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Harts Boatyard, Surbiton

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user reviews of Harts Boatyard, Surbiton

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

Great views of the Thames. £4.45 for London Pride is bit pricey though.
Had to wait ages to be served despite only two other customers in the pub during my visit as barman was making himself a cappuccino.
In no hurry to go back.

southlondonbeero - 12 Nov 2016 12:43
went here a few times recently. found that the food was absolutely exceptional on the first occasion, then not quite as good the next couple of times. friendly staff and a very nice place in general. great view of the river. highly recommended.
garyt - 11 Oct 2011 19:15
What is it about people who feel compelled to whine!

All I have to say is that if there was any problem with the quality of food or the service I would be quite happy to accept that a venue such as this is popular and demanding for the operators because of its wonderful location. This website is becoming a haven for the pathologically dissatisfied.

We sat unbothered for an hour on one of their wonderful decked terraces overlooking the Thames and I had a couple of glasses of champagne and enjoyed the sunset and my two companions enjoyed well chilled draught Peroni.

Then when we could drag ourselves inside to eat we found ourselves sitting at a table with another fantastic upper view of the Thames.

The food was absolutely marvellous. I had the avocado starter which was wonderfully fresh with a fab dressing on the salad which I forgot to check the details of afterwards. Then I had the fillet steak and my companions had pasta and rack of lamb. We were bowled over with the quality of the presentation and the skill of the chef this was better quality food than a highly recommended French restaurant we went to last week.

We were the last to leave the restaurant area but we had not finished our wine so we took it down to yet another level of the restaurant with lovely comfy bucket seats and finished our debate and our wine in comfort in yet more beautiful surroundings with many other customers who looked as reluctant to leave as we were.

For goodness sake people learn to enjoy yourselves when you get the chance to do so in this type of venue. Take it in your stride when you encounter some of the inconvenience that will inevitably arise when you visit such a wonderful spot and celebrate the beauty rather than celebrating a chance to snipe!

Dinsey101 - 17 Jul 2010 18:58
Ate here with a family of 7 on Saturday. The food was lovely, quite big portions and fast service as well, the Seabass was very nice, as were the lamb kebabs as a starter. The drinks occcasionally took a while to come to us, and the Amstel on tap wasn't looking particulaly lively but i have no other complaints, didn't think it was too pricey either, especially considering the location and was no more expensive than any other decent restaurant.
FishCFC - 13 Jul 2010 21:49
Location - fantastic (if the sun's shining)

Food - good, although pricey

Beer - Not too shabby, price is about the going rate for the area, ie. expensive.

Clientelle - Generally a good mix, I've never seen any chavs and/or pikeys here.

Service - terrible. Friendly, but there's just not enough people behind the bar.

In summary, well worth a look, just be prepared to queue at the bar.
The_Loveable_Rogue - 17 Jun 2010 15:51
location, location, location

just don't eat there
ZymurgyX - 22 Mar 2010 16:29
Pretty terrible pub. Eaten here a couple of times, not out of choice. Food took far too long to arrive and the service was very poor. The quality of food was so bad I ate two mouthfuls and had to send the rest back. All this for £15 per main meal (average). It's pathetic how they can get away charging so much for food so bad I wouldn't expect my 10 year old cousin to cook. I then went home for a salad.

masklin88 - 10 Mar 2010 17:46
This pub has been repackaged as a gastro pub. The layout is the same but the furnishings look new. The bar on the ground floor had no real ale on my visit despite pumps on the bar. The main restaurant is upstairs. The food is a cut above the previous fare when it was a beefeater pub. Service was a bit slow but it was just before Christmas. A place for eating rather than drinking despite its location on the banks of the River Thames.
boozers_knows - 2 Mar 2010 19:25
Avoid. Money spinner due to location. Owners rake it in, while staff cant cope and take the flak on minimum wage.
DoctorRioja - 3 Oct 2009 20:38
adh038 you're right. I went on to their website and emailed the manager about the dreadful staff and never even had the courtesy of a reply. What a waste of an absolutely superb location!
lyeemoon - 5 Sep 2009 20:02
This place could be so so good but the management is dreadful! They do not deal with anything as you'd expect. We booked for 20 people as part of a birthday celebration and were only given a maximu 2-hour sitting even after booking 6 weeks in advance.

