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Albert Arms, Norbiton

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user reviews of the Albert Arms, Norbiton

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

A fairly roomy youngs gastropub which is probably more gastro than pub these days however, was not the case a few years ago.

A place that does get busy and very popular with staff from the adjacent Kingston hospital. People I have know to have worked at the hospital told me that it is affectionately known as Albert Ward.

Interior is fairly modern and trendy since the place was refurbed around 8 or 9 years ago. I personally used to prefer it's slightly tatty charm before but I guess more people prefer it in its current guise as it seems to get more punters.

Plenty of tables out the front for sunny weather and a nice patio garden with heaters around the back if you want to get away from the main road.

Definitely worth a visit if you are in that part of Kingston!
BeerGutt - 6 Sep 2015 15:42
Youngs pub that appears to have gone a bit upmarket and appears to be more for diners than for drinkers. No tables were available in the main part of the bar and a smaller area near the entrance. Yet there were around a dozen empty tables reserved for diners to the one side of the bar. Not really conducive to a lengthy stay, as you can't get comfortable propping up the bar. Youngs Bitter, Special & London Warmer were on, alongside Caledonian Deuchars IPA. Was amused to see the Eastern European barmaid's expression when she was asked for a Black & Tan! The car park is impossibly small, considering everybody seems to park there for the nearby hospital. There are many better pubs in Kingston.
blue_scrumpy - 8 Feb 2014 11:40
A days strolling around Richmond Park led to lunch at The Albert.

A a curious pub it is too. The traditional welcoming Youngs sign outside leads you into a pub with with a number of different levels, with even a basement bar. Tables are spread widely throughout the pub. The place is fairly sparsely decorated but still has a pleasant ambience.

Youngs Bitter, Special Bitter, Gold and Wells Bombardier available. Many have said it before, but Youngs just isn't the same now it comes from Bedford and not Wandsworth. Not the pub's fault, and what we had was fine, but it's Youngs in name only.

Lunchtime food options were interesting. Most offers were large sandwiches, e.g., a long oval plate sandwiches on a skewer, with an option of a full portion of chips or a "handful". Only main meals were Steak and Onion Pie or Lasagne. I plumped for the chicken club which was very good. Food offers may be different in the evening.

The two ladies serving were very attentive and made us feel welcome.

All in all a pleasant experience.

ramblethenlunch - 17 Aug 2012 09:29
Not a bad pub. Quiz nights on Weds. Check out the nurses from the hospital on some nights (?) Winter Warmer when on early this year was a cracking pint. Can get very busy, gonna get even busier when the Olympic road race goes past.

quizman - 24 Apr 2012 01:37
good beer and very good food. Lovely.
DoctorRioja - 10 Oct 2010 19:37
Love this pub - Becky is a brilliant Landlady, with a good & helpful staff. Food is good, beers are good, and lots of different events always going on. Done a brilliant job when renovating the place. I moved away, but still return when I can.
grosjam - 6 Aug 2010 10:02
I used to frequent this pub in its 'Albert Arms' days, when it was a loveable but slighty tatty 'home from home'. I recently paid it my first visit since it has been 'made over'.

The interior is very smart, but this pub is in danger of disappearing very rapidly up its own backside. It has been transformed from a comfortable local to an uncomfortably pretentious establishment which tries to be both pub and restaurant at the same time yet manages to fail at being both.

The food is very expensive (£11 for fish and chips) and the beer is not cheap either.

The pub used to be a favourite haunt of staff from Kingston Hospital, across the road. I almost feel as if they have deliberately tried to price out their former patrons, in a bid to try and lure in the 'Richmond Park' clientele.

I enjoyed my pint and my meal and the staff were pleasant enough, but it was a slightly empty experience.

I miss the friendly Albert Arms of old - the cost open fire, the buzz of the regulars and the traditional pub feel that the place had.

