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Ten Bells, Shoreditch

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user reviews of the Ten Bells, Shoreditch

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

Two of Jack the Rippers victims used to drink here. Annie Chapman and Mary Kelly.
Tuna - 25 Feb 2017 14:29
The tiled walls are wonderful and the location is very useful but the bogs are disgustingly punk and the beer (mostly Truman's) is too expensive. However, the reason I give it a low rating is because of the thicko behind the bar.

Being oafish is not an ideal qualification for a barman, but being downright rude is unforgivable. And trying to take a glass away - while I'm still holding it and there's a cm of ale at the bottom? No. Forget it.

Get rid of the would-be-trendy lout behind the bar and I might reconsider.

Torqueback - 11 Mar 2015 14:47
Always go in when in th area. This time I had been completing a jack the ripper themed geocache and needed to work out the clue. Barmaid correctly identified me as a JTR tourist but the Connoisseur of beer tgat I am. Manky stella black, not even in the ceremonial glass.

Still, I found the geocache.

Romantic fool that I am, I will be back one day.
Mappiman - 27 Jul 2014 20:49
Doh! "features on Jack the Ripper tours" - not "doors".

Again I wish this site had an edit feature.
SilkTork - 6 Jan 2013 00:53
Shabby chic combined with historic resonance, notable Victorian tiling and toilet graffiti. Two cask beers - Bombardier and Truman's Runner (made at Nethergate for two London businessmen who have bought the defunct Truman brand name). Leffe is served in standard straight half pint glasses - not sure if this is part of the pub's sloppy image or is a genuine mistake. Staff are unhappy and not well informed (our barman thought that Truman's Runner was made by the Truman brewery round the corner which closed in 1989 and is now a famous arts and event centre). Loud music. Echoing noise. Hustling, rough and unpleasant. I'd long wanted to visit the place, having driven past it many times and seeing the mass of customers spilling out on the street, and I'm pleased to have experienced it. I understand it features on Jack the Ripper doors because of dubious links to two of the victims - but there's little sense these days of the Victorian pub, despite retaining some original features. Feels, looks and sounds more like a Camden Market cafe.
SilkTork - 6 Jan 2013 00:51
it's a great boozer with good ale.
rhythmdr - 17 Oct 2011 00:57
Went early in the evening so this place had all the atmosphere of a morgue which wasnt helped by the surly Irishman behind the bar. Nice decor though but dont tell me those tiles are from victorian times they didnt have punk rockers then!
beernotfood - 18 Aug 2011 10:07
nice refurb altho this has decreased size of the venue it makes for a more intimate conversation friendly pub-wish the women in there werent so stuck up tho.
mother123 - 17 Dec 2010 19:02
Went here a couple of weeks ago on a sat afternoon, very atmospheric, interesting mix of clientele (trendy students, old men and us slightly smart enthusiastic drinking interlopers) and more of a lager place than ale (and certainly not wine, saw many half empty bottles of their one house wine).
aleyspecs - 22 Aug 2010 13:01
Surprisingly small place with a surprisingly small bar. Can't imagine staying here for more than an hour or two.
telephones_and_toliets - 18 Apr 2010 01:56
Visiting London last weekend, our hotel was near the Ten Bells so we looked in for an hour or so last Sunday night. Can't really understand the earlier comments - I'm all for traditional boozers but I'd rather see a revamped one that's busy than an untouched one without a soul in it. The Ten Bells was lively and buzzing late on Sunday evening and if we were twice the age of the 'lager-drinking students' then so what? Wouldn't we rather the next generation of pub-goers is actually in a pub and not sitting at home with cans from the supermarket. No problem at all with the staff and though the graffiti'd toilets wouldn't be to my taste there's enough history elsewhere in the pub for it to remain interesting. One to visit with an open mind!
mikeyangela - 1 Apr 2010 18:32
Like others have said slightly silly having the barman say "You do know that'll be £5.10 right?" when asking for a pint of Leffe....but anyway sure the place is pretty rundown, but I still like it for some reason, mainly because of my passing interest in the Jack The Ripper crimes, but certainly the "cool studenty" staff and clientele ruin it slightly. and the prices too!
adamwalsh - 31 Mar 2010 22:16
A famous stopping off point for the Jack the Ripper tours as it is rumoured that some of his victims used the pub before the gory events of 1888. It was actually called The Jack the Ripper in the 1970ís and 80ís until someone with a little more taste returned it to its old name. It looks a bit beaten up now but there is some magnificent tiling including a mural depicting a scene of a Weavers shop in old Spitalfields. There were a worrying number of CCTV cameras, at least five that we counted, which may well reflect its current target market and clientele. The only ale available was Bombardier but not wishing to trust that I went for a bottle of Anchor Steam Beer. Visit to view the tiling and take in the history but itís not one to stay at for too long.

