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Founders Arms, Bankside

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user reviews of Founders Arms, Bankside

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

I'm getting a tad repetitive. Yet another Youngs pub that has declined. As one who used to visit before this part of the Southbank got popular you were always guaranteed a decent pint, and a reasonable cost.
£4.60 for a pint of Youngs Ordinary? You are having a laff.
A solid 5 (as opposed to the 8 I would have given it 15 years ago)
baggydave - 28 Feb 2017 21:57
I popped in here after an exhausting couple of hours in Tate Modern. Being a nice day, even at lunch time on a Tuesday the terrace was packed. Inside was virtually empty. A nice pint of Young's Bitter was 3.99, not bad for a pub in this position. Friendly & efficient staff, working WiFi, a perfectly good pint; a nice place to spend an hour or so when its quiet.
Queenslander - 21 Nov 2014 21:22

I'm with Wilko on this one. Went there on a sunny sunday with family and whilst it was full of tourists and the food and drink not exactly cheap (£12 for gammon and chips), the view and food were good, real ale selection adequate, the portions large, service friendly and efficient.

I obviously wouldn't come here for a drinking session but given it's proximity to the Tate Modern, Millenium Bridge, South Bank (including "beach" if the tides out) and slightly further afield, The Golden Hind, St. Pauls etc. i'd definitely come again with visiting friends or family if in the area and they weren't on a strict budget.

Mardagg - 6 Oct 2014 13:54
I'm ambivalent about the latest refurb attempt to make it look like an American bar, but not inherently bad.

However, even for a tourist trap £4.39 for real ales and £5.19 for a pint of lager is taking the Carlsberg.

Avoid or incur a substantial cost.
carstenp - 11 Dec 2013 23:07
Great location, nice decor (but who forgot the loos) and a good range of beers apart from the ubiquitous Youngs. The Bath Forest Hare was excellent although 2 pints plus a bottle of Peroni at 12 for the round was a bit steep.
twineyboy - 17 Oct 2012 23:10
Sorry to see so many negative reviews here; I think it is still a great option for whiling away a sunny afternoon with one of the best views of the City across the river. I was pleased to see they had Kosel on draught, having recently enjoyed it in Prague- but had to wince a bit at paying 4.60 for the privilege.

I have usually found the barstaff to be friendly and efficient. But maybe it is because I tend to go at less busy times.

Whatever you say about the Founders, it is still a lot better than the once great but now ruined Anchor Bankside and the so called "Old" Thameside downriver - what a sad waste of great riverside drinking space those two are!

WilkoSE1 - 1 Oct 2012 14:55
Sorry to see so many negative reviews here; I think it is still a great option for whiling away a sunny afternoon with one of the best views of the City across the river. I was pleased to see they had Kosel on draught, having recently enjoyed it in Prague- but had to wince a bit at paying 4.60 for the privilege.

I have usually found the barstaff to be friendly and efficient. But maybe it is because I tend to go at less busy times.

Whatever you say about the Founders, it is still a lot better than the once great but now ruined Anchor Bankside and the so called "Old" Thameside downriver - what a sad waste of great riverside drinming space those two are!
WilkoSE1 - 1 Oct 2012 14:54
i got charged 11.85 for 2 diet cokes and a bottle of bulmers. later i discovered they'd given me large diet cokes without me asking for them. i emailed the manager and he didn't say he was going to address this with the staff. i agree that this place is an overpriced tourist trap. beware
montymonty - 9 Sep 2012 13:25
The location makes it worthwhile going to as a one off & then just for a quick pint. Whatever you do, try & stay outside - inside the smell of food is simply overpowering.
Wilson_MacDonald - 13 Apr 2012 22:43
Even more expensive than the ever increasingly expensive Wells/ Youngs rip off organisation.

Which well run organisation undertakes staff training during a busy lunchtime session. People waiting to be served while a manager shows a trainee how to put ice and a straw in a glass. You couldn't make it up.

I get the impression people only visit once and realise they have been stung. me included.

Never again.
ericstadd - 8 Mar 2012 16:52
great location and view of the city, beer a bit pricey, busy, we ordered the veg and meet platters which were ok, but again 'very pricey' and therefore not good value for money, on the plus side we didn't have to wait too long for the food. Good pub to meet up with friends, spent 9 hours in this pub, the last couple of hours were a blur.
scarr - 29 Jan 2012 11:51
A real overpriced tourist trap.
duskmaiden - 27 Jan 2012 23:28
Went in here a few weeks back and rather enjoyed it. The place was rammed, and I dare say there were one or two tourists in there (in London...imagine!!!) But I have to say that the service was great and we didn't have to wait too long for our food at all. The pints of Special I had went down well and the food was very good. It didn't seem any more expensive than the other pubs we went to when we were in London. And while it's not one of the historical pubs it's a perfectly decent place for a pint by the river .
RChappo - 20 Jan 2012 23:01
Ridiculous prices!
919er - 12 Jan 2012 13:26
Great location but the visit was let down with very poor food and ridiculously priced Budweiser. The food (fish and chips, onion rings) was dripping with old cooking oil and around a quarter of the chips were black. Everyone makes mistakes but this was visible and they seem to go for the one-off market of tourists who would not come back - even if they wanted to. There was a high turnover of customers when we were there but the tables were left dirty for a long time even though there were loads of staff. The best bit was the price of a 300ml Budweiser bottle which was a eye watering 4.10. When asked why they were so expensive they blamed the brewers; good on you Fullers !!
In summary there are plenty of places to go for food in the area so don't waste your money here.
Johmo - 13 Nov 2011 14:57
Great location but the visit was let down with very poor food and ridiculously priced Budweiser. The food (fish and chips, onion rings) was dripping with old cooking oil and around a quarter of the chips were black. Everyone makes mistakes but this was visible and they seem to go for the one-off market of tourists who would not come back - even if they wanted to. There was a high turnover of customers when we were there but the tables were left dirty for a long time even though there were loads of staff. The best bit was the price of a 300ml Budweiser bottle which was a eye watering 4.10. When asked why they were so expensive they blamed the brewers; good on you Fullers !!
In summary there are plenty of places to go for food in the area so don't waste your money here.
Johmo - 13 Nov 2011 14:57
Great location but the visit was let down with very poor food and ridiculously priced Budweiser. The food (fish and chips, onion rings) was dripping with old cooking oil and around a quarter of the chips were black. Everyone makes mistakes but this was visible and they seem to go for the one-off market of tourists who would not come back - even if they wanted to. There was a high turnover of customers when we were there but the tables were left dirty for a long time even though there were loads of staff. The best bit was the price of a 300ml Budweiser bottle which was a eye watering 4.10. When asked why they were so expensive they blamed the brewers; good on you Fullers !!
In summary there are plenty of places to go for food in the area so don't waste your money here.
Johmo - 13 Nov 2011 14:57
A large, popular pub on the Thames path. It's main draw is undoubtedly the good sized terrace at the rear that is crammed full of tables and chairs as well as plenty of infra-red heaters to help make the most of the views along the river.

