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Derby Arms, Epsom Downs

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user reviews of the Derby Arms, Epsom Downs

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

Had a good Sunday roast here, busy pub, nicely decorated with wooden beams giving it some character. London pride was well kept. Staff were friendly and kept busy, clean well run dining pub, will definitely come back
scarr - 1 May 2017 14:58
It WAS Derby Day!

And a glass of wine (unspecified) is an imponderable - price wise.

The beer price is what you'd expect to pay, on their busiest day - with such a prestige event taking place a few yards away.
randolf7 - 7 Jun 2015 13:48
Thinking of paying the Derby Arms a visit? Well I went yesterday and paid £15 for 2 drinks. A pint of Doombar was £5 and a glass of Rose wine £10. No further comment needed.
beernotfood - 7 Jun 2015 09:10
blackdraggon,please remove your CARAVAN from the downs ,you are causing an obstruction.actually why not do us all a favour and remove yourself from this site.come on BITE sort out your complaints.
hoppyal - 1 Jun 2013 15:03
After the racing had some food and beers all very good , nice clean pub, good service, good beer.Will be back when not so many people about.
blackdragon66 - 1 Jun 2013 10:18
Beer, food, location, staff and decor all pretty good I thought.

I reckon there have been some competitors' patsies downrating here.

9/10 by me.
eddybeer - 26 Feb 2013 15:11
Totally agree with followed through.
Food and service is the best i have seen since moving to Epsom.
Keep up the good work.
cockneypaul - 24 Jul 2012 13:26
Updating my review and rating on account of having eaten here. This place keeps going from strength to strength. The food is fantastic, not cheap but why should it be when it's this good. Recently I had the best sausage and mash I've EVER tasted. Staff are always on the ball, and the restaurant area is excellent. The waitress even put up with my dad flirting with her, which believe me is the hallmark of a true professional. Top marks. 10/10. It's the best pub in Epsom.
followedthrough - 5 Jun 2011 12:53
Some of the comments (and the low score) are a bit unfair. This is a perfectly nice place, with decent ale (some of the best-kept Taylor Landlord I've tasted in the south) and good quality, if rather expensive, food. It's never going to be a cosy backstreet boozer, simply because of its location... even when there's no racing on, it's still a popular family pub because of the great walking areas up on the Downs.
sfocata - 19 Jun 2010 18:21
The food is great here, never had a bad meal, staff are always friendly too, and its a great location. One pub that I return to again and again - top marks
JimO - 10 May 2010 12:57
Out at the Derby Arms on my birthday I tried to buy a bottle of Chianti for my friends and I to share but was told by the barman (who apparently had no wine list to offer) that they didn't do Chianti and this 'alternative' was the closest they had. I'm easy going so said 'sure that's fine', only to be charged 40 !! Later in the evening I found out they did sell Chianti at less than half that price and that I had been given the most expensive red wine from the menu, just for kicks it would seem. I did complain about this and the manager had the decency to compensate for this ... ahem accident. I'm not sure if the barman is going to last very long in this line of work though. Conning customers doesn't lend itself to the repeat business needed in the pub industry.
As for the food, extremely disappointing all round given the premium pricing and plethora of good local alternative restaurants.
Jekyll - 21 Mar 2010 20:07
Decent enough pub, not eaten there so can;t comment on that but drinks and atmosphere were fine, efficient service.

