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Lord John Russell, Russell Square

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user reviews of the Lord John Russell, Russell Square

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

I have been using this pub for about 20 years, I can't imagine any of the bar staff trying to pull a stunt like that with a ready poured flat pint , the landlord would never allow it !!!
ALBEERT - 20 Apr 2015 15:17
I used to work locally, and would pop in for a Deuchars IPA
at lunchtime if it was sunny.
One day when I asked for a Deuchars it was as flat as any beer I have
ever seen. When I said " can you pour another the barman said NO !

On the final time I went to this pub and asked for Deuchars the bar person
reached behind her, and opened a cold shelf , pulled out a flat beer
and plonked, not placed it ,on the counter. I suggested she should pour the beer
from the tap, she refused !!
I walked out, and as far as I am concerned if that's the level of customer service
at this pub , I can only assume their customers are passing trade
who are easily pleased.
Leftinthepub44 - 20 Mar 2015 15:58
As a visitor to the UK I do my best to debunk myths of Australian behaviour & try to live to the rule of not saying anything if its not complimentary. But this pub tested me. A nice pint of Deuchars IPA, 3.55, and a pleasant if uncommunicative bar person were the good bits. A squarish room, tables & chairs, bog standard pub. But the customers! They all seemed related to each other and included small children who ran rampant indoors & out, perhaps obeying my silent plea to go play in the traffic. Parental control was non existent, then volcanic, and peace only came when electronic pacifiers were issued. I necked the pint & left quickly. Life is too short, and good pubs too plentiful, to dwell on the occasional bad apple.
Queenslander - 26 Aug 2014 23:10
After that disgraceful incident yesterday eve, I promise that myself , or my husband

shall never frequent this establishment again.

