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Hoop and Toy, South Kensington

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user reviews of the Hoop and Toy, South Kensington

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

£4.30p for pint of Greene King IPA.

No visible price list. No receipt given for purchase of drinks.

Nothing special.
mycetes - 23 Dec 2015 08:37
Used to find this a convenient place for a pint before heading for home on the tube.
Plenty of seats and stools but you're lucky if you get one as it's always busy. Gents loo upstairs is shabby, smelly and has no hot water.
Paid my final visit today. Waited at bar next to a woman who entered just before me. Barman in front of us spent all his time fiddling with the badge on a pump handle, ignored us, bar girl at far end was serving two sets of customers. Her feet must have been glued to the floor, for when she finished with them a couple walked in from the street and she served them straight away. At that point I walked out, and will never return. Went to the nearby Zetland instead, good service and spare seats.
fernman - 15 Jan 2014 22:13
Used to find this a convenient place for a pint before heading for home on the tube.
Plenty of seats and stools but you're lucky if you get one as it's always busy. Gents loo upstairs is shabby, smelly and has no hot water.
Paid my final visit today. Waited at bar next to a woman who entered just before me. Barman in front of us spent all his time fiddling with the badge on a pump handle, ignored us, bar girl at far end was serving two sets of customers. Her feet must have been glued to the floor, for when she finished with them a couple walked in from the street and she served them straight away. At that point I walked out, and will never return. Went to the nearby Zetland instead, good service and spare seats.
fernman - 15 Jan 2014 22:13
Used to find this a convenient place for a pint before heading for home on the tube.
Plenty of seats and stools but you're lucky if you get one as it's always busy. Gents loo upstairs is shabby, smelly and has no hot water.
Paid my final visit today. Waited at bar next to a woman who entered just before me. Barman in front of us spent all his time fiddling with the badge on a pump handle, ignored us, bar girl at far end was serving two sets of customers. Her feet must have been glued to the floor, for when she finished with them a couple walked in from the street and she served them straight away. At that point I walked out, and will never return. Went to the nearby Zetland instead, good service and spare seats.
fernman - 15 Jan 2014 22:13
This place is a dump and pretty much always has been, too close to the Underground station, but they should be able to make this a real success given the (fairly) recent pedestrianisation nearby bringing in a lot of people. The previous report re: rude staff doesn't suprise me at all. On the plus side, one of the girls who works here has quite the largest assets I've ever seen.
jubbely - 2 Apr 2013 13:38
Fellow CAMRA members, please note that the hapless French duty manager at this establishment is refusing to give the 10% discount on Cask Ale during the Taylor Walker (aka Spirit Pub Company) during its Cider and Cask Ale Festival 2013 (running from 28 March to 28 April).

He was unable to scan the barcode on a brand new valid CAMRA membership card. He refused (or didn't know how to) manually process the transaction on his till. CAMRA discounts are routinely processed at other Taylor Walker pubs by simply pressing "payment", then pressing "promotions", and then pressing "CAMRA". I hope that the General Manager of the Hoop and Toy will teach his apprentice how to operate the till!

I suggest that CAMRA members boycott the Hoop and Toy until this character has been re-trained or removed. He was also arrogant enough to refuse a request that he should consult his General Manager before declining to give the discount.

I recommend that CAMRA members in the area give their custom to the nearby sister pub The Zetland, where the customer journey is now a pleasure. The discount is processed on the till, with no fuss, until the technical issues between CAMRA and Taylor Walker on membership card scanning are resolved. The ever helpful Deputy Manager at the Zetland has trained her colleagues how to manually input the discount on the till.

I note that some Taylor Walker pubs in London, for example The Rising Sun in Tottenham Court Road, offer CAMRA members discount on Cask Ales all year round (not just during beer festivals), but I guess that's a local management business decision.

