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De Hems, Soho

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user reviews of De Hems, Soho

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

Unusual enough to be well worth a visit. Historic pub, very basic in design with heavy furniture and predominantly open plan. It goes without saying that it isn't cheap but the huge range of generally high strength bottled Dutch beer is good for novelty. It does get busy though I haven't found service to be a problem.
BitterShurn - 5 Aug 2016 15:27
Went in on Saturday 02/08/2014.
Bar was very busy and one person serving as usual.
After standing at the bar for 10 mins waving money I
ordered a Trappist only to be told it was not on, so I left.

So here is a plan, put a sign or a bag over pumps that are not working.
Get more than on bar staff on during busy holiday season in Central London!

chavsum - 3 Aug 2014 10:26
Made my first visit on Monday night after about 20 years.

No longer a purely owned Dutch bar but now owned by Nicholsons.

Most of the “dutch” beers were off including Doom Bar. London Pride was on as were the lagers so I opted for a bottle of Orval.

Not that busy, but most of the patrons were tourists.

Not a great anymore pub, it used be fantastic back in the early 90’s…but times have changed and I have got older.
lezford - 17 Apr 2014 13:13
Its a bit different, but not too special. Very hot in there.
mont62y - 28 Feb 2014 15:49
Rounded off a night out here nicely with a bottle of the Westmalle Tripel for me and a Delirium Tremens for my wife. Good atmosphere with music not so loud you can't have a natter and good, friendly bar staff. Planning to pop in again soon.
littledrummerboy - 24 Feb 2013 11:52
I've always enjoyed myself here. It's busy but big enough so that you can usually get a seat, wide selection of unusual beers, lively/party atmosphere. Great place for a session.
Foghorn1 - 2 Feb 2013 16:37
Overpriced dutch boozer. Food - stingy helping. Non-friendly personal. Can't advice to visit this tavern. Perhaps because of Shittown is nearby.
Mike.Y - 6 Jul 2012 09:56
De Hems is a good place to go if you want to try new flavours.

For my first visit I tried Bitterballen (a tasty snack) and Delirium Tremens a Bottled Beer.

Both made a pleasant change.

I shall return soon, there are plenty more that I would like to try.
AuldJimmy - 18 Jan 2012 21:10
Used to be a particular favourite of mine this place, but is slipping down the pecking order.
Great selection of Belgian and Dutch beers, which seems to be decreasing lately, and adding things like Budweiser and Desperado, which don't seem particularly in keeping with the whole "Dutch cafe" ethos.
Usually have pretty decent treatment from the bar staff, but have heard of others (not on this site) who haven't had great experiences.
Roydwin - 30 Oct 2011 18:09
I booked a table of 4 in this pub for yesterday - Sunday evening - to reunite with former Dutch colleagues who came into town for work. It seemed like a perfect place to get together for beers and some food. After not hearing anything from the pub despite website notification that someone would call, I called myself the day before and spoke to a friendly staff member who confirmed the booking for 8pm. Since on the day of the booking, my former colleagues were delayed due to work, I notified the pub 4 hours before which I think is more than polite (not all guests even think of calling).
This time, the staff member was pissed off and when I asked if it was ok to push back reservation to 9pm, he said "well, I have no other choice, haven't I? Now I have to keep the upper restaurant part open, but I wanted to close it at 9pm!" To which I suggested we could just cancel and eat elsewhere, if that was such a problem for him. The kitchen is supposed to be open until 10pm.
He was a bit more accommodating then and suggested we could eat downstairs in the pub area if we wouldn't mind. Well, of course we wouldn't.
But when I arrived in the pub (my ex-colleagues hadn't arrived yet), I was greeted with the same unfriendliness from the two bartenders. I again said that we could eat downstairs, and one of them really said "Yeah, it is really a p.... that you come so late!" Both bartenders made us feel as if the delay which we had announced 4 hours before with the option to simply cancel, was a personal offense against them. I found his reaction outrageous and ridiculously emotional, but I said calmly that we could eat elsewhere, no worries. To which again he got friendlier.
My first order of beers was nevertheless executed by the bartender with a pouting face. This is ridiculous behaviour of an adult, called passive-aggressive behaviour. It should not happen if you work in the hospitality business, especially not if you have paying customers.
I was very embarrassed to have brought my Dutch colleagues to this supposedly Dutch-style bar. It felt unwelcoming. The staff could have just said 'no' when I called earlier, or just get on with it, instead of this childish attitude. Unfortunately since my ex-colleagues were on their way and I couldn't reach them via phone, I also couldn't leave right away. Which I normally would do.
The food served was just about average (small, but decent selection for pub food: burgers which is also normal in Dutch pubs and some bitterballen). The beer selection was rather international with Franziskaner (German) and some Belgian beer in bottles. I should add that both bartenders managed to smile later on with us and even asked if we needed more beer, after they found out that we were actually well eating customers.
What I found weird, was the gong for the last beer order. Officially this pub closes at 11pm on Sunday, but the last gong came at 10.15pm. Is that normal? It was getting quite hectic, not because of the guests getting up to order, but of the bartenders rushing everyone with at least two more gongs prior to 10.30pm.
They then came over at 10.40 and asked us to leave. The pub was empty at 10.45pm.
In my Dutch years, I always thought Dutch customer service was bad. But at De Hems in London, the experience was worse. Impoliteness and unwelcoming behaviour of the staff are two of the worst mistakes you can make in the gastro business.
There are certainly better pubs that make less fuzz about their image and are much better in overall customer service. This is not really a place to return to soon. I also won't recommend it any other one who is looking for a nice experience.

