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BITE user comments - grecian

Comments by grecian

The Southampton Arms, Gospel Oak

I visited the Southampton Arms a couple of months back having seen from the bus it had undergone something of a transformation. As others have said, it's an impressive place. A superb number of handpumps (something like thirteen or fourteen - seriously) with lots of different ales and a large number of ciders too. On my visit I thought that there was maybe too much focus on "specialty" ales - milds, blonde ales, ales with funny fruity tastes etc. - and not enough more mainstream fare, but that does feel a bit quibbly and there's no doubt this is a mightily impressive addition to the north London ale scene. It's a really very small pub, sadly, which meant it was very busy on my visit - and it's certainly not a place for a relaxing pint. But well worth a visit in any case!

11 Feb 2011 16:22

The Fighting Cocks, St Albans

Solid, if touristic, pub. YOFC claims to be one of England's oldest pubs: I don't know about that, but it's certainly a decent place to have a drink. It is both centrally located, and rather well-hidden, down the hill from the Cathedral, just by the entrance to Verulam Park. A central bar area serves a front bar, rather characterless and given over to dining, and a much nicer main back bar. Highlights there include a sunken cockpit area and an impressive fireplace. Typically three ales on, including TT Landlord and Harvey's Best. I've always found the Harvey's to be reasonably, if not spectacularly, well-served. Food here is variable: I've always found it quite good in the mid-week (typically a bit more ambitious than average pub grub), but the only time I visited on a Sunday I was sorely disappointed by a very poor roast beef. The quiz on Thursdays is good fun.

11 Feb 2011 16:17

Williams Wine and Ale House, Hoxton

One of two fairly identikit Greene King houses in the warren of streets south of Bishops Square, along with nearby Kings Stores. I think I probably marginally prefer William's, although the previous reviewer is spot on when he describes it as "bland".

11 Feb 2011 11:57

The Gun, Shoreditch

Large pub just south of the Bishops Square development. This has a slightly more "gor-blimey" feel to it than some of the boozers in this area, with a mixed clientele of local office workers and other tradesmen. Three or four real ales when I visited, although none of a particularly exciting nature. I went for the Deuchars, which was very drinkable despite being somewhat on the cold side. The most noteworthy feature of the pub is probably the wood panelling. Above average in a mediocre area for pubs.

11 Feb 2011 11:55

Barney's Bar, St Albans

I thought this was OK. It's an odd place, with its Irish name but American-themed inside decor, and has a bit of a "rough round the edges" feel to it. No sign of any real ale, but I had lunch here - a hot dog and chips - which was really very nice. I'd definitely come back here again for the food.

1 Jul 2010 13:52

The Robin Hood, St Albans

Went in here for Jon Kutner's music quiz one night (it having moved from the Beehive). Quiz enjoyable as ever, but wasn't that taken by the pub, which seemed a rather untidy and uncared-for type of place. Bar service friendly. Food pretty basic - I had a burger which was tasty but probably of burger-van standard only. Three ales on tap from what I can remember: I think I had Black Sheep which was reasonably well-served. I wouldn't return other than to visit the quiz.

1 Jul 2010 13:44

Shaws Booksellers, Blackfriars

I've worked within 15 minutes of this place for eight years now, but unaccountably had never visited it until recently. It isn't bad: a Fuller's house that is positioned somewhere between pub and bar. Two ales on handpump: Pride and Discovery, and the Discovery went down very nicely. On a hot summer evening there is a nice space in the (traffic-free) street outside, making this a decent place to drink in the area.

1 Jul 2010 13:34

The Crown, St Albans

Large locals' pub round the corner from St Albans station. An attractive red-brick frontage hides a spacious interior with a number of different parts to it. A fairly basic "lager and sports screens" type of boozer. At least one real ale was on when I visited (Young's), which was more than I expected.

