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White Bear, Fickleshole

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user reviews of the White Bear, Fickleshole

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

Nicely situated in the hamlet of Fickleshole, only a few miles from New Addington yet feeling very rural, the White Bear is an attractive old building, perhaps originally a row of cottages but then combined into one. It says on the outside wall of the pub that it dates from the sixteenth century. On our visit on Sunday, 11th September, we scanned the bar for hand-pumps. There were three, but it was initially alarming that none appeared to be in use (no clips on them). Then we spotted the four gravity-dispense casks nearby. Panic over, we went for the Pilgrim's Fickleshole and it was very good. I was concerned that the cask not being sited in the cellar might mean that the beer was lukewarm, but it was pleasantly cool. Two pints, plus a half pint of orange juice came to £9.90, which I thought rather expensive, but nevertheless a decent pint and a pub I'd be happy to visit again.
beermann - 12 Sep 2016 13:08
I think I had close to the best fillet steak I've ever had in this pub the other day... It's definitely the best fillet steak I've ever had in a pub in England. The beer was pretty good, too.

And my companion had the steak and kidney pudding... she couldn't finish it because it was too big. I finished it. That was the best steak and kidney pudding I've ever had...

The Ringwood 49er was pretty good, too :-)

The building has some character - it's clearly been extended over some centuries. I sat in a snug which was once the entry door and was surrounded by interesting stained glass panels.

I'll be going back to try some more of the food...
QuinnF - 17 Feb 2016 20:46
This is one of my watering holes when returning from a cycle ride into Surrey. I've always found beer well kept and there is always a good choice. Although very much geared up for food, I've never been made to feel unwelcome as just a drinker. Staff were willing to find seats inside for three people on a cold Mother's Day when many tables were booked. "You can sit there for an hour or so but must be prepared to move when booked party arrive". I've no problem with that, anyway before the party came another table became vacant and we moved and spent another hour or so and another £12. Lots of other pubs with pretentions to being restaurants should take note.
paulfitzs - 3 Apr 2015 10:31
The wife and I have been coming here for at least 6 years now, but not for the last few months. It would seem that although it is run very efficiently and competently by Nicole, the two owners have gotten progressively greedier as the years have crept by. The prices now are ridiculous. The food is still quite tasty, but basic, uninspiring and old fashioned and as a result, not worth it. You'd pay the same at a decent restaurant. Beer? At least £3.90 a pint. Large glass of wine? You're looking at nearly £9.00! This place has become a victim of its own success and I'd like to believe they've hiked up the prices to deter the chavs from nearby New Addington. I'm more inclined to think the owners are just greedy. Sort this beautiful pub out now before you ruin it!
Cakenhoff - 2 Apr 2013 17:22
Popular pub with helpful and friendly staff. Good food and a well chosen selection of real ales. Fickleshole Bitter excellent, clean tasting pint with restrained hop character..lowish strength so perfect for drivers.
Insearchofthebestpint - 13 Mar 2013 21:48
Lovely old fashioned pub right in the middle of nowhere, although not far from South London. Our sat nav tried hard to take us down a gated public byway but we eventually found it! Obviously popular, I went to recce this prior to taking a large group of hungry cyclists in next month for Sunday lunch. The lady I spoke to did not normally take bookings of that size as the pub is apparently always packed on a Sunday. I can well believe it. However, she was very helpful and after some discussion we came to a good agreement. We then had a lunch, which was piping hot, tasty and plentiful. I can't wait for the cycle ride in February!
degodier - 27 Jan 2012 11:39
Huge pub with loads of room and an even bigger garden. Even so, seemed to be filling up pretty quickly. Pigrim Surrey ale, Pedigree, Harveys, Brakespears and Ringwood 49-er on. 49-er was excellent. Food good with pretty big portions, even the sandwiches are a full meal in themselves.
alan_From_SAWW - 29 Oct 2011 15:53
Our favourite place for lunch , if a bit on the pricy side. Lovely setting for a good old fashioned boozer. It's just a shame that you can't get there by public transport as I've never had an alcoholic drink in there!
bionicdog - 25 Sep 2011 14:35
Front garden is a lovely spot for a pint. Impressed they serve Brakspears too. The food was on the weak side though.
floating.goat - 20 Aug 2011 22:28
The White Bear is a lovely "country pub" with a nice garden, the pub is very popular and booking is recommended at the weekend. I have been lots of times and never been dissapointed with the food or service. Generous portions and an extensive menu, they also have variety of sandwiches. Only downside is that in the summer sandwiches have to be ordered outside in the garden where they have a separate kitchen. Think this is obviously weather dependant though.
LMKI - 2 Sep 2010 22:13
Feeling Cockerhoop after drinking it here
supaken - 2 May 2010 20:43
Went there for Sunday lunch today. Beer was pretty good service was average as the waitress bought over the food and then the sauces and then had to go off to find us cutlery while the food was getting cold but the food was poor very poor. The roast I had was the standard of a tv dinner with over cooked chewy beef, rehydrated mash and roast potatoes straight from a packet. I expected more of this place as it is firstly a resturant and a pub second we only had the one course and went to the Blacksmith's arms in Cudham for dessert and more beer. Shall not be returning.
gingerob - 3 Jan 2010 16:31
I like the Bear. Food's good, ambience is excellent, beer/wine has always been spot on. Exactly the sort of country pub you want and it's not that far away.
crazyk - 6 Nov 2009 16:41
Waited 80 minutes for my food to arrive, despite preordering. After 75, a waitress arrived to confirm my order; 5 minutes later she brought out the wrong order. Fed up waiting, I accepted it but when it came to paying, I politely asked another member of staff what could be done to make amends for the service. Rather than sympathising, her words were "Oh, come on!". Was left speechless and shan't be returning.
djmoore - 18 Aug 2009 15:02
We often visit The White Bear when we have friends come down from London. They love the idea of being out in the country.

