal stools and just three ales. Now looks more like a cocktail bar or wine bar with virtually no customers.

No longer a great place - shame.
Oasthouse - 15 Aug 2015 19:41
Great little pub which is worth the effort finding. Good selection of ales and on this occasion I had Oakham Citra which was well served by friendly barman. Looked like the pub had recently had a refurb and did look more like an Ikea showroom than a pub but that's just a personal opinion which shouldn't deter anyone from visiting. Also enjoyed listening to Morcheeba on PA.
davewat - 24 Mar 2015 13:38
Popped in on a Friday lunchtime just before Christmas. It was crowded with groups having lunches etc, so standing room only. Customers were a wide range of ages. Seemed a friendly sort of pub. Did get a pint served short but was topped up when asked. Purity Mad Goose £3.90
rpf1955 - 31 Dec 2014 15:39
I went to this pub for a friend's Birthday do. Like many little boozers in Clerkenwell and around The City of London, its snugly tucked away down one of the many hidden side streets, this partially adds to its charm. The other is that its as tiny on the inside as it is on the outside but this does mean that internally its an awkward shape resulting in stepping up to one level and crossing the floor to go down to another. It has got a garden/smokers area but I din't go out there so i won't pass comment on it. They serve a variety of of new modern ales from many of London's new micro breweries but the bar service...Hhhmm. The staff are often foreign students who have no idea about working behind a bar and serving people in order. You have to speak very slowly and ask for your pints top be topped up or you'll be getting a pint of head, they have no idea about measures. Thursday and Friday nights are rammed with fashionable young people. Over all though a nice experience.
DOGBOTTLE - 2 Jul 2014 13:04
Please note this pub is only open Monday _ Friday !!!
(why is this not on the info ??)
which is a real shame as it's one of the nicesr pubs iv'e been in in a long time
lovesong - 30 Jan 2014 12:46
Any serious beer drinker should love this place. The beer I had (a rare outing for Crouch Vale Mild) was spot on. Reasonable prices too. A selection of newspapers available to browse as well so ideal if you're a saddo like me and on your own!
Doob - 22 Jan 2014 12:55
Checked this place out on Friday night after work and was very impressed. Interesting beers, good service and above all not absoloutely rammed. Good alternative to the Jerusalem Tavern. I'd give it a solid 8/10.
joffle - 16 Jan 2014 14:21
This is one of the best boozers in London, all the beers I've had in here have been in top condition,great service, maybe a little pricey but you get what you pay for.
Picasso09 - 9 Nov 2013 11:44
What's all the grumbling about? This is a great little boozer, with
sever well-picked ales at a mere £3.00 a pop (on Monday).

True, the interior is little spartan, but maybe they are waiting for
character to develop naturally instead of buying it in from a warehouse.

Not a gastropub--very drinker friendly; the menu aims a littel
above the bog standard, but only a little,
Uncle_Dunkel - 23 Jul 2013 19:19
What has happened to this place? Is it under new management? No brewery names on the pumps, only chalked up. My drinking partner and I have been popping in here for a few years now - last night was the most mediocre, badly kept pints we have had in this time.
alebarry - 3 Jul 2013 15:28
Visited a couple of Thursdays ago as a mate had recommended it and we are always looking for good pub. Not sure about the place really, on the plus side when I arrived at 5pm I had the pick of the tables apart from one reserved one and the back room being booked. Not full of media types which is what I expected. Curious layout in that it’s a long undulating pub starting with the bar area, up some steps to the next bar and then down to the back room and bogs, with a rather stark interior and mostly bare walls. Beer range was good, Windsor and Eton Knights of the something or other; Portobello Market Porter, and their real lager which my lager drinking mate had and regretted (nowhere near as good as Cains lager or Budvar); Brentwood Best and Gold completed the line up. I had the W&E, Portobello Porter and the Brentwood Best, and I’d say all were slightly too cold, otherwise the quality was good. The big minus for me was the consistently short measures which is a real bugbear of mine, I reckon they saved a whole pint for every 5 or 6 sold because they were so short. Service was generally good, efficient and occasionally friendly. Didn’t try the food but the menu looked quite promising, might eat there if I go back but will only be with a large group and it’s the voted venue for the evening, otherwise I'll give it a miss. For lack of atmosphere, décor and short measures I’ll give a less than generous 6/10.
Monkdawallydahonk - 8 May 2013 11:50
Definitely the best pub in the area. Excelent range of beers, superb food. A perfect 10
asprilla69 - 23 Mar 2013 13:30
So-so pub just off the Clerkenwell Road. It has no discernable atmosphere and merely ok beer quality. The food was a bit stingy for the price too.
littledrummerboy - 11 Mar 2013 07:46
This is an excellent little side street pub running off Clerkenwell Road

Feels like a locals pub (which is good), a good selection of ales on draught of which I had Roundhead from the Two Cocks brewery.