Inside, it's a little less inspiring being a pretty much unremarkable place. Again, the best feature is the floor to ceiling wrap around windows that offer views of the river in the more inclement weather. Besides that there is little to say. There's plenty of tables and chairs, the flooring is mostly carpet except for some dark parquet wood around the bar, and there is a plasma stuck on the wall at the far end, although this was not in use on a recent visit.

An unusual feature is a small counter in one corner for coffee and cakes, although with thin slices of sponge being sold at 3.95, I'd be surprised if this does much business. Other than that, food seemed quite popular although I didn't check the menu.

Beers on tap were Young's Bitter, Special and Bombardier along with Black Sheep and Hogs Back TEA. The solitary cider was Strongbow, unfortunately.
Blackthorn - 9 Oct 2011 19:24
10 for the views, 5 for the prices, so will settle on a 7. 4.40 for a Heinken seems a bit much. Lovely on a summer's evenings with one of the finest views of any city.
Mappiman - 9 Aug 2011 17:22
Not one to recommend. Very expensive and very crowded - will take you ages to get served.
king_cobra - 22 Apr 2011 19:16
Lovely pub in great location with excellent beer. It's just a shame about the rudest management I've ever met who think it is acceptable to tell customers who have been there all day spending money on drinks and food, to get off the table because somebody else has reserved it later.
Cressida - 10 Apr 2011 09:38
Big modern pub by the river. Youngs Bitter, Gold and Special plus Bombadier with prices from 3.30 to 3.50. "Pub" menu was selling well - food was fine although possibly a little expensive.

Pretty busy all of yesterday afternoon but, with plenty of staff available, no issues about getting served or tables cleared. Perhaps some Wetherspoons managers should visit to see how it should be done?
cheshirecat - 25 Aug 2010 08:48
Visited the Founders Arms last weekend, and its alright. To be honest I don't really see the huge attraction of the outside seating area - you'd be just as well off parking yourself on a bench looking over the river and buying some beers from the off licence. The prices are scandalous - over 4 for lager, 3.50ish for the Youngs London Gold, which was pretty ordinary. Because of weekend engineering work, we had to leg it all the way over to Embankment to get to our next port of call, which is another negative. Its very pleasant though if money is no object.
Sharp - 18 Jun 2010 09:53
Popped in whilst walking along river from Waterloo to meet some friends. Bit difficult to spot during temporary path diversion, but worth the effort. London prices, but great location and Youngs London Gold was top notch as was service.
spikefromsurrey - 14 Apr 2010 10:12
The view alone is worth the trip. The prices may be a bit high and the food a bit mundane, but the service is top-notch and the atmosphere incredible.
NatashaFlash - 4 Feb 2010 23:57
In here on a dismal winter's day. Ordinary, Special, Bombardier and a pretty decent Winter Warmer. Nice to sit and look out of the window over the Thames. Candle us keeping my hands warm. OK for now while it's not busy.
GuideDogSaint - 29 Dec 2009 15:13
The Founders Arms is a fairly regular haunt. Yesterday about 37 of us went there for our Christmas meal. The service was excellent and the food, while not top restaurant standards (we didn't expect it to be) was very good and, above all, piping hot and served more or less simultaneously to all - a feat rarely achieved elsewhere when dealing with a large party. The beers are always in top class condition and there is a good choice of beer and wines. The views over the city are about the best in London and there is a much improved outside seating area with heaters and blankets. Two minor downsides though: some drinks are a bit expensive and roll-out awnings over the outside seating area would be good to have when it rains.
StudioM - 16 Dec 2009 09:13
okay beer,Youngs, always packed due to it's great river side location, one for the tourists really
vinnnie - 12 Nov 2009 12:26
I popped in here on my mini crawl from the Embankment to Fenchurch Street. This was the most expensive pub we went in. Two pints for over 7. That said we only had the one and sat outside overlooking the river. As we were being tourists ourselves for the day (something I've never done) I didn't begrudge it but wouldn't rush back.
Food looked interesting - may go back next summer.
ButchEgg - 8 Oct 2009 15:32
Nasty horrible very expensive place that was heaving with tourists.
Does not even look like a pub, more like a large snack bar that has been dumped on the side of the Thames.
Got charged 3:30 for an average ale when a minutes walk along the river it was only 2:50. food was expensive and a very poor selection.
Ales mostly Youngs.
When you get there just keep on walking there are better pubs along the south side of the Thames.
CambridgeBlue - 7 Sep 2009 12:28
Great, no-nonsense pub.

