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Kings Head, Winchmore Hill

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user reviews of the Kings Head, Winchmore Hill

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

Four ales when I visited - Young's Bitter, Doom Bar, Cornish Coaster and a special brew by Redemption to mark Geronimo Inns' 18th birthday. Had a pint of that(£3.85) and very nice it was too, with a pleasingly bitter aftertaste.
Apparently there are four ales on at all times and at the pub's discretion rather than forced on them by parent company, so that's good.
Beer comes in handled tankards, so marks for that too.
Pub is definitely in the gastro category, and is obviously focused as much on dining as booze. Menu is the posh side of pub grub with mains between about £9-£11.
One TV above the door and the King's shows live sport so you can get your fix. Reportedly a second one coming in at the other end of the bar area so they can show football and rugby at the same time.
Decent looking garden at the back which will obviously so BBQs in the summer.
Seems to have the balance right between eating and dining and has pitched itself perfectly at the neighbourhood.
And with the beer being decent and the place looking well tended, it's obvious people are happy to come here and spend their money rather than the slightly shabby looking Salisbury and Queens Head nearby.
duchyjim - 19 Feb 2013 21:14
Very disappointed when I visited The Kings Head recently, the food was expensive for what was on offer. The mushroom soup was watery and lacked flavour, and as for the main, its very rare I leave food on a plate as I normally eat it whatever but this was an exception. The dry white wine (supposed to be Chablis) was sweet and at 28. I will not be back
foodybeerboy - 17 Sep 2012 15:16
Sadly this nice old bulding which could be really superb has gone down the gastro pub route and at least half the floor space seems to be given over to dining, leaving little space and very few tables for those just seeking a drink. If it's warm enough the stable-like area at the rear is your best option, if not it's a case of standing cheek-by-jowl with all the drinkers in a rather cramped area around the bar and woe betide he that stands in the way of the food service! The little bit that looks like a cross between a library and a West End members club is okay, but by crikey you'd better have some cracking conversationists wth you as it is as devoid of atmosphere as it is pretty to look at. Range of drinks not too bad despite all that and the beer is kept well. Expensive and given the space/atmosphere/feels-like-you-are-intruding-in-a-restaurant drawbacks, you can and should do better by spending your night elsewhere.
Mr.Monkfish - 1 Jul 2012 16:43
popped in this sunday the landlord and staff were great, sunday lunch was spot on and the glass of melbec was so good i had to have another..

Had avoided this place for six months due to some of the comments on this website and persevered with the other pubs on the green, then through being driven to total despair i tried the Kings, all i can say is you get what you pay for... yes it is ten pence more expensive on beers and probable more on wine but the barmen named over 30 drinkers in the bar that very afternoon and knew there drinks, very impresive! as he explained just a few of the locals well hopefully i will become one of those locals very soon

Mines a large
Gary
Gstar101 - 28 May 2012 22:43
Monday night quiz night. The atmosphere is more lively in a doctor's waiting room than in the pub. The pace was so slow I nearly left after an hour when we were only half way through.
You don't need to wait 2 minutes between questions and two 20 minute breaks are ridiculous when there are only six rounds.
At 10pm the quiz zers were the only people there. Dire!
I'll give it one more chance but it was the worst pub quiz I've ever been to.
Raypa - 11 Oct 2011 13:34
Food's all right, but on a Friday night it is like Sunday League footballers wives
FranklyspeakingMarc - 25 Jul 2011 22:56
Sunday lunch vastly overpriced for the quality but then clientele probably used to microwave meals and don't know any better. Frozen bullets of vegetables. A mouthful of dessert for 6. Are they getting ready for a quick getaway? What a cheek. Who dares wins! Must be a lot of mugs in Winchmore Hill.
jena - 5 Feb 2010 21:26
This is a big pub with some tables and a plasma screen in the main bar, but Id be surprised if there was any Sky Sports. There is a small quiet function room to the right with some sofas, books and a bar billiards table in it. To the left of the main bar area is a dining area with set tables and I thought that I saw a waitress hovering about. Past the dining area is a nice beer garden with some covered seating under the arch at the side of the pub.

