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Bald Faced Stag, East Finchley

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user reviews of the Bald Faced Stag, East Finchley

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

This is a place that has really picked up alewise. Had a pint of Truman's Zephyr which was excellent. it's a bit gastro but still has something of a pub feel to it.
Snarling_Mallard - 26 Apr 2015 13:29
Found a great improvement in service and ale quality on this visit - The pint of Vale Metamorphosis was excellent and couldn't fault the service. Served swiftly when busy as opposed tyo not at all when empty on last visit.
Snarling_Mallard - 2 Feb 2014 12:31
Thank goodness someone's at last done something with it.

I lived on East End Road in the 1970s and always gave it a wide berth: sounds like it didn't change much for decades.
eddybeer - 18 Aug 2013 20:45
Nice local pub at a busy set of traffic lights in East Finchley. The barmaid was very friendly. Most of the customers appeared to be local and were watching live Olympics coverage on the TV. 2 Trumans beers were on - Swallow & Swift and Basking Shark. There was also Ruddles Best & Windsor & Eton Knights of the Garter.
blue_scrumpy - 10 Aug 2012 20:17
If you are only comfortable in a pub where your feet stick to the carpet this is not the place for you. Its was indeed brought blinking into the light of its potential a few years ago. Never too busy, staff who know where the money comes from, always good ale options and great food if you get drunk enough to think you can afford it. It remains my benchmark for a great pub.
oldbutnew - 14 Jul 2012 21:23
Quality place..a bit empty day times. Expensive but polite staff and nice beers. Can be a bit crowded after work at the bar as space is limited unless weather is nice. Worth a visit and then go up the road to Maddens -100 yards on the left up the high road
brianbrain - 2 Mar 2012 05:09
Yes I can fully apprecuiate some of the reviews below, but if you are going to do a gastro make over on an old run down Victorian boozer to keep it alive as a pub/restaurant, this is the way to do it.
Like most I am very quick to moan and bitch when a traditional pub is lost by the Ikea internal designers moving in , ripping out all its character and turning it into a restaurant.
But the Bald Faced Stag is run by the Realpubs group who now own about 14 well positioned, mostly Victorian boozers in North and West London and they are doing a very good job at finding the balance between traditional pub and gastro restaurant in my honest opinion.
Yes, its the usual clean characterless modern gastro interior but this is still better than the old incarnation and at least there is a dedicated bar section where the multiple bar staff do focus on wet sales and I've had no problem getting served within a decent period. And no-one can deny that the external elevated garden is not a really good spot for an alfresco pint on a decent evening.
And whats the alternative, another closed boozer, and then East Finchley really would be a pub desert.
The bar now supports three operating hand pumps and these were dispensing something more interesting that the usual London stock ales of Pride, OSH, IPA e.t.c. Last night the beers were Sambrook's Wandle, Alton Pride and Caledonian Nectar and the brews from the Alton and Caledonian brewery were well kept.
And another positive is that it has a late licence on a Saturday night so if you come out of the Phoenix Theatre opposite (yes without contradiction the finest Cinema in London) post 11.00PM, you can still catch an after film pint.

Gann - 26 Jun 2011 09:56
Generally all right still - not as gastrofied as the Clissold and the food, wine and beer are all above average (quality and price).
meurglys_iv - 18 Mar 2011 17:01
I've eaten here a couple of times and it's quite expensive but the menu was always interesting. However, the last time I went I ordered a shellfish dish, which cost me £13, and was presented with a portion which in no way, shape, or form was worth that amount of money, and then the next day I was ill so I've never been back since.
catfitz - 10 Apr 2010 14:06
This place is not too bad for a modern food Type Pub. At least it don't feel like you drinking in a restaurant like some tend too do. The Ales on Tap when I went in recently were Black Sheep & Landlord both were in good condition. It Was mid afternoon on Thursday when I went and it was reasonably quiet so the service was good & quick
Alesonly - 28 Feb 2010 10:36
I have to concur with the previous posting about the poor service at this pub. On a number of occasions it appears that cleaning the coffee machine of wiping tables takes precedence over serving customers. On one occasion I and three other customers were waiting for a full 10 minutes while the staff were fiddling around with various pieces of barside equipment. I got fed up and left. On the occasions I have been lucky enough to get served the ale is drinkable but nothing special.
Snarling_Mallard - 4 Oct 2009 10:43
Having got a babysitter, my wife and I had a rare opportunity to go for a meal together on a recent Monday night. Being local, we thought we would try the BFS as we had been told the food was quite good since changing hands. Sadly, we never got the chance to try. Being a Monday night the pub was pretty much empty and we approached the bar to have a look at the menu. Once decided, it appeared to be a humongous effort for the bar lady to come and take my order at the bar, but I overcame that and explained what we wanted.

