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Horseshoe, Clerkenwell

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user reviews of the Horseshoe, Clerkenwell

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

Decent pub and not too many bearded trendies. Must be the only pub in London with an upstairs area dedicated to darts – 6 (count 'em) boards for the budding Jocky Wilsons out there. I chucked a 9 dart 501 when I was last in, ask the landlady if you don't believe me.

Does it have a Greek music night, I hear you ask?

Yes, on a Monday!
ClareBaldingsChin - 20 Jan 2016 12:24
A good unpretentious pub in an area where smart arsed lager bars are becoming a trend
ALBEERT - 20 Apr 2015 15:12
Popped in Friday lunchtime before Christmas. Plenty of people eating.
This is a very darts pub with a board downstaira and a sign saying more boards upstairs, also darts on the TV. Still seemed a friendly place, Harveys Best, £3.70.
Christmas decorations were very 80's. Could this be a retro pub of the future?
It seems to have bucked the trend to move with the times and seems better for it.
rpf1955 - 31 Dec 2014 15:47
The inside, which is much larger than the exterior suggests, has comfortable and clean surroundings. Two real ales on sale ,served by a friendly landlady who will tell you about the history of the pub if you are interested .Also has a garden area,which is unusual in London.
covman45 - 27 Sep 2012 20:31
This is a nice little pub hidden away in the backstreets of Clerkenwell. Despite being early on a Friday evening, when most pubs were busy, we practically had the run of this place. Outside, a few drinkers were enjoying the sunshine. Inside, there were a couple of people playing darts. Cornish Coaster & Wandle were the ales on offer. There's plenty of seating available. But if it's not busy on a Friday evening, I wonder if it ever fills up. Nevertheless, a nice find.
blue_scrumpy - 1 Jul 2012 11:42
My notes from a visit on 27th March this year:
A completely fruitless search in our quest for London Bar Billiards on this occasion.....our plan was for my wife and I to have a meal and a game before taking in a show in the evening.
A short walk across Clerkenwell Green from Farringdon tube station brought us to the Horseshoe, a tiny pub, but the doors were closed to the hungry tourist. Could just be their chosen hours of business, though, not all pubs having to be open all hours - not even in London.
tommo5 - 25 Jul 2011 22:57
Lovely pub if you like darts, very quaint but very locals too.
Came here to meet friends last Friday before ripping the night away, very friendly staff.
hotlipz - 21 Nov 2010 13:48
Have always had a soft spot for this pub, hidden around a corner from the massed office types cradling pints while standing outside The Crown or the Three Kings. Lovely windows, airy - mind the pong on the way out into the garden, mind - great staff, and a beer garden out back that's often bewilderingly uncrammed, even on a Friday, which feels like a green oasis of calm.
Hired the place one Saturday (when the pub's usually closed) for my 40th, set up a band in there and had one of the best times. The landlord and his staff couldn't have been friendlier.
I do really like the unique Three Kings (The Crown, far less so), but you wait an eon to be served there, so I always gravitate to the perfectly unpretentious Horseshoe when out in Clerkenwell.
Just don't all hit it in your droves. I prefer a bit of space.
getinthebackofthevan - 22 Jul 2010 15:28
The Horseshoe is a great pub. I hired the place about a month ago for a darts tournament and the landlords did an excellent job of hosting it. The garden in the back is magnificent (and rare for the area), and the Cornish Coaster was spot on. A great place to visit if you want to get away from the pretension of some of the surrounding bars.
topdog_andy - 8 May 2010 11:30
Set out like a cafeteria. Cornish Coaster and GK IPA. Dart board and bar billiards.
GuideDogSaint - 11 Jan 2010 20:21
Bit more earthy than most other places in the area the Horseshoe is bigger than the photo suggests - it extends into the building at the left of the photo. Old style frosted windows stop the ladies seeing whether the old man is inside and I have to say the bar had something of the demeanour of a northern working man's club. The chairs and bar stools were pretty nasty wood and chrome numbers but there was also a well set up dart board with electronic score board. Two or three flat screens to satisfy the sport viewers and some Laurel and Hardy memorabilia serving an unidentified purpose.