I'm impressed by the range and quality of ales on offer during the festival so far. It's a shame that I'll be unable to sample beer at the Hoop and Toy. The pub could have a lot of surplus ale on its hands on 28 April, when the festival ends.
andrew2006 - 1 Apr 2013 12:14
I agree with the review below, disappointing. Taylor Walkers need to have a serious look at this pub. The beer was not great and the place was dirty and worn. The staff seemed OK. No atmosphere at all.
catador - 25 Feb 2013 11:44
You would have thought that with the potential to attract tourists visiting the museums that this pub would have made more of an effort.

Very dirty, untidy pub, the bogs are a disaster. Very limited selection of ales, mainly the usual suspects.

Suggest to the staff that 'background' music should be that,not designed to drowned out conversation.


ericstadd - 28 Feb 2012 20:22
The last reviewer wrote:

"I was shocked to find out that a particularly surly and unhelpful female member of staff is actually part of the management."

You must surely be referring to the Kiwi girl known as "Mad M*". She calls every customer (whom she's never met before) as "Darling" or "Love" - and then proceeds to have an embarrassingly long and inappropriate conversation with the uncomfortable customer, while she is oblivious to the frustrated other customers awaiting service. Regulars see her as a figure of fun - and thankfully she is only usually let out during the daytime, so she can't alienate evening clientele.
Natasha_P - 30 Nov 2011 16:36
Been an occasional drinker here after work for a month. Most of the staff are excellent but often very busy, but they usually ackowledge you when you come to the bar. The ales are usually well kept, a selection of 4 is "usually" on offer. Recently had London Pride, Old Golden Hen, Hobgoblin and one other. Prices a bit steep 3.75 for Golden Hen or Hobgoblin.

Only been drinking here as it is on the way from work to the tube!

So staff good, Ales good but expensive but I was shocked to find out that a particularly surly and unhelpful female member of staff is actually part of the management.

Many times I have been served by her, I felt like there was anywhere she would rather be. Tonight was the last straw... I was with 5 colleagues (all in bar/restaurant trade). we had all had 2 or 3 pints, and a member of staff came outside to tell us it was last orders (very nice touch btw). I went inside to find her taking out the till at 11:57 (3 mins before closing time) and saying that the bar was closed. I asked about the time and she just said No, bars closed and took the till away.