Pride, which was ok, and Doom bar were available from the bar alongside a selection of standard and premium lagers. I found the staff to be very friendly, but the other clientele to be very insular and suspicious of a man drinking ale whilst reading the Standard.

This is a girls night out venue or a place you would take the misses for a bottle of wine Just dont forget the credit card.
Strongers - 27 May 2009 15:16
Visited the Sunday evening before Xmas. Two real ale hand pumps on and the London pride was drinkable. Only stayed for one round though before moving on, because I would have had to remortgage to get a second one in. This place remains an enigma to me, expensive beer and well pricey food which gives you the 'How much' factor when reading the menu. But on this evening, at 8.30PM on a Sunday it was the liveliest pub of the three on 'The Green', and every table in the restaurant was taken.
So I suppose whilst people are prepared to pay EC4 price levels in N21 , then there's no reason to stop charging them.
Gann - 22 Dec 2008 09:50
Not impressed with this place. 'Done up' in what is becoming the bog-standard fashion for pubs in London to be 'done up'. Overpriced, lacking atmosphere
steve_on_tour - 3 Mar 2008 09:02
This really is a nice pub. The real ale is always really high quality. I hope it keeps it up.

Nice looking place, a bit show-offy but is still a nice place to go to. Its good to have this option rather than the usual "old mans pubs".


anonymous - 28 Aug 2007 12:42
Pub reviews are subjective, it depends on what you're after? I live in Winchmore Hill and have only been a couple of times but, based on that, I would say that the beer isn't anything special and expensive. Be prepared to pay well over 3 for average lagers like Stella. Its is nicely decorated but come on, in Zone 4 - a pint of Stella you can get anywhere for over 3?
The other comments about wannabe footballers wives coming here is true, but that's a bonus for a perv like me! Anyway, if you want a pub near the station whose insides look like a renovation off of "Property Ladder" then the Kings Head is for you. If you want a quiet pub with a good selection of lagers at a reasonable price but without the riff raff don't go here! I prefer the Salisbury Arms across the Green and still near the station, and no - I'm not the manager like one of the pro Kings Head reviewers here. Just a non-wanabee local with a job in the city.
WinchmoreGooner30 - 11 Jun 2007 12:37
I came here on St Paddy's night...mini pub crawl of Winchmore HIll...and I was pleasantly surprised. It's been trendified since I was last here (circa 1995) and I will certainly be back to try the restaurant at the back some time. It was busy but not too busy, there was a good atmosphere thought the lighting is a bit bright, but they had two guest ales on, both of which were well kept.
vic_of_india - 3 Apr 2007 16:56
Its a nice pub, but it attracts a dull wannabee crowd. Not cheap, but it shouldn't be - they have done a very good job of this place, and its in a lovely location. Great summer pub - love that courtyard.
nishclish - 11 Jan 2007 17:14
Soli,

Here's some House Management advice:-

1)Treat all your customer's in a friendly way, even if (like 95% of the locals)they haven't just arrived in The King's with the new boss.

2)Take on board the balanced comments you read by impartial people, rather than take them as a personal slight.

3)Remember that the pub is based in England, not Wales, and friendly banter during the Six Nations is great fun, whereas drunken aggression isn't. Nor is it particularly funny to mute the sound for the English anthem.
anonymous - 4 Dec 2006 21:04
This is a treat of a pub set by the Green on Winchmore Hill. Not far from the centre of London, I met some friends up there for the Monday night Pub quiz, and it only took me 40 minutes from Picadilly Circus to the pub door. Fresh air and then into a burbling atmosphere with an excellent pint of Guinness (even though it's all coming from Dublin, it's still great to get a pub which stores the kegs well, cleans the pipes and cares about the beer), a simple menu of well-cooked, tasty pub fare (The scampi was fresh and delicious) that doesn't batter the wallet. The service was more old world, with the staff taking time to engage without being in your face, and I left after an excellent pub quiz-led evening with locals and 'townies' in excellent cheer and full of sharp banter. A really splendid way to address that lingering feeling of warmth from the weekend.
Blackwolf - 13 Nov 2006 17:11
Anonymous (22.09.06) - do you have any advice re management goals then? You have offered the opinion but have not proffered any ideas.
It seems to me the pub is a magnet for some very friendly locals, almost all of whom will incude you in their circle if you are remotely socially able.
It's my experience that staff are simply nice people who smile and serve. They don't flatter to deceive, they flatter those who they know are trying to deceive them.
The wannabes who live at home have the cash to flash because they choose to save rather than burden themselves with huge mortgages. It's a cultural matter and your comments seem as best, bitter, at worst, offensive.
The Kings Head doesn't really seem like the place for you, so I do hope you've found somewhere closer to home that fits the bill: no children, boring beer, cheap food, staff with the enthusiasm of a sloth and absolutely nobody who is younger and richer than you.

