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Spaniards Inn, Hampstead Heath

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user reviews of Spaniards Inn, Hampstead Heath

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

End Nov 2016 Saturday Afternoon: No room at the Inn. The Spaniards' has become a Yuppy Grubby Pub for Merchant Bankers. No table to sit at the place is a restaurant with a bar attached, with nowhere to sit, empty tables have a "Reserved" sign displayed. BAH!

Comfort = Zero : Overflowing with too many people
Prices high:= £8.15p for 1pt of London Pride + Half of JBV + packet crisps (Tyrells).

No visible price list anywhere.
mycetes - 26 Nov 2016 16:11
I visited this pub on Sunday 25th Serptember 2016 between 5:30 pm and 7pm, for a birthday meal for my girlfriend.

I spent over £40 and so wished I hadn't. When we arrived and asked to be seated the person supposedly serving us just geatured that our table was over there, which we both found very rude. I so wish we had left then after receiving this appalling service from STUART!!

The food was over priced and basic. We were served by 4 different people, non of which gave us any eye contact. There were dirty knives on the floor..nice touch. My main meal of roast pork was £18. Over-priced and a tiny bit of pork scratching.

When a lady with two guests walked in wearing a fur coat, they couldn't fall over themselves fater enough to serveus, and kept looking in our direction as to say hurry up. Charming!!

I have left feed-back on their website but do not expect any reponse.

I WILL NOT BE GOING BACK TO THIS PUB AND I RECOMMEND THAT YOU DO NOT EAT OR DRINK HERE.
olivercwray43 - 11 Oct 2016 15:02
Expensive, and the beer (Hobgoblin) was like vinegar. Won't be back.
Perry - 26 Feb 2016 20:32
Mercifully, unchanged over the years, this is a quite unique and beautiful pub. But do check your bank balance before arrival as this is quite possibly the most expensive pub in London. Which is quite a statement.
strangetorpor - 29 Oct 2015 17:07
Last visit to the pub ever yesterday - ludicrous beer prices and probably the most thoroughly unpleasant service I have ever experienced even by the laughable standards of modern London. The past is itself - adios The Spaniards.
TS77 - 29 Jun 2015 09:59
The Spaniards used to be a good pub when it was on Hampstead Rugby Club's
list of drinking spots.

The late great Mike Flynn President of Hampstead Hogs was a regular.

Over the last few years its gone downhill
too many tourists , useless staff, silly prices etc

Another great pub down the pan.


Leftinthepub44 - 19 Mar 2015 12:34
A glorious location, garden and building but the Spaniard's doesn't make whole use of its natural endowments due to the lucrative tourist trade that leads to dropped standards (see also Oxford's Turf Tavern). The food is OK but uttrely bog standard and although a couple of good ales are always on tap, the Hackett shirted denizens of North London can lead to a slightly annoying atmsophere - wtach out on the road too - very dicey negotiating passage to this boozer on foot.
BoehmBawerk - 3 Jul 2012 08:49
my grandpa used to go there on a sunday morning to drink beer and chew the cud with his mates. for that reason alone i have very fond feelings for this place!

started my 21st birthday celebrations there and then moved on.

old pub, steeped in history and if i am brutally honest, could do with a bit of modernization but overall a good place to go.

prices are slightly on the steep side but all in all, worth a visit
londonloon - 8 May 2012 11:28
My wife and I visited here once on a nice sunny day. We had a great meal and liked the pub very much.
tommo5 - 9 Aug 2011 22:15
A place you take visitors to rather than have as a local. The Sharps Abbey Christmas was drinkable. Has all the history etc blah blah blah.... but not really worth heading too especially.
Snarling_Mallard - 12 Dec 2010 02:10
Reading the reviews this is definitely a hit and miss pub. When we visited all the continental beers were not available but theTaylors Landlord and Harveys Sussex were good. You risk life and limb doing the dash across the road to get to the pub. Overall.... a bit soulless.
Deb1 - 19 Sep 2010 12:10
Reading some of the previous comments I've come to the conclusion that either I was lucky or they were unlucky.
I visited in the middle of the afternoon and stayed for two pints. No children and no queue, although it was quite busy. The staff were efficent rather than friendly. I didn't have a meal.
The ales were good. Tribute and Harvey's Sussex. The place is very historic, unfortunately it wasn't the right weather for sitting in the garden.
The position of the pub can make access a bit hairy as it's on a main road with no path.
outtamehead - 17 Sep 2010 10:13
excellent pub, charming, great service and food was delicious - it is that good that people flock here when the sun comes out ,so to those who complain about the small waits lump it!
nick.mackaness - 13 Apr 2010 10:02
Really really bad pub.
adelondon - 12 Apr 2010 18:02
Looking through other comments, evidently this can be a bit of a hit and miss affair - I went on a saturday and had a really nice meal there, I thought the menu was interesting and even though it cost more than I'd usually pay for food in a pub, I enjoyed the experience and would go back. However, in the summer months, I can see it getting very, very busy.
catfitz - 10 Apr 2010 12:53
The worst pub I've ever been to.