The food is below average although some dishes are good. The location is great but its a real shame how the place is run.
adh038 - 17 Aug 2009 13:15
Had a good lunch here on Tuesday, albeit a bit expensive. Service and food was good but quite amazingly after my female companions had tasted the Pimms on a very hot day they suddenly announced that they'd run out!
lyeemoon - 2 Jul 2009 18:09
Great to sit by the river and watch the world go by. Unfortunately it will take so long to be served by the muppets that work in the bar that another Ice Age will have started by the time you get back to your seat
scott7114 - 17 Jun 2009 19:42
The management really do need to do something about the staff serving in this place, we where standing at the bar for ages to be served while a queue formed behind us tutting, its not as if there is enough staff, one was cleaning bar menus while we where all waiting . . really poor.
Come on guys this is a has been good pub in a good location sort you act out.

Hicup - 22 Mar 2009 13:31
We've been here a few times, great location, really friendly staff and an excellent selection of beers and cider on tap. The wine and food in the bar downstairs never fails to disappoint and I have to say I've not had any experience of the slow service that others seem to have had issues with. All in all a firm favourite!
Bets81 - 19 Mar 2009 22:03
We have visited this restaurant a couple of times before and have had a mixture of experiences but gave it the benefit of the doubt.

Following a lengthy wait for someone to take our order, the rest of the evening was a disaster.

- We asked for water 3 times which was finally brought when we had almost finished eating
- We had to ask twice before two glasses of wine were brought and finally came after the meal was finished
- The gravy for my lamb which I had asked to be served on the side came 20 mins after being given my meal (only after asking for it twice)
- The sea bass was overcooked and dry and the potatoes were over salted
- The bill was wrong and had 4 glasses of wine rather than just two (presumably on account of the fact that we had to ask for it again!)
- We had at least 4 different people serving us which probably caused the confusion over what had been ordered and why it never came
- Two other parties sitting next to us seemed to also be experiencing similar problems with the service

We did complain about the sea bass and this was taken off the bill, however this did not make up for dreadful evening that we had. Overall the food was distinctly average and in one case unpalatable and the service was appalling. Hartís Boatyard is a nice place to go for a drink but I certainly will not be eating there again!
hscotland21 - 23 Oct 2008 21:26
visited for the second time last night - same conclusion as most of the reviews on here; great location, lovely refurb, good food when it finally arrives, but desperately slow.

bar service is average; the barman got irritable because we took longer than 2 nano-seconds to choose which flavour crisps we wanted, he spilt the drink as he poured it into the glass and didnt tidy it up, and when they came round to put candles on the tables, they left the empty glasses and crisp packets behind. small things in themselves, but they add to the overall experience.

restaurant service is average to poor; friendly staff but painfully slow to deliver the food and lacking in attention to detail (brought the wrong sauce, despite having specifically asked which one we wanted; had to chase up the water etc) but quite happy to add the service charge anyway.

if you can bear the wait, the food is good and in very generous portions.
.sweeney - 18 Sep 2008 13:47

But I would like to nominate this pub for the worse customer service iN the world/UNIVERISE.
AWFUL customer service.
manager must be mad.

tolworthboy - 14 Aug 2008 15:34
For a couple of years (since the refurbs) this has been our staple for Surbiton sundowners. If you need a drink in Surbiton before sunset then head down here and grab a table outside by the river.

Service is often slow, staff seem to change incredibly quickly but it is blessed with the best location of any local boozer.
thegavster - 11 Aug 2008 16:45
Just to add, the food as noted when it arrives is actually good, but oh dear me the service.

Blistering hot weekend just gone, soon as seated for a meal asked for a jug of iced tap water for the four of us (alcoholic drinks would be ordered once we'd had a look at the menu etc). 'Errm, we can only do jugs for groups of 6 or more', came the reply, as they are needed for 'the bar trade'. So they don't have enough jugs for what they want to be. Maybe buy a few? Can't cost more than a quid each.

So we're offered glasses of iced tap water - which arrives after 15mins, is a scratty half pint, after much chasing, because 'the bar is really busy'. Too busy to turn the cold tap on? I tell you now, if we'd asked for bottled water at god knows how much a bottle, it'd be delivered sharpish.....

I keep going despite all this, because it's the best place for a drink by the river for miles, and the food's actually very good. I just think they are operating right on the wire with the number of staff. The bar sometimes will have at least a 20min wait.

barlick - 29 Jul 2008 15:33
Just had lunch at Harts Boatyard on a not-very-busy Wednesday lunchtime. We were told to take a seat, which we did on the outside terrace, and that a waiter would come to us as it was table service. After waiting 20 minutes, I decided to go and get a menu myself as nobody came.

We then waited a further ten minutes before deciding to go inside and order our food at the bar, as still no waiter had come to our table. I duly ordered the food.

30 minutes later, no food had arrived so I went back inside for a 3rd time and asked the waiter to chase it. 5 minutes later he returned, saying the kitchen had not received our order. As we were about to leave, another waiter miraculously arrived at the table with our order. Shocking.