Midway through the order I was asked if I had a table number to which I said no and then told, in that kind of 'I can't believe you've come into this pub and even considered ordering food without a table number' voice, that I couldn't order food without a table number. I accept table number are useful source of finding customers in a busy pub when orders are flowing as it can be difficult to remember who has ordered what - but there were about 6 people in the pub!!! That aside, I accepted that procedure was procedure, apologised (no idea why), and found the table and its magic number and let the lady know.

Whilst trying to give the order again (with the magic number), the bar lady had obviously better things to do then deal with a customer that couldn't be bothered to get a table number. My wife and I were made to feel so uncomfortable whilst making the order as the attitude oozing out of the bar lady was pathetic. It was like we were wasting her time and she had much much better things to be doing then serving people. We couldn't actually believe the attitude of this lady and decided that this wasn't going to be the place where we spend our evening. So, with that, we walked out, promised ourselves we would never return and spent a great night in the White Lion down the road - a much more friendlier pub, with great beers, beer garden and a 'no poncy attitude' mentality.

It's a great shame, the BFS has got the potential to be a great local boozer. I was out in East Finchley with a few mates the other night and we were looking for a place for a few jars and obviously ended up in the White Lion.
tbone14 - 20 Aug 2009 09:26
This is one of the closest pubs to me and as such I do tend to use it now and then, it used to be a Mr Q's pool pub which was terrible, before that there was a time they only sold swan lager in cans! No draught beer.
The pub is resonably large but most of it is taken up by the rear restaurant, the food is very good but comes at a price, although it isn't outrageous by todays standards, the beer is well kept and the staff are friendly, unlike most of the pubs in the area they seem to remember you when you've been in a few times which is a nice touch. The only sticking point is that it seems to be a bit short on seating, I don't like settees in pubs and they take up a lot of space, if they got rid of these there would be more seating space. In conclusion it is a decent friendly pub and East Finchley realy needed one.
head - 30 Jun 2009 17:39
A very 'modern' pub which is squarely aimed at the under 40s. Very friendly staff. Good atmosphere - no loud music or loud telly. Good selection of beer - there are usually at least two cask ales, which are well looked-after and often rotated (as is the wine list). Heated beer garden. Food is of good quality, the people who've posted negative comments about it ought to look around and see how it's priced in other pubs in North London!
TheHistoryMan - 9 May 2009 17:17
The food and beer place can be summed up in two words.

