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Swan, Bloomsbury

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user reviews of The Swan, Bloomsbury

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

Good location and a decent enough selection of ales including an oyster stout from the Hammerton brewery. Sadly, Greene King have their mitts on the corporate control so it's very workaday otherwise with bright lighting and an after work crowd.Bloomsbury is no mecca for pubs and is probably slightly above average for the area - although the Queen's Larder down the ginnel is superior.
BoehmBawerk - 15 Jan 2017 21:03
Decent backstreet boozer feel. Range of ales - nice to see Young's London Stout outside of a Young's pub. Compact interior and friendly bar staff. Not a spectacular find but a nice pub nonetheless.
Looper23 - 11 Apr 2015 18:09
A friendly back street pub with a local feel to it. A good range of beers. Two ales from Hackney (Red and Best), Truman Budburst, Hop Stuff Pale Ale, Hamerton N1, Westerham 1730, St. Austell's Tribute and the ubiquitous London Pride.
A comfortable place with a TV in the corner which was silent with subtitles.
I didn't eat in the pub but plenty of people were tucking in so they must be doing something right.
One downer was the price- £4.16!
I can't speak for the Ladies but beware of the step just inside the door of the Gents!

outtamehead - 7 Apr 2015 08:41
I popped in to tick this one bar pub on a Thursday afternoon. Around a dozen people inside and out during my January visit.

A good selection of keg ales and lagers as well as the cask selections. From 8 cask hand pumps I choose London Fields Brewery Texan Tea @ 6.0%, a very strong black IPA but not as strong as the price...£5.00 a pint!!!

A Taylor Walker owned and managed pub with a good variety of ales. 4 of the ales from Hackney Brewery & London Fields Brewery.

Attractive lamps hanging above the bar, not that many more original features that I could see.

Appears in the 2015 GBG.

Decent pub but I've ticked it now so probably no need to return.
lezford - 4 Feb 2015 13:48
It's a decent but nothing special pub a little off the beaten track of central London. The beer's good, they have a decent choice and you can usually get a seat. There's better nearby but also a lot worse.
djw - 17 Dec 2014 21:47
Quite liked this place on my last visit. As some have said, nothing spectacular but then, whats wrong with that? The place is cosy and welcoming with an extensive and varied real ale offering so a big thumbs up.
CityAlbion - 3 Jun 2014 16:26
was in here sunday night for an hour wishing i could have waited longer! lovely pint of london fields hackney hops? and also a taste of ghost ship, very refreshing. it was busy enough with a mixture of tourists and locals but the best impression was made by the 2 bar staff , one male one female, who were unfailing in politeness and welcoming without being intrusive. i'll be back!
canarly - 7 Nov 2012 13:19
Fancied a revisit to the quuens larder but couldnt get in. This was a bit of an identikit london pub but ok.
Mappiman - 26 Aug 2012 19:56
Pretty standard sort of place with a preponderance of tourists in attendance. The interior is longish and quite narrow with the bar along the right hand side and plenty of seating scattered about.

Ale offering is pretty decent with Pride, Old Peculier, London Reindeer, Old Speckled Hen and Broadside available.

This pub is decent if unremarkable but has too many tourists and is not as good as some of the nearby competition.
murgatroyd - 15 Nov 2010 09:38
Long, thin room with a narrow frontage and dark wallpaper meaning that it is pretty dark inside. Also somewhat plainly decorated, giving a somewhat soul-less impression. Five handpumps, offering guest ales such as Pedigree, GK Swift and Broadside (top condition, but curiously priced at 3.18) in addition to the regular Doom Bar and Old Peculier. Efficient bar staff and kitchen.
rpadam - 8 May 2010 10:48
Had a cracking pint of Doom Bar, priced at a reasonable (for London) 2.90. Polite staff.
Komakino - 14 Mar 2010 20:03
There's nothing offensive about this place. But neither is there anything to recommend it for either. Four real ales on - London's Reinbeer Ale, Greene King Old Speckled Hen, Theakston Old Peculier and Adnam's Broadside. Plenty of people were partaking in the standard pub grub.
blue_scrumpy - 1 Jan 2010 22:29
An unscheduled stop due to The Rugby Tavern nearby being shut on Saturday afternoon. A single long narrow room with the bar on a side wall. Wood floor with a tiled splash area by the bar. the tables were a bit crammed together I felt, and it was a bit too warm inside on a mild November day. I found the place to be a bit "plastic" in so far as no original features were discernible, and nothing felt even vaguely old and worn in. There are the usual old photos and pictures on the wall, a plasma TV showing Sky Sports News is oddly set in a gilded picture frame on a central chimney breast. My notes say it looks like a chain, but I couldn't work out which, but it looks like Rex below has answered that one.
Cheerful Eastern European staff, and in fairness a well kept pint but I had to ask for a top up. Brains Top Notch (3.08), Doom Bar, Theakston Old Peculiar....not seen that around here for a bit, Pride and Old Speck Hen.
It was ok but fairly underwhelming to be honest.
Maldenman - 21 Nov 2009 18:36
They had four ales on London Pride; Doom Bar; Old Speckled Hen; Wooden Hand Brewery Cornish Buccaneer, plus a fifth pump advertised a forthcoming ale Robinsons Wags to Witches. The latter is presumably a seasonal ale shame it wasnt on when I visited, as I would certainly have wanted to sample an ale with such a good name. This is a typical Spirit Group pub; plain, functional and fairly characterless. It has Cask Marque accreditation, and my pint of Cornish Buccaneer was top notch. This is OK as far as pubs go, but its like every other Spirit Group youve been in, though the ale selection is a lot a lot better than many.