I understand about timings and long hours, done it myself! But rudeness and not actually serving until closing time?? In a chain pub where everything is about hitting targets?
ralphholland - 24 Nov 2011 01:50
Food & Ales very very good! Excellent for the families
ilfaccino - 24 Oct 2011 15:18
This pub is handy for the Museums and South Kensington tube but caters for tourists and other unwary visitors so it is expensive and often targeted by bag-stealers. The range of beers is not great -Pride, Youngs Gold, Broadside and GreenKing IPA usually - but often only 2 beers are actually 'on'. The last time I went in there was only Broadside. The staff are ok - overworked - so the queues at the bar can be long. Food is ok, a bit pricy but it is South Kensington, it's the beers they could do some work on and spend more care serving. The toilets are an absolute disgrace - missing or very wobbly seats, often blocked, very very cramped and not clean. Unfortunately the issues extend to the toilet plumbing and the leaks seem frequent - dripping down to the ceiling of the actual pub below and bulging alarmingly in places.
muttley - 19 Feb 2011 15:05
Popped in for the 1st time last Tuesday. Nice enough pub, pretty pricey (3.65 for a pint of Abbot Ale)
Noticed an interesting sign re 15 mins drinking up time being the UK law. Don't know what planet they're on, but other than that, a reasonable pit stop.
robhealy - 9 Jan 2011 21:31
Went to this pub last night. Kronenbourg was flat and undrinkable. OK Strongbow then. . . no it's off. Stella? No it's off. OK Guiness then. Tasted like they had washed the glass with Toilet Duck. Also undrinkable. The only way i will return to this pub is in an Apache Helicopter with full armament.
Damnting - 4 Nov 2010 07:58
I went to the pub last weekend and ordered two Sunday roast dinners at a cost of over 20. The gravy was weak, the roast potatoes, vegetables and Yorkshire puddings were frozen. Awful meal and would advise against anyone eating at this pub. Beer was OK, but non of the staff except for one young lad could speak any English and two of the staff complained it was their first day :(((
john1379 - 23 Mar 2010 13:12
Busy Saturday night, nine drunk people on a pub crawl, we got quick service and a lovely pint of (unsert name of real ale here). And my mate left his bag outside, came back 15 minutes later and it was still there. Can't complain.
vic_of_india - 5 Jan 2010 19:02
I am frankly amazed by the above reviews of this pub. My boyfriend and I wanted a traditional English pub serving no-frills (or at least somewhere "frills" were optional) grub and that's what we got. It was a VERY busy Sunday afternoon and our only complaint was that desert took ages - but once informed the staff couldn't do enough to make amends. Some people expect far too much in my opinion. It was a great pub, excellent atmosphere, good food at excellent prices for London! We tipped well and will return.
paulaantti - 20 Nov 2009 19:22
Go to secretbeer.blogspot.com to read in full what I think of this pub. Could be very good with the right staff (ie) people who care about what they are doing but as is staffed by those who couldn't care less and view customers as an inconvenience I will not be back.
thirstyboy - 8 Oct 2009 16:11
Lav
realalesnob - 7 Oct 2009 16:39
Visited on a hot thursday lunchtime.Beer was ok but the food was the worst we have ever had.It takes a particular skill to make a jacket potato inedible.To cap it all we had to wait 30mins for the food as it was cooked to order makes you wonder who was cooking it.This is sad because a bet lots of tourists visit and this is the worst example of english cuisine.A case for food police as the cooking and image are criminal!
knowle - 1 Jun 2009 10:11
We visited this pub yesterday afternoon. I had a couple of pints of London Pride which tasted very good. We both ordered food which was ok for pub grub but we were particularly impressed at the lengths which the barman went to to make sure that my partner's food did not contain any mushrooms. (She is allergic to them). He couldn't do enough to help.
multiplexor - 17 Apr 2009 22:34
I would not recommend this pub to anyone, in fact I would encourage people not to go. I went there after an evening at the Proms for a couple of drinks and there was a sign on the wall which stated that closing time was 1pm. So when I noticed this we bought another bottle of wine at just before 11pm. Five minutes later the bell was rung and 10 minutes after that we were asked to drink up. I pointed out the notice on the wall and the member of staff said 'that is out of date' and ripped it off the wall. 10 minutes later the manager came over and ordered us to leave. With still a full glass of wine to drink I said that I couldn't rush and that the sign that was on the wall did show it was open much later. He told me that his colleague had already explained and that they were now closing and we had to leave. I was very angry, there was no apology and he was extremely rude. I told him there was no need to be rude and he replied telling me that there were much worse things he could have said to me. What???
I am still upset about it and that was a couple of months ago now.
Also I noted it had another sign on the wall which stated they did not serve tap water. I thought that everywhere had to serve tap water now??

Suzianny01 - 31 Oct 2008 13:19
This place has just had a refurb. The result is surprisingly good considering the state it was before. Still quite traditional (which is good) but it's clean and not so dingy now with wooden floor boards and new furniture. Worth a visit if you're at South Ken tube.
beer4all - 14 Oct 2008 11:28
Went for a late drink last night (11pm). Have to say that staying open late is probably the only good thing about this pub. A pint of Star and a double vodka and lemonade was 10.36! Outrageous! And they certainly don't use their profits to keep the place in good order. Our table was peeling and the loos don't seem to have been decorated since the 1970's! Shan't be returning.
danym - 1 May 2008 11:00
Disappointing. Came her on a saturday evening at about 9 and half the clientele seemed wrecked already. 3 for a pint of London Pride is hardly mindblowing value and the rest was similarly expensive. Wouldn't go again.
ChrisP87 - 26 Apr 2008 11:14
Expensive and lacking in atmosphere, but there isn't much so close to the museums. I work locally and amongst many museum staff it's known as the "Hoop and Toilet" due the endless plumbing problems they seem to have with the gents' loo upstairs. There have been several bad floods and there are often suspicious drips from above - sometimes landing in your pint - I kid you not.
A transient population of tourists seems to attract bag thieves - lots of colleagues have had their stuff knicked from the pub (beware also if outside smoking).
Service can be haphazard as often there are so few staff employed on the shifts and the turnover is so great that they don't have time to learn the ropes or to look out for people who have been queuing for ages.
muttley - 4 Jan 2008 23:07
A decent selection of six ales including Adnams Broadside, Timothy Taylor's Landlord and Shepherd Neame's Spitfire. The Broadside and Spitfire were excellent, but unfortunately the Landlord was off.

