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Sekforde Arms, Clerkenwell

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user reviews of the Sekforde Arms, Clerkenwell

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

Went in for the first time Saturday since it reopened .It's pleasant enough,but i prefer the old place.Toilets are now downstairs and has more of an upwardly mobile clientele .I can't imagine the Indian Beatles playing here these days
tottenhamsean - 19 Jun 2018 11:27
A recent report in the Islington Tribune says that it's been bought by a local barrister who is building a residential property at the back of the pub, and will then refurbish the toilets, kitchen and basement before opening the Sekforde up again.
boneym - 24 Aug 2015 13:12
As predicted, closed down July 2015.
Oasthouse - 15 Aug 2015 19:45
Was in here yesterday. It will be a gastro type pub as opposed to a all out restaurant. For how long though?
tottenhamsean - 29 Jun 2015 10:22
Gutted and disgusted that this proper old school cockney clerkenwell pub is closing. Because we really need another restaurant ,don't we,eh?
We are killing all that's good about this great city of ours
tottenhamsean - 23 Jun 2015 11:34
Sad to report that the Sekforde will be closing down in 6 weeks, and will then re-open as a French restaurant. Such a shame, it's a lovely old place, real fire, good atmosphere. Grade II listed I think (not completely sure).
boneym - 22 Jun 2015 13:10
Proper old school Clerkenwell pub,proper old school pub ,full stop in fact.
Love this place.the Ale is always top drawer and the clientele always seem friendly as do the bar staff.
tottenhamsean - 9 Feb 2015 20:46
Genuinely love this place. When I heard through friends and read here that it'd close I was gutted. Went and had a peek for myself today to confirm... and I can report that its open with a new manager, but, thankfully, with the same interior. Hope he or she doesn't mess with it!
theScrivener1 - 5 Mar 2014 13:48
It has been reported that the brewery have sold the lease back to the freeholder. The brewery have told me that this is incorrect although there has been a recent change of tenant.
nolagerzone - 23 Feb 2014 18:15
Youngs have sold the lease back to the freeholder, and the pub will probably be converted into a restaurant.

ThLoneBoozer - 5 Feb 2014 18:26
The current user rating of 7/10 is far more indicative of the quality of the pub than the miserable review below this (19 Jun 2012) - typical Ďone review userí fodder.

I hadnít been back for a good few years and found it to be a friendly, homely local's pub. Beers are well kept, food is cheap. The interior is traditional - bare floorboards and comfortable bench seating; itís not been through the Youngís blandification machine yet. Didnít notice either a smell from the loos, nor peeling walls.

No mice present on my visit, but a handful of friendly regulars and a scatting of Clerkenwell workers.

tuppence - 4 Jul 2012 13:06
I did not enjoy my visit to this pub. The interior, it's safe to say, has seen better days. The walls and ceilings are peeling and everything looks like it needs a good clean.Although the ladies' toilets are relatively hygienic, the mens' emit a constant stink. At one point, when drinking my overpriced ale, I could have sworn I saw a mouse run into the kitchen. I will not be visiting this hovel again and would encourage others to avoid.
shirleyp78 - 19 Jun 2012 21:31
Ordinary, Special, Sambrooks Junction and Mauldons Broomstick. Lucky to hit this during national pubs week. Decent back street boozer.
GuideDogSaint - 15 Nov 2010 22:15
There's a good reason this pub has a locals feel to it, in that its superb position hidden amongst the Georian terraces of Clerkenwell mean it's off the radar of office workers and tourists, so the majority of punters at any one time are locals.
It was looking slendidly inviting festooned with hanging baskets when I searched it out again last week.
Yes the decor is a bit worn inside, but its an unspoilt back street local that Youngs have so far decreed to leave alone and not bugger about with, and for that we should be thankful.
Usually adecent fint and the London Gold lived up to that last week.
Gann - 2 Aug 2010 08:20
The London Region of the British Balloon and Airship club meets here on the last Wednesday in every month. The present landlord took over the pub in 2009. Pub grub is excellent as are the very well kept beers on tap. The large room upstairs is where we hold our meetings and we are made very welcome.
Edward44 - 14 Apr 2010 13:06
A time warp from 20 years ago with carpet that had seen better days even then. There was room downstairs but as outsiders we were 'sent' to a ghostly room upstairs where we could drink without interrupting the local people downstairs.