Reserved a table here for Sunday and was told to ask at the bar for a referral to the table. Afetr queuing for 20 mins at the bar we were told that we'd missed our table! Found another and waited over an hour before asking for a refund. Bar staff asked to check our food receipt to make sure we were telling the truth about how long we'd waited! We were referred to a chalk board which told people to expect delays in food - have never heard of this method of communication before. Staff were arrogant and distinterested.

Do not come here unless you are prepared for the experience typical of a "destination" pub. They don't need your business and won't try to retain it.

On the plus side, the beer was good.
tallgables - 22 Mar 2010 10:24

DO NOT COME HERE IF YOU DON'T WANT LOTS OF SCREAMING KIDS AROUND YOU.

Its a nice pub and the food is good but it is sadly let down by the fact that it is full of screaming babies and children in pushchairs at the weekend.

The pub needs to do something about this because we will not be back as we couldn't relax during our meal. It spoilt the enjoyment of it completely. If you want to eat in a kindergarden then you'll love it!
annilhus - 15 Mar 2010 12:17
I have to say i do not agree with the comments below, i regularly visit the pub at weekends and weekdays and find the staff to be very hospitable and welcoming, as well as the quality of food and range of drinks fantastic. Try the stilton and steak pies which are somtimes on the specials and you can never go wrong with the fish and chips which i think are the best in London (and for under a tenner -who says this is expensive?!) Ok the pub does get busy on sunny weekends and you might have to wait a while but how can anyone plan for the freak weather we have.

This is a great pub a great venue for parties or just a quiet mid week meal. Enjoy a real pub with great hospitality and top food....
nick.mackaness - 31 Oct 2009 15:55
i went for lunch at this pub today and was thoroughly disgusted by all aspects of this pub. obviously customer service is not their strong point. spent 10mins waiting to be served,due to one member of staff putting away glasses one by one(why?)didnt have the food that i wanted to order,so attempted to order a drink,pt of diet coke(sorry mam we dont do pts of diet coke)couldnt and still cant get my head round this but quickly left and enjoyed a sunday roast elsewhere vowing never to return.who runs this pub ?they are obviously in the wrong industry
charliebrown1 - 26 Jul 2009 21:17
This is an incredibly beautiful building of great historic value, it has a fine big beer garden and is in a lovely spot, that's the good news out of the way.
The barstaff are arrogant and disinterested, thats if you can find one. The beer is o.k but over priced, the food is fine. This could and should be a great experience, but it never is, I always leave with a sense of dissapointment. Sack the staff, sort the prices out and you will have a winner.
head - 29 Jun 2009 12:43
This is the closest pub to my house, which is why I still pop in occasionally.

The service is some of the very worst in London, and the prices some of the dearest.

If you can get service, do not expect a smile. Also expect the 21+ rule to be randomly enforced, usually when the pub is empty and you turn up with a group of drinkers, one of which may be 19 or 20.

Avoid.
AshB333 - 20 Jun 2009 17:58
In the past Ive always felt an air of contempt from the bar staff in this pub, no matter how polite you were to them. I popped in early on Saturday afternoon to see if things had changed and thankfully the barman was nice enough. The pub is still very dark and a little depressing, but the Pride and Harveys Best were very good. There was another ale that was off, but Brains SA Gold and Adnams were also available alongside Westons Cider and a good selection of premium lagers.

There is a good sized beer garden out the back, but it fills up very fast at the weekends if there is the slightest hint of any sun. Getting into the pub can be a little treacherous if walking from the Hampstead end as there is no path on the pubs side of the road and the road narrows to one lane as there is an old listed toll booth on the other side of the road.

This place is OK, but I think that the people that have said that it isnt worth going out of your way for are spot on.
Strongers - 18 May 2009 14:38
I agree with Bonser: not worth going out of your way for. A shame really because it has some key ingredients that could make it a decent pub.
weston - 18 May 2009 11:30
Returned here by default a few Thursdays ago during a day's leave and it was marginally better in comparison to previously witnessed scenes of summer bedlam. The beer garden can be a genuinely nice place when it's not too busy and the bar staff were quite friendly in this instance. Sausage and mash was very good although totally cold. In the best case scenario the Spaniards has just fell victim to so many aspects of London life with population outpacing infrastructure and that essentially is unlikely to reverse.
TS77 - 20 Apr 2009 09:52
As many others have mentioned before, rather slow service with bar staff who make a point of mentioning that they have no idea whose turn it is to be served, as if having an idea of which customer is next is somehow beneath them. Nice location on the Heath though.