RIP OFF
SomersetChris - 13 Apr 2009 13:18
I went in here for a few beers earlier in the week with the wife again Its a lot better now than It was before theres No loud Music or Pool tables now. On My occasional visits The Ales are always In good condition and different Ales are Avalible each time I go in. I used too go in the Bells up the road but This place is much better you can sit and talk with Friends without too much Loud Music. I Tried three Pints of TT Landlord and it was in Nice condition. I did not think its over expensive around the going rate for London Unless your comparing it to Wetherspoons I would certainly go in again on passing. Cant remark about the Food as I only Drink Ale in Pubs.
Alesonly - 30 Mar 2009 01:19
Please ignore bad reviews on here. This is a truly great place with great staff. Young folk (ie: media and city types) dominate - that much is true. But is that a bad thing? Great food and a good range of beer - plus it has an atmosphere. One of the main attractions of East Finchley.....
JamesJoyce - 23 Mar 2009 16:46
shocking, absolutely shocking. just moved back to the area and was excited to see it had undergone a change so popped in for a quick drink while the takeaway was on order. The friendly barman smiled and went straight to making my vodka and pepsi (single)......and then asked me for £4.45!!!!! more than my takeaway!!!! I asked how much the vodka was and he abruptly replied £3.35 which made my 3oz dash of pepsi £1.10!!! when i said he had made a mistake he said "no I haven't, thats the prices. i only work here so there's nothing I can do". When I checked, they only charge £2.75 for a pint (20oz) of pepsi.....and nowhere is there a price list on view. I asked another member of staff who said they don't display their prices, which corners the customer. Drink here at your peril!! over priced and rude!!
thesaint76 - 3 Mar 2009 23:38
Beer was good though!
bolton71 - 27 Feb 2009 17:16
Went there last night as its somewhere we can all meet. Re the food:
overpriced
miniscule
not that great tastewise
waitress was very rude and considering we spent £180, they had the gall to demand around £20 tip as there was 7 of us.

never ever again.
bolton71 - 27 Feb 2009 17:15
Not sure what the comment below adds to the site as the reviewer clearly recollects the BFS from when it was somewhere to avoid unless you were under 25 and lager was your preferred option.

Since its refurbishment has been reliable for good gastro-pub food, friendly service and, usually a good range of drinks (decent wine list). Certainly not the place it used to be - and all the better for it.
meurglys_iv - 26 Jan 2009 17:34
kaiser -

i moved away from E.Finchley 5years ago, but am pleased to hear that the stag is still being run in the same fashion! i remember only too well that all customers trying to order food (be it a steak or just a portion of chips) were frequently told it'd take between 45-60mins!! and that it'd not really be worth the wait!! even heard the landlord say this on more than one occasion! i did pass comment about what they must have been doing in the kitchen, as the place was less than a third full at the time! don't get me wrong, i used to love the place for a pint & a game of pool before going into town, but as far as grub is concerened, i always just went over the road for rock&chips mate
louiedog - 16 Dec 2008 17:53
they have done a nice job here and had a couple on interesting ales on....however

i went in on a sunday at 12.45 and having bought a beer thought i would have lunch. i was told that i couldn't order for 20 mins as they had two big tables in. after 20 mins it was another 10. this is crazy. it wasn't heaving and they should be able to cope on a rainy day in september. come on chaps you are letting your owners down !
kaiser - 7 Sep 2008 19:56
This place is fine pub to stop off at. Good beer (Cockahoop a great choice to have available) and very tasty and reasonably priced food at lunchtime. The garden is dominated by a fine example of the London plane (the tree that every Londoner should hold a special affection for) and also gives a great view of the Number 102 lumbering up the hill. A visit to North London is made better by coming here.
Dave_the_Bee - 23 Aug 2008 00:46
VERY EXPENSIVE FOR WHAT IT IS
con - 5 Jul 2008 16:11
very expensive. plus the night I was there bar staff spent most of the time fighting.. in front of the customers.. need a talking to.
beerlady08 - 23 Jun 2008 15:06
Nice range of beers and friendly staff, I found the food to be excellent. Well worth a visit.
BigJapp2 - 23 Jun 2008 13:40
I was in here on Saturday afternoon for the first time in over a year and I have to go along with the people that have said that it has vastly improved. As said before, the pool tables at the rear of the pub have gone and been replaced with a dining type area with an open kitchen and serving area. The old no smoking area is now a nice comfy room that has signs up advertising it for hire. Granted the pub has been given an uninspiring lick of paint, but at least the grotty old furniture has been replaced.