Young's shop whose main redeeming feature for me was that it had more room than more popular pubs round the corner.

Not sure it's worth going out of the way for and probably acceptable as y'local but not much else.
bedfont - 13 Apr 2010 18:57
Decent not overly crowed pub with Youngs beers on tap - the Special was pretty good. Had the run of the rather splendid room upstairs.
Booze_Allen - 11 Apr 2010 11:36
Young's pub, not a bad pint, has a bit of a local's feel to it. Dart playing was very much in evidence, cor blimey leave it out guv'nor. Our group escaped to a function room upstairs which was completely empty but fufilled our needs.
Abteilung - 10 Apr 2010 12:57
Enviously occupying a position in a set of Georgian terraces, this pub gets good vibes off here for one very good reason; It is a totally unmodernised Youngs pub in an area you'd least expect it. An unspoilt, locals sort of pub, I enjoyed my short stay in there without being totally knocked for six. Bombardier, Special, Bitter and London Gold were available, the latter in solid nick. On a saturday afternoon it was pretty empty, and I overheard the barmaid saying that was usually the case which is a shame because I imagine it is one of the few traditional boozers left in the area - which does beg the question, how long will it last in its current form?
ChrisP87 - 21 Mar 2010 08:10
This is a welcoming backstreet pub. I had a pint of Young's London Gold which was excellent. Was busy but service was very quick. Well worth a visit.
nutsaboutbeer - 22 Feb 2010 16:52
Great friendly local boozer -- not too far from City University. Good Young's Winter Warmer. Was packed out with people eating chilli con carne from big shared casseroles.
charlie_m - 11 Dec 2009 10:02
Nice traditional backstreet Youngs boozer that seemed to be mainly for locals and had a very friendly atmosphere. It's basically a one room pub although on walking in the main entrance there are tow archways to the right one leading to a nice seating area and the other to the upstairs.

Youngs beers plus one guest which (similarly to Maidenman) was Courage best. It's a bit like the Calthorp over towards Russell Square a bit and hopefully will continue to operate in the same way for many years to come (without undue attention from the Wells / Youngs redeoration squad)

Drop by if you are in the area.
murgatroyd - 6 Dec 2009 21:57
Nickthefish hits the nail on the head. Great little boozer, friendly crown and decent beer. Food also found to be good, albeit sunday roasts have ceased.
pumpermuncher - 30 Nov 2009 18:20
A little tucked away but probably the better for it, occupies a corner on a couple of Georgian streets, interesting curved front elevation in the crook of the two roads. The exterior has I'd guess original yellowish (ochre) tiles. The bar is opposite the side...perhaps now the main.....entrance, as the pub is now all one space. Despite this there is an area beyond a central chimney with an arch either side to a seperate area complete with a dartboard. The bar itself is fairly attractive if not original, seating is of the round three legged cast iron table variety with stools and upholstered banquettes. Half wood panelling, curtains at the leaded windows, a few local pics of yore plus the Sekforde Coat of Arms. Red painted possibly Lincrusta ceiling, all in all, a good old traditional London pub, not yet and hopefully not to be "improved" by Youngs/Wells.
The usual Youngs range of Bitter, Special and Bombardier, although there is a guest policy here. Just gone was Titanic Iceberg, coming soon St Austell Tribute..................on today the "guest" was Courage Best. Hmm, always the lucky one.
Food was going down well and no wonder, very competitive prices with sandwiches for around £3, snacks and so for similar and mains around the £5-6 mark. A short trot from Farringdon Stn, worth a look in I'd say.
Maldenman - 20 Nov 2009 22:49
Yesterday was my second visit to the Sekforde and my overall impression remains unchanged. The interior is a bit dated now and could do with a spruce up. Whilst I wouldn't want it changed dramatically, it could do with a lick of paint. Beers are the standard Young's offering - Bitter, Special and Bombardier. The clientele is as dated as the pub, albeit friendly.
blue_scrumpy - 12 Jul 2009 12:09
Superb local pub with well kept ales. Just what you want from a pub and more.
nickthefish - 23 Mar 2009 16:03
Visited before xmas whilst on a crawl. Was very busy on the Friday night we visited but the beer was in excellent nick as usual.
Mr Bonser's hit the proverbial nail on the head with the word "unpretentious"
TheHorsesMouth - 5 Mar 2009 12:41
First visit last Sunday lunchtime since Bill ( he of waistcoat fame ) and Wendy were moved on from this pub by Youngs several years ago.