sunriselady - 12 Sep 2011 08:42
Been going to this pub for years and always enjoyed the atmosphere, but paid a visit yesterday with a group of 5 friends we had one drink then went to order a drink but we were refused because we were rowdy we are all in our50/60's I asked to speak to the manager she just kept repeating rowdy, wouldn't discuss it and barred us an absolute joke with the behaviour going on around us. Needless to say sadly I will never go back maybe we were too old for their clientele
Albertt - 9 Sep 2011 09:10
I like De Hems. Been here many times with my most recent visit about eight days ago. They have a decent selection of Beer, mostly in bottles and a good range of lagers, if you like that sort of thing. Personally, I only come in for a couple of pints of Fruli (strawberry beer), which is very girly, I know, but the wife likes it and we drink it together. Mind you, fruli costs 4.10 pint so it's not cheap, but where is cheap in central London...?
MeTheJudge1 - 1 Aug 2011 15:18
Great beer and lager selection. Lots of belgian beers whenever I've visited. Friendly atmosphere too.

Pubman Twitter
mr_mro79 - 21 Jul 2011 09:40
Awful experience last night, boiling hot, not especially packed but the nubert behind the bar was just flopping about at his own pace, half eyed looking like he was knackered from some crap band practise last night and was taking an age to serve anyone. Every so often looking up at the people waiting, expressionless like Napolean Dynamite.

If this is a Dutch experience, its akin to having a massive whitey on cheap hash and then catching a roaring STD round the back of Centraal Station, its about as Dutch as Arnold Schwarzerneggers character Dutch in Predator.

Been in here a couple of times now, and its really nothing to shout about, its like when places get so self assured they stop caring, as do the punters who flock in based on its reputation and placement.

Wont be going back.


rovers74 - 20 May 2011 10:40
Nicholson's are a disgrace - all they want to do is serve bloody tourists with steak and ale pie and crap washing-up lagers. I expect this place to be called The Royal Wedding next time i visit, at which point I will visit Belgo or Dove/Dovetail....
pkrp - 7 May 2011 16:24
This place is a text book example of how to ruin a good bar. Food: a pale shadow of its former self. Beer: ???WTF If I want German beer I'll go to the Katzenjammer. Dutch bar should be about Dutch beer. Sorry Nicholsons you've f**ked up a great boozer. This place is about as Dutch as a plastic tulip with 'Made in China' stamped on it. I'll be going to Belgo or the Lowlander for my continental beer fix from now on.
Zaphod - 6 Mar 2011 14:52

It's criminal what they're doing to this place, though I guess the perception of that is relative. In most pubs the provision of Pualaner and Fanziskaner on draught and Sierra Nevada in bottles would be a welcome departure from the cooking lager/london pride selection available everywhere else.

But not when you consider where this pub was a few months ago. Maredsous blonde and brun and others no longer on tap, bottle selection massively reduced, food menu has lost most of the dutch specialities.

This pub had a pretty unique offering for the area, and is now seemingly changing direction to offer beers that I can get in several other places in the west end.

Given that the whole point of the place was beer, and that is was pretty much permanently busy, you'd hope that whoever is responsible for this debacle will be sent to the library with a revolver and a pint of port in the near future.


BallaBoy - 24 Feb 2011 17:58
The wife and I had lunch in here last friday. As the previous post states, the food menu has been reduced. We wanted to try the Frikadellen as a main course but had to order it as a 'beer bite' along with a side dish to make it a meal. Again, as previously posted, the Frikadellen is actually sausage with red onion in a bread bun.

The last time I visited they had Maredsous on tap but no more, I had to opt for a bottled beer as the draught selection was poor.

Whilst the drink and food tasted nice, I probably wouldn't go out of my to visit here again.
Paulb014 - 3 Feb 2011 12:53
A once-good pub which has sadly gone downhill. I used to be an habitu of this place, but after today I shan't return.

The food menu has been drastically cut, with some previous main-course staples - such as Frikadellen - being reduced in size and consigned to the "beer bites" section ("sausage inna bun?" quoth Cut-me-own-throat Dibbler), and others - such as Sambalatjes - being removed altogether. In their place are well-known traditional Dutch standards such as bangers and mash, and burgers. How authentic.

I was looking forward to a plate of Frikadellen, but settled for a burger. I wish I hadn't; my stomach has been upset all afternoon and I've just enjoyed an episode of diarrhoea.

The beer selection has been scythed, too. Gone is the wide, varied range of beers; all that remains is a paltry selection of frankly mediocre Euro-brews. At least there was some Frli on tap.

Lastly, the gents toilets downstairs was foul with the ammoniac stench of stale urine, and the door was moist with the same. It's the first time I've ever washed my hands *before* going to the loo. And this was shortly after the place had opened for business, at lunchtime.

Apparently the appalling selection of food and beer is due to a new "stock policy" according to the bartender. I wonder what policy governs the hygienic conditions of the loos.