Millay - 6 Mar 2010 13:45
Thoroughly awful hole full of students drinking lager.

Iíll be generous and give the place 3/10

MankyBadger - 25 Feb 2010 23:21
Living proof that if you throw in some old sofaís and wooden tables, then the pretentious Shoreditchites will park their bums anywhere and put up will all kind of dross, just to be seen. Packed out on this Sunday afternoon, but I wonder what itís like when the market isnít on.
As a pub, this place is very poor. Average and expensive drinks choice and slumdog dťcor and toilets. But as a bit of London history itís brilliant, and worth visiting (once) for the Victorian tiles alone.

Gann - 1 Feb 2010 12:49
When did filthy and grotty become trendy? I am a first-time visitor to this pub and having worked in the licensed trade for many years was shocked by its run-down condition. This pub needs a decent manager to run it - i was in on a Sunday afternoon and the staff were acting like they didn't want to be there. Pubs like this can be upgraded without losing its heritage. Hugely disappointed.
highlandpaddy - 28 Jul 2009 11:46
Decent pub with great history and original features, a little too packed for my liking though, would be better during the day time I guess, and although full of witty/daft grafitti the toilets were bloody 'orrible.
ToxtethOGrady - 12 May 2009 22:23
Love this pub! Lots of character, the original tiles are excellent, although not sure about the furniture... Bombardier was ok but nothing special. Barman struggled when asked for a pint of 'Wife Beater'!!!! had to have it explained to him by the customer. Could do with a bit more about its history is the pub.
sideshowbob - 15 Jan 2009 17:38
We were here in1999 for are honeymoon,and love the historical
significance.I'm sorry to here it change so much
pip722 - 27 Nov 2008 20:38
I have recently moved into the area and occasionally pop into this boozer after work. I like its location and its history. Unfortunately the clientele is very arty farty/sloaney/eastern european immigrant.

Having said that at least the easterns europeans are probably genuine locals having settled in digs around whitechapel/bethnal and mile end - following in the footsteps of immigrants before them. What I cannot stand is the arty farty/sloaney/hippy people (mainly publicly school educated young girls) who clearly track over from affluent parts of west london or the suburbs just to drink in this pub and others, such as along brick lane, solely because they want to be 'hip and urban' . . . having said that a lot of these girls are very fit.

Any way despite my obvious chip on my shoulder I do like this pub and it will be there long after the 'fad crowds' have moved on to urban regentrification areas anew.
HLC - 22 Sep 2008 10:20
I was on my way to 93 feet east i stumbled across this place,i have walked past it many times.
I went in and orderd a pint of Bombadier i gave the barman a fiver and out of that he give me 1 75 back,i was astonished.That is the most i have ever paid for a bitter in London 3.25,i got to admit it was a decent pint.I was impressed with the old tiles,but i have noticed most of the original east end pubs have had the heart ripped out of them ,they have seem to be transformed into arty farty types.
I dont think ill come back here in a hurry,but it was worth the experiance
Dyl - 15 Sep 2008 23:28
Its happening all over mate
They are slowly destroying our Culture with modernisation.i'm not against progress, but some things are best left as they are/were
tottenhamsean - 15 Sep 2008 19:23
Am absolutely sickened by the state that this pub has been left in by the cretin who thought it would be a good idea to rip it to pieces. I cannot believe that the council allowed it. I came here on saturday, first time in years thinking that it would be the same old pub due to the fact of it's historical significance but it seems that nothing is sacred in the name of cash. Full of faceless loud guffawing kids downing pimms and elaborately named overpriced beers, lolling all over the 'couch' like some ugly cheap version of 'Friends'. What the hell are they playing at? Do they really think they look great?Never mind the fact that this pub was once patronised by at least a couple of Jack's victims, this pub had stood the test of time and had more or less survived any modernisation. It was a piece of living East End history. What angers me even more are some of the inane comments that have been posted about this pub which highlights the frightening lack of knowledge that some these kids have about basic historical facts. I wish I had not revisited and just remembered it the way it was. Unfortunately this pub has gone the same way as most traditional east end cultural landmarks, and the tragic thing is that soon there will be no trace that any of it existed. But at least they left the tiles eh?
cluck - 14 Sep 2008 23:20
Absolute khasi. I wouldn't send my worst enemy to this pub.
usualdog - 31 Aug 2008 14:40
Visited this pub yesterday at lunchtime. Scruffy and tacky it definitely is and the graffiti in the grotty smelly basement toilet area is quite overwhelming. Having said that the ceramic tiling in the pub is reasonably well preserved. It also features briefly in 'Licensed to sell' the history and heritage of the public house ISBN 1-85074-906-X.