Thankfully, it's still a friendly traditional unpretentious Youngs local - an increasing rarity nowadays.

I was made very welcome indeed last Sunday lunchtime and quickly fell into conversation with the friendly staff and a fellow "grumpy old man".

Deuchars IPA was on good form - £ 3.10p - and I'd happily go back here.

Let's hope the Wells and Youngs refurbishment hit-squad stay away


JohnBonser - 24 Feb 2009 13:20
Recently visited this pub after 3 year gap and am so glad to see it hasn't changed. A great pub in a great villagey location, totally not what you expect in EC1 ! The Youngs Ordinary on excellent form. Worth leaving the Jerusalem for !

TheCuban - 7 Aug 2008 18:40
Paid a visit after an area pub/history walk put on by the London Metropolitan Archive. After seeing any number of substandard drinking establishments in the immediate vicinity which were rammed full of post-work drinkers, it was amazing to end up in a quiet pub with a neighbourhood feel just a few minutes away. Decor is a bit old-fashioned but this only adds to its charm, this could also be said of some of the locals (not in a negative way IMO).

Young's ales in good shape (+ Deuchar's at least for a few minutes), and they also have a good looking range of whisky/whiskey. I'll be back.
dpv - 16 Jul 2008 14:16
I like The Sekforde Arms. A traditional pub in an area where many of the drinking establishments are ladened with Clerkenwell idiots. There is of course a time and a place for the trendy booze halls, but this is a great getaway! It's old fashioned and bog standard; which is sometimes just what you want. I tend to escape here when my locals get too busy with those that think they are trendy or young...
nik2740 - 28 May 2008 15:01
It's quite possible that I am Bradwan's big fish in the shallow end. I was there when he visited and the price of the upstairs room increased every time he spoke. It can be hired and catered for very reasonable rates. (if you want food and a bar you can have them. But of course it costs)

As for downstairs I'll endorse all of the last of the breed of true local pubs reviews that precede.
shallowend - 24 Apr 2008 18:14
It is a small pub with fish who think themselves bigger than the pond, espeicially at the shallow end of the bar..

I asked about hire fee for the not special upstairs room for a possible show, and the landlord/manger quoted me a price that would have made me laugh if I was not a good actor; and would have made me cry 10 years ago.

The beer is as good as 'Youngs' brewed by Charlie Wells gets, and the barman from Gdansk is very good. IClerkenwell was always a bit radical and a bit seedy, I hope this boozer stays much the same; and with london property being this year's avocado bathroom suite, it just might.

bradwan - 17 Apr 2008 23:56
What a dump. It was full of old men boozing, who looked like they had been there for the last 40 years. I felt really conspicuous as I was wearing a dress. Bar staff were pretty rude. Wouldn't go back, I don't care if it is unpretentious!
stuartw - 24 Mar 2008 17:04
"Why was it empty on a Saturday night?" - BitterShurn.

