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Smithy's Wine Bar, Kings Cross

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user reviews of Smithy's Wine Bar, Kings Cross

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

An industrial space in one of KX's back jiggers that is now converted in to a 'trendy wine bar' type place. Dashed in to escape a heavy shower and was surprised to find a couple of ales on. Tried the Harveys Sussex - it was crap and I left half of it. The numerous black-shirted male staff seem to be a kind of waiter/bouncer cross. Am sure it has it's followers but I ain't one of them.
Snarling_Mallard - 17 Aug 2011 20:45
Ah, Smithy's. As a local worker, this is one of about three 'default' places for works drinks, the others being the Euston Flyer (God help us) and the Betjeman Arms (good, but pricey).

It's always been over-priced for beer, but then the clue is in the designation 'wine bar', which is really what most of the punters come in for, and they arrive by the drove most nights. What ale they do have (invariably TT Landlord and Sharp's Doom Bar) is moderately well kept, but not top flight. The bar staff are really variable with an apparently high turnover, from smiles with Ps and Qs right through to downright surly. The building is worth a quick pint though: really very interesting, although you're on your own: there's no information about it.

My main rating is for the drinking only. As for the restaurant, that's awful: the food is OK for lunch, and they do lunchtime offers, but good stops there. Some of the staff are unfathomably rude, and, echoing 'scarter451' below, unable to apologise. Meals arrive incomplete and take twice as long as they should to arrive (15 mins for sausage and mash?). One waitress is unable to communicate and sees every comment and question as a personal attack. And beware any voucher: the 'R-in-the-month' Ts+Cs attached to them mean the end discount is tiny and has to be fought for; they exclude drinks, VAT and service (which is added automatically). The 'caff' round the corner is quicker, friendlier and more reliable. 2/10.
ferners - 24 Mar 2011 10:50
I have been to Smithy's before and had fairly mediocre service. This evening, however, was absolutely awful. The staff were unable to deal with the pre-booked christmas parties which should have been easier due to everyone having to choose their meals in advance) and the manager was unable to even give an apology for cold food and slow service. We got our starters over an hour after we sat down, having not even been offered bread. Our main courses came 1 1/2 hours later, cold and the deserts were pitiful. They've lost a lot of customers today, simply because they did not have the ability to say a simple sorry and recitfy the situation. At every complaint all they had were silly excuses. I will definitely not eat here again
scarter541 - 16 Dec 2010 23:16
The manager was incredibly rude when her staff forgot they had a booking made for us, even though I had booked a week in advance. She also said that they could not use the Taste For London card for all the people eating, even though on the phone when I made the booking they said I could use the card. They finally took our order after 1 hour. The food was nice, but not worth £20 for a slice of fish and 1 potato.

Do not eat here.
lfazal - 29 Mar 2010 15:14
I went in there for the first time for a couple of beers last night. Although there were two of the three ales off, the one which was on (Timothy Taylors Landlord) was good. Service was friendly and the whole place was busy which is good to see for a Tuesday evening in the middle of May. I found that the overall atmosphere was excellent and would certainly go back there again, especially if there is football on the TV because they do not have one.
SomersetChris - 13 May 2009 10:03
In a credit crunch time you would think that the menu would be a little bit more wallet friendly but it seems that every time I visit the menu gets more expensive and the portions smaller. It should allow bar food in the restaurant area rather than being so restrictive. Staff friendly and willing to help, shame the quality of the food doesnt equal the efforts of the staff.
Darren73 - 18 Apr 2009 10:10
Very average food that is expensive.

And pushing £4 for a pint of Peroni???

fatherpierre - 11 Aug 2008 00:18
I used to go here often when it was under the previous management (I think it was sold at least five year's ago). The young staff are courteous and well-trained, though slightly impersonal (- hard to strike up a conversation with any of them). The main sticking point was the price of the food: only £16.95 and £17.95 options for mains, not a great choice (mainly fish or pasta)... Slightly stingy as they also offer bread or olives while you wait for your food for example... I don't mind paying for a nice meal occasionally but at the end of the day - its a pub so I would expect to pay pub prices.
I_like_brandy - 21 Feb 2008 16:02
The rather austere grey and brick exterior bellies the delights inside. There are cobbled floors and basic/original walls and ceilings but it has been fitted out very nicely. There’s plenty of wood panelling, loads of comfortable seating and the whole bar is decorated with a plethora of old interesting prints and mirrors. They had one real ale on, Doom Bar, which was pulled through as it was the first of the day, Star and Peroni also on tap and an extensive wine list. Not my sort of place for an evening out but it was pleasant enough for a quiet lunchtime pint and I got a friendly welcome.

Millay - 20 Jan 2008 11:11
This is a pleasant space, and I have no doubt that its net curtains, if it has any, are above reproach. Its main failing is in its attempt to pay lip service to real ale. Sharp's Doom Bar had been brought all the way from Cornwall to die a horrible death in Kings Cross. Nothing against the place as a wine bar, but a warning to anyone who read a gushing review of it in the Feb/Mar edition of The Full Pint (North London CAMRA) I warn: not with a bargepole.
joegreen - 26 Feb 2007 15:34
What a place!! In the West End this place would be quite unremarkable but in Kings X a real gem. Food was quite scrummy, wine list at ok prices and TWO real beers on tap and a Live Band!!!! I was in heaven and the earth moved (OK, that might have been the Thameslink train running in the tunnel underneath).