Decent though fairly standard range of ales (Landlord, Tribute, etc). Pub atmosphere is somewhat better on ground level (especially if you can get the little space by the street side entrance door) upstairs is a bit more "restauranty". Food is fine if not exciting, but be prepared to wait.
dpv - 8 Mar 2009 10:19
Hiya,

This is my local, and what a lucky git I am. Really really cute pub, best range of ales and belgian beers round here- and I met Liam Gallagher in the beer garden once.

Food is good but not amazing, but definitely worth a visit.

x
Chrismate - 26 Feb 2009 18:47
Hasn't cjanged much from my last visit 5 years ago - great location, decent pint (Adnams), food poor and expensive (didn't make that mistake this time), and same crap service
lout_from_the_lane_ - 4 Feb 2009 14:31
Keats may have written an Ode to a Nightingale in the garden, which looked lovely, and the pub itself was very charming and cosy. A perfect location after a walk on the Heath.

However its not lovely while your waiting 20 minutes at a crowded bar to get served! Its Saturday lunchtime just after 1pm, its very busy, there is only one girl on the bar, there is already no fish and chips, no chips in general, no gerkins (even though on the menu) for the Ploughmans (nor did the other staff member know what a gerkin was), there was only a few beers on tap (no Guiness or leffe) and only 1 cider despite being taps for 3 different types.

Other people were as bumused as us but reluctant to stay, 3 groups of people came and left the tables near us without ordering, after attempting to get various drinks and food that were obviously unavailable.

We stayed but while the squid was good, it was really not worth it for the average ploughmans and soggy sweet potatoe wedges. Probably won't go back.
lisa_is_a_star - 3 Jan 2009 21:11
Visited this pub during the afternoon.
The atmoshere was quite good whilst the Adnams and Timothy Taylors Landlord were well kept.
The obvious negative was the one member of bar staff who struggled to keep up with those trying to order food and drinks at the bar - this was during the school holidays, the pub was quite busy, why did they not have more staff on ?
Nice pub however with a great history, and nice ale, could have just been run a little better.
SouthYorkshireman - 1 Jan 2009 20:33
It's a pub with an impressive reputation and a great location. It is almost as if it is a country pub in the middle of London. Fantastic beer garden, a reward for those who make the trek away from Hampstead. Overcoming the slow service, which I've experienced everytime I've visited, it is still a very relaxing and welcoming place. Good food and nice ciders, this pub is perfect for a solid session with good mates in the summertime.
monteiths_nz - 15 Nov 2008 21:07
Have been here mid-week in the summer and was excellent to sit outside and food was great. Good selection of beer. Recently went on a saturday night for a meal and lucky enough to get a table inside. Bar staff were scruffy, didn't have a clue on how to run the bar and not enough of them to cope with demand, waited for 25 minutes to get served for drinks by which time our meals had sat on the table for 10 minutes and got cold. Drink selection is still good when you eventually get it.
nobbythesheep - 19 Oct 2008 22:35
This is what you might imagine a proper pub to be. It's dark and seemingly olde worlde.
Outside garden is very crowded. Has a barbeque.

No music, No one-arm bandit.
Hooray!
No price list for beers
Bah!

Doggy wash - keep your mutt clean

No free wifi

3-25p for 5.5% Aspell's Suffolk Cyder on tap.
OK
1-10p for pack of Burt's Devonshire crisps
A bit steep!


mycetes - 27 Sep 2008 13:57
Visited again recently after a gap of several years - while OK it isn't what it was. Staff seemed a bit preoccupied and beer wasn't particularly good.
BobOs - 24 Sep 2008 23:40
I visited on Saturday 19th July around 11pm after spending the evening listening to live music at Kenwood House, and this review is based solely on that visit.

The pub has a lovely interior, large beer garden and splendid selection of ales and imported beers. If you are a fan of good beer, then this place would seem to be a very good bet. It has a cask marque so it's likely that the quality of the beers is good across the range. I had an Everards Sunchaser, and had no complaints whatsoever.