IIRC, it always used to be closed on a Saturday night. Maybe people have yet to get used to the new hours?
Biggles - 14 Jan 2008 09:41
SUPPORT THIS PUB...Why was it empty on a Saturday night? A small traditional pub in an area where alot of pubs don't open at the weekend. Youngs range of beer, with an occasional guest. Average prices for the area. Good food menu, friendly staff. The open coal fire is normally lit. I thought there were some rules about this in the City? Still, there are also radiators for those who object. Steely Dan played unobtrusively in the background.
BitterShurn - 14 Jan 2008 00:11
Never tried the food here but the Youngs is always on top form - what more could you ask? Nice ordinary local pub and long may it remain so.
tomsenior - 11 Dec 2007 17:08
A proper traditional secret little boozer. If they were ever going to make a remake of the Sweeney and needed an old school pub this is the place to film it. Quality wee pub. I will try and seek this pub out again.
dgriffin - 8 Aug 2007 09:04
quite friendly well run pub, nice to see bombardier added to the ale choice
moclips2002 - 26 May 2007 20:14
A friendly, traditional pub with great beer. In there Saturday afternoon and very pleased to see that it had not changed since my previous visit last Summer. Agree wholehartedly with previous reviewers who value the honest, unpretentious boozer. If only there were more of them. Wish I had a local like this.
RexRattus - 26 Feb 2007 20:36
A very friendly back street local in Clerkenwell. The Youngs beer is of consistently high quality and the food is very good value.
Secretary - 23 Feb 2007 10:56
a tradiconal english pub great beer
paul - 28 Jan 2007 19:32
Pleased to see it's remained pretty much the same since th change of management, well kept beer and a great place.

Not sure their darts team is doing so well though, a giant cabinet hangs on the far end wall, empty but for 2 small trophies, and dust rings visible where several have been removed! Expectthe good beer is affecting their aim...
OldRogue - 30 Oct 2006 13:44
A nice little pub, very unusual for the Clerkenwell area - in an area full of trendy bars and gastro pubs, here we have a place which feels like the last 50 years or so have passed it by. And I am thankful for that! This is one of an increasingly rare breed in London, if not Britain: honest un-pretentious boozers. Long may it thrive.
Crow_Valley - 26 Oct 2006 21:09
Only been once, and not since it changed hands, but the Sekforde was a bit of a novelty for being an honest, no-nonsense local that served good ale (we can't knock Young's for being ubiquitous as unfortunately that is the current state of the London beer market - one should think oneself fortunate if real ale is provided at all!). I was in with my cousin whose palate has sadly remained bereft of discernment and so still drinks lager. He said his pint of was flat and it tasted rank (because without the excessive fizz, the chemically taste comes through!). To my mind, this could only have been a good thing, and whilst I'm sure it wasn't a typical offering, I had to congratulate the Sekforde for this exquisite piece of accidental discrimination! Well worth a quick visit for a few pints and a chin-wag in a feel-good community environment.
TWG - 4 Oct 2006 18:08
Comfortable, friendly, old-fashioned Young's pub. I liked it. However, Young's beers are widely available, so I'm a bit bored with them.
clissold345 - 17 Sep 2006 01:34
Stumbled upon this place by accident whilst out and about. Strange this part of London,despite all the new developments around it, it's very much a part of London that time's forgotten and none the worse for that. The feel of the area is neither The City nor London. It's hard to explain.

The Sekforde.A bit Dark and dingy, a bit musty perhaps? Well, yes. But it also reeks of history, community, use and atmosphere . It can't have changed much since the 50's and the romantic in me can still imagine the ghost's of long dead regulars still propping up the bar.