The food itself was excellent, and the setting on the river is very picturesque, but the service is beyond diabolical. The waiters are the sort of disinterested, uncomfortable, adolescent types that you would normally expect to find in McDonalds, and they really don't know their left from their right.

Great pub for a drink, but don't ever risk ordering any food there.
simonheeley - 16 Jul 2008 16:55
Lovely setting, especially at sunset across the River Thames. Friendly welcome into well appointed restaurant for our small party. However that's where the good news stops. If you're happy to wait at least 20 minutes before your order is taken, at least 40 minutes before the starters turn up and then at least another 30 minutes before the main dish, then this is the place for you! Another little foible was the dessert timing: one of our party was served within 10 minutes, whilst the rest of us waited at least another 10 minutes!! Tea and coffee also served BEFORE dessert in most cases. Staff quite surprised when we asked after 25 minutes how long food might be !
Food satisfactory overall: range of dishes evident and reasonably balanced with vegetables and pastas where appropriate. Fish/meat variety reasonable.
Cost? With 3 bottles of wine main dishes and a mixture of starters and desserts - just over £25 per head. We did not pay the gratuity that had been gratuitously added to the bill: no response from staff at all.
Oh ... bar down stairs was suffering from lack of cold bottled beer (delivery at 6.30 pm attempting to deal with that!) No bitter lemon either: two pumps not working well. Good job place wasn't busy! Our fault probably for wanting to go on a Monday evening!
Don't know that we'll be going back there ...
hughb4148 - 13 May 2008 10:31
Positives first. A good selection of food with a clear Mediterranean-orientation, a great location for all seasons, a stylish decor and a good variety of seating. A nice selection of wines and winter drinks, good lager and clean toilets.

Negatives now; The bar staff are a little frosty, more often than not because there simply aren't enough of them. Sadly the place took a hit in the summer of 2007 and had to lay-off staff. When trade improved they found themselves short-staffed and clearly resourcing when trade is pretty transient has caused them problems. I'd like to see some girls behind the bar as the lads get a bit arrogant and rude. Culturally this place can be a bit too middle-class, it's 'family friendly' so expect to see push-chairs and a big crowd on Mothering Sunday when gran's brought down to see the kids.

On the other hand, a strict sportswear / baseball cap rule keeps the more nefarious fashion-shy pillock out.

Clearly at its best on a hot sunny weekend in the summer but a worthwhile place for hard-working commuters to relax during a stressful week.
smorgasbord - 12 Apr 2008 18:53
i waited over 30 minutes from a drink. Unacceptable.
very annoying because it is a great location and decor. the managers said they are going to turn the place around well why dont you on a friday and saturday night always have at least 3 staff behind the bar.....
tolworthboy - 23 Mar 2008 12:32
Visited on a Thursday evening and found the whole experience unimpressive. We had the most miserable waitress you could imagine who only became a little animated when she brought the bill. Had long waits to be seated and to receive drinks. The food was over priced and not very exciting. Would not go out of the way to visit again.
whites2088 - 25 Feb 2008 11:21
My family (parents & three children) went here for a Saturday lunch, having fully read and appreciated the previous reviews regarding poor service. This concerned us greatly, especially as having three children under 7 to feed & entertain. Thankfully i could not fault the food, SERVICE, or ambiance. We had booked and had been allocated a table on the first floor, with a river view. Service was attentive & polite. We had no call to query or chase them, save for a missing portion of Frites! We found the food portions were of a good size. Highly recommend one of the starters which included a platter of a whole warmed Camembert, which had the most fantastic taste/smell of garlic accompanied by fresh bread to dip in. Main courses of Haddock (medium sized & moist), Roast Half of Chicken (Crispy skin & also moist), Venison Hot Pot (Hot, crispy potatoe on top & soft meat). The Children shared Pizza with Frites - these were equally as good, but this is a downfall - there is no Childrens menu or childrens portions. This needs to be addressed. By the time the meal was finished at 1.45pm, the restaurant was full and it appeared the staff were still coping. Overall a great meal in a beautiful pub. Can't wait to experience some hot summer evenings there.
mpw246pl - 16 Feb 2008 20:11
Very nicely renovated, but did not get the chance to try anything to drink or eat as the service is appalling. We walked out after 20 minutes. They have changed it from ordering at the bar to waiter service which I preferred as it was first in - first served. Now they have ONE over worked waiter trying to cope with the whole of the ground floor bar. All I can say is, sit next to the bar area the people there seemed to get served OK.
generoustipper - 10 Jan 2008 14:15
first things first the pub itself is fantastic i mean since the refurbishment it is outstanding the food is great and with a huge selection of drinks to choose from you can't go wrong. the only problem i have with this place is the general manager, everything he says is like he is trying to be funny (he's not) such an arrogant person i complined to him about the service in the restraunt and he became ruder and ruder. maybe if he leaves the place will be better. thank you
anonymous - 13 Nov 2007 15:29
I love it, love it, love it!!!!
I could eat here every night of the week - amazing scallops last time I was there and I just adore the salmon & crab linguine...
Nothing better than lounging by the river drinking and eating in their comfy chairs and I wish my house had a similar decor! Hurrah for Harts!
bargirl30 - 6 Nov 2007 16:00
It's a great improvement this, a really good place to go and sit and drink or eat and drink.