1 Jul 2010 13:31

The Speckled Hen, St Albans

Large out-of-town food-led GK pub on the Hatfield Road. The pub is nothing to write home about to be honest: it is too big for the length of the bar, so service is pretty slow, and the ale does not tend to be served very well. The food menu is nice and smart, and obviously has pretensions to be more than basic pub grub, although that's basically what it boils down to. I attend every so often for the Thursday night pop quiz, which as other reviewers have said is extremely well-run, very enjoyable, and probably the best pop quiz (or maybe even pub quiz full stop) in St Albans.

1 Jul 2010 13:30

The Six Bells, St Albans

Decent place. Five ales when I visited, with at least two guests, both of which were well-served. The pub has a very unspoilt old-world air to it and is situated on a lovely stretch of road in St Michael's. We attended for the Sunday night quiz, and were made to feel very welcome by the regulars. We were just disappointed that they weren't doing food at that time given the very positive comments regarding it!

7 Jun 2010 10:13

Blue Anchor, St Albans

Has recently re-opened as a gastropub type place. I didn't visit this place under its previous incarnation, but thought it quite good when I visited for a Sunday lunch recently. There is two rooms - a front bar on the street, and a dining room at the back, and a nice beer garden out the back of the pub. It still appears to be under McMullen's ownership, with two of their ales on handpump, and one guest - can't remember the name of the guest, but it was very nicely served. The food was really pretty good I thought - superior gastropub fare and very nicely presented. Our guests had a young child who was well-catered for, with a high chair and special children's menu. I would definitely return.

7 Jun 2010 10:12

Three Hammers, St Albans

As others have said, one of the M&B-owned Ember Inns chain. These can be quite varied - like many others in the chain, this had a reasonable real ale range when I turned up (five or six, including a couple of less usual ones), but otherwise was nothing to write home about. It has a nice frontage, but inside is rather cluttered and feels a bit claustrophobic. Food was very poor: my BLT sandwich fell apart in my hands, the bacon was burnt, and the chips pretty poor too. I doubt I'll pop back very soon.

25 May 2010 16:03

The Hare and Hounds, St Albans

I liked this pub less than most of the other pubs around here: It feels more generic and pubco-ey than its rivals. A long thin front bar room leads on to a games room at the back, and beyond that a pub garden. Three or four ales on, but mostly from the more standard end of the spectrum: I had a TT Landlord which was fine but not great.

16 May 2010 12:38

The Garibaldi, St Albans

Was being redecorated when I happened past on 15 May, so difficult to get a proper idea of the pub's interior. The exterior is nice: a smart red-brick affair; one of the many backstreet pubs in this bit of St Albans city centre. The atmosphere surprised me by being a bit more "gor blimey" than I expected, but it was very friendly. More down to earth than most St Albans pubs, I think. The pint of Seafarers I had was excellent.

16 May 2010 12:37

The Mermaid, St Albans

Once again for a Stalbo pub, I think the reviews on here are two harsh. I liked this very much when I visited: plenty of different ales (can't remember what I had, but it was well-served and very drinkable), and a nice local atmosphere with three or four locals enjoying a very well-informed discussion about politics at the bar. I shall certainly return.

13 May 2010 18:37

Savanna @ The Black Lion Inn , St Albans

A nice historic red-brick pub building hides a very modern, trendified exterior which is aiming somewhere between bar and restaurant. I visited on a Friday evening, and it was really very quiet, with just five or six diners, and perhaps a few more drinking in the bar area. I noted a couple of real ales available, but didn't sample them, as we were eating. The food was good but not great, and pricey. Service was good. This is probably sufficiently "not a pub" for it to be taken off BITE, to be honest - as a restaurant/bar, I'll give it a 6/10.

13 May 2010 18:35

The Lord Palmerston, Dartmouth Park

This is one of the fast-growing Geronimo Inn chains of gastro-pubs. On the plus side, it has a nice wooden framed exterior and is in leafy Dartmouth Park. Ale provision was good: four on handpump when I visited, and the Twickenham Sundancer I opted for was good. Service was also good: I was here for a Sunday lunch where we took a fair while to order, and the waitress was very patient. The weak spot, oddly for a gastropub, was the food - all a bit gastropub-by-numbers (perhaps unsurprisingly for a chain), and just not very inspiring. I'd come back here for a drink, but probably give the food a miss.