This is truly a real pub with a real feel to it. Hard to put it into words really but if you are a genuine pub enthusiast, come here for the reliable Youngs beers and the convivial community atmosphere. It's situated in a street of what looks like Georgian Town Houses which themselves seem to be untouched in a hundred years and are vey in keeping with the local watering hole. Seek it out and take in that atmosphere!
BobV - 22 Aug 2006 20:47
John - yes, many times. It is exactly the same - new landlord Kevin is a great host and has changed little so far. He does plan to make some changes, as time goes by, to the pub but nothing dramatic I don't think. He knows how to serve a good pint of Youngs and all the locals seem to get on with him superbly. He as kept the same barstaff on too so the service is still first class.
anonymous - 11 Aug 2006 14:11
Stonch, have you been in here since Bill and Wendy left ?
What's it like now ?
JohnBonser - 11 Aug 2006 13:58
NOW UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT
anonymous - 5 Jul 2006 16:34
Bombardier reminds me of the old story of the soldier marching on the parade ground in his platoon who thought that he was the only one not out of step.

Yes, the Sekforde is a great pub.
JohnBonser - 21 Jun 2006 10:42
You see, Stonch, it's you (and all the other 45 users who obviously rate it so highly) that's wrong, only Bombardier is right. But where he gets that name from goodness knows, as he clearly doesn't know a decent pint (or pub) when he finds one!

But if he 'cannot understand why it's rated so highly' and also, in his only other comment, thinks the Crown Posada is a dump, then I fear something as complicated as logic is wasted on him ;-)
Biggles - 9 Jun 2006 06:30
Bombardier, my only disappointment when reading your review was that when I clicked on your name I discovered you haven't reviewed other pubs. I was hoping you'd given glowing reviews to Yates and Hogshead "venues" up and down the lads and therefore I could easily discount your views. As it is you give us little to work with.

The Sekforde is a brilliant pub of a kind not found in London, and certainly not in central London anymore.

The wonderful landlord and landlady are truly centre of this community, one of the last genuine communities of Londoners to be found within Zone 1. But what makes this pub exceptional is how welcoming it is - every customer gets a handshake from Bill, a smile from the regulars at the bar (who move out of your way to let you order and include you in conversation).

Although the pub is used primarily by those who live or work round the area, there are people in here who are greeted by name by Bill and Wendy who don't even live in London but who pop their heads round the door and are greeted whenever in town.

I have met interesting people and had amazing evenings in this pub. My girlfriend and everyone else I have ever brought here love it too. I have one mate I brought in here on my birthday last year who happened to pop in on his own a couple of months later - he was greeted by name and now regularly returns.

The comment about beer being "weak" is a strange one - they serve Young's Ordinary, Special and whatever seasonal is on. I admit there isn't anything exotic on the beer front in here, but its a real community pub and not a beerfest - although having said that it still attracts beer lovers. And as for overpriced - my friend, it is one of the cheapest pubs in the area.

You are right that the place hasn't been refubished in many years and the paint is peeling in places. And I say thank god for that. Don't let it ever change, though perhaps the brewery will decide it should to cater for the likes of Bombardier.

In fact I am going to go after work tonight and make the most of it while it is still there, and before it gets homogenised like 90% of the other pubs left in Britain.
anonymous - 8 Jun 2006 18:02
Bill and Wendy leave at the end of June and are moving to another Young's pub to take over there. God knows what'll happen to the Sekforde. It sure won't be the same.
anonymous - 27 May 2006 21:30
Sorry, I meant "pictures" of course
JohnBonser - 18 May 2006 12:58
Sadly, Stonch, papers of the Queen Mum are becoming an increasing rarity in Youngs pubs, but I'm pleased that The Sekforde is still flying the flag, so to speak.

Great pub, highly recommended
JohnBonser - 18 May 2006 12:57
Yes, the photo of Bill and Wendy with Michelle Collins is still up, next to the stock photo of the Queen Mum pulling a pint which appears in every Young's pub from Wandsworth to Oxford.
anonymous - 18 May 2006 12:25
Havent't been for some time but glad to read good things about the Sekforde. Anyone know whether the photographs of Michelle Collins still adorn the walls?