I cannot comment on the food, but in terms of the number one reason to visit a pub that is to say the beer then this pub has a lot going for it. I agree with the previous poster, Mr. Toes, that The Spaniards is probably worthy of its entry in the Good Beer Guide. However, I would like to visit again just to get a more rounded view and to sample more of their extensive range.
gatomalo - 24 Jul 2008 10:14
I found the recent comments rather negative and not called for , visiting last night with a group of real ale drinkers i found the selection was very good, they had IPA, Pride, Adnams and Harveys plus two guest ales . They also had a cider and a perry both from the cask , the selection of lagers were all imported and they had the wonderful Sierra Nevada pale ale on draft . there was a selection of bottled beers that rivaled many a west end pub and all reasonbly priced. This is in the Good Beer Guide and rightly so.
mr.toes.5_ - 25 Jun 2008 15:19
Having grown up in the area, The Spaniards has always been a benchmark for pubs in around Hampstead and Golders Green. Unfortunately my last two visits have shown that this once charming boozer has gone completely downhill.

On both occasions I have chosen to sit the the beer garden and each of the many tables were littered with dirty plates, empty glasses and crisp packets. When any members of staff did come outside, they returned to the bar empty handed. On counting last night we realised our (large) table had 14 empty beer bottles, 16 glasses and 4 plates on it which weren't ours - and we'd been there two hours.

One friend's steak was passable, the other had vegetable lasagne brought to him when he ordered a lamb burger. Without any sort of apology his burger arrived 15 minutes later and was clearly pre-packaged supermarket food. At this point we left.

It would be a tragedy if this pub were to continue like this. The Spaniards was always our choice on Christmas Eve, for big Sunday lunches and most recently, for a friend's wake. I know we won't be returning for a while yet though.
v52 - 26 May 2008 13:11
The Spaniards Inn truly sounds like the utter embodiment of the Death of the Nation by the evidence of these postings - our country has now reached such a state of mouldering decay and laughable incompetence we can't even do history right. Last person out of England blow out ye olde candle.....
TS77 - 27 Mar 2008 13:58
Went here on Easter Sunday for lunch having booked nearly a week previously. Was immediately disappointed to find we had been given a table in a very soulless room upstairs - so remember to ask for a table downstairs if you go. The selection of beer wasn't great, and the Sunday Roast was extrmmely disappointing. Fatty tasteless meat and "frozen" Yorkshire Puds. My 10 year old son said his was like school dinners, but worse! One of our party had beef that tasted off, and when we drew this to the attention of the waitress she called over the chef who said it couldn't have been off as all the beef served that day came from the same cow and no-one else had complained! He didn't bother to taste it but offered a refund, which we didn't accept as that wasn't why we had complained. All in all a very disappointing experience.
HotSpur - 26 Mar 2008 19:13
Well known North London watering hole on the north side of Hampstead Heath near Kenwood House. Has associations with Dick Turpin, the famous highwayman apparently.

My visit early Saturday lunchtime was quite pleasant, but this is a food orientated pub and not for drinkers, although I did note a surprisingly good selection of real ales on. My pint of Harveys was reasonable, and at only 2.80p perhaps cheaper than I might have expected for this area.

The area is bare boarded, but with much wood pannelling which creates quite a traditional atmosphere.

Its dog friendly, unfortunately - they advertise doogie baths, but thankfully my visit was during a dog free period.

Saturdays visit was probably my first visit since the 1970's when I visited the pub due to it featuring in The Evening Standard Guide to London Pubs.

Nowadays, its a pleasant enough pub, worth combining with a stroll on Hampstead Heath if in the area, but not worth going out of your way to visit

JohnBonser - 3 Mar 2008 12:58
Having just spent a great evening in the Spaniards I find all this negativity depressing ! Maybe C should book then she could sit in peace? When I last went I was welcome to sit on the 'booked' table before the booking arrived (it said so on the sign) so I don't see the issue.
I have always found this pub to be great - yes it is busy and sometimes very very busy - but if you know this and want to go on Sunday book or go at 12 when it is not or just be prepared to wait a while.
I have always found the food to be good and don't understand the issue with the gravy. The menu is limited on a Sunday due to the level of business but is much more extensive during the week and there are always 4 or 5 tasty veggie options - I know as I have had them !
The 'four' staff behind the bar are serving like mad all day so you cannot expect them to be as overjoyed to see you as a bored member of bar staff in a quiet pub but I have never seen them slacking and would challenge C to try and fit more behind this old bar.
Yes it can be a wait but come knowing what to expect - order you coffee and pudding as you order your food and sit back, enjoy the lovely atmoshphere and relax.
I would recommend this pub over any of the slick prefab or fake trad pubs any day. Real Ale, great bottled beers, good wines, real food, real fires, a great garden ... stop moaning !


happycustomer - 21 Feb 2008 01:27
I've always thought of this pub as being pretty perfect, with its ancient building, quaint appearance by an old toll gate (which for all the world looks like it is in the deep countryside - plus a million cars) and its legends.