13 May 2010 18:32

The Chequers Inn, Oxford

Back when I was a student, this place was a fairly "gor blimey" affair, probably the only out-and-out locals (i.e. non-students) pub on the High Street. It has since moved upmarket rather, and is now a Nicholson's-branded pub (the first Nicholson's pub I've seen outside central London I think) aimed mainly at tourists, by the look of it. It's a large boozer with a multi-level layout: there didn't seem to be quite enough seating down near the door but the ales (Lancaster Blonde and a nutty ale from Thwaites IIRC) were pretty well-served. This is average for Oxford, but would be a bit above average in most other places.

16 Mar 2010 14:54

Joxer Bradys, Stafford

I was surprised to find this very central Stafford pub not on here already, although it is rather hidden away down an alleyway off the main town square. I liked it a lot on my own visit - a surprisingly large interior with several rooms, and - on a Saturday afternoon - a busy and friendly feel. A good number of real ales available, and the one I had (the name of which I've forgotten) was pretty well-served. I would return.

11 Mar 2010 12:26

The Lower Red Lion, St Albans

This did seem very quiet at the tail end of the Saturday evening on which we visited, I must say. Another two-room affair either side of a central bar, this is a spacious pub which perhaps exacerbate quietness. Quite a number of ales available, including some microbrews: I forgot to note what we had but think it was pretty good.

1 Mar 2010 10:55

The Verulam Arms, St Albans

Of the pubs we went in in St Albans, this was the only one which appeared to aimed more at diners than drinkers - it had a very clear gastropub feel to it and quite a trendy clientele. Ale didn't seem like a priority, but the pint of Buntingford Highwayman we had was definitely well-served.

1 Mar 2010 10:53

The Farriers Arms, St Albans

Hadn't realised this place's role in CAMRA history before reading this: they don't seem to make much of it. It's a McMullen's pub: I've never enjoyed their ale in their London outlets, but found the Country Ale much more palatable here (generally it seemed a much nicer affair than their London pubs). Another of the pleasing backstreet locals in which St Alban's seems to excel, unusual only because of its brewery tie I guess. Some fairly old school outside lavatories as well!

1 Mar 2010 10:52

The Boot, St Albans

Unlike most of the other pubs we visited in St Albans, this was unmistakeably a city centre pub, but above average of its type. Lovely old wood-beamed building with a lively atmosphere early on the Saturday evening we visited. Our pints of Adnam's Explorer went down well. Other ales included Young's Kew Gold, Titanic Lifeboat, Directors and Cumberland.

1 Mar 2010 10:49

White Hart Hotel, St Albans

This certainly looks the part - the front bars are wood panelled all over and look like they haven't changed in a while, although some more generic modern features do intrude. Sadly, the beer didn't measure up to the surrounds: four real ales available, which I suspect is probably too many to keep at good quality. We opted for Canary Pale Ale, from the Green Jack brewery: it tasted rather tired and was served too cold. I'd suggest cutting down to maybe two ales and focusing on how they are served.

1 Mar 2010 10:43

The White Lion, St Albans

Lovely two-roomed backstreet local - there is quite a large room off to the left of the bar (busy with people watching the rugby on our visit), and a smaller room on the right hand side. We sat in the latter and it really was a super place to have a drink - cosy, warm and welcoming. We sampled Adnam's Gunhill, which I'd not seen before - a fairly full-on winter ale, but nice. Also saw Explorer, Black Sheep, Young's Special, Old Hooky and Tribute. An excellent pub.