Very modern interior that attracts a decent mixed crowd.

I have been past the pub on a few occasions but it was my first venture in and I will be back.
lezford - 4 Feb 2013 13:31
Beer was good but there was no atmosphere about the place.
realaleforever - 15 Jan 2013 13:45
This pub for me has been find of the year for me, the beer is always good and with a very good feel about the place its somewhere I will be returning many times.
Picasso09 - 9 Nov 2012 20:57
Doing some business over in the Garden and awaiting a financial fool to turn up, I found a perch in the sunny front corner bar of this slim in width, but long in length pub; and had a very pleasant time sipping an early morning small heart starter of Scottish wine. A clean establishment, with efficient, clean and friend staff behind the bar. I was informed that the food was good too, although I never eat out myself. I might come back and have a change of heart for once in my life. A very calming, and happy place. Recommended.
3Brassballs - 17 Aug 2012 11:38
We were there last Thursday with friends,nice and busy there were a lot of people eating but we only drank some of the ales.Was really good and people we were with said they wanted to come back to try the food
william85 - 8 Mar 2012 12:53
The mark of a good pub is a friendly and confident publican and the Gunmaker's is no exception - happy and busy in his work, the attention to detail with the beer continues throughout the pub and the convivial covered and cushioned extension to the rear, although the loos could do with a bit of brightening. But the beers - Redemption and Foundation were top notch making the Gunmakers the sort of place you could stay in all night, unless of course you really had to be somewhere else (which we did).
pkrp - 19 Feb 2012 11:26
Called in last saturday on a visit to London. Beer festival was on with high ABV beers. Nice place but seemingly selling more meals and wines than ale when I was in.
ng10 - 5 Dec 2011 20:08
Eventhough it's a bit 80s wine bar inside I do like this place. 4 nice , well kept ales on and lovely scotch eggs.
Had a wherry and a few summer lightnings. Very nice compared to the madness up the road at the craft brewing company.
Coops04 - 21 Aug 2011 00:13
Very nice small pub which serves four decent ales and has a very nice menu.... Rib eye Steak I had was very good and fairly priced.
jamesbartlett74 - 11 Jul 2011 02:00
went in Friday as it was calming down, had Purity Mad Goose on stayed and had a couple,always good here ....depends on your mood I suppose, didn't have any food as wanted more beer but plenty trying the food
hullcityfan - 10 Jul 2011 14:48
It's bloody expensive here - 3.70 for reasonable Titanic. It was also not that good when I visited. When a pub like this is quiet it's like drinking in a library and it might be unfair to judge while most of the target clientele are still at work but them's the breaks.

And also - a previous reviewer was only in here on recommendation yet in this first visit he managed to find out everything about the punters from their names and occupations to their sexual orientation. A cynic might wonder how much of a newcomer he really was.
djw - 2 Jul 2011 00:23
Small, tidy pub run by blogger Stonch. It has a relaxed, laid back, up-market feel. Quite pleasant, and while being fairly unremarkable, is also quite likeable. Hard to explain sometimes why a building has charm, but the size and layout and ambiance of this one gives it a certain charm, which people have remarked upon for several years, long before Stonch took over. Four casks, nothing special, but served in decent condition. Other than size there isn't a real lot of essential difference between this and the Yorkshire Grey around the corner, but this is quaint, while the Grey is simply useful.
SilkTork - 1 Jul 2011 00:22
Smallish modern bar with a few decent ales on. Had a nice pint of Wherry here - they also had Mad Goose and Dark Star Espresson on. Would return if in the vicinity.
anonymous - 2 Dec 2010 23:05
They care about their ales here and the food is good if you want a meal.

First bar and raised area are fine; but I am not too keen on the area at the back of the pub, it lacks atmosphere.

