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Princess Louise, Holborn

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user reviews of the Princess Louise, Holborn

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

Came in here a couple of weeks ago with a few friends. I think its the first time I've visited for over twenty years and while I remembered the gents' toilets, and the masses of cut and etched glass in the bar I had forgotten some of its architectural features. For example the great mosaics in the floor, the wall tiling and the (I think) unique little 'rooms' that encircle most of the main bar. Its a great place to visit and admire.

As other reviewers have noted, its a Sam Smith's pub so if you like Sam's stuff, great, but less so if you don't! I had a few pints of Old Brewery (as did another of the group) and it was well kept and tasty but its not a favourite, so after a few I had a bottle of Porter which was very good and it looked like the pub stocks most of the Sam's bottled range. Others were on the Organic Lager which I also tried and it was surprisingly enjoyable - refreshing but still with some flavour.

Service was fast, efficient and friendly - even though the 'rooms' make it tricky for the bar staff to see who is waiting.

An enjoyable visit - would recommend it to anyone, whether or not they like Sam's ales.
on_the_brightside - 4 Nov 2018 17:59
Wonderfully opulent pub but £5.50 for a bottle of Chocolate Stout? Very busy at 4pm on Saturday but service was quick.
paul_d102 - 5 Dec 2016 22:31
Had a flying visit to the capital this weekend, and this was our first port of call. Arrived at 11.45am but it didn't open till 12pm. The wait was well worth it, and as I entered I found wonderful original furnishings. A trip around the back of the pub revealed detailed stain glass windows and lovely floor tiles.

I am a big fan of Sam Smith's pubs, and in particular the extra stout, which was on form. Probably the cheapest place in London barring Wetherspoon outlets. Only one worrying issue was that there was only one barman serving. He was friendly and polite, but on weekends there should be more serving.

A must see.


realalerules1983 - 22 Nov 2015 14:48
Only visited once on this year's UK crawl, mainly to soak up the beautiful interior. To my mild surprise the Kiwi bar man who served me last year was still there: to my greater surprise he remembered ME! Also surprised by the Brewery Bitter still costing only 2.90, and surprised yet again by the relative lack of customers: the hum of conversation would make the complete pub experience.
Queenslander - 9 Oct 2015 23:53
If you're hosting a foreign visitor, he's inevitably going to have 'typical pub' at the top of his viewing list. I've long given up on the notion of 'typical', because as a pub enthusiast the plethora of ensuing ideas causes chaotic indecision in my mind. But I'll gladly have 'historic' as a near-synonym. And then I think of this place.

The layout and décor are first-rate. Stepping in here feels like warping back to the 19th century. The panels and side booths give an air of old-fashioned intimacy. The flooring eclectic as would be expected of the era. Yes it's been restored and refitted a number of times. But I wonder what the state of the wood would be like now if it had been left untouched since 1891...

So classic layout, check. The following point is common to all Sam Smith's houses, but it feels especially appropriate in tandem with the layout. The tied-ness of the place and restriction on beer availability also makes it classically English. Proper tied houses are a dying breed in the UK. Taylor Walkers and Nicholsons don't count. Every time I walk past a Watney's or a Charrington sign I wonder what pubs would be like if they had survived the lager wave.

All kinds of complaints fly about regarding the beer, and that is admittedly a bit of a minus - but there's also an excellent Wetherspoons round the corner catering to your real ale thirst. Talking of real ale, the cask OBB here isn't actually that bad, and at £2.80, is still under par for the area.

Busy at weekends but the bar staff are excellent. Emphasis on food just right - they do little things, which is how pubs used to be and should still be.

So perhaps not typical of today, but certainly classic and historic, and an absolute gem at that.
R3NW5 - 24 Mar 2015 13:32
Architecture still as beautiful as ever. Beer, still as pish as ever. And since when did Sam Smith's go up to £4.40 for a pint of their organic lager.

Well worth a visit for the experience. Better places to drink.
Mappiman - 21 Nov 2014 18:07
Visited this marvellous pub 3 times on my latest UK pub crawl. I was surprised at the lack of customers on each visit this year (and in previous years). Different bar people each time, the last being a friendly Kiwi bloke, who effortlessly coped (& chatted) with the four or so groups who were in, scattered among the snugs & front bar. Glorious interior, Brewery Bitter (2.90) was cheap & tasty; this pub may be swamped at knock off time but is otherwise quiet & and an ideal venue for tourists wanting to see a traditional pub.
Queenslander - 20 Aug 2014 22:45
Went in one door and out the other...shame as absolutely packed.
Next stop the Holborn Whippet instead and luckily got a seat.
Oh yes it is beautiful inside but I have been there before.
drinkingdad - 8 May 2014 10:53
Called in yesterday afternoon before the Arsenal game, beautiful Victorian Gin Palace, even the lager drinkers with us enjoyed the Sam Smith's lager. The landlady, the lovely Caroline?made us welcome, put up with our attempts at flirting and managed to serve 3 people at once,cracking pub.
DNADAVE - 3 Nov 2013 14:34
Historic pub with a unique interior. Best in the area for after work drinks by far or to pass an hour or two in peace.

Sam Smiths with everything that brings of course.
QueensParker - 6 Oct 2013 04:10
WHAT A FANTASTIC LOOKING PU-oh it's a Sam Smiths, keep walking.
wizzard - 22 Feb 2013 17:05
Beautiful traditional London pub, but not the place for a quiet sit down drink. It was absolutely rammed at 6pm on a January Saturday. Despite several websites saying they did food, the barmaid said they didn't; no mention of an upstairs dining room though I found out later they have one. Sam Smith's bitter was nice and only £2.90 a pint. This would be a good pub for a quick stand up beer on the way somewhere or to show foreigners what a traditional pub used to look like, it wouldn't really be suitable for a quiet drink and read of the paper.
Hugh1971 - 25 Jan 2013 17:15
Wow. I think we've all moved on from the fact that Sam Smiths pubs are no longer in the Wetherspoons price range any more, but this pub now charges £5.50 for a bottle of their own-brand porter.
elegiac_stanzas - 20 Jan 2013 09:09
Not sure which beer some reviewers were buying as we had three pints of Old Brewery Bitter and the round cost £8.70 (£2.90 a pint which I think is pretty good for Central London). I have always liked this pub - even before the magnificent restoration works- and I thought the beer was some of the best Sam's I have had in London for a long time. This is a "must see" pub and it still amazes me how a small Yorkshire brewery can manage to sell only their own products in this day and age. (e.g. No Coke - just their own brand cola - all beers; lagers and spirits are their own make so you wont see Bacardi or Bells or Fosters or Stella ! Even the crisps bear the Sam's name !!). Just round the corner from Holborn tube and well worth the visit.
mcroyal - 2 Jan 2013 12:49
I agree that EdLondon sounds suspiciously like Sam Smith's PR agent. I think the pub has been well restored however. Putting the partitions back in was a master stroke. The beer is no longer sold at SS's discounts and you really must watch the short measures - which SS are famous for,
Tewin - 1 Jan 2013 15:23
A word of advice about the 'reviewed' (ie, hiked up) Sam Smith's pricing to be found here. Unless you order an Old Brewery Bitter or Taddy Lager be prepared for a shock.

The whole point of using a SS pub like the Princess Louise was for the keen prices. Well, at least that used to be the case. The above beers are around the £3-3.25 mark. Try anything else (such as the organic beer or cider) and you're looking at an eye-watering £4.25 a pint. Yes, in a Sam Smith's, supposedly the foolproof home of a recession session.

If you want to drink designer beer, you might as well drink elsewhere. Otherwise, the Louise is a good staple and a decent boozer with some character. Just be careful what you order if you're watching the pennies.
shoegazer - 18 Dec 2012 00:58
good after (and sometimes during) work boozer.

the prices have gone up of late but its still cheap for central london.
supping_solicitor - 19 Apr 2012 23:12
There are some absurd postings below. Having just paid 3.90 for London Pride (it was 5 for draught Peroni) in the Sussex at Seven Dial, I reckon Sam Smiths pubs still remain a steal.
The PL remains an iconic pub and the licensee is one of the hardest working people I know. It's a tough job, he's good at it and maybe he's allowed to have off days from time to time. Sam Smith's pubs continue to defy the nasty prevailing wind blowing through the trade. They recognise traditional places and treat them with respect. So if you want cheap beer and chips you'd be better at the 'Spoons down the road. Don't whinge about this gem.
bighands - 15 Apr 2012 14:42
Fabulously decorated pub with very good service and the OBB was on good form, however it is a shame to see it now priced, if I remember right, at 2.70. OBB was great value at around the 2 mark, but is just too ordinary to want more than a couple of pints of it and we drifted off to a Nicholson's where the beer choice was better though we had to pay more. Sam's USP, a fair pint at a very good price, has now gone. On another point, the Princess Louise sells food in its upstairs room but you cannot bring bar snacks downstairs where punters generally drink! What's that all about? If they are worried about the smell of onion rings and chips the pub hardly smells like Provence in the Spring. We bought no food (there were 12 of us) and with the beer price increase I can't see when we will visit again. Shame.
BothamsAshes - 4 Apr 2012 13:58
Bounded into the Princess Louise at 8.02 on 02/03/12 with Jens and Benard. I quaffed a peerless half of Old Brewery Bitter. Friendly, welcoming staff and customers. A terrific pub - GO THERE!
Newton_Lad - 4 Mar 2012 18:47
On my last visit, Pure Brewed Lager was 3.25 per pint. Now it's 3.95.

That's not just catching up with most London pubs, that's almost overtaking them.

