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Imperial, Soho

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user reviews of the Imperial, Soho

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

Just off Leicester Square so seems to concentrate on food and tourists. Beer was ok but unexceptional.
Aztecgoat - 9 Nov 2019 10:22
It's a bit non-descript but pleasant enough. The Tribute was the best pint I had all Christmas.
strangetorpor - 9 Jan 2014 15:43
Always had a good pint and experience. Good traditional pub in the west end
madeinshef - 3 Jan 2014 10:07
Update on this one. Unfortunately landlord Chris has left in the recent weeks. Initital victim seems to be the beer quality.... not so good now...
PhilR - 30 Sep 2012 11:31
Rather surprised by blue-scrumpy's comments, as I was in there the same week and found it much better than expectations. The Brewdolph was on good form and the staff were attentive, with 3 + landlord Chris covering all needs on what was an obviously a busy night at the start of the 'Once a Year Drinking' season. Definitely one to make a beeline for in the area in future.
PhilR - 11 Dec 2011 13:30
Pretty bog standard London boozer. It has a little bit of character, but is otherwise unremarkable. The 3 bar staff seemed pretty disinterested in serving and it was difficult to get their attention with people drinking at the bar. I was also short-changed by 3p off the quote price. But it wasn't worth the effort arguing. Fullers London Pride, Sharps Doom Bar & Solebay Brewdolph were the 3 ales on offer. The latter was dull and lifeless. Not particularly impressed.
blue_scrumpy - 8 Dec 2011 22:06
A secluded Pub on a quiet Street that has been Pedestrianized just off the northern side of Leicester Square.

The Imperial never seems to get crowded so Seats and tables are usually available.

I have recent had my first Pint of Doombar there and may return to try another.
AuldJimmy - 5 Mar 2011 18:06
Never had a bad pint in here, not too bad at all for a quick stop off and prices not too bad for the area.
mikeyr1234 - 18 Jan 2011 00:23
Must have walked past this pub numerous times since my last visit, but having just made my way through the heaving Leicester Square it suddenly seemed like it might be an appealing haven of calm. Traditional, if unexceptional, interior. Four handpumps, with usual suspects, but my pint of Doom Bar was fine (and not that badly priced for the area at £3.28). Nothing special, but OK for a quick pint.
rpadam - 8 May 2010 11:22
I went there at the height of the Swine Flu scare, ordered a pint and watched whilst the barmaid sneezed her head off, wiped her hands on a tea towel and proceeded to dry my glass with it. I cancelled, walked out and have not been back since.
guayabera - 22 Jan 2010 16:19
Popped in here for a spot of lunch before catching a show and I was pleasantly surprised. There are two or three 'chain' pubs (slug & lettuce etc) nearby so maybe my judgment was clouded but by that stage all I wanted was a proper pint and a sandwich. Tribute, Pride and two others were on and the Tribute was very nice indeed. The baguette I had was very good and priced about right. i guess this is more of a weekday evening pub with more life then but as a one off visit it was very good.
localaledrinker - 4 Sep 2009 14:15
Following a tip from our concierge at the Strand Palace we visited the Imperial pub last weekend. Having spent three days dodging the rain it was great to find the sort of establishment which, to me, sums up exactly what I look for in a traditional English pub. Four hand pulled ales on tap...I opted for the Doom bar and I have to say it went down a treat! One soon turned into three. Having developed a little hunger I decided to opt for some food. Table service was provided which I wasn`t expecting and we quickly polished off our fish suppers. Yum. Thanks for the tip Mr concierge and we hope to visit Imperial Pub on future visits to these shores.
americanalelover - 13 Aug 2009 13:17
Staggered in here after a gruelling afternoon at the shops - in an area dominated by crappy bars it's a quite traditional pub and at 4pm not packed with baying chavs.

Unfortunately it let itself down by serving the worst pint of Stella I've tasted in an awful long time - flat, warm and tasting like someone had dumped the ash of a cheap brand of cigarette in it ( a Lambert and Butler perhaps). If I hadn't seen it come out of the tap myself I would have suspected it had been conjured up from the slops tray.