Views are brilliant (despite SilkTork's comments).

Food is reasonably prices and tasty, and arrived promptly, even when they are busy.

Ales are normally in good nick.

I love the Tate Modern, but when I've had enough, I head over to the Founders, rather than being robbed for a morsel and a sip in the TM restaurant.

The Founders is a great pub. It may not have much in the way of architectural heritage, but the staff work hard, are friendly and efficient.

Top pub!
griffo59 - 18 Aug 2009 14:45
Think SilkTork must be blind, one of the best views of the thames/city
you can get which is why it is always so busy!!(as previous reviews say)

stewie95 - 28 Jul 2009 18:35
Love this pub but only visit for brekkie (which is great) or lunchtime/afternoon session. Can get very busy which is a put off.
Scoops - 26 Jul 2009 16:55
Busy and popular Youngs pub on the Thames. Characterless late 20th century architecture, and one of the poorest views of the Thames from any of the London riverside pubs, this is nevertheless an acceptable stop during a walk, or for a meet up before going on to somewhere decent. Family friendly with meals served all day. Good number of staff behind the bar so no waiting, and the staff don't get stressed. Three casks offered, all Youngs - Ordinary, Special and the new Kews Gold.
SilkTork - 16 Jul 2009 13:53
I've never particularly liked this place, it just doesn't look or feel like a pub to me. It is however a convenient stopping off point during a crawl along the river. On a Summer's day most people will head for the outside decking area but they fill it so full with tables that there's nowhere to stand and have a chat over a beer without feeling in the way.
Millay - 27 Jun 2009 08:31
Not a bad pub. Like most of the ones on the Southbank that is now so painfully trendy it isn't cheap. But the beer is good, the location superb and lots of outside space for a summer drink. Be warned though, it does get VERY busy!
konarob - 26 May 2009 11:15
Great food, well kept Youngs' portfolio of ales and tremendous views of the river. Does get busy though, especially early evening.
flashharry1965 - 22 May 2009 13:09
Popped in here to meet a friend after a day in London. Found a very pleasant pub with friendly staff. Great views of the river and Millenium Bridge and very handy for Tate Modern. Would certainly visit again if I was in the area.
Fakenham - 13 May 2009 22:11
I've been here a few times as it's a nice place for a swift pint when walking or visiting the gallery. From the outide it's god awful ugly but the good news is, from the inside, you can see evrything except the pub itself!

The Youngs is well-kept and they have guest ales on. I'm a Londoner so drink Youngs quite often: so I DO have London pubs to compare it against. It is often crowded (and yes, people-who-raise-their-Londoner-cred-by-hating-tourists...some people ARE shock horror not Londoners) but the staff seem quite used to it and I've never had to wait too long to be served. A decent pint in an area with a lot of dross - not the kind of place you might choose for a celebration, rather somewhere to refresh yourself while in the area.

The ladies' has a disembodied voice that tells you to keep an eye on your handbag. I believe it is some kind of safer neighbourhood police thing. Either that or a particularly boring ghost.
squizita - 16 Apr 2009 19:59
A decent stop on the Bankside walk; Winter Warmer was good, coffees were also above average, though expensive. Think of it as a cafe by the Thames and it does that job well.
mtaylor40 - 25 Dec 2008 00:31
A tiny pub!! Don't be a pratt (or is the last remarker really fat?) this is a big pub within. The old pre mid 1970s one around the corner was small. Good beer, fine views. Can't complain. Enjoy!
anonymous - 29 Sep 2008 01:12
Essentially a really tiny pub with a dozen seats inside and outside seating for about eight hundred people. Which all means that you'll have to wait a week to get served by the incomprehensible East European bar staff and then walk half a mile along the river with your overpriced beer and eight mile an hour winds in order to find a seat. Its location is its best asset and hey it's always fun to throw your friend's possessions in the Thames.


agnes_guano - 19 Aug 2008 14:06
Decided to give it a go, after years of walking straight by. The modern interior is well kept, light and airy, and is quite nice considering the grim exterior of this 70s? building. The usual Youngs suspects were on offer. Had a pint of Special and Ordinary, neither of which tasted quite right to me. (I do have a cold at the moment, which may explain this.)
Bar staff were rather slow and clueless I have to say, however the girl who served me was rather cute, which made the slowness forgivable.
Outside was nice, good view of the river and plenty of tables available, even though it was a sunny afternoon.

mrse1 - 17 Jun 2008 12:07
Essentially a riverside drinking terrace just along the river from the Tate Modern, the rest of the Bankside restaurants and tat shops, Bernie Spain Gardens, etc. Sells the usual Youngs bitters and Bombardier. Busy all the time, I don't doubt.
rainlight - 5 Jun 2008 21:52
After coming back from a job interview a short stroll from the pub I popped in for a pint & as it was a glorious sunny afternoon I thought a cold lager would do the trick. After waiting for about 15 mins to get served (it was about 3.30pm) so presumably all the city workers had gone back to work it was not that busy, why it took so long I don't know. Anyway I asked for a pint of Heineken I was served about 3/4 of a pint at what I thought was 3.18, wrong 3.80!! Avoid this place as it is only for tourists & mugs like me. God knows how much food & wine will be, you may have to take a loan to pay for it. I appreciate that it has to make money but it is scandalous the price I got charged. It is a shame as it is in a great setting right by the Thames, but I hate getting ripped off. Plus I never got the job, shame!!
Jimbob07 - 14 May 2008 16:09
If anyone has been to this pub during the summer you will have realized that it's just too busy for sufficient hospitality from the staff however despite the population explosion of tourists on the south bank of the Thames.. the service in this pub is very fast. It can have a draining atmosphere on a busy day, but come back later on when some of the crowds have lessened and the atmosphere is electric. Still one of my favorite pubs in London.
concrete76 - 6 May 2008 17:02
Was it a mirror you where talking to thedoc ???
Beersupper - 23 Apr 2008 20:10
No winter warmer on tap at the weekend but it is technically April though somebody should tell Michael Fish.

