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Ailsa Tavern, Twickenham

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user reviews of the Ailsa Tavern, Twickenham

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

In here last Saturday for the first time in years and very disappointed.
It’s just after 1.30pm and only two other customers.
They have 7 hand pulls split 4/3 on each end of the L shaped bar.
No less that FOUR have the Spitfire clip on them and one is blank (must have run out of Spitfire clips).
One guest ale is from Clarence & Fredricks (new on me) American Pale Ale.
I have a pint of Spitfire which is very average and costs £3.70.

bjbrummiejohn - 23 Jun 2014 07:41
The pub I regard as my Local despite having a number of closer establishments in Isleworth. The Shepherds Neame is always the best I've had outside of Kent and there's a beautiful collection of malts behind the bar. The food has improved considerably in the last few weeks - I think they have a new chef on.

BeerBelly666 - 25 Mar 2013 13:10
Went along for the first Open Mic on Sunday night. Excellent evening!! No complaints about the pub, it was a friendly atmosphere and very busy. Recent comments about quality and choice of ale seem to be unfounded. Spitfire, Whitstable Bay and Canterbury Jack were on offer, the latter making a great session beer at 3.5%. Shall return again for the next Open Mic!!
Mothroy - 1 Aug 2011 08:28
Rocked up, the only customer standing at the bar; air stale and stuffy. Pair of blokes behind the bar eventually condescended to stop chatting and serve me a very poor pint of Spitfire for 3.30. Locals in garden mixed; some middle class St Mags types, others massive-arsed with tattooed dog kind of vibe. I live locally but won't go back.
strongarm - 19 Jul 2011 19:42
The new managers have nearly been here a year now, and there has been a noticable dip in the quality (warm/flat) of the beer served and the selection of beers available has also narrowed.
After another year, these small steps backwards, will have slowly turned this boozer into another high street chain with only fizzy lagers on offer & only 1 handpump for Spitfire.
Where's that NZ guy?? - best cellarman in the business and years of experience. Fools to let him go, as it's effecting their end product.
Wont go back in a hurry - too sad to witness this slow decline.
TW1 - 9 Jun 2011 15:33
Glad that Matthew_of_Ham enjoyed the pub. A new team has recently taken over running the place. Andy and Phil, along with their glamourous assistant Haley will be entertaining you. the atmosphere in the place has certainly taken a turn for the better. The Shepherd Neame beer is good stuff and served well. This is definitely a regulars pub, welcoming passers-by and the rugby crowd. kenbabs - you sound as boring as me with your local history! Get in touch if you want to swap history!!
mjd999 - 6 Jul 2010 00:19
Came across the pub when wandering far from home and was glad I did so. Nice to find a Shepherd Neame pub for a change with some unusual beers to try, settled on the 4-4-2 and it was fine. Talking to the staff and customers was easy and natural. Definitely one to go back to.
Matthew_of_Ham - 3 Jul 2010 17:31
Plaque on the wall regarding the pub landlady is total crap and an attempt to glamourise the pub. It is actaully named after Archibald Kennedy the twelfth earl of Cassilis and first Marquss of Ailsa. Cassilis Road is also named after him as he lived for a while in St Margarets. The pub started life in 1861 and the first licensee was Benjamin Burtenshaw. Aside from all that, the pub is a great little boozer and the Canterbury Jack is awesome.
kenbabs - 20 Jun 2010 14:40
Fine roadhouse community local situated in a residential area between St Margarets and Old Isleworth on the H37 Richmond - Hounslow bus route.

The pub has a rather contrived rustic feel to it with much light wood dominating. There's a small public bar area on the left with a dart board, although I can't recollect ever seeing it in use. On the right is a smallish but pleasant garden. A pizza menu is offered and there's a Sunday roast between 12 and 4 pm.

A plaque on the outside wall tells us that the pub is named after a former Victorian landlady.

Unusually, on the front door, a notice tells us "Any comments or complaints, please contact the manager of the Ailsa ( phone number provided )" which rather reminded me of those signs you see on the back of lorries inviting you to phone up and comment on their driving.

Despite being acquired by Shepherd Neame in 2009, the pub is still branded as a T&J Bernard house.

The pub is one of five pubs in Twickenham listed in the 2010 CAMRA Good Beer Guide - look at my four previous reviews if you want to find the others - and, on my most recent visit, the Canterbury Jack - 3.05p - was in good form. I've also previously had decent pints of Kents Best in here recently.

This pub is worth seeking out if in the area.
JohnBonser - 26 Apr 2010 13:12
Nicely located pub near lots of places but with a nice garden in a seemingly quiet suburb. Regular buses between Hounslow and Richmond run past every 6-10 minutes which is nice.