Seems a popular after work venue too.
ArhurPint - 26 Oct 2010 14:24
Always busy. An outlet for Wherry in central London, which in itself makes it a worthwhile destination! Have not had a bad pint here.

meurglys_iv - 27 Aug 2010 11:59
Old Uncle John, the Head barman at Ye Olde Mitre at the other end of Hatton Garden, recommended my coming here last night after my enjoyable visit there. When asked if there was another good pub within thirst raising walking distance, (that wasn't a Fuller's house), but up to Ye Olde Mitre's high standards, he rightly pointed me in the direction of The Gunmakers. Thanks Uncle! I can certainly state that I love the place; "Lock, Stock & Barrel!" You will too.?
All good pubs have a vibe, a pulse and the Gunmakers is great. It's a sunny place both literally being on a hill crest, and in spirit too. With the head office of Ben Sherman across the road, the colourful,young, straight, gay creative and sales staff add to the joyfulness of the place. Likewise the young creatives from nearby Back Hill college. The Gunmakers has a Soho flavour about itself as a result; if only the pubs and bars there were as good, cheap, well run and welcoming as here? This bar is the BIZZ.
Where else can you find in London where regulars can drink from their own Pewter tankards deposited behind the bar? How practical in the 21st century to introduce a bit of the past to work pleasingly today; it sure beats being asked to drink out of plastic. And certainly a thought to Westminster council and others of that ilk to follow suite too.
Yes folks, shoot over to The Gunmakers, it's a welcoming pub for everybody, even the trio of Sumo drinkers, Robin, Paul and Billy at the bar (60 Stone combined weight I'd guess?) Certainly big friendly fellas? However no sign of Uncle John's mate, Peter, of whom I was told to look out for, and who was said tended to sit in the corner, it seemed. l was reliably informed by young Ed (pink knickers) the barman that Paul & Robin had just eaten him for a bar snack! Enjoy? I certainly did.
WaterlooWillie - 12 Aug 2010 17:33
GAY.TOVEY - 12 Aug 2010 13:15
I really liked this smallish boozer.

Good atmosphere and a mixed and friendly clientelle.

Busy for a Tuesday evening, with yet more people standing outside.

Westons Scrumpy and Aspalls cider on draught.

Somewhat unusally for me, I then decided to don the wellington boots and chunky jumper and grow a beard really quickly, in order to sample the Kelham Island ale, which turned out to be quite tasty.

Well worth a visit this pub.
Pat_Bateman - 28 Jul 2010 10:11
What a lovely wee find The Gun Makers is to stumble across! Having enjoyed the lunch time delight of ambling through a sunny & busy Leather Lane market place last week, I came across this terrific Tardis of drinking pleasure.
Clean, bright,homely and welcoming. The Landlord is a very friendly young fellow from the North East, who runs a very,very good bar.
A fine selection of Ales were on offer and the food looked very good and well presented too.
The space around the bar was small, but comfortable, with pleasing high back stools for foot wheary rambellers to park their plates for a few hours.
And the regular pub character suspects were entertaining, well washed and pleasing. From Docker Dave conversing on his chickens. A former Tank Commander, now turned hippy & Alan Bates look alike who runs the Betsy Trotwood down the road. Brian & Barry. both Dickie Attenborough & David Lloyd George lookalikes as well. Down to a grizzled, tall, thin fella in shorts and baseball cap wedged up in the corner, muttering to himself,(care in the community?) about carrots,leeks and potatos.
A wonderful pub, well worth seeking out, and with good and very pleasing close access for smokers to the front street, yet with open windows to carry on with the bar banter. Superb!
WILLIAMSTEW - 23 Jul 2010 10:04
I thought this was a shop converted into a wine bar but it seems the pub has a longer history back into the 19th century. There is an ever changing range of beers apparently - I chose the Mad Goose from Purity which was excellent. The enthusiasm of the cellarman is very apparent and the guy behind the bar was extolling the virtues of the next beer to come on from Saltaire (about 20 miles down the road from me!)

A small criticism was that the smokers stand outside the large windows at the front which were fully open in the hot weather, with smoke drifting into the pub, but can't see how you could remedy that. The train/beer spotters in the front corner could be quite irritating after a while but it takes all sorts!!! But I'll be back! Sample Menu on the website might be useful.
JBGatelad - 18 Jun 2010 08:25
Nice pub not so crammed with customers as previous pubs - opens up more at the back. Good range of ale including Purity Mad Goose, a pricey pub apparently.
Booze_Allen - 11 Apr 2010 11:31
Ok let's get the negatives out of the way first. It's over-priced and more than a little pretentious. Not that busy on the Friday evening I went, not a bad thing after all the super busy pubs I'd visited earlier on. However the beer was in good condition with a nice choice, a pub I would return if I was in the area.
Abteilung - 10 Apr 2010 12:42
Doesn't sound like your sort of pub kitriq.

There is a Wetherspoons near Farringdon station I believe.
Dylarolla - 16 Mar 2010 14:47
If you want to eat chips, go to the chip shop. If you want an excellent range of immaculately kept beer served by knowledgable staff go to the Gunmakers.