See the rest of you there sometime, supporting Wales during Six nations natch.
soli - 8 Nov 2006 15:28
I like the Kings Head!

It is true that the alcohol is priced more expensively than the West End, but this is the fault of Geronimo Inns, the pub chains management and not the resident landlady/staff. I can also concur with the previous posting and verify the beer does taste the way it should (Stella) and maybe if more people drank Guinness, it would definitely be more rich and creamy.

As for the staff, they genuinely do or try to do a good job on the whole. There are periods of slack, and then periods of complete mayhem, but they do cope.

The food is good, though it does seem to have got more expensive recently, and I believe that to be mostly due to Head Office at Geronimo Inns insisting on using particular suppliers, to get the biggest group discount.

Overall the pub is worth a visit. Children running riot are a health hazard on Sundays, but if you choose your timing, the Kings has a pleasant ambience and also a warm welcome. PS It is especially good at Six Nations Time! Don't support Wales!!!!!
beer_monster_66 - 25 Sep 2006 16:39
Listen up people! Here speaks a patron of 26 years (dont tell my mum!). The Kings is a product of its environment: just across the way (30 secs) is the glorious Broadwalk where you dont pass go without 1m. It is an affluent area and whilst us locals may grumble about paying 20p over the top for a pint it is by far the best all round pub experience in N21.

Over the past quarter century the pub has had a number of stewards and imho the current one is great (no relation!). There are some gems among the staff along with the regulation students/transients but as a general rule of thumb smile at them and they return the favour. The Kings has never set its stall out as a beer mecca, but the choice is pretty good and the Stella is now super cool so Im happy. I go to W1 a lot and frequent the Old Explorer (near Oxford Circus) and whilst their Stella is just 2.95 (KH 3.10!), the experience approximates to liquidised cardboard without the flavour or seemingly any alcohol.

I appreciate that food is an issue we havent eaten there recently but have had some fantastic meals. The pricing does look a little cheeky at times but I can tell you last night they were rammed. The thing you need to know is that the foody bit is a dedicated area with a real sense of occasion do not even compare to a Harvester! Also chef very approachable so if you have a request; ask! Its all about communication

V true about the pub having different crowds at different times, but you obviously need a bit of change to clear out us hard drinking red nosed locals. Singles should get there 9pm Fri/Sat/Sun if you cant even strike up a conversation you shouldnt be allowed out. And as I write on a sunny Sunday morning I wonder have you ever been to a bar in SoHo New York? Well get to the Kings about 12, grab the papers and a coffee or a bloody mary and squint a little and you could almost be there. And if that doesnt work for you soak up the sun streaming through the big arched windows and gaze at the green I can personally guarantee the restorative effects!

P.S. I am the one without the red nose!

mjt - 24 Sep 2006 12:18
This pub has had a recent makeover, and I'd guess at great cost. This cost has been hnded directly onto the clientele who frequent this pub. I can vouch that this is probably the most expensive pub for drinks I have ever been too!