Nice view into London too, good place to come on a sunny clear day.
followedthrough - 6 Mar 2010 16:04
Very comfortable pub to relax in, particularly when that excellent fire's on. The beer is okay here with a good selection of lager and ale. The mulled wine is pretty nasty though. Overall a decent place.
ed1000 - 20 Dec 2009 20:55
Have visited many of the pubs in this chain and found the Derby Arms to be better than most, including the Arkle Manor which used to be our favourite. Drinks pricey and much of the food is too but very good quality and well cooked, service is efficient too. You get what you pay for in life and if everything with frozen chips and peas or made by Aunt Bessie your thing this won't be the pub for you to eat in.
yummummy - 8 Dec 2009 13:14
Still a cut above the rest, nice atmosphere and at certain times some very upmarket customers, more than can be said of the sad old Rubbinghouse !
thebounder - 19 Aug 2009 01:25
I was in the Derby Arms on Derby day itself, and had quite a peculiar experience! All the baf Staff were wearing horses heads, in fancy dress what with it being the Derby and all. They were quite life like heads, and some 3-4 feet in height, so it was a little disconcerting. One of the barman got my order wrong, I imagine it was because he could not hear me through the head gear properly, as it was like a giant muffler, in a way. I ordered 4 pints of Heineken, but I was served 4 pints of Kronenberg. Anyway, an easy mistake to make, but an arguement ensued, which culminated in, effectively, a full size talking horse saying to me: "look, are you going to take the f@cking Heineken or not"?

Not wanting to get into an equine fight for the second time (I lamped an eight year old bay gelding in the pre-parade ring at Towcester), I backed down and took the Heinekens.

The Fruit machine had quite a sorrowful countenance, and evoked pity from my soul. Half the lights were not working in it, and it had seen better days.

The peanuts were good, mind.
DorianGray1 - 2 Jul 2009 11:08
I visited this pub this last weekend. It was very busy and the restaurant nearly full, therefore ate in the bar area. The pub has had a makeover since the last visit - as have the prices!! Vey gastro pub - felt we were paying for the dcor, new look, etc. I ordered my meal and found it sadly wanting in portion. Very poor. I complained to the management and was offered a cup of coffee to compensate (a larger meal would have been more acceptable). I didnt take up the offer. I will not eat there again prices are a rip-off. Staff, however, were efficient and pleasant, albeit embarrassed about value for money.
kaktus - 25 May 2009 18:28
I work there and was disgusted when I had a pint thrown in my face and my friend was called a little sh*t. It's very bad manners. He's not a little shi*t and if you get to know him is a very nice boy.
woman_behind_thebar - 5 May 2009 11:42

miserable bunch of staff rude, over priced rubbish beer.
will not be going back there ever, and would not recommend it to anyone
kevnbev - 5 May 2009 11:13
This used to be part of a small chain of pubs; The Mint at Banstead was the only other one Id been to. Its a bit of a drive to get to so have usually gone for the food and the walk across the racecourse. Having said that, they always used to do a nice drop of Pride, so used to try and get someone else to drive. Visited a couple of weeks ago and its been revamped, suspended chrome spotlights an all. Part of the pub is drinks only and the restaurant has a more formal boundary. Pride was still good but the food is gastro and prices much higher. Food was faultless but not sure it was worth the difference. Service was quick, but I had to stop one waitress leaning across me while I was eating to clear an empty bread roll plate. They cleared away as the last mouthful went in, so the experiance felt rushed. Price and service probably make it not worth the effort of getting to as often as I'd used to.
GEPC - 3 May 2009 09:11
Tried this pub last night following a recommendation from a couple of friends. Cycled there from the station and, it being a dark night, wore my bright orange high-vis jacket.

On being served my half of Tim Taylors, I was told by the young guy behind the bar, politely enough: "Ahem, terribly sorry, but my manager's asked me if you'd take your high-vis jacket off. Don't know why...."

I'm at a loss. Is the manager a rabid Irish Republican? Or did it just make me look like a road-mender or railwayman? So perhaps the class system is alive and well in Tattenham Corner?

Anyway, the manager didn't have the guts to talk to me directly but instead chose to delegate a potentially tricky task to a junior member of his staff, so no points for you matey. I'll give the pub itself 2 as the Tim Taylors was OK.

