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Jamaica Wine House, Bank

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user reviews of the Jamaica Wine House, Bank

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

Lovely, dark and Christmassy interior (it probably seems festive even in June). once an ancient coffee house but now very much a pub. Quite during the day but one suspects it's for standing customers in the main after a certain hour. Good service but unexciting ale choices.
BoehmBawerk - 17 Dec 2018 15:22
Came in early lunchtime a couple of months ago with a small group of friends. As it was early, it was fairly quiet so service excellent and easy to get a good standing spot.

As its a while ago, I can't remember what I had but between us we had all of the Sheps beers that they stock and some Guiness. All were in good condition and went down very well - an excellent start to the afternoon!

We like the Jam Pot - solid pub, no pretensions and usually a good pint and for those who son't know it, worth a visit just to explore the nooks and crannies.

on_the_brightside - 25 Jul 2018 17:52
This pub is proper old, although maybe not as intimate as that fact might imply. It's quite open, in fact, with big windows – like a Edward Hopper's 'Nighthawks' but with reduced melancholy. The bar is partitioned into three parts, which means there's somewhere for everyone, and even drinking outside represents a worthy option; this listed pub's exterior is impressive, and St. Michael's alley – where you will find this hostelry – actually contributes towards its character. 9/10
TheKindnessOfTrees - 24 Oct 2014 19:37
First visit here for many a moon the other night, probably first since it was taken over by Sheps..
Seems to be better run and the Ale quality is certainly improved from remembrances, which is befitting a good old historic city boozer like this one.
Three Shep's ales on with the Spitfire in good nick, but also a decent guest in the shape of Whitstable breweries East India Pale Ale
jimshoppenus - 2 Dec 2013 16:40
4 ales on handpump. £3.89 a pint.

Was in and out early mid-week so wasn't over busy. No problem getting served.

alecstewart - 12 May 2013 14:27
Lovely little boozer down an alleyway off Cornhill. Friendly staff, decent beer, and set in an olde worlde alleyway with (as the previous review mentioned) a fair bit of history.

Only downside is the sphincter-clenching prices - 4.40 for a pint of San Miguel - so probably not somewhere to go if you're looking for a night out on a budget....
steve5312 - 19 Jun 2012 10:08
Known as the, "Jampot". Upstairs is really broken into three mini sized bars with oak pannelling... means there are loads of nooks and crannies to put yourself it can get rather cramped and if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time the service can struggle. However, before Shepherd Neame took it over it was an abysmal place.

It does sit on the site of the first London Coffee house - Pasqual Rosee's Head 1652 - and became the Jamaica Coffee House frequented by West India merchants - round the corner was Lloyd's (origins of our Insurance Market), Jonathan's (origins of our Stock Market) and the Jerusalem (origins of the Baltic Exchange).

For me the history is walk takes me there as much as the quality of the beer.
NLBS - 16 May 2012 13:29
Paid a very quick visit on my way over to Southwark on a Thursday evening. Consequently the pub was very busy but there was at least four bar staff and little or no wait.

Four ales on tap, I had the Oranjeboom but looking at the pints being pulled the ale certainly looked well cared for.

Having walked down the lane from Cornhill the pub looked very small from the outside esspecially with the current scaffolding, however it was surpsingly big on the inside and there were plenty of drinkers outside where you can stay until 9pm.

Interior is very basic (world away from the Counting House round the corner), but this for me added to it's charm.