Nicholson's Pubs needs to take a long, hard look at its operation here. There's nothing wrong with making changes, but any change should always be for the better, not for the worse. And there's no excuse for not cleaning the loos properly.
Bibit_Albus - 13 Dec 2010 19:41
I love this pub and I always visit when in the area. It's a fairly faithful recreation of an Amsterdam bruin cafe. Many of the staff speak Dutch and so it's a good place to brush up on your "taal" in between trips to the Dam. Was awesome for Koninginadag as well as Dutch games in the WC. Beers are great and service is efficient even when it's heaving. High turn over of drinkers means you will generally always get a table if you are staying for a few biertjes. Wonderful snacketjes, kaas souffle etc. Yum yum, my favourite bar outside of Dam Square.
PompeyBlue - 4 Dec 2010 16:30
It's a Dutch place, or at least pretends to be.
Dr_Pangloss - 27 Nov 2010 21:21
Nice place just off ChinaTown - great selection of beers as you would expect for a Belgian place - Leffe on tap, Fruli is nice, interesting paintings up, nice decor - friendly staff - not a lot of seating places when busy, but a nice place overall.
adamwalsh - 27 Nov 2010 21:14
loud and brash as always, but it has got character, good range of european beers, but no ale
littlecon - 21 Nov 2010 11:37
Nice friendly efficient bar staff. Good pint, reasonably priced by local standards and not too packed for a Thursday night in the centre of town.
trees - 29 Oct 2010 14:59
Love it here, reasonabley priced beers, good food, shame there is always a struggle for a table! Good atmosphere though!
Spiritandmixer - 26 Oct 2010 16:12
tried some dark beer on draft, 4.50 a pint. tasty and strong and a reasonable atmosphere downstairs and upstairs.
popeye321 - 20 Oct 2010 17:21
One of my favourite boozers in London (maybe the world), atmosphere, selection of beers, great for people watching outside, a gem of Soho
Reverend - 17 Oct 2010 12:34
Good selection of Belgian beers. Not cheap though.
Thought the food was a bit bland & greasy but a dutch bloke I know tells me it's meant to be like that.
Normlikesbeer - 22 Aug 2010 19:39
Just outside the entrance to Chinatown stands The De Hems, a so called Dutch caf bar which describes itself as "Stylishly Dutch delivered with real personality".

Outside the pub, an information board tells us that a public house has been on this site since 1688 and that it was a meeting place for the Dutch Resistance in the Second World War.

Never having been to Holland, I have to confess that I'm not exactly sure what a Dutch caf bar should look or feel like, but, in the main, this feels very much like an archtyepal London pub to me. Yes, there's a framed orange Holland shirt, some Dutch specialities on the menu, a "Gezundheit" mirror and an array of foreign lagers such as Kreik, Amstel, Grolsch and Fruli, but the bare floorboards, high wooden tables and chairs and general echoey and uncomfortable feel are reminiscent of many a London pub nowadays, as indeed is the array of non - British lagers.

The interior also features a high ceiling, some polished wood panelling and some framed paintings ( Van Gogh ?).

A notice by the bar tells us that, in Holland, all good beers are served with a large head, but that top ups are given on request. I suppose that, in this respect, it's different from many London pubs where the staff serve you short measure without having the courtesy to forewarn you, and then look at you in an odd way if you have the temerity to request a full pint !

It's a Nicholson's pub, but not branded as such and, as a previous contributor has told us, there's no real ale - despite the website clearly indicating to the contrary. The pub picture clearly shows handpumps offering TT Landlord and Youngs Ordinary, but it would appear that real ale has been off the drinks menu for some time now.

I'm not marking this one down for a return visit.
JohnBonser - 12 Aug 2010 13:18
Nice convivial cosy atmosphere, good range of belgian beers on tap including 2 types of Maredsous as well as bottles (including the excellent Tripel Karmeliet)
A nice place to chill in the centre of London.
Staff could be a bit friendlier though.
Scottie_chorlton - 1 Jun 2010 11:19
I fricking love this place. Yesh, I do. Being a regular visitor to brown cafes in Amsterdam, this is the closest that London gets. It is 'gezellig'(convivial), relaxed, serves a decent pint and is a great place to just meet people in the least get-out-of-my-face way that London tends to have.

You will always find Lowlanders here - be it behind the bar where you can hear them chatter in their funny language to each other or visitors who go there to meet other Beneluxians. They have a good, if the usual, range of beers & serve Dutch delicacies for a good price. The location is fantastic and is a good staple for any night out in the Soho area. Best days to go are the Dutch Queens Day (around 30th April) or Sinterklaas (5th December) - then it comes into its own
Moose82 - 21 Apr 2010 17:08
Great if you have night vision goggles and veeeery long pockets. What's so special about Dutch beer that they think we want to pay those prices?
guayabera - 22 Jan 2010 16:16
Fantastic pub on the border of China town. Slightly more limited range of beers than I expected, but what they did have was lovely.
icc97 - 30 Sep 2009 11:21
Excellent Dutch tavern-style bar that exudes a certain panache but I'm not sure why. Perhaps it is the simplicity of it all. Beer lists would be a nice idea guys - try it.
Other than that there is nothing scary about Belgian beers - I recommend either of the Maredsous on tap or the slightly tart Orval on bottle - and of course Chimay. Anything but bloody Stella - use your imagination.....oh and the grub is good. Bitterballen taste very good and are undoubtedly fattening, who cares?
paulio1966 - 15 Aug 2009 22:59
We always tend to start here on a pub crawl; usually because you can try a european beer before commencing with the real ales. They do a nice Dark Beer, but it's strong at 8%. Nice meeting place. No ales though.
Paulb014 - 3 Aug 2009 12:36
This Dutch themed bar is a great meeting place for London's Dutch ex-pat community and a joy for fans of continental beers.
There are about 8-10 draught lagers, including all the Dutch/Belgian staples such a Leffe, Amstel, Heineken and Oranjeboom. The fridges are packed with a huge selection of bottled curiosities, but without a beer menu, it's hard to know where to make a start.
There's a food menu though, which is worth exploring for a chance to sample some of Holland's classic bar snacks. I'd recommend the Patatje Oorlog and Bitterballen.
There are two floors, each with an equally well stocked bar, but both areas can become packed in the evenings, so go early if you want a seat.
Pubsignman - 28 May 2009 00:59
Went in here on friday night - about 7-ish. Very busy with plenty of suits sucking on big cigars!! Had a dark beer from Belgium I think - pretty average. A mate had the strawberry beer and that was pants. Service is pretty fast for a pub that was heaving.
Paulb014 - 6 Apr 2009 12:58
Probably my favourite Central London pub. Normally quiet at lunchtimes.