Anyway, I drank up quickly and headed down the line for the much more convivial surroundings of the Kingswood Arms, a few stops down the line.
ChrisLewis5050 - 13 Dec 2008 17:28
I think the curtains and pictures are lovely and this still continues to be a lovely place to spend an evening.
runninghampster - 7 Jul 2008 01:10
Not really a pub now - it's a gastropub with the emphasis on the food. That said, the food is superb - somewhat on the pricey side, but you definitely get what you pay for in terms of quality. I would recommend this pub for an informal dining experience, but not really as a drinking hole.
thebunster - 11 Jun 2008 21:16
IMHO, this can no longer be classed a pub
more like a beefeater/steakhouse chain
no locals = no banter/atmosphere
doobydooby - 22 May 2008 16:41
I'm guessing the drinking area is on the left as you walk in the front door? If so, it seems to be about 40 % of the pub, not the tiny area I was expecting following HHGTTG's review. I agree with the general point that pubs should be mostly for drinkers, but sadly that's not where the money is...

Refurbishments can go either way. In The Derby Arms' instance, it's been done quite well. Tables haven't been shoe-horned in like you get in some places, and as runninghampster aludes, it appears to have successfully removed the unsightly clientele.

Much better than the characterless shell that the Rubbing House has become.
parkhillian - 16 May 2008 13:30
Good no doubt that this refurbished 'pub' is for eating, it is obvious that the amount of space allocated for those wishing to meet up with friends for a chat and drink is now much reduced.
Went last night (not the best night accepted, before Easter weekend) but at 8-30pm there were no tables available in the 'drinking' area and so myself and my friends left - we weren't allowed to enter the eating area other than to eat.
Shall not bother to go to the Derby Arms again at least not for meeting up with my pals, for a drink
HHGTTG - 21 Mar 2008 14:23
Very nice and cosy since they have done it up again, food expensive but at least you dont have to mix with the riff raff! good looking male bar staff as well and a nice atmosphere.
runninghampster - 19 Feb 2008 01:24
Went there last Thursday (19th Jan) to meet my regular friends but found the recently opened 'pub' seething with people. The place is vastly different inside, now, with more eating area than drinking area. However, I found that I had obviously gatecrashed, what was an invitation only evening, celebrating this recently refurbished venue.
When all my friends had arrived we decided to decamp to the Olde Kings Head in Epsom, although to be fair some of the staff said we were welcome to stay and sample the copious bubbly and wine on offer and a sort of buffet.
It remains to be seen whether The Derby Arms will be a suitable venue for us, on a 'normal' day.
HHGTTG - 19 Jan 2008 11:53
Landmark Leisure....bizarre attempt by M&B to unbrand themselves.
nickdavies - 9 Jan 2008 13:41
potentially a great pub.
run into the ground by mitchells and butlers, and the poor way in which they treat managers and staff. these so called pub chains are damaging some great pub sites.
beerman1 - 30 Dec 2007 16:56
What's happened to this place. Went there last night to meet with friends, from various regions, only to find it in darkness and closed! Is it closed permanently or being re-furbished, yet again?
HHGTTG - 16 Nov 2007 10:43
Ate here last night (29/08/07) with friends and was extemely disappointed with the food. Again, another who buys in food from Brake Brothers. Chose Roast Half Duck with orange sauce, new potatoes and vegetables. Asked for the Duck to be extra cooked for crispy skin. The result was appalling and embarrassing. The Skin was soft and in peeling away from the meat it had strands - not nice. The meat was not cooked very well and within seconds I had lost my appetite. The new potatoes were roasted and the vegetable was just a green salad type. The Scampi my friends ate was 40% scampi and 60% batter shell. After a quiet comment to the female Restaurant Manager I was not charged for my meal. I also noted other diners had left amounts on their plates.