But I echo the views on the bar situation. You can't fault the staff, there just aren't enough of them. If you serve just a couple of beers, a couple of lagers and wine, white or red, and shorts, then you can get away with 2 staff. Here there's such a flippin' range that 2 is nowhere near enough - a round might be a cocktail, a short plus mixer, a lager, a bitter and 2 wines, from a list, one of which involves opening a new bottle. I waited 15mins on Saturday....... Oh, and it would also help if more folk paid cash for a round, rather than popping it on a card - don't understimate how much this has slowed things down, the drinking world over.

Still, good place - much better than The Albany, which is the same stable and it's a little odd that.

anonymous - 18 Sep 2007 14:13

I echo all of the positive comments here about the refit/rebranding(one of the review is my own!)

I went in on the weekend, and the food, drink and atmosphere were all excellent.

They are still let down by the service at the bar, though. When I went to the bar, there was only 2 people in front of me, and it still took 10 minutes to get served. I have waited over 20 minutes before.

A lot of people avoid this place at peak times because of the service. It is a shame because it is a great place, and they could make a lot more money by being a bit less tight, and hiring a couple of extra bar staff.
anonymous - 28 Aug 2007 13:04
Very impressed with refurb - very tastefully done.
Popped in on a quiet weeknight - there was a fair enough crowd in.
Very pleasant drink or two, sitting beside the river on a balmy summer night.

anonymous - 22 Aug 2007 17:51
I recently started coming here with my girlfriend on Sundays to chill in front of the river and consume the weekend papers. It's a beautiful place with a great menu. The drinks menu is also impressive - catering for those that fancy something non-alcoholic and refreshing.

The restaurant tends to get busy though, which is a shame - particularly as they seem to have stopped serving bar food in other parts of the pub.

That said, the views are wonderful and the setting is really comfortable!
RaxMan - 25 Jul 2007 11:49
I visited this pub yesterday with 12 girlfriends and 2 babies. Gorgeous food, great atmosphere in the pub downstairs, but the 'service' in the restaurant left alot to be desired... a HUGE disappointment!
anonymous - 22 Jul 2007 09:10
In a word, excellent. I have eaten twice now since the refurbishment (and once before - best not to mention) and both times the food and service was first class. A special mention to the northern sounding supervisor/manager, who was an excellent juggler! Unless you have seen him keep 5 knives in the air at once you might find it hard to believe! Make sure you ask him for a demonstration next time you pop in.
DonnieBrascoe - 19 Jul 2007 00:19
It's definitely improved since shaking off the Beefeater albatross, and probably better than it has been since when I first knew it as the 'Out and Out'. I take everyone's point about it not really being the staff's fault (it's more about understaffing), but that bar at the front is simply too small for a venue that size. I'm amazed that succcessive refits haven't picked up on that. But hey, rejoice: it's no longer a Beefeater - that's the main thing!
anonymous - 12 Jul 2007 16:18
Quick update - I have now been in at least 10 times since the refurb. Each time, the food and selection of beers has been excellent.

The only issue that I have is the lack of bar staff. I went in late on a Sunday afternoon. The pub was only moderately busy, but there were TWO staff on behind the bar. This left 10+ people waiting to buy drinks at some point.

This has always been a problem in this place, and it is the one thing that still needs to be sorted out.
anonymous - 2 Jul 2007 12:34
Now a very nice pub by the river in Surbiton; much better than its last reincarnation, we had lunch there today the food was well presented and tasty, if they keep up this standard Iím sure it be a busy pub in the summer , well done !
anonymous - 26 Jun 2007 15:44
hey, fab food at this place. I really, truly like it. The chef here doesn't pretend to cook, he really knows how!
anonymous - 11 Jun 2007 23:17
The place in now owned by the same people as the Albany in Thames Ditton. As such, the same beers and the menu is pretty much the same, though less pretentiously worded. The London Pride was ok, if a little warm.