Surely a big mistake by the people at Sam Smiths???
Pat_Bateman - 17 Feb 2012 16:15
Went for a late night drink after the theatre. Atmosphere good as ever but spoilt by the miserable bar man who didnt seem to want to be there. Not used to having my pint pushed towards me (and not in its signature glass). But hey ho he might have had a bad day so it won't put me or my wife (who really likes the place but never has to buy the drinks!) going back again.
Mr_ESB_Harry - 31 Jan 2012 07:10
This is, of course, a true gem and a wonderful place to see and drink in. However the owners - Sam Smiths - have obviously had to move into the 21st century as they have put their prices up by 70p a pint in the past year!!! It was great having this super pub with beer at 2.02 a pint but sadly economics have caught up with the brewery and they have apparently had two price rises in the past 12 months. Having said that it is still a very reasonable price (2.72) for central London and is certainly at least 1 cheaper than most pubs (excluding Wetherspoons).
Still worth a visit.
mcroyal - 5 Jan 2012 12:54
Another great Friday 5-8pm session. Great beer with company from all backgronds. A must to visit when in London, my favourite.
hartlepool - 13 Dec 2011 18:09
Cracking London boozer near Holborn tube with a mixed clientele. It does get very busy 6 - 8pm and the service can be indifferent at times but the excellent Sam Smith's beer, stout and lager, the sumptuous decor (from 1891 mostly, apparently) and the quaintly compartmented layout more than make up for this. The much vaunted men's urinals are probably now unique but are obviously as impractical to clean as they are to use - they invariably stink. Well worth a visit.
Garganey - 17 Nov 2011 11:10
Architecturally splendid with an array of nooks and crannies. Along with beer at 2 and a bit, you can't argue very much. The downers are it gets very crowded (not surprising) and, therefore with the bare furnishing, rather hard to hear yourself think, and also some of the bar staff are a bit slow in serving customers. Worth a visit though.
stevenagec - 5 Oct 2011 22:05
Famous for its remarkable and important Victorian interior with a most sumptuous display of tiling and mirrors. Two entrances on each corner, each with two doors; one leading in to the front bar, the other giving entrance to a corridor at each side of the pub that runs alongside the bar to open out to a room at the rear. Access from the corridor leads to three small snug bars with screens of carved wood and ornately etched and gilded glass. Warm enough welcome but, as has been said before, Sam Smith's ale range is less than inspiring!
BobOs - 28 Sep 2011 11:45
Great example of how many Victorian boozers were once laid out, catering from the lowly peasants (such as my-self) in the Public Bar at the front, through to the wine drinking and card playing aristos in the back. Sam Smiths beer is not to everyones taste, but I thinks its fine for the price you pay. Alternatively, switch to their reasonably priced Gin and watch the evening drift away from you! You will still have change in your pocket the next day, even if your head is a bit worse for wear. Really like this pub, though can get busy post 5pm, Day time visit recommended.
JoWard25 - 18 Aug 2011 00:15
As others have said, decor drags the rating up as the interior of this pub is quite something and it's worth a visit for that alone. Old Brewery Bitter does taste a bit naff if preceded by a decent pint elsewhere so I found myself switching to Alpine Lager. Service here was a bit naff when I cam in here on Bank Holiday Sunday - all in all a bit disinterested. Toilets could do with a deep clean - stale pee stench was grim.
thehonesttruth - 4 Jun 2011 10:01
Plus Points - location, history and decor. Minus pints - Sam Smiths only. Came in after the theatre - ghost stories, need to find theatreintheevening.com to go and post a review of that pile of poo - and walked back up to the hotel in Euston. Stopped in here for old times sake and it was very busy... managed to get a seat in the right hand side of the bar and took the slagging from my family that the choice of show deserved.

Good pub.
Mappiman - 18 Apr 2011 16:55
Went for the first time in a few years recently and it wasnt as good as I remembered it. Still much better than most pubs, but I'm not a fan of Sam Smiths, it just tastes like not much at all. I'm sure they have partitioned the areas off even more now since I last went, so it's a maze just trying to find people you are meeting. Lovely decor of course, but I think I prefer the Ship just down the road.
DannyBoy2010 - 4 Apr 2011 13:42
As others have said, this must be one of the most impressive pub interiors in the capital if not the country. One of the many unusual features is the two entrance porches on each corner, each with two doors. One from each leads in to the front bar, which is probably the best place to appreciate the whole pub. The other doors lead to a corridor at each side of the pub, that goes up past the bar and opens out to a room at the rear. On the way past the bar are a couple of booths made of carved wood and etched glass. The edge of these booths runs right down to the bar counter, effectively creating your own small, private room with direct access to the bar.

The side corridors have mosaic tiling on the floor, and some painted tiling on the walls. The central bar area is also made of detailed wood carving, and has a built in clock as its centre piece. Several columns rise to the ornate ceiling, topped with gold leaf paint.

The only downside is really the choice of beer. Being a Samuel Smiths pub, the only beer on offer appeared to be their own Old Brewery Bitter. Similarly the solitary cider was their own Cider Reserve. Even the spirits and soft drinks appeared to be from the Samuel Smiths range.
Blackthorn - 28 Mar 2011 13:42
Not sure I could see what the fuss was about this place. OK, so the Sammy Smiths was only just over 2 quid a pint, but with all those doors what a hassle of a place to walk around with pint and bag/jacket in hand trying to find a corner to sit or stand!
Its main feature seems to be a large number of people smoking in the street out front.
Perhaps it is a place better suited to colder days.
tickerhacker - 25 Mar 2011 11:00
Love this pub to bits. Friendly service (like the staff actually appreciate working in such a beautiful building) Great pint of SS stout and quality clientel. Worth going out of your way for.
DrunkleBuck - 24 Mar 2011 18:28
A fine interior - I hope it's a listed building because it would be a real shame to lose a pub like this. Even the toilets are amazing. Only Sam Smiths beer, but at 2 a pint I can't complain.
Floyd - 20 Mar 2011 19:28
The labyrinthine layout and well-kept interior are a throwback to the original Sam Smiths' pubs, and are enough to keep the interest of any passer-by. You could almost be forgiven this one has been completely untouched since then (especially given the dire toilets, but thankfully that's another story). Of course, you've only got Sam Smiths stuff to choose from, but since when has that been a bad thing, particularly when kept as well as this - even the Alpine Lager tastes better here. Despite being in High Holborn, the only sound other than your conversation is that of the barkeep cleaning the glasses. This is the life!
getsit - 8 Mar 2011 22:38
The wife and I popped in here for a quick drink last saturday afternoon. A very cosy Sam Smith's pub - they had the fire on which was a nice touch given that it was so cold outside. I had the Stout and the wife had the Cider; both were very nice. This is a very charming pub with a lovely interior. We'll definately visit again.
Paulb014 - 3 Feb 2011 12:30
1.99 a pint!!!!!!!!!!!!
Central London!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fascinating pub layout.....worth a visit.

All the drinks are from Sam Smiths.
LickeyEndBooze - 2 Jan 2011 19:31
Last year we had lunch at the Princess Louise and it was superb.

We took a guest this week and sadly found that it had deteriorated. It was dirty, the service was very slow, vegetables cold (though food otherwise alright and reasonably priced)

The decor of the pub is beautiful and I hope that we just encountered a 'bad patch' and that the pub returns to its previous high standard.

HGH
orral - 19 Nov 2010 00:44
Get here early afternoon, grab a snug and admire the Victorian gin-palace interior while supping a couple of cheap ales. Arrive any later & you'll have to compete for attention with the sharp-elbowed cityboys clamouring for their Pure Brews. Given the central London location, the unique environment and the decent prices it's hard to make any serious complaint about the Louise. Now if Sam Smiths would only open a few joints in North London...
ShenaniganOFlanaghan - 13 Oct 2010 15:36
I nerver fail to be amazed by this place.
Quite possibly the best refurbishment of any pub I've been in. and I've been in a few in my time.

Sam Smiths pub so only the one choice of beer but is always top notch. Bar staff unfailingly freiendly any time of day I have visited

One word of caution. the doors to the snugs have rather tightly wound return hinges on them and so can be difficult to open if you have a drink in both hands.
DoctorFunk - 4 Oct 2010 13:12
one of my favourite pubs in existence.

the interior is a wonder. its an authentic old victorian gin palace, complete with snugs around the bar.

decent different variety of beers and lagers, but the interior is what makes it.
CHELSEA_on_tour - 31 Aug 2010 18:53
The nicest/most traditional interior of any of the Sam Smith's London pubs I've been to.

Simply stunning inside with multi partitioned areas seating about 8 drinkers.

Decor is amazing ... a must visit pub in my opinion.
Pat_Bateman - 18 Aug 2010 13:39
This pub is the finest example of its type. Sympathetically restored. Beer is excellent. The landlord is an institution and deserves his own preservation order.
The loos, stunning as they are, smell terribly.
But my number one!
bighands - 1 Aug 2010 22:28
A SAM SMITHS GEM IN THE CENTRE OF LONDON.

RESTORED A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO TO ITS FORMER GLORY AND WORTH A VISIT ON TWO COUNTS:-

ITS WONDERFUL INTERIOR (INCLUDING ITS GENTS LOOS-FINE VICTORIAN TOILET FITTINGS.)

ITS FINE CHOICE OF QUALITY ALES ON CASK AND BOTTLE.

VISIT.
RedRoosterRocker - 1 Aug 2010 04:33
hadn't been there for years - still as remembered - glad I popped in
Scridian - 25 Jul 2010 22:42
The Princess Louise is top notch. Everyone I've brought to the place has commented very favourably on it.

Drinking cheap beer in beautiful, tasteful, traditional surroundings in central London? You'd better believe it.

A gem of a pub.
shoegazer - 5 May 2010 23:26
Great pub... nice old school decor, and quaint little booths around the bar area. Definitely one I'd visit again.


Harvor - 15 Mar 2010 14:06
I haven;t been here for an awfully long time; what a very pleasant surprise!
Highly recommended.
TALLTORQUIL - 1 Mar 2010 17:57

Called in for a couple of pints one lunchtime last week. Still an excellent pub (although, being a lunchtime, it was quiet).
MartynG - 1 Mar 2010 13:01
at 1.94 a pint, it would be churlish to find fault...and it makes the crowds worthwhile!
jeremyb - 4 Feb 2010 23:56
Return visits on concecutives days endorsed my love for this real gem of a pub.
I was last here in 2009. A good mix of drinkers who seem more sociable than most in London. Try the Citte Of York further down High Holborn for another of Sams gems. This is the best though.
hartlepool - 23 Jan 2010 13:52
This pub still has it soul - not an easy thing to find now. It is one of the best samuel smiths pubs and i would recommmend this to anyone who wants to see what old pubs used to be like before they got grotty carpet and smoke stained wall paper.

I love this pub.
kaicat - 13 Jan 2010 15:45
Had just flown over from Houston, USA. Many hours w/ no sleep. Once we dropped out bags off we went to this wonderful oasis. My friend's first London pub. It was fairly empty enjoyed a nice pint of Old Brewery Bitter. Enjoyed a good conversation with friendly Aussie bartender. Beautiful pub and I am a sucker for the private compartments, fancy glass and mosaics.
NM_Ale_Drinker - 9 Jan 2010 17:27
LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT
walker4812 - 6 Jan 2010 21:28
Been going there off and on for decades - there are downsides (crowds and a limited range of real ales) but choose the time of your visit carefully and it's worth it. The "heritage" pubs of London can sometimes make one feel like a package-tourist, but this one is simply beautiful inside and SO much better than the drear Wetherspoons further down High Holborn.
Arctium_lappa - 29 Nov 2009 14:35
Nice place to relax if you choose the right time. Lovely decor. I like my Ale but the SS premium lager with the special glass is something special. My wife moans about the lack of Guinness (she's Irish) but she has had the oatmeal stout in a few other places and thought that it was actually Guinness!!!
Mr_ESB_Harry - 29 Nov 2009 11:25
i was in this pub to meet friends before going to a restuarant in the area. As many of the reviews says it is a splendid Victorian named after Queen Victoria's daugther Louise Duchess of Argyll.