The makeover has robbed it of all the old character and it is hard to muser any kind of affection for its new soulless existence.
thebunster - 5 Dec 2009 23:12
Sorry, I mean Bombardier, not Broadside.
mansoc88 - 3 Aug 2009 16:40
Dropped in for lunch after a bracing Sunday walk around Richmond Park, on a recommendation from a friend. We found the food to be excellent, the interior very comfortable (we sat in the 'pub' rather than the 'restaurant' area), and the staff very accommodating. They were even kind enough to go online and find out the cricket score for me, since they don't have Sky TV, and went out of their way to print out the latest scorecard!
The Broadside was excellent too. I couldn't disagree more with the negative reviews.
mansoc88 - 3 Aug 2009 16:39
Staff are fine especially the tall blonde Kiwi girl. The pub however is increasingly restaurant-like as is Young's wont (wont what? Wont be anything like a pub). It's hard to remember what it was like when there was a small front 'snug' and a side bar and it was a proper boozer.
rainlight - 6 Jul 2009 22:02
Another lifeless place with surly staff.
nickthefish - 8 Nov 2008 08:13
AJR - I will disagree with you on your comment about the staff; with a few exceptions, whom have not been at this outlet for sometime, the staff are very friendly and affable. What's more, they are very approachable if you have any issues. Was it more likely a misunderstanding arising from cultural differences?
Magellan - 2 Sep 2008 14:24
This place is all front and no atmosphere. It is very pretty, a huge pub with well maintained interior. Good seating and the toilets are decent. Unfortunately that is where the facade ends. Over priced drinks, moody and unhelpful staff, and the clientele are snooty and unfriendly. Music over the PA was dead weird as well. Will not be going back.
AJR - 1 Sep 2008 13:31
Unfortunately, nowadays the place is only frequented by staff from the hospital who are to tired to go anywhere else or consultants who have the money to be able to afford their extortionate prices. Nearly £4 a pint of lager???

The prices do change, depending on who serves you, but Youngs have destroyed this pub. Better to go to one of the (many) in the back streets that still serve good beer at more reasonable prices.
LittleNicky - 29 Jul 2008 23:49
Have only ever been here for leaving do's etc, but always had a good time. Struggle to get served when it is packed though.
razor - 25 May 2008 14:12
It's OK and the beer is good enough but it is unatmospheric, considering pubs like the Park Tavern and Willoughby are nearby. This is the sort of thing that has happened to Young's pubs since their brewery business went to Bedford and they've become solely a pub management company.
rainlight - 28 Feb 2008 10:15
Went to the albert the other night (monday) it was great the staff are nice and the pub was clean and tidy, didn't have any food but heard great things about it, what the couple had next to me certainly looked fantastic.

what a nice place to head on a sunny day if you don't fancy the river or the pack has a great outside area too.
star1 - 12 Feb 2008 17:38
I was going to start this by talking about the decor and that about sums it up.
Very nicly decorated, a good selection of drinks, good for a drink or two but not enough atmosphere to ever be a 'local'.
BUT, and more importantly, WHY IS IT SO EXPENSIVE? Central London prices and really not all that special.
AShep - 27 Nov 2007 21:17
After my 1st visit since it changed, I have to admit it was fine. I say "have to admit" as I wasn't expecting to like it but the changes are inventive and the beer was lovely.
DeviousDave - 10 Oct 2007 18:55
I agree with the previous comments. What also annoys me is that whenever I order drinks I am quoted a different price.! Only recently I ordered a bottle of Waggledance and a Port and Lemonade. The price came to £12..!! I queried it and it came down to £8.50. I queried it again and it came down to £8. I pay under a fiver in other Youngs pubs for the same drinks. So what makes this place think it's so special.?

It certainly can't be the busy main road it's positioned on or the cramped, sunless yard they call a beer garden.
anonymous - 15 Sep 2007 17:59
Certainly the place looks a bit different, and the range of styles across the various bars is very noticeable. The downstairs bars look very contemporary, and will attract the cool crowd

Prices steep, even higher than the Canbury. Paid nine quid for a pint of bitter and glass of Rioja. Queried this with barmaid who assured me the prices were correct...ouch!