If pub can't serve up a decent pint then there really is no hope for it.
murgatroyd - 21 Jun 2009 22:11
I popped into this place yesterday, as had previously had good experiences on the Real Ale front. I was disappointed that of the 4 Pumps, 2 were IPA 1 was off and 1 was London Pride!!

Settled on the Pride and was poured the most revolting, sour, clump-filled pint I have ever seen! As it was 4 in the afternoon, it was pretty evident that not only had the line never been cleaned this entire year, but nothing had been pulled through it that day either!!

When I complained and asked for an exchange, the ignorant, dis-interested and frankly thick barmaid (English, I might add!) then expected me to pay an additional 65p to change it to a different beer!!! Outraged, I protested and demanded she change it, and she was swiftly over-ruled by presumably her Manager, who was of Eastern European descent.

Frankly, the work ethic shown by our own is nothing short of a DISGRACE, and it comes to something when a foreigner has to show you the art of dealing with a Customer complaint!! I won't use this pub again until aforementioned THICKO BARMAID has been sacked - there's plenty of other boozers in the West End anyway!!! 1/10
bitterboy1970 - 14 Feb 2009 08:50
Dropped in here by chance on Sunday lunchtime when the rain began to come down hard enough to be annoying. Pleasant enough comfortable one-bar pub just off the north side of the main Leicester Square. London Pride, Green King IPA and CW Bombardier were on. The Pride was fine and the two Club sandwiches we had were fine also, and reasonably priced considering where you were. It was very quiet when we entered so no problem with the service, but the two girls on the afternoon shift had to work a bit harder as the place filled up as the rain persisted. One of these was a voice double for Harry Enfieldís Magda, which made me have an overriding urge to order a cappuccino.
So to conclude, can concur with the posting below, there are many worse places to drink in this area, though itís not really worth going out of your way to visit The Imperial. Especially as I later visited the Salisbury in St Martinís Lane and The Red Lion in Piccadilly, and I would describe these as worth going out of your way for.

Gann - 27 Jan 2009 19:48
They had Butcombe Bitter on, as well as some of the usual suspects. Pretty good it tasted too, as well as being a bit different Ė for London anyway. This pub has been seriously refurbished since the last time I was in here, when they had a pinball machine at the back where the red settees are now. But, for the area, itís a rather comfortable pub. They have an interesting combination of floor tiles by the bar, surrounded by a few feet of bare boards, and then carpeting round the sides where the majority of tables are.

It seems to cater mainly for the tourist trade, which is inevitable considering its location on Leicester Square, but for all that itís not bad. There are many worse places to drink in this area, though itís not really worth going out of your way to visit.
RexRattus - 22 Dec 2008 17:20
Pretty damn good place compared to the others in the area. Seems you have to pay extra for a good selection of drinks or quality service or food, but this has a bit of everything really. Good location and the service is good. Food could be a bit more imaginative (but I guess that's the 'traditional pub food' for you) and it's a little pricey, but the beers/ales are definitely recommended - for quality and cost. The staff also provide an interesting form of entertainment. I've been a fair few times now, and they all seem absolute characters to chuckle over and/or have a good chat with.
JohnE - 21 Dec 2008 06:53
I was begining to loose the plot. All I wanted was a pint of ale. A drinkable pint of ale. On a Saturday afternoon, in the West End. Not an impossible task one would think. This pub was my fifth attempt at same. First thing I noticed was a sparkling array of hand-pumps with a good variety of beers advertised thereon. "oh good" I thought. The second thing I noticed was that all the handpumps had empty half-pint glasses stuck on the top of them. My heart sank. No real ales available at 2;30-ish on what must be one of the busiest days of the week. Words like "piss-up" and "brewery" sprung to mind. The worst of it was, the manager thought it was funny that he had no ales. He couldn't stop laughing! Get e out of here...
foghorn - 23 Nov 2008 12:01
A lovely little haven tucked just off the busy thoroughfare which runs between Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square. Stumbled upon it purely by chance. From my own experience I don`t see how anyone could find fault with this beautiful place. A crystal clear pint of Butcombe pulled by a quirky barmaid with real ale knowledge. Pie and a pint for a fiver. Say no more. Shame I didn`t have longer to spend here. Could do with a boozer like this back home.Some London pubs aren`t bad after all.
darkandsmooth - 10 Nov 2008 21:06
Visited this pub back in July, and have had a mental note to post a comment on a site like this for some time. Absolutely the worst customer service i've ever witnessed. There were two staff - one was absolutely fine - but the other was blank, dismissive (no please / thanks etc. - just said the figure for how much the drinks came to and waved her hand under your nose like you were some kind of scum that had just rolled in off the street) and then (my friend and i were sat at the bar) actually pushed past to put some glasses on the bar, one of them fell over and spilt onto my mate's trousers, i said excuse me and she just looked as if she couldn't care less, said sorry incredibly insincerely and then walked off.
Seemed to be quite pally with one or two people in their who must've been regulars.
Dreadful, dreadful pub. And i don't often hate something so much i'm inclined to post a review about it.