It has many small snugs and cosy corners etc . But the big problem is its popularity. Arriving at 7PM getting a seat was almost impossible. Just too many people and not enough staff. How anyone can find pleasure being in a grossly overcroweded pub is beyond me. There was nowhere to stand put your bag etc

The beer is the best stuff to buy. I bought a rather mediocre house red wine and it was 5.11 which seems a bit pricey even for the West End.

However it is a nice pub and stands out from the bland interiors in yoru average modern pub. But I will be going next time mid afternoon on a weekday and I think it will be great then on atmosphere.

But Friday and Saturday evenings best avoided unless you enjoy standing in a very crowded hot environment
Caledonian - 14 Nov 2009 00:26
Terrific old pub. I quite like SS beer and my only complaint is that I live 20 miles away.
maxipop - 2 Nov 2009 20:39
Old fashioned, lively pub, full of the hustle and bustle of Holborn. Lovely nocks and crannies to sit with friends in, cesterfield sofas and a good choice of drinks. Heaving after 5.30pm, would recommend it thouroughly.
festy - 16 Sep 2009 23:27
Old fashioned, lively pub, full of the hustle and bustle of Holborn. Lovely nocks and crannies to sit with friends in, cesterfield sofas and a good choice of drinks. Heaving after 5.30pm, would recommend it thouroughly.
festy - 16 Sep 2009 23:27
Beautiful pub which never dissapoints. Been coming here frequently since the refurb and the mirrors and tiling are still sparkling. Sams beers are good in here with me possibly swaying to either Taddy lager or the Stout.

Never seemingly rammed packed but always enough punters to make the atmosphere lively.

Campbell is a top bloke too!
Oakman100 - 5 Sep 2009 09:33
Lunchtime visit, quiet, no food which I found surprising. Beer was of poor quality (had a good pint of SS in Middlesbrough a few days before). But, yes a beautiful pub.
Richard49 - 9 Aug 2009 19:38
I went to this pub last weekend for the first time in several years. it's had a refurb. It looks weird with all those sections to it.
hertsboy - 28 Jul 2009 11:09
beautiful pub - even the loos. Can't believe I've only just found it
boomer - 26 Jun 2009 16:55
An absolute gem of an interior - lots of snob screens, mirrors, etched glass and tiled floors. The Old Brewery Bitter is always well looked after and the staff are usually good at keeping an eye out for anyone who needs serving. It can get rather busy especially during early evening weekdays and weekends, but that's the nature of the area that it's in. A good pub to while away a bit of time weekday afternoons if you find yourself in the neighbourhood.
littledrummerboy - 6 May 2009 15:56
Outstanding interior, immaculate and clean, good pint of Old Brewery Bitter. Only down side check your change.
KeithP - 28 Apr 2009 13:14
I have walked passed this pub for ages and always meant to go in, finally I did so last Thursday, I hadn't realised that it was a Sam Smiths, but that was possibly my own fault for not being observant. Anyway, typical of SS pubs this one is a gem, well worth the visit to step back in time to what pubs used to be like, with a central bar and numerous partitions to create small intimate spaces, these at one time would have been there to devide the classes from one another but these days affords a nice snug intimate environment.
Generally Sam Smiths beers aren't my favorite but I couldn't fault any of theirs because they had been kept well, and the staff were friendly and offered a quick service.
Its well worth a visit for a couple although it does get busy, I will be going back.
trickydisco - 14 Apr 2009 14:36
Loved this classic pub with it's busy atmosphere. If you try one pub in London this is the one. The fitting are the best I've seen in years. simply don't miss this pub and have a walk all the way round and enjoy.
hartlepool - 8 Apr 2009 09:35
Great traditional pub with real character, though can be crowded. A good pint at under 2 in Central London just shows how much we are being ripped off by the other pub companies.
phil_27 - 20 Mar 2009 12:46
Went there for the first time and liked it though crowded on a Friday night.
Got served easily and staff were on the lookout for people waiting, so good.

Again as already said, the mens toilets are a disgrace, it reeks of urine and they look like they came out of the ark, also no signs telling the men or woman doors apart!!

Would go back because of the overall good atmosphere though load as packed..


daveb62 - 8 Mar 2009 22:09
Did a 'split shift' here on Wednesday last week - popped in for a couple or three at lunchtime when it was reasonably quiet, then again at teatime when it was a lot busier. I can understand to a point people's comments about it getting very busy, but I got served no problem and you've got to expect a bit of a wait at busier times. In this day and age, I'd much rather see a thriving, busy pub than a boarded-up derelict one, and in my opinion if a pub is busy then it's got to say something about the place. Yes, I am biased towards the P.L. and always have been since I started going there, but in my opinion a pub in Central London that features well-kept ale, attentive service and staff that actually take the time to talk to punters should be supported and not pilloried
MINTYBOOM - 3 Mar 2009 22:46
Have attempted to get served here 3 times, differeen days between 4:30pm and 7pm and failed miserably. It may have the best interior for miles, but if you're stood nose to face in a tiny little booth with smug-faced I-got-here-early-and-got-a-seat-and-now-this-booth-belongs-to-me types, you'll probaly conclude that life is too short for this and go elsewhere. Sorry, can't be asked with this place anymore. Perhaps they should refurb it back to no snob screens, then we'd stand a chance of getting served.
lobster56 - 22 Feb 2009 04:20
After a false start the previous week with the over cautious organiser postponing FTBS due to non existent snow we arrived at the pub to find it packed with Thursday night drinkers. It could have been the Victorian mirrored interior, or more likely the brilliantly priced pints that attracted the punters. There were little rooms which opened on to a part of bar which would have made you feel like you had your own pub, but unfortunately the organiser didnt arrive early enough to secure one of these, thankfully Barry came to the rescue again and managed to acquire a table at the main bar at the rear.
Although there were only house brand pints on tap they were up to the usual Samuel Smith standard, sweetened by the cheap prices. There was house brand coke (liquid kind not the NZ customs variety) which looked good but none of the team tried.
The only downside was that the toilets smelled like they may not have been cleaned since the place was opened, I would happily pay an extra few pence per pint to have the toilets cleaned.
Overall this bar is worth a visit with the cheap pints the winner on the day.

FTB2 - 18 Feb 2009 22:53
Popped in yesterday evening for a pint. Once I'd worked out how to get in the place and which door leads to which bar I got to the bar and ordered a pint of Samuel Smiths for me and a scotch and soda for my mate. 4.10 is a pretty cheap round and the beer was ok.
Looking around the place I concluded there were too many unnecessary partitions(wondered if the British government had been in here before me) so in fact not a big place due to this. It was very busy with all sorts of people, mostly city types and tourists, mostly rude and pushing to the bar !
Also very hot in there.
Willnot return.
KOTB - 29 Jan 2009 07:34
what happened to all the old staff pre refurb?? where much friendlier and quicker behind the bar. Bring back the Aussies at least they smiled
pensioner - 26 Jan 2009 14:55
a victorian tiled bog don't excuse mediorce beer & shite service.

If your idea of a pub is a quiet pint of decent ale then you best avoid this "architectural gem"

I am not knocking Samuel Smith, it's just that I have had much better....get some staff in that know how to keep & serve beer....

And for Chrissake, any decent manager knows when the busy times are, get some more staff in for them, you penny-pinching pillock or pitch in yourself, ya lazy git.....

any battle-crusier that attracts posts from septics and others who so obviously have the Baked Bean's as a second language is obviously more than a tad suss anyway but it wasn't always like that:

I have been drinking here off and on for decades; used to pop in for a bracer after signing on at the Labour in the pre-CAMRA, pre-TIME OUT days when there were a lot more tiled Victorian cruisers about and you competed for custom on how you kept your house and your beer; a lot more important then than it is today.

Always got a chuckle listening to the drunken pretensions of Thatcher-era yuppy wannabes...I'm still on this ground. How's Essex, sunshine?

All those tiresome Antipodean feminists that seemed to abound around the '87 crash must be morphed into designer grandmothers by now.

Never realised how truly awful Australian is until I had it screeched at me by some homesick flibbertygibbet one opening time in the late 90s. Beleive she went back PDQ to one of those forlorn outback places that end in a vowel: Bendigo, Dubbo, Cronulla .......

Anyway before I have to change my username to rambling_raving_remenisences_of_an_old_geezer, let me just say that this is a cruiser that is at its best mid-cycle; ie. between refurbs, new guv'ners etc.

Now that the re-opening dog & pony show is over and we're having such a luverly winter, almost back to local status in that pre-luncheon period....


threeravensmoor - 20 Jan 2009 21:07
Saturday 10 January: noon. Baltic, biting cold outside: cosy pub, roaring fire, central heating giving it everything, friendly service and a pint of Sam's OBB in very good nick at 1.88. And so wonderfully refurbished. I'm a believer.
joegreen - 14 Jan 2009 16:22
You'll have to look long and hard the length and breth of the UK for a pub interior as beautiful as this-classic Victorian mirror and tiling, booths and snuggs-top draw
Ale wise it is a Samuel Smiths pub so expect average bitter and excellent crisp lager at much cheaper prices than most London boozers.
Lutherslegs - 7 Jan 2009 16:55
for friend from the u.s. there is food in the upstairs bar monday to satarday 12.00 - 2.30 and monday to thursday 6.00 - 8.30
bluekilt - 29 Nov 2008 12:56
I live in America, but come to London typically once per year. In the past, one of my favourite pubs to vist was thev Princess Louise. Alas no more. The beer is great, but now there is NO FOOD. So when I am in Holborn, I now have to find somewhere else for my Pub Lunch. I see no mention of food (lack of) in the many reviews, so I guess I am a voice crying in the wilderness here
aragorn - 28 Nov 2008 19:20
I wish that all pubs were laid out like this one as it is perfect for escaping and hiding from conversational parasites that seem hell bent on ruining your evening (not that I met any in here).

The Old Brewery bitter was nice and the Scottish barman was friendly and professional.