1 Mar 2010 10:40

The White Hart Tap, St Albans

Again, better than the below reviews suggest. This is one of a number of nice pubs in the local backstreets. Very much a local: the ideal sort of place to head on a weekend afternoon to read the paper with a quiet pint, I would say. Five ales on: our group sampled Ridley's Little Bob, which went down well, and Titanic Lifeboat - more of an acquired taste but still quite decent. Old Hooky, Pride and Brakspear also spotted. The landlord seemed good to me - friendly and attentive.

1 Mar 2010 10:38

The Farmers Boy, St Albans

We started a day's real ale-ing in St Albans at this pub, and I found it a good place to start the day and am puzzled at the negative tone of a number of the below reviews. It's a nice local boozer a little outside the city centre - U-shaped around a central bar, with light wood panelling giving a nice airy feel to the place. Five ales on my visit: we had a pint of the Clipper IPA which was well-served, albeit perhaps rather summery for the time of year. Other alesincluded TT Landlord, Pride and Deuchar's.

1 Mar 2010 10:34

The Cartoonist, Holborn

As others have noted, a notice outside advertises a change of management here. This can only be a good thing, as the pub was consistently mediocre under the old management and probably needs a good kick up the backside. Initial signs somewhat promising: I think there is one more real ale than there was previously (although I didn't sample so can't speak for the quality, and note that there used to be a real problem here with bad quality ale), the food menu looks (a bit) better than the previous food menu, and the new manager is quite visible in the bar. They've also got rid of the ludicrous and very misplaced dance music which used to be played at top volume at lunchtimes. I will raise this from a 3/10 to a 4/10 and hope to be able to raise that score again in due course.

25 Feb 2010 13:58

The Beehive, St Albans

Attended the music quiz on a Monday night at this pub. The quiz was excellent, and I quite liked the pub: three ales, and the Black Sheep wasn't at all bad. I was less impressed by the food: it's reasonably good value, but ultimately pretty basic pub grub. The interior of the pub was roomy, but perhaps a bit featureless.

16 Feb 2010 10:33

The Cheshire Cheese, Temple

The average rating of 7+ here strikes me as an overestimate, but only just. I visited on a Thursday evening. Positives are that the pub really looks the part: oldy-worldy, with three levels and a nice nook and crannyish feel to it. Also, the pub was impressively busy and lively when we visited, suggesting a loyal clientele. But the major negative was poor ale: just Bombardier and a guest ale when I visited, and the guest ale didn't taste too good. This is one of a number of pubs in the streets round here, and suffers from comparison to the Edgar Wallace, and (to a lesser extent) the Devereux. It's OK, but not brilliant.

16 Feb 2010 10:30

The Wooden Bridge, Guildford

The Wooden Bridge has never had a particularly good reputation in Guildford although previously I'd always found it tolerable - it's a large out-of-town pub dominated by screens for sport-watching, with notably cheap (and cheerful) food and drink. On a recent visit, though, I felt it was looking sad and in need of a lick of paint - the gents' toilets nearest the road were particularly poor. The service was unfriendly too. Could do a lot better.

30 Dec 2009 14:30

The Britannia, Guildford

All change here since my last visit (and review) in March 2009. What was an unbranded Pubco pub is now a Shepherd Neame pub. SN have also bought the Star in Guildford, so that makes a slightly worrying trend: the Kent pub scene is (in my view) the poorer for the dominance of SN; let's hope Surrey doesn't go that way too. What has improved here is the look of the pub: I visited after the refurb and it's looking a lot smarter than it used to. I suspect SN are trying to move this to being more of a foodie's pub, as most of the pub looked liked it was aimed at a dining crowd. This should be a decent pub given the location, and I wish SN well with it.

30 Dec 2009 14:26

Taylors, Streatham

This looks pretty awful from the outside - uninspiring frontage and, when I visited, some fairly unappetising looking people hanging about outside - but inside it was a different matter and I thought it was a friendly and welcoming place. Only one real ale that I could see (Young's - which was off), but the food smelled really tasty and there was a great mix of locals in there. Service was good and friendly and despite the weak ale provision I can see why this has a high average rating.