Great selection of continental beers. Knowledgeable bar staff.
ericstadd - 13 Mar 2009 21:58
One of the best pubs for the area - usually a little more chilled and less crowded. Does very much feel like the dutch brown cafes, and usually has a good selection of dutch folks and lowland beers.
patsy - 15 Jan 2009 16:24
No bitters on, but numerous good quality lagers on offer. De Hems has very much a feel of an Amsterdam brown bar, which is undoubtedly intentional. The chap behind the bar was fairly helpful in providing advice to a bitter drinker mesmerized by the forest of lager taps on the counter.

Im sure that the last time that I was in here they had a central island bar. But it was some time ago, and I would have been drinking Double Diamond, so what do I know about anything! Anyway, this is a great place for those who like good quality lagers, but bitter drinkers should give it a miss.

RexRattus - 7 Dec 2008 13:39
Dutch/Belgian beers you would expect such as Stella, Oranjeboom, Amstel, Leffe, Fruli but also a couple of surprises like the Maredsous and Grolsch Weiss. Bottles included the trappists Chimay, Westmalle, Orval and Rochefort (only saw the 8) but no La Trappe??!! Other Belgians were Kwak, Delirium Tremens, Tripel Karmliet and Rodenbach Grand Cru which is nice to see, more besides those. Disappointed that there wasn't a beer list in the menu. Expensive for draught Grolsch Weiss at 4 but that's what I was expecting. No idea what the bottles cost. Seems like a good pub for a bit of a change but you'd better not be affected by the credit crunch! No Nicholsons T shirts when I asked.
GuideDogSaint - 24 Nov 2008 22:11
The best Dutch bar in the British Isles. Often slighty unprofessional staff but clearly laid back and superbly friendly. Often remembering who you are at times. I try to pop in everytime I am in London which is once or twice a month. Very nice during a stressful day shopping with the ladies and can be a good haven from piccadilly which is around a 5 minute walk and just off Shafesbury avenue. A few of my friends are Dutch and this is how i stumbled over such a great place. It can be very cramped on a busy weekend evening as space is quite limited. But nether the less we don't mind standing out on Macclesfield Road watching the world go by and all the nutters who havn't found quite what they were looking for in life. Just a message in reply to ricorazzo's complaint about the drinks being measured short, this is how beer is served over there a big head is just what they do so don't be put off and nine times out of ten then will be happy to fill your drink just that half an inch higher for you just to satisfy. This information is clearly stated at the bar also!! I would recommend to anybody who loves to try something new and have a pint of Fruli for me.

Kieran
Junior8987 - 9 Oct 2008 13:04
Best Dutch bar west of the Hague!
anonymous - 29 Sep 2008 01:39
I've been drinking in this pub for more than 20 years, not very often mind you, but every time I'm in China Town I usually pop in. They have some lovely beers and the upstairs room is usually always empty, a great place to escape the tourist hoards.
dalglish - 20 Sep 2008 10:34
Shocking service last night, at least a 20 minute queue to get served with only two bar staff actually serving despite there being five staff behind the bar. When you eventually do get served they try to get away with selling short measures - three times at the bar I had to ask for pints to be topped up, and that was done with a sneer. Avoid, Quinns in Kentish Town is a far better pub for Belgian beer.
ricorazzo - 20 Sep 2008 09:59
Drunken_Duck - don't know if you'll ever bother to come back to re-read these comments, but I can't let your pseudo beer-snobbery pass without comment. This site is NOT offered solely as a real-ale lover's site and should not be touted or treated as such. I am a CAMRA member of more than 20 years and a minor contributor to printed pub guides and cannot see one reason why I shouldn't visit this marvellous pub to enjoy foreign beers served in the continental way. I defy any real devotee of world beer not to enjoy the Maredsous Blonde on tap or any of the bottled range. Your narrow-mindedness only helps to reinforce the oft-spouted negative views of ale disciples as trainspotter-ish nerds who believe all lagers to be the devil's spawn.
It's your loss...
Gristy - 29 Jul 2008 23:59
It's been absolutely ages since I've been to De Hems, but if memeory serves me correctly they had quite an extensive range of bottled ALES. I'll grant you that there are probably no cask ales on, but surely the point of a pub is to enjoy decent beer, regardless of whether it's top or bottom fermented? I would hope that most real ale lovers (I would count myself as one), are open-minded enough to enjoy a lager if it's been decently brewed and tastes good. Just a thought.
RageofKlugman - 11 Jul 2008 12:53
Visited this pub yesterday Afternoon as part of "THE THEATRELAND" Dick Whittington Beer Trail. What a waste of time! This pub was included as part of a Cask Conditioned Beer Trail, and did not have any!!! Agreed it had a VERY good selection of Lagers from around the world (and Guinness), but for a non LAger drinker like me it was no good. I got my Stamp towards my Tee Shirt by having a Bacardi & Coke. Nice enough Pup and staff and I must say it was very busy and the food looked good, but sorry this is a Real Ale lovers site, so will NOT be going Back, I urge all Real Ale Lovers not to bother. Service was good and with a smile but I am marking Low because of the lack of Real Ale.
Bitter_Man - 11 Jul 2008 12:39
Great choice of Euro beers espesh Belgian and Dutch.
Staff know their beer too.
Will visit again
Badger350 - 29 Jun 2008 16:05
Always my venue of choice when meeting friends for drinks in town. Really nice and friendly atmosphere and not the usual central London rip-off or overcrowded disappointment. Upstairs bar a good size and comfy. I had my birthday drinkies here last year and jolly good fun it was too. Strawberry beer. Orangeboom. Need I say more?!
Cleversaz - 24 Apr 2008 22:21
Great pub. The downstairs bar feels more like a swiss chalet than a dutch pub, but it's pleasant. The upstairs bar is a bit bland, but with that selection of beer, you won't notice after two.
topdog_andy - 29 Mar 2008 13:01
I love this pub, everytime I visit I am never disappointed. Brillant range of Belgium beers both on draught and bottled. Good quality and reasonable priced bar food. Well worth seeking out.