In my experience, patrons get the service they deserve. I drink regularly in the Gunmakers and find all the staff to be very friendly and highly engaged with their clientele.

theboydonegood - 12 Mar 2010 16:38
Strongers - 11 Mar 2010 23:53
Went to this pub tonight with work colleagues and was bitterly dissapointed. Barman 1 was very friendly at first. But when requested Chips from Barman 2 was told they didn't do them. The only thing they do is bags of crisps for 1.20- ridiculously expensive even by London standards! They only had one flavour so he stormed upstairs to get more, spent several minutes rearranging them behind the bar before finally throwing a pack in my direction. When we saw that chips were in fact on the menu but with fish, I asked Barman 1 who was clearing the table whether there was anyway to get a bowl of them. I was told 'Absolutely not' before finally getting the explanation that they only cut the right amount for the meals on the menus.

The lack of chips, while ludicrous in a pub, wasn't the problem. The problem was the rubbish attitude problem, hissy fits and general rudeness of the bar staff. Really unhelpful and overpriced.
kitriq - 11 Mar 2010 23:19
Good atmosphere, swtched on staff-who actually have a personality (uncommon in most pubs) and a decent range of decent beers...
EdgarBriggsMI5 - 7 Mar 2010 10:08
Here on a busy Friday night - yet friendly and a good range of beer available. Top condition for the Wherry so scores highly!
meurglys_iv - 28 Feb 2010 11:12
Lovely little pub, sadly let down by the terrible tank-top on the landlord.
Food was excellent; beer from 'nam, too, which was a bonus.
Would drink again aa++.

london_drunker - 9 Feb 2010 21:16
It's a shame Louise28 found it necessary to register on a pub website in order to write a seriously misleading version of a sorry event. What happened reflected poorly on her in front of her extremely embarrassed colleagues, some of whom returned shortly after and spent a lovely afternoon enjoying our food and wine. It's a shame when people like Louise think they can adopt a bullying attitude to people who work in restaurants and pubs, but at least we won't have to see her again.
thegunmakers - 16 Jan 2010 10:08
I used to like this pub. I've been for a couple of good meals here and althought the service is not the speediest it is always worth the wait. Basically what you would expect from a small independent pub.

Recently rhough things have gone downhill. I booked to take a client for lunch and when we turned up they tried to show us to an occupied table, insiting that my friends were already here, (except I'd never met them before and wasn't meeting anyone!) The when we asked if we could have a different table by the radiator we were told to leave the premises for being rude! What a ridiculous thing to say. They weren't even busy at the time. Sufice to say I will not be returning again and will advise anyone I know to stay well clear.
louise84 - 11 Jan 2010 13:37
I paid my first visit to this pub on Friday and I have to say it was a disappointing one. As I entered the pub the barmaid was on the phone and I waited for about five minutes to be served. The call was work-related but an apology for being kept waiting would have been nice. Not 'I suppose you want a drink, then?' which is presumably her idea of humour.
Four handpumps serving Purity Mad Goose, Woodfords Wherry, Harveys Best and Old Rosie Cider. I had a pint of Harveys which was far too cold.
The pub is made up of two rooms - a front bar with fixed seating and a smaller room up a few steps. Decor is dark wood with two handsome mirrors engraved with the pub's name. Above the mirror in the lower bar is a musket and two pistols.
There was only one other customer on my visit and he and the barmaid were both attempting a cryptic crossword. From her conversation the barmaid appeared to be quite intelligent but she rather undermined this by her inability to complete a sentence without the F word.
And the pub was bloody freezing. Not impressed.
holbornboy - 10 Jan 2010 18:29
Strongers, there used to be a dartboard but that was several years ago. The pub was once the home of Newcastle United Supporters Club (London Branch)
thehappydrunkard - 5 Jan 2010 13:11
There were four thoughtful ales on during my visit before Christmas, but the lager choice was a little weak with only two available. I didnt care though as I don't drink lager and the Guinness was spot on.

The barmaid was very friendly and I found the locals to be the friendliest I have encountered in London for a first visit to a pub (this will be my 1133rd pub visited since I started posting on BITE so this is some achievement!)