Good locals pub and friendly to boot.
SteveinLondon - 17 May 2006 18:30
What's happening now with Bill and Wendy and the Sekforde?
anonymous - 15 May 2006 15:22
My mate little Russie has just informed me that the Sekforde has received a glowing review in the latest Time Out pubs guide, and Bill and Wendy are mentioned by name. There is some justice in the world (not for Russie though, he's only 5'5").

I took the photo above by the way. Big up me.
anonymous - 12 May 2006 16:16
I was in here last week with Miss Jones who commented that here was a pub "like they used to be". Friendly, mature staff wear ties and address customers with civility and courtesy. The beer is fine and there's a relaxed and friendly feel about the place. I was pleased to see a picture of the Queen Mother on the wall. Lovely.
drouthyneebor - 4 Apr 2006 09:47
Has the 'feel' of a local boozer,which isn't too bad for most parts of London.When I was in,this week,the macho suits were all stood by the bar whilst the regulars were sat in the room to the right-good atmosphere and friendly service.
EdgarBriggsMI5 - 2 Apr 2006 10:41
The SMDC visited the Sekforde Arms one weekday evening in early March. What a fantastic pub! Friendly atmosphere, smart barmen, great beer and ale, and great honest pub food.

Our rabble was made to feel very welcome, among other groups of locals. The meals were tasty and as expected. Pleasantly - no cheap baked beans here!

We'll be going back!
SMDC - 21 Mar 2006 13:45
Unbelievabe interior, unchanged is decades, a dying breed of original pubs in this part of London. Good Youngs ales on tap, and the smell of pipe smoke wafting across the bar. Just a shame it's shut Saturdays.
OldRogue - 20 Mar 2006 13:49
A friend who lives round here introduced me to this pub. I love it. It is real and friendly, with good beer, lots of cheer, cheap food and a range of cusomters. You will be made to feel welcome and smiled at by staff and regulars. No "Slaughtered Lamb" moments here! Try it if in London.

Also, its in the most beautiful street in the area.
anonymous - 1 Mar 2006 14:51
First class local, wish it was mine. Always make a point of having a pint or two of lager when in the area for work
anonymous - 27 Feb 2006 10:32
News about this pub - the landlord and landlady are being forced out by Young's who want to modernise the pub to make it more profitable. This pub is a vibrant buzzing local run with care and concern for all residents of the area. It should be saved.
anonymous - 31 Jan 2006 11:46
My local - I live in the street. Bill and Wendy the landlord and landlady are lovely people who run a tight ship. The Young's beers are very well kept, but I wish they had a little more of the Young's range in bottles behind the bar (at present they only carry the Double Chocolate Stout). A proper locals pub that is none the less welcoming to all comers.
anonymous - 14 Dec 2005 14:18
Finally visited the Sekforde on a wet Wednesday. Found the atmostsphere to be relaxed, the crowd eclectic and the Youngs Bitter of a very fine quality. I will be using this pub again. Also some convient railings opposite on which to lock ones bicycle.
danrkelly - 17 Oct 2005 15:04
second pub in as many hours yesterday - great pint of shandy (!) and a warm welcome (and welcome respite fro the sun too). Made my day out and about in Clerkenwell doulby enjoyable. A must for all 'proper boozer' fanciers!
mikegray - 2 Sep 2005 17:01
Absolutely the best pint of Young's in London ( or anywhere else) Very friendly - a really excellent pub
mally - 25 Mar 2005 13:10
Splendid pub - everybody's idea of the ideal local. Wish it was mine !
JohnBonser - 24 Feb 2005 13:12
Good Youngs Pub
with reasonable food
writtleman - 1 Feb 2005 13:15
friendly landlord & great pint of youngs ordinary. a proper pub!
kevin - 17 Sep 2004 14:37
This pub is great the food is lovely trad pub fair no fancy rubbish and the landlord is always jolly and completly pissed by lunchtime. beer is well kept and locals are interesting
Rachel - 3 Jun 2004 14:01

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