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Ordnance Arms, St John's Wood

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user reviews of Ordnance Arms, St John's Wood

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

Slightly rambling 1960s pub just away from the centre of St John's Wood selling Sam Smith's beers. No real ale but their keg stout is pretty good. We were there on a Sunday lunchtime and the place was heaving with families, but I guess if you go at other times the drinkers would be maturer. friendly Kiwi barmaid, worth a visit if you are in the area.
simontheeditor - 3 Dec 2014 15:27
Great place. Jeff the landlord is a cracking guy as is the staff he employs. Nothing seems to much trouble & considering the area prices are brilliant. Quiet & as is the Samuel Smiths way no music but highly recommended for the atmosphere & general feel of the place. 5 stars


dazza68 - 10 Nov 2011 23:48
I popped in here to quench my thirst on a recent warm Wednesday afternoon. The clientele, reassuringly, were mostly old men reading the newspaper with a pint or two, though there was one unsettling family chain-smoking around their toddler daughter in the outdoor seating area (the lack of foliage precludes it being called a garden).

Drinks are the usual Sam Smith's fare, though I don't recall seeing any hand pumps, which is unfortunate. It is, however, always nice to see a wheat beer and a stout other than Hoegaarden and Guinness available. The prices, as always like the brewery, are pleasingly Northern.

As I was leaving a group of students were stocking up on rum and cokes at the bar. That both the young and the old can enjoy this pub I found reassuring.
Luongo - 9 Apr 2011 23:51
We used to drink here regularly about 5 or 6 years ago and it was always nice enough, not self-concious and with notably friendly staff. A group of us went today for lunch and while the place was similar to before, the atmosphere was dead and food was desperately poor. Yes the menu is cheap as pointed out in previous reviews, but the food was awful. Textbook lame microwave fare.

Pop in for a pint, if you don't mind the Sam Smiths, and it's a matter of convenience. Otherwise I'd recommend finding something better. The pub is definitely a missed opportunity.
returner - 31 Jan 2010 21:24
The interior of Sam Smiths' pubs usually impress. More often than not, it's because they are of significant historic or architectural merit (Princess Louise, Cittie of Yorke, Cheshire Cheese etc.) Here, it's more a matter of design - the pub has a very pleasant, open layout, and the furniture is just right for the kind of place it is. It felt airy and uplifting on the sunny Sunday afternoon I attended with the wife. The banquettes along the front windows are particularly nice. There's also a conservatory area at the back of the pub, and a garden to boot.

Unfortunately, the usual comments about Sam Smiths, that nice pubs are let down by poor drink selection, apply just as strongly as ever here. This one is particularly poor as there isn't any bitter on the pump, just fizzy keg beer on tap from the usual Sam Smiths range. The soft drinks are the usual unbranded nastiness, and my wife pronounced her coffee undrinkable as well. All in all a great pity as this is a lovely pub to sit in in a nice area which lacks decent unpretentious pubs. I didn't try the food but agree with others that it did look good value.
grecian - 9 Mar 2009 10:57
This place isn’t the most exciting pub that I have ever been in, but I wouldn’t expect much in the way of entertainment from a Sam Smith’s pub anyway. Sam Smiths business plan seems to be to provide cheap booze in interesting, well maintained pubs. I wouldn’t say that this place is very interesting, but the booze is cheap and the pub is looked after.

The main part of the pub is open plan with some tables and chairs dotted about. There is some more intimate seating up a couple of steps towards the rear of the pub that lead to the conservatory. There is also ample outside seating at the front of the pub leading up the side to the rear.

The main courses on the food menu cost a maximum of £5.95. I didn’t see anyone eating so I don’t know if it is any good, but you’d be hard pressed to buy a dog turd in St John’s Wood for £5.95.