One thing if the management is reading this. Please, please, please, when serving wine, don't pour it into a metallic measuring jar first. Frankly, at the prices you guys charge, are a few millilitres over going to break the bank? More to the point, it appears very penny pinching. And even more to the point it's a sacrilegious way to treat wine.
norbitonpaul - 23 Aug 2007 13:19
JohnBonser you really dont like Youngs pubs do you but you still go thats weird mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
anonymous - 16 Aug 2007 02:01
Wonderful pub what more can you ask friendly staff, great food and excellent beer. Best pub in kingston.
anonymous - 13 Aug 2007 14:12
A vast improvement. Gone is the stench of stale nicotine, and the service, along with the atmosphere, is now much better.

One side affect of the changes is that the pub has undergone a name change: it is now just 'The Albert'.

Magellan - 14 May 2007 18:36
so " a little bit of the pub's Victorian charm has disappeared in the process" according to the previous contributor.

A bit of an understatement to put it mildly - the place has been wrecked and now has little if any charm at all ( where's the splendid Victoria and Albert Young's mirror that used to be in the main room gone, for instance ?)

It's a great shame. As I said in my last posting, go to The Wych Elm instead.

JohnBonser - 2 May 2007 13:03
The interior and staff are a vast improvement on the old Albert, even if a little bit of the pub's Victorian charm disappeared in the process.

However the food and drinks prices have mysteriously shot up in price.

Surely Young's wouldn't pass the cost of a bit of wallpaper and a needless extention onto their loyal customers...would they.?!
anonymous - 24 Apr 2007 20:13
25 years ago Youngs buggered up their pubs by getting rid of public bars now Youngs/Wells are buggering up pubs by turning them into stables - and who thought of painting the lovely brickwork black? Plenty better boozers in the area - avoid !
quizman - 20 Apr 2007 19:17
Sounds like it's been ruined. Your chance at a good Young's pub hereabouts: the Spring Grove or the Waggon & Horses.
beeronaut - 11 Apr 2007 20:46
An improvement on the old Albert Arms in my opinion, however the whole place is very much geared towards serving food now. (I was asked four times if I wanted to eat) But I declined when I read the prices of what is basic pub grub. I couldn't tell you about the drink prices because every time I ordered they charged me a different amount!

Decor wise it's kept much of the old features but with a bit of new paint and wallpaper thrown in, so I don't know what all the fuss is about. Most of the seating looks the same to be honest.!

Personally the chav's and slappers in central Kingston have driven me out on Friday and Saturday nights, so I don't think this place will have any problems attracting those North Kingston residents with money to burn.

anonymous - 11 Apr 2007 20:09
I too tried the new Albert on the first night and, although it is early days, it was not very impressive. The beer is now expensive and the pint I had was not at all good possibly due to slow sales. Judging by the fact that the barman did not know the price of the Bitter at the end of the night I suspect that most of the beer sales that day had come from the fizz available under the usual brands rather than Youngs’s own beers.

The restaurant area is full of old furniture making it look a bit like an auctioneer’s saleroom and lacks the atmosphere that a proper restaurant would have. The menu is the usual Youngs/Brakes ponced-up pub grub; expensive for what it is without being particularly exciting. I cannot see nurses flocking over from the hospital to eat dishes such as sausage and mash or to have a ciabatta sandwich at £5+, or many others for that matter.

The staff seemed friendly, albeit in a trained “have a nice day” manner and are much better looking than their surroundings. I assume, by the range of fizz and the noise coming over the speakers, that the target market is young trendies but I am not sure how many this place will attract, being out of town.

I suspect that locally, the drunks will remain at the Kingston Gate, the beer drinkers at the Park Tavern and the foodies at the Pottery. I do hope, however, that I have been premature in my criticism and The Albert settles down to be the great pub it was once.

Toller_Rant - 10 Apr 2007 15:31
I was there on Sunday lunchtime - the previous review sums the new place up very well indeed - I say "place" because by no stretch of the imagination could this be called a pub anymore.