Service was responsive and quick. Nothing remarkable however apart from its riverside location.
terenced - 7 Apr 2008 09:34
Clearly
mrse1 - 24 Mar 2008 00:37
Do pub staff think we are stupid!
RogerB - 24 Mar 2008 00:12
I frequently visit the Founders Arms, I don't know anywhere else with staff as friendly as they are here. The staff always serve in order even when the pub is extremely busy. I love the bar staff, one young lad with brown hair spoke to me for a long time and we discussed why the Founders Arms is so great. If you have never been to this pub, you should go, the staff are also very deserving of large tips.
thedoc1985 - 24 Mar 2008 00:02
More like a restaurant than a pub feel to this Young's pub. I understand some of the previous reviews remarking about an 'airport lounge' or a certain chain of pizza outlet.
We had been unable to get food elsewhere and I had checked ahead by phoning. I guess I should have just done some research by reading BITE before my visit. We were served virtually straight away with our drinks at the bar when we arrived. All the regular Young's beers were available. Most of our party had the 'Winter Warmer' which was in good condition.
We ordered our food choices straight away after the beer arrived. The next task was to find a table where we could take our food order number to. All the tables inside were taken and many other people were circling the tables trying as well. We made the decision that when the food arrives we would either split up or eat outside where tables were available. This was probably because it was a windy day and looked like it would rain at any moment. One of our party was not feeling well and was not impressed with the outside suggestion. He persevered with the search and was eventually successful gaining a good table just before the food arrived. I was not impressed with my order the beer battered cod. More like soggy battered cod with over cooked chips and mushy peas. My friends were more happy with the over priced burgers which they seemed to enjoy.
Yes, it has one of the greatest views over the Thames but not one of the greatest experiences! I personally would not have selected for the GBG as its far from a pub experience IMO.



Love_good_ale - 9 Mar 2008 13:24
I disagree with that last comment. The Winter Warmer was particularly good. It's a pleasant pub.

roderick_alleyn - 14 Feb 2008 09:35
The view is indeed tremendous, but then you can walk round to the East side of the pub to see that without having to hoik out for the privilege of concerningly flat ales, over-stoic staff, and food laughably overpriced, even for the Tourist Belt.
getsit - 2 Feb 2008 18:04
a bit soulless in here, has a great location, but had a bit of a wetherspoons feel to it.

Liked the blankets provided for customers outside though.
TheGP - 20 Dec 2007 13:51
This pub is so much better than it was a couple of years ago. Ive just moved offices and have started visiting the pubs in this area more frequently. The Founders Arms is far and away the best of the river pubs along the South Bank, it has friendly staff, the drinks are good (if a bit expensive) and its always busy with a really nice atmosphere. The view over the river and the city have got to be the best that you can find.
sylwiakot - 15 Oct 2007 10:39
very very overated, staff not the best.
kenincamden - 5 Oct 2007 13:15
The major attraction of this pub is, let's face it, the stunning views over the river to the City of London. That said, the pub is reasonably decent inside as well, service OK for a city pub and not a bad atmosphere (you'll spend most of the time looking out at the view in any case!). Prices a little on the steep side, and it's a tourist trap so it does get extremely busy at times. Food is averagely decent. On a hot summers' evening, this place takes some beating in terms of location. Worth a visit.
thebunster - 28 Aug 2007 13:21
Once again as a local i tried to get served in this pub.
Waited a while then the barman started serve someone who had just walked up to the bar.
Have decided to give up for good and move my custom to the outside area of The Anchor Bankside.
Although the Anchor is a $%^& hole,
At least you get served in order and save money on the round.
martian2 - 6 Aug 2007 12:59
I'm so glad that after all these years things have been ironed out. When I fist started using this place in the late 70's - soon after it opened, the staff couldn't give a shit. On one occasion after we'd been asked to leave a few minutes after closing time in such a brutal an offensive manner, we all went outside and threw the 'garden' furniture into the Thames!
andrewgwb - 8 Jul 2007 05:02
Love this pub, very good staff, great drinks and food (not a gastro pub, but good pub grub)and one of the best views in London. It does get crowded from time to time, but the staff always to their best and it's worth the wait.

Enjoyed many a night here, also a great place for New Years eve - though book as early as you can.
dribbs - 4 Jun 2007 17:06
Great veiw, great locaton. Yes, shame about the building. Always a starting point for our pub crawls. Eaten there a few times & the food has always been good. The staff do seem to try their best.
avotech - 23 Mar 2007 22:55
Was very busy on my visit. Took a while to get served but in the bar peoples credit they do seem to notice who's been waiting the longest...

Sat outside, a pleasure, was a bit windy even for a sunny day but to look on the brightside nice seating a view of the rivers...


the_original_rawnsleys - 14 Mar 2007 09:54
I have a special place in my heart for the Founders Arms as it is the first pub I went to in London 6 years ago(literally hours after stepping off the plane!) It was a Friday evening in August, a stunning summer's day, and I sat looking out at St Paul's Cathedral drinking vodkas and thinking "I'm in London!!"

And this is the experience I try to recreate whenever I have friends or family from overseas visiting in the summertime. We meet on Blackfriars Bridge and walk down to the F.A, and try to get one of their outside tables. We soak in the view and stay until the sun goes down to watch the City and the dome of St Pauls light up.

This is what the Founders Arms is all about; yes, it's an ugly pub and the drinks are quite pricey and the food very standard. But - what a position! Go in the summer and definitely sit outside.
Sweeps - 29 Jan 2007 14:48
Very over-rated
tufnellparka - 18 Jan 2007 15:18
Poor quality Guinness it has to be said. Don't know what the beers like nowadays though.
terenced - 28 Dec 2006 13:28
No, I've been to lots, thank you very much.