snowdog2112 - 15 Mar 2008 09:45
Went to the upstairs bar here on a weekday evening. It was busy, as people below have said, but not overly so. The Kriek beer on tap was very nice and there was a big range of bottled beers too. This kind of pub is all of rare in central London as it is somewhere you can happily go for a pint and a chat in nice surroundings, as opposed to a grotty hole or a chain pub.
Mobey - 21 Feb 2008 09:49
Tried De Hems for the first time. What an excellent way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Good and varied range of beers. Beautiful pub. Great atmosphere. Friendly and attentive staff who went out of their way when on a couple of rounds I just asked them to 'suprise me'. Really addictive food, their bitterballen are near perfect but you will want more and more and more..... The same can be said about the beers.
Zaphod - 5 Feb 2008 18:30
What a fantastic place. I discovered it by accident about 13 years ago and have been hooked ever since. Amazing range of Dutch/Belgian beers - but be warned, many of them are very, very strong.... Always seems to be busy, but atmospheric none the less and service does not suffer. One of life's great pleasures is to stand outside on a summer's afternoon, enjoying a pint and the various aromas that waft over from Chinatown before heading off for some Peking Duck or similar.
strummerville - 30 Jan 2008 21:19
It's pretty cool to see a place like this in the middle of Chinatown. The beers are great (but DON'T drink Kriek or Strawberry beer: way too sweet) and the staff is nice.
ohsusyq - 28 Jan 2008 17:50
A great antidote to the brightly coloured ducks etc, hanging in the chinese restaurant windows of nearby Gerrard Street. Friendly atmosphere, great range of Dutch and Belgium beers, and good authentic Dutch food. Worth seeking out.
Mothroy - 31 Dec 2007 19:36
Absolutely top-class selection of Dutch and Belgian beers both bottled and on tap. I had a pint of the Maredsous 8, which was quite a beauty!

If you fancy yourself as a beer connoisseur, then De Hems is strongly recommended.

Tip: the upstairs seems to be a little quieter.

gatomalo - 6 Dec 2007 10:05
Nice enough bar - Oranjeboom on tap - decent staff.
mauteek - 5 Dec 2007 16:15
Decent enough pub with friendly staff and great lagers, as mentioned several times before.

The more civilised area upstairs was closed for a function last time I was in, so I only stayed for a couple as the music in the rammed downstairs bar was extremely loud.

I would recommend this pub as I feel it is one of the better ones in the area.
Strongers - 28 Nov 2007 06:59
Good upstairs area, and the Dutch snacks (like Crocquettes) are excellent. Some really great Dutch bar staff. Definitely worth a visit.
seasiderMM - 25 Nov 2007 22:58
God bless this pub :-) . A superb pint of Maredsous Brun here has convinced me to support the Dutch in Euro '08 now that England... oh, you know :-(
Darren_in_the_City - 23 Nov 2007 15:31
Ended up in here for the first time in bloody years on Friday - not much has changed in the intervening years. It's still rammed, still loud and the 'Boom is still good and gives a mind numbing hangover 24 hours later!


PigPen_in_the_Fens - 7 Oct 2007 18:59
Who doesn't love all things Dutch?

De Hems is situation on Macclesfield Street which runs between Shaftesbury Avenue and Gerrard "Chinatown" Street. It's an odd place for such a good bar, nestled as it is between Chinese restaurants and Soho bars on the other side of the main road opposite.

The decor is as a good bar / pub should be - comfy seats, dim lighting and clean, solid wooden furniture. The bar staff are all friendly and quick behind the bar. The door staff are good too, not imposing but quick to sort out any potential problems.

There's an upstairs which is great if you get near the bay windows as they open in the summer and it's perfect for chilaxing and whiling away the hours. Downstairs can get rammed but it's a good kind of rammed.

Generally friendly clientel make this a superb place to drink, and the beer is good - ranging from Fruli, to Oranjeboom.

Well recommeded.

JimmyTwoShoes - 12 Jul 2007 11:24
Pretty good to have survived while all around have been turned into kit-pubs. Good beer, good tunes (if you like loud, and I like loud), who cares if the food ain't all that - you're in Chinatown FFS!

Only downside - it can get very, very rammed.
CountVonCount - 1 Jul 2007 17:57
Oh this is good - very good. Pray it doesn't change - just gets a bit crowded sometimes but we need places like this to persist
murgatroyd - 11 Feb 2007 22:08
very nice selection of beers,good pint of amstell.Obviously a dutch pub so it specialises in continental beers,nice decor inside also.
nickragingthirst - 10 Nov 2006 15:29
Not a bad pub. good selection of beers. Has fruli which i am glad to see is becoming quite common place in pub in london. tables where a bit too close together which made it a little uncomfortable and certainly wasn't a cheap round. ok to pop into but hasn't got any appeal to make me want to make a night of it in there.
london_fox - 13 Sep 2006 10:16
good selection of beer situated near china town - worth a visit
Ziggy66 - 3 Aug 2006 22:28
Quite nice selection of Dutch/Belgian bottled beers. It's very much worth going upstairs, especially if it's busy downstairs. I never had any problems with the service here. Food is ordinary at best, a few Dutch snacks but mostly run-of-the-mill pub fare.
dpv - 28 Jul 2006 12:33
Pretty good. Enjoy standing outside with the buzz of Chinatown and Soho so near.
Jacko_byte2 - 30 May 2006 14:09
Yep,..decent in here,..good atmos and layout. Don't make the mistake of going on techno night though,..fck me those clogs make a racket on the old wooden floors,..sounded like the charge of the fcking light brigade.
kmcs - 30 Mar 2006 12:50
Went here for the first time a few weeks back (on a Saturday night) and loved it - party atmosphere, great tunes, quality beer and friendly doorstaff! Is this pub REALLY in Soho?? I'd recommend...
kingston_toon - 18 Mar 2006 22:30
This place is in the top ten? I don't think so. Not bad for the area but that isn't saying much. The beer is a pale imitation of well served Belgian beers it's nto cheap either, some lunchtimes the beer almost tastes recycled. Very full in the evenings as well. Food is utterly abysmal. 4/10
edz314 - 14 Mar 2006 13:28
Frankly considering its location this is cracking, though service is very ropey and food is cacka-chops too.

