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Champion, Notting Hill

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user reviews of Champion, Notting Hill

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

Have had a few hit-or-miss experiences here, but is generally a good place on a "quiet" occasion for relaxing.
Pretty good selection of beers and decent looking menu (only tried a roast so far).
Roydwin - 30 Oct 2011 18:21
Yup, just given up on this place.
Was in there last week with a group of mates, left after 20 minutes and 1 drink, although being prepared for a sesh a lot of our money went out the door to another pub up the road.
Tried it again after work today,6 of us and same old same old.
Will now have to wait until it goes bust, someone buys it and turns it into a free house.
What a waste...................................................
harrythebastard - 5 Oct 2011 22:30
Ditto all of the below. I am really trying to like this place, proper beer mugs with handles and a passable selection of 2/3 real ales but the staff here just seem to be straight off a reality film set. They are (to a man) totally disinterested in anyone but themselves, it seems to be a hobby for them and the concept of being in the hospitality industry has not quite entered this part of west London.
Still haven't seen anyone resembling a licensee or landlord/lady, just a lot of posh kids pretending to be bar staff as a hobby.
The place needs closing, a refurb and change of staff throughout. It could, and certainly has the location to be, a gold mine and never will be at this rate which is a great shame as there is no real competition locally.
What a waste.
10/10 for location and potential, 2/10 for presentation and service.
harrythebastard - 29 Sep 2011 20:40
Good selection of beers? So what.. Poor service, 'slow cooked' pork belly was burned solid, and the bar/tables were swimming with spillages. It could be an amazing bar in an amazing location.
But it's not.
ThomasM - 27 Oct 2010 15:02
I totally concur with the slow service. Nice atmosphere if a little dark and a good selection of lagers but not many bitters, if any, if i remember correctly.
thebeanster7 - 23 Feb 2010 23:32
Back here recently & the service has got worse. One guy on the bar, heads off to change a barrel or watch telly, the boss lady is too busy on her mobile & in the meantime, there's about 8 or 9 punters waiting.

So another girl starts serving and of course all semblance of a queue goes out the window.

I hate to say it but I'm rapidly going off this venue. Great location and good beer is not enough. Staff are disorganised and don't seem to care.

Similar trendy pub in Ealing - The North Star - seems to have a similar problem.

Pull your socks up, folks!
E1_Norton - 18 Aug 2009 13:06
The Champion is an attractive pub on the busy Bayswater Road, just off Hyde Park in London. It stocks a good selection of lagers and spirits and has a quirky/weird outdoor seating area, which would be quite cosy on a summers day. It would be a really nice pub were it not for the fact that the service you get here is absolutely ABYSMAL.

Going to the bar becomes an absolute chore thanks to the incompetent bar staff who are lazy and seem to mess up your order on purpose. It took me five minutes to get served when I was the only person at the bar and all of the on duty bar staff were present and regularly just looking over at me as if I was there to admire the view. Food is served here, though expect your order to be misinterpreted and carried around the pub for about 10 minutes before they realise what table you're sitting at.

On a weeknight it can get very very busy in the pub, so the poor service is exacerbated. They also have a Schneider Weisse tap that has been empty for at least the last six or seven WEEKS, with the bar staff cracking the same joke each time that the tap is just for show. A possible positive is that they do not use the measurement cups when pouring wine or a shot, which is probably illegal, but usually guarantees a bit more alcohol for your money.

Prices for beer and food are quite reasonable, the décor is nice and on Wednesday nights there is a pub quiz. But the service is literally so bad that I am happier not to go there these days. I've been tempted to go to the nearest corner shop to buy beers to drink in The Champion in the past, the service really is that bad.
Malice - 12 Aug 2009 09:58
Yes, indeed, it was a successful gay bar - but str8 friendly - since the mid 1970s at least. It had a notably multi-cultural clientele and was a really nice place to drink. When the present owners established, as a matter policy, a hostile attitude to their gay customers, they left.

(The refusal to serve etc by which they achieved this would, of course, now be illegal under the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations)

The Champion currently caters to all and sundry but I feel is rather lacking a personality as a result. I was there for nostalgic reasons and was amazed how difficult it was to get a drink even when not particularly full. The several other reviewers here who note the slowness, rudeness and cluelessness of the staff are not wrong! The management really needs to sort this out..
goldenlane - 11 Jun 2009 21:12
Let's start with the positives about this pub!! They have an excellent choice of beers on tap and in bottle, especially if you enjoy some different foreign beers, eg. Franziskaner Weissbier, Hoegaarden, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Frulli, Schneider Weisse and Coopers Sparkling Ale.

The crowd is friendly and very relaxed and usually is a good 50/50 mix of guys and girls. It's not a pretentious crowd by any means and is very chilled. There is a garden area downstairs which is very nice in the summer, and you can also drink out the front on the pavement which is quite rare in the area. Overall it is a comfortable and welcoming pub that I have been regularly going to for the past 4-5 years since it was done up.