pl326 - 2 Oct 2008 17:24
Visited many times, most recently last week - beer still good which makes up somewhat for the very mediocre and expensive food. The staff are a waste of time and prefer to natter than to serve customers.
BobOs - 13 Aug 2008 00:10
Would King of Beer be the landlord of this establishment? Surely he is the only person deluded enough to believe "sound traditonal food offering", "friendly and helpful staff"
You have got to be kidding.
If you want to wait 40 minutes for 2 fish and chips, with staff who don't seem to have a clue who is waiting.All attempts to catch the waiter's eye failed This is the worst kind of pub, knows it will still be busy thanks to tourists, so doesn't care what kind of service you get.

Northen Money right about the beer though
anonymous - 15 Jul 2007 22:44
a bloody good little pub, given there must have been a huge tempation to tart it up for the tourists. the irish fellow behind the bar is one of the friendliest blokes in london and they also sell a nice pint of numbers.
magic_numbers - 13 Jul 2007 16:10
As a northener (albeit not a monkey), my first impressions of this place were not too bad - the beer was in good shape and, as touched on in another comment, it's just off the main hustle and bustle of Leicester Square. Will bear it in mind for the next time I'm in the area.
MINTYBOOM - 10 Jul 2007 12:17
Have been drinking in this locality for a number of years now and must disagree entirely with the northern monkey...Sorry!Whilst other pubs have obviously had money chucked at them to "tart them up" this pub has proved itself a tried and tested winner in my book. An endless selection of constantly changing ales (from many regional micro-brewers) coupled with a sound traditional pub food offering makes this place a real gem. Nicely tucked away from the more expensive touristy rip off pubs this one is a real find! Helpful and friendly staff who know their stuff. Try it!
kingofbeer - 19 May 2007 23:52
If you want a nice looking bar head next door to the Crooked Surgeon. If price is your thing, head here. Quite possibly the worst service and speed in the area, but they will sell you a relatively bargain pint, even if the product choice is extremely limited.
northernmonkey - 29 Apr 2007 15:40
Nice pub but the availability of beer is not to be relied upon. The staff vary from capable to clueless, with the latter being more often in attendance. Pop in and you may spend a good evening or immediately need to move on to better haunts.
abb123 - 19 Apr 2007 00:13
No one will break the land speed record to serve you here!And thats a tried and tested observation..not a one off.Location gets a higher mark from me.beer's usually ok.Gives the impression it has its regular crowd.A pub I normally use on my London visits.
ginner - 17 Apr 2007 21:44
good pub for the area.
last time we were there a band started up out
side on the pavement.
becks007 - 17 Feb 2007 22:01
Slightly tucked away, this place is a bit of a haven. Nice and quiet at lunch time, the food being cheap and edible. The beer is cold and the welcome warm. Good combination we think!
DirtyPanda - 10 Feb 2007 21:27