I think that this is the best SS pub I've been into and I wish that I could have the same partitioning put into my local pub.
Strongers - 26 Nov 2008 13:24
Great boozer
And i dont mind the Stout,not as good as Guinness, but nice all the same.
Now the pub.I love the interior its like going back in time to a Dickens Novel without the smell and the Brasses.
The pub has had a refurb,and is now about 6 seperate bars(i suspect that this was what it was like originally) Very atmospheric pub,with a non pretentious city crowd mixed with the odd tourist,and a few people that looked local
Along with the Angel in St Giles(about a 15 minute walk away,and also a SS pub) this is one of my favourite pubs in west of city/west end
A very good pub
tottenhamsean - 15 Nov 2008 13:40
Just to clear up a few points. The reason Sam Smith's are able to sell beer so cheaply is because they don't waste money on any form of advertising - their pubs and products sell themselves. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the quality of the ingredients. All their beers are brewed using only natural ingredients so you needn't worry about that. Finally, despite the attempts of various people to "knock" SS pubs, they continue to be extremely popular, as I can testify from being a regular customer at the Princess Louise. Granted, their beers might not be to everybody's taste, but if that is the case then you always have the option of going elsewhere - simple as that.
MINTYBOOM - 6 Nov 2008 13:58
I've been going to this pub for over 30 years and never thought to look at the comments on BITE before now and am gobsmacked. Being absolutely truthful I stopped going after Sam Smith's took it over because I just can't stand their beer. In the 70s and early 80s I'd pass any number of pubs for a proper pint of Sam Smiths now they sell this instant hang-over inducing keg bitter at incredibly low prices. And not even Guinness to relieve the awfulness. How are they able to sell beer so cheaply, obviously it must be made even more cheaply; I wonder where the ingredients come from. Yes, I like real ale and the PL was a mecca for it and all the wonderful make-overs in the world won't induce me back.
Rembrandt - 3 Nov 2008 11:45
A must visit if you havent been before (or before the refurb) Sam Smith's have done an awesome job in restoring the pub to its former astonishing Victorian opulence. OBB was in superb nick on both my recent visits, much better quality than at the Cittie of York or the Olde Cheshire Cheese
pcummings - 31 Oct 2008 10:54
Its all been well documented but this is a pub worth a visit purely for the superb interior. A huge island bar, panelled walls with tiled inserts, a spectacular ceiling with a tiled frieze below, supported by decorative columns. The entrance step and side corridor have mosaic floors and the original snob screen dividers have been remade and replaced. Fantastic mirrors too. The place positively gleams as well. Superb and laudable restoration, other breweries please take note.
Oh, and Sam Smiths OBB at 1-86 a pint in this location!
Maldenman - 7 Oct 2008 17:27
My wife and I went for lunch recently. Used upstairs lounge: 'hotel' atmosphere. Suberb and fascinating decor and pictures and comfortable seating. Good food and friendly service. Peaceful atmosphere with no music 'played at you' unlike some places.

Happy to recommend it.
Nosduh - 3 Oct 2008 21:44
So very pleased to have this back on the beer scene; oft the time I have fallen down the stairs on way to relief. Revamp looks good, however abit closed in on parts.
anonymous - 25 Sep 2008 09:20
Well worth a visit for the opulent interior:-all tiles, mirrors, wood panelling and intricate ceiling work. Split up into various snugs and drinking areas arranged around the central bar. Only one hand pulled ale available but at 1.86 a pint I'm not complaining!!
tarkatherotter - 10 Sep 2008 14:56
Went in here for the first time in ages the other Saturday night. With it being bank holiday, the place was almost empty - enabling us to sit down and get pissed at our leisure. The staff were much better before the refurb (now most of them are like the blank-faced clones who work in the Cittie of Yorke up the road), and the beer is now pretty indifferent as well. I dunno, i've gone right off this place.
matt_k - 3 Sep 2008 16:34
I went in here for the first time in ages a couple of weeks ago. I'd forgotten what a cracking place it was, and it is a revelation considering it awful location (as far as being full with tourists that is, my pet hate in London pubs)
silentbob9484 - 1 Sep 2008 10:00
Found this place on the weekend, (I don't really know Holborn too well) and it is an absolute joy. I love Sam Smith pubs and this has to be one of the finest. An architectural delight and perfect beer to admire it with. Instantly one of my top 3 pubs in London.
jimd - 1 Sep 2008 08:49
Fantastic refurb ;great interior plus one of the cheapest pints in London. OBB always an acceptable pint , very crowded ,staff ok.
Pidley2547 - 29 Aug 2008 08:38
nice area and cool interior. Went there with my boyfriend and a couple of friends coz one of my friend strongly reckoned. Beer was so cool and quite cheap as normal standard of Sam Smith pub. (we are all big Sam Smith's fans) Unfortunately, we were very dissapointed about the rudeness of staffs. Seemed moody all times. One of staffs just spoke to us in a rude way to finish our drink before the pub closed for 15 minutes. Then, she just stood and stared at our table and our next tables for the whole period. Whenever one of us place our glass (which was still full), she suddenly took it to the counter. She didn't care whether we finished our drink or not. Never, ever got this kind of terrible experience in the pub before. We won't go back again!!!
an_kob - 21 Aug 2008 10:31
I think you love or hate Sam Smiths and I love. And they have cask OBB although I went for the bottled Nut Brown Ale which was wonderful. Must visit for the decor although the much vaunted toilets do pong!
GuideDogSaint - 20 Aug 2008 00:35
I miss this place, it's regulars and the owners so much.The mix of different people also always amazed me- especially on the last Friday of the month- what a crowd!
Can't wait to come check out the facelift- hope its still the same sweet in its new wrapper:)
missinglondon - 18 Aug 2008 14:31
Great old "gin palace" type pub with lots of divided off areas with several bars - something that's very rare in London. Very interesting glasswork, mirrors and tiling. And an interesting gent's toilet!

great SS prices, but my beer wasn't on top form.
bensonby - 5 Aug 2008 10:49
Wow, what a good job Sam Smiths have done in here. Love all the new snug areas and the general tidy-up. Lots of atmosphere now, a great place to have a drink.

Usual Sam Smith beer on tap, but fortunately the fridges are stocked to the max with their bottled range, which is a lot better.

Staff could do with a course in smiling, the girl who served me looked like her face would crack if she tried.

Other than that, eell worth a visit.
Quinno - 3 Aug 2008 11:49
Never been here until today, so can't compare to the "old" Princess Louise...however, stunning interior and detail in the decor. Looks marvellous and the room dividers are all part of the charm , don't listen to the moaners who say it makes it cramped. Friendly barman and reasonable beer, even if it is the unexciting Sam Smith's range.
Gristy - 30 Jul 2008 00:09
Bit of a dichotomy here. Wonderful refurbishment here, to the original design. A painstaking job. Spoiled by some of the worst beer in the UK. But then at the best prices in London. Or is that a trichotomy?
baggydave - 13 Jun 2008 22:53
Yes, yes, yes! But it's too f**king busy and you can't get served anymore! I'm starting to think it was better before the refurb, at least then you could natter with the bar staff a bit. Now it's all sectioned off and you can't.
matt_k - 28 May 2008 11:42
Congrats on the superb refurbishment of this gorgeous victorian pub - amazing to think it nearly got knocked down in the 60s! stunning glasswork and wooden partitions. even the gents is worth a visit!
mozzzzzz - 21 May 2008 18:17
Business as usual here yesterday. Good ale, friendly and attentive staff and landlord - it's nice to see that some things don't change. Holborn is one of my favourite drinking areas in London and this place is one of the main reasons for it. Good stuff.
MINTYBOOM - 20 May 2008 11:59
Recent refurb is nothing short of magnificent !. Had not visited since Dec 06, and feared the worst when it closed and was expecting tacky wine bar alterations etc. However, surely this must be one of the best refurbs in London for some time - Well Done Sam Smiths !, for keeping with the tradition and indeed improving it tenfold. If you thought with the loss of The Barley Mow in Marylebone and its unique `booths` around the bar that wouldnt be seen again, think on, and take a look at this Princess. OBB was on top form too, and I cant think of anything bad to say about this pub.
darloexile - 15 May 2008 11:07
Visited a little while ago, after the refurbishment. They have done a fantastic job, and it should be the standard for every brewery. They have reinstalled the partitions exactly as they would have been, and the famous toilets have been restored very well. Its true that its more difficult to move around, but its worth it. Very pleased to see what they have done with the upstairs, which was a pretty dingy 1970's orange before - now its very welcoming and smart.

The beer is as good and as reasonably priced as ever, with the wheat beer being particularly good. The food was standard pub grub, like pie and chips, etc, but well done, for a good price and lots of it.

Why can't all pubs be like this?
MikeB - 27 Apr 2008 15:50
Visited yesterday for the first time in many years (about the time that it won the Evening Standard "Pub of the Year)and was amazed by the transformation. Admittedly, it wasn't very busy, but the service was good and the OBB was excellent. I've always been fairly ambivelent regarding Sam Smith's beers, but this was good.

A charming pub.
MartynG - 23 Apr 2008 13:40
The interior Princess Louise is nothing short of magnificent. You have to praise Sam Smith's as they've gone for restoration instead of refurbishment and spent a lot of money on restoring this pub to it's original layout. There is certainly less space than before and at busy times it's harder to move around but you'll be able to forgive this fact. If you want space, find yourself a nice open plan All Bar One.

I've always found Sam Smith's beer to be a bit better than average (I've tasted far better, but I've also tasted far worse) and there's no difference here. You can't complain at paying less than 2 a pint for OBB though, even if I did move onto the far superior (but more expensive) bottled Oatmeal Stout once bored.

Overall the pub it's definitely worth a visit, even if it's just to have an explore of wonderful interior!
The_Greene_King - 3 Apr 2008 18:01
The restoration work has been carried out very well and the partitions that have been added have been very nicely made and in keeping with the original style of the place. But I can see problems when it gets very busy or trying to meet up with a friend with all the little cubby holes people can hide in.
But on the whole a job well done.
The quality of the beer is still consistently good as ever.
sootythebeerbear - 26 Mar 2008 01:50
What a relief it was when the place reopened a couple of months back - I'm sure I'm not the only one who missed it while it was closed. Consistently good (and cheap) ale and equally consistent good service from the Landlord and his team are winning qualities for me. The gaffer also takes the time to have a crack with the punters which is surely a rarity in Central London. The pub itself looks fabulous too and is a credit to the people who worked on it. Took a colleague in the other day who hadn't been in since before the refurb and he was impressed with the place too. A shining example of what a proper pub should be like. Well done to all involved.
MINTYBOOM - 20 Mar 2008 13:22
Lobster 56 is dead right. Visit during the day and don't try and meet somebody inside when its busy as you won't find ythem
Huey - 11 Mar 2008 13:46
Popped in late Saturday afternoon. The new partitions are great in theory, but on Saturday they led to there being nowhere to stand, let alone sit so decided to go elsewhere. Shame, really, as I imagine if you get a partitioned area it is really good.
old_at_heart - 11 Mar 2008 11:59
Congratulations to Sam Smith's on a superb job, a pity that some of the other pubcos don't put the same effort into there refurbishments. I quite like OBB so no problems there, well worth a visit to see what has been achieved.
Islander - 22 Feb 2008 17:21
What a restoration - and what an improvement: the partitioned bar breaks up the crowds and prevents large groups intimidating solo or couple drinkers. "Downstairs" is also back to its former "glory", although I notice that one idiot has already taken it upon himself to add his tag in marker pen to the clean wall.
Still cheap, still friendly. Never been a great fan of Old Brewery, but the Sam Smiths cider is as good as any other draught cider but two thirds the price.
pyotr75 - 20 Feb 2008 18:46
Hooray! The PL is back on it's feet again. Not sure about the refurb, I like the train compartment things and its nice my feet no longer stick to the floor, but it seems to have lost a bit of character. Its even busier then it used to be as well, which means you'll have to stand all night and endure mobs of scrounging students milling around at the partioned bar, trying to pay for drinks with handfuls of silver. Little rant there, but still one of the better pubs in Holborn/one of the least dishevelled Sam Smith's in London.
Sonofpubman - 13 Feb 2008 00:32
I'm really pleased that the Louise has reopened. I really like what they've done downstairs - go and have a look. I'm glad that Sam Smith's has done a sensitive refurb and that it retains all the essentials of a good pub - the staff are friendly, the atmosphere is welcoming and the beer is good. Oh, and cheap.
unoriginalname38 - 12 Feb 2008 17:56
Just the best pub in Holborn - was sadly missed when it closed for refurb, but worth the wait! Only slight grumble would be that lunchtimes it can take a while to get served, but thats a minor point. The bar staff are friendly, the refurb makes the palce look great - they just need to extend it by a couple of floors to accommodate everyone who wants to get in!
SueLopez - 11 Feb 2008 17:14
A really excellent refurb - the attention to detail and craftsmanship is stunning. Clearly, Sam Smith's isn't run by accountants. Old Brewery back on truncheon, and very decent it was too. Service was top notch - polite and smiling. A real gem of a pub.
Albert_Campion - 10 Feb 2008 00:19
Called in on a Friday night. Lovely old pub looking back to its best. Full marks for the refurb. Sam's OBB was good, but not my favourite ale at the best of times - good prices though.