3 Dec 2009 10:47

Picture House, Stafford

As others have said, an impressive location in this former cinema: JDW have managed to keep it looking recognisably like a cinema which is good. A decent range of ales on my most recent visit, but I've always found the service here to be pretty average. Still, this is better than some of the immediately surrounding pubs.

2 Nov 2009 14:24

Seven Stars, Brocton

Further to ETA's remarks, this was very much open the weekend just gone, and pretty much same as it ever was.

2 Nov 2009 14:23

The Gunmakers, Clerkenwell

This pub is run by beer writer and blogger Jeff Bell, so I had high hopes it would be good on a recent visit, and wasn't disappointed. It's located down a Clerkenwell side street, and looks small from the outside but opens out a bit towards the back. The pub is divided into three main areas: the front bar, a middle room and a back room. It's done up in a modern, gastropubby way, but unsurprisingly retains a good ale focus. Four handpumps dispensing three ales when I visited (the fourth advertising ale the next day): I had TT Landlord and Woodford's Wherry and both were really well served. A gastropubby food menu, from which I had the steak and chips, which was really pretty good. I look forward to returning here.

27 Oct 2009 10:08

The Edinboro Castle, Camden

Calvin - each to his own; I too am a CAMRA member and a BITE reviewer of reasonable standing, and in my view the ale I had at this pub was tolerably kept, and no better. You'll see that the focus of my review was not on ale quality so much as the generally lazy way in which this pub seems to be run. (I note this is the only pub you've ever posted a review of, but will not draw any obvious conclusions from that.)

13 Oct 2009 10:36

The Duke of Argyll, Soho

Typical Sam Smith's boozer - dreary but historic interior, perhaps a bit lighter than many of their pubs, as rpadam notes. Didn't note any handpulls here (I think that's also the case at the very nearby Glasshouse Stores, also a Smiths pub). Good, prompt service though, and overall I thought this was an average Sam Smiths pub, and probably one of the best without handpumped ale.

28 Sep 2009 10:35

The John Baird, Muswell Hill

Popped in here, albeit rather briefly, for the first time at the weekend. On the positive side three handpumps dispensed a variety of guest ales, although on this occasion I didn't sample. Still, this looks a better real ale range than anything else I've seen in Muswell Hill. Also on the positive side, I think this pub used to be a John Barrass pub and it's certainly a bit better than that now. Plus there's a beer garden out the back. On the negative side, though, I just didn't warm to the place particularly: I agree with the comments that the interior, while very modern, is characterless, and the ceilings in the right-hand side of the bar are rather low making the whole place rather hot and claustrophobic on a warm afternoon. The left-hand side of the bar is given over to a bolt-on Thai restaurant, which didn't inspire me (although I don't like Thai pub food as a general matter). I think some thought has gone into making this a decent boozer, and I will head back to sample the ales at some stage, but overall I think it's lacking a certain something.

28 Sep 2009 10:24

The Village, Muswell Hill

An odd amount of positive comments below, but its average betrays the fact that the Village is a resoundingly mediocre bar which does not do anything to improve N10's weakness on the drinking front. I thought the service was poor (barmaid was studiously ignoring me despite my being the only person at the bar: I had to look directly at her to get her to acknowledge me), and the whole place looks like a nightclub in daytime: i.e. sticky floors, too dark etc. - I think some refurbishment would probably be worthwhile.

28 Sep 2009 10:18

O'Neills, Soho

This O'Neills, located at the Chinatown end of Wardour Street, is a large two-floored effort. I visited on a Sunday afternoon and found it a pleasantly quiet respite from the busy streets outside, but I can imagine the pub is pretty chaotic itself at most times of the week. Service was not good, unfortunately: I've just noted beerlady08's review from April below, and wonder if I was served by the same staff member - she had to be told by another (busy) staff member to come and serve me, and did so with bad grace on both occasions. Not a good experience. Fundamentally, nearly all O'Neills are very much the same and this is no exception.