Rudest, untrained, uneducated bar staff I have ever born witness to.
.yamato - 20 Dec 2013 13:15
I was having a quiet drink in here last night, just going along minding my own business. I have been coming here after work for a quick couple of pints for the past two and a half years. The beer has always been in truly excellent condition and the place including the toilets are kept in a clean fashion.
However, the bar man last night was extremely stroppy and rude, f-wording this under his breath and c-word this clearly aimed at a group of men who were quietly having a few drinks at a table. It appears because they only purchased one bottle of wine and several half pints of something in perhaps the hour they were there the barman loudly went over to them and told them to leave as they were taking up a table. Taking up a table? The place was hardly busy and there were many empty tables! One of the chaps came up to the bar and asked for the manager. If the man who appeared was the manager then that is surprising as his torrent of abuse was just as rude as the barman.
I have never ever witnessed such outrageous and disgusting behaviour aimed towards a paying patron in any establishment.
And they obviously do not need the money. I sincerely hope that the business finds a time where it slumps into financial difficulty and all the rents, rates, and utility bills pile up and the business closes. What else could possibly teach such
petulant and contemptuous people a lesson.
I for one will never return and I shall be certain to spread the word among my work colleagues who occasionally frequent this place.
AndyFraser - 20 Dec 2013 12:51
I was there last night and witnessed the event, and I was appalled. Rest assured jjs78 that I will never go there again. It isn't the first time I see/experience staff be unhelpful, but last night was just out of order....
LJR81 - 20 Dec 2013 09:38
croydonpeer, I probably spent more than you in there last night. I was the only one at our table drinking water... with 3 large glasses of wine, i.e. an overpriced bottle-worth, in the 2 hours we were there. My friends were drinking half-pints of cider and Coke - which were served in the same glasses as my water. I paid for all the drinks and would love to be refunded the £30 that I supposedly spent on 'water'. of course this is a minority view - like I said, I had been coming here for 4 years without an issue. utterly gobsmacked by what happened, as are my 3 friends. hence why I think it worthy of commenting as this sort of behaviour should not pass unnoticed. even if we had been all drinking water at the end (which we were not), this was the worst customer treatment any of us have ever seen anywhere (and we're a well-travelled bunch). enjoy filling the pockets of this greedy unpleasant man, that's your choice!
jjs78 - 20 Dec 2013 09:05
78, this is my local and, if you look at past reviews - you will see your view is a minority one. WC1 pubs can't afford to cater for people sipping a drink all night. Do that at home.
croydonpeer - 19 Dec 2013 23:34
Until tonight, I liked this pub. I thought it was a classic, corner pub. I've been coming here for 4 years. I am NEVER COMING HERE AGAIN. I beg you to AVOID, after the horrible treatment I received tonight. The bar staff and the owner were unspeakably rude to me and my friends, who had come here to celebrate. We bought drinks, we chatted, we started to wind down... So far, so normal. Then we were asked by the barman to leave as we were taking up a table without buying enough drinks. The first time, we thought we'd misheard or misunderstood. Nope. He came back and was as rude as possible. I went over to the owner, ensconced at the bar, who was even more rude again. There was NOBODY waiting for a table in the entire pub. It was just incredible. We left, all of us speechless. It ruined our (until-then nice) evening. AVOID AVOID AVOID. These people do not deserve you.
jjs78 - 19 Dec 2013 22:34
Great little pub. Nice selection of cask ales. Brains Bitter was spot on. Pub was not loud. Could actually sit and have a conversation. Very friendly staff. Would definitely go there again.
CanRN - 6 Jan 2013 18:46
Good if unexciting cask selection (although 6X and Brains are unusual for this part of town) with a good range of quality imported beers. Friendly if sometimes slow service.
meurglys_iv - 21 Oct 2012 21:24
Friendly local in the heart of London: the range of beers is actually very good for a pub this size. I had Deuchars and Bombardier, both of which were in excellent condition and served nice and cool (but not too cold) on what was a boiling hot day. The staff were friendly and efficient. There is a pleasant covered outside seating area. The food was good value - good pub fayre but not up to restaurant standard. I definitely recommend this pub.
StudioM - 20 Aug 2012 10:29
Nice pub that was very busy in the late Saturday afternoon, I was part of a pub crawl that numbered about 30, so that might have had something to do with it! Not a huge pub, light & airy. Fairly boring real ales for a beer snob like me, 6X, Doombar,
I had Deuchars IPA which was well kept.
Abteilung - 15 Jan 2012 15:18
Sparten interior, floorboards and wooden seats. Standard ales on but you do have a choice so you can avoid the ubiquitous Doombar that seems to be the standard ale in London.
Good pub with friendly service.
rpf1955 - 6 Nov 2011 18:11
One of the better pubs in the area. About 6 handpumps with some fairly standard beers - Deuchars, Pride and Bombardier - supported bt guess such as Sambrooks. Reasonably priced and quick service.
cheshirecat - 20 Sep 2011 09:46
I agree with dyyony comments. Nice pub
TheHorsesMouth - 29 Jun 2011 13:31
Very simple and tasteful interior. Wooden floor seats etc. Small place but a fair bit of outside seating so one for a sunny day (though you don't get the sun directly on you). As well as the regulars (see below) there was another Deuchars which was nice and a witbier which was also good. Excellent surroundings for sapid conversation.
dyyony - 13 Apr 2011 22:06
Much smaller place than the images would have you believe - but nice, more like a Cafe/Diner place than a pub with flowers on all the tables and menu's everywhere. Quite nice if you're in the area.
adamwalsh - 15 Nov 2010 09:42
Pleasant but crowded pub north of Russell Square. When I was in there were plenty of drinkers enjoying the friendly environment. Didn't see much food and I suspect this is a place for drinking rather than eating.

Plenty of choice on the ale front - Wadworth 6X, Deuchars IPA, Bombardier and John Smith cask as regulars and Holt Maplemoon and Robinsons Mr Scrooge Bah Humbug bitter as guests.