Will most certainly be back for a longer visit.
kevmac - 10 Jun 2011 15:49
I knew there was a reason I had decided not to visit this place for 5 years, the staff & their inability to serve the punters. Waited ages as the pub was busy but with a big bar & just 2 staff this is not surprising. When I eventually got served my barmaid went into meltdown including serving a pimms in a shot glass! Joke of a place staffed by youngsters who do not understand how to run a busy pub, shame really as it has alot of history & in a great location.
BOBSTERTHELOBSTER - 20 Apr 2011 09:52
Visited on a Wednesday night, place was packed out so no danger of being watched by the staff!! Full of business types straight from work, good atmosphere, very noisey, had to shout to talk. Served very quickly, bar staff were working hard to make sure no one was waiting too long so credit to them for that. Dark interior, really interesting place, would certainly call in again.
phill1110 - 28 Oct 2010 21:04
Interesting and dark interiour but me being alone I was slightly put off by the high number of young cool and trendy staff hanging around watching you drink......a little too nice trying to be a little more interesting than it actually is.....although was nice to see Oranjeboom on tap - used to drink that years ago.
adamwalsh - 19 Aug 2010 18:10
Another pub that I finally got around to visiting on Thursday this week. The Jamaica Wine House has always held a certain amount of intrigue for me, and the interior lived up to my expectations. Tall wooden partitions create separate drinking areas and a maze-like layout. The dark mahogany wood is typical of many old City establishments and the patterned ceiling is impressive. There is plenty of seating, with some nice small wooden tables. Various beer tankards can be seen above the bar. The gents toilets were slightly unusual, especially the urinal area at the far end, which has a very different shape. They were however quite smelly. The walk up and down the stairs has plenty of pictures to keep you occupied. The beer range is disappointingly all Shepherd Neame's - Master Brew, Spitfire & Early Bird and service was slightly cold. The manageress however did seem quite motivated and was efficiently coordintaing the service. Definitely a place I would visit again, despite the poor drinks range and service.
blue_scrumpy - 22 May 2010 14:16
Great place with history for a well-kept beer at lunch or after work with mates/business colleagues. Banter and Beer. What could be better? Oh yeah, a great looking manageress, its got that too!
aveanavana - 24 Mar 2010 19:16
Typically traditional City pub in an alleyway off Cornhill, next door to St Michaels Church.

Wood partitions divide the pub up into a number of smaller adjoining areas. There's a larger room at the end with a plasma TV, which was on silent on the early evening of my visit. Here there's a food counter serving sandwiches and soup at lunchtime. There's a restaurant / bar downstairs serving more substantial meals.

Of particular note architecturally is the large lantern over the entrance inscribed with the establishment's name and the ceiling, part of which consists of unusual glass panels. The sandstone exterior of the building is also noteworthy.

A plaque outside the pub tells us that "Here stood the first London Coffee House at the sign of Pasqua Rosees Head 1652". The present pub on this site was acquired by Shepherd Neame in March 2009.

The pub was in the 2009 CAMRA GBG, but it's not in the current edition. My pint of Late Red - 3.40p - was slightly cold and lacking in flavour.

In many respects, this pub has a typical City pub feel to it - all brightly polished dark wood and subdued lighting. There's plenty of pubs like this in this neck of the woods and - whilst I'd be happy to pop in again - it doesn't really stand out from the crowd for me
JohnBonser - 12 Feb 2010 13:15
Service is cerainly more consistent since S+N took over so adverse comments before April 2009 are not as big an issue. Current Manageress v. much on the ball and keeeps an eye open to good effect.
Pretty consistent beer now . .
Good pub -
HopMan1 - 6 Jan 2010 13:03
This seems to me to be the same rambling warren of a pub that it was on my previous visit a few years ago. Its now a Shepherd Neame house with the usual range on offer, except that I did not spot any Kents Best, although it might have been lurking in one of the other bars avoiding my notice. Anyway, I had the Late Red which was rather good and I think the best that SN have on offer at this time of the year. But it was at a City normal price of 3.40 a pint.

As intimated above, there several interconnected room, with seating comprising mainly of hard wooden stools at the bars and ledges, with a few tables and chairs. It features in CAMRAs Inside Story book about London pubs with historic interiors worthy of preservation, so expect to see lots of ancient dark mahogany panelling, and some tilework on the ceiling in the middle bar. Its a City pub, with the clientele that you would expect in such a place, but its easily one of the better ones and was not overly crowded during my visit at 1.45 PM on a midweek lunchtime. I got served by a friendly young lady who seemed to be enjoying her job. As I quite enjoy drinking in these old pubs, and like SN ales, I expect I shall drop in for another pint some time.
RexRattus - 30 Nov 2009 22:33
First visit since Sheps took over. Not much has changed at all, still the same old Jam Pot, just a different range of beers.
twineyboy - 12 Oct 2009 23:03
Taken over by Shepherd Neame and reopened in April following a short closure. Nothing appears to have changed outside, and not much different inside either. Four Kentish ales on handpump, including a very good pint of Whitstable Bay. Well worth seeking out this historic tavern (which was originally reputed to be the oldest coffee house in London).
rpadam - 3 Jul 2009 20:34
Havent been in here for ages.