Beer is unfortunately all Shepherd Neame: the Spitfire was a tad off: the Canterbury Jack nice and refreshing: the Whistable Organic was quaffable. The cellarperson is quite proud of his cellar so maybe they normally do better than what was a decent standard anyway.

Big pub with a nice garden. Clientele were a mixture of 25-40s. Quite quiet for a Thursday. Worth another look at some point.
bedfont - 14 Aug 2009 16:29
The latest London Drinker confirms the Shepherd Neame purchase.
Kake - 30 Jul 2009 16:27
Rumours abound that this pub - having undergone a really postive rejuvenation in recent years - is being sold to Shepherd Neame...
daveid - 6 Jun 2009 12:41
I eat there recently and had a chicken breast burger, the chicken was flatter than my show leather, it was advertised as served as a open sandwich , but came with only a full complement of sauces and no tomotoe or lettice, not very good value for 8.95, although advertised with chips m, it came with what I call French fries.
martynd - 1 Jun 2009 22:20
Great pub, used to live around the corner now further away but will always go back. I liked it as my local and I like it still.
nialage - 9 May 2009 15:10
Even though I have driven past this pub many times over the years, it has taken me this long to actually go in and I was not disappointed. It had an old fashioned look about the place (without looking old) and a friendly atmosphere (helped by a friendly bar staff). I was there to check out its real ale festival and this was also excellent. A great many ales had been brought in especially for the weekend and it was good to see that they had a selection of ales on tap for when the festival finished. Even though I did not sample any of the food, that also looked very nice. I also liked the map of the pub that was stuck to the wall of the gents toilets just in case you have trouble finding your way back to the bar. Recommended.
LennyBanter - 26 Apr 2009 14:37
This place feels like a proper pub. A varied selection of quality beers, very good food and extremely amenable and friendly staff. I guess this is what you get when you expand your pub search beyond the St Margarets boundary.
Dave_Buzy - 3 Apr 2009 11:05
Popped in here a week ago for a drink and a meal. The pizza selection was good. I chose the Chicken, Cranberry and Brie and it was very nice. Real ales on offer were Brakspear Bitter, London Pride and TT Landlord.
blue_scrumpy - 20 Mar 2009 18:01
Excellent selection for the beer festival. Last nights St George's hot pot was amazing! Try the Haka and Tinners. Black Sheep amazing as ever!
Oolybel - 24 Apr 2008 14:32
Best pint of Black Sheep in a long time and wonderful TT Landlord as well. A really lovely style of pub with great food and a nice atmosphere. Not too pricey either considering the high standard of food and beer.
Oolybel - 18 Dec 2007 17:43
Nice to see the place under Brazier family control and the changes from a year ago.
Good choice of ales, and well kept. A better pint of Pride than the Turks Head.
stmargaretsman - 26 Oct 2007 12:17
Great pub!
The new chef really knows what he's doing and has passed his knowlage onto people who maybe don't so they can carry it on when he's not there. The pizza's are very origional but definatly the best in the area!
The new owner has a great ability to make you feel part of the atmosphere as do the bar staff. Alot of them are new and so still getting the hang of the place but nether the less are lovely to be served by. Theres still one of the origional girls behind the bar which i'm glad to see as she's a clear favorite by the customers. (not only for her looks)
The beer is truely the best around at the moment.

I'm more then happy to give this pub a great rating!
anonymous - 7 Aug 2007 18:19
I have read what some people have said,but I think that the new owners have done a great job. Sam and Gary don't know their arse from their elbow.

Marak has done a great job, shame to see the manager leave but he has moved on to better things. And everyone in there loves rugby having seen the Old I's and Quins Ladies drinking there now. Last rugby day was brilliant.
Great idea getting rid of the pool table and sky, all the pikeys and chavs (apart from a few) have gone.

The beer is absolutely fantastic, yes the cellar man in a kiwi gobshite and gives as good as he gets but he knows how to look after beer and I am looking forward to the beer festival he told me about. You will not get a better pint for miles. If he is not happy with the pint you are not going to get it. This guy takes so much care over the beer and recently I have seen him go over every glass washing them individually for quality and cleanliness. You don't see that anywhere else

The food is amazing, the chefs are great. One of them even comes over and talks to the customers and makes sure the food is up to scratch. He used to work on the bar so he knows how to keep the customers happy, probably the best barman the place has ever had and he knows his stuff, never had to ask for a drink memorised rounds and knew what all the locals drank with out asking.

Both Chefs are very accommodating to what ever your needs are. I have seen them get in special dishes as a one off for customers. And the new specials are great, you just have to try them. Now that is how you look after people and keep them coming back.

The girls are ok every place needs its eye candy, but some of them are slow but they are new, glad to see the dippy one has gone and haven't seen the one with big boobs for awhile, shame not the sharpest tool in the box but a nice girl and gets on with everyone.