This is a good pub and well worth visiting in the area.
murgatroyd - 15 Nov 2010 09:26
Ate here on Sunday and it was decent. Guest beers are now £3.40/pt
oftenscore6 - 13 Oct 2010 23:06
No question, just a good honest boozer!
Alfnoax - 22 Jul 2010 20:09
Stumbled in after The London Drinker beer fest last Thursday. Nice array of real ales and a fairly extensive number of single malt whiskies to keep them company. The natives were quite friendly to boot. Well worth a visit!
drum2000 - 13 Mar 2010 19:11
Friendly local pub with 6 real ales on - Holt's Maplemoon, Robinsons Mr Scrooge Humbug Bitter, Deuchars IPA, Wells Bombardier, John Smiths Cask and Wadworth's 6X. The single bar doesn't have too much character. But there's plenty of tables available, to at least give you a fighting chance of a seat for your pint.
blue_scrumpy - 1 Jan 2010 22:52
First ever visit today. Good range of ales and the ones I tried were well kept. Also had Budvar and Budvar dark on tap - very nice. The food is old style pub grub and was very, very goood and at a reasonable price. Nice mix of punters tourists, locals and office staff and a decent atmosphere. Will be back.
Alfnoax - 18 Dec 2009 14:18
Good beer range - guests were Robinsons Wags to Wiches (£3.10) and Holts Bitter (£3.25!!!) Also a weissbier and Continental lagers. Much more down to earth than the marquis
oftenscore6 - 9 Oct 2009 18:27
A nice little place, always busy enough never rammed. The beer is well kept, the staff freindly and is in one of my favourite parts of London.
kenincamden - 25 Sep 2009 13:44
Good feel to this place. Tried a caledonian organic guest beer. Waited for the bloke in front of me to pay for his pint with his credit card ! I would say its worth popping in, much better than the snooty marquis of cornwallis down the road.
rob372 - 15 Sep 2009 08:26
Seemingly named after a twice serving Victorian Prime Minister, the pub is just far enough away from the mainline stations on the Euston Rd to avoid that just passing through feel. A single room with a slightly curvaceous (can you describe an inanimate object such?) bar on the end wall. A number of blue cast iron columns support the hefty floor beams over. Wooden floors with a small yet attractive black and red tiled fringe/splash area in front of the bar. Standard wooden tables, with little vases of flowers, chairs and settles, all without cushions. Decor includes an old print of the pub plus a montage of a few of its architectural highlights. A fair old range of beer mats above the bar suggests the two guests change regularly.
Regulars seem to be Deuchers IPA, 6X, Bombardier, John Smith's Stonemason's Reward (what's this?) with two guests, Caledonian Fringe Benefit and Davenports Heatwave.
The food menu, not tried, looked to be honest pub fare at reasonable prices.
I thought it to be ok, the feel of a proper pub, and seemingly with a smattering of regulars early evening.
Maldenman - 25 Aug 2009 20:15
Went there lunchtime today. Impressive selection of ales.
I enjoyed a couple of pleasant pints of Bombardier, not as good as the Pelton Arms, but you can't have everything.

Good menu all freshly cooked.

Eclectic mix of customers, friendly staff.
ericstadd - 9 Jun 2009 17:41
Good real ale pub with 6 handpumps and I've rarely had a bad pint. The location means that the ale side is often overshadowed by the designer lager and white wine set. Like many places in this area it's a good pub during the quieter times but a bit of a nightmare when it's busy.

Millay - 9 Apr 2009 16:51
I had a couple of very nice Hare Raisers in here on Saturday. Deuchars, Bombardier, 6X, St George and John Smiths Cask were also available along with some standard lagers. The pub is basically a stripped out room with a wooden floor, bar and furniture causing any noise to reverberate through the air. Every table has a wine bottle with a candle jammed in the top of it, which I find rather tacky.

The barmaid was nice enough, but the locals sitting all along the bar wouldn’t have moved to let me in if I had started pissing on them. There are a couple of plasma screens, but I saw no sport advertised. There are a couple of signs proudly displaying the fact that the pub scored 4 stars in the “scores on the doors” inspection. There is also a picture of the pub site when it was the Marchmont Street Distillery Company.