Had a pint of Pride which was average at best.

However, men who like cleveage this place is worth a visit for the lovely barmaid.

TheHorsesMouth - 10 Mar 2009 15:16
You know where you are with the Jam Pot. You can never guess when its going to be busy. It does get busy. When its busy the staff do get a bit hopeless. But we like it - proper pub and a decent pint of the black.

P - p
on_the_brightside - 16 Feb 2009 21:27
try the far end bar to get served ..not the main its a lot easier to get a beer. I like this pub lots of history and good looking birds behind the ramp. food is served in generous portions and is really good quality ..salt beef sandwich is a must of the citys best watering holes.
bigbadjon - 17 Sep 2008 14:42
yeah, it's an "ok" pub. But, like others have found out, it takes AGES to get served. I hung around for around 15mins trying to get a pint. I ended up going back outside and then one of the girls went in an got me one (think she did it in 10 minutes). This was last tuesday (1/7/08) too.. hardly a huge busy night!?

Needless to say, I won't be going back there, just because the service left much to be desired. It's a nice setting though - very chilled out.

I just hate queuing for ages.
Harvor - 3 Jul 2008 11:16
waited an hour for food last time I was in here (prebooked, party of 8) and it was frankly, poor to average.
evers. - 30 Apr 2008 15:45
The "JamPot" is OK if you like history. However the beer is only average (and pricey) and people seem to hog the bar making ordering a bit of a pain
twineyboy - 27 Apr 2008 21:01
I'm not quite sure which insect has bitten all of you disgruntled old fools but the Jamaica Winehouse is a lovely pub with a quaint atmosphere.

The history of the place has not been lost and I don't see how you could claim it has.
There are no T.V's, no arcade machines, and infact the only thing that is on the pub floor that needs to be plugged into a wall is the cigarette machine.

Historic little reminders like the old cigar machine, or the telephone booth cupboard downstairs are still there, polished and proudly on display.

Serving real ales, (IPA Deuchars and Bombadier)with a good selection of food, nuts and crisps, this pub delivers in every way it should.

Classy atmosphere, musicless, a small team of friendly staff who run the pub monday through friday who know what they're doing, clean toilets, a fine bistro downstairs where you can watch highly skilled chefs preparing your food, and a fantastic range of wines;

I'm not aware of what else one could ask of a good
city pub.

lee.hybrid.desire - 11 Mar 2008 09:54
Love this boozer - marvel at the step which is steeped in history, or at least the last 100 years of punters. Shame about the dodgy tables and the smoke; not adverse to smokey pubs but this one should come with a gas mask warning.
dsw - 13 Mar 2007 16:27

Having read the alarming reports about the interior being ripped out, I went to see the damage with a heavy heart only to find that the place is intact and exactly the same as the last time I visited. The only thing that has gone is the old telphone kiosk that used to be just inside the main entrance, on the left. It had gold lettering above the door that said "For Stock Exchange Members Only" It was a direct line to the stock exchange. The kiosk is still there but there's a wooden panel in place of the old glass panel.
So ignore the recent comments, they must have been posted by disgruntled customers trying to cause mischief
Mancini - 24 Feb 2007 14:57
I'm not usually in favour of capital punishment but someone needs to be strung up over this.