It's a slightly touristy pub - lots of French people seemed to be in when I visited - but all in all not a bad place to drink. I didn't try the food, but overall my experience of the Hoop and Toy was rather good.
gatomalo - 11 Dec 2007 13:29
Never choose any pub in London like the Hoop and Toy if you want cooked food. Most of those running Typical London Pubs are only interested in the wet side and food only exists because their area managers insist that it does. 100% disappointment guaranteed.
nickdavies - 11 Oct 2007 18:53
Terrible pub. AVOID. Very untidy, dirty chairs. No service. We are a middle aged couple, tourists who enjoyed a lovely holiday in London. Happened to get into this pub. Two waiters and boss wrapping up cutlery in napkins, no one to serve customers standing and waiting. Waited an HOUR to get fish and chips and didn't get the dish after all. all this happened on Friday afternoon at 3 o'clock. Boss gave us the money back just commenting 'something happened in the kitchen'. No apologies. Advice: Never choose the Hoop and Toy pub!
anonymous - 11 Oct 2007 14:07
Touristy and somehow lacking in atmosphere and character. taff very professional to the point of being stand-offish. I work around the corner and often have a pint at lunchtime. Consistantly excellent quality beer.
Coopy - 13 Jul 2007 16:50
A very average pub selling average beer but at a price, I tried the TT Landlord and it set me back 2.91. The food is also average but overpriced for what you get trouble is there aren't many other pubs around.
ranger1485 - 26 May 2007 00:06
Reasonably spacious, but perhaps slightly dingy in the corners and a bit smoky. Several real ales advertised but only one actually on. This pub served us well enough for a group meeting place before going on elsewhere.

A word of warning - avoid the "sharing platter" - four potato wedges and four oily chicken strips aren't much of a snack to share, especially not at 7 a pop. Nachos are far better, featuring surprisingly decent chilli.
ermintrude75 - 18 Dec 2006 18:08
Well I'd never eat in here - it always seemed to me (when I lived in the area) designed to catch tourists on the way to and from the museums to the tube.

Not much wrong in here but not much right either - many many better places within 15 mins walk to go
murgatroyd - 29 Oct 2006 00:38
Beers that were good: Fullers London Pride and Youngs Ordinary; guest beers are available and a list is shown on a blackboard, with the ones that are on being ticked.

Convenient pub for the museums.

Once featured in a Roman Polanski film (Repulsion, 1965).


Wade1957 - 13 Oct 2006 15:21
This place deserves the title of Official Worst Sunday Roast in the country, nay the world. We can't believe the staff had the gall to set it down in front of us after removing 7.45 a pop. Shocking. Avoid.
toaster - 3 Aug 2006 15:14
Tried again and the condition of their ales is far worse than the selection. At least they do them I suppose
mitomighty - 7 Mar 2006 13:17
A nice enough place for a pint--I first happened on the place by accident, but I've since been in for a quick one after time at the museums or wandering around by the parks. As other have said, not one to travel across the city for, but a nice enough place.

Their ale was in iffy shape last time I was there, but I hope that was an abberation...
Hodsthorn - 7 Feb 2006 00:07
Rubbish Ale but fairly friendly staff - the food...not for me - bland!
mitomighty - 29 Nov 2005 15:56
I like this place. I've drunk there about 3-4 times for fairly long sessions at different times of day, all have been rewarding. Excellent selection of real ales from three or four breweries, enabled by the fact that it is a Free House. Good friendly service. The decor and layout are cosy, toilets acceptable. Never eaten there so no comment on that.