Only complaint is that it was so busy, but that is hardly their fault! Might try again, but not on a Friday night. Having said that even with it being busy didn't mean having to wait too long to get served.
alexw123 - 8 Feb 2008 18:49
An old favourite. Best pub in Holborn. Beautiful old gin palace serving cheap good beer (Sam Smith's). Always packed, but that's because it's good.
Greshon - 8 Feb 2008 17:47
It's a triumphant return! Splendid pints of stout and the place looks fantastic (although I think I preferred the more open-plan layout from before). Superbly deserving of the hype.
matt_k - 8 Feb 2008 14:41
Full of character, and deservedly full of customers (although the partitioned areas make navigation towards and around the bar somewhat tricky). All this, and at Sam Smith's bargain prices (e.g. the stout at just 2.15/pint).
rpadam - 6 Feb 2008 22:37
Was in again last Monday - very much the same as my last visit but that's no bad thing: The OBB was on good form (as were the boss and his staff) and from what I can gather the place has been doing extremely well since it reopened (and for me deservedly so). A top notch boozer that's worthy of it's high reputation.
MINTYBOOM - 6 Feb 2008 12:39
As an example of a Victorian "gin palace" the pub is superb (especially the gents). Pity there's only Sam Smith's indifferent ales on sale tho'. Even when well kept they're nothing to write home about.
Dan137 - 3 Feb 2008 10:59
Incredibly busy on a Thursday evening; wonderful pub in every respect, and OBB better than I've tasted of late. Worth a trip for the loos alone ( a Sam Smiths trait).
mtaylor40 - 1 Feb 2008 22:12
Welcome back to an old friend. Refurb is of a very high stsndard, and the partitioning was fine when I visited mid-afternoon on Monday, but I agree that I can't see it working at busier times.

The OBB was excellent and at the standard Sam Smith's price. The victorian urinals haven't been touched, I'm pleased to say, and it didn't pong down there either.

Service was friendly and prompt, and the Guv'nor was on fine form. 8/10
5thearlofwimbourne - 25 Jan 2008 13:30
I saw a glowing review in Thursday's Metro, as I was planning to be in the area today (Sunday) I thought I would pop in and was not disappointed.

Being my first visit I can not comment on the re-furb but the prices were decent. The Victorian interior is charming.

This place would get a 10/10 except I am based in Croydon and it is not, therfore it gets 9/10.
Arnaud - 20 Jan 2008 21:58
Popped in yesterday for the first time since the refurb - the place looks and to a certain extent feels a lot different but it has to be said that the refurb is top notch. Beer is still as good and cheap as before and the same landlord who was in charge before is still there. A long awaited return to the Holborn scene for an old favourite. Welcome back.

MINTYBOOM - 12 Jan 2008 11:43
Respect due to Sams for the very sympathetic refurb. Beer still incredibly cheap at 1.76 for a pint of bitter. Snob screens have divided the pub into 8 or 10 separate areas - great if it's not too busy, but doesn't quite work if it's between 6 and 7 pm - you end up extremely cramped with people desperately trying to protect their own little area. Its Ok for a 30 minute novelty, but you soon get fed up with the loud city types and having to stand in a small booth. If you want a more relaxed pint try the Newton down the road, but still a must for a curiosity visit.
lobster56 - 10 Jan 2008 23:23
Albert I always though that snob screens were those smallish panels you see above the bar at around head height that could swivel round like the ones in The Lamb (or that were still there last time I was in there, but as it is a Youngs pub anything could happen!). But I could be wrong. Maybe someone who really knows what they are talking about will put us straight. I have learned all kinds of things from BITE!
RexRattus - 9 Jan 2008 11:17
Rexrattus - those partitions are what I thought were called 'snob screens'. Glad they're back anyway - can't wait to try 'em out.
Albert_Campion - 7 Jan 2008 15:15
I agree that this is a good refurbishment - well done Sam Smiths.

Hmmm...yes, I do wonder what Youngs would have done to this splendid place

Still highly recommended - and Sam Smiths OBB on the pump is still 1.78


JohnBonser - 7 Jan 2008 12:00
I agree that this is a good refurbishment - well done Sam Smiths.

Hmmm...yes, I do wonder what Youngs would have done to this splendid place

Still highly recommended - and Sam Smiths OBB on the pump is still 1.78


JohnBonser - 7 Jan 2008 12:00
It's very hard to find a drinking spot in here now, I do prefer the open plan pub as before but it is great to see a brewery look after a pub, and this is a great pub!
little_alec - 6 Jan 2008 14:45
Popped in yesterday- what a fantastic job Sam Smiths have done in here- quality fittings lovingly matched to the original and creating a splendid atmosphere with about seven separate drinking areas. The glasswork, mosaic flooring and excellent woodwork as well as a renewed ceiling all made an excellent impression. As Rattus says what a contrast with Young's (asset strippers) Ltd who are busy closing and selling off their portfolio of traditional pubs- the latest candidate being the Tamworth in Croydon. Well done Sam Smith's!
Beerwulf - 6 Jan 2008 12:51
I was in there at lunchtime for a swift one. I can confirm the accuracy of Mintybooms observation in that they do have OBB on handpump. However, they have not reinstated snob screens (if indeed they ever did have them not all Victorian pubs did) as suggested by Albert Campion, but what they have done is reinstate the (presumably originally Victorian) partitions between the bars, making the pub a series of separate drinking areas connected by mosaiced hallways on each side of the pub. Interestingly, Sam Smiths did the same thing at the Angel in St Giles High Street a few years ago, representing a welcome reversal of the trend to turn all pubs into single-room drinking venues. All the original Victorian tiling has been lovingly retained, and what they have done looks to me to be one of the best refurbishments I have seen, and is in stark contrast to what Youngs have done to some of their pubs.
RexRattus - 4 Jan 2008 19:51
Just called this morning (4th Jan) and they confirmed they were open as usual so see you there.
clairgs - 4 Jan 2008 09:57
Any news on whether the Princess Louise did in fact re-open yesterday as was suggested in a previous post? Hoping to visit again in 4 weeks time!
Boothers - 4 Jan 2008 09:16
Had a peep through the door yesterday and I thought I could see handpumps albeit with some sort of cover on - but I could be wrong. Hopefully I'm right though and handpulled OBB will be on sale when the place reopens!
MINTYBOOM - 13 Dec 2007 13:43
The windows are now only half boarded up, so I sneaked a "look" with my camera held at arms length - the interior looks much the same, but it looks like they've reinstated the 'snob screens' at the bar. No sign of hand pumps, though. There's a new shelf on the outside for the smokers. There was lots of uncompleted wiring dangling from the ceiling, too.
Albert_Campion - 12 Dec 2007 16:05
Received an email today from the people at CAMRA's National Inventory to say that the pub will now re-open on 3rd January, (the original date was 14th December).

Apparently they were informed of this by Sam Smiths, so I assume that it is accurate.
wee_jock - 6 Dec 2007 13:07
I'm told it's opening Friday next week, so December 7th. Unless Chris meant Friday this week, ie tomorrow. Woo hoo!
matt_k - 29 Nov 2007 14:52
My understanding is that it is due to re-open in December 2007. I've heard this from 2 different sources independently, so lets hope they're right
JohnBonser - 22 Nov 2007 17:04
Intriguing post by matt k - I wonder when the place is actually due to reopen?
MINTYBOOM - 8 Nov 2007 17:43
I've heard it's staying open after the supposed "one day" opening at xmas time - let's hope so eh?
matt_k - 8 Nov 2007 17:12
Passed by the end of the road Friday before last and the amount of scaffolding on the outside of the pub appeared to have lessened - so let's hope that this means that the reopening isn't too far off!
MINTYBOOM - 30 Oct 2007 12:10
Indeed there is absolutely no need to be worried. As previously said, in order to do a proper job on a fantastic old pub like this, it does take time. Not only is the pub going to be repaired but it is also going to be returned to its state after the famous refurb which got it into the state which it is roughly in now. Unfortunately during roughly the 1960s some of the old partitions were destructively and unsympathetically removed. However these will be reinstated to make it a truly spectactular old pub, exactly as it was meant to be.
chris2 - 28 Sep 2007 23:52
Mintyboom mightn't be unduly worried, but when's the blessed thing going to open again? Cirrhosis could strike at any moment.
pauldanon - 25 Aug 2007 21:26
I don't think that anybody needs to be unduly worried about the length of time the PL is closed for, or that it will be wrecked - from having spoken to the landlord prior to the pub's closure, I know why the refurb is going to take so long, and nothing in what he told me gave me any cause for concern. It is quite an old building, and a lot of the fittings eg. electrics and such like date back quite a long while, so if it is going to be refurbished in a sympathetic manner then it is bound to take time. This was one of my favourite, if not my favourite London pubs before the refurb started and I'm sure it will be again when it's finished - hopefully with a gentleman who I will refer to as CM back in charge. Roll on the re-opening!
MINTYBOOM - 3 Jun 2007 01:02
Given that it's a Sams pub, I would normally be optimistic that it would not be wrecked, but it's a desperately long time to remain closed - till Dec 07, according to a previous contributor - so I have to admit to being concerned in this case
JohnBonser - 8 May 2007 15:28
If the two old craftsmen signwriters I saw restoring the sign of the Cittie Of Yorke down the road were anything to go by, I think it's fair to say that Sam Smiths are a safre pair of hands where this pub is concerned.
Albert_Campion - 25 Apr 2007 17:57
This is now closed until December 07 (according to the info that was in their window) for a full refurbishment. I trust that Sam Smiths will do an excellent restoration, rather than anything else that is going to spoil the excellent interior.
LovePubs - 25 Apr 2007 16:20
The most beautiful pub I've visited - and the stout is good (and cheap).
glenfarg - 25 Apr 2007 02:47
Paid my last visit (Friday 9th March) with my colleague Sooty before the refurb. Beer was excellent as usual, CM was in fine form... just the things I'm going to miss whilst it's closed. Here's to the grand re-opening. Best wishes from up north.
MINTYBOOM - 10 Mar 2007 00:51
So it only sells OBB on draught? Don't really care at 1.72 a pint. I think I prefer the Cittie of Yorke - but still in my top 5 London pubs.
BillyD - 8 Mar 2007 13:48
This pub serves consistently excellent real ale in historic surroundings. With beer at 1.72 a pint, and a fantastic choice of Sam Smiths bottled beers the Princess Louise is well worth a visit by the discerning drinker. For those interested in history and archictecture the interior is awsome.
Friendly staff and a dedicated landlord make a great night out!
hoilem - 1 Mar 2007 00:42
A very decorative interior only let down by just doing Samuel Smiths best bitter. A stronger bitter would be a welcome addition.
Paul666 - 27 Feb 2007 15:29
Visited this pub last Saturday (24/02/07) and it's not too bad. All the usual Sam Smiths beers and ciders on tap. Never went into the toilets or tried the food. As it was a Saturday evening it was nigh on impossible to get a seat or table but having the upstairs lounge bar closed was rather annoying. The sign outside proclaiming it was once voted 'BEST LONDON PUB INTERIOR' is easy to see as it's quite ornately done but not to my taste anyway! If you like Sam Smiths pubs I'd recommend you try the Citie of Yorke a bit further along High Holborn - you're more likely to be able to sit down there...