If you care to read my review, you will note that I have said that the beer varies. It can be great, but can be poor. When its good its some of the best Youngs in London, when its off form as with all badly kept beer, it's just plain bad.

Yes the building is an eyesore, but its a question of location, which if you sit outside watching the river on a warm summers afternoon, is wonderful.
Norealaleinorpington - 2 Oct 2006 16:11
"One of my Top 3 Young's Pubs in London"? I have to ask - have you only been to two others? I don't understand how a place that's admittedly an eyesore with questionable beer can rank in the Top 3.

topdog_andy - 27 Sep 2006 11:42
Jimmy1, interseting view, that I only partly share.

The founders is is a cracking location (but I would agree is architecurally a bit dodgy!) but the quality of beers and welcome can be a little variable. It's one of those pubs where the beer is either top notch (and It is one of my top 3 Youngs pubs in London,) or v poor. (I have had one pint here that bordered on the chewy!)

What I don't agree with is this 'it'll taste the same when its brewed in Bedford,' stuff. It won't as the water will be different. Beers never do taste the same when they move. It might be better, it might be worse, who knows, as whilst Youngs beers are now being trialled at Bedford, they are not marking up what vcomes from where, so a realistic comparison can not be made.

It's just a shame to see another London brewery close and for that reason alone I feel a bit fed up.
Norealaleinorpington - 18 Sep 2006 16:26
What are you talking about Mr Oxford Don. I've been drinking here regularly for ages and although the pub's architectural integrity is a little suspect, it is a lovely place to drink. Even when it is very busy the pub has a relaxed, professionally run comfortable feel to it. The view is unparalelled, the staff are happy and very efficient and the food is excellent. The Youngs beers are always served perfectly and just because they will now be brewed in Bedford can't make too much difference. Anyway, it'll be refreshing to see Charles Wells Bombadier on sale here soon. A fine traditional English beer from a historic family brewery.
Jimmy1 - 18 Sep 2006 16:00
Unfortuantly the new people at Youngs come from Spirit and think 1980's lounges are aceptable. As for when the Brewery closes well take your pick it's going to come from the same mix as 7 other brands..........anyone fancy setting up a new micro brewery??
oxforddon - 16 Sep 2006 09:09
Expensive but great views from a building that wouldn't be out of place in Centerparcs.

Get the bottles, as noted below they are better value than the draught.
Quinno - 19 Aug 2006 22:19
The only reason the Founders Arms has a great view is that you can't see the Founders Arms. Pity those north of the river that have to look at this monstrosity.
Beer not bad, but who knows if that will last when Youngs shut up shop?
oneoverthe8 - 16 Aug 2006 00:31
great views sat outside...inside like a canteen...beer good but pricey...worth a look but wont bother again
lilscse - 1 Aug 2006 16:27
One of the best locations for a pub in London.
One of the best breweries.

However the interior feels like a 1980s airport lounge.

Perhaps a little complacent because of its captive audience and its location.

Get a grip, sunbeam, get a grip.
terenced - 1 Aug 2006 15:09
Touristy, but possibly one of the best views in London. Worthwhile the occasional visit, but be wary of the expensive food & drink. You can't go far wrong with Youngs beer.
Wilson_MacDonald - 23 Jul 2006 12:22
I used to like this pub only for the view, and disliked the slightly sloppy service, and the anal attitude - wanted to order drinks, food and a cup of tea and had to go to three different counters to do it! Lately though, the bar staff have been very good -speedy and friendly. Also nice that there's no minimum amount if you want to pay by card.

Oddly, the bottled ales work out better value than the pints - paid 2.40 for a bottle of Kew Brew which almost filled the pint glass, and no spillage. It was also nice being able to order drinks and a cold platter at 11.30pm - the late licence came as a surprise.
zappomatic - 11 Jun 2006 23:25
This place is very modern - it feels more like a hotel restaurant than a pub. Quite pricey (circa 3 pound a pint) but given the area this is to be expected. In agreement with previous comments the best thing about this pub is the view of the thames.

lennie384 - 31 May 2006 12:06
I nicked in for shelter & a cheeky half during a cloudburst last night. The beer (Young's Ordinary) was cloudy and a bit crap and to my shame I couldn't be bothered to complain - it's a tourist place and I didn't really expect any better. The manager came over to where I was standing, looked at the drink, said that it was off, apologised profusely and took it back to be changed for a new one - which was infinitely better.

Top marks for customer service - seriously impressed by this.
MrLash - 24 May 2006 10:38
This place is ok considering it is housed in an ugly building. Tourists are getting fairly dependable fare here - good Young's beers (Bitter, Special and a seasonal, currently Waggledance), full range of Young's bottles, Pimms and Lemonade on tap which I have never seen before. We were starving when we passed so smashed a "Tower 42" burger and chips and enjoyed every last bit of the monster.

7/10.
anonymous - 14 May 2006 23:28
Nice pint of waggle being a Young's pub, but thought only 2 different ales was poor.
Location certainly made up 4 it. Sat on a bench outside looking over at the citylights the other side of the Thames.
My Rating 8/10
fat_beer_badger - 11 May 2006 17:28
This place gets its rating almost entirely for its view of the river. These are best enjoyed from the patio outside the pub, which, as a bonus, saves you from having to notice the hideous, garish interior of the place.