They are now opening to midnight every day, apart from Sunday when it is 11pm, under the new licensing laws. Halleluja!

ooooooooo - 24 Nov 2005 14:37
Nothing special but gerat location. Quite smoky there last night (Thursday), lot of tourists coming in after a skate on the ice by the Nat Hist Msm.
Fun "pool table" upstairs, but then we broke it. Sorry.
Not one to go out of your way for, but good selection of ales. Could do with changing the carpet too.
anonymous - 18 Nov 2005 13:00
The 'Oop. What can you say for it? - Well it sells drinks and it's right on top of the station. And against? Well it attracts exactly the sort of clientele you expect in pubs next to stations. Don't ask me why people eat cooked food in these sort of pubs, which almost by definition showcase the true nature of the British mass catering industry. But they do.
nickdavies - 28 Aug 2005 19:42
A great pub with function rooms available upstairs for booking at a price. Does get busy very quickly but empties as quickly as tends to be people popping in on the way back from the museums. Good food, good choice of beers.
juliogeordio - 29 Apr 2005 11:30
Good spot to go for lunch or a pint after museum hopping.
theslag - 15 Apr 2005 17:48
As someone who works nearby most lunchtimes are spent having a swift half in the Hoop, good pub with friendly staff, have added guest ales to beer range and the food is very good, but does get packed very quickly and can be smokey at times, tho now have a no smoking at the bar policy !!!!

John and Lynn KTBFFH !!!! :-)
ChelseaLes - 3 Mar 2005 15:12
Boring. Nothing offensive about this pub but very dull. Have had a beer in here from time to time but usually end up wondering why I bothered. The bar underneath has a pool table if you fancy a game, hardly any seating though.
Seb - 24 Feb 2005 20:34
Great pub! I can understnad why most folk would think it horrible, but with perserverance this pub is a vibrant, busy and attractive watering hole in a great part of London. There is a tendency for people ot complain about the price of ale: so they should leave the capital, cos nothing is going to change. The beer here is OK, the staff are usually working holiday visa holders and fun. It's just good to be able to slurp ales in South Ken without having a billion pound mortgage around your neck. The only downside is that the smoke lingers, and there seem to be a fair few smokers to boot. Great pub!
City_Womble - 11 Feb 2005 14:35
Nothing special, but a very good place to stop for a pint after classes at the Institut Francais across the road. Not the ugliest pint I've ever had either.
Karl - 11 Oct 2004 14:04
Well it's nothing special is it? Usual unimaginative range of beers, standard decor and a great deal of ho hum. Watch sport on a small screen and pay a fortune for booze instead of going to the Natural History Museum over the road.
Agnes - 24 Jun 2004 17:31
Horrible place. The beer is extremly bad kept.
anonymous - 26 Mar 2004 15:43
Went there the other night and asked for 3 double JD and cokes. Now if you ask for double then surely it's an unspoked thing that you mean double whiskey but not double coke. What did I get? Three glasses filled to the hilt with the sickly brown stuff. Tall glasses they were too. If that wasn't bad enough I was then charged over 19 English pounds for the privelage. By my reckoning that means I was charged over a fiver for what should have been three 'dash's' of coke. And the barmaid took ages to pour them and I was in a hurry. Top 40 my arse.
Good for: Might have been allright in the day if I wanted a pint
thenationofjames - 28 Jan 2004 14:36
Popular with tourists and office workers. A pleasant enough pub with efficent service. Tends to get very busy early evening.
andrew1961 - 25 Jan 2004 19:16
Excellent experience, friendly service and great fun.
ianfreeman - 13 Dec 2003 13:59
food is okay but we ordered two medium rare steaks and they came *very* well done - spoke to management only to be told they only do medium to well done steak! otherwise quite nice atmosphere, serve good beers (slightly expensive but what do you expect for south ken) and to be fair they did give us our money back for the meals.
jess - 13 Nov 2003 01:10
Made a visit today for the first time, even though I only work up the road!
Not a bad little pub, they do a nice glass of Pinot Grigio :)
Briony - 2 Aug 2003 22:29

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