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Calf, Clapham

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user reviews of the Calf, Clapham

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

We had a birthday party yesterday at The Calf and it was brilliant. Excellent service- the new manager made sure we had the table we wanted and even treated the birthday girl to a glass of prosecco! The food was great (if a little rich!) and the wine selection was really good too. This was my first visit and I'll definitely be back for more
Thegirlwhelan - 16 Jun 2013 13:02
Just terrible. Got the typical Mitchell and Butler range of beers, all good, but the food and service were beyond terrible. The blonde manager was downright offensive and the roast was tiny, overpriced and overcooked. Go there at your peril
Vitmac - 30 Sep 2012 15:58
This is a nice place, generally chilled customers and has been a nice place for a relaxing drink in the past.

However, the female bar tender with blonde hair that serves on Sunday lunch time (at least) was extremely rude to us for simply trying to order drinks (as if we were being a massive inconvenience to her). Never felt so uncomfortable in a pub. The management should do something about her attitude.
PLondon - 18 May 2011 11:56
Been here for the first time a few weeks ago, and it was great, had a nice chat with the manager Matt! Had a really good cider which he recomended. I will be back very soon!
sheepinthecity - 27 Sep 2010 11:40
Atmosphere was good, good range of beers, bar service was reasonably ok - food was excellent although bit stodgy. Rugby was on, however only one TV and that was at back by toilets. Would definately go there again!!!
BrianH - 7 Feb 2010 14:41
I have been to this pub many times over the past year and I do like it, but sometimes it's a bit hit and miss, especially with the staff and the food service. I'd seen earlier reviews before I came here that food service was slow, and sure enough I experienced this about 1 month ago. There were 3 of us that ordered food at the same time, we ordered belly pork, a club sandwich and scampi. The belly pork came out first and myself and my friend waited about 20/30 mins and enquired as to where the other meals were. The bartender looked sheepish as he wondered into the open kitchen and you could tell by the way he was searching through all the orders that ours had gone astray. We were assured ours would be out next but another 15/20 mins passed and asked again why our food was taking so long. Eventually, it arrived and the excuse was that 'some foods take longer to cook than others' Hmmmm, somehow I don't think toasting some bread and deep frying some scampi takes nearly an hour compared to cooking belly pork?? Lame excuse I thought, all we wanted was some kind of an apology that they'd screwed up, but the 'team' manager refused to acknowledge this balls up. Plus, my scampi was overcooked, no wonder if it took nearly an hour to com out!! Later on when no one was at the bar the 'team' manager offered us a free drink. It was nice of him to do so but he could have dealt with the situation a bit quicker and more efficiently and admitted they were wrong. Another thing that annoyed me on another visit was a new bargirl had started and I must admit she was a bit dippy, I could see she was struggling pouring pints and the two guys working with her did not lift a finger to help the poor girl out and could see she was having a hard time. I thought this was really mean of them. Anyway, I'm sure I'll be back, but this time I know not to have any high expectations of a particularly good service.
agentp - 21 Dec 2009 15:47
This is one of the best pubs in Clapham in my opinion: individual and friendly. I'm not sure why it hasn't got better reviews or a higher rating. There's an excellent range of beers, the wine list is half decent and the food is above average pub grub. It's big too so it's not very difficult to find a seat.

