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Montagu Pyke, Charing Cross Road

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user reviews of the Montagu Pyke, Charing Cross Road

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

Visited this pub yesterday for the first time for a while. First the good points... very central location, nicer than many other JDW pubs, prices are very reasonable for central London.

However... the beer is awful, to the point of undrinkable. My first pint of a guest ale was not good. I gave up trying to persevere with it after about an inch and returned it to the bar to swap it for a pint of Doom Bar. Unfortunately that was almost as unpleasant (and definitely not how it should taste) so that also went back. I sampled a further two ales before asking for my money back instead (which they did, without question) as none of them tasted good enough to be enjoyable. While I was there another customer returned a very dodgy looking glass of red wine too. None of the staff seemed to know anything about either real ale or wine. As well as this, the service was extremely slow, with one member of staff in particular moving at a snail's pace! I've previously had decent pints in this pub, but based on yesterday's experience, I would look for another venue for a pre-theatre pint next time.
Clarisinda - 16 Feb 2017 16:35
An upmarket spoons pub. Service was good and the range of ales was good. It was busy (Saturday night) but there was enough room and enough staff working. Definitely worth a visit if you like your ales and don't want to pay tourist / rip off prices.
d.franks - 20 Dec 2015 13:10
Even if you're desperate you should think twice before walking in. The service is horrendous, staff tend to ignore you if you happen to be of below average hight and/or with a not so great working vocal cords. Once all the other punters have either left or been polite enough to notice you, you may get an opportunity to order. However do not be surprised if the bill includes a drink or too you didn't get. Of course you can demand refund but the manager will say you got the drinks you paid for. If you demand to see the CCTV footage the manager will immediately call the bouncer and expel you from the bar, even if your food and drinks are still on your table. You have been warned....
pubemaster - 7 Feb 2015 01:48
As a visitor to the UK I quite like Wetherspoon's pubs, in a MacDonald's sort of way, because a menu in Penzance will be the same as in Newcastle, the price only varies slightly by postcode, and the beer range is wide. Above all they are great value for money. And clean. I have fed & watered myself in the Montagu Puke several times over the last 5 years and never had trouble finding a table (an issue when travelling solo). It does not seem to attract penny counting soaks, or screeching hen's parties, or bellowing sports fans, just wandering tourists & shoppers seeking sustenance.
Queenslander - 19 Aug 2014 23:10
It's been a while since I've been to this 'spoons. But on Saturday, I stayed a while, as I managed to find 3 of the 12 ciders I hadn't previous tried in their cider festival. The place is a very busy establishment with entrances at both ends. The Charing Cross Road end is the lower level and has the main bar. The other end has an "International Beers Bar". The ale range was Adnams Fat Sprat, Enraptured & Explorer, Brewsters Hop A Doodle Doo & Fullers London Pride. Ciders were Westons Cider Twist Raspbery, Mr Whiteheads Boxing Dog, Green Valley Doctor's Orders, Sheppys Farmhouse Cider, Hogans Panking Pole, Waddlegoose Lane Spadger, DJ's Tempted? Summer Sweet Cider & Healey's Cloudy Cornish Scrumpy. Not a bad place. Although the interior is bland and uninspiring.
blue_scrumpy - 27 Jul 2014 20:09
Crowded Wetherspoon's slum
mont62y - 28 Feb 2014 15:24
Quick bottle of cider yesterday on hot day.
Remember when this was the marquee.
Lots of hotties everywhere.
rainbowian - 30 Jun 2013 12:44
First visit in ages last night and was rammed as it was showing the England v France Six Nations game. TVs everywhere including a massive screen hanging down for the punters upstairs.
Two bars, and the second, at the steps towards the back of the pub, doesn't serve real ale.
Pricier than your average Spoons, with a guest beer over £3 a pint. Guess you can't complain compared to your average central London boozer price, though.
Had two or three interesting beers on, the best from Saltaire.
Bar staff, who seemed good, were happy to offer tasters.
Like the music posters and memorabilia around the place too.
Would go back if I were in the area.
duchyjim - 24 Feb 2013 17:42
Timely visit to the Montagu Pyke with two young Parisians on 30/12/11. Absolutely staggering halves of Ruddles were enjoyed by us all. Pub was buzzing with lively conversation and friendly people. Marvellous!
Newton_Lad - 2 Jan 2012 23:45
my first visit to monague pyke was enjoyable leading to the 2nd visit on my birthday. on the 2nd visit the bar person who was taking our meal order could not understand our order or speak english. why would they employ someone who cannot communicate effectively with the customers & provide a good speedy standard of service? I ordered a well done sirloin steak which arrived not well done but burnt, the meat was actually black. when asked how my meal was I answered not very good but again the guy could not understand me. thus my birthday meal was ruined & will not be going back. surely customer service should be a priority?
akblue - 29 Nov 2011 10:30
OK, but poor selection of real ales for JDW. Only 3 on. I had London Pride, which was actually a decent pint. There are much better Wetherspoons in the West End to spend your CAMRA vouchers in.
twohalves - 14 Nov 2011 19:11
Place has gone downhill since I was last here. One bank of handpumps serving standard Spoons beers. Good for watching football.
GuideDogSaint - 27 Aug 2010 18:31
There today, 4 kegs on display bside the bar. Great beer at £2.30 a pint in the West End. Can't knock it!
andyross - 13 Apr 2010 21:11
Wed 28th October lunchtime Sadly it was a dissappoinment. No Real Ales available for the festival, which has been promoted for the last month. Had 2 pints. The Marston Pedigree was served too cold. This was not a accident as on most occasions i have sampled the Ale it has been served chilled.
MadDog62 - 29 Oct 2009 12:40
The ale is cheap and its an ok space....par for the course.
UrbanGenieThing - 16 Oct 2009 15:56
Saw Monty Pythons Life of Brian in there when it was a cinema, and a few Heavy Metal bands when it was the Marquee club back in the early 80's.