I have seen more parties in this place in the last 5 months than they had in the last 4 years and the spread is superb from what I have seen. Your don't get pressurized to leave at the end of the night drink your drink in your time and then leave, how civilised rather than have some prat come round every 2 seconds and say drink up and get out.

I highly recommend this pub and would advise you to go there to see for yourself.

get the staff properly trained and I would give it 10/10
bar_runner - 25 Jul 2007 00:42
Just to clear up the debate that's been going on on here...

The new owner has now turned this pub into a proper friendly local. He got rid of the pool tables and sky to get rid of the undesirable elements and it's worked perfectly.

They've brought in an award winning cellarman (the deaf midget Kiwi gobshite), so the beer is the best beer you'll get for miles around, they've brought in a new chef, so the food is absolutely top notch (as mentioned below), the pizzas are amazing and the tapas and brochettes are awesome.

The atmosphere is great - there are a lot of really friendly locals who'll welcome any newcomers. They also run speciality nights too. The quiz on thursday is becoming very popular as it's different to the usual format and opens it up to everyone, rather than just the usual 'old mans quiz'.

So to sum it all up - it's a friendly, welcoming local with great beer and food - they cater for the rugby crowd on match days (the new owner is a big sports fan). This is an honest, up to date summary of the pub now that the new owners have settled in - ignore the earlier comments.
anonymous - 15 Jul 2007 00:23
Rather unremarkable roadhouse type of pub on the main H37 bus route between Richmond and Hounslow. It's badged as a T J Bernard pub. Has a rather more relaxed and less pretentious air to it than the other St Margarets pubs and for this reason I prefer it. It's a CAMRA friendly pub - copies of the new London Drinker were available - and the Timmy's last night was basically as good as it gets.

Specialises in pizzas, which seemed very popular. There were quite a lot of students in the pub, probably from the nearby college, but they were being reasonably well behaved.

This pub is now run by the Brazier family apparently, who were tenants for a good number of years at the nearby Turks Head, before it became "Fullerised" and taken under Fullers Managed Houses arm.

The Ailsa Tavern is now preferable to the Turks Head in my view, go and see what you think
JohnBonser - 6 Jun 2007 13:19
Just moved in down the road, Went in first time a couple of Saturdays ago with some friends, had a few beers, couple of pizza, Pizza's very nice, seamed nice enough place, Ill go again
PeterFile - 11 Jan 2007 16:36
i will have to disagree with the previous statement and agree with smiffy. you had no food for 10 days so how on earth can it be better. the atmosphere is completely gone. you've lost a huge crowd by getting rid of sky and most people i know have no intention of ever coming back. it must be nice to have a few friends and family to write nice things for you and make the pub look busier then it is. there was nothing better then a good rugby day at the ailsa, espcially during england games. good luck with the pud cos you're gonna need it

anonymous - 16 Dec 2006 11:41
i have no idea what all the fuss is the atmosphere here now is amazing. the food is a step up, the beer is even better than it has been here for years a lovely pint of pride they do, do. i know it looks crazy but now there is somthing nice to look at behind the bar it is all better.
anonymous - 15 Dec 2006 14:01
The management changed hands a week ago so the new management had nothing to do with the rugby. I was there for the 2nd SA rugby game. I agree with mrLash. the food was ok. a long wait but you should expect that on a busy day. it was just typical pub food. the beer was excellent(youngs and bombardier). The old manager was a top geezer and knew his rugby. he will be sorely missed. sounds like the new guy better get his act together though. will be down in a big group for varsity. it's been great the last 2 years so the new people have a big reputation to live up to.

anonymous - 6 Dec 2006 15:43
The manager seemed a top bloke when I was in there before the England v SA game at Twickenham a week or two ago. Beer (Youngs) was good, food was crap. No real discernible difference in the pub compared to how it was 18 months ago or so. An unremarkable but inoffensive 6/10.

Reviews on here seem a little harsh methinks.
MrLash - 6 Dec 2006 09:34
Getting rid of the pool table was a must, so well done for that. The scumbags seem to have stopped going in.

Unfortunately, due to the lack of food, plus the disconnection of Sky Sports, so has everyone else. It's like a ghost pub. The new owners must realise that, although Sky is expensive, it brought in a hell of a lot of trade.

The place seems to have had its personality ripped out. They need to do something, that's for sure.