A few of the old locals were there on Sunday lunchtime as well, evidently paying their first visit since the place re-opened. They were saying things like " it's going to take some time to get used to" - well, guess what chaps, Youngs don't want you to get used to it, the place is not interested in catering for the likes of you ( or me either ) anymore.

Coming in places like this, knowing them as they used to be, makes you realise that Youngs is just like any other pub chain nowadays, rather than the feircely independent and traditional pub company that they were when I first started drinking in Youngs pubs in the early 70's.

Very sad, I'll be going to The Wych Elm when I'm next in the area instead
JohnBonser - 10 Apr 2007 13:36
Went into the 'Albert' today - the first day open after the renovation. Young's have just hammered another nail in the coffin of proper pubs. The prices have gone up, there's no smoking already and the decor is totally hideous - turd-brown and burgundy walls, seats bolted down, etc... Regardless of what others have said here previously, it used to at least have a tiny bit of character. Now it's a character-free, badly designed interior that can't decide if it's a pastiche of a wine bar or a third rate restaurant - it's certainly no longer a pub. I've heard many people this evening say that they wouldn't go back there. I agree with them. I can't imagine many hospital staff going there often - they'll be at the Kingston Gate or The Norbiton for lunch. Staff seemed mainly disinterested too - maybe they feel the same as many of the customers...
LittleNicky - 9 Apr 2007 01:47
I passed it today and it's now closed for a refit and not before time.

Strange place, this. Known as 'Albert Ward' to the staffers from across the road at Kingston hospital, due to its location it could be seen as rather expensive although it's also tatty!

It's handy if you plan to do a crawl of that manor as it's close to the New Inn (small with better ale), the Willoughby (judgement reserved) and The Wych Elm which is a cracking Fuller's house. I hope the refit works well. Young's have a habit of destroying their own pubs during refits for some reasons: check out The Queen Dowager in Teddington which was painted pink for a while!

TV rugby union pundit Jon Inverdale has been known to drink here which, along with obviously-drunk customers, is good reason to avoid it!
anonymous - 28 Feb 2007 12:22
Poorly managed, very average food, miserable staff (apart from one - you must know who you are.!) and always full of the same old drunks who seem to live there. God knows how they can afford it?!

anonymous - 17 Feb 2007 18:10
Went to this pub on what I presume was a fairly quiet night for a beer with the wife.
Beer was okay - nothing special, usual Young's fare, but some of the clientele were slightly disturbing.
One blonde girl was so drunk that an old man and a scruffy student literally had to carry her home and that was around 10pm! Not sure that the bar staff should have been serving her as she was obviously very drunk and flirty anyway so that doesn't bode well for their judgement.
I've been in again and there seemed to be a group of regulars who must have been in there all day as they were 'boisterous' to say the least. The drunk girl was back, much in the same state which was also disturbing.
Hopefully if this place does get renovated then it will have a change of management, the beers might be better kept and the less desirable element will move along the road to the Kingston Gate where they obviously belong...
A great shame as this could be a really good pub with a bit of effort and some attention to detail.
Leon - 16 Feb 2007 00:05
OK if unspectatular pub, i.e. no reason to go there but no reason not to go there either.
Matthew_of_Ham - 21 Jan 2007 02:35
The management has changed yet again (there have been 9 managers in 4 years). It has a rather unloved feel to it nowadays though the staff do try. Hopefully the refurbishment in the New Year will be done tastefully and the brewery will back a new team over a prolonged period.
wandsworth - 2 Nov 2006 08:50
Many years ago, this was my local. But now tatty, delapidated, embalmed - and that's just the punters.
anonymous - 16 Oct 2006 17:17
I hear they're planning to strip the place back to nothing and build a new extention on the back. About time this place had a face lift.!
anonymous - 5 Oct 2006 20:24
Same as below, but the management has changed. The new Bar Manager is MUCH prettier than Paul - she's good at her job, knows the regulars and keeps the whole thing going well. Hope she stays there for a long time!

Well done Kelly!
LittleNicky - 2 Sep 2006 15:45
This pub has got better and better! I'm not a fan of Young's beers, but the service here is excellent. The beers are well kept and they have an extensive range of Young's bottled beers - at a good price too!