Back in 1991 I used to work in Birchin Lane - our fire exit opened into St Michaels Alley right by the Jamaica and we used to nick out for mid afternoon sharpeners here. Back then it had a classic interior and closed at 8pm (the downstairs bar though appeared to have been imported straight from some boycie pub in Essex)

It's just been ruined - can't ever be bothered going in here again
murgatroyd - 11 Feb 2007 10:27
Why do they do it? Hundreds of years of patina now in a landfill site, or more likely a reclamation yard. I'll never be darkening its door again.
Albert_Campion - 20 Nov 2006 17:56
Used to drink Gordons and tonic here years ago!
And buy cases of becks to put in the fountain nearby during the summer. It was a great pub then. The landlady was named Beverly. Ran a great pub. Had all its old world charm back then. Now it is 'ruined' to echo another reviewer. Homogonised out of existance. And what REAL history this building has. ARGHHHHHHH!!!! We need a law to stop this type of vamndalism.
Ed_Wilde - 17 Jun 2006 12:36
I was fairly non-plussed - they must have ruined the interior when the last refurbed because this place wasn't too appealing to me. Very appealing exterior however.
anonymous - 7 Apr 2006 15:40
I was disappointed by this place. Never had the privilege of visiting pre-refurb and now it's a bit of a sad mongrel of a pub - you can see the odd bit of the original fittings but mixed in with the pure evil that is the accursed P&P/All Bar One style. The effect is bizzarre, and not really that successful.And yep, the service sucked big time. Keep walking up Cornhill and go to the Counting House.
MrLash - 19 Jan 2005 12:21
Owners - why did you renovate this place a year or so back? One of the greatest crimes against the Public House fabric of London ever committed.

Why? You made it look like a pub trying to be a bar with an ancient shell outside, and all bleached wood lacquer and steel pumps inside. What was wrong with it in the first place, it's called history and character, that great crime in the eyes of the modern pub chain I suppose?

Mosied down here one night expecting the old familiar dingy interior, and found it looking like a graduate of the school of 'How Not To Modernise A Pub' had gone mental with his crayons and tape measure inside.

F**cking shocking.

Used to be one of my old favourites on a city oub crawl or quick jar just for the Dickensian atmosphere. I now only occasionally walk past it, gaze through the window and shake my head solemnly at what once was. No doubt the owners couldn't give a flying one because it always still seems busy, but the fact remains, you never should have f**cked about with it in the first place.

2/10, and the two is only for what it once was.

krylon76 - 8 Jan 2005 19:13
Probably the smokiest pub in the world - ugh! Seems to attract tossers of both sexes who delight in barging past people instead of utilising the wide spaces around and enjoy occupying as much of the space at the bar as possible to prevent people getting served. Oh, and the (ubiquitous) Bombadier not well kept. Surprisingly enough, moved on asap.

PS: 1 barmaid on at 6pm - so looks like the management don't visit this site judging my previous comments.

Darren in the City - 28 Oct 2004 12:17
Nice cool atmosphere - although it can be a bit of a squeeze on Thursday/Friday nights (where isn't). A good selection of wines, and a fine choice of beers last time I was there. Nice informal place to take either clients, or a new lady friend, before heading to the theatre in town or whatever.

Close to stations, but out of the way enough to be just outside the mainstream.

One of my favourite pubs, and comes recommended. Also occasionally frequented by the odd celeb (George Wafula has been spotted by myself more than once)
anonymous - 27 Nov 2003 17:16
Totally agree - I had grey hair by the time I got served. There were no less than FIVE bar staff, at a fairly small bar, but it still took 15 minutes. The pub equivalent of queueing up to pay at a TK Maxx store....
Rob - 11 Jul 2003 16:25
Whilst I agree wholeheartedly with Matt, I do think that he has overlooked the whole church-square bit. Take my advice, get someone to take you there and go to the bar for you. In the summer it is terrific.
anonymous - 9 Jun 2003 13:47
No doubt billed as one of Londons oldest pubs, its also one of the worst. Shockingly bad service, grubby surroundings and expensive. Compared to other authentic pubs around the City, this one sucks. It tends to be packed out in the summer, when patrons use the small garden belonging to the church behind. No matter how packed it is though, the apathetic bar staff seem to be incapable of serving anyone in less than fifteen minutes. The partitioned bar seems to go into periods of fallow, where increasingly more frustrated customers try desperately to catch the barmans eye. Go somewhere else.
Matt - 30 May 2003 15:02

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