;)
wezmiester - 26 Feb 2007 17:07
well its getting close now to the long awayted and well desered restorations.
i would like to take this time to thank all of you out there who use and have used the p.l. over the 3 and abit years.too you guys who have said nice things about us cheers.too you guys who havent had nice things,all i can say is sorry.i would allso like to say afew words about the beer that we sell , i do understand that it is not to everybodys taste, but some of the comments are over the top .the obb seems to be the bigest offender,all handpumped obb is served from wooden casks, and with tight creamy head,this also seems to offend,but this is what gives it its smoothness and roundness of flavor.anyway when you have been brewing as long as sams have you must be doing something right!!!!!!!
a final word to all those who have felt hard done to at closeing time when being asked to drink up and leave.the staff are only doing there job, after 11 o,clock you have untill 20 past to FINNISH your drinks,after that you ARE breaking the LAW by still having your drinks and WE are breaking the LAW by letting you have them.
so next time you are asked to drink up an leave in any pub or bar its not because they want to go home or out for a drink themselves its the LAW.
so once again thank you all for comeing in and giving us a go.
cm.......
anonymous - 21 Feb 2007 12:13
Can't fault the place - as a frequent visitor from the north I treat is as my London "Local" - Great staff, a top gaffer (CM take a bow) and decent beer as well. It'll be a sad loss (albeit a somewhat lengthy temporary one) when it shuts down, but they say that good things come to those who wait and painful though said wait will be let's hope it's worth it and, more to the point, here's hoping that the Big Fella gets a decent boozer in London Town to play with before returning to rule the roost when the refurb is complete. I've fetched countless people here and they all say the same thing - "Top". Nuff said.
MINTYBOOM - 13 Feb 2007 01:34
Lots of old men sitting on what you just know is 'their' table. A charming place with a very drinkable pint.
DirtyPanda - 10 Feb 2007 22:03
Looks like it's gonna be a major job as the pub is going to be shut for 9 months. Lets just pray that they don't rip the heart out of the place, (at a time when many of Londons historic pubs are closing and being destroyed (e.g. The Barly Mow.)
Norealaleinorpington - 8 Feb 2007 14:58
Further to my previous comment, I visited the PL with a work colleague a few weeks ago and, following the landlord's return, the beer quality had improved significantly and CM himself was in good form as well. When I said that the staff could sometimes seem indifferent, that particular comment was not aimed at all of them, just some who could do with smiling a bit now and again - otherwise I've never had a problem with them. There can't be many pubs in Central London where the boss takes the time to come and have a crack with the punters. Echo the comment about hoping that the refurb is sympatchetic - also, let's hope that the current gaffer is in charge when the refurb is complete and carries on the great job he's doing at the moment.
MINTYBOOM - 29 Jan 2007 23:25
I find the recent comments on the PL interesting, as it is not the pub I know and have been using as a lunchtime haunt for the last year or so.

I think that perhaps the last poster hit the nail on the head when he pointed out that all of the (alleged,) incidents took place in a period of late December when the (excellent,) landlord was away in Austrailia watching the debacle that was the ashes.

I have always found the staff here to be cheery and approachable myself.

I to have heard that the pub is closing for a refurb soon and it does need it as it is getting a bit tatty. However lets hope SS's does a sympathetic refurb as it has with the nearby Lyceum.

Oh and you can't review without mentioning that the pub has the finest Gents in London!

Lets hope that the landlord reads this and is savvy enough to realise that whilst he was away his staff appear to have let him down badly.
Norealaleinorpington - 25 Jan 2007 12:44
A favourite of mine since I first visited nearly 3 years ago. The appealingly priced and well-kept Sam Smith's OBB is a big attraction, although quality seemed to have dipped on my last visit (possibly down to the fact that the excellent landlord was on holiday). Yes, the bar staff can sometimes seem indifferent but if you can look beyond that then it's a cracking old boozer. The only shame is that it is due to close for a few months sometime early in 2007 for a major refurb - let's hope it comes back just as good if not better than before. Long live the PL!
MINTYBOOM - 29 Dec 2006 17:33
The latest bar staff have really ruined this place. I've been drinking there for 10 years on and off, but I won't go back now until there's a change. I met a group of friends there last night for a relaxing pre-Christmas drink, but the Aussie barmaids did their best to ruin it for us. One of our party was refused service because she didn't say please (even though she had asked very nicely). We were shouted at for not returning our glasses (even though we didn't have any glasses to return). We had three minutes to evacuate the top floor at 10:30 with no warning, but we duly went downstairs on the promise that they had a license till 11:30. But then at 11 on the dot they threw open all the doors and started the aggressive tactics again. We were a polite group, not really drunk, and in a good mood, but we were treated like we were a bunch of drunken thugs. In fact, we would have finished our drinks and moved on quicker if the barmaid hadn't spent so much time standing in our faces shouting. You can catch more bees with honey than vinegar.
bertee - 23 Dec 2006 09:50
I posted the 1st anonymous comment, I remained anonymous for my own reasons but do not want HellsBells to be accused of posting 2 comments.
I have worked behind a bar myself and know it is a tiring and thankless job, but the attitude of the staff in this pub was disgraceful.
Carrie79 - 19 Dec 2006 11:02
To the second 'anonymous', I only posted the first comment. Also, the pub was full of people drinking and we weren't being slow. I'm just saying what happened, not trying to stop anyone from going.
hellsbells - 18 Dec 2006 17:33
Just because you've called yourself anonymous second time round doesn't mean we think you're two different people.

Although it must have been irritating for you, you have to remember that the pub probably only has a license until 11 and after a long shift it's not much fun for the barmaid when people are slow to finish their drinks.
anonymous - 18 Dec 2006 16:49
Avoid this place like the plague - in here are the rudest, most aggressive bar staff I've come across in over 10 years of drinking of London. We used to be regulars - choosing to ignore the disgustingly filthy toilets in favour of a good location and cheap beer. Not anymore. Our visit on Saturday was ruined when a barmaid physically snatched drinks out of our hands and told us to 'get out'. No 'drink up please' or anything of the sort. This place does not deserve one single penny of your money.
anonymous - 18 Dec 2006 13:58
In my book, this place is a real find. The setting is well-preserved Victorian, giving it bags of character and (wait for it) a Grade 2 listed gents downstairs! (Whether this precludes ever cleaning the gents, who knows.) Best to get yourself in early on a weekend, the cheap beer usually attracts a large crowd of discerning drunks (myself and the other members of my band amongst them).
matt_k - 12 Dec 2006 15:44
Used to be a Vaux freehouse with a range of interesting beers. It was always stacked out then. While Smiths bitter is not particularly noteworthy the crowds are still there. The interior is still quite magnificent but will need some attention soon.
MrLloydEvans - 8 Dec 2006 10:20
Beautiful pub, always fairly busy due to the historic interior and the cheap drink prices. The bar staff are pretty good and there's quite a lot of seating in the main bar area, and also a small upstairs bar which always seems to be closed for a private function. A good place for a post-work drink, although the loos are fairly shocking and you can almost smell the gents if you are sitting near the top of the basement stairs. Still, one of my favourite pubs.
treehavn - 4 Dec 2006 14:50
Historic, like all other Sam Smith's places. There's not really much else for me to add...worth visiting to see the interior, but as for drinks, atmosphere etc you don't really need me to tell you, just go to your nearest Sam Smiths pub. It's like that.
Muzthing - 28 Nov 2006 12:35
Wonderful pub, which Ive visited many times over the years. Was quite taken aback, last night at the state of the Gents. If you can get beyond the appalling stench, the filth/graffiti and peeling painting work complete the experience. Shocked to see a Sam Smiths pub allowed to get like this. Shame when you have such a stunning interior, that no time is being invested in basic hygiene.
BlindTiger - 28 Nov 2006 09:10
Love this place. It's almost awe-inspiring to drink in such a great interior (dirty though it is!). And hmmnn, of course the Sam Smith's issue . . . Cheap, but deservedly so.
insekt - 27 Nov 2006 20:16
Can you read? My only negatives below are regarding Sam Smith's bitter (I stand by my opinion - its creamy northern shite) but I lavish praise on the pub itself. That's why I keep going there. Might stop though, if you and the rest of the slow readers club are in residence.
anonymous - 15 Nov 2006 17:12
this is one of londons gems,the beer and lager is allways in good nik, dispite the comments a few of you made.
stnoch i notice you bagging it a few times,if its that bad stop going in!!!!!!!
anonymous - 15 Nov 2006 15:28
Next door to where I occasionally have to visit for work.

Gloomy, really, but in a good way.

Beer okay, but cheap.

Top mirrors, plasterwork, tiling and so on - hope this restoration that I'm hearing about is only that
Joan_Crawford - 3 Nov 2006 11:07
One of the most visually pleasing pubs in London, with its incredible interior. Nice atmosphere too, one of the better pubs in the Holborn area.

I have to agree with the comments about OBB. When in Sam Smiths pubs I tend to either go for the stout, or for one of the bottled beers.
Crow_Valley - 29 Oct 2006 16:23
Fascinating interior to this former gin palace, particularly liked the etched mirrors (from Kennington) and the sepulchral urinal in the gents. Have to agree about the SS bitter, but at least it was cheap. The lady behind the bar was extremely pleaant and friendly. Hope they keep the refurbishments tasteful.
somertel - 24 Oct 2006 15:14
Good cheap food, though a rather small selection. Pleasant enough atmosphere though the toilets were minging. There was some graffiti dated from 2003 - I wonder if that was when they were last cleaned.
mattp - 20 Oct 2006 13:57
I agree OBB is a hopeless beer. A dull, middle-of-the road Yorkshire bitter - only one step up from Tetley's and John Smith's.
anonymous - 13 Oct 2006 22:29
Good to know that it will be restored rather than refurbished (wouldn't like to think about that).