Was quite lively for a Wednesday night but i imagine getting a seat on a busy Friday might be a struggle but considering the local alternatives very worth while.!! 8/10

halfbee - 15 Feb 2007 14:05
I feel really disappointed that people can be so negative about Smithy's. I go there at least twice a week to eat & drink. Yes, there have been changes but only for the better in my book. The food is faultless and is always prompt and the presentation is alike any top restaurant I've visited in Mayfair, without the hugh price tag. As for the atmosphere Smithy's has only improved over the years.
alfay - 9 Jan 2007 18:05
I don't understand the negative rewiews below. I look in here every couple of weeks for lunch or an early evening pint and it seems to me unchanged in the three years I have been doing that. The food is excellent, good value for the quality, and is certainly the best available in this area. The staff are fine, and the beer is perfectly okay. Someone below mentioned a big TV screen. There isn't one now! Maybe it went up for the football in the summer. This is more of a wine bar/restaurant than a pub but also fine as a place to have a few pints. Recommended.
Londoner1961 - 16 Oct 2006 11:12
I used to come to here every Friday night, the atmosphere was fantastic and the staff were friendly and efficient. There was a definite vibe of fun from the staff. Since the remodelling Smithy's is just like every want-to-be gastro bar that lacks any true character. Whilst the food is brilliant - there is no originality now. I dont know why they changed such a gem. Alas !
londoncalling - 9 Sep 2006 17:00
I recently stumbled across Smithy's and was quite frankly taken aback that such a gem of a wine bar could be concealed in a place like Kings Cross. Food, drinks ambiance and service are unbeatable in the vicinity. Highly recommend this charming wine bar and restaurant that more than lives up to its billing as the best kept secret in kings Cross.
rillo - 11 Aug 2006 12:54
Such a pity that such a great bar has become so pretensious and stuffy. Actually, that's not quite true: it isn't really stuffy because it doesn't have anything to be stuffy about. I think the food is fabulous recently, but no one seems to be interested - probably because it takes too long to be served by the miserable staff who seem to work there now. I remember reading somewhere that the staff here were 'refreshingly unpretentious,' but that seems not to be the case anymore. In summery: overpriced, overdone and far too time consuming for me. 3 out of ten.
messerschmitt - 3 Jul 2006 01:36
Oh, i used to love this little spot. Sure it's dark, but that's what made it cosy! Called in the other week though and it's changed a bit... The massive new TV screen's killing the atmosphere somewhat and drowning out what used to be rather groovy music. There were kids in strollers too - and it was after 8 on a Friday - what's up with that?? I guess the upside was you could find a spare table - used to be a rarity!!
blalj001 - 20 Jun 2006 12:56
Nice place. Cobbled floor, atmospheric, nice tunes. Hopback Summer Lightning and Pride, lovely pint of the former. A load of mass produded branded lagers (Red Stripe, Kirin) to keep the idiots happy, though they do have Budvar on tap which is good to see.

I will be back though it is in a pretty grim part of town.
anonymous - 8 Jun 2006 10:16
What a great find! Used to be an old blacksmith shop hence the original cobble stone floor and loads of other features.
They have two ales on tap: London Pride and the guest ale when we visited last week was Summer Lightning (excellent!).
The wine list covers areas from all over the world and they have loads available by the glass.
The home made 8 oz beef burger was very yummy!

krisp - 3 Jun 2006 17:51
Grimy place and the food is not what is used to be. Does anyone remember the open grill at the bar in the spit & sawdust days? Smithy's is just not what it used to be.
Nicholls - 3 Jan 2006 17:33
Its ok, but way too dark for me, and its always been uncomfortably crowded when I've been there. But nice food and a good selection of wine for all tastes.
valbear - 19 Jun 2005 00:22
Certainly a gem of a place that I used to use regularly to unwind or eat but recent price increases have sent me elsewhere for a glass of wine. Good for a meal. Can be noisy.
pmilne - 6 Apr 2005 18:02
This bar is an oasis in the heart of grubby Kings Cross, down a little cobbled road. It is full of character and charm and history. It was where the horse drawn buses set out from - hence the phrase "Busman's Holiday". The food is wholesome and delicious - marvellous chunky chips! The wine list is long and, maybe, a bit daunting for the undiscerning (like myself). There are rumours that this pub once hosted a S&M club at the weekends, but I can't vouch for the truth in that! Whatever goes on, Smithy's is a gem
Pippa - 7 Jul 2004 15:29
Smithy's was better before the 'upmarket' refurb - it's best in winter when you don't notice quite how dingy the place is. Good for a glass of wine after work though, and the staff are friendly.
Paul - 20 Apr 2004 13:57
If you can find it, this is a great little bar and diner sort of place. Very dingy, but in a good way, ideal for a mid-week first dart or an illicit rencez-vous. Great food, wine list and range of beers. great staff and the manager always seems to be on hand. If you're up for it try a DR peppers shot. (you have to ask apparently)
Steve - 2 Mar 2004 11:49

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