The pub and it's management flatter to deceive. It isn't a gastro pub, but charges gastro pub prices. The food is at best average with little imagination shown on the menu. The beers taste bizarrely different to anywhere else I have frequented. There appears a regular turnover of bar staff, who at best are partially sighted and at worst, deaf, dumb and blind.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening the place is heaving with people from outside the area, hence there are alot of wannabes and people who although in their late 20's early 30's, still live at home and just want to flash the cash. Sunday, the pub is rammed to the gunnels with children running riot, parents who think their angels are immune from parental control and a Sunday Lunch, which is about eatable.

Overall the pub really could be something special, but it doesn't appear high on the list of management goals and objectives to put any extra effort in, they are just happy for it to run itself.
anonymous - 22 Sep 2006 12:21
Frank McLintock of Arsenal and Scotland fame is also a regular here.
alfieherring - 3 Sep 2006 17:02
This place is an enigma, you may find yourself having on one night an absolute blast with good company, well served drinks and friendly staff but the next night being ignored and pushed along the bar via a selection of fake tanned but very cold shoulders. The problem I think is the diversity of the clientele. I have to confess I agree with the previous comments regarding the hardcore locals (although are they thinking the same about me! I mean, they might not ever visit the pub unless I'm about to walk through the door - However, the chummy banter and associated priority service from the bar staff along with the prevalance of red noses tells me this may not be the case!) Weekend afternoons have a nice relaxed feel to them, where you could happily lounge around for a couple of hours / pints. Friday and Saturday nights are a completely different story with hoards of psuedo-posh chav types, shouting at each other and flashing plenty of buffed and bronzed skin, but for all the posturing I've never seen or even felt as if there was trouble in store. You will often find a gaggle of extremely wealthly WAG's from the more exclusive parts of the area and you can expect no quarter given when they look you over and decide that you're obviously a pauper and have no right to invade their Louis Vuitton clad orbit. The local lads from Saracens rugby club are great patrons and a pleasure to drink alongside (perhaps this is why there's never any trouble) and if you are really unlucky you may be at the bar at the same time as a couple of thesp's (I say this in the loosest possible terms) from the cast of Eastenders - as they hone their mockney accents and general obnoxiousness for the next miserable episode!

Anyway, I digress, overall the pub is worth a visit. It's a fantasic building in a superb location. Deuchars IPA (Pronounced "DOO-Cherrs" by the locals) and Miller on draft are a welcome change to yer standard fayre of London Pride and Stella that is found in almost every other local. The Guinness is not popular enough to be a really good pint but under the circumstances is ok. Overall the KH is a bit like a packet of Revels really - Go and have one and hopefully you'll get the Malteser but don't blame me if you end up with the fondant orange! Eugghh!
Mr_Local - 27 Jul 2006 14:35
I completely agree with the post from nicolahill. I used to be a regular, but the new management seem to have brought with them from their previous pub a big group of heavy boozers who never used to use the King's. The place has lost its friendly relaxed feel, and the atmosphere is now threatening and unwelcome. A final note is that whichever beer you order, it won't taste like it does in any other pub, and you'll have to put up quite a fight to get them to change it. If you must go there, stick to drinks from bottles !
anonymous - 12 Jul 2006 13:16
This pub has deteriorated since the new land lady took over last Autumn.
The bar staff are sullen and unhelpful. Unfortunately, it seems that they take their lead from the boss who is also unfriendly unless you happen to be part of the permanently resident 'locals' group.
I used to really like this pub (which also happens to be my local) and I find it really sad that such a good looking building with so much potential has taken on a slightly 'hostile' feel.


Nicolahill - 12 Jul 2006 11:47
Very nice looking place and good food, but gets a bit rowdy on Saturday nights, which can be a bit off putting!
amanda - 16 Jun 2004 11:45
Crowded pub with hostile thugs. Expensive tasteless food. Rude bar staff. What a waste of potential.
Pete - 16 Feb 2004 14:44
Great pub with good food and also importantly great atmosphere.
Georgia - 2 Jan 2004 14:00
terrible pub, the food is second rate and over priced and the crowd is unfriendly. Disappointing considering it's potential
Lydia - 18 Oct 2003 22:53
Trendy pub which caters for all ages. Great atmosphere, good food with an excellent menu.
Rob - 15 Aug 2003 18:24

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