I'm amazed that the place hasn't been refurbished incorporating the tiling. The place is definitely different and at times will be atmospheric. I managed to get a half decent pint of Brakspears (no other choice) in between the barman dishing out Pimms to the city toffs at £15 a jug.
lyeemoon - 16 Aug 2008 08:40
I understand that the panel showing 'Old Spitalfields' is older than the rest of the tiling, but I'll do some research & get back to you all. A pub I like to visit but not to spend all night here.
Cobboldallover - 19 Jun 2008 22:57
Leanne81 Ė CAMRA publish a booklet containing an inventory of pub interiors of special historical interest. This is what it says about the Ten Bells: ďAlthough now turned into a one-room, trendy bar, there is a wonderful large pictorial panel showing a lively, 18th-century London street scene, and also plenty of blue and white patterned tiles made by W.B. Simpson and Sons of London, the prolific firm who tiled many a London pub c. 1900.Ē So, in all probability, the tiling was not here when JTR carved his place in Londonís history in the summer and autumn of 1888.
RexRattus - 4 Jun 2008 07:27
Was in here on Sunday afternoon for the first time and wondered how anywhere so tacky and basic can have such a decent atmosphere?? Didn't stay long but would come back for the odd lager when in the area as the drink was perfectly palatable.
Wheel154 - 13 May 2008 15:08
Does anyone know if the tiles and other period features are genuine? I would love to know whether it really was all there in the days of Jack the Ripper. I love this pub. I make a point of going there whenever im in London. It really does feel like going back in time. Yes its dirty and grubby bit thats what I love about it. Its just the way it would have been 100 years ago.
leanne81 - 12 May 2008 20:50
Only Bombardier on handpump but it was OK. The pub sports large windows that let in a lot of light on a sunny day, but which only tends to emphasize how tatty and uncared for the interior seems. Seeing past that, however, we are lucky to see what must be some original Victorian tilework that has survived to the present day. I donít suppose that JTR or his victims will have appreciated the longevity of the pubís decorations however Ė assuming that they were in place in 1888.
RexRattus - 28 Mar 2008 23:47
Nice pub, lots of the arty crowd from newly trendy brick lane. Yes toilets a bit stinky, but think more along the lines of an art installation.
leinad - 22 Feb 2008 18:03
This is the worst and i do mean the worst pub i have ever had the misfortune to enter the place smelt like a gents lav.after a busy saturday night.I did not wish to be rude so i ordered a orange juice and got out as quick as i could.
Beersupper - 22 Nov 2007 16:27
Only in pub for 10 mins, visit to toilet enough to prevent staying for a drink. Toilets not cleaned since Jack the Ripper last there.
Wilson_MacDonald - 4 Aug 2007 15:44
it's ok, nothing more than that
kenincamden - 2 Aug 2007 14:37
Never been the same since they got rid of the 'exotic dancers'. My God they were exotic - some of them came from as far as Hackney.
Andrew_Smith - 5 Dec 2006 11:54
There's nothing here.

Except an award for the UKs'shortest pint! 2 inches from the top of the pot!!! and upon complaining the barmaid couldn't understand English.
mrBean - 29 Nov 2006 13:59
Good for history of the ripper etc, but too many boho's and students thinking theyre dead cool lounging around in there! nice outside on hot days! fair variety of drinks, a very run down feel to the place all adding to the effect. But the decor is good having said that.

Go here you could do a lot worse.

jimmy23 - 24 Nov 2006 16:59
Went to this pub on a sunday night last year after a Jack the Ripper tour walk. Loved the old tiles and the comfy sofas. Also liked the music the DJ was playing. We were sat next to him so kept putting requests on which he played straightaway.
I thought it had kept a lot of it's "Ripper" heritage and atmosphere without spoiling things by becoming a theme pub or a ripper museum. Nice place but toilets a bit difficult to negociate down rickety stairs and darkness.
GeorgeXXIII - 28 Aug 2006 15:06
As JohnBonser says, interesting interior. The original features have been retained, though the tables / chairs are of the trendy mixed and battered variety - sometimes works well but not here where its just horrendously uncomfortable.

Beerwise, all I can say is at least they've tried - a variety of bottles, two real ales (Bombardier plus guest), some standard draught fizzy beers.