This pub came recommended by a good friend of mine and I can see why. The welcome I recieved was friendly and genuine....a rarity it seems in central London! I was particularly impressed with the range of Real Ales on offer...and the suggestions made by the barman with regards their differing strengths and flavours. Food offered was traditional pub fayre...simple but appealing. A real hidden gem just tucked away from the crowds of Leicester square.
kingofbeer - 27 Nov 2006 15:38
just a nice no nonsense boozer,nothing amazing but serves its purpose.
nickragingthirst - 10 Nov 2006 15:27
Not a bad little pub, reasonable for the area and not full of tourist idiots (not when I've been anyway). And they sell Kronenbourg Blanc on tap - need I say more?
duncan_disorderly - 9 Aug 2006 13:37
went today for the first time in 10 years - where did the round bar go??
Ziggy66 - 3 Aug 2006 22:31
boring
anonymous - 18 Mar 2006 20:53
Went in this Pub to get out of the rain, the best thing on a rainy day. Great selection, great food and very great staff. Was a bit apprehensive due to its location.
danishguy - 8 Feb 2006 11:40
pretty nondescript pub next to Leicester Square, hence is tourists hell.

having said that, clearly a far better option than the nearby Hogshead rubbish, so for it's location is not bad.
TheGP - 29 Jan 2006 20:06
First, shocked by the prize !! Cheaper than everywhere. Second, nice music, nice ambiance !! Nice place to go.
chuck - 13 Nov 2005 21:09
Useful to know this traditional pub just off the Square. Welcoming, even just 20 mins before closing-time. Beware, though, steep stairs to the loos... a bit like in many Amsterdam bars!
Howard & Sue - 18 Jul 2004 18:41
Where can I begin ? Fantastic assortment of people here all buying beers , really find it fascinating to watch , sometimes I get my wallet out just to check its intact. Have to be careful though British Muesuem is minutes from here , wouldnt want them finding it
Buda Pest - 12 Jul 2004 23:14
Great little pub, nice bar staff, they even dish me out freebies every now and then, which is the main reason I use it, the barman even showed me how to pour my own pint the other day, cracking drop of stella, nice and fresh, a lot cheaper than my local in Colliers Wood, keep on smiling, look like you are enjoying yourself!
Pikey Niall - 23 Jun 2004 14:26
Not bad,one of the few pubs in this area that hasnt been turned into a tacky theme bar.
Nick Hamer - 20 May 2004 18:41
Of all the bars in soho and the west end why on earth would you want to drink in this joint? Poor layout, dodgy characters collecting for the salvation army - and a regular called Barry who has a different beard each week.
The landlord - 26 Mar 2004 14:46
A great boozer, we like it and its ours. No tourists and the like, nice atmosphere and serves Brains SA (Skull Attack). Oh, and Barry drinks there a lot. He's the local fozzies wino.
Ed - 26 Mar 2004 14:28
The Imperial is a civilized pub for civilized people. It has a 'local' feel, which is welcome in an area that is generally full of trendy bars. In the Ladies there are clean toilets that have their own mirrors and Victorian style washbasins so you can refresh/make up in private. You have to work for them however because they're up a steep winding flight of stairs. I nearly fell twice while employing great care ascending them...and I was sober. God help any well- oiled girl getting up and down them at the end of the night.
Sue - 15 Jan 2004 12:25
Work across the Square from here so have been frequenting for years. Recently refurbished and my colleagues and I were worried that like most refurbs they were going to ruin it's traditional proper 'brown pub' status. However they've actually improved it sorting out the flooding toilets in the process. Step inside and you enter a world away from tourist Leicester Square. A gem.
Tim - 5 Sep 2003 17:39
Nice little pub. Generally not too busy. A nice escape from the chaos that is Leicester Square
Alistair - 28 Nov 2002 10:42

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