On a separate note I tend to stay away from old brewery bitter in SS pubs these days as it never seems particularly nice. Am I the only one to do so? Is there any reason why it doesn't live up to expectations? I do like there stouts though and the pure brewed lager is fine.
mitomighty - 13 Oct 2006 22:19
The Princess Louise is a beautiful pub.

The reason it is looking a little jaded is because of the grade 1 listing it has with English Heritage. It was due for a major refurbishment over a year ago but negotiations are taking longer than expected. Once completed it should look exactly the same but more beautiful.


Vandr - 8 Oct 2006 10:58
The Princess is a favourite of mine. The beer is good, the landlord is a nice bloke and the decor is what I expect from a proper London pub - Victorian and a bit tatty with lots of brass and mirrors. I particularly like the atmosphere prior to the evening rush when you can sit and contemplate the surroundings as it slowly fills. Can get very busy. However, on a warm evening, I'm not adversed to standing outside as it's window sill can also be very accomodating, allowing me to spot details in the surrounding buildings I've never seen before.
eddieframpton - 1 Oct 2006 10:51
Called here tonight. Used to visit here regularly donkeys years ago when it was a Vaux house. Apart from the lack of interesting beers everything appears much the same. Didn't notice the tattiness but it was after dark so probably not so apparent. Sam Smiths Extra Stout at 2.08 a pint has to be a bargain. Not particularly busy, don't know if that's normal for a Sunday night.
canastajim - 17 Sep 2006 23:11
After a crap Friday morning at work I resolved to spend the afternoon pondering the 'amazing' interior.

While the mouldings themselves are wonderful, they are left down by their poor condition, their decoration and, well, the dirt.

The interior could be so much more.

It was not even made any better by four excellent pints of wheat beer.

Average bar staff. Grubby toilets. A disappointment.


anonymous - 14 Sep 2006 19:56
Came in here on Saturday - this place still has the wheat beer available, which is definitely a plus. I tend to stay off the hand-pulled Old Brewery Bitter in London, as it understandably doesn't travel well (still uses old casks).

The pub is admittedly a beautiful place and a must-see, although I'm not sure I'd say it's the Most Beautiful Pub in London (recently received the award). Just because a place is traditional, doesn't mean it needs to be scruffy & dirty, and this place is tattered around the edges. Places like The Mitre, The Salisbury, The Grapes, and The Mayflower are able to keep their traditional appearance without looking like they haven't seen a wet cloth or mop this century. This place just needs a deep clean (and the toilets repainted).

Cleanliness gripes aside, a great pub.
topdog_andy - 22 Aug 2006 11:40
As so here was my first visit to a Sam Smiths pub. An impressive looking place. Beer obviously cheap. Had a pint of the bitter and a pint of stout. Good stuff. I'd recommend this pub it you're into pub architecture or cheap beer(who isn't). Other than that it's a bit dark and dreary and lacking in atmosphere, but then it was only a Saturday afternoon.
giantelf - 14 Aug 2006 14:48
Martin, as far as I am aware SS pubs still serve wheat beer and would be surprised if this place had dropped it. They just call it "wheat beer" these days - they've dropped the German-language names of their various pretend-German beers.
anonymous - 26 Jul 2006 14:55
Popped in here on Saturday afternoon: temperature well over 30 but four pints of Pure Brewed Lager went down well and soon I felt better. This is one of the recent changes in the Sam's range: Heffe Weiss (the poor man's Hoegarden) seems to have bitten the dust though. Atmosphere fine and relaxed until a big group of slackers turned up at about five: seemed to be on some kind of organised crawl. As this place is on neither the Circle Line or the Monopoly board, what could this be? Surely not a visit to every Sam's pub?
Martinl - 24 Jul 2006 14:24
What? This is a cracking place. I'd be happy to drink Panda Cherryade in here the interior is that impressive. OK I grant you that the toilets could be better looked after (just cleaned). After all they are part of the pub too. As far as Sam Smith pubs go, I generally find them ok and although I don't rate old brewery bitter much I enjoy some of the bottled stuff. People who don't know about Sam Smith's places generally feel put off by the unfamiliarity of the drinks on offer rather than by any logical train of thought. Stunning interior 'pushing it a bit' ?? Well, when you're used to Kingsmeadow....
mitomighty - 11 Jul 2006 17:18
Agreed, second only to The Philharmonic in Liverpool for stunningly ornate pub interiors. A must visit pub
JohnBonser - 22 May 2006 14:51
I give up. Some people, eh. Some people. No wonder All Bar One stays in business. I will repeat until I am blue in the face - the interior of this pub is a site to behold if you are interested in pub interiors.
anonymous - 22 May 2006 14:43
I'm slightly perturbed by the reviews which sing the praises of this pub. If it wasn't a Sam Smith's with cheap beer, then I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be getting such great comments. Having said that, the pub was reasonably pleasant even if one member of barstaff upstairs wasn't. The beer was fine as far as Sam Smith's goes. I think 'stunning interior' is probably pushing it a bit so I'll go with Steve_D's diagnosis. He is also spot on about the urinals. The fact that they are Victorian is irrelevant - clean them from time to time and they would be fine.
womble54321 - 22 May 2006 14:31
Spacious and comfortable (and an oasis in a desert of early-closing/not-even-open pubs at weekends). Nice ceiling, but they missed a bit just in the corner - tsk, what a bunch of cowboys...
Sam Smith's does the trick for me, so it's a thumbs-up all round for the Princess Louise. Cheap beer does, understandably, turn it into a sardine tin post-work, though.
TheHofBear - 9 May 2006 14:27
"The pub is nicely decorated (but as stated below, a bit tatty)"

To give another view this pub is generally considered by experts to be bless with one of the most remarkable interiors in London.
anonymous - 26 Apr 2006 19:22
This place isn't great but isn't bad. The pub is nicely decorated (but as stated below, a bit tatty) and would be very spacious if the bar didn't take up about half the floor space, but there's a bit more space upstairs. Yes, the urinals downstairs are Victorian but they also smell as if that was the last time they were cleaned, you can smell them from the top of the stairs. Sam Smith's prices are very, very cheap, the lager is not the greatest, the stout isn't too bad and have heard good things about the bitter but haven't tried it myself. Food is good but slightly on the expensive side. 6/10
Steve_D - 26 Apr 2006 18:26
Another Sam Smiths gem. Stunning interior. Beer decidingly average, though Old Brewery Cask at 1.70 a pint cannot be sniffed at. Several stag parties passed through : mainly to use the bogs, also many arrogant gunners were in residence, though didnt distract. The Manager was pleasant enough and topped my pint up after his `polish/east european/whatever barmaid` served me a pint of froth.
anonymous - 3 Apr 2006 09:50
Cracking drinker right in the middle of town. Happy mix of 'locals' (generally to the right of the central bar if using the main entrance), tourists and office-types. Good atmosphere and useful point to start a crawl down into Covent Garden from Long Acre around the corner.....Bare in mind if you're visiting at a weekend that the PL will then tend to be a lot quieter, and there aren't any TV's if you want to catch-up on the football/racing/peanut-carrying
LondonWolf - 10 Feb 2006 09:41
Decent enough all round. Lovely unspoit interior with a slightly more 'posh' upstairs. At last they've got around to getting shut of the EVENING STANDARD PUB OF THE YEAR 1986 sign.

Those toilets are seperately listed, y'know.
Albert_Campion - 13 Jan 2006 14:53
A genuinely stunning interior that puts almost every other pub in existence to shame. Going a bit tatty in places but that's known as a "proper pub" in these days of boring bars and plastic pubs.
And the Louise is *packed* with character, fom the ammonia-drenched loos (bad) to the incredible ceiling art (good), from the organic bottled beer (very good!!) to the very very very reasonable prices (very very very very good - especially in this part of London). There's lots to like here and very little to really dislike.
Not, perhaps, the most glamorous pub you'll ever visit, and the food is pretty basic, but the Louise is usually busy, and with a mix of all types.
StuPC - 10 Jan 2006 14:09
Bloody awful. This pub seems to have more than its fair share of drunks and lunatics loafing around. It's dark, dank and depressing. The food looks very shoddy, the Sam Smiths bitter was pretty dreadful. Not going to be heading back there in a hurry.

Why go to this place when the Old Nick and The Lamb are both a short walk away???!
anonymous - 30 Dec 2005 11:22
Pretty pub and deserted on a sunday (maybe due to lack of food).
sifr - 15 Dec 2005 12:54
Had a nice Samuel Smith pint of stout in here. Pleasant bar room atmosphere and decent pub, all in all. Missed out on the urinals unfortunately but you can't have everything, can you?
BigWobblers - 24 Nov 2005 17:53
Good decor, if a bit dark, gorgeous urinal (honestly, it really is) but terrible stench (as mentioned earlier). Cheap beer, including a nice lager. Yep, a nice lager.
roymondo - 20 Nov 2005 21:46
A beacon of style,good service and value quality ale.Sam Smiths in top condition at 1.70 a pint. The question is: if Sam Smiths can do this in a central area at these prices and still make a living,then what mugs are we for frequenting the 2.50+ a pint merchants? Support those who keep the price of good beer down!
mally - 10 Nov 2005 00:00
Excellent architectural features. Sam Smith's beer. Pleasant staff. Too dark. 7/10.
Real_Al - 3 Nov 2005 20:57
Wonderfully ornate ceiling, impressive monolith of a ancient urinal, decent decor, friendly staff and cheap prices. This place has plenty of character and if there is a downside it's that decent seating is a little bit scant. One shouldn't be put off by the beer as there is plenty to choose from and it's probably a damn site better for you than most mainstream beers. Strong mind.
Good for: Crawling aroung Holborn
thenationofjames - 24 Oct 2005 13:39
Sam Smith's attempt at a Gin House. A big bar with ornate light fixtures and mirrors about. Not a big Sam Smiths beer fan.

The highpoint is the Victorian masterpiece of a urinal down in the gents. It looks lovely (its twin can be found in the London Museum). The urine runs down the edifice into a trough beneath your feet. The combined stench of 150 years of use fills the air. One wag upstairs claimed that the trough drained into the cellar . . . Sam Smith isn't that bad!
jorrocks - 22 Oct 2005 04:54
Cheap beer - a very pleasent dive.
Delios - 30 Sep 2005 13:18
Great beer, but yes the gents reeks very noticeably. It's a piece of porcelain history but surely they could sort the plumbing out without destroying it.