There are some benches on the pavement outside and there is also limited covered seating under the arch at the side of the pub.

I have to agree with a previous comment that this place could do better, but with all its faults there is something I like about this place and I would still return if passing.
Strongers - 6 Apr 2009 16:48
Had a pint of Hydes in there last night. The quality of the ale was disappointing, but the pub environment was good.
KTh - 13 Mar 2009 11:59
met a friend for a couple of after work drinks here the other night, nice pub! good choice of 6 ales on tap, only got through 3 of them but the ones we tried were all in good nick, friendly staff as well
bedbob - 28 Feb 2009 01:36
Unlike everyone else, I hate the flowers on the tables (must be mild hayfever) but go along with the comments on the Budvar - marvellous. Very fine London pub. In the middle of the student quarter, but not full of them - nor unwelcoming. Good staff, trad decor and good mix.
pt1234 - 12 Aug 2008 01:03
This pub could be better. Several ales on – Bombardier, Deuchars IPA, Directors, Wadworth 6X, and John Smith’s Cask (didn’t know there was such a thing, but didn’t venture to try it). There was a very attractively curved bar at the back of the pub, but that was about it as far as the décor is concerned. The Deuchars I had was OK, and the food I saw other people eating looked fine, but what really put me off this place was the hard wooden seats and the fact that they had a radio playing too loud. Why would you want a radio playing with some DJ’s inane nattering? Fair enough if you are, for example, driving on your own, but surely not in a pub where all it does is make conversation more difficult. Playing some music can be OK, but with a radio programme the music to chatter ratio is in favour of the latter. But maybe it would be different on another occasion.
RexRattus - 7 Jul 2008 19:33
Horrible lager....don't think they clean the lines unfortunately.
poshpplhater - 7 Apr 2008 23:26
A terrific pub, and I echo Clissold345's comments about the flowers and the budvar. There's a nice old-fashioned pubby atmosphere, it appears to be run by londoners. The landlady (I assume) actually blushed when I said what a nice pub it was as I left. Well worth the walk from Kings Cross. And food is proper pub food too 'corn beef hash' 'pie' 'fish and chips''burger' but with more unusual beer absorbing additions like falafel and hummus. And none of it expensive.And none of it comes with a fancy wipe clean plastic menu description either. Excellent. Nine out of ten. Only lost a point cos of no real interesting real ales.
dry_riser_inlet - 4 Apr 2008 11:38
A fine establishment. I last went into this pub in 1996 and was unfortunatley barred for life at some point in June of that year - can't remember the date exactly - but I was very drunk indeed...what a stupid student I was.

I have longed to go in it ever since - do you think they'd recognise me now? I seem to remember that their Guinness was really good. Good pub to people watch in.
Therealdickie - 3 Jan 2008 17:05
The pub is growing on me. As beeronaut says, they have Budvar Dark. They'd also taken some care over the flowers on the tables. And I like the large clear-glass windows.
clissold345 - 20 Jun 2007 23:24
Oh there was one more the thing - the music. Veering between sea shanties, jazz and electronica. So at least there's something that's a bit unusual about the place.
Quinno - 13 Dec 2006 23:33
A slightly above average pub serving slightly above average beer in a slightly above average area.

4 beers on (2 Courage handpulls OH LORD WHY!?!?!?!). Not much else of note.

Still, I haven't seen John Smith's cask for a while...
Quinno - 13 Dec 2006 21:25
I see what you mean about the landlord. Not quite necessary to pour someone's drink over them and then invite them to hit him (which she did).
anonymous - 24 Oct 2006 11:42
Ales weren't brilliant but they do have Budvar Dark which is well worth having. Regular sort of backstreet pub except that those are rare nowadays and this is a few blocks from Russell Square Station.
beeronaut - 23 Oct 2006 22:14
Four real ales, including Broadside. Presumably it's a Victorian pub, but few of the original interior features are left. Lively interesting area; for example, Judd Books are across the road. But for me there's nothing that makes the pub memorable.
clissold345 - 14 Sep 2006 01:12
I have been going to this pub on-off since they first started serving Budvar Dark about two years ago (the first pub in London to do so) and have enjoyed it on every visit.