Theres not much more I can say other than I wish there was a dartboard and I lived locally Great pub!
Strongers - 3 Jan 2010 22:17
the last two comments, that has to be "bruce" they are talking about!
loveleedshatebates - 22 Dec 2009 21:30
Excellent little pub. Nice atmosphere and as stated below, the barmaid is absolutely brilliant. The type of barmaid that many drinkers could fall in lust with because of her looks, charm, wit and wisdom. I fell in love!
SomersetChris - 22 Dec 2009 17:19
Fine place - wonderful young lady behind the bar this afternoon, great sense of humour and not afraid to call twxxts, twaats as where several people when i arrived! Purity Mad Goose (possible the best beer to have been invented in the last few years), St Austell Proper Job (Oh dear), Ascot Annastasia and Woodford Wherry on. Reasonable prices
cheshirecat - 21 Dec 2009 21:15
Neat looking pub with lots of celebrity patronage. Clive Anderson wears a suit even in the pub on a Monday I found out.

The owner has his own blog and is pretty outspoken and enjoyed our tale of diacetyl elsewhere before serving me a pint of butter - it is closed weekends for the public at least and maybe Monday was not the best time to be there.

Other beers well kept and probably worth a trip when I am sober next time.

Generous mark, for me, for a pub that served diacetyl as I trust the pub has ambition and it is not de rigueur. A second trip is required.
bedfont - 21 Dec 2009 06:58
Looks small from the outside but this narrow pub extends quite a way back. Had some really excellent food and some top-notch ales as well. Jeff - you've done well here!
dyyony - 15 Dec 2009 12:14
Feels like a typical small N1 gastro on entry, but the eclectic conversation (symphony orchestras), friendly staff and quite brilliant pint of Harvey's Sussex really mark this one out - great.
mtaylor40 - 16 Nov 2009 20:05
Its nice. Just wished Jeff would bloody well come out PROPERLY and stop hiding behind this pretence of his girlfriend.
Dancing_Daises - 1 Nov 2009 18:42
This pub is run by beer writer and blogger Jeff Bell, so I had high hopes it would be good on a recent visit, and wasn't disappointed. It's located down a Clerkenwell side street, and looks small from the outside but opens out a bit towards the back. The pub is divided into three main areas: the front bar, a middle room and a back room. It's done up in a modern, gastropubby way, but unsurprisingly retains a good ale focus. Four handpumps dispensing three ales when I visited (the fourth advertising ale the next day): I had TT Landlord and Woodford's Wherry and both were really well served. A gastropubby food menu, from which I had the steak and chips, which was really pretty good. I look forward to returning here.
grecian - 27 Oct 2009 10:08
The pub was very busy when I went in with some friends recently. However, we got served quickly and the ales were in top-notch condition. The "conservatory" at the back was a tad warm and felt a bit claustrophobic with so many people there but that didn't spoilt the visit and I am sure I will be going back soon.
Ordinary - 1 Oct 2009 22:52
Called in with the brunette on a rainy thursday afternoon, a couple of pints of hophead lightening ( i think) and Rose' for her. found the pub to be clean , tidy and welcoming. we sat out in the glasshouse area, shame its not open enough to be a smoking area. beer was in good condition , will plan to return when next in area.
The_Pub_Inspector - 19 Sep 2009 12:49
I noticed this pub has appeared in the 2010 GBG, in addition to it being in the current beerintheevening top 100. So we decided to give it a go. The interior is nothing special, consisting of three separate drinking areas, the first around the bar, the second up a couple of stairs and the third back down a couple of stairs to the rear. We found a seat in the middle section and found it amusing watching people wacking their heads off the low ceilings as they headed up/down the stairs. The beer range was disappointing - only Theakston Old Peculier and Harveys Bitter on during our visit. It appears Landlord and Purity Mad Goose had been on earlier, but there had been no attempt to replace them. Addlestones was the cider. There was no sign of the Westons Traditional Scrumpy previously mentioned. Although Westons Organic was available in bottles. The food looked extremely tempting and the portions were sizeable. Whilst not overly impressed by this place, I would willingly give it a second chance on a future crawl.
blue_scrumpy - 19 Sep 2009 12:28
Decided to make this a meeting point for some birthday drinks and ended up staying all night. Cracking little pub with great beers, friendly staff who knew there stuff, tasty food and a cool Landlord to boot. Cant recommend this place enoough its ace! Beer in great condition Unfortunately the Harveys ran out just before i got there but made do with the other one who's names slip my memory after about the 4th!
daswunderkind - 25 Jul 2009 08:40
It turns out Farringdon and Clerkenwell boast some fine drinking establishments. The Gunmakers, tucked away and hidden (I ran into it whilst roaming the streets on the phone) is a real gem.

The bar staff are unfailingly friendly and knowledgeable. Jeff chose to get his soul of of hock and retired from law to become a courteous, interesting and expert landlord. He introduced himself to me, and has never forgotten my name since.

