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Polar Bear, Leicester Square

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user reviews of the Polar Bear, Leicester Square

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

Interesting to see how this place evolved. I used to vitually live there in the early 80s. Great juke box brilliant Aussie staff and enough 'character' to scare away tourists and amateurs.

For a while the best bar in London.
Magpie - 3 Apr 2008 18:26
The new location for KU BAR. Great atmosphere and gorgeous bar staff....heaving at the weekends so far. Free admissiom to 3am downstairs...
Clivers - 9 Mar 2007 20:24
Why can't this place work - since I've known it - ot's been a Soho dive, an Aussie pub and a gay pub. The location is great - perhaps another Waxy's because there aren't enough places for dickheads to go round Leicester Square.
murgatroyd - 11 Feb 2007 22:06
This is reverting back to gay bar. The owner of Ku Bar has taken it over and it should be opening the weekend of 10 Feb.


steve5312 - 8 Feb 2007 17:46
I am pleased it has closed down ... the reason it stopped being "West Central" (it's gay incarnation) was alledgely that one of the brewery's executives thought it wasn't quite right to have one of their pubs in such a prominent location catering to gays! Another of their pubs in Greenwich was "straightened" again with disasterous results ... lower takings, fewer customers etc ... it serves the brewery right. My only fear is that it will reopen as a two storey Starbucks/Costa Coffee!!!!!
anonymous - 14 Jan 2007 11:27
With the rent thats being asked for the Polar Bear, Im not suprised M&B didnt renew the lease, crazy rent.
Clivers - 8 Jan 2007 22:00
Yep - definitely closed.

Not being able to make a go of a pub as large as this, in such a prime location, takes a level of managerial incompetence that would cause even Sven Goran Eriksson to blush. I would have gone more often, if I could have ever been certain what kind of pub/theme was awaiting my arrival.

Given its history, it's only a matter of time until it reopens as an organic non-alcoholic cocktail bar, or something equally retarded.
topdog_andy - 11 Dec 2006 13:15
Closed and boarded up last time I went past. (03/11/06) No signage or notice of renovation.
Zaphod - 16 Nov 2006 13:28
The Polar Bear. Right on the edge of Chinatown, and just to the north of Leicester Square, London, WC2.
A busy ol' neighbourhood!
I loved it when it was a 'no smoking' pub (get your facts straight 's9s') !! It was often frequented by locals from Chinatown, who were obviously have a break from the 'smog/smoke' you usually encounter in 'the Square'. I havn't been recently, but i'll take all your advice, and steer clear, until the Polar Bear breathes fresh air again..!!
There aren't many smoke-free bars in London now. TJ
TeeJay - 30 Jul 2006 02:15
Imagine you had a very good friend; kinda dodgy looking, but he loved the ladies, and was fun to watch sports with. Then without warning, he had a complete makeover, became gay, and made it clear he had no interest in watching sports or drinking the likes of you anymore.

After his period of 'experimentation', he goes through another makeover, and pretends to be your friend again;

"Hey - I'm still the same old guy, interested in sports and ladies...blah, blah blah...why don't you come over for a drink", he says.

"But you turned your back on me, and your place reaks of smoke", you reply.

"Not anymore! I've quit smoking!", he says.

You then go around there, and the place stinks of cigarettes. You leave feeling betrayed, vowing never to be fooled again.

This is my relationship with The Polar Bear.
topdog_andy - 13 Jul 2006 14:28
didnt feel comfy in here was full of dodgy charecters so had the pint of carlsberg which was nice n scarpered
romfordir - 9 Jul 2006 20:28
No longer a no smoking pub and to be avoided if that is your persuasion. Just another boozer because the lack of smoke was about all that made it worth a visit.
jackthelad - 12 Apr 2006 21:57
Went here for the first time last week pleasant atmosphere the girl behind the bar was friendly not the best pub ive had a beer in this area but Ill definitely be back
juzza - 3 Apr 2006 10:19
It's a great shame that this pub is no longer a no smoking pub as this was the best thing about it. However, the downstairs bar is now open all the time and is ideal if you want to watch the footie as it is never that busy (i.e. you will always get a seat and it's not noisy or overcrowded) and there are lots of screens.
lennie384 - 2 Mar 2006 22:59
I was in there last week and smoked like a chimney. The staff are friendly enough, there's kareoke downstairs on a Friday and some rather nice Plasma's. At 1.90 a pint of Carlsberg it ain't bad to start the night.
stevenvu - 17 Feb 2006 02:02
This is definately a no smoking pub now!
s9s - 11 Jan 2006 09:01
This was definately a no smoking pub! Its the reason I used to go there (though I do occasionaly light up a cigar), it was nice to go to a pub without stinking of fags, other than that there is no other reason to go there, the guiness was always served a bit ropey as well.
s9s - 7 Jan 2006 01:19
This pub definitely used to be a "No Smoking" pub all around, so if it has reverted to allowing smokers it is a great shame. The beer was cheap and wine even cheaper. Looks like it has "reverted to type". I hope not.
GaryM - 15 Dec 2005 14:39
Rubbish. Saved only by the plasma screens. Smoking allowed everywhere, not enough staff (and they aren't on top of the job)
anonymous - 15 Dec 2005 11:21
I arranged for a party of ten of us to meet here on Saturday night as it is advertised as entirely non-smoking and only 1 of our party smokes. We were not just dissappointed but after travelling from Surrey and paying a lot of money we were disgusted that this is not only a smoking pub but not even one with any character. We cancelled our plans for this pub and went somewhere that did not have misleading advertising and left the cancer stick lovers to themselves.
anonymous - 12 Dec 2005 11:17
Well that was a short-lived experiment then. We arranged to go to this pub based on it's "non-smoking" status (declared here and on other websites) and were hugely disappointed to find that this is not actually the case. Ashtrays and cigarette smoke abound and make it a run of the mill pub, albeit with good plasma screens for the footy.
anonymous - 8 Dec 2005 13:46
Great for watching the football as it has a couple of plasma screens and your clothes don't end up smelling of stail cigarette smoke . Surprised it's taken so long for this pub to be added as its been around for quite a while !
lennie384 - 1 Sep 2005 10:42
This is the West End's first entirely non-smoking pub, which means that you can enjoy a pint or two in smoke-free, air-conditioned comfort while all the filthy, stinking tabbers have to stand outside in the cold.

Other than that, it's a proper boozer with plasma screens showing the footy.

What a breath of fresh air!
anonymous - 19 Aug 2005 12:42
Although I'm a smoker myself, I thought I'd check this out as it's now a no smoking pub. Found that it didn't bother me too much although whether that will be the case when the full scale ban comes in remains to be seen. Anyway, the pub itself lacks the character that it possesed in the 80s due to a bland refurbishment. (not sure when the refurb took place as it's a long old time since I've been in here.) The best aspect of this place is the statuesque French? barmaid who was friendly and efficent. Food wasn't too bad although there was a cock up with the order as the kitchen decided to wait about 30 minutes before telling my mate that they didn't have what he'd ordered. Bit of a mixed bag really.
johnkn7 - 18 Jul 2005 19:55

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