The food is very good, if a little pricey, but they cater for the doctors at the hospital, who apparently have money to burn...

The regulars seem friendly and the bar staff are excellent - chatty, smiley and happy. The new landlord is a great laugh and teases everyone who comes in (don't take it personally!) Nice to have a northern lad in charge of what might otherwise be an average boozer.

I'd recommend this pub for a lunchtime beer and meal - avoid the 5pm to 7pm session if you don't like a busy pub - all the hospital staff go over there, rather than go 5 mins up the road to the other couple of Norbiton pubs and I can see why!

Finally, this place is being run properly - give it a try! :o)
LittleNicky - 26 Jul 2006 10:04
This pub is full of smiles behind the bar, I walked in a few weeks ago and a nice young lady was working her smile was bigger than you can imagine and her manner was so pleasant. I must say it was a pleasure to see someone enjoy there work for a change, and I mean actually enjoy it. The food was lovely and a big personality of a man served me, giving me the cutlery and sauces (real sauces). Very nice to be treated with respect in a 'PUB'. I have been back and I will return while these two are there, what a team.
anonymous - 22 Jun 2006 17:20
i haven't been here for 20 years. what happened to all the old local flavour, i remember every night you got your real ale for 45p a pint and free entertainment from a lovely couple called mannion and whelan, crooners to the stars. they were very camp but no one cared. things were better in those days. Nice peanuts too.
anonymous - 31 Mar 2006 05:20
This pub is a bit scruffy and inhabited by far too many drunks who congregate around the bar blocking everyone else from getting to it. Plus, the bar staff seem to change on a weekly basis which is never a good sign.

It started to show improvement recently, but has suddenly gone down hill again. I hope someone sees some sense and closes it down for a refurb. Then re-opens with a new menu, new staff and most importantly new management
anonymous - 27 Mar 2006 15:31
What's this.....someone trying to make a decent man out of the Albert. Me and this pub go back almost a quarter century. The day I moved to Kingston, it was beers all round for my removal team at The Albert. I was in the pub thirteen yaers ago when my partner went into labour over the road at the old maternity wing (summoned by the landlord to bugger off and get over the road!!). Then it seemed to fall into the wrong hands, it became very ordinary, and I finally gave up on it about five years ago Since then plenty of other fine establishments have come on tap. But I'll give it another try. Watch this space!
norbitonpaul - 25 Mar 2006 19:31
A nice pub serving good food and well maintained beer. Comfortable seating and a mixed age group from 25 to 70. We rated this pub above average and the best in the vicinity.
Fab4Rovers - 6 Nov 2005 16:40
I went in - mentioned Joe - mentioned the website - and yes, I got my free pint. Full marks to the new management.!!

Much improved since my last visit under the old management. It seems the alkies have moved off somewhere else too.!
anonymous - 23 Sep 2005 12:50
just ask for joe at the bar and he'll be happy to supply a pint on the house for anyone who mentions this website. What a nice man and a credit to the pub industry.
anonymous - 18 Sep 2005 15:49
Quite expensive but then it is on Kingston hill (near Coombe, don't you know?!). It's well frequented by the staff - and sometimes the patients too! - of Kingston hospital across the road and has been for many a year. In fact it's known as 'Albert ward' by the staff!

Young's beers in decent condition, it's a large pub that used to have two seperate bars, now thrown into one. A bit foodie for my taste but, if your wallet can handle it, it's a good place to start a crawl of the area. Five minutes' walk from the Park Tavern (down Queen's Road). Handy for Norbiton rail station and the 57 and 213 bus stops (Kingston to Putney or Streatham).
anonymous - 15 Aug 2005 21:37
Haven't been in here for a while , I've been working away for over 6 months. Wow , what can I say - what a change to a place !!

For one the bar staff are now actually polite & friendly and enjoy serving their customers unlike their antipodean predecessors. It's great to see so many smiling faces behind the bar. Didn't see any of the "middle aged alcohol types" just a lot of 20 something couples enjoying themselves.