HOWEVER!! The service is constantly abysmal and getting frustratingly worse. Too many of the staff are incompetent. And I am being generous here actually! I honestly cannot think of a worse pub in London when it comes to the slowness of the service. And worst of all, most of the staff have that blind spot in which they never ever seem to know which customer should be served next. Even when the pub is close to empty you can still wait 5-10 minutes to get a drink. In these tough economic times when people are spending less and competition is tough, the staff here seem to think that providing an ever worsening level of service is a good way forward. Sort it out Mitchells & Butlers. Please!!
OzzyBlue - 9 Apr 2009 16:02
It could be a great pub, but there seems to be a deliberate policy of serving short measures on beers. I watched as the barmaid swirled various beers for other customers as she poured them. I asked her not to do it with the peroni that Iordered but she ignored the request. She claimed that I had received a pint, but it wasn't an oversized glass and was around 500ml full, almost 20% short.
To make matters worse, it cost £3.75 (Dec 08). This is not the first time that this has happened but M & B who own the pub promised to resolve the matter when I complained earlier in the year. They haven't so Trading Standards, here I come! They have been warned!
radiomandave - 11 Dec 2008 14:09
could be a good place, but the service is dreadful. a big shame, since it is my local
clarkeG - 3 Oct 2008 12:46
could be a good place, but the service is dreadful. a big shame, since it is my local
clarkeG - 3 Oct 2008 12:46
There weren't many people at the bar but it did seem an age to get served.

There was only one ale on, I wanted a glass of red wine as we were heading to a restaurant a bit later and I did not fancy mixing my drinks, I'm not to sure if I approve of wine on tap instead of from the bottle.

Will wait for a second visit before I make my mind up fully.

Arnaud - 16 Feb 2008 17:32
Probably the wrong night, chrissiboy. Yes, still quite slow on the serving front but otherwise a great place to drink and for the most part, friendly punters. Still rate this place.
E1_Norton - 5 Feb 2008 12:38
Dreadful place...

If you like going to a pub, where 99% of the tables are reserved (yet clearly unoccupied) and want to spend half your evening waiting to be served - this is the pub for you!

chrissiboy - 27 Jan 2008 14:49
Generally a nice place to hang out - serves decent food and has interesting decor but ruined on busy nights by painfully slow service and rude staff (one in particular). Waiting half an hour at the bar to be greeted by an attitude is not good news! My friends and I keep going back though so it must have something.
janewithredhair - 10 Jul 2007 21:58
This was a gay bar from at least the mid-70s onwards
Glasgowboy - 1 May 2007 13:13
nice to see the place is still going strong, choice of real ales and decent imported brews on draught
moclips2002 - 14 Feb 2007 22:33
What is it with Mitchells and Butler pubs?

A nice environment, but as per the Washington in NW3, miserable staff who seem to have no idea as to how to work on a bar.
Chilavert - 20 Nov 2006 11:36
This had the potential to be a great pub but it was really awful. I had a pint of Green King IPA which didn't taste very nice and then went back to the bar for another round. But, they couldn't serve me as they had run out of gas! All the beers were off and they refused to offer bottled lagers at a cheaper price to compensate. It was raining really heavily outside so we couldn't even go somewhere else. The barman eventually managed to tease a couple of pints of foul-tasting lager out for us (and charged full price). The service was bad - kids who preferred to chat with their friends rather than serve the punters. Shame as the decor was nice and garden looked great (if it hadn't been raining!).
Clarey79 - 26 Oct 2006 14:10
Is this still a gay bar ? A mate and I stumbled in this pub many moons ago, only to find out a pub full of chaps were checking us out with twinkles in their eyes. Drank fast and split. It was pretty much a dump back in the 80s, but how seems to be cracking. Will have to check out.

Joseph65
USA
Joseph65 - 13 Oct 2006 17:10
Great range of eclectic beers, good tunes, comfy and atmospheric. Unfortunately, service can be a bit on the s-l-o-w side and the food (whilst delicious) is not cheap.

Best in the Summer in the hidden beer garden.
E1_Norton - 13 Oct 2006 16:48
Lovely pub with generally good service. Great in the summer when they open all the big windows, really airy. Although the last time I was there, when it came to kicking out time, one of the barmen was extremely rude when asking us to drink up (with the bar half full still!).
chrisnthehood - 30 Jul 2006 14:36
The night I went the bar was pretty busy but I still didn’t have long to wait to get served. The small garden out the back’s nice on hot days, the downstairs area is cool for chilling out with comfy sofa’s and a Bedouin (?) type feel.
3 Ales, large choice of lagers on tap and in bottles. Apparently the food was pretty good as well.