That said, the beer is okay (not special, but not the noticeably-poor quality stuff a few places around the area seem to delight in serving to tourists), and if the music's not on when you're in, count yourself lucky. Again--stepping outside with your pint improves the experience immeasurably.
Hodsthorn - 5 Feb 2006 01:23
I have just visited, to find out if food is available this evening and it is. I ordered 2 pints of Special and there was not enough left for the second. The staff poured both away, although they looked fine. 2 more were pulled from another engine and were superb, as was the Winter Warmer.I must admit,the building is dire, but the view from within is superb. The atmostphere in the evening,if it hasn't changed since I used to visit in my BT days, should be warm and welcoming. I will let you know tomorrow.
JohnnyBGoode - 28 Dec 2005 15:06
Good beer because it is Young's. Plenty of places to sit, including big patio on the Thames with beautiful views of a summer's evening. Its a horrible building I admit but if you want a drink on the river on this stretch of the South Bank where else are you going to go?

Plus I saw dirty filthhound Vanessa Nimmo off of Big Brother in there, she looked nice and filthy.
anonymous - 15 Dec 2005 15:12
Awful. Can words do it justice? Abominable, alarming, appalling, atrocious, bad, deplorable, depressing, dire, disgusting, distressing, dreadful, fearful, frightful, ghastly, grody, gross, gruesome, grungy, harrowing, hideous, horrendous, horrible, horrific, horrifying, nasty, offensive, repulsive, shocking, stinking, synthetic, tough, ugly, unpleasant, unsightly. And that's just the building. Every morning when I have to walk past the place that makes the South Bank look like the Taj Mahal, my radio cuts out in its shadow - even radiowaves avoid the place. Tourists, however, love it. Say no more.
cardamom - 4 Dec 2005 16:41
An uninteresting pub. Staff was indifferent, decor lacked any charm. Rather cold and impersonal. Did enjoy a pint of Waggledance. Also can't beat the view when sitting outside and taking in the river and St Pauls.
jorrocks - 25 Oct 2005 01:58
I'm sure i'm talking about the same pub. I've visited this place a couple of times. The last of which was yesterday with a group friends. I think this is far and above the best pub on the Southbank. The atmosphere was very pleasant and we were made to feel welcome enough (the candles were a nice touch). The staff couldn't do enough for us. The food was fairly basic (was in the mood for fish and chips)but it served its purpose and was cooked well. The whole group of us were served quickly given the fact that the kitchen was busy. Prices are at the top-end but it's certainly not as expensive as neighbouring pubs. The Bitter was well kept too so i didn't mind paying a little extra. Great views of St Pauls and good music. It's a shame about other peoples experiences of this place, It looks like there's a new manager though. Good to see Youngs on form.

Robertstone - 21 Oct 2005 18:24
Nice location but totally impersonal pub with uninteresting food.
intemperanceleague - 21 Oct 2005 15:03
I went to this pub with my boyfriend a couple of days ago for a meal. The place looked okay and we had no trouble with the staff (although my boyfriend ordered not me), but I was hugely disappointed with the meal. I ordered a squash, butterbean and pineapple curry. It sounded interesting - and interesting it was. I'm fairly certain that the chef had thrown together whatever leftovers he found in the cupboard, overcooked them (the squash had no taste and was falling apart) along with a 1984 Vesta curry sauce, watered down, of course. It was totally, and I mean TOTALLY, bland and cost me 7.80!!! I, a non-professional cook, have made a hugely superior curry in my little flat, even if I say so myself - and for about a 1/4 of the price.
My boyfriend's food was average - 3 sausages and mashed potato, again for about 7-8.
My advice - if you want a pint, then yeah, pop in, but if you want AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!
FAR too expensive, and tastes like wallpaper paste.
LouisaCh - 21 Oct 2005 14:57
I went in to waste on hour before a performance. After two drinks and a couple of packets of crisps I had no money left. That will be the last visit I make to this esablishment.
Toptotony - 21 Sep 2005 16:08
I sympathise with other people who have had bad experiences at this watering hole. I have been going in here on and off for the past 12 years, and have to say it used to be a great boozer before Youngs did the ubiquitous overhaul and charged almost double as a result. Great for the views obviously, and it's close to better pubs (The Anchor, Thameside Inn, The Globe). I've never had any 'problems' with the staff, although if treated the same as other comments on here, I would make them wear my drink.
cider_murray - 23 Jul 2005 23:51
I cannot agree more with the comment left by 'oxforddon - 24 Apr 2005 14:16'. I and a friend of mine had to endure the same unwelcoming attitudes from the barman and the managers today.

We are overseas students in London. There was a difference in opinion between I and the barman(I gave 10 but the barman insisted that I gave 5). I know that this sort of problem happens. HOWEVER, what made me upset and incredibly sad was the way the barman and the managers handled this matter.

They were dismissive and even before I could speak to the manager, he was shouting at me, saying that I gave only 5 and 'the discussion is over' in front of other customers. It was humiliating as he treated me as if I am a lier. He was repeating 'in this country' a lot. The one thing I know for sure is that this is a place that I NEVER want to go back and I would advise anyone to think twice before going there.

There are so many pubs that make everyone feel home in the UK so it would not be hard at all to find one.

In short, a good location, a bad service.

anonymous - 15 Jul 2005 01:38
I'm afraid i disagree with most of the comments here. i frequently enjoy visits to the founders and have become quite friendly with the managers who are extremely nice people. the reason this pub doesn't have the "atmosphere " that everyone keeps mentioning is because the location means that the majority of customers are actually tourists who will visit the place once whilst on holiday, it will never be a locals pub. except for the lovel;y old guys tony and harry who have been drinking in there since the doors first opened in the 1980;s
michelle2005 - 8 Jun 2005 21:12
Pleasant enough the other day sitting outside in the warm spring sunshine admiring the view, but this pub is nothing special and lacks atmosphere and soul. Didn't have any problem with the staff though.
JohnBonser - 4 May 2005 12:13
This must rate as one of the worst pubs in England. We arrived on St Georges day it was quite and with ligh rain went to the bar to order some food and was told that we had to order drinks first!which we then did, but only after the bar staff argued over who's turn it was to serve when i asked to speak to the manager I was told that he would not come out as he was in a bad mood over somebody having bought their own food and sat outside at a table eating it. The beer was nothing special (Youngs is one of my favourites) as it was not as cold as normal and the food took forever to turn up. Having read the other commeents on this site why does the pubs owners allow this to go on when it must be one of the best sites in London
oxforddon - 24 Apr 2005 14:16
I must concur with the majority of comments about this sorry excuse of a pub. My one (and safe to say only experience) of the Founders arms was thus;