The outside seating is much imporoved and the river views are equally as good as the Albany. It Will probably go back again now summer is here.

The service was good, but I would expect it to be as a new venture. Hopefully it will continue.
slabghost - 30 May 2007 13:38
Having lived in Surbiton for a number of years (and through a number of transformations of this venue to BeefEaterand back), I can honestly say that Surbiton now has a dining venue to do us proud. The foot is excellent yet not over priced, service is efficient and friendly and the overall atmosphere is great. I reccomend this venue wholeheartedly either for a quiet romantic evening for for taking out friends and family.
InternationalEater - 26 May 2007 19:36
When I read jo1904's review I wasn't even going to bother trying harts boatyard but my husband was so insistent, thank god we did. The food was delicious, our service fantastic. It was a very enjoyable evening. Thank you.
anonymous - 24 Apr 2007 06:16
Looks great after the re-furb - light, airy with great river views.

However, the food is poor value for money and portions generally on the small side, with some down-right stingy. My salmon linguine was billed as a main. It was nice enough but came with a tiny dollop of pasta - so small it would barely have made it as a starter portion. At £13.50 I didn't expect to feel hungry afterwards!

anonymous - 20 Apr 2007 15:03
Much, much better!

The Beefeater legacy is gone. The interior is now modern, and the selection of lagers on tap is now second to none in Kingston/Surbiton. Staropramen, Edelweiss, Moretti and several others as well as the usual suspects.

The riverside location is as good as ever, and even the food is now pretty good. Service was good when we went there, but I am a little concerned to hear about the treatment received by jo1904.

Will definitely be back!
anonymous - 12 Apr 2007 13:38
The re-launch of this pub is fanatastic news to local residents - finally a pub where we can sit on the river and enjoy a nice drink in pleasant surroundings.
Although they were fully booked up on opening weekend (so my husband and I couldn't get in to eat), the staff were very welcoming and pleasant.
Have a feeling its going to be very busy over the months ahead, but it looks fantastic and I'm very excited at having a lovely local!
rednomeo - 10 Apr 2007 17:48
I just had to lodge a little complaint about Harts Boatyard, first of all though I wanted to say how pleased I was to see it back as Harts, the Beefeater was NOT a good idea. I went along on Saturday with some family who were visiting from Sussex and we were told that no food was being served until 6pm, ok no problem it was 4pm so we went into Kingston. Both my partner and I were very impressed with the refurb and decided that we would come back on Bank Holiday Monday for a nice lunch.
On Monday morning I called and booked a table for midday for the two of us, I was told that only the restaurant was open and no riverside eating was available yet, no problem at all for us.
So, off we went and arrived at 11.54am. We went inside and it was empty which was no problem, we walked up to the restaurant area where my complaint starts. We were met (eventualy) by a miserable waiter who informed us that they were not open till 12, I said sure we have a table for 2 at midday and before I could explain we will wait in the bar area he stated "well it's not 12 is it" whilst looking at his watch and then promptly walked off. He didn't even say hello, or you can wait in the bar, welcome, anything. Just down right rude. We left without even eating there as I was so annoyed with his rudeness. Now some people may think we should just ignore it and be civil and go off and wait, but if that is his attitude without even being busy, I would hate to see how he was when busy! I complained to the manager who may or may not do anything about it but I felt I had to say something so that maybe they can speak to their staff that they could at least tell customers that they are more than welcome to wait in the bar area maybe. It's only the little things that matter but politeness goes along way in my book. And yes I've been a waitress before but I was never rude to customers even when I was rushed off my feet!
The refurb is great and it looks stunning, as does the menu, I will go there again but will wait a while I think!

jo1904 - 10 Apr 2007 12:01
Congratulations to the new management team and staff at Harts. What an amazing surprise to see my local pub being turned into something beautiful. You guys have done a super job. Keep up the good work!
anonymous - 31 Mar 2007 09:17
have been a customer here for more than 6 years.
its a miracle I ever go back based on the lame bar staff who never seem to know how to operate the till, serve a drink, or serve a customer! as for going here for dinner, well in the past you may as well have ordered a take away from Barcelona, it would be with you quicker...!

good news is new owners from March 2007 so lets hope the people in charge turn it into the place it should have been... how about a bar outside in the summer and a DJ on the terrace, maybe some staff training? and how about some customer focus? plenty of people in surbiton would go there but not unless things improve!
surbiton2 - 24 Mar 2007 23:43
as a regular customer at the harts i can only have sympathy for the staff, always under new management and new adjustments and now yet another refurb in less than a years time. they must be so confused with all the adjustments. anyone ever thought that maybe its not the staffs fault for the service?? try and satisfy over 200 customers at the same time on a hot summers day...impossible!! all they can do is try, so cut them some slack and be a bit more understanding, their job isnt easy.i know coz ive done it.
anonymous - 27 Feb 2007 07:55
You could balance a plank of wood on two bollards and serve cans of Skol from this spot - people would still come. It's been blighted for years though - it's the Battersea Power Station of pubs. A total missed opportunity.