However, on my last visit my opinion changed. The place was packed. There was only one barstaff, a girl who was painfully slow and totally unaware of the seething mass of customers who had been waiting up to half an hour to get served and were growing angrier by the minute.

And out in the garden it was a cacophony of people showing off their screaming kids and yapping, fighting dogs. Why would we want to hear that? Just shut them up and go away.
Greshon - 8 Feb 2008 18:01
Wood panelled 16th c building that despite its popularity retains a decent atmosphere. Good literary associations and a pleasant location with large attractive beer garden draws the crowds. A former home of the Spanish ambassador, it became a pub in the 18th century and forms party of the tollgate chicane. 5 cask ales on offer, plus German lagers on tap and bottled Belgian beers. Decent food menu which suggests which beers to drink, though the actual food is poorly presented and lacks interest.
SilkTork - 22 Jan 2008 22:25
This really should be a fantastic pub given the building, but I couldn't agree more with the comments about the service and the prices.

There was a young barman there who was being openly hostile to everyone he took orders from. He was struggling to understand what people were saying, but insisting that it was the native speakers who had trouble with their English, not him. The people he was serving (including myself) were being friendly, patient and understanding with him, but he was being incredibly aggressive for no particular reason.

Never in my life have I been treated so poorly in a pub. And that's saying a lot! This place needs the pub equivalent of Gordon Ramsay to go in, clear out the staff (especially management), and to start all over again. This place could be doing double the business it currently is.
blotchy39 - 10 Jan 2008 14:40
I can only go with the general consensus on here: this is a wonderful, historic pub in a great location with good food and great beers, but it is let down by woeful levels of service. The bar really is a joke; the staff seem almost wilfully sluggish and rude. Last time I visited, for twenty odd minutes I watched an admittedly over-stretched young barman dash about the bar making no attempt to hide the fact that he was not happy to be working at all. The poor lamb. He then abruptly announced he was going for his break, at which point a very polite lady pointed out that she had been waiting for half an hour at the bar. His indignant reply was, Yeah? Well Ive been here all day, so

Yes mate, I expect you have. Youre doing a job that you chose to do and are getting paid for it.

Its glaringly obvious what the failings are of this place.

ESBecially_for_you - 15 Nov 2007 15:54
Ordered two sandwiches on a Tuesday lunchtime, had to wait about half an hour to be presented with stale bread and the wrong filling. Sent them back, the replacements were only marginally better. Won't be going back.
arrow - 23 Oct 2007 18:20
I read the comments about this pub with interest. With such a beautiful building and great history this place will always be assured of customers - which is lucky for the current management, because, as other commentators note, the service is so toe-curlingly slow in this place. I was lucky enough to wait only 50 minutes for a straightforward sausage and mash - others were not so lucky, finally going into paroxysms of rage after 70 minutes wait. I watched the bar on a busy Sunday evening - to note only one person behind the pumps, slow, apparently disinterested, indifferent - no effort to speed anything up, one poor woman waiting ten minutes to order a coffee. Loads of kids running around screaming, tables jammed into draughty corners. A glum place, the ghostly black hand really does hover about the old timbers.
anonymous - 22 Oct 2007 17:37
re: last comment, I may have been there the same Sat. Personally, I saw many well-behaved children and thought the pub had a great atmosphere and character. The Old Empire was below par for a GBG pub; beer quality in London is lamentable given turnover.
mtaylor40 - 2 Aug 2007 23:28
This review is based only on one visit (Saturday late afternoon) but overall I have to say I like it! OK, there were FAR too many children running around, scoffing fish fingers and making excessive noise (pubs should be for grown-ups) but if you could ignore that and retire to the tranquility of the large beer garden, between showers, you'd find an oasis of calm in which to enjoy a decent pint. The service was absolutely fine... not outstanding but not as bad as some have experienced. I can see how queues could build up though, as the serving area isn't huge when compared to the size of the pub, and the high food turnover could certainly slow things down. A good place to start a Hampstead pub crawl!
kingston_toon - 31 Jul 2007 11:53
This should be one of the best pubs in London - instead, it is possibly one of the worst. In terms of appearances, it's exactly the same as the Highgate Flask, but three times bigger.