The drinks available on my visit were Tribute Ale and Otter Ale (also a spare pump not in use) alongside Becks Vier, Heineken and Kronenburg. I found the bar staff to be very friendly although the head on the pints was just on the limit of being too large and if I had not been in a good mood I would have had to ask for them to be topped up each time I went to the bar. All of the bar staff did this, so it must be a management directive to serve short pints… Disgraceful as each one costs £3.30. It also took a while to get served during the early afternoon as there was only one barman and he also had to sort out teas and coffees. A little later in the afternoon another two staff were behind the bar so there was no problem.

I’m not a big fan of pubs being ‘gastrofied’ but in this case I think that it was well worth it. I also preferred it in here to the much lauded Old White Lion down the road.
Strongers - 12 May 2008 11:00
The below reviewers are too harsh on the refurb here.

Yes, it is a rather identikit gastro refurb, but it is unquestionably an enormous improvement on the hellhole that it previously was.

Went there for lunch on Bank Holiday Monday. The food was fairly decent, and although only two ales were on tap, they were interesting ones - something from Skinners in Cornwall, and Harviestoun Bitter and Twisted. I was too hungover to sample them, but my friend, who is a keen ale drinker, rated the Skinners' ale in particular as being well-served. I think the ale was about £.280ish a pint, so certainly nowhere near a fiver.

Whilst I'd rather drink in Highgate, Hampstead or somewhere in between them, if and when the pubs there get too full (e.g. on Sunday lunchtimes), the BFS stands as a worthy fall-back option.
grecian - 7 May 2008 12:07
What is it with East Finchley and pubs? The area possesses many attributes including possibly the best cinema in London, a young, open-minded population and house prices that come in well under those of its monied neighbours to the south.

So why no decent pubs? It seems that at every opportunity, the local populace scurry off to Hamsptead, Highgate and Camden for their drinking, and thus consign East Finchley to status as a suburban ghetto. The place is crying out for a decent boozer and entrepreneurs are really misisng an opportunity. Suffice to say that The Bald-Faced Stag is unspeakable.
BoehmBawerk - 29 Mar 2008 12:19
What a load of overpriced rubbish! Anything from £5 for a glass of wine! £5 for a pint. Food the usual stuff out of jars ridiculously overpriced. Lazt manager - his thought on hiring new barstaff - its a really easy job - anyone can do it!!! You lucky customers - you'll have wannabe actors slouching around all over the place not having a clue how to manage a bar or what to do if something goes wrong. A wholly offensive pub I'd be ashamed to go near.
zara - 19 Feb 2008 21:32
Oh dear. Another boring old pretend independant gastro-pub, which really is a chain. Uninspiring decor, nothing new...chocolate brown walls, brown sofas, brown tables...Zzzzzz. Same old same old. 10 minute wait at the bar - the bar wasnt packed?! Staff predominately scruffy scatty students. Food was good, and price not too bad but god, it took ages to arrive, and when it was, it was delivered by some snotty nosed Australian lady who was more interested in gossiping/arguing with her work colleauges. All in all - 3/10 decor. 2/10 service. 7/10 food. Ambience...well, it certainly wasnt created by the waiting staff.
rosa - 24 Jan 2008 19:06
We used to go in this pub sometimes after work for a girls night out when I worked in the supermarket nearby It was a right dive then. Its much better now seems to attract a lot less yobbos & drugies now theres no pool tables its much better & Good Food & drink Is a little on the expensive side though.
half_tuppence - 8 Jan 2008 20:08
Unless you’re a 20 year old scrote with a tracksuit and an attitude, there’s no way you couldn’t say this is an improvement compared to how it used to be here.