The White Bear offers great food and service and they often have amazing dishes on the specials board (try the Wild Boar Steak it's to die for)
Their real ales are very well kept, or so my boyfiend tells me even though I am always keen for a glass of Pimms which they have on tap.

I would recommend this pub to anyone who's looking for a place with great food, outstanding service and a beautiful large garden to enjoy this very British summer.

joubba - 7 Aug 2009 14:21
Recently visited on a Sunday evening after reading the reviews here & wasn't disappointed! Nice olde worlde pub out in the country with very helpful staff with good food & nice Merlot. Have also joined dining club & will definitely try to visit again soon.
mikey393 - 14 Dec 2008 18:37
Cycled up there one Summer's day, lovely food, lovely beer, lovely bear.
TonyHarrison - 14 Nov 2008 23:29
Just got back from fantastic holiday in Bali and needed some English Traditional food and half decent bottle of red wine. The White Bear did not disappoint other than having just run out of Steak & Kidney puds (exactly whats needed for typical Bank Holiday cold night). Had to have liver/bacon instead, and the Woolmarroo red wine was great. Some decent beers as well, but could not mix grain/grape. Have joined dining club, but it did not apply to bank holidays (what a surprise), and forgot to ask whether it applies to having a few pints only. Still, its a great pub with terrific atmosphere, hence high rating below.

supaken - 25 Aug 2008 21:54
I have visited the White Bear on a number of occasions and have always found the service to be excellent.

The menu is extensive and should suit everyones palate. The selection of Real Ale and wines is also impressive.

I shall be returning in the near future as I am now member of their 'Dining Club' which has good (monetary) benefits.

sussex_aler - 9 Jul 2008 11:56
I have been here a few times and only yesterday at lunch did I finally realise what bugs me about this place. There is a persistent attitude from management down to bar staff that the customers get in the way of them doing their job.

Even a simple request for mushrooms in a meal to be replaced by chips was met with a sharp "that's not how it works" and not even a suggestion of maybe ordering a side of chips instead. This was before the friday lunch rush when there was maybe 5 people in the whole place.

The menu wasn't exciting at all and the portion control was appalling. 2 identical steak meals ordered and one piece of steak was at least double the size of the other.