The customer service is truly diabolical. Have been a few times, all terrible, but I so want to like the place I keep punishing myself. Last Sunday was typical - 25 minute wait (absolutely no exaggeration) on a surprisingly quiet afternoon. You could only laugh at the absurdity of it all after a while. Ignored my turn at the bar by the barman gesticulating "Please people, can you keep this way a bit more" (cue non distinct hand wave). You can try the outside bar but you have to join an orderly single file queue manned by a solitary non-English speaking person who hasn't been trained on the till either - not their fault really; it's pathetic management. Be ready to point at the beer pumps for your order. It wasn't clear whether the staff were just idiots, badly trained, or they deliberately didn't give a toss as they were sick of the attitude that most of the Hampstead toffy regulars probably dish out to them.

The garden's barbeque had run out of burgers, at 1230 on a Sunday, despite the fact it had been raining solid for the previous 3 weeks... sounds a little trivial, but it speaks volumes.

Heartbreaking. The garden is superb. Problem is you'll be applying for your pension by the time you get to sit in it.

The manager needs a slapping. I did wonder if they might read these comments, but on recent evidence I doubt they're literate. Or breathing. DNS.
cardamom - 18 Jul 2007 20:48
Besides having some of the slowest bar staff in the history of the world they also seem to just NOT CARE.

I witnessed staff taking cutlery wrapped in toilet roll out to customers, and then the staff looking shocked when the customers complained1
jaytee - 21 Jun 2007 21:17
Great pub, with awesome food and a fantastic beer garden. It's just such a shame that this place has some of the MOST incompetent bar staff and management in the world (second only to The Flask in Highgate, perhaps). It generally takes over 30 minutes to get served, and the bar staff seem to get slower the busier it gets. One of the bar managers (short fat balding bloke) is one of the rudest and most arrogant people i've ever encountered. No doubt the root cause of the apparent high staff turnover - never see the same face! He managed to insult 3 customers in a row on Sunday. No doubt the brewery absolutely rake it in from this pub but they could make so much more if they sorted out the speed of service and sacked the manager. A captive audience is no excuse to offer poor service.
anonymous - 4 Jun 2007 23:19
Crowds on Sunday have to be seen to be believed....approximately 80 punters and four barstaff!!! Very authentic but food disappointing.....my Swedish eating companions found the squid salad to be a highly unpleasant life experience.
TS77 - 21 May 2007 14:37
Too expensive in here: hiked London prices.
anonymous - 17 May 2007 15:02
Quite a hike on foot as I walked from Hampstead station - about twenty minutes in all. Nevertheless well worth it in the end: a large and convivial beer garden with outside heaters and the interior of the pub was splendid in its preservation of its period character. Apparently frequented by Dick Turpin it did feel a bit like highway robbery when the IPA alone was 3 but, otherwise, an enjoyable range of ales.
drewsy_uk - 17 Apr 2007 09:25
The pub is nice and full of history. It's great in the summer when the beer garden is open. However, the pub should by now be used to being busy in the evening and especially on weekends and one would expect that by now they are capable of coping with all the food orders. The bar staff is unfriendly and unhelpful and sometimes just rude. The food is excellent but for the prices they charge - one expects better service. It seems that the management think they can get away with it because simply they can as it will always be busy due to its location. It would however be nice if the staff would swipe their tables outside before service so customers don't have to eat off tables which are full of bird shit.
anonymous - 16 Apr 2007 11:18
Was at this rambling gem of a pub in the week and thought it was spectacular. Bags of atmosphere and superb range of beers. My Danish girlfriend said the Yule Fuel guest ale from the Spectrum microbrewery was the best beer she'd ever tasted in the UK and I began to make some headway into the excellent range of German and Belgian beers they have in bottles in the fridge. Wonderful to see Rauchbier on offer. Don't believe all the reviews you read about the service being crap. The bar staff were very friendly to us and the food above average. Beats off stiff competition to be the best pub in Hampstead in my view.
realalemadness - 20 Jan 2007 14:28
This place has everything, character, decent pint, friendly bar staff ... 10/10, thank god its not near a tube station to keep lazy tourists away
12many - 6 Jan 2007 15:05
What a great pub. Yes it can get a bit crazily hectic on a Sunday ... with service sometimes slower as a result... but that's what you get for being one of London's most beautiful and traditional pubs in the middle of a huge park.
Any other time and the location is great, the food (in my experience) very good - it imprived loads since the new management took over - and the beers are second to none; a great selection of ales well looked after.
One of London's best pubs.
mugwire - 17 Jul 2006 06:27
Highly recommended. A traditional pub of the sort one expects to find in the countryside, handy to visit after a stroll on the Heath. A dark woody interior with a long bar, a little snug and a very old looking room upstairs with a car park and a large garden out the back. No music or fruit machines which makes a pleasant change. There are old photos and pictures on the walls including a large old map of the area and dried hops over the bar and fireplace.
Interesting range of five cask ales I had a great pint of Marstons Old Empire - as well other interesting beers, my friend had Budvar dark a black lager!
The garden is quiet and secluded and currently all the flowers are blooming; we sat on a table with vines and lavender growing around it near the outside bar.
Friendly staff who work hard to serve the masses and top notch food - my lamb steak with a fresh salad was cooked to perfection and my friends fish and chips looked delicious.
Finally dogs seem welcome there were water bowls around and dog treats for sale behind the bar. May be next time I will bring my dog and try the dog wash in the carpark!