Jeff typically has four real ales on, and will gladly let you taste before buying, and make recommendations based on what he learns of your taste. The beer is immaculately kept, and often served in branded appropriate glasses. They also serve a cloudy cider, and, of course, the typical lagers. Still, I have observed relatively few people drinking lager in there! They have a good wine list, at reasonable prices.

They serve food both at lunchtime and in the evening. I've never had occasion to eat there in the evening, but the lunchtime food is very good - and there's tons of it. I had a burger there yesterday, and left feeling like I'd eaten a baby. The menu (on blackboards) changes regularly, and has a couple of starters, a bunch of mains, and a couple of deserts. The food is served fresh and promptly.

The interior is plainly and tastefully decorated. It hovers between the gastro-pub look (particularly in the back, though the floor is askew, so no table has a totally flat surface!) and more traditional (albeit bare floored - no pub patterned carpet here) pub. There are a couple of bar stools, and I have often found folk who are clearly regulars sitting at the bar, passing the time of day with Jeff. Uniquely, there are large windows that open totally in the front, allowing a welcome cooling breeze blow through. They are at bar height, and have a couple of shelves under the window, thus allowing smokers (and smokers' friends) to still feel they are part of the pub inside, rather than just pavement hoverers.

Having said that, the outside area, apart from that bit right up against the pub itself, is meagre - after all, it really is just the pavement. The road the pub sits on isn't particularly busy, but it's still central London, so I'd probably not choose to spend a whole session out there. The ladies' room was clean but unremarkable.

The pub is not big, and unless you want to sit in the back (which has a much more restaurant feel), you may find yourself hard pressed for a seat when it's busy (and it gets busy at times, though not necessarily at predicable times).

This has been a real find - definitely one to add to a hypothetical pub crawl in Farringdon, and one I will be drinking and dining in at many a lunchtime.

mattygroves - 22 Jul 2009 15:19
Superb, modern pub situated on a side street of Clerkenwell Road. I made a particular effort to visit this place while visiting nearby Holborn and was not disappointed - a cracking pint of Triple fff Alton's Pride was served by a friendly barmaid and I took in the surroundings of a clearly popular establishment. I felt guilty staying for just one, but I'll undoubtedly be back.
ChrisP87 - 15 Jul 2009 21:46
Cracking place, great beer (Landlord, Sussex, 6x,) good food anf the best "couple" running the place, Jeff who thinks he runs it and "Bruce" who does!!!
loveleedshatebates - 28 May 2009 07:49
A lovely little pub tucked away down a quiet side street, and all the better for it. There were four nice ales on tap when I visited including one of my favourites, Batemans XXXB. Not many too many punters in so it was fairly quiet too which makes a change for most London pubs.
dearl - 1 May 2009 13:17
Paid my maiden visit to this hostelry this evening and was very pleased with what I found here.

Smart black and gold signage greets you at the front, leading you into a modern yet intimate pub divided into numerous drinking areas. Walls painted a pleasant shade of red, much woodwork visible and pleasant tungsten lighting. Pleasant recorded music at a reasonable volume for the level of trade this evening, creating an atmosphere which I found very comfortable. A spacious rear conservatory with flat glass roof provides plenty of table-and-chair accommodation. In the evening twilight this was a delightful place to sit.

Four ales were available and my friends and I sampled two, namely Meantime LONDON PALE ALE, 3.9% (nutty, pungent, fruity and with some interesting similarities in taste to very well-kept Fullers' London Pride) and a Cornish ale from Skinners, of similar strength that was a refreshing, quaffable session ale.

The food menu reads excellently. We did not eat but I was certainly struck by quality and quantity on the plates of those dining around us; some very tantalising aromas wafted periodically out of the kitchen.

And last but by no means least it was a great pleasure to meet Jeff once again - and indeed all the staff here were professional, polite and efficient without the need for policy extremes, thus affording a very "human" face of pub management - Jeff I think you've got it just right there.

In summary I had a pleasant surprise, and have gained a new addition to my portfolio of favourite London Pubs. Fully deserving of a high mark.

lad_newton - 20 Apr 2009 23:40
I waited until my third visit to post a review of this pub as I thought it only fair to make sure my first impressions were confirmed, well that and tardiness. It's a proper back street boozer, not very big, and with the emphasis firmly on ales. There are usually three or four real ales on plus Addlestones and, on my last visit, Westons Scrumpy. There is a good gastropub type menu but make no mistake, the raison detre of this pub is the search for ebriety. The bar staff know their product well and are more than happy to engage in conversation. I suspect the location means it doesn't get a lot of passing trade but those that know it's there will keep returning.