There are far better pubs just minutes away, one of which , The Harrow, seems to employ just about every high school student for miles as restaurant staff, the service is impeccable and food sublime, go look for it instead.

How the White Bear is constantly busy will be a mystery for the ages.
GuRoo - 19 Apr 2008 08:17
My dad use to work here 1977-1991?I put a ? as i have not seen my real dad since 1982,anyway i use to work there as a 10 year old collecting the empty glasses in 1980 and im sure people remeber me for this.I use to take keith the pubs owners dogs for a walk(Kelly-the great Dane and LITTLE Jake,although Kelly use to walk me!I remember hereing a story about a young called Sarah being bricked up in the Centre fire place and the ghost being there.It always feels a little cold around the fire even when the fire is burning??.I use to sleep over with the owners step so n and we use to go on holidays together in Looe in Cornwall.It use to have a great family feel to the place and we use to have bbq`s and theme party`s at Halloween and at Xmas.The people of New Addington(Police included use to drink after hours)had a great time , good beer, good larger(FORSTER`S WAS NEW THEN)and everybody use to love there,a great community spirit.If there is anybody out there who remembers me maybe leave me a note and we could meet up for old times sake? Cheers from JOHN WOOD(AKA TUCKER)X
woody399 - 4 Apr 2008 00:41
Found this pub on a search to meet up with friends from Reading we were coming from Essex and to celebrate a 60th Birthday.
Great food plenty of it and good atmosphere. Lovely log fires everywhere. Will return if ever in the area again
chickens - 9 Mar 2008 21:48
A very "reserved" posting by original rawnsleys there.

Well tucked away... does very good food with an impressive menu.
Not so sure how this functions as a pub as it comes over as more of a restaurant and that seems to be its priority.
However, decent enough range of beers at the bar.

Worth a re-visit.

Strange how you can drive a few minutes out of London and come to somewhere like this.
terenced - 11 Sep 2007 10:16
I came here about 8 years ago for a friends birthday, and was keen to find it again for memory value. Seems almost totally different from what I remember

Seems more of a restaurant feel than a pub venue. Seems cosy, nicely done up, with decent enough food on the menu, though haven't tried it yet

Ill 'reserve' judgement for my next planned visit, as will return
the_original_rawnsleys - 11 Sep 2007 10:03
This has to be the hardest to find pub in the country. It is down an unmarked country lane. It is definatley worth the search though. So cosy inside with candelight, large inglenook fireplaces, beams and low ceilings. Staff were friendly. The food was good too. Harveys in good condition, if a little too chilled. Although I'm not a fan of those long thin lager pint glasses. Overall very good.
nicgooner - 23 Aug 2007 09:49
Haven't visited this pub for a long time. plenty of Chavs plus Chav dogs in the garden area. As we walked through the door of the pub a 40 year old woman burped quite loudly whilst sitting eating at her table (with two other nice "lady" friends), another young lady was eating with her knife pointing in the air! I feel this pub is possibly a bit too close to New Addington for comfort, but I am still prepared to reserve my opinion and wait for a second visit, possibly in another 10 years time.
anonymous - 2 Jul 2007 10:02
Great Pub. Very nice selection of food which is top notch and very tasty. Always busy and is definately a place to visit on a sunny afternoon. Massive beer garden. I had a very nice pint of London Pride and I enjoyed it very much. This is very unusual as I don't usually drink bitter. Very nice pub and definately worth a visit.
h.bomb - 9 Apr 2007 14:21
This is one pub in a 100 mile radius that is superb. It has a fantastic atmosphere, the food is outstanding, and the pub is kept to a very high standard. The owners Den and Diane are lovely and make their customers feel very welcome. I would strongly recommend anyone to visit this pub to saviour the food, the atmosphere and the uniqueness of such a lovely pub. 10 out of 10 without hesitation. GO THERE!
anonymous - 19 Mar 2007 03:56
Visited the White Bear recently for an evening meal on a Sunday - a country pub not far from the town, log fires, candlelit tables, excellent food with a wide range of specials (including sea bass and venison steak) that you don't normally see in a pub, friendly and accommodating staff. Definitely well worth a visit, summer or winter.
sammy77 - 12 Mar 2007 14:00
On trying to find a decent venue to meet up with friends last night we were recommended to visit The White Bear.

