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Isambard, Paddington

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user reviews of the Isambard, Paddington

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

One of a number of small units on the station concourse, this is a modern, single room pub with windows on two sides allowing good views of the comings and goings outside.

The pub has a laminate wood floor and pale green paintwork. High stools around the windows are joined by tables and chairs elsewhere and some leather bench seating around the walls. A plasma was at the rear built in to a unit displaying a selection of wine bottles either side. This was showing a news channel, but the volume was muted so it was not at all intrusive. I didn’t check the menu, but did notice a pile of pork pies on the counter and a board advertising some tapas style grazing dishes priced at three for a tenner.

Beers on tap were Tribute, Greene King IPA and Old Speckled Hen. The craft beer of the month was apparently Meantime London Smoked Porter. The solitary cider was Symonds Founder’s Reserve which was slightly disappointing – seeing as a large proportion of their clientele are going to be from the West Country, it seems odd to have picked a cider from Herefordshire.
Blackthorn - 3 Apr 2014 10:18
A surprisingly decent bar on the main concourse at Paddington. Three cask ales, the Doombar I sampled was very good. Use your BITE card to get 20% off - making a pint of Doombar very good value for the location at £3.04!
alexw - 19 Nov 2013 22:17
Now transformed into The Beer House, selling 'craft keg' such as Meantime Saison de Nuit and Brewdog 5 a.m. Saint, plus Doom Bar and lots of interesting bottles.
rathowen - 8 Feb 2013 14:56
Ideal location of course, decent beer and the Bite card discount certainly makes a difference!

Very hot in the summer however, air cooling system doesn't seem to do anything!
jfrebrycn - 29 Jul 2012 11:05
I do like this rather unusual pub if I happen to have some time at Paddington Station, see the other reviews. One thing that hasn't been mentioned is that they will give you a discount if you have a BiTE card (not this site but google it and get one for 20% off food and drink at railway stations)
walnut_rede - 13 Dec 2010 19:10
OK - its not a proper pub !
From the outside it looks same as the station kiosks housing Burger King, that tie & scarf place, baguettes "wonderland", etc. ???
Actually its not that small inside, comfy sofas, fireplace, big mirror, and has real friendly staff ... is open for an hour after the other station / near station pubs close (Paddington seems to enforce 11'oclock curfew on all its pubs other than the GW Hilton) ...
11 o'clock in the evening its way more tempting than the station benches to waste / shiver for a half an hour before train goes, and I've met so many interesting peeps there doing same as me !
Laura -
lauraeva - 9 Aug 2010 18:06
Like many others I used to prefer the Mad Bishop and Bear at Paddington, but this actually quite a good place to grab a drink while waiting for your train.
As time was limited I got a JD & Coke which was upgraded to a double for an extra 50p or something. The key to this place is its proximity to the platforms so the last minute sprint to your train isn't as long as it is from The Mad Bishop. Plus there are plenty of places to sit and people watch while you drink.
Better than I expected and definitely better than it looks from the outside.
stevebex - 3 Aug 2010 17:20
Not too bad for a railway station pub, with a decent pint of Fuller's Discovery on offer (even if I did have to ask for it to be topped up). However, this is the only pub that I can think of where you automatically get asked "Would you like a packet of crisps or some nuts with that?" - straight out of the corporate script that the company (Select Service Partner, at a guess) issues to its 'operatives'.
rpadam - 25 Sep 2008 22:43
It certainly did not look like a pub from the outside, but was an OK place for a pint prior to the train departure. I had a tasty pint of "Old speckled Hen" and it was served at the correct temp to my taste. My wife had "London pride". We didn't have any food, but noticed the menu list with a variation of choices. Next time travelling via Paddington I won't hurry up to the street level to look for a dining pub, I will try The Isambard menu.
hgr - 11 Jul 2008 20:14
I had to do a double take on this place before I realised it was a pub. I had a 20 minute wait for my train so I popped in for a quick pint and wasnt disappointed. 10 times better than standing on a train platform, which cannot be said for all railway station pubs.
Strongers - 31 Mar 2008 15:05
Surprisingly quiet whenever I have been there. Presumably more people go to the Mad Bishop up the escalators but this is a decent enough meeting point with a reasonable selection of beers.
TerryTibbs - 4 Mar 2008 11:20
Ok...it's a square box and located on a busy platform entrance...that aside the staff were very friendly and efficient. Comfy seating and beers not bad. Could do a lot worse if in Paddington waiting for your train.
MikeClarke - 26 Feb 2008 15:27
Impressed by the range of ale on (in a station platform pub I'd call more than one a range). My ESB was fair and not-too-badly priced given the location.

Bazco101's got it spot-on, this is a dinky square box but they've done well with the interior. Can see why they've got the lock on the bog door - the other pissoirs in the station are 20p a tinkle at least this one is free for the paying customer.

Would take a punt on this if you've got a 20 minute wait for the train and fancy a bit of refreshment. But if you've got 40-50, maybe go out of the entrance and have an explore instead, this onell keep for the next time youre here.
Quinno - 17 Feb 2008 23:02
The only possible reason to visit this pub is if one were wheelchair bound and hence unable to climb the escalators to the Reef Bar and Mad Bishop and Bear - not the best pubs in the world themselves. The lock on the toilet door is only the worst of a litany of crimes against pubdom - truly, truly horrible and should be converted back into a Boots or a Superdrug as soon as possible.
BoehmBawerk - 23 Apr 2007 17:39
There used to be a Boots the Chemist at the end of Platform 11 at Paddington and now there's a pub. That, at least, must be applauded. The strangest thing about the pub is that despite being only months old, the decor is resoundingly old school. It's almost as though the owner bought everything that was to be had from an auction after another old boozer had closed down (including dodgy carpets and toilet doors with security codes to go for a leak). The Mad Bishop and Bear up the nearby escalator is a better bet than this place or better still - get out of the station and go to The Victoria which is but a five minute walk from Paddington.
Gerschenkron - 3 Apr 2007 13:33
Handily placed near the platforms. Good beer and friendly barman.
TheBeerMonkey - 7 Mar 2007 14:34
Good place for a pint while waiting for a train. Friendly staff and the beer is well kept. Better use of space than the Boots that used to be there.
Wee_Paddy - 21 Nov 2006 07:28
The Isambard gave me one of the weirdest sensations I've ever had walking into a pub. First of all, it's a dinky little rectangle of space just on the edge of the busy Paddington concourse, low and squat, resembling nothing so much as a 21st century pill-box.

But upon entering, one is surprised to note the canny use of space, which makes the experience of walking into The Isambard something akin to discovering that the Dr has hung up his last Dalek and renamed his Police box "The Tavern". I still don't know how they managed to fit toilets into the mix, as the drinking space seems to me bigger than the bygone Boots ever was, but it's one thing I'm willing to take on faith.

The Isambard has a humble selection of drinks, plus plenty of comfortable seating. Just the ticket when you've got enough time for a pint and need to block out the fact that outside is the maelstrom of madness that is Paddington.
bazco101 - 16 Nov 2006 12:31
This is a better use for the old Boots store. Although there is a limited range of beers they do try to have at least one guest beer on. Staff are very friendly and responsive.Good place to be while waiting for a train or as a meeting point but maybe not for a session. Still worth a try.
Wee_Paddy - 7 Sep 2006 10:07
Recently opened pub converted from a Boots chemists, Landlord serves a good Youngs and Pride,
and seems friendly enough, nice place to hang out waiting for your train
zagreb - 4 Aug 2006 14:01

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