pezza132 - 23 Jun 2006 16:36
bit of a mixed bag, the piped music was good mixture of differing sounds and not mind bendlingly loud, the beer and wine list is quite extensive - not a bargain but hey - try the Belgo/Bierodrome's of this world if you want to pay ridiculous prices. It does now sell real ale - 3 on offer, no great shakes but its a start, i watched with rye amusement as the barman proceeded to flush out a pint glass with "freezing" water before pulling me a pint... i kept stum ! Natty decor and and chilled out ambience do make this place worth visit.
moclips2002 - 14 Mar 2006 17:23
Great pub, perfect for things like birthday drinks on a Friday evening on a cold winter's day in January. Gets rather busy so get there early!
anonymous - 18 Jan 2006 11:07
Excellent selection of world beers but no real ales which is a shame. The atmosphere is a mixture of traditional and contemporary that meshes very well together. I've been to many pubs that have tried this and failed. I'm always impressed with the music they have playing. I like the quaint beer garden in the basement.
skorch - 10 Oct 2005 15:53
I love going into this pub with a good book and chillin on one of the comfy seat with one the superb beers that served here... One of the best range of beers I've seen, with great food.
VaVaVoom14 - 22 May 2005 15:51
I can't work this place out. My mate lives round the corner from the Champion so I've been there a few times. When it's been good, it's been excellent, and when it's been bad, I've wanted to digest my internal organs and collapse in a deceased heap. It is pricey, bourne out of the fact that most pumped lagers are on the imported and only-vaguely-aware-of scale. Expect, too, to pay a fortune for a bowl of those far-flung clime staple, some nuts. Clientele also reflect this Depends-on-Fate integer. One night, I barely talked to Phil as we were too busy meeting chatty new drunk people. On other nights, I've wanted to risk life detention at her majesty's pleasure by murdering the pompous, shouty, latest-phone-waving Nathan Barley idiots who can, if you're really unlucky, congregate there en masse if that day happens to be the 'Jumped up fashionista mediaslut' pub yell-a-thon and no-one had told you. All in all, god, I dont know.
Ruby - 19 Apr 2005 14:33
A very good pub, nice old leather in a newly refurbished pub. Just about the right amount of modern approach with a really comfortable environment. Also the room downstairs is a little gem. The only place were it lacks is the beer selection, their europeen beers are really nice, but wouldn't hurt to compliment them with equal quality UK beers.
Richard - 9 Nov 2004 20:51
we came across this pub by chance. I don't usually frequent them during daylight hours as they can be such dark and dreary places and I need all the natural light I can get. But, I had a real fancy for a glass of cool white wine and my plates were crying out for respite so it seemed like a good idea. Inside, we were greeted by a rather appealing, tall fair haired young man with enquiring eyes and a generous degree of warmth. Hmmm, I felt welcome and relaxed all of a sudden. The wine he recommended went down a treat. Before long, we were surrounded by workers whose weekend definitely started there. What a great atmosphere. Then it suddenly struck me why it all worked - good natural light. Not to mention happy drinkers and lovely staff. Shame I live 200 miles away. Oh well, until next time.
Lyn - 15 Jul 2004 22:05
Especialy on Sunday evening (6.30 to 10.00) for the magic Jazz & Latino session...!!!
Thierry Ch. - 3 Jun 2004 12:02
Great Stuff! The newly re-furbished Champion has thrown open its doors to everyone and is inviting visitors to enjoy the relaxed, friendly atmosphere for which it has deservedly become famous. With Hyde Park just minutes away, The Champion is the perfect summer destination and offers a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of nearby Notting Hill. The pub has been given a modern feel via an eclectic mix of classic pub and contemporary furnishings fused with retro kitsch. The spacious interior – in rich shades of green and brown – boasts traditional wood panelling and floors but it is the small, imaginative touches that are guaranteed to grab pub-goers’ attention.

What’s more, The Champion has its very own ‘secret garden’ – barely noticeable on first entering the pub. A series of steps at the back takes visitors down into an outside seating area, reminiscent of a Greek taverna. Brick walls – complete with climbing ivy, which also hangs overhead – create an intimate space while strings of fairy lights and coloured lamps and candles enhance the magical feel. Apparently, the pub will be firing up the garden barbeque this summer – bring on the sunshine!

rhys - 20 May 2004 15:37
Awesome pub which has been taken over by new management and is no longer gay. Funky, fun with a great selection of european beers and food!
Jessica - 8 May 2004 16:42
The Champion has been totally refurbished by the brewery which owns it (April 2004) and is no longer a gay pub. The former manager (lovely Russell) and virtually all of the gay regulars have moved to The Leinster in nearby Ossington Street. The new venue is just as friendly as the old Champion was.
Robert - 19 Apr 2004 23:28
I hear this has been taken over by new management .. is it still a Gay Pub then??
Jay - 16 Apr 2004 19:15
Just a normal pub. For normal gay guys and girls - not the attitude of Soho - really smart
steve - 3 Oct 2003 11:55
Just a great, fun gay bar. This is a high point of my frequent visits to London to see my son and his bf. If you go ask it Derek, my son, has been in.
Hal - hal2001@nycap.rr.com - 20 Jul 2003 23:53
nothing wrong with gay bars, each to their own, but this would make a lovely family pub and then i might go there!
matt - 15 Jul 2003 16:32
Gay bar across the road from the park. Used to frequent it when my best mate was alive. Coincidentally my Dad was once the Head Barman there in the 60's (not that he's that way inclined)!
Briony - 27 Mar 2003 09:39

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