Went to the bar with a few friends after spending a lively afternoonevening drinking along the southbank (Studio 6, Doggetts, etc). Walked in of the street and went to the bar. One of the guys was having a fag and was told - rudely that there was a no smoking at the bar policy. Fair enough, some pubs do, some don't. Not a problem. My friend gave his fag to someone else in our party who had already sat down AWAY from the bar area. From then we were stonewalled for about a minute before being told our "money wasn't welcome here". No explanation from anyone.

The rude and DRUNK little slapper who informed us that she was the landlady was aggessive and tried laughably to intimdate us. We left. BUt only after one of the morons "working" behind the bar tried to grab another of our party who had tried to reason with the staff.

If this pub didn't have such a prime location the fools who work there would no doubt living rough and begging on the streets. As the concept of customer care hasn't yet filtered through to the FOunders Arms. I fond this a shame as most Youngs pubs, while expensive are usually pretty good places to have a drink and somehting to eat.

I doubt that anyone who wworks int he FOunders Arms has the ability to read and write - so I doubt this will be read. BUt we ended up in the Anchor? and then proceeded to spend the fat end of 200! So, Losers of the Founders Arms I salute you for being London's crappest and most unwlecoming pub.

BTW I would rate this pub but the rating only goes as low as 0. This craphole would be something in the region of -100
Robbo73 - 26 Mar 2005 12:41
I came hear a few days ago, and personally I had a very enjoyable time. We managed to get a seat outside by the river with no problem and I also experienced no trouble when ordering my drinks. I was a little disapointed with the fact it was only serving Young's, as living slap-bang in the middle of the Young's monopoly area, I like to have something different when I go up town.
All things said though, the pub is only really good for it's location, and I certainly wouldn't facy sitting inside, considering the numerous better pubs in the area.
anonymous - 21 Mar 2005 14:33
I am somewhat relieved to see that other people have experienced the same complete and utter lack of customer care in the Founders Arms that I experienced!

I can honestly say that this is the worst pub I have ever been in terms of atmosphere, staff and service. Even the view does not come close to making up for the staff's rude behaviour, utter contempt for customers and complete lack of people skills.

It took a full five minutes to get served dispite my friend and I being the only people at the bar! With no apology when I eventually was served either.

I went there on my birthday last year and I spoke to the deputy 'manager' about our group being seated together to eat and was given a cursory look and a half answer of 'it's just not possible' from which there was no budging him. So we asked if we could move the tables together to sit and have a beer instead. The answer was no again and no good reason was given for this. Deciding to just drop it I sat back down at my table and tried to enjoy my pint with my friends (12 people trying to cram around two tables dispite the pub being 3/4 full).

Suddenly, and much to my amazement, I was confronted by another member of staff who accused me of calling the 'manager' an offensive word (which was not true). I was flabbergasted. The member of staff in question had been over the other side of the pub and there was no way he was in a position to hear anything I had said and I told him so. To this he replied "I can lip read!!" which although made me laugh it also made me cross as he was mistaken. I asked him if he was paid extra for this dubious 'skill' and then my whole group was promptly thrown out of the pub!

I will never return to this pub again and frequently dissuade friends from making the same mistake I did.

Fortunately the Anchor just along the river was more than happy to take us and seat us together. Ended up staying there the whole day and had a great time.
Jaded - 10 Feb 2005 14:29
I live nearby and usually avoid this place - there are plenty of other proper pubs around. The excellent views are totally spoiled by an atmosphere that feels more like a Pizza Hut on Saturday afternoon than a pub. We try to avoid it unless it is a particularly nice day, or mid-summer when we can sit outside. Even then it is difficult to get a seat near the pub. They have Young's beer, which is good, but they don't have the full range, which brings me to my story...

A friend and I decided to go here and enjoy the view in spite of the atmosphere. We found a table and approached the bar. We chose from the 3 Young's beers available, but I lamented "If this was a proper Young's they'd have twice the range". Then, all of a sudden, the man next to me turned round and said "do you mind, I happen to be the landlord". I said "oops" but then greeted the opportunity to give some feedback with enthusiasm. However he continued with a brief tirade, which I mistakenly interpreted as humourous banter.

As time went by he became more serious and I asked... "are you serious?" and he said "I'm deadly serious". In essence he thought shouldn't have criticised his pub, even in a slightly oblique way (we were saying we liked Young's beer, but would have appreciated the full range). He said the staff were hard working and that I was wrong to criticise the pub. The last straw was when he said "you can't criticise people's race, sex or disabilities these days, so you're not allowed to criticise my pub". I said "so you're saying I'm being racist by criticising your pub"... and he said "yes!".

I was so shocked I laughed out loud. I realised at this point I was dealing with an ill-tempered bigoted fool, and after a short exchange of well-chosen insults, we left never to return.

Afterwards we were all quite shocked at what had just happened. We tried to work out why he'd reacted like this. There are all sorts of reasons - but little justification for a landlord to behave as if even the slightest criticism is a personal attack, rather than an opportunity to listen and improve. This pub will not be mourned. We always regarded it as a criminal waste of an outstanding site, an opportunity missed. We'll be buying bottles at Majestic and drinking it downstream this summer.
ooooooooo - 24 Jan 2005 09:33
Nice for sitting outside in summer and enjoying the views of the River Thames, but otherwise don't bother. It's only average at best
John - 10 Nov 2004 14:31
Yes, the staff here are terrible. My first (and last) visit to the Founder's Arms was last night...