If I lived in the area I'd probably use this place but with the Crown, Sekforde and Three Kings nearby it wouldn't be top of the list.
murgatroyd - 6 Dec 2009 22:03
The function room upstairs is becoming a rarity, especially since the terms are reasonable. Worth remembering for that item alone.
salminkarkku - 20 Aug 2009 10:57
There is no pool table anymore, but they have a bar billiards table.
robinmckenzie - 29 Jul 2009 13:17
First time to try some pubs in Clerkenwell and came across The Horseshoe whilst trying to find the nearby Three Kings. Deceptive place in that what looks like a very small corner pub from the outside is a much bigger one room pub stretching back under the building its attached to.
Personally I wouldnt describe the Horseshoe as extraordinary. In fact I can think of a lot of reasons not to go there, limited beer choice, plain and uninspiring dcor (yes OK its got a couple of pictures of L&H to liven it up), and a male dominated clientele.
But to come across an unpretentious old style back street boozer, which has avoided being turned into another modernist gastro restaurant is perhaps a bit more extraordinary.
There wasnt enough here for me to consider rushing back, but it was a very decent pint of Sharps Cornish Coaster, the staff and locals were very friendly , and I was impressed with the traditional darts set up. And for these reasons I would frequent if I lived locally and I to wish it well.

Gann - 27 Jun 2009 08:33
Absolutely extraordinary place in the shadow of Clerkenwell church. Large and brightly lit 'Laurel and Hardy' themed bar, with pictures and models of the pair all over the place. Only three people in there when we visited, along with a wine tasting group tucked in one corner.
The first thing that hits you when you walk in is the terrible smell of urine mixed with chemicals coming from the toilets. Truly horrible, and when you actually go in the bogs, the smell is enough to make your eyes water. It's beyond me how the wine tasters could judge the bouquet of their Cote du Rhone with an all pervading whiff of 'wee' and domestos whafting around. It's no wonder the bogs stink as there is no ventilation in there - no fan or even a window, just a little hole in the glass which is nowhere near sufficient.
I had a pint of Sharp's Cornish, which was fine, no problems there. This could easily be a very nice if somewhat eccentric pub, but please sort the toilets out! No-one wants to drink a pub that smells like a public lavatory!
nich52 - 17 Mar 2009 14:39
In the teeth of competition from some of the capital's best pubs - the Jerusalem Tavern, Three Kings and the Eagle - this place adopts the perfect strategy - unpretentious, no-nonsense boozerdom. In that, it can be a very welcome relief and some indication of what Clerkenwell had to offer before the loft dwellers and Janet Street Porter arrived. The landlord Richard and his son are affable hosts and there is a decent sized beer garden - a real boon in the concrete city.
BoehmBawerk - 29 Dec 2008 18:36
Played darts in here on Tuesday. Nice to see real ale on and the boards were good quality. All in all not a bad pub.
Winkleman - 19 Oct 2007 14:22
I hear they do a lovely soup.
anonymous - 5 Apr 2007 17:03
One of Londons best darts pubs, one permanent oche, up to five in total on big darts occasions. Good beer.
Dart_Man - 29 Nov 2006 13:51
An okay, down to earth, locals pub. The ale is well kept, and it's a generally well kept place.
insekt - 27 Nov 2006 20:25
As Stonch says, unpretentious. Food and beer both being honest and reliable and not trying to be anything more. Heavy emphasis on sports, both to watch and play, and in fact if you wander in on a weekday evening you're very likely to find a darts match going on. Some people may not be too impressed with the male-to-female ratio here, but if you are more interested in totty-spotting than drinking, then you will most likely be elsewhere.
ChrisF - 17 Jul 2006 13:58
A lazy term for a pub, I admit, but if this isn't unpretentious nowhere is.

Situated just off Clerkenwell Green in a pleasant setting, in the Horseshoe you appear to have the perfect village pub. The leaded windows, quaint sign and attractive building are however slightly incongruous when taken with the interior. Stripped floors, flashing (though muted) gamblers, big screen, long bar. The clientele here are a mix of local residents (though not the IKEA loft type - it sits on the edge of a small Peabody Trust estate) and nearby office workers. Very friendly bar man, and old boy from Leeds, seems desperate for a chat because most customers are too busy taking in the sport, playing pool upstairs or lounging in the sun trap back yard.

Beers are GK IPA (boring) and Sharp's Cornish Coaster (absolutely outstanding pint when I was last in) and its certainly cheap - 2.40 for real ale with 2 house spirit doubles. I can't comment on the quality or price of the fizzy keg stuff, but suffice to say the selection was standard.

In an area of much better pubs you won't be doing yourself any disservice by missing this one out - but its a fairly solid local's boozer and I wish it well.

anonymous - 11 Jul 2006 10:37

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