Hopefully it's just teething problems, and they'll get it right in time.
anonymous - 6 Dec 2006 03:02
what's happened. I thought when new owners took over that the pub is supposed to improve. no food, no sky, no pool table. what a disgrace. call yourself publicans. bring back the last managers. He may have been moody sometimes but least he knew how to run the place.
anonymous - 4 Dec 2006 10:10
top party on saturday night. very sorry to hear sam and gary are leaving. you've done a great job and ignore any stupid comments from who obviously have no idea what their on about. the pub will never be the same again. don't think i'll be coming back after sam and gary are gone. top pub, top managers. thanks for everything
anonymous - 31 Oct 2006 20:24
went to fantastic halloween party at the ailsa on saturday night. What a great atmosphere, great DJ and a great hangover the next day. Thanks to Gary and Sam for all their effort in making it such a awesome night. Best of luck in your new pub. The new owners are gonna have to be something special even to be a patch on you 2. Thanks to both of you and best of luck in the future.
anonymous - 30 Oct 2006 22:52
A little note to all. Yes this pub is up for lease but no one has been successful in their application yet. The company are in the process of interviewing candidates and a verdict will be known soon. In the meantime it's business as usual and please ignore any comments you may hear or read about this issue. If anyone has any questions please contact us at the ailsa. Ask for Gary or Sam, joint managers. Many Thanks.
anonymous - 21 Aug 2006 20:24
Friendly bar staff, the managers are very pleasant and hard working. Pub is always spotless and I would have no qualms about eating there. I do find this a relaxing pub and have never felt unsafe - would have no problem calling it my local.
anonymous - 21 Aug 2006 16:07

I am in the process of buying this pub. Rest assured that one of the first things that I intend to do is get rid of the pool table!

Then I will look at the pricing structure and I will over haul the menu and decor. It is my intention to bring back in the locals and their families to pub with a lovely atmosphere, with great food and a relaxed, safe environment.

I do hope that you will join us when we re-open.
anonymous - 17 Jul 2006 20:41
over familiar bar staff. dire quiz. vapid atmosphere. london appentice is vastly better.
anonymous - 18 Mar 2006 23:17
Reasonable pub. The pool table seems to attract the Feltham lot
nollag - 19 Dec 2005 17:42
PLEASE PLEASE TAKE AWAY THE POOL TABLE! As all of us regulars predicted, it's attracting all the local scum from the London Apprentice and the Vic.

Get rid of it!
anonymous - 12 Dec 2005 12:59
Lost all its local character when it was gutted a few years ago, but is gradually creating some of its own character now. Still a pretty sterile environment though. Far too well-behaved for a local boozer. ZZzzzzzzz (snoring sound effects)
Tony303 - 20 Apr 2005 16:57
Oh dear. Had not bothered to go into pub for a few months, wish I'd stayed away. Nice bar staff but prices high and looking tatty for a brewery pub. Shame.
Mum - 25 Feb 2005 18:39
Has really gone down hill. Not the same local we enjoyed a few years back. It gets a three for convenience.
anonymous - 22 Feb 2005 14:45
Pub has been left to fall apart slowly. Looks tatty inside and out. Drinks over priced - generally overated. Could do with a gardener aswell.
Mum - 18 Nov 2004 14:02
Mary, you believe wrong. There's more then 1 Gary in the world you know. You obviously don't like the pub but I still think it's one of the best i've been in.
wombat - 25 Feb 2004 18:35
Once this was a decent pub. Then someone decided it would be a good idea to imagine that Twickenham was actually a village in rural Somerset. So now we have faux rustic paraphernalia hanging from the ceilings. Why?
Good for: Pretending you are in a Harvester
thenationofjames - 20 Feb 2004 10:32
excellent pub. great food, great service and great times had by everyone
wombat - 29 Jan 2004 14:45
best pub in the area. had the best new years eve ever in there. party nights are just awesome. quiz nights are fantastic and tom, who does the quiz, is a great laugh. food is good and beer is excellent. great pub for rugby espcially for twickenham games. very close to the stadium. overall a great pub to go to.
anonymous - 29 Jan 2004 14:37
The best pub in the area .I you used to go there and have been put off by changes made by the company over the years please try again. The new manager knows what he is doing. the beer is good and the bootle range is exellent.good place to relax and enjoy some food and drink with friends .PARTY NIGHTS ARE SOMETHING SPECIAL . I've never had such a good newyears eve
david - 14 Jan 2004 14:39
The food is good here. The staff rock! The beer is good! It has a great friendly atmosphere! You should have been there on World Cup Final day.
Staff at the Ailsa - 1 Jan 2004 14:15
Used to be alright until some madman decided St.Maragrets was, in fact, a rural village in Somerset. Why o why do landlords/breweries think we want this sort of tripe?
Good for: Squinting narrowly and imagining are you sat in a Harvester restaurant
James - 26 Nov 2003 15:46
My local since I was 15 [oops!]. Very freindly staff, food a bit ropey, but beer very good.
Bulldog - 21 Nov 2003 11:16

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