I can only say that the atmosphere back then was far better than it is in there now! There was empty glasses and finished meal dishes on a lot of empty tables, and I ended up taking the empties from my table and getting a cloth from the bar staff to clean it after ordering my pint.

BillyBhoy1888 - 22 Sep 2009 21:36
It is what it is a spoons... but look beyond this fact and you have a great space for a quick meal and cheap drink. Great staff most of the time and pretty clean unless other locals don't treat it like a dumpin ground. shame about the colour and the lack of any real live entertainment which would improve the venue no end and give the place a bit more life as its a stones throw from tin pan alley and the once proud now rubble Astoria.
rotton_milk - 19 Sep 2009 21:41
Normally a solid if unspectacular pub, that is often a port of call for myself and my companions when we venture into the West End, but sad to report that on yesterday's visit, standards appear to have slipped a little. Prices are still cheap, although not as cheap in comparison as they once were. Service was a little slow considering the place was a quarter full at best. A lot of debris from meals and empty glasses and bottles were still littering most of the tables for the entire time we stayed there. Drinks were actually fine, so at least that was nice. The main problems were to do with the environment and atmosphere, on an overccast and cool Sunday afternoon they saw fit to have some kind of cooling system on making the temperature in some parts of the bar almost Arctic, and decided to play some of the most soporific music known to man (Simply Red, Sadť, Eric Clapton Unplugged) at a volume that was slightly too loud to be talked over comfortably. Net result was a bunch of people staring at their drinks mournfully and little conversation happening throughout the bar, the background hum of which is normally an essential ingredient in making this place seem more like a pub and less like a museum.
Probably just an off day (at least I hope so), but a very dissapointing performance from a normally reliable pub.
Mr.Monkfish - 31 Aug 2009 13:13
Seems to me that people who hate Wetherspoons still seem to visit them with alarming regularity! This is a good sturdy pub that does exactly what it says on the tin. I've always found the staff friendly and fast, even at the weekends, and its a good place to start if you are having a night out as the prices won't cripple you (even if the hike to the toilets does).
Sohoboho2 - 15 Aug 2009 17:22
Popped in here to escape the rain. It's amazing that wherever you are, whenever you enter a Wetherspoons you know what you've going to get - and it's not good.