Why do these establishments buy in food from Brake Brothers? Unfortunately, this is the second time I have found Pub food supplied by Brake Brothers awful.
tinseltown - 30 Aug 2007 07:54
Got to agree that this has gone downhill badly. Went in for a meal, the pie I got had I think either been badly microwaved or otherwise undercooked - terrible and we had to wait 40mins for our food on a quiet monday
Blackshod - 23 Aug 2007 15:36
Steadily gone down hill over the last 12 months until it is now a sad replica of its old self. Once reknown for great food at a good price it now has unimaginative food with slow kitchen service and poor presentation. The bar service is even worse. Drinks are served in dirty glasses and drinks serve to the table take in excess of 10 mins to arrive - by which time you may have finished eating!
A great shame. A good really pub has taken a serious turn for the worst and we will now seek one of the many good local alternatives
drdb3017 - 8 Jul 2007 19:58
brilliant service in the pub, with most of the staff seeming to enjoy your company. great in the summer with a garden that overlooks the downs, with patio heaters when it does get cold. food is good considering the size of the pub and the price and found that it still holds an authentic feel about it. only problem is that it is quite far from any public service and can sometimes be overcrowded, especially in the summer.
jim.bob - 23 Apr 2007 23:15
This pub restaurant was lovely to eat at. Barstaff and waitresses are both helpful and friendly and made my evening better than it already was. Food was served on time and well presented, whilst drinks were brought promptly to our table. Everything was reasonably priced, with good atmosphere to the place.
a.nonymous - 11 May 2006 16:26
Better than the Tattenham Corner if the weather has dictated that you should be indoors,....It felt a bit too much like a restaurant for my liking - but hey,...if you're food-phobic, you've gotta roll with the punches in these gastro times!

Oh,..also,.. theres a good coupla pews by the fire,...perch on the edge of one of these (uncomfortably) and contemplate your next move...
kmcs - 21 Mar 2006 17:06
Contrary to the last review (which looks suspiciously like a landlords own blackboard - hmmm), but nevertheless in line with all the other reviews:

The WORST pub on the Downs (and for several miles around)
PLUMMETING quality of service & ropey food
AWFUL management and thus we can't really HOPE for motivated staff then, can we?

Instead, try the Rubbing House, directly opposite, or the Tattenham Corner (Out & Out) just 1/2 mile along the racecourse. Much better!
B.R.Drinker - 18 Mar 2006 07:43
The BEST Vintage Inn in the area
Top Quality food and service
staff and management very helpful and friendly
leigh taylor - 14 Jan 2005 14:56
where have marion and graham gone! that pub hasnt been the same with out them!
brightspark11 - 20 Dec 2004 14:24
The consideration of this establishment's staff and management is their own knock off time and grabbing your money. Unfortunately for this formerly superb country style pub/restaurant with service to reflect this, the potential has not been built upon. Currently riding on the reputation built up over many years the realisation will soon be met. There are 2 other quality houses on the Downs which I certainly prefer. I have generously awarded a 3/10.
a nonny mouse - 20 Oct 2004 23:50
food isnt as good as it was when i was there 3 yrs ago.. waiting staff dont want too no you! rubboing house is the next best thing on the downs..
anonymous - 1 Oct 2004 18:23
The Derby Arms need to change their variety of menu because I feel that the menu has gone boring.

I also feel that the staff isn't as helpful as their opposition are (Rubbing House).


Paul - 9 Sep 2004 15:03
Usual wretched Vintage Inn. Reviewed in the Croydon Advertiser this week quoting the comments below as an endorsment of its greatness. Ho hum...at least its not a Toby Carvery.
Nick - 1 Aug 2004 01:10
Hugely improved pub, good food.

The young staff are very friendly and helpful.
Brian - 4 Jul 2004 19:38
Excellent pub - good food at good price. Plenty of room. Can get busy.
Ian - 4 Dec 2003 10:39
Great pub, good views over Epsom Downs and the food is top notch
Dan - 24 Sep 2003 10:57
A particularly large "Vintage Inn" with staff who manage to remain friendly no matter how busy. Plenty of nooks and crannies for a quiet meal. Used to be closed on race days (especially evenings) but seems to be open these days.
Mick - mike@pellatt.co.uk - 29 Jul 2003 11:46

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