Yesterday afternoon went in with some fellow grafters. Ordered a bottle of St Peters Golden Ale - was pleased to see they had that. Less pleased when docile barman proceeded to dish up a glass of ice - just got in there before he poured my already fridge-chilled ale over the offending cubes. And to top it all he thought it was strange when I said I didn't want ice with it.

Nathan Barleys R US in this place.

Could be worse but best avoided I think.
anonymous - 21 Jul 2006 19:32
A bit of a dump! Interesting are the fine 'Delft' type tiles on most of two walls and a tile mural, also a double pair of extremely tatty seats from the 'Gaiety' and a ceiling so badly plastered as to show the disposition of rooms in a previous life. Looks as though it has been neglected for years. Beers tolerable only. Location mildly interesting.
Goole815 - 12 Jul 2006 08:08
Architecturally odd with that green tiling it has however been turned into a single large space. There was also no real ale on the day of visit.
beeronaut - 25 Jun 2006 07:44
I quite like the shabby chic...Its a nice place to stop off during the day as there are few punters and you can check out the interior or just check the human traffic going by-through the large windows...The chunky walls and wooden steps,down to the toilets-seem to transport you back in time-although I could do without the 'realistic stinky smells of ole London Towne'-which engage the nasal passage as soon as you get down there!
EdgarBriggsMI5 - 2 Apr 2006 14:27
Worth a visit just to admire the splendid tiling round the walls if you're in to that kind of thing - otherwise don't bother. A rather charmless place in all other respects
JohnBonser - 13 Feb 2006 13:28
I'd hardly call it a pub... more like a seedy,American bar.. music was loud and obnoxious... staff could not care less... we were out of there in 5 minutes
tutzt00 - 15 Oct 2005 22:29
Mismatched tatty furniture with lots of trendy Shoreditch types posing in there. Gets really packed in the evening but looks too grubby during daylight hours. Absolutely freezing in winter as there is no heating!
Shabby chic gone too far!
Esty - 27 Sep 2005 10:23
Interesting history but that's about it....went there last night with a friend who just finished reading a Jack the Ripper book.

Beer was shit, staff were completely uninterested in doing anything and the music was just plain horrible (I vaguely recall hearing 'Wham').
brodie_bruce - 20 Sep 2005 09:41
go to ipswich - it's much more entertaining.
jonw - 14 Jan 2005 16:24
You 'Nautical Brosnans' (beard and mesh-back) and 'Susan Slippers' (extras from Desp' Seeking Susan) can keep the Ten Bells, we'll be in the Hart toasting your victimisation by the fashion industry.
danrkelly - 14 Jan 2005 15:55
Does the name refer to the group stood at the bar with rubbish meat for hair? Pubs should have 'no arses out the top of your jeans in here thanks' signs above the door. According to a family friend this was an enjoyable place to be about 20 years ago. Walk straight past and head for any other boozer instead, like 'Public Life', hah!
mikegray - 14 Jan 2005 15:42
jack the Ripp Off beer prices charged by dull uninterested staff. Poor pint. Bunch of tossers drinking puffy drinks. Bring back the jack the STRIPPERS!!
mrBean - 11 Jan 2005 12:49
What a sensible bunch you al are. Last went to the 10 Bells last Thursday before A gig at the Spitz and, yes, it was full of trendy dick-wits with asemetrical hairstyles and a few rubber-neckers trying to find that elusive Shoreditch vibe.

The DJ played 80's tunes in the corner, which is about as challenging as listening to Heart FM.

The old style flock-wallpaper is good and the space and location is fantastic but this is a pub that is tangled up in dopey, faux trendiness.
MrScott - 13 Dec 2004 12:42
It is absolutely true that the poor quality sound system is played at an uncomfortable level. As for the rest you just have to take this place as its offered.
tkd - 14 Sep 2004 15:00
cool pub, really welcoming to some customers... but i can understand why the fans of woman-bludgeoning mass-murdering freaks would feel unwelcome. in fact i think they have a sign asking ripper fans to stay away. apparently the only link was a customer being murdered after leaving the pub. so ripper fans watch out!!
michael richardson - 6 Sep 2004 18:57
Pretty lousy pub, in spite of its possible historical importance to fans of Ripper mythos. The building is old but hardly attractive and the interior is just one small, mostly empty room with scant seating, very little light and far too many punters. It takes awhile to get served at the bar, there's a very poor choice of beers and the prices are nothing to get excited over (approaching the £3 a pint mark). After a certain time in the evening, they begin playing furiously loud dance music at a volume that does no good to either their P.A. speakers nor the ears of their patrons. There isn't really a dancefloor as such, so the point of playing this is beyond me.