Perfect for quiet drink on an afternoon, but gets pleasantly lively on a Friday and Saturday night. Lots of interesting characters, a smattering of students. Love the area. Good beers. If you ever find yourself around these parts, go there. You might not think it is anything special, but there is just something about this pub I like.
anonymous - 30 Aug 2006 13:45
I went there, and liked it, some time ago. Just recognised it on this site, and so I'll go back and see if its as good as I remember.

My rating was a definite "don't know"
anonymous - 18 Aug 2006 00:33
Small, quite grotty pub. Does Budvar Dark on tap, which is great, but, that aside, really nothing to get excited about.
JonW999 - 16 Apr 2006 20:32
Vastly underrated - REAL PUB. Great beer, great staff, comedy little old man who looks like a troll always standing drinking at the bar (smiles if you smile at him but minds his own).
Optiman1917 - 4 Apr 2006 10:12
This has been my (work) local for several years. It's one of the best pubs in London. The punters are a genuine mix, from students to local site workers. There's a pair of grumpy old men who have 'their corner' and there are passing businessmen in for a quick few on expenses. There's no music, and there's a steady, lively babble of people actually talking to each other.

A wide range of good beers caters for all tastes. There is a large amount of outdoor seating making it great in summer. It has wooden floors, wooden benches, a haze of smoke, and an actual atmosphere.

It's not perfect - bar service is on the slow side, it can get very crowded on Friday evenings, and it's smokier than I'd like. But it's a real pub, with real people, local or passing, and you can't say better than that.
jhsp - 9 Feb 2006 22:34
Great beer, rude landlord who is more amusing than upsetting. I used to frequent this place in summer and there was a lovely barmaid working there much of time.

Does Budvar Dark on tap - try it. Avoid the John Smith's cask though - like most northern beers, pretty grim, even when not kegged.

I like this place. Best pub in the area.
anonymous - 15 Dec 2005 11:11
My second visit to the Russell and this time I've remembered to leave a comment. I don't know the pubs around this area at all but this one is a nice mix of locals, workers from the local institutions and randoms like myself and Tom. Good pint of Bombardier plus hot pasties and sausage rolls for £1.50. Nice idea. You can lock your bike up on the railings opposite and keep and eye on in thru the big picture windows to.
danrkelly - 25 Nov 2005 14:26
I need to grammer check before clicking "post comment".

...watching the world roll BY...
beerbum63 - 10 Oct 2005 03:42
I'm not quite sure what led to anonymous' comments on 3 Sep 2005, but I can assure you this pub is no dump. I am not a local, but I've always been treated very nicely by the staff and the beer is well kept. My greatest memory of the LJR is enjoying my pint whilst watching the world roll on a simple wooden bench out front.
beerbum63 - 10 Oct 2005 03:35
A Dump.
Run by locals for locals
The rest of us peasents are passing trade that can go screw ourselves
anonymous - 3 Sep 2005 23:10
A natural, old fashioned and well run little boozer in Russell square – now theres a sentence that’s not easy to write without a sense of slight disbelief.

Seriously though the Russell has just about everything you`d want in a pub – a very wide booze selection (that runs from strawberry bitter to Kronie Blanc), friendly staff, good clientele and a nice atmosphere that is both welcoming and relaxing. There has been some debate in the comments below on the size of the place and just to be a really irritating little sod I`m going to sit myself straight in the middle of the debate. I certainly wouldn’t describe it as large or small though I`d also hesitate to call it a medium size as well (yeah, it takes me until dawn to decide what I want for my evening meal). In the end I`d go for it being between small and medium, but whatever your personal perspective on this tedious debate it doesn’t stop it being a cracking 9/10.

anonymous - 12 Apr 2005 16:46
The Lord John is the place to be on Christmas morning. You're guarenteed good beer, lovely brandy and shitloads of kids with their new toys. If you're not playing Buckeroo by the time the Queen's speech comes on you must be a right ice cream!