As usual,the real ale was served far to cold and despite being buusy the place lacked any kind of atmosphere. I suppose a plus is the clientele had a little more decorum than some Wetherspoons I have visited.
nmckenn - 7 Jul 2009 20:46
Was in here on a Thrusday night. Not overly busy but far from empty. Not your average looking pub and the main room is very spacious. Also has a pretty decent bar at the back. That said the staff arenít the happiest people youíll ever meet and the toilets could have been cleaner! Canít say Iíd make this a regular haunt but itís decent enough.
telephones_and_toliets - 1 Jun 2009 12:32
Very busy on a saturday night, with a great atmosphere, but felt it was slightly understaffed as it took 20 mins to find my way to the front of the bar and get served.
A lot quieter during the day, almost too quiet. Apart from an alarm which goes off every five minutes!
Best to go when it's busy, but not too busy!
drinkdrinkdrink - 7 Jan 2009 03:02
Originally a cinema (I recall seeing a dodgy late night screening of Last Tango in Paris here many years ago), it was subsequently better known as the home to the Marquee Club where I saw many a good band over the 6 or 7 years it was functioning. ĎSpoons pretty much shelled the building when it took over and, as is frequently pointed out below, it does have a bit of a cavernous feel to it. The initial seating in what was the old foyer drops down to the main bar which is in the body of the old auditorium and whilst there are plenty of seats and tables plus a few snugs along one side, they fill up sharpish so get there early if you intend to stay for any length of time. The seating upstairs in the small balcony is minimal but if you venture to the rear, there is a second smaller but reasonably stocked bar and a corridor of 2 seater tables that often get overlooked. . The high ceiling enables it to have what is claimed to be the largest drop down screen in London and on big match occasions you will need to queue to get through the front doors.There are plenty of snippets on the walls detailing its musical heritage although most of the music and artists mentioned relate more to the previous Marquee in Wardour Street and have little connection with the current building. Because of my many previous fond memories, I have a kind of attachment to the place that most of the current punters and that tends to steer my opinion to being more positive than it may otherwise be. That said, anyone entering would pretty much know what to expect from the chain although, for me, it does have a bit more life and spirit than some of the other Central London ĎSpoons.
RogerB - 1 Dec 2008 15:23
Its a weatherspoons its cheap great place for a pint of Kronenberg if your up london
mcdrinky_drink - 20 Nov 2008 20:55
OK for a quiet pint if you manage to get a seat upstairs, otherwise it tends to be a bit chaotic. Normal beer and food of the chain.
BobOs - 28 Aug 2008 14:04
Other reviews are very accurate. It's possibly too big, as in height, for a consistently good atmosphere, and when there's not a lot of people in during the day it can be too quiet. However, it does get packed particularly when there's a popular football game on or on Friday/Saturday night so the space is normally needed. Prices and choice of draught and drinks is excellent, so as others have said it's great to meet friends but then maybe go somewhere else.

I meet friends there every couple of weeks after work midweek, and it's normally just the right level of busy-ness. The staff are normally friendly, and the booths on the right (coming in through the main door) are great for a slightly more 'pubby' feel.

Cheesy house music on the Saturday night though... sometimes (but not always) played too loud.
JimbobJoylove - 27 Nov 2007 13:33
Given its former life, this place is always going to be a cavern. It used to be a rather soul-less Wetherspoons, now it's a rather soul-less Lloyds No. 1. Nothing musch seems to have changed, but I recommend looking for seats in the small upstairs area if you want to hear what your companions are saying.
rpadam - 26 Jul 2007 22:29
Sunday afternoon, biggest screen in town for the footy, roast dinner, overseas bottled beers. YES, YES, YES, YES, YES! Life is rarely this good.
hitmanstud - 24 Jul 2007 12:16
Been here a few Dinner times with work mates and for leaving doo's. This once Theatre/Cinema/Punk Dance Hall is now a Boozer without character. As has been said before OK for a Cheap beer and as a meeting place but the High Ceilings make it impossible to hold down a sensible conversation when busy. Food OK for what you pay but plenty of other Boozers around offering better value for money.
Bitter_Man - 22 Jun 2007 17:57
Bland, dull, but very cheap, The Montague Pike isnít any different to any other Lloyds No. 1 in most ways, though this one is absolutely huge. I paid a visit last Thursday evening (14th June) and was a little knocked back by the sheer size. If you donít like these places, then here most certainly wonít alter your opinion, yet for those who donít mind them, youíll find here to be a little better than the usual town centre branches. There isnít a lot else to say really. Itís a Lloyds No. 1 after all. Oh, there is something like 15 different draught lagers available on tap.
HTM69 - 17 Jun 2007 14:29
Perfect for meeting up with a few friends for a beer before a gig at the Astoria or the Mean Fiddler, but not the sort of place you'd want to spend hours in.