Millay - 8 Apr 2009 23:07
As basic as a pub should be - the traditional pub was after all not known for its opulence but for its beer and the welcoming atmosphere (you would hope) - a range of beers including TT Landlord and a guest ale. Just spotted it by chance as I was on my way elsewhere and of course had to pay a visit. Which is the way it should sometimes be, with pubs. This area is also the former heart of the Italian quarter of London, but of that there is less sign.
rainlight - 2 Apr 2009 20:11
Smallish single bar pub, in a side street just off the Clerkenwell Road

Stonch was not in situ yesterday evening when I called in - but the TT Landlord was on fine form, as might be expected from a pub run by such a beer connoisseur

3 other ales were on - sorry, I've lost my notes of what they were.

In contrast to previous reviewers, I found the interior decor rather cold and featureless and it seemed to lack that warm cosy pubby feel that I look for in pubs.

I won't be rushing back here, I'm afraid

JohnBonser - 25 Feb 2009 12:47
Popped in before Xmas to see if could high-five the man known as Stonch/Jeffrey but unfortunately he was out. Still, I decided to try a couple of the beers anyway.

There were 3 available if my memory serves. First up was Hook Norton (old Hooky) which a little on the flat side but drinkable enough. I then tried some of the Landlords perennial favourite, Tim Taylor Landlord - which was spot-on.

The inside of the place is quite small, but as it is slightly off the beaten track it wasn't too heaving but nicely busy.

The outside looks pretty foreboding though, all black and looming. Perhaps a nice traditional pub sign might help?

Would pop in again as it's a place that is on the up.
Quinno - 9 Feb 2009 19:16
Not a bad stop off if you're on your way from the centre of town to Smithfield.Decent pint and very lively owner/staff.....The comments on running a pub should keep entertained for most of the night!
EdgarBriggsMI5 - 1 Feb 2009 21:30
What a gem of a pub...o' for one like this for a local....almost tiny but then the best things come in small parcels! Hard working barstaff and an enthusiastic licensee who really deserves the chance to sell some more unusual beers..whilst all four on draught were in excellent condition there was the sameness feel gained when they have to be chosen from a pubco list. And why can't they allow freedom on bottles? Mixed clientele leaning towards young/sophisticated and I overheard good words on the food front. Also a good sized, almost hidden, back room available for the overspill from an enthusiastic front bar. Deserves support from customers and owners alike. Am looking forward to another visit but beware the sloping road when you leave!
Insearchofthebestpint - 29 Jan 2009 22:44
I had no idea Jeff Bell was gay, he certainly doesn't seem that way inclined. Anyway that aside it is good to see a pub run by someone who has a genuine passion for real ale.
Houlton - 7 Jan 2009 15:20
Called in today (Monday) afternoon and it was fairly quiet - enjoyed a quality pint of Bateman's Rosey Nosey which was served by a very freindly barmaid. Unfortunately I could only stay for the one but would like to return for an evening to sample some of their other ales (they had Taylor's Landlord and Harviestoun's Bitter & Twisted).

A simple uncomplicated pub that does exactly what it says on the tin. Shame it's not open on weekends.
mrfear - 5 Jan 2009 23:53
This is a small-fronted pub tucked away in a side street off Clerkenwell Road. Landlord and Hook Norton Autumn Ale on. The HNAA was 3 a pint, which is pretty much the going rate in Central London, and was absolutely superb. With a bare-boarded floor, and low ceiling, this pub generates a welcoming atmosphere.

The smell of the freshly ground coffee used by the coffee machine pervades the front bar. Somewhat unusual odour as pubs go, but not unpleasant. What a cracking little pub this is. Definitely worth a visit highly recommended.

RexRattus - 10 Oct 2008 16:32
Ha ha! No, he was running it on 22-May when I was there, but at that time he was keeping his "superhero" identity secret, so I was having a sly dig. I think he's been running it for the better part of 2008. Glad he's finally come out of the closet (so to speak!).
topdog_andy - 9 Aug 2008 12:10
I haven't visited the place yet, but I see from CAMRA literature that it's now managed by Jeff Bell, alias 'Stonch', lately of this parish. From the remarks below, I surmise that he took over between 28 May and 24 June!
earlydrinker - 5 Aug 2008 17:46
A little gem of a pub. Excellent Timothy Taylor Landord. Run by someone who really knows his beer
stevecole - 24 Jun 2008 18:41
Nice little pub on a side street in Clerkenwell. The pub has been slightly refurbised (for the better) since the photo, and the bar staff are very knowledgeable and friendly. They had Landlord and Young's Ordinary on when I was there last week. While the landlord is a spirits man and knows nothing about good beer personally, he keeps an excellent pint.