I remember when this was a fairly down-at-heel pub, with separate public and saloon bars, and recall fondly the impecunious and shiftless types that inhabited the public bar. I felt quite at home there. Its very different now, with only one bar of course, and the various makeovers over the years have removed all of its original character. But there are worse places to have a pint or two.
RexRattus - 29 Oct 2009 17:08
I've just come back from an evening here. They had Doombar, Old Peculiar, Speckled Hen and a few others at the pumps, all in good condition. There was also the usual lagers.

I've used this as a convenient pub for friends visiting London who stay in the Tavistock and Russell Square areas. None of them have ever suggested we go anywhere else.

It's close enough to the British Museum to be a place to visit afterwards

The staff are friendly, the prices are most reasonable for London, the choice of food is a little better that the average pub and it is good, tasty, comes in decent portions and is very well priced particularly given the area.

The decor is sort of 1920s/30s but not overly so, the seating is comfortable and occupancy seems to be around the 70/80% mark with a couple of tables outside, so, with a little luck, you won't have to stand all evening.

There is music playing but it's not intrusive.

This pub deserves to have a higher overall rating - it is unpretentious, convenient and easily missed for a quiet drink. I can find no fault.
greybeard - 25 May 2009 01:50
Great pub, very lively (Sunday night). Superb food - had the Lemon Chicken and my partner had steak. Recommended and would go again
tuzapicabit - 28 Apr 2009 08:00
Boring and characterless - has the feel of a waiting room. The staff look bored and listless but the beer was fine though so can't fault them there. Try the Queen's Larder a few doors away for a better vibe but GK beer. It's a trade off.
chick - 28 Jan 2009 15:50
Not a bad pub, but not great. The beers, decor, menu and staff are all pretty average. The Theakston's Old Peculier can be lovely, though I've had a sour pint more than once.

Much better than The Queen's Larder on the corner, though The Lamb and The Rugby Tavern are only a short walk away.
surgecommodore - 16 Oct 2007 11:25
So many hand pumps. I think they had nine, but only three different ales on. Youngs bitter, London Pride and Theakston's Old Peculier. We tried all three as we went frequently having stayed next store at the Bloomsbury Park Hotel on Southampton Row. It is much cheaper than the Queens larder down the alley, but doesn't have as much character. It is clean and the ales are in good nick. Recommended.
endoderm - 24 Feb 2007 16:22
I went in this pub yesterday for lunch and unlike last reviewer think this pub is better than The Queen's Larder especially pricewise and more value for money! Lunch was very tasty, not usual sort of bland tasteless pub grub you seem to get in so many Central London pub. The woman behind the bar was extremely pleasant. The wine was very reasonably priced and had a lovely taste to it. But I would agree with the last reviewer about the interior. Seems slightly grim. Could be brightened up a bit. A pub I'd certainly recommend to anyone in the area.
Alex6 - 6 Oct 2006 12:15
Full of tourists, smells of fish and chips. Uninspiring though not unpleasant interior. There is a draw here though - Old Peculier on tap. The Queen's Larder two doors down is a better pub but this has the edge in terms of ales.
anonymous - 4 Jul 2006 11:36
Had my first taste of fish and chips here, and it was great. Theakston's Old Peculiar was fantastic. Staff was very friendly. I'll be back.
urf - 5 Apr 2006 18:34
Good ales and a few outdoor tables. Not much else distinguishes it.
Mr.Matt - 29 Aug 2005 01:44
Tryed this pub weekend 24 26 june 2005 beer was first class food good and plentyfull nothing fancy nice atmosphere good service wish we had more of these in manchester
hepple - 26 Jun 2005 21:26
good pub. good beer, good food, good bar staff.
anonymous - 19 Jan 2005 18:27
The ales here are superb. Try the Harveys Old Beable or Huntley's Surprise. Even the unbearable stench of swans didn't spoil the atmos.
Fred Deacon - 3 Oct 2004 12:29
I like beer. They sell beer. It's a pub. The Johnnie machine didn't work though, and there was this bird with dreamy thruppenies that I was on a promise off. oh yeh, and Sandy Toksvig was in there too.
Bri Cornhat. - 25 Sep 2004 18:42
I went here to meet a large group of people. Some I met before. Some, I hadn't. None of them were there, as they had left to go somewhere better. I did however meet a young man from Switzerland and an old man from Russia. We all agreed that the service was very slow and the staff looked like mongs. Sergey, who has been to Mongolia was adamant this.
Fred - 25 Sep 2004 00:20
This put makes an unusual noise - the chatter and beabling of the locals makes for a great atmosphere, and the younger element at the bar are great fun. It does get a little busy - and the law of the playground takes over on Friday nights.
Patrick Sears - 23 Sep 2004 17:09
Perfect pub for meeting a large group of people you've never met before when you visit from North America. Good name for a pub, too.
Beable - 20 Sep 2004 23:00
Hidden away from the tourists, space to stand outside without traffic annoyance.
Lager fine
anonymous - 27 Aug 2003 15:54
Never got much of a vibe in this pub. Once got into a debate about the impending Iraqi invasion outside the pub, with a likeable Scotsman. (That doesn't read very well, but you know what I mean.) Inside the Swan, it all feels rather distant and soulless, even when it's mobbed, which is quite often.
Nice pies though. Who ate all of them? I did.
Ruby - 30 Jul 2003 13:12
Does pies and does beer sorted.
Old looking boozer
Steve - 17 Apr 2003 16:06

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