I hadn't been for a while but would visit again.
GrahamA - 2 Sep 2005 08:55
One of my favourite pubs in London. Great victoriana pub. Can get a bit smokey and the gents could do with a bit of a rennovation.
nonecker - 11 Aug 2005 14:01
I enjoyed drinking here, we were chatting to the landlord who was very friendly. a pleasant evening in pleasant surroundings :-)
Wardy - 18 Jul 2005 13:49
A fairly dark scabby-looking Victorian pub. Sam Smiths, with all that entails. Personally I'd rather drink my own urine, but settled for the very similar tasting cider.
rah - 2 Jun 2005 13:22
Beer was very reasonably priced (May 14, 2005), the lowest I found in London. The men's toilet wasn't as smelly as some had listed. The colonial staff, the Canadians and Aussies, were friendly and seemed to enjoy working here.
tee128 - 22 May 2005 01:19
A very, very, very large room that serves beer and has an enormous, no-necked Aussie behind the bar (again). Not bad, can get crowded. They have proper pub grub though (crisps and nuts).
Ruby - 29 Apr 2005 22:27
A really good value pub, and theres not too many of those about in London.
And for those who don't like Sam Smiths, why go in there in the first place,
very strange.
history100 - 11 Apr 2005 17:42
Agree with all these recent comments. The Sam Smith's is certainly cheap but also horrible. I could stand two pints then had to go to another pub. The thing is you think "Well I'll have a pint of something decent like Guinness instead". Except ALL the alcohol on sale seems to be Sam Smith's versions of well-loved favourites, but nothing like as good. It's quite difficult getting something worth drinking in a Sam Smith's pub I always find. I've resorted to Bloody Marys on quite a few occasions
Ullage - 6 Apr 2005 16:28
A very lovely looking pub but had no wine list (in central London?), so I had a very unremarkable bottle of south african white. As the evening wears on it gets less crowded and more comfortable, however, the toilets STINK. The smell greeted you on the way down the stairs. Someone must have mentioned it to the staff because later on it smelled of piss AND air freshener.
Passiflora - 25 Mar 2005 18:23
Splendidly traditional pub, a must for any out - of -towner in the area. Sam Smiths is not my favourite pint either - sometimes can taste a bit like cough mixture - but, hey, its only 1.68p per pint.

If you're an aficianado of ornate pub toilets, try the famous Philharmonic in Liverpool when you're up inthat neck of the woods.
JohnBonser - 17 Mar 2005 13:06
nice pub, good atmosphere - dont really for Sam Smiths beers though....
moclips2002 - 12 Mar 2005 21:56
Spent a lovely evening here last week, sat by the fire (gas, not real).
Started out v busy and almost too crowded, but got to that nice comfortable level of busy-ness by about 8 and stayed that way the rest of the night.
Friendly staff, lots of seats etc (although upstairs was shut for a private function when I was there, which made it a bit more difficult to find a perch), and good booze.
minx2012 - 28 Feb 2005 13:44
The toilets are supposed to be listed, though last time I was there I would have thought it was listed for demolition. It all goes to show that if you go to a pub because of its toilet, then you are truly a person in need of 30 minutes with the good doctor. Nice pub - never that warm or welcoming - but a great example of yer gin type palace. You get the impression that there was more of a laugh to be had here in the 1905s than the 2005s. Still, it is a London boozer that should be on everyone's list, which is more than I can say for Samuel Smith ales, which are as close to Thames water than I care to think about as I seek to draw inspiration from the urinals.
City_Womble - 11 Feb 2005 15:17
Very well priced beer here - not a massive fan of all the sam smiths beers, but they were not expensive at all. The place looks really nice especially upstairs. I'd consider going back if i was aroudn the area. Toilets are nothing special though...dunno what people are on about.
spleen978 - 10 Feb 2005 14:40
Historic Victorian pub with great decor including impressive mirrors along the walls. Although it wasn't always like this - was previously divided into several rooms and snugs (look at the ceiling to see where the partions were) and it was previously a Free House. Shame it now only sells Sam Smiths now even if its probably the best pint you will get of it anywhere.
lout_from_the_lane - 8 Feb 2005 13:26
Gorgeous old decor, open fire place, good beer. Not at all crowded on Friday, dunno why.
ahardy66 - 19 Jan 2005 18:29
CAME ACROSS THIS PLACE A FEW MONTHS BACK AND ALWAYS TRY AND POP IN WHENEVER I'M IN LONDON - THE SAM SMITH'S OBB IS ALWAYS EXCELLENT, VERY APPEALINGLY PRICED AND SERVED WELL BY EFFICIENT, FRIENDLY STAFF. PAY IT A VISIT - YOU'D BE HARD PRESSED TO BE DISAPPOINTED.
BOOM BOOM - 5 Nov 2004 22:04
Great staff. Great beer. Beautiful inside. A "must see" when you are in the area.
beerbum63 - 10 Oct 2004 07:29
Great pub...my favourite Sam Smith's. Great atmosphere/bar staff and beer. The litle man in a box is a sight for sore eyes any night of the week.
Tonio Cubio - 17 Sep 2004 13:05
I really enjoyed my evening in this pub. The beer was excellent and the staff attentive and competant. The decor is superb but I didn't win on the fruit machinr :-(
Glen - 14 Sep 2004 15:09
Despite the charm and character of this pub, it is very uncomfortable. There are very few seats and so it's mainly "standing room only". It is also very smoky. With reference to previous comments about the gents loos - you'll easily find them - just follow your nose.
Pippa - 27 Jul 2004 14:28
great pub great staff and great ales what more can you say?
julian - 15 Jun 2004 12:17
This is a superb-looking pub. Famous for its unusual gents toilets! Being a Sam Smith's pub, the beer is excellent and very cheap.
I don't understand people who moan critisise the lack of choice of beer. If they want big choice then they should stick to awful chain pubs like Weatherspoons, but they should accept that for the big choice of 'leading brand' beers they will pay a lot more money and get much poorer quality - and bland pubs too. I know what I prefer! Long live great independant brewers like Samuel Smith, and all their great pubs.
Johnno - 9 Jun 2004 11:47
This is the most fantastic pub, the decor has the complete wow factor. Really ornate ceilings, mirrors and tiles. The bar staff were great. I left my camera in on a pub crawl one saturday and I got it back! Also the mens loos are worth checking out, we took quite a few pictures.
Maz McGuigan - 10 May 2004 10:57
Fookin' brillo.
Chris Wilson - 1 Mar 2004 03:20
Lovely old style pub. Friendly, helpful bar staff. Took American visitors here - they thought it was great.
Jay - 14 Feb 2004 15:19
The bar staff have heaps of fun along with the customers, Josie and Sheree upstairs Friday nights, what a blast! josie the beautiful bar girl from NZ.
andy - 2 Feb 2004 12:28
Decor fantastically OTT, toilets very victorian and smelt like it too. Shame I never got to it before it was a Sam Smiths only pub- why can't they have a few guest ales? Wouldn't be in a hurry to return.
anonymous - 16 Dec 2003 16:50
I'm with Jeff - have a piss in this pub. It's possibly the nicest place I've ever urinated. The beer's pretty decent and cheap, too.
Sam - 11 Dec 2003 14:58
Lovely Pub, but Sam Smith's reduced the amout of real ale, from loads down to only one. Used to be even more popular, when choice of real ales was decent.

Paul Nightingale - 3 Dec 2003 14:18
Go for the loo. Stay for the pint.
Jeff - 9 Oct 2003 02:08
A true gem in an area of Holborn becomingly increasingly dominated by tackiness and bland corporate dullness. The Princess Louise is a beautiful building both inside and out, even the toilets make you want to wander round admiring the decor. Probably best not to though, not in the West End, and anyway they have a fine selection of cheap Sam Smiths beers upstairs with a Pils lager that will knock your socks off and make you forget your name into the bargain. If only the bar staff weren't a bunch of loud belligerent and boorish Aussies this could possibly be one of the very best pubs in London.

Agnes - 19 Aug 2003 16:45
The interior is impressive and thank God it hasn't been modernised. Impressive bogs. At the end of the day though you want a nice cool beer but the one I had was luke warm gnat's piss. End of story
anonymous - 17 Aug 2003 00:33
The most amazingly decorative pub - the downstairs bar is a treat for the eyes. Sam Smiths, so nice and reasonable... and wheat beer :)

Jason - 12 Jun 2003 11:54
The Princess Louise public house has a great friendly atmosphere. This is one of the key features a pub must have and the Princess Louise certainly has that, not mentioning the beautiful decorations which surround the pub.
The Princess Louise is a definate example of a fine pub which holds history and quality staff.
Personally i reccommend the Princess Louise!
Dawn - 9 Jun 2003 21:26
Massive pub - and all the better for it. Lots of atmosphere, beautiful building, and even a half-decent crowd!
Darryl - 27 Apr 2003 23:22
it's brilliant pub
dolph - dolph@zp.pl - 13 Mar 2003 03:26
The Fat Bastard beer is worth a pint, as is the Organic Lager in bottles. No central heating, but that's no problem when packed out. Ideal venue upstairs for private do's.
katherine - 14 Feb 2003 04:48
Beautiful old-fashioned decor (they say 'redecorated in 1891'!) -- one of the best.
Everett - 31 Jan 2003 08:45
original victorian decor with truly the most awesome urinals in the gents. I realise "awesome" and "urinals" are not words you commonly see together, but if you're in Holborn, you have to see them!

The Sam Smiths is well kept, and they have Oatmeal Stout in bottles which is highly recommended.
Paul Dixon - 19 Dec 2002 12:39
Superb pub, with what can only be described as monumental masonry in the gents and a truly eclectic clientele. The beer is stupidly cheap (1.64 for a pint of Best), and the staff are as good as anywhere else. Top banana!
Marc Dickson - 5 Dec 2002 09:08
The Ayingerbrau Heffe-Weisse tastes fantastic and goes down like a dream, but beware - this evil German kamikaze juice rates amongst the Staropramens of this world as definitely not for school nights :)
mike - 1 Dec 2002 14:13
In CAMRA's National Inventory listings, this is a tremendously historical pub worth trying . Only Sam Smiths bitter but it is kept well.
glossopowl - 15 Nov 2002 09:40
-**{{ITS BLINDING}}**-

Need I say more ?????
John Smith - 7 Nov 2002 15:12
Magnificiently Victorian decorated pub. As already mentioned - the Gent's loos are well worth a visit!
David Dunwoody - 5 Nov 2002 16:29
Nice, relaxed, friendly pub. The food is also good and good value.
Jane - 28 Aug 2002 13:42
Place where I first discovered I liked Prinz (sic) - a type of beer! Nice bar staff - had my 22nd birthday here!
Katie - 25 Jul 2002 15:52
Superb Victorian decor (check out the original Gent's toilets) but let down by the limited range Sam Smith's products.
John Beaver - 28 May 2002 13:56
A quite magnificent old fashioned pub with original decor, no crappy music and excellent value real ales
Steve - 20 May 2002 09:47

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