Good prices for London, very clean, good toilets, staff fine. Main problems are it lacks atmosphere because it's so cavenous, and is too full to enjoy when there's a match on on Saturdays.
Fenriz - 11 Jan 2007 13:11
went in here a while back on a crawl around the city , didnt really rate it much , typical llyods fare just a bit more pricey than out of town llyods , had one pint then left not our sort of place with the people that were in
romfordir - 15 Dec 2006 11:45
This place - from both front and back - looks like Hell on Earth. Godawful. Noticed that they were charging an entry fee during the world cup, the miserable bustards. No, I haven't been in - but this place has spoiled my life just by featuring on my walk to work.
iceinthecider - 16 Oct 2006 17:46
baffling to me why anyone would want to drink in this raucous barn, apart from reasonable (for the west end) prices and a useful loo upstairs if you're in the charing cross road area.
mozzzzzz - 6 Oct 2006 17:54
Ermm.... the only people who'll like this place are your standard "Lloyds No.1" clientele.

If, on the other hand, you're gifted with a sense of taste and decency, you're well catered for at other establishments in the near vicinity.
steve5312 - 14 Sep 2006 17:43
Last time I went here it was still called Moon Under Water. Think that was 7 years ago.
edrok666 - 26 Jun 2006 20:06
Im a fan of Lloyds, biggest screen in London for the football. Its typical Lloyds stuff, you get what you expect - cheap drinks, young crowd, average cheap food
casual66 - 27 May 2006 16:05
Appalling. No other word can sum up the naffness of this place and mentality needed to enter.
anonymous - 9 May 2006 17:19
laughably rubbish.
Albert_Campion - 9 Jan 2006 11:47
Ooops....have just been told (via email) to add that apparently for the last few weeks (i've not been there) that some of the new staff, mainly the bouncers, have been very very rude to my friends! Because of this I have lowered my rating hmmm!
princesshayley23 - 11 Nov 2005 15:51
I visited this pub every friday for 10 weeks! FOr 9 of those we reserved a seating area as there was a large group of us. This is strongly recommended if there are lots of you going at a weekend as it does get VERY busy.
We've only had a few problems with reserving our area (mainly the staff forgetting) but they always sort it out as quickly as possible.
Food and drink is very reasonably priced for London and most of the staff are great, especially Roberto and Aussie Chris.
The fact that they provide a waiter/waitress service to get you drinks is a huge bonus as it means you never have to queue at the bar.
The music is a lot louder at the back of the pub so if you want a quiet drink then try and stay near the front.
The only downside for me is that the toilets are so far away. Who wants to be trying to get up two flights of stairs when they've had a few? Lol!
As for all the comments on the decor.....i've never taken much notice as i'm too busy having fun and chatting to my Lovely friends!

P.S. Hello proudcitizen.....see you on 10th December!
princesshayley23 - 11 Nov 2005 15:49
this pub is loads of fun...quite big wiv two bars....two lovely swedish i could talk to in norwegian!! and a funny aussy we call skippy steve! lol

been there a few mates go every friday...if u go and ask for "a lovely citizen" ull find them! as I live in norway I cant go often, but will when I move over next year!