Worth a look in if you're crowded out of the Jerusalem or the Crown.
topdog_andy - 28 May 2008 18:50
Been here a couple of times recently for Sunday lunch and the food is amazing - possibly the best tasting roast beef in a pub for miles around.....
hoolet - 3 Mar 2008 21:34
This is quite local to where i work and i go here quite a lot.

freindly staff, fantastic food (the chips are wonderful and the burger so big i can't finish it) and, maybe not the cheapest bar in london but not ridiculous.

It can get quite full as it's only tiny but the road is quite quiet so its nice to stand outside when it's sunny.

i would recommend this for a quiet night out with a couple of friends, not the best place for a big evening as there's not so much space!

Sophiegray - 6 Mar 2007 15:28
Visited last night for the first time in ages.

The pub was dominated by a large fat bloke and his mate drinking both quaffing some kind of spirit and mixer, parading around being fat and filling up the small space. Avoiding catching their eye was a challenge for the most stoney faced patron. Good job then that myself, my girlfriend, some soul destroyers sharing a bottle of wine and a guy in a suit with a japanese business colleague in tow were the only other people in the place. The only people, that is, excluding the two black-uniformed barmaids who were clearly in it for the shits and giggles, having a laugh, pouring drinks badly and shouting at each other. The music was like something you hear in a lift. The menu looked uninspired and overpriced. The back enclosed courtyard dining area looked dank and unappealing.

I didn't like it here - can you tell? Won't bore you with the beer selection, most people don't seem to care.

Oh actually I can't resist, it was Bombardier and something else rubbish on hand pump and a standard set of Guinness/Carling/Cider keg taps with the surprise addition of Pilsner Urquell (which I would bet my bottom quid is rank in here).

Can you tell I didn't like it?

5/10. Could be very nice but lacks atmosphere.
anonymous - 5 Apr 2006 11:40
Really good food, tiny pub. Especially when you consider that only the front 1/4 is really anything like a pub.

Nice traditional look, though.
gingerweasel - 26 Oct 2005 11:31
The food here is exceptional, if it's available when you visit I highly recommend the smoked haddock omelette.
Staff are friendly.
It's not huge so get in early for lunch.
Rolferoo - 23 Sep 2005 11:31
good food. Not a pub more a restaurant in a pub skin.
thebigman - 23 Sep 2005 11:27
KWOLITY food in this place.
Top notch grub.

Really small inside but I like the make shift conservatory out the back even if it does get a little damp when it's wet.

Wouldn't really call it a "pub" though.
stoner - 23 Sep 2005 11:21
I've really enjoyed The Gunmakers the couple of times I've been recently. It manages that rare fusion of an old fashioned pub atmosphere with the more modern themes of excellent service and contemporary home cooked food. The rear area is the perfect place to have a relaxed boozy meal, the sociable front bar spills out onto the street on busy sunny evenings. I would highly recommend a vist and the fish & chips!
Cathysipslowly - 7 May 2005 14:15
What a wonderful little boozer. Good selection of beers but only one cider available - the new fangled Irish Magners. Very smokey and the seats could do with re-springing but somehow it all adds to the charm. Didn't go as far as ordering food from the excellent looking menu but did have some "Salty Dog" thai sweet chilli crisps which were terrific.
Upferret - 21 Apr 2005 09:01
I used to go to the Gunmakers on a Sunday lunchtime in the early 1980's. In those days there was complimentary seafood and extra salty roast potatos to make you drink more of the excellent beer. It was great - does anyone know if this is still the case?
billy124 - 5 Mar 2005 00:52
lovely little pub with friendly staff and cosy atmosphere. Food not quite as good as it should be for the price.
rachelgroves - 16 Dec 2004 10:13
The Gunmaker is such a London gem I'm almost loathe to review it in case it gets too popular. It's atmospheric with real charm and tangible history, reflecting the diversity of the Clerkenwell area. Laid back clientele, truly friendly staff and great modern British food have meant it's become my London boozer of choice. Just don't tell anyone else about it.
ChrisinPimlico - 27 Nov 2004 18:43
This place is a great find. A small friendly, laid-back pub that offers quality staple pub fare and a few surprises from a daily changing menu. Bright, intimate seating area at the rear.
Keith C - 20 Jul 2004 11:26

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