Despite the restaurant bit, it does feel like a semi-traditional pub and is doing well for those young flat-sharers around East Finchley. Its not cheap, however, especially the food. Still, the owners (who also own the Dairy in Stroud Green) have got their punters sussed as all those aforementioned flat-sharers seem more than happy to pay for the privilege of drinking here. On the toss of a coin I still prefer the Old White Lion, which has a better garden.
tuppence - 4 Jan 2008 13:10
Makeover has done wonders for the place, as long as you are a yuppie with deep pockets. Prices are a joke now. How expensively exactly was that brown paint you put on the walls. Surely the 38 eight plasmas you got rid of must have fetched a few bob.
But on the good side perhaps East Finchley is finally fully gentrifying.
fabio - 8 Dec 2007 19:43
Twice recently Ive been in here and the beers been too warm & cloudy. I do hope this is just a one off and not a regular occurrence as its a good Pub with good staff but it seems the Ale quality is suffering a bit. It maybe because theres to many customers drinking lager & bottled beers and not enough Ale sales when I was in there. I did not see anyone else drinking the Ale but it was very quirt for a Saturday evening.
Alesonly - 16 Sep 2007 10:13
East Finchley's pub scene is on the up finally... overpriced but so much better than before!
anonymous - 31 Aug 2007 17:32
Well I must say What a Improvement in The quality of ales since the last time I went into this Pub. There was a good choice of Ales on tap All in very well kept condition excellent. Also the pub looks and feels much better now. Because theres no sport on all the time and no pool tables It don't get full of Young kids like it used to making it a much better Pub in My opinion.
Alesonly - 19 Aug 2007 11:15
Second visit since the refurbishment. Excellent food and good service. On the pricey side but the food was extremely well prepared and the ale selection improved from the last time. Definitely good quality and worth a visit - especially as it's so close to the Tube station.
meurglys_iv - 12 Aug 2007 10:43
Popped into this place for the first time in a long time after being recommended by a friend. Very suprised, what a transformation. Great bar staff and it serves my favourite ale - what more could you ask for. Being from South London, when I come up north again this will definatley be my first stop.
anonymous - 7 Jul 2007 01:00
not bad, to say the least! we never thought it was possible to turn a toilet into a palace! ive just celebrated my 40th, and am so glad i spent it at the stag, food was fantastic, upbeat sevice, and a brilliant atmosphere. Would definatley recommend and will be coming back very soon.
anonymous - 7 Jul 2007 00:57
THANK.GOD! A decent Gastro pub has finally arrived in East Finchely. Knocks spots off The White Lion down the road in terms of food, service, ambience and decor. It is now firmly my local with not only a good selection of wines (beer/ale for my fella) but a fantastic menu which is well priced. For years this beautiful building has been wasted as a 'rough' pub full of pools table, sky tv and cheap beer which dont mix well to say the least. The staff and especially the manager are more than welcoming and so polite, but be warned, book a resturant table in advance especially at the weekend, gets very busy which is not suprising.
dinkyd - 7 Jul 2007 00:46
Early days of the gastro makeover. When sampled they'd probably opened too early (evidence of builders and slightly shambolic service). Agree it's much more expensive than the Old White Lion - the £5 Leffe is certainly mould-breaking. May be worth a visit when it's settled down. In terms of a 180 degree market realignment you couldn't fault it. What will happen to its former clientele?
anonymous - 5 Jul 2007 14:04
Been tarted up. Now a clone of the Old White Lion down the road. Only more expensive.
Ivan_Dobski - 19 Jun 2007 12:23
HORRID
anonymous - 22 Apr 2007 14:32
VERY useful for its location... right near the 143, 102 and 263 bus stops, so I can pop in to use the toilet after Barnet matches before strolling down the the Old White Lion to actually have a drink.

No beer, no atmosphere, no point.
vic_of_india - 3 Apr 2007 18:00
I had to pop into the Bald Faced Stag as the misses and I are always going past it and naming it when giving people directions.

It was exactly what I expected; except for the fact that I underestimated the amount of pool tables that could fit into one pub.

I stayed around the actual bar area near the no smoking section as the side with the pool and darts did feel like a sports hall/youth club.

I can imagine it being great for watching the Football, but there are better places in East Finchley.