if somethings a bit bad...its the ,music from time to time...
proudcitizen - 25 Oct 2005 17:24
More like a dungeon than a pub. Depressing.
nrj746 - 10 Oct 2005 16:36
Lloyds No. 1 - like a cinema bar. Limited casks and those on offer are the usual suspects - no small breweries. But, for those that like night clubs rather than pubs this is cool and snazzy. Not my thing.
SilkTork - 8 Oct 2005 20:41
Currently in the worst of the three incarnations of watering hole I have been to on this site, The Marquee had the benefit of live music and the original "standard" Wetherspoon's The Moon Under Water was cheaper and had a different and vastly superior atmosphere.
That said this is a case of could do better rather than being a completely lost cause. Still cheaper than many bars in the West End. Bar staff change so frequently that the level of service is predictably variable, but drinks are normally well looked after and there is always a vast array of choices on offer. Seating is comfortable if you can get a seat! Food no longer good value and the menu is a little too pretentious for a mass-produced pre-packaged food warmed up in a microwave style chain pub. Bland Top40 Music has added nothing to the benefit of the atmosphere and has detracted from the background buzz of people talking which was one of the better features of the pub when it was The Moon. Back bar is the best place to settle in for a few drinks and the big screen in the main area used for the football is absolutely huge which helps create an atmosphere on match days that is sadly lacking when a match isn't in progress. You could do worse, but there are better locations to spend the night within easy walking distance.
Mr.Monkfish - 23 Sep 2005 16:22
Oh! Forgot to mention.

If you absolutely must find somewhere cheap to drink in that area - definitely go to The Moon & Sixpence.

My friend and I tried to find another Wetherspoons in the area (the one in Leicester Square was better but not great) and the M&S is best.

Any other suggestions for cheap drinks in Soho are always useful though????

cherrypop - 1 Jun 2005 15:44
Horrible horrible horrible. Avoid at all costs.
Used to meet friends in here when it was Moon Under Water and just about survived it.
Went in again on Monday and ...slowly felt my soul sucked away...
Bar staff extremely rude and incompetent. Mind you, as my companion pointed out, I'd be too if I had to work there.
Can anyone tell me if they've always had the skylights covered? God knows why they did that!
Was severly depressed by the time I staggered into the daylight.
Drinks aren't even that cheap!! Nor is the food. And the crowds are abysmal.

Cannot warn people enough. Do not go to this pub.
cherrypop - 1 Jun 2005 15:42
Quality Central London pub to watch a good game of Football in ~ can anyone else suggest a bigger big-screen in the West End...?
jimgoodrich - 10 Dec 2004 23:15
This place has all the intimacy of a cinema bar, but with no film to look forward to.
Pippa - 9 Sep 2004 09:24
I find it somewhat depressing that bar staff are getting so young now that they use 'text speak' as common parlance, although I see why this would be necessary in a Weatherspoons. Will our receipts now come with little emoticons at the bottom?
Paul - 16 Aug 2004 12:54
well i personally think that everyone's comments are way offline;it's beautiful..and classy, and if u have such rude aggresive comments..ez..dont come,we don't need your comments. Il be working their very soon, so um keep negative comments to urself, the company doesnt need it. Chao Chao
Nay - 16 Aug 2004 02:22
Often used to meet up with people here when it was the Moon Under Water - unfortunately its new incarnation doesn't appeal. I agree with the previous comment, it looks cheap and cheesey with shiny furniture and strange lighting effects.
Edward - 13 Aug 2004 14:27
If the coach and horses is a silkshirt then this pub is surely a bad shellsuit.Seriously I know it is essentially a weatherspoons that has been sprused up and now has background music but im afraid it doesnt work,it is cheesy,cheap looking and would not look out of place in the teletubbies program,but for some reason seems to get crowded!?
Nick Hamer - 18 Jun 2004 18:53
In its incarnation as the Moon Under Water it was convenient for meeting somewhere easy to find in central London (especially for people unfamiliar with London). Beer average. Atmosphere okay. Nothing to write home about. Someone post about what it's like now!
A Larter - 8 Jun 2004 13:44
At the end of the night the door staff turn into right rude c*#!$ no doubt about it. If they could chuck you out at 10:30 on a saturday without getting lynched i suspect they would try it!