When we arrived it was very busy but the friendly staff managed to find us a table close to a roaring log fire. The food was very good and served with perfectly cooked, fresh vegetables, (soggy vegetables are my pet hate) and my Sea Bass was excellent. There was a good selection of wine to choose from and the boys were more than happy with the beer on offer.

We would certainly visit The White Bear again, it is a lovely old pub in a nice setting with no loud music to drown your conversation, candlelit tables, log fires and great food and drink, what more could anyone want.
jinny - 10 Mar 2007 12:36
having just taken my girlfriend for a early dinner at the white bear, i was impressed with how busy it was for an early dinner time - made for a great atmosphere.
Being so busy made little diffence to the service and speed in which we recieved our meal, both of which were excellent.
we will both be returning with friends and have even booked for mothering sunday.

naked - 8 Mar 2007 20:44
went to the white bear for lunch today, and had a lovely meal and enjoyed the chance to sit outside as the weather was great.
The waiters were so accomdating with the amount of people enjoying the rare bit of sunshine and tended to our every need.
i look forward to more great weather and a chance to go back and visit again as i think its such a fantastic pub and excellent value for money.
joubba - 8 Mar 2007 20:29
If you were teleported in you'd think you'd arrived at a remote hilltop pub. In fact the famous New Addington estate is but a few hundred yards away, and dealing with one of the greatest concentrations of chavs in south east England has always proved problematic for the White Bear. However it has put its grim reputation as a haven for bank robbers behind it and is doing pretty well.

Although too restauranty for my tastes - I can understand why given the area - there's a good beer selection: Westerham, Shere Drop, Harveys all in good condition, but not much room for the drinker with so much space given over for dining.

Food is at the sous vide Vintage Inn end of the market, though I don't think this is a VI. "Hunter's Chicken" is a big give away. I suspect Brake Bros. Anyway Croydonians who like to take their gran out in the Mondeo for Sunday lunch will be in heaven.

Anyway well worth seeking out for the beer alone, a nice destination for a sunny afternoon.

nickdavies - 4 Mar 2007 00:41
Just ate at The White Bear and had a really great meal. It was good to have fresh homemade food served by friendly and efficient staff. Luckily we arrived early and got a table but it did get very busy, so next time we will ring and resrve one. A great traditional country pub with beams and candles, well worth a visit.

anonymous - 3 Sep 2006 22:05
i really enjoy going to the white bear, the service is great, evertone is super polite. the food is tasty and homemade. although it does get busy especially in the warmer weather and food takes longer this is to be expected what with the amount of people visiting. It's always worth the wait. The white bear has become my favourtie Pub, and even though the beer is a bit more pricey than croyden at least you know there won't be any trouble and the people there are far nicer.

joubba - 2 Aug 2006 12:10
I've been to this pub a few times and have always had a really good time. It's better when the weather's warm so you can sit outside but that's not to say it's not nice inside. There's a great selection of food which is tasty and served in generous portions and the wine selection is very good. The only criticism is that the soft drinks are served in ridiculously small glasses which makes them quite expensive for what you get. But on the whole the White Bear is definitely worth a visit.
lovelylady - 27 Jun 2006 16:52
In there few months back. Its true - getting a seat is tricky. The 'locals' seem rather keen on keeping the seating to themselves.

Low beams in places (could be a problem if a bit tipsy) - but a nice interior. Service average - beer was fine.

Sort of place you might stop at for one or two - can imagine it gets packed in the summer though.
FattusBlokus - 14 Feb 2006 16:28
An old terrace of farm workers cottages now houses an attractive and very busy pub. Beamed ceilings, stone floors and open fireplaces set the scene. Well kept London Pride. Plenty of outside seating. Quite good food menu but food service can be very slow.
Mark - 16 Oct 2004 15:29

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