They've brought in a new menu which is now believe it or not ... edible!! Tried the duck and one of the gourmet burgers so far - excellent!!

I don't know if it's because I've been away or not but the beer tasted superb !!

Can't wait to go back again !!!
danpeter - 9 Aug 2005 14:49
Nothing wrong with this offering.

Courtyard garden out the back, slightly claustrophobic but nice enough for a town pub.

Interior is very "Youngs", with the usual emphasis on wood. But it's not a bad pub, perfect for a pint after a walk in the park (I would imagine).
parkhillian - 29 Jul 2005 09:40
Not sure what kind of "make - up" the previous anonymous contributor has in mind - it's a splendidly traditional pub and most people like it the way it is. Long may it continue thus !
JohnBonser - 20 Jul 2005 13:14
In desperate need of a make-up, but otherwise quite a friendly pub with reasonable food.
anonymous - 22 Apr 2005 19:19
Good enough (well it is Young's) a bit suburban, by which I mean the same things as the previous reviewers have said about the clientele (not sure whether 'middle aged alcohol types' could refer to me, expect it could). You could expect the twinsets pearls and greyhounds in here. Volvos optional.
beeronaut - 7 Mar 2005 18:17
Live Music is back. Worth a visit this saturday...
Miles - 24 Oct 2004 22:50
In keeping with most 'Youngs' pubs, this place has a tendency to attract those middle aged alcohol types who look like they're up for a bit of 'swinging.'

Okay if you just fancy a quick pint, but not the place for a good night out.

As for swastikas on your pint head....did it occur to you that might have just been a badly drawn four leaf clover??!!
Crazy - 25 Aug 2004 19:55
Oh Briony, oh double chocolate stout! I'm off to the shops, see ya!
Jane - 17 Aug 2004 12:19
Gone are the days of oatmeal stout on tap (had many many hangovers from this stuff, is addictive!) Has lost its soul really, used to be relaxed and even had live music! could have good chat with the staff (who remembers JP and Suria, they were lovely) and proper cooked food not stuff out of a plastic packet. Loads of pissed doctors too. I lament the passing of a once great pub. Is a beautiful place though and well looked after. Just got no soul.
Jane - 17 Aug 2004 12:18
New management NO DARTBOARD, no music, my wifes Lasgna came with no advertised Garlic bread but did come straight out of a packet for 8.00 Price of Cider 3.00!!!!! Complete Rip off
Gordon - - 11 Aug 2004 13:35
Went in here on Saturday 3rd July 2004 at around midday. Ordered two pints of Guinness, one of which came back with a Swastika drawn in the head. Very creepy to say the least. Not sure I'll be heading back there too soon.
dsf - 5 Jul 2004 13:08
I love all Youngs pubs, especially when they serve double chocolate stout. Yum :-)
Briony - 13 May 2004 15:55
Large corner Youngs pub convenient for Kingston Gate entrance to Richmond Park. Reasonable bagette and chips for a fiver
lout_from_the_lane - 17 Mar 2004 14:05
From a Yank's perspective, I believe this is an outstanding pub. I wish I could get Young's Special here in Ohio. The people are super nice. If I ever get back to London this will be one of my first stops...
Brez - - 1 Sep 2003 02:24
Didn't have any Cointreau but nice draught coke (been told that's common in England though). Nice (Australian?) barmaid or was she just called Kylie? Very high roof and nice carpets---seemed nearly a bit too spacious and sedate for a pub and they were quick to throw you out at closing time. Should have had an eye out for the nurses---missed that part
Paul - 26 Aug 2003 11:56
A treasure - well-kept Youngs beer, good food, and the added benefit of fun-loving nurses coming off duty from Kingston hospital and going for it.

Rats- now the secret's out...
NHS fan - 18 Aug 2003 16:36
Good pub with the added benefit of Youngs patronage. Deserves at the very least 6 out of 10.
Dr John - 17 Apr 2003 21:26
Good average Youngs house
Q - 9 Nov 2002 23:33

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