In retrospect the 'Out and Out'/IKEA-gastropub wasn't their worst excess... the recent Beefeater was a quantum leap back to the Seventies and the staff were always badly undertrained. I read that it's being developed again into another Whitbread concept.

They're missing a giant trick: they've obviously calculated that there's more revenue in the Portsmouth Rd 'passing trade' than in tapping cash-rich local singletons - soemthing I can't imagine is good economics.

GO therein the Summer and sit outside if you do - it's fine for an hour or so.

JoePublovic - 16 Feb 2007 15:30
When I was told that my employer was holding its Xmas lunch here, I checked the reviews on this site and expected the worst. However the service was good and the food was fine. The bar had London Pride at the start although it ran out before we left and we had to drink that dreadful Tetleys Bitter instead. Not a pub I would normally go for a drink though I imagine it must be pleasant on a summer's day. Far better a pub than the reviews lead me to believe.
boozers_knows - 27 Dec 2006 16:08

In reply to the last comment, I think different people have different view as to what I high rating is - I would give a 4 to a pub which is fairly poor with redeeming features, and I think that this sums up Harts perfectly.

Viewed as a pub only, it has a great location, reasonable selection of beers and is quite reasonably priced. The only real downside is consistently bad service. I go here occasionally for the location alone, and put up with the bad service.

As a restaurant, this place rates a 1. The location is still great, but the food is poor, and the service is even worse. Each time I have eaten here, it has taken over 40 minutes to get each course, and I have usually had to complain in order to get it that quickly. Eating here is just not a relaxing experience, and I will never go back except for a drink.

A shame, considering I live virtually next door!
anonymous - 3 Oct 2006 10:18
Visited this pub for lunch one Saturday afternoon about 3 weeks ago. It was a lovely day and there were plenty of people sitting outside enjoying the riverside location.

We ordered our food at about 2.45 and after chasing it twice it finally arrived at 4pm. We only ordered a burger and a jacket potato. The burger had obviously just sat there for ages and the potato was frankly a disgrace. It was cold and the tuna topping was one lump straight from a tin with a spoonfull of mayo on top - not even mixed together.

The worst meal I have had in a pub in a long long time. Still you live and learn so will not be returning until I learn it is under new management which I suspect will not be too long away. Shame because the location is a blinder - it is almost criminal to run a pub like this in such a way.
dugongs2 - 29 Sep 2006 16:25
i ' ve been in this pub many times from when it was an out&out to beefeater and i have ever had any problems; yes changing all the times is a shock and of course effect the servive and the ambience but the staff you can meet there is lovely and very helpful.i 've read comment of people saying that their overall experience has been always tragic, so my question is: why coming back?discounts??
yes we have seen a lot of managers but the one who made my day and time there is a very smart person, bit short with dark hair ,always ready to help.
overall at the moment the Harts is in a big wave but i can see big potenzialities

anonymous - 14 Sep 2006 16:00
I went to this pub last night for a family birthday. The service by the lady was pleasant enough but although there was no sevice charge on the bill the waitress DEMANDED a tip at the end of the evening, this is fine under usual circumstances and I'm happy to leave 15%. But this was after we waited 50 mins for the starter and not far off for the main course despite protesting. At least the meat on other peoples plates looked pink although the veg and sauces had clearly spent too long under the grill or re-heating light to keep them warm. This has been a duff boozer for years and the sevice and staff are always either crap, powerless or both. I've had the same problem mentioned previously with the barrel changing and the bar person returning only to serve someone else. I'm just going to give this place a wide berth. The problem is so many places are like it!
PhilDG - 6 Sep 2006 10:34
I have to say this place used to be lovely, with a lovely atmosphere and lovely friendly staff. As loyal customers we were invited to the re opening when they decided to turn it back to a manky beefeaters. We were greeted by a teenage boy in a overgrown suit who couldn't even say dauphinoise potatoes. We waited for over a hour with no sign of starters, we then complained and after another 20 minutes recieved a free bottle of wine, which we then took and walked out the door. The decor has changed this beutiful building into a dark and dirty space. The menu is full of tasteless unexciting food.
This place needs some love and attention to make it into what it really could be- and that is EXCELLENT!
Unfortuntely all beefeaters has done is ruined it!
anonymous - 24 Aug 2006 19:02
Oh & I would also say that it is in a great catchment area of young people with disposable income who would love to spend it in a place like Hart's Boatyard (not Beefeater!) - take a look at Gordon Bennetts which always seems to be packed.
anonymous - 5 Aug 2006 18:29
What a complete waste of a fabulous location. Like other reviewers I have been here a number of times over the years and each time say that I won't return. My last visit was 2 weeks ago - the bar staff are dreadfully slow, which seems to have been a hallmark of this pub over the years. The food was edible, but bland & with no thoughts going into presentation.