The toilets are located down an unmarked stairway and, speaking purely on the state of the Gents, quite underwhelming in terms of hygeine. I was concerned at one point that the spreading pool of urine on the ground was going to morph into a Terminator or something horrible...

All in all, this is one of the strangest yet least interesting pubs I've been to. Given it has a 'reputation', one can't help but expect better.

The Rattler - 19 Aug 2004 16:01
I give it a 4 because of its historical significance-very interesting indeed to drink with the ghosts of the Ripper and several of his victims. A bit pricy because of the afore mentioned. Had only one real ale on tap-Bombadier-which normally is a really good cask ale. Since the 10 Bells doesn't clean its beer lines regularly, however, they did a great job at destroying what should have been a good cask ale. We asked the bartender how often he cleaned his lines and he mentioned, "about once every ten days." Thus, if you want a good real ale, don't waste the time or money here. Drink the "Mothers Ruin" otherwise known as "gin." It's good and does not have to run through a dirty line.
Travis - 20 Jun 2004 19:11
I was at Ten Bells within my 1-week-vacation at London, chasing for some Ripper footage. In fact, I was a little bit confused, but the music was great, a little historical athmosphere inside and a bunch of hip people. Anyway, I took photos of me getting drunk and chatting with girls at Ten Bells.
FromHell - 10 Jun 2004 14:17
I second the 'too loud' emotion. It's to brightly lit for a DJ bar. Cool interior though and dark history aswell. Lots of horrid eighties haircuts on the weekend. Try Spitz opposite.
Dan - 14 May 2004 11:16
Great pub, its not a Jack the Ripper museum, and to all those nostalgic tourists that complain that it is not a shrine to a historical person who may or may not have drunk there, get lost. Nothing worse than a couple of anorak's taking pictures in a pub and not even buying a drink. Go down the blind beggar, much more your style. What refurb? They only took out all the tacky parafanlia and kept what was old there. Nice place, good value, with some quality wines. Yes you are going to hear probably fairly loud music, its more or less a DJ bar at the weekend.

Pete - 26 Apr 2004 15:19
Good pub not too loud, looks small from the outside - but its not!, this is the one to hit before a curry in Brick Lane,
Brian Gosling - 15 Apr 2004 12:17
Oh ai!! This is a loevly pub. Lots of beautiful people in (sometimes too many), toilets with toilet roll and near to the curry (those two were at least unconnected in my mind when writing). On the downside, the beer isn't great in my opinion.
Dickboy - 10 Mar 2004 11:52
Nice beer and atmosphere.
Visited with girlfriend to experience a Jack the Ripper location and people watch.

Beware of Foriegn barmaids knowing nothing of pubs history.

Disappointed by lack of information relating to notorious historic connection.
Callum (Midlands) - 1 Mar 2004 11:02
Good music if you can put up with the extremely rude and offensive management! Certainly, will not be returning. Avoid.
anonymous - 19 Feb 2004 18:26
Was put off by the refurb as I was expecting a bit more historical continuity. A shame.
anonymous - 14 Jan 2004 18:42
best pub in the east end! good beer, amazing original tiling, and a fantastic spot to people watch in.
missymary - 6 Jan 2004 19:22
Lovely little boozer. Great to escape the City crowds on a week day. Great atmosphere. Friendly staff. Bit busy on the weekends, but nice vibe.
Siobhain - 19 Dec 2003 11:37
Sadly no longer a strip-pub. Not really worth going to anymore now that the girls have moved on, although their pole remains. Maybe they will live to dance another day !
Pie Face - 18 Jul 2003 13:56
Yes, it's friendlier than the horrible bars on Brick Lane. Yes, it serves nicer beer as well.

But there's no airconditioning in there and the show-off DJs in there play music at a level to obliterate any meaningful conversation. A shame, because this could be a wonderful boozer.
Darryl - 9 Jul 2003 00:25
Formerly tasteless Jack The Ripper pub, but been much improved in the last couple of years. Bit expensive but worth it for the beautiful tiling. DJ on the Thursday played really good 80's music. Friendlier than most Shoreditch places.
Sickboy - 5 May 2003 12:11
been refurbed in last couple of years but still retains character. Welcoming atmosphere and friendly staff....the occasional crowd of jap tourists on the trail of the Ripper still wander in during the evening looking around while you try to have a quiet pint which is kinda strange. comfy seating and good vibe.
shelfman - 25 Apr 2003 09:53

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