certainly i have been a few times and their attitude really sours the evening, I don't CARE if they have nightclub jobs to go to, drink up time IS drink up time and does not end till 11:20 Get arsy at 11:21 by all means, at 11:05, take your attitude elsewhere.
jon-paul - 11 May 2004 13:48
Visited it lots as a student because it's the cheapest in the area, but there really is absolutely nothing special to say about this pub unfortunately.
Nick - 11 May 2004 10:44
Unbelievably crowded. Full of drunken halfwits trying to sound like football fans. Pints are served short. The bar staff are blatantly rude foreign exchange student types. Avoid like the plague.
anonymous - 4 Jan 2004 20:38
I call Weatherspoons pubs 'McPubs' because they provide refreshment without enjoyment. This is a prime example. It's not a criticism - Just an observation.
Gordon - 18 Dec 2003 03:35
Looks like some vast airport depature lounge. Good place to get a cheap drink after a knackering protest march through central London. That it's become a tradition reflects pretty badly on our present Government. Sorry, couldn't resist.
Joe - 2 Dec 2003 17:02
More of a trendy feel than most Wetherspoons. Service was good last night and you cannot grumble about paying £1.89 for a pint of Butcombe Gold, a rarely seen beer from Somerset. Often difficult to find somewhere to sit or stand. I can also recommend the bottled Kozel Lager from Czech Republic.
Simonf - 13 Nov 2003 12:35
Usually unbelievably packed. Unless you arrive when they open you can forget about getting a seat. Getting served takes forever. Toilets are half a mile walk. Forget it!
Chris - 24 Oct 2003 13:05
when its quiet its fine when its crowded forget it, like sharing a phone box with 10 others, as with most Wetherspoons despite championing real ale its pretty hit and miss in this place is no exception.
Steve - 5 Oct 2003 13:31
Can someone - anyone - please explain to me why people visit the Moon under Water? Does this one place prove that by selling beer, people will come in droves and you will be rich? It is large, high ceiling, strangely not stamped with the 'traditional' Wetherspoons look and completely sums up in one aircraft hanger of a dump all that others suspect about Londoners. Noisy, crowded and full of wannabe media types. Good only as a meeting point. Then leave.
Ruby - 14 Jul 2003 14:52
Agree about the atmosphere, disagree with 'cheap watered down beer'. Weatherspoons always sells really good beer at reasonable prices. Food is OK and not expensive either.

Ian - 3 Jun 2003 23:32
No atmosphere - full of people with no imagination. They destroyed the Marquee for this?!
Darryl - 27 Apr 2003 23:18
Is one of the largest pubs in central London so you can nearly always get seats and don't have to spend half the evening queueing at the bar!
Charlie - 24 Apr 2003 19:32
yeah i have to agree with the no atmos point
anonymous - 10 Apr 2003 16:38
yeah, cute mock nouveau style decoe which is OK, but otherwise its a dump with no atmosphere.
shelfman - 4 Apr 2003 11:41
Used to be the Marquee Club
Now its a weatherspoons (so a big open space that sells cheap watered down beer). no music full of tramps and unhelpfull staff typical weatherspoons.
arturo morales - 1 Apr 2003 09:34
the supermarket of pubs. i'll let you decide whether or not that is a good thing.
james wild - 13 Mar 2003 19:19
this pub is great, couple members of the staff are cute :D and its a nice pin, calm place where you can get your thoughts together
jody - 20 Jan 2003 19:58
This is the sight of the old Marquee club which hosted 100s of very famous acts over the years. Now it is a souless large bar with no atmosphere. AVOID!

Pubcritic - 5 Sep 2002 10:29
It is really rubbish.
Looks bad. No atmosphere. Too big. Horrible.
Bring back the Marquee!
anonymous - 5 Sep 2002 10:26
You've got to give it a few points for novelty value, if nothing else. Not suprisingly, this style of 'Spoons has not caught on...
Paul - 15 Jul 2002 10:11
This pub has to be one of the worst in the moon series. How can anyone get some interior design so horribly wrong! A throwback from 80's style mixed with the worst of cross channel ferry and a dodgy cruise liner. As for atmosphere.. forget it. If you like wetherspoons pubs there are much better than this hugs monstrosity.
Only plus point is that its cheap!
angelman - 28 Jun 2002 18:10

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