Sam - 11 Dec 2003 15:03
Not bad, although the reality contradicts the comments below. I've been to the LJR a couple of times and found it to be a large room with tables in it. The staff are pretty nice, so I suspect that this place grows on you over time. Good lunches, so I'm told.
Ruby - 3 Nov 2003 16:02
When at Dave's den do what Dave's do, bar the silly shirts!! Its a lovely original english pub yet so cosmopolitan. Dave, the owner and his lovely wife Lissa will always make you feel at home. I still carry Dave's cricket bat in my car's boot!!. The bar tenders are so friendly and you can bring your fish and chips in from the world famous North sea chippy opposite!
Hurray to all the usuall faces at the Lord John, Mick, Marty, Kelly, Harry and the rest.

Tareq Gharaibeh - tgharaibeh@hotmail.com - 12 May 2003 16:07
First visited the place in January 1973, when I was a visiting student from the US, rooming at a B&B on Cartwright Gdns, a couple of blocks away. Enjoyed the unpretentious atmosphere and many tasty pints of bitter with my college mates. Returned in June 2002 with my wife and kids (actually, the kids stayed at the hotel), and whiled away a couple of hours at an outside table, nursing a couple of pints of bitter and watching the passing parade. Not much had changed in the 29 years since my last visit, except my ability to down more than a couple of pints of the stuff. I certainly expect to return again, but much sooner than 29 years from now. A scene quite reminiscent of a local I used to frequent in Greenwich Village, NYC back in the 1970s.
Neds550 - 14 Nov 2002 19:35
a wonderful pub.
they have budvar on tap and well as adnams bitter on cask. my two favorite beers. the bar staff are wonderful also. the sandwiches were great. if you go there tell joe that paul and shawn say hi!
paul bauer - paulb@powerweb.net - 7 Nov 2002 22:23
Sometime around 1980 my wife and I were staying arond the corner from the Lord John. At that time there was a dog, a Jack Russell naturally, named 'Russell' that pretty much had the run of the place. Russell had recently leaped off the roof (the story went) at the sight of a female dog on the street below. He apparently landed on a taxi roof and survived. He certainly survived to clean our leftover Melton Mowbray anyway. And even if he hadn't there was a parrot, I seem to recall. Geez, it wasn't so much a pub as a menagerie. I hope it hasn't changed. If I ever get back, it'llbe my first stop after Heathrow. Oh yeah....I've got a picture of my wife patting wiry little Russell outside the front door. I treasure it. (I treasure my wife too... )
Daniel J. Christie - djchrist@nhb.com - 3 Nov 2002 02:42
When living in London in the summer of 1998 (visiting from America) I made this pub a regular evening haunt. It was beautiful in the late evening while it was still light outside. I often dream of returning to Marchmont Street for a pint (A real 20 0z. pint which you can't get in America) of Guiness Extra Cold.
David Parsons - 3 Oct 2002 17:05
holsten export AND budvar on tap. lovely.
anne - 2 Aug 2002 15:36
Great single floor pub. Huge windows mean the pub is bright and is great for summer evenings, watching talent walk by. The range of beer on tap is extensive. On my last visit I can recall - Fosters, Kronenburg, John Smiths, both Guiness varieties, Becks, Erdinger, Leffe Blonde, Strongbow, Scrumpy Jack. There are more I can't recall. There are also plenty of bitters on offer. The beer is reasonably priced, about £2.25 a pint. Wine comes to £9 for a decent bottle. Decent pub grub is also available. The atmosphere is very friendly although the landlord is a right hard-nut and quite intimidating. Without doubt my favourite pub in the world. I am even thinking of finding a job in the area to be closer to it.
mbeswick - 29 Jul 2002 11:26

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