It's fair enough having a 'No Smoking at the Bar' rule, but there must be better ways of enforcing it than having an aggressive little tart point airily at a sign above the bar and barking "No smoking!" as she backed away fearfully, as if I was packing an AK or something...

My cigarette safely extinguished, I gamely returned to the bar, where a gormless mouth-breather slouching back against the sink was just looking at me...

For at least 10 seconds...

It was like one of those Mexican stand-off scenes in 'The Good the Bad and the Ugly'...

Who's going to blink first?...

I eventually decided that my thirst was more important to me (at that point) than my pride, so I opted for speech...

"Hello", I said perkily, trying to alert him to the fact that I did actually want serving, and wasn't standing at the bar with a tenner in my hand as some kind of surreal modern-artistic statement about capitalism and/or alienation (a feeling, co-incidentally, I was rapidly starting to actually experience)...

Looking around however, I noticed that all of the others 'working' at the Founder's Arms seemed to adopt the same slumped demeanour. They all gave a thoroughly convincing impression of not giving a toss about the customer.

However, you'll be glad to hear that I did eventually get served... a tad grudgingly, but by that stage I'd have accepted a beer pulled by George Bush.

The beer was actually OK, by the way. And the views are fantastic.

Shame about the single-celled life forms who work there.
che_ze_one - 8 Nov 2004 09:54
Refused to acknowledge that there was anything wrong with my partially cooked food, despite my several complaints. I was told, 'Chef says it's fine'

Used to be a great fan of this pub but after my recent experience I'd suggest a vist to the nearby Mulberry Bush for Youngs beer, and food without attitude.
Des - 18 Oct 2004 10:19
I have visited this pub twice now, and thoroughly enjoyed both visits. I saw nothing wrong with the chips, liked the fish, had a good sandwich, and definitely loved both the Young's beer (served at just the right temp) and the view from the patio. It is much more comfortable to me than many other pubs and I found the staff to be quite nice.
Sandy Holsten - 16 Sep 2004 21:54
What a dreadful place !! I could not agree more with the previous reviewer about how awful the staff are, but the landlady takes the prize for the rudest person i've met in quite some time, and I work in the city !!
They refused to accept that the wine they served my wife was corked (which is blatantly was and i'm not Rick Stein), but claimed that it may have been sour tasting due the detergent from the glass ceaner, as if this is acceptable. When they eventually conceded that there might be a problem they replaced my Wifes drink with Wine from the same corked bottle, when she then complained for a second time they refused to serve her at all.
I can see that they have a 'captive' audience due their location on the river and nice views, but even if the sun was shining brightly on a warm summers day, i would rather take a pint glass and drink from the Thames than re visit this awful place.
james - 8 Jul 2004 10:27
This is one of the worst pubs i have ever been too and warned many people off it which has therfore lost many customers because of that.
Staff are extremely rude and have no customer service skills.
anonymous - 27 May 2004 13:35
Excellent beer and, a rarity these days, it isn't served too cold!

Not only that, it has excellent views of the Thames from the outside terrace and is in a great position for trips to The Globe, Tate Modern and, at the other end of the Wobbly Bridge, St Paul's.

I've only eaten in there on a couple of occasions and had no problem with the food, but I didn't have the chips that others are complaining about.

People I know who don't like pubs like this one - it is very bright and airy, what with such a large amount of the exterior being glass.
Phil - 15 May 2004 10:23
I'm normally quite tolerant but this is by far the worst pub I have been to in London (and I have been to quite a few). The food was awful. I had a chicken sandwich and chips. The sandwich was dry and the chips inedible. Beer was practically warm. To give this place the benefit of the doubt I actually went twice but the second time was even worse! Steer clear. The Anchor down the road was much better in every sense and the staff were much more polite.
Emma - 10 Feb 2004 16:20
Not a place that I would go out of my way to see in London, but since we were near St. Paul's, it was near dinnertime, and we wanted to duck out of the rain to get somewhere warm, we found ourselves here on the advice of an Italian security guard at St. Paul's.

As he said, good view of the river.

Food (we had the fish and chips and a bowl of chips) was uninspired and a little expensive, beer selection was no better and no worse than most places in London, and the staff were friendly and helpful. (Note: Did not see the beautiful barmaids as was mentioned, but maybe it was just the time I went.)

If you're near the Tate Modern and want to walk down for a quick pint and a sit by the Millennium Bridge, it's not a bad choice. But then, it's sorta your only choice.
Andy - 20 Jan 2004 19:42
Really nice location.. quite good inside but better outside on a sunny day. Take my advice though- don't try the food. It's really bad, the chips are plain awful.
Mark - 17 Sep 2003 13:11
Crap food, but nice to sit outside (if you can find a seat!) on a sunny day
Steve - 3 Sep 2003 09:39
try the salt beef panini, good stuff.
Mary - 9 Aug 2003 02:39
A nice pub in a good setting for summer days. Right next to the Thames with Blackfriars bridge, the Millenium bridge and the Tate Modern all within viewing distance. St Pauls also looks good across the river, as it's lit up at night. the downside is the price of anything at this pub, everything's too expensive.
pncool - 25 Jun 2003 00:24
Other than the views, pretty non-descript.
Gary - 23 May 2003 06:57
Nice outside in the summer but foreign staff with no idea what a pint of real ale should look like.
Also short legged lady guvnor who's a arsehole!!
anonymous - 30 Apr 2003 17:24
Not the best looking Pub but good views,service, Pub food and Youngs beers. beer
des - 2 Oct 2002 12:45

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