Get some of that belgian firewater down your neck then take on chinatown, it'll be like a 1980s beat 'em up, double dragon or summat
Grinerine - 8 Mar 2006 17:00
With friendly staff,good beers & ambience is this pub really in the West End.
GEZELLIG
Notasaffa - 7 Mar 2006 23:12
Brilliant selection of beers, keeping up the history of the place (as London's Dutch bar).

Service is poor. Gets very loud and busy which you might like. You can stand outside in summer by the big high tables, makes it a good stop on a pub crawl to take down something belgian and strong and watch the world go by at the gates to Chinatown.

Food is standard pubco (Nicholson's?) fare, which is a shame as about a year ago they were doing dutch specialities.

The upstairs rooms is often quite quiet even when downstairs is heaving.

Personally I find this a reasonable stop off in an area with an increasingly disappointing pub scene.
anonymous - 3 Feb 2006 11:50
I like this pub its nice, traditional, its were I met my Fiancee so I have got to say this. Excellent choice of beer aswell. Gets busy though so get there early doors.
dgriffin - 20 Jan 2006 17:34
Visited this pub on Saturday night. Was certainly busy but bar staff were quick, polite and efficient.
The selection of beers were good, and of good quality.
Music was a good selection, and most importantly, were played at a volume that you could either dance to, or be able to hear your friends talk.

A friend was asked to leave by the bouncer as a full day of drinking had got the better of him, but the bouncer was thoroughly pleasant about it. Hats off to him!

Would highly recommend this place for a long session
tomevans4 - 20 Dec 2005 15:39
Visited this pub last night. Started off with a very tame Amstel, getting more adventurous as the night progressed. Vaguely remember drinking some sweet strawberry beer, but you're not short of choice if you want to experiment. Don't forget that there's an upstairs bar, as the downstairs bit can very crowded. Bar staff are pleasant enough, and the place was clean. Worth a visit.
steve5312 - 13 Dec 2005 13:58
Oranjeboom. YUMMY. One of the few pubs in central London I'd go out of my way to visit. Does get incredibly packed but it has such a nice atmosphere. Friendly staff and clientele, excellent range of Dutch beers. And I'll say it again - Oranjeboom. It's just delicious! Late licence too although I suppose most places will have from tomorrow. Hurrah!
Cleversaz - 23 Nov 2005 14:47
There was a time when this was about the ONLY pub in London that sold Leffe Bruin - now even Wetherspoon's sell it.

I'd still go to De Hems for a glass of De Koninck or Palm though. Either that, or fly over to Holland - but De Hems is closer.
edrok666 - 18 Oct 2005 09:45
pint of Oranje boom boom shake the room and two cheeseboards please. pretty good gaff this, gets too packed though.
shw500 - 16 Oct 2005 16:44
not bad food, excellent beer, expensive though!
anonymous - 31 Aug 2005 22:51
My main reason for visiting this pub is the good selection of Dutch and Belgian beers - both on draught and in bottles. I like the look of the pub too, reminds of bars in Holland.
edrok666 - 15 Aug 2005 20:27
My spiritual home. An excellent selection belgian beer, especially the kriek, be it belle vue or leifmans. The bar staff are always friendly. May this establisment long endure.
kriekboozer - 15 Aug 2005 18:06
This is a top quality pub. Great selection of draught Dutch/Belgian beers including blond, dunkes, kriek, frulli etc., staff have always been well above average too - polite, efficient. The pub itself is quite strikingly fitted out inside, which is probably best appreciated during a relatively quiet afternoon session.

On the whole: impressive.
Rich66 - 11 Aug 2005 23:28
Excellent selection of dutch / belgian beers - Amstel, Hoegaarden, Leffe dark and blond etc and many more. Great to go to a pub with quality available rather than the usual Carling / Fosters etc crap.
lennie384 - 2 Aug 2005 15:26
London's very own Temple of (Oranje)Boom. Regular worship strongly advised.
anonymous - 29 Apr 2005 14:39
A fantastic venue with great beers and staff in a very central location. There is always a wide selection of Dutch and Belgium beers which should cater for most tatstes.

The upstairs is lovely and plenty of nice sofas to sit on.

However, last time I was in a load of Glasgow Rangers football fans had taken over the upstairs, and thought it highly amusing to sing obnoxious football songs; it wasn't! I am sure there are venues better suited to this behaviour elsewhere.

Aside from this I look forward to my next Duvel in here soon.
TheCritic - 22 Apr 2005 12:29
A place to visit every 2 years for the Netherlands games in the World Cup or Euros. If they qualify. Great fun, a superb friendly atmosphere (even if some obnoxious Germans turn up - and you realise that Brits actually love the Germans compared to the venom some of the Dutch lads were spitting) and everyone spills outside and drains the nearby off-licence rather than drink from the outside bar they have set up.