Strongers - 2 Apr 2007 17:43
bald faced stag is good for watching footie or playing pool and pretty much bugger all else! Good for young poor students to get tanked in but really not for more mature clientele and not a family pub. Don't mind it for an hour or two but would rather go somewhere else
blayze - 1 Feb 2007 16:59
Very mediocre. The problem is with these pubs that are so given over to pool tables is that the pub begins to look less like a pub and more like a snooker hall. Here it's a snooker hall-cum-youth club as the clientele is pretty youthful. Whenever I've had ale here it's been poor although I recall it is cheap. Not a brilliant area for pubs but the nearby Five Bells is much better than this.
grecian - 23 Jan 2007 11:52
popped in here friday afternoon, not a great place but not a shit one either. I'll probbly never be up this away again so I'll just say that the girl who served was scrummy yummy!
anonymous - 30 Sep 2006 08:25
My first local on arriving from Australia,couldn't meet a friendlier bunch,and the Carlsberg on tap is the best in London,go and say hi to Helen and Taz.
OZ_man - 12 Apr 2006 18:45
Is quite smart inside and have Sky Sports channels (including Prem Plus).

Not too pricy either and staff aren't bad.

Been to worse pubs.


lukemarson - 20 Mar 2006 18:05
This place is, as others have said, rather souless. Too bright, too open, too 'smelling of pot pourri'. Food is just as bland too. But it's got plenty of pool tables and it's dirt cheap.

If you want a swift, cheap pint on the way home from work then this fits the bill. Otherwise it's really not worth the trip.
dave_mack - 5 Jan 2006 16:44
If you go to this pub in the afternoon or during the early evening in the week, it is very nice.. quiet, friendly staff.. good price. Food is excellent as well. No real complaints at all except it does attract a lot of dickheads at night and weekends - which is a shame of course..
Larry_ - 21 Jun 2005 14:59
mym,
Thanks for the advice, I will give Madden's another look as I must have hit it in a lull the last time. Happens to the best of us.
braicewell - 23 Mar 2005 11:06
This is a 'fun pub' - calling this a 'pub' seems to be just plain wrong. I am sure it serves its purpose, but this is just another example of a struggling corner pub being turned into a ruthless machine to extract cash. So it's a chav magnet, a lot of real pubs are too. When I walk past and see lights flashing inside, whole area bristling with CCTV i wonder why there is a market for this. But I think that when I walk past KFC and Past Times too.

The real mystery is why there are NO decent pubs in East Finchley and very little pubgoing. Two pubs have been knocked down by market place in tha last two years and they are not missed. Others either side of the high road are boarded up. You would think no one lives here but the whole area has nothing but flats.

Highgate has 5 decent pubs and Hampstead 15. East Finchley has none. The problem is not the chav magnets but the fact that only the chavs and the old men with dogs are catered for. The rest of us can walk to the Spaniards.
braicewell - 23 Mar 2005 09:33
bit of a chav magnet though isnt it?
antmcguire - 7 Feb 2005 16:10
you can usually get a game of pool. but you'd have to be desperate.
andrew - 9 Jun 2004 00:55
Great pub for any time of the day, can well recommend the sunday roast, always freshly cooked and washed down with a beer the perfect sunday lunchtime!!!

Ben - 28 Dec 2003 17:49
Great for footie and cheap beer, and pool. A daytime pub
Kate - 21 Nov 2003 12:40
the bald faced stag is a good pub I always visit there whenever I am in Finchley,they always seem to go out-of-their-way to please their customers.
Patrick Anthony Banks - 5 Nov 2003 19:06
if you like your pub to have no atmosphere, no character, no real ale and be full of trendy wanabees this is the place for you. It's redeeming features are the cheap food, footie on the tellies, smart pool tables and well groomed guitar-shaped clientele.
Jim - 4 Nov 2003 11:54
Not bad! has the potential for trouble, but the staff seem perpared! cheap beer which is a good thing!
anonymous - 20 Oct 2003 13:39
i think this pub is smooooooooooooooth!!!!!!!
pauleo - 17 Oct 2003 13:02
Alright in the daytime with 4 pool tables, cheap food and beer, but little atmosphere at night and a few weirdos around
Corin - 18 Aug 2003 17:03

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