The only downside as far as I'm concerned is the complete lack of anywhere outside for smokers or anyone hoping to enjoy a bit of sun. Still, I don't smoke and this is rainy England so it's not a major problem most of the year.
Mobey - 14 Aug 2009 15:22
Nice enough pace, and decent food, but the staff are a bit vacant.
stevie_c76 - 12 Aug 2009 11:26
Place not terrible... but the customers.... they kill the place. Is this Clapham or Kennsington, or the South of France...
Northcoteboy - 29 Jul 2009 15:25
Although the food is not the best, the friendly staff, great beer and wine selection and comfy seats make up for it.
ljones00 - 9 Apr 2009 10:45
This place has improved so much is the last year it's worth the effort to write this. It's BY FAR the best pub in Clapham. The staff are funny (though were clearly rushed off their feet last night) and the food looked great. Sundays are mental here so you really have to get there early to make sure of a seat and the bloke that does the quiz on a Monday's pretty funny.
Anon72 - 25 Oct 2008 12:01
Went there last night and felt I had to comment on it. Food was awful. Having waited for nearly an hour for one starter, it was mediocre to say the least and came with the mains. The salad was pathetic with unripe sliced avacado, with the skin still on "because it looks better" - very strange! The burger came with a pathetic amount of chips, so we had to ask for more. Will not be visiting this pub again.
fromthesouth - 10 Oct 2008 11:22
Had a really bad visit here a few months ago, two hours for our meals and the manageress was short with us when we asked after our order, last week a friend arranged for us to go here and I was really dreading it. It was not the same place, seems like a new manager, staff were smiling and friendly, looked like a new head chef and food came out quick and perfect, stayed all day and will definitely be back
73J73 - 23 Dec 2007 19:55
Frankly not worth the bother
EmilyBr - 27 Jul 2007 14:08
Have been living round the corner on and off since Sep 2004 and the Calf has gone seriously downhill since then. I think they changed management at the end of last year? Anyway, half the beers are always off, the one's that are "on" often taste distinctly dubious and I wouldn't dare touch the food. Bar staff are pleasant enough but there is the small matter of communication issues...
Temanga - 26 Apr 2007 09:06
food overpriced for what it is - we're not talking gourmet fare here. Staff are pleasant enough and do their best .It's not so much that their English isn't up to scratch but that no one has given them any training. The other night, the barmaid had never heard of port. The Open Mic night on tuesdays can be fun . Wish I'd known it in the 90s as described by sexysadie but sadly it's a much, much duller place now.
mrsj - 20 Apr 2007 15:11
Popped in just after Xmas in the hope that I'd see a few familiar faces from the past but alas not.Times move on.This place in the mid to late 90's was absolutely jumping.It was run by an Aussie called Glen and every Saturday there were two brill welsh guys in a band playing.There must have been 400 people plus in.Great atmospere,singalongs,never any trouble.When people were qeueing for drinks he'd have a bin full of cans and bottles so turnover was lighning fast.One new years eve there were over 500 people in here.Fantastic memories.Dodgy pint when I returned.Bar staff friendly enough but too young to remember the good old days.7/10 for the memories.
sexysadie - 16 Jan 2007 23:47

Can't believe some of the below! Maybe it was when the old manager was in place but the new girl is excellent. I know shes only been there sinse the end of summer but whenever i visit Clapham on a weekend ill always go here to eat as theres always something new on the menu and staff who actually give a sh1t!

The one time i was there on a Sat night the place was pretty busy but they had 4 behind the bar and the booze was flowing steadily...
Islingtonite - 11 Nov 2006 12:08
If you want to buy a drink forget it ! It amazes me on the busiest of Saturdays they will only have two bar staff on for a bar this is as long as Thames... therefore you get 487 people trying to buy a drink off two people... of course there is always a gaggle of girls in front of you who order elaborate cocktails and then get there boyfriends pints of Guinness which take just as long to pour and then they pay on 56 different debit cards which means you dam near dehydrated by the time you get served... this of course is if you get served because the bar staff seem to ignore you sometimes even if you have been standing there for a week.... if you want a beer go elsewhere or get there at 4pm and order 14 pints and enjoy the night ! Bad place. forget it.
whiteboytrash - 13 Aug 2006 18:55
Slow service by a guy that didn't manage to break into a smile once while we were there. Pool table was missing a few balls and the food took ages to come out.
I still like it for some reason and will be going back. Maybe in the winter as even though it's big it's pretty warm for day sessions.
pezza132 - 9 Jun 2006 16:09
pretenious with a capital p bad service with a capital b theres a few bad pubs in clapham this is in the top 3
juzza - 28 Mar 2006 11:03
Thank you Calf! - for ruining our night. I chose this pub to meet up with a bunch of mates who I hadn't seen for years. What a complete mistake. It's some conselation to see that others here have had the same treatment. I won't then repeat the same stories of the 'chef' who doesn't know what a kitchen is. And the bar staff who would rather have teeth pulled than have to say sorry. Expensive rubbish food and, yeah what is going on with the rank dirty tap beer?!

I would rather go to a Wetherspoons than The Calf. ..the one by Brixton tube at that. At least the prices match the merchandise.