We ate outside by the river - it is such a fantastic location I just can't understand why someone doesn't grab hold of it by the balls & make a decent pub out of it (not to mention making a fortune). The building is great (even if the bar is physically quite small) the location is spot on & it has a good sized car park. All it needs is a brewery/landlord behind it that wants it to be successful and new bar/waiting staff & it would be such a great place!

Come on somebody - kick out Beefeater!
anonymous - 5 Aug 2006 18:25
The only redeeming feature of this establishment is that it is on the river, I have always had bad service here in my 4 years as a Surbiton resident from the bar staff, food was better when it was a Out & Out eatery. I have eaten once there since a beefeater, waited 1 hour for applaing starters, drank all my bottle of wine, waited some more, gave up and left, still no mains. Went back with a group of people, they wanted to eat, advised against it but went with the flow and we ordered bar food... again a long wait for food, only one of us was satisfied, basically rushed and crappy, miniscule portions and the meat was burnt to a crisp. Three of us had the trots later on, all complained of not feeling good. Yeah nice one!, nice evening ruined. Also on another occasion, got a drink for my partner, barrel ran out for me, took 15 mins to change it!, did'nt serve me 1st, made me wait while they finished off others orders, yeah nice bar staff, 32c out after a days work did I need that beer, no, it's ok, i don't mind waiting while you get your pea-brain into gear ! Did I mention they were completely useless too ? WELL THEY ARE !
I wholehartedly agree with SIMONAM basically - F**k off and get a life... I will not be returning unless it is owned by another brewer, I hope you go bust.
CrapPubHunter - 31 Jul 2006 12:59
If you were to re-vist the boatyard you would be able to take into account that they ARE now able to serve food on the river front and if you had asked a memeber off staff why they couldnt you would have been informed that it had nothing to do with the resteraunt itself but due to the food lisencing assosiation wernt able to untill the river was checked. I would reconment this pub for anything from a drink to a light lunch or a full serviced dinner.
pweetifull - 9 Jun 2006 19:01
A sad waste of a great location.

This is one of the only places in Kingston/Surbiton where you can sit right on the riverside to have a drink, with great views over Hampton Court Park. On a summer evening, it almost feels like you are in the country rather than the suburbs.

Over the years this place has has various big-name brands, but the food has always been poor, and the service even worse. I have had to walk out on various occasions because the wait was too long even for drinks.

It is far too corporate - I went in a few weeks ago to see a sign saying 'We are unable to operate food outside due to technical problems'

The place is never more than half-full, which is probably a good thing, otherwise it would take even longer to get served.

The management should take advice from the some of the bar/restaurants on Maple Road, who are doing much better business without the benefit of the location.
anonymous - 17 May 2006 14:43
Harts Boatyard re-opened at Easter as yet another Beefeater. The food was awful (what we ate as we walked out after a very long wait). Not a very impressive menu and the refurbishment consists of cramming more tables in and carpeting everywhere with the awful Beefeater pink carpet!
anonymous - 27 Apr 2006 15:28
After a few weeks away, I was surprised to find this pub closed for major works. Anyone know when it might be opening again?

Hopefully in time for the lighter nights when the riverside ambience, watching the sun set over Hampton Court Park, makes up for occasional failings in beer (real ales) quality or stocks!