Have to manage to get inside the place sometime.
travis - 4 Apr 2005 03:07
i rate this baby. sadly i always seem to go there when there is a dutch royal wedding on. still, that means you get loads of fit dutch birds. a solid pub for solid boozing.
tanderson7 - 31 Mar 2005 15:40
Been a frequent patron of this most distinguished of establishments on several occasions. Was thoroughly enchanted to fraternize with the fairer of the proprieter's charges on several of those occasions. Simply put, De Hems Rocks >>>>> Good job, Ryan, Mieke, Peter, Phat Matt, Shorty, Auzzie Ganja chick and crew. Will always cary fond memories of that association. P.S my warmest regards to Madame De Hems, whoever is frighteningly unfortunate enough to see her next ciao........ I tried to enter 20 out of 10 for the ratings but the computer wouldn't let me
nique - 8 Feb 2005 01:09
Lovely boozer. A wonderful reminder of the benefits of living in a cosmopolitan city; A Dutch pub right on the edge of Chinatown. A lovely big old building with plenty of character. Nice wooden floor and a few dark wood tables and stools but the majority of punters stand. The beer is excellent, various Dutch beers on draft with a wider selection of Dutch and Belgian bottled beer. Bar staff are friendly and do their best to keep the potentially mamoth waiting times down despite the fact that the place is almost permanently busy especially at weekends. Very nice if you can get in there on a weeknight after the initial post work crush has filtered out as you may actually get a seat and easy passage to the bar. At it's absolute best when there is an International football tournament involving the Dutch on the telly as the atmosphere is brilliant. A lovely place.
Mr.Monkfish - 4 Feb 2005 13:46
I know that you guys have been there before but they have had a big refurb a couple of weeks ago, especially the top baar has changed a lot. Go and check it out
M. Kock - 27 Nov 2004 13:53
Gelukkig!
kt - 20 Aug 2004 14:19
Nice pub, upstairs room where i met my friends for a birthday party, well ventilated and genial environment. fairly good background music not too loud, and the best thing? THEY SERVEHOEGARDEN LEFFE BEER not that many places in london do so. :)
Steve L - steven495@yahoo.com - 29 Jul 2004 19:09
Fantastic pub. I love those crazy Dutch people and love the Netherlands.
Great beer, great atmosphere, wonderful people and beautiful ladies.
It's just a shame that it gets so heavingly busy. Oh, and that there are so many Americans there......;-)
Navin Chohan - 11 Jul 2004 22:13
the dutch bar is for dutch people in terms of food. Not on this site, but on many others people have criticised the food as being comparable to bad pub food... fowever what you eat there is typically dutch and for our taste is liek being back at home again. I love the pub especially for footie games when i can watch my team... i will do exactly that tonight and look forward to the amazing atmosphere the place always has.
k - 30 Jun 2004 15:56
fabulous historical dutch pub. great beers, great staff, great elegant bar. its fantastic. one of my favourite in london.
stoichkov - 30 Jun 2004 12:44
It's a great place, the beer is great. Claire: You are just a pathetically narrow minded person, you have no clue about the Dutch psyche because of people like you the we have racism in Europe. What are you doing in London anyways, aren't you a foreigner here? You're better off where you comin from. Talking about the nice German language: Dutch by the way is an offset from the Germanic Language which is German today. Thumbs up for James!
Boris - 15 Jun 2004 12:33
Classy, friendly place. Just discovered it and will defo make a return visit or three. Expensive but the beer is outstanding.
jeremy - 24 May 2004 15:41
My earlier response to Claire was removed and I'm sure I know why. But please let me clarify something real fast and I'll try not to offend. In my comment below there was never a mention of trying to speak German to a Dutch. I merely stated that I spoke German in Holland - what was lacking from my comment was that I was in Holland scuba diving with a German friend of mine and since I speak German - and a good bit of English (won't comment on my abilities in Japanese and Spanish) - we were conversing in his native tounge. The xenophobic cold shoulder that I received was not only uncalled for but a bit shocking in this day and age. Now to the issue at hand.

Have been back in the De Hems recently and had a decent time even chatting to a couple locals who were not "put-off" by the fact an American living and working in London had found his way to their secret pub. I'm glad not all the Dutch are as stuck in the past as Claire and the other lovely lass who I met on my first trip to this pub. Have a great day.
James - 13 May 2004 11:07
De Hems is a great place. The 'Witte Raaf' white beer they had on tap was better than the Wieckse Witte that replaced it, but this is very drinkable as well. Key selling point for this pub is its midnight closing time: no such thing as closing at 11pm.

As for our American friend James who made the unforgivable mistake of trying to speak German to the Dutch, in the Netherlands: it serves him right that he got the cold shoulder for that; had he given just the slightest consideration to the Dutch national psyche, he would have refrained from the hideous insult of speaking to them in this [censure] language to them.
claire - 26 Apr 2004 19:17
Stopped by here on Saturday night because the line for O'Neills was down to Leicester Square and I was really thirsty. Happened to get a phone call on my mobile as I was walking through the door and a rather tall chick asked my friend if he was American as well (after she heard my yankee twang), he responded that he was and she says she's Dutch and then turns to her "man friend" and says - "lets go, there are too many Americans in this place". Last time I was in Holland I only got the cold shoulder when I tried to speak German, not English. Needless to say, this turned me off of this place in a hurry, even though the place was packed with tourists from all over the place not to mention some local foreigners like myself. Its pretty sad how one rotten Dutch apple with a bad attitude can ruin the entire cart. I may return but will bring a Dutch friend of mine so that he can see what all the fuss is about and hopefully this boderline Dutch Dyke will be about so we can have a right laugh about the entire evening. Good crowded place with lots of nice sights on a Saturday.
James - 1 Mar 2004 10:44
Exactly like a typical Dutch bar, smokey, gloomy, 100+ years of nicotene stains etc. Lovely Dutch snacks, but the most expensive round in London so far - 11 quid for 4 drinks including one half!!
Moz - 24 Feb 2004 23:18
great, but expensive beers :)

4 quid per pint of hoegaarden!