anonymous - 13 Jul 2006 17:12
The pub and beer garden are beautiful but if you want to experience the worst customer service ever then the Spaniards Inn is for you.

I went with some friends on a Sunday. We waited 20 minutes just to get served for a drink and over 40 minutes to get our food. When the food came my friend's girlfriend, who is 5 months pregnant, got given an undercooked burger. When we asked to see the manager, one of the waitresses just mumbled "He's inside" and wandered off.

It's such a shame because it's a beautiful pub that has been around for a long time. I can appreciate it gets very busy on a Sunday but at the very least the staff can behave professionally and not wander around with faces like the world is about to end and take customer's complaints seriously.
simonjc - 5 Jun 2006 12:05
It's Ok. Didn't get a please or thank you from Bar staff. AND, chef came into the loo when I was in there and didn't wash his hands after!
ddan - 1 May 2006 18:55
It's historic, interesting and laid-out beautifully: an ideal resting-place after a walk on the heath, or at Kenwood. The food is reasonable and I enjoyed the pint of prawns I had there earlier today (even if they were pricey and I had to ask for a bowl of water - which I would assume is a standard accompaniment! - and wait quite a while for it to arrive!).

The service is disappointing, unfortunately. Our table was filthy and clearly hadn't been cleared for a long time - the ice in the bucket left on the table had melted completely.