Things have been better since they became a Cask Marque pub, but not consistently so.
Basileus - 24 Mar 2006 00:12
I've been to Hart's Boatyard on many occasions, both for lunch in the bar area, and for a meal in the restaurant. Most recently it was for a dinner 1 week ago, and a lunch a couple of days ago.
No great atmosphere, but I go there for food and drink. No TV or pub games - whoopee! Wouldn't go there if they had them. Food at dinner, service and wine was really good. Location by the river is pleasant - better in warmer weather, obviously. No problems parking. Good place to take children along at lunchtime. By choice I'd go there for dinner, rather than lunch.
NikolaiVronsky - 5 Mar 2006 20:48
Despite the poor (but dated) comments on this site, I decided to check out Hart's Boatyard after a good recommendation from a friend who lives in Surbiton. We had a wonderful time, the staff was very friendly and accommodating to our large party (which included three children) and the food was excellent. The food is more fancy than pub grub, but the prices weren't bad for the style of food. I look forward to returning when it's nice outside and can sit by the river. Definitely worth a look for yourself.
kelbillug - 6 Nov 2005 12:35
from one soulless brand to another and back again, good luck as a beefeater once more, at least maybe we will get some real beef instead of that plastic tasting vac pack stuff thats all over the place ..
what a waste of a great venue and location

river jabber - 29 Oct 2004 12:06
i love it here, friendly staff, food thats normal!relaxed atmosphere, great for good parties!
emm - 16 Sep 2004 16:01
Overpriced fancy bland food. Boring inside with no TV or pub games. Shame as it is in a fantastic location by the river. It was much better as a Beefeater.
james - 7 Jul 2004 14:03
Large barn-like interior and souless atmosphere. Menu is very limited and bar lacks decent variety of beers. The one saving grace of this pub is that on a hot day it has loads of picnic tables out the back and you can sit by the river and watch the world go by.
scott7114 - 7 Jun 2004 13:36
This large characterless bar come restaurant is only worth visiting on a sunny day when you can sit outside by the river. The bland interior blends nicely with the soul-less atmosphere and my advice would be to go to one of the many other river side pubs in Kingston or Thames Ditton. I can only imagine that the people who recommend this pub so highly are paid staff.
Phil - 11 May 2004 12:03
Poor "Gastro-Pub", I hate these places.
Mike - 3 May 2004 21:52
I have been to this pub many times for drinks and it is fine,if you want a nice view and a "family type" atmosphere. However, I have never eaten there before. And NEVER AGAIN! 1) They advertise everywhere a special offer of 2 courses for £9, but don't mention that this does not apply on Bank holidays until it is too late(after you've ordered you're drinks).
2) Even more alarming, the food is overpriced and bland - I was expecting the same type of food as, for example, a beefeater (reasonable quality for the money).It didn't even come close.
3) I ordered Lemon grass chicken, with spicy veg and coconut rice. Nothing tasted like the description, just boring grilled chicken leg with some fried onions and boiled rice! I have never complained in a restaurant before, but this time I felt I had to. I found the manager to be offensive, he automatically caused a scene by disputing the point with us, instead of apologising.
I have rated this place "1", as they eventually took £10 off the bill. I'd have far sooner had an enjoyable meal, though!
Fiona - 3 May 2004 21:14
ab fab cant fault it. v friendly staff and top food. i love it and go back time after time
gemma - 12 Apr 2004 11:02
Superb food, particularly liked the juicy steak. And there was this foxy chick on the next table to me called Karen who seduced me with her onion rings
Tim - 8 Apr 2004 11:30
I normally leave eating out for special occasions such as Birthdays and Christmas but on this occasion I made the exception (I had to meet the parents!). I can fully recommend the mixed grill with steak. They were the most succulent loins I have tasted in a long time so for any other meat lovers out there this one not to be missed 8.5/10!.
Tim S - 8 Apr 2004 10:15
This place is great! I must say I donít usually stray from a beefeater or Harvester but this was an exception I loved it and will be going back.
Karen - 5 Apr 2004 12:38
We have eaten out here on two occasions in the last three months and have found the food very good and the service very good. We intend going back and would recommend
jane - 18 Feb 2004 12:17
Views over The Thames; good sized bar; separate restaurant; oh it starts so well. Sadly, that's where the whole thing ends. The whole place has that rather tacky and characterless feel that we have all come to expect from a carvery. It has about as much atmosphere as a BHS restaurant but without the value or taste of their food.! My advice would be to gut the place and start again. There is no doubt the strength of this bar lies in it's location, for it has absolutely nothing else to offer, at all.
crazyfunster - 1 Nov 2003 17:54
was there in july 2003,lovely by the river, but a long way to carry your beer from the bar, expensive after being spoiled by the prices at the antelope on maple road!why cant pubs charge a sensible level price, im sure people will go out more and drink more too!! dave
dave - - 26 Oct 2003 22:02
It's a carvery. Say no more.
James - 18 Aug 2003 14:58
Great location on the river, but the chef is a clown. One meal took an hour to arrive and the other "wasn't ordered", but amazingly was on the recipt for what I had paid. Shame. Would like to not hate the place.
Derek Youdale - 6 Aug 2003 08:16

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