Lovely atmosphere though (resembles an Apotheke!)

Also a good place to escape to during chinese newyear.
Alex T - 19 Feb 2004 12:57
Great selection of beers (Watch out for the Duvel) Friendly atmosphere, Good Dutch snacks on offer too!
Brendan - 15 Feb 2004 14:35
The new blonde girl is hot! She's amazing..!! The beers are amazing as well.. especially the Leffe blonde and brune and of course.. not to forget: HOEGAARDEN!
everyone should at least visit this pub once in their life!
Pete - 13 Feb 2004 17:07
This is a pearl of a boozer in an area not exactly renowned for classy establishments. The lager is excellent and it's rare I get the chance to say that. Normal West End prices, but that's to be expected. Perilously close to Chinatown, though, be careful where those post beer munchies take you.
Slipperduke - 11 Feb 2004 17:16
Great pub! The new girl that works there is very friendly.. ;)
Definetely try to visit this pub if you're a tourist (and especially if you're Dutch or Flamish!) or just if you live in London and you're looking for something else.. I really do recommend you this great pub!
See you there!

John - 8 Feb 2004 15:22
great beers and friendly staff.
Jim - 4 Jan 2004 18:06
Cherry Kriek on draught by the pint, an absolute must, you've got to try it when in the West End.
Tom - 10 Nov 2003 22:09
Delicious beers, one of only 8 places in the uk with Chimay on tap... Nice little place. :) apparantly has a comedy night on a wednesday...
walrus - 15 Sep 2003 14:07
I visited this pub one thursday night with a friend, I had walked passed it several times without knowing it was a traditional Dutch pub, and indeed i was impressed. Many Dutch and Belgian beers and snack foods which you can order up to quite late in the evening.

I was comfortable ordering a coffee in between tasting the many beers there, which is quite an anomoly for any pub in london.

Service fantastic and even though i waited a short time for my coffee I was not frowned upon for ordering it.


mick roberts - mick.roberts@onetel.net - 5 Sep 2003 11:19
Me and a couple of friends were once rejected from entering this bar which appeared as quite an enigma to me for some time purely because I never got in. On this occasion it was because it was only allowing couples? I thought this was a rather strange niche group for a Sunday Afternoon and considering that there were girls in the group I had to pop my head in through the door. What he meant was couples of the same sex of which I stated Oh those kind of couples. This time round I got in with my male mate and had a nice pint served by homosexuals who told terrible jokes to match mine. It is clean and has a good variety of Dutch beers, Orangeboom being the weakest. The clientele is quite varied and the pub is postioned nicely on the perimeter of Chinatown
Doofer - 6 Aug 2003 14:05
Decent Dutch brew. Typically lardy Dutch food. Fairly good atmosphere. Not too shabby.
Meister - 4 Aug 2003 16:15
Very central. Very busy. Crowd spills out into the road on balmy summer evenings. Occasional Dutch women there. They won't sleep with me either.
Ruby - 26 Jul 2003 12:51
Beer is expensive - but worth it! Food surprisingly good too. Always heaving at weekends. 7/10.
Darren in the City - 16 Jul 2003 13:59
good pub - generally....

be weary of getting in late though as they are a bit choosy .. the doorman that is - if you sound drunk you'll not be assisted in getting in.

late license till 12 (fri / sat) - is a fine idea in such a location - (given everywhere (pub) kicks you out at 11 - currently).
vicc - 11 Jul 2003 12:38
I am liking it very much. As they say in Holland a beer with a head has not yet been drunk. Ja!
Theo Smitt - TheoSmitt@hotmail.com - 3 Jul 2003 12:10
My search for good pub to spend my Sunday afternoons in has finally led me to De Hems.... I have found what i have been loking for.... good tunes, good beer, great vibe.
matthew - 11 Jun 2003 17:26
excellent choice of belgian beers and dutch snacks,one of the better places in london where one can drink real beer, have a chat and stay even till a reasonable hour
cruye - 9 Jun 2003 16:10
DJs have been added to the upstairs bar every Sunday from 4pm playing chilled sounds and classic soul with no cover charge and, of course, the excellent beers!!!!!!
Rich - richard.crafter@btopenworld.com - 25 May 2003 10:56
Absolutely Fantastic Pub!! Especially on Koninginnendag (Quensday) The beers are Yumm but the snacks are even better now I don't have to go home anymore every month!
Dutchie - 8 May 2003 08:34
Fantastic beers and a lively atmosphere-get there early after office hours or on saturday evenings as its almost always impossible to get a seat. Staff are very friendly and knowledgable.
anonymous - 2 Apr 2003 18:00
Top pub, great atmosphere, Dutch Beer Rules.
No headache the day after!!!
horse - 10 Jan 2003 14:40
Fantastic Dutch pub, sells plenty of dutch beer and Dutch food, real Frikadellen (the sausage type ones not the Deutsche "burger" shaped ones)Kroketten and authentic Frites speciale. Yummy
Terry - 26 Dec 2002 19:51
This place epitomises cosmopolitan London. A Dutch pub on the edge of Chinatown full of American tourists drinking Belgian beer, bought with good old British pounds. Where else would you see that?
Piers - 11 Oct 2002 14:53
Dutch bar type thing, serves dutch beers & white beers (Hoegaarden & stuff), all nice, Dutch nibbly bits too, nice atmosphere, even come round & serve drinks so you don't have to go to the bar, very continental. (Might be common practice for you Londoners for all I know, distinctly foreign approach down here in Southampton).
Radish - 13 Sep 2002 14:42

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