Score: minus 6
porkdog - 19 Dec 2005 14:19
Goodness! Well I didnt eat, but I liked it. Very spacious, not too many ass***es and the music was good that night. (although the speakers need replacing)At least you could sit down and move about by choice.
kxx - 25 Nov 2005 15:57
having been a regular here for some years, i was massively turned off a couple of months ago. the previous comments were spot on. Returned on Saturday night as they have new bar staff and management and the atmosphere was great, the drinks and food were served very swiftly... in fact, it was like the 'good old times'
anonymous - 24 Oct 2005 16:04
I'd have to disagree with the last two comments. After reading these I went there expecting a hell hole. Although we didn't have food (and much of the derision is based on the food) I found it was far different from the general opinion here. It was trendy, packed (Sat night), and there were a large variety of beer on offer - one to recommend is Staropramen Granat. It's not the best pub in the world by any means, but it's good enough. Hey, I'm even going to rate it '5'. There was even a pool room which was too busy to use. But surely any pub with a pool room deserves some credit?!

casemore - 3 Oct 2005 23:59
Sad the rating can only get as low as 0. If you’re in Clapham there and want to eat, eat somewhere else. In fact drink somewhere else as well. I have lived in this city for 6 years now and I would have to say, with out a doubt that this is the worst pub in London. The staff were not only rude but plain incompetent - possibly due to the fact that they were pissed but they thought they were charming. The food, well I ordered a meet platter to share and after 45 minutes of waiting (2 reminders) I received 2 slices of processed chicken roll, ham roll, beefyish roll, a sliced baguette and a blob of the cheapest pâté the size of a football, all for 9 quid ………….. bargain! The co-op must be doing well out of these guys though. To reiterate, worst place to eat in London.
jared23 - 26 Sep 2005 08:35
I have to disagree whole hartidly on the food. The food at the calf is awfull. THe staff are rude, and chef who was on duty the other night seemed unable to boil an egg let alone prepare somthing resembling edible food. I was part of a large party eating there in january. The difference in the portion sizes was huge (for example on eportion of bangers and mash had 3 sangers and lots of mash - another only had two and a very stingy amount of mash) and upon sending it back I was met with nothing but attitude form the waiters and chef. The chef then proceeded to 'over' peper the replacement meal. Over all my advice, if you just want a drink, then it's ok - if you want eat - dont waste your time or money - or at least hold out untill the replace the useless chef.

my rating would be minus five - if it could go that low.
beers_and_burgers - 16 Feb 2005 18:24
Nice comfy sofas, good music policy (not over powering not cheezy), perfect chilled out vibe for Sunday. No Stella or 1664 on tap though.
pale_ale - 17 Jan 2005 11:53
Ok pub can lack atmosphere though.
scottylad - 14 Dec 2004 10:50
I love this pub - relaxed atmosphere, really friendly staff and fab food. Quite pricey but by far the nicest pub in the area.
Karen - 21 Oct 2004 11:23
Also previously known as the Bull's Head, when it was a music venue in the late 1980s. Curved Air played there and there was a regular acoustic session called "God's Little Joke".
beeronaut - 25 Aug 2004 12:29
A lovely pub, who kindly donated a meal for 2 for the Clapham treasure hunt in aid of Medecins sans Frontieres.
sarah - 26 Jul 2004 16:31
this is how The Sun should be, although thankfully the sun's punters stay there as this is too close to the clapham border.
Stuart - 20 Apr 2004 14:00
Good classy bar, with good food and service. Not the cheapest but nicely done up. Good place to go
Martin - 2 Mar 2004 16:05
A lovely place with good food and drinks. Staff are always happy, friendly and keen to be of service. This pub is relaxed with no agro, everyone there just wants a good night out with good company and that's what they get.
Pete - 23 Dec 2003 13:46
a lovely classy drinking establishment with a good wine list and even pleasant staff. big enough so not too smoky, good funky mellow vibe.
anonymous - 21 Oct 2003 14:19
Pretty cool boozer, not too busy on a Saturday (when we went anyway). Though why do pubs like this insist on buying all their chairs from different places - it feels like you're in a second-hand furniture shop!
Guy - 16 Jul 2003 13:24
I agree with Darren's comment from 2nd December. The arcade game is immense. I hold the all time highest score on it!
Guy Evans - 14 Mar 2003 10:13
Good food, cool interior: a whole lot better than the Firkin that used to be there!!
Matt - 30 Jan 2003 13:27
table-top 80s arcade game considered a big plus.
Darren - 2 Dec 2002 12:04

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