The Spaniard's Inn has the potential to be a fantastic pub, one of the best in London; it's a shame that it currently falls far short of this.
dawnage - 29 Apr 2006 20:52
"Very AVERAGE ale" that should've been. D'oh!
tim_eyles - 22 Apr 2006 21:41
You've GOT to come here for a pint after a walk on the Heath - quite frankly it's in the rules whether you like it or not. Very verage ale. Great beer garden on a sunny day. I've usually found the food to be pretty good. Had an excellent Bloody Mary here once too. Crossing the road outside is an entertaining though somewhat hazardous experience once you've had a few mind.
tim_eyles - 22 Apr 2006 21:40
Went to the other side of the tracks on Sunday for a nice walk and roast. The food was alright but not for a tenner. Not a patch on the Lock Tavern. Its a really nice old pub but it was the large majority of the people in there that spoiled it for me. Im going to be blunt, rich people dont know how to say sorry. Lots of ignorance towards the staff aswell, who just seemed used to it and took it and the table next to us brought in three dogs which is just lame. Only blind people and one old man with a flat cap should be allowed to take dogs to a pub.
meady - 30 Jan 2006 16:05
Right, there seems to be a lot of conflicting views on here. In my opinion the food is well above average in quality. Cheaper dishes seem to be over priced for what they are (i.e. pita and dips) while larger meals (such as the lasagna) are very cheap considering the portions. The selection of Beers and Ales isn't great but it has a decent Adnams Bitter along with over priced hoegarden. The interior is, as has been mentioned before, very dark with lots of nooks and crannies. Whether you perceive this as a positive or a negative I feel it lends very well to the overall atmosphere; on a weekday in winter it does feel very spooky and atmospheric. In the summer the garden is brilliant. Avoid being there in the afternoon, opting for a lunch or early dinner instead, to avoid the 4x4s and the annoying families. Late summer evenings under the heat lamps with all your mates can be brilliant. The younger bar staff aren't the greatest in the world but the more senior workers are friendly and fast. The only unavoidable negative elements of the Spaniards are some of the snotty clientele. Unavoidable are the sounds of menopausal women from Hampstead going on and on about their new 4x4, the price of a new skin cream or about the fact that their kids are doing "ever so well at their new private school, how are yours doing?"
Sm1 - 3 Dec 2005 15:30
Stood at the bar for 15 mins on Sunday, trying to get served, not even eye contact from any of the staff. Avoid!
deho - 17 Oct 2005 21:47
Tourist rip off. I had a real bummer of a meal here. Shocking so I decided to "borrow" the salt and pepper pots. Immature but made me feel better. Anyway, a dick who was letting his brattish little kid run all round the garden screaming his head off and spoiling everyones' meal noticed and told me to put it back. I told him very politely to bugger off.
Lyncroft - 22 Sep 2005 17:31
yeah well this pub's been around for so long the whole world must have heard of it. Great garden for the nice pro-longed Summer's day drink culminating in falling into the nearest hedge. As already said a great boozer to finish off a walk on the Heath. Could do with broadening the choice of beer and shooting some of the clientele. Recommend giving this a go anyway. I'm thinking of sneaking in there for last orders tonight.
AdamHarper - 6 Jun 2005 15:52
Very nice old pub with a great beer garden. Only trouble is the clientele. On a sunny day there is a pretty constant queue of Porsches waiting to get in the car park. And it's so well known that it is always rammed, so difficult to get a table for food, difficult to get served etc. A good pub, but don't even think about going on a sunny weekend. Go on a weekday instead if you can, after a walk on the Heath.
rah - 2 Jun 2005 15:43
Probably the best beer garden in London, it even has its own aviary. The interior is also interesting, dark, creaky and ancient. The beer tends to be pricey though and there's not a great deal of choice.
Hugh1971 - 25 Apr 2005 12:11
Nice interior, location and beer. I say do away with the car park so that the only people who can drink there are people out for a nice wander on the Heath not 4X4 owners with obnoxious voices..
anonymous - 18 Apr 2005 17:30
Unspoilt 400 year old pub with a massive garden. I saw a folk band one night and the place was rammed like a pub in Ireland. The best fish and chips in London along with a pint. Very cosy and has lots of atmosphere.
anonymous - 27 Nov 2004 23:57
Fantastic pub. Lovely atmosphere and good pub grub. Great place to go following a walk on the Heath on a cold day.
Lisa Adam - 7 Nov 2004 17:38
too many kids in the summer. Nice place to have a pint on cold winter day though after wandering on the heath with the missus!
David - 27 Sep 2004 11:24
Location is good and it can be lovely in summer but the prices for the (only so-so) food are obscene and for somewhere trading on it's history and authenticity the house ales aren't up to all that much...
Will C - 22 Sep 2004 11:28
I agree that the Spaniards is resting on its laurels. Nice interior, but the food I had here (Sunday lunch) was awful to the point of inedibility.
Grecian - 17 Aug 2004 12:13
Ate in here once. The food was so bad and expensive I nicked the pepper pot. GO ON POST IT.
anonymous - 13 Aug 2004 18:53
went here once in 1988 and it was aggressive and horrible. Even the arms on the chairs had tattoos...
David - 18 May 2004 01:50
Excellent food - huge portions and a great selection. Lots of atmosphere, good value for money, great location, unique with lots of character. Couldn't ask for more.
Michelle Heron - 3 May 2004 12:33
Massively over priced. Trades on its history and location.
anonymous - 23 Apr 2004 17:13
Visited on a Thursday evening - quite quiet and lacking in atmosphere. Having said that, the excellent garden must be heaving in the summer. Will give it another go when the weather improves.
Emma - 16 Apr 2004 14:14
Great Historic pub that they claim has been visited by all and sundry and many of whom apparently have hung around as ghosts. This doesn't surprise really as it has so little competition if you are walking on the Heath. Looks the same as my first visit about 15 years ago. Shame about the Sunday lunch it, we opted for toasted ciabatta and tarasmalata snacks instead but still needed a mortgage.
lout_from_the_lane - 3 Feb 2004 13:44
Great location and nice pints, but the Sunday lunch I had there was rank.
grecian - 29 Dec 2003 14:19
is this the pub once known as "Dirty Dick's " colloquially.If not where is it?
Brian Turner - brian_turner@accel.net - 5 Oct 2003 20:43
had a fantastic lunch in the garden at the weekend. good to find a place serving fresh fish and succulent lambshanks.
ollie powrie - 16 Jun 2003 13:15
lovely old pub we often go to for a drink after work. Fantastic (and genuine) atmosphere, very cozy with lots of nooks and crannies. A good choice of drink, especially beer - proper beer, although usually only one cider.
Jane Barnett - 30 May 2003 09:11
Lunch there on April 10th, 2003.
Weather was poor, and it was nice to find this place. Typical upper wooden room. Very efficient service, for a nice English lamb.
Very quiet at this time, good rest!
Gilles - 22 Apr 2003 19:10
supposedly Dick Turpin's father used to run this pub 2 hundred years ago. On the edge of Hampstead heath this pub is very atmospheric inside and has a great outdoor area too. 1 mile from Hampstead tube on northern line
Gareth Broom - 12 Nov 2002 13:27

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