I found the staff to be very pleasant and although I would stay in here all night I would pop in for a couple of cheekies if passing.
Strongers - 26 Feb 2009 06:53
Went to the Ordnance on Sunday for lunch and it was pretty good. The food was good value and there are interesting beers available once you get past the disappointment of no hand pulled real ale. I've been a couple of times now and the bar staff were nice and friendly.
ben21 - 6 Oct 2008 16:38
I'd agree with Essex_Rules all the way. It's got a nice little garden to boot, relaxing vibe, and is cheap as can be considering the location.
Word is slowly getting round the locale abouit the positive influence of the new owners. I heard it was a bit quiet before. Not surprising considering half my neighbourhood seemed to be bared for various reasons.
Now, however, we're back in business, the food has improved no end, and you'd have to walk miles for a cheaper pint. Happy days!
anonymous - 20 Aug 2007 16:41
I've been a few times over the last couple of years when in the area. From what I gather the place has been under new ownership since June...and what a difference! It's now friendly, welcoming, the menu is infinitely better (best fish in North London), and the staff seem so much happier and relaxed than ever before. Which is hardly surprising- the previous owner should never have been allowed to deal with the public! Oh, and good, cheap beer too. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants a relaxed, friendly night.
Essex_Rules - 20 Aug 2007 13:47
This is a soulless little place, with owners that behave as they don’t need you and hence offering dismal service, no real ales nor popular lagers and no cask beers; if I now point out that there is no music you might think ‘great! I might have a conversation’, but the atmosphere is such that not even a group of Mediterranean tourist would brave some chit chat (not that there are any ever here).
cantenburygirl - 26 Feb 2007 10:32
Repeating what some others have said, really. For such a 'local' pub the greeting isn't exactly warm or friendly. Real, shame as a smile costs nothing.

No music makes it a bit souless on quieter days, too. Could be amazing, but actually middling instead.


tuppence - 5 Feb 2007 23:33
Visited one luchtime, only six customers during the whole session !
Cheap beer by London standards and a pleasant postage stamp sized 'garden' for the warmer days.
God help you if you come by car. I overstayed the meter by 2 minutes (ie 120 seconds) and got a ticket !
alanwrigg - 7 May 2006 20:05
I like this place. The owners are very friendly and the staff are good. Service is not too bad. Food served. Needs a bit more music. love the outside tables thaty surround the pub...great summer drinking spot. no - where in the area compares
simonbard - 31 Dec 2005 17:30
A nice find, a Sam Smiths pub in such a posh area - As such, it is a bit more fancy than your usual Sam Smiths pub - Not much atmosphere, but a decent pub all the same.
TheGP - 25 Sep 2005 13:32
I agree with Andy Smith. The staff are (generally) nice, but not really chatty enough, considering how little they have to do during the day, ie.sometimes not a single other customer for hours!! I've even seen them reading books when they could (or should?) be chatting to me as their sole customer - isn't that part of the job??? The manager is happy when he's in control, but gets notably snappy about eating at the bar, bar stools being anywhere except at the far corner of the bar in the evening (like there's EVER much of a rush in there!!!), and (perhaps rightly, for once) a studenty type putting his feet up on a seat. Bit of a control freak, methinks.
Other than all that, it's a Sam Smith pub so choice is reasonable and prices below average for London.
anonymous - 8 Sep 2005 10:04
great spot
B777 - 12 Jun 2005 21:14
this is the best pub in the wood it has a great atmoshere i went with my freinds for the first time a week ago for my birthday very friedly staff and managers had a great steak sandwich and not a silly price great value aa my freinds enjoyed the meals they ordered
sally - 9 Sep 2004 23:05
I went in here for a beer about two weeks ago. The bar staff were really nice, but the governer had a bad attitude. The food was also great, loved the fishcakes. The Ayingerbrau a very nice pint!
Andy Smith - 25 Aug 2004 01:26
not bad at all, a good sam smith's pub
Tom - 19 Mar 2004 14:01
Had lunch here this passed Sunday - 29 Feb. Great menu and super service or a pretty inexpensive proper Sunday Lunch. Will certainly become a regular since this place is only a stones throw from my house.
James - 1 Mar 2004 10:30
nice place, good atmosphere. Not much of a wine selection but good food.
Tom - 13 Nov 2003 17:09
this usedm to be a good boozer in the 80's. But last time i went in it was like a poncy cafe.
Keith Pearson - keithpearson691@msn.com - 11 Sep 2003 15:47
Recently changed menu is no where near as nice as the old one. No Steak Sandwiches. Far less interesting
Alistair Kelman - 6 Apr 2003 18:34
Possibly the best Sam Smith's pub ever!
Phil - phil@trollied.com - 9 Dec 2002 17:19
Trendy without being pretentious from the light fittings disguised as branches to the studio monitor style speakers, this pub is everything All Bar One tries to hard and fails so comprehensively to be. Ideal Sunday afternoon chill out place even down to the tunes. Excellent food.
Techno - 9 Dec 2002 15:29

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