28 Sep 2009 10:08

The Minories, Tower Hill

Large but characterless boozer filling a couple of arches under the railway bridge by Tower Gateway station. Four handpumps, two dispensing Adnams and two Bombardier - yawn. Wasn't jam-packed on a Friday evening, though, which is something I suppose, although I can't see myself returning soon.

26 Sep 2009 19:17

The Britannia, Clerkenwell

I'm not that surprised to this only has one review, as it's tucked away in backstreets between Old Street and City Road. It's actually quite a decent locals' pub, I thought: a large single-roomed interior with central serving area and reasonably busy on the weekday evening I visited, including with patrons of the nearby sports centre. Two ales on handpump: Adnams and Bombardier, and the Adnams was reasonably well-served. Service very good, and I was impressed when the landlord did the rounds at about 10.30pm with a tray of free sandwiches. Not sure if that's a regular thing, but it was a nice touch anyway. This probably suffers from being near some very good pubs indeed (the Wenlock, the Old Fountain), but it's not a bad old boozer and I'll return at some point.

24 Sep 2009 11:01

The Old Ivy House, Clerkenwell

Every so often one comes across a pub completely out of keeping with the chain/brewery who run it, and the Old Ivy House is a classic example. It's run by Shepherd Neame, most of whose London pubs are smart, central London affairs aimed at office workers and tourists. This pub couldn't be more different: it's a rather down-at-heel, scruffy local's pub tucked away on an uneventful stretch of Goswell Road. It has a U-shaped interior around a central serving area, and has the sparse, under-furnished look of ropey locals the country over. Spitfire and Masterbrew on, as Strongers notes, and my Spitfire was reasonably good. But overall I found this pub depressing, and doubt I'll be back very soon.

24 Sep 2009 10:58

The Shakespeare, Clerkenwell

This pub, located at the foot of the Barbican complex, certainly doesn't look like much, but I thought it was a bit better than its average rating suggests. It has a large and surprisingly nook-and-crannyish interior, but the overall look is rather clinical and dull. Three handpumps, two dispensing ale, when I visited: Black Sheep and GK IPA. I fancied the latter might be more palatable, and it was fine.

24 Sep 2009 10:55

Marquis of Cornwallis, Bloomsbury

One other thing - I think this is called "Marquis Cornwallis" not "Marquis OF Cornwallis"...

21 Sep 2009 10:19

Marquis of Cornwallis, Bloomsbury

Yet another member of the unbranded gastro-chain which includes pubs like the Albany at Great Portland Street and Edinboro Castle in Camden Town. I popped into this one for a drink with friends early on a Saturday evening and thought it was quite good. I remember a scuzzy old Goose pub being here a few years ago and this is a vast improvement: two large, airy floors, each with a proper bar with real ale, four real ales when I visited including Tribute and Black Sheep, and quick and efficient service. In an area which I've always thought is oddly thin-on-the-ground for pubs, this one is worth a visit.

21 Sep 2009 10:16

The Blue Posts, Soho

Small and unremarkable single-room boozer with the classic "standing room only" type layout beloved of so many West End pubs. This one is run by GK: two ales on when I visited: IPA and what from their website I think must be their Royal London Ale. I had a pint of the latter and would have to admit it was well-served and enjoyable, but all in all this is not a pub worth visiting as anything other than a brief respite from shopping in the area.

21 Sep 2009 10:09

The Cock, Oxford Circus

Another of the many Sam Smith's boozers in this part of London, the Cock has, typically for the chain, retained an unspoilt interior, which is to be admired. However, as with certain other of their outlets, the overall effect is rather dark and dismal, like a 1920s drawing room, so be warned. Bitter (OBB) on handpump still available here, and the clientele was an odd mixture of students, tourists and one or two dyed-in-the-wool locals.

21 Sep 2009 10:04

The Masons Arms, Marylebone

I didn't like this as much as other drinkers appear to have done. It's a Badger pub, which is a good start, but I'm afraid I just found it a bit dull: it's a pretty small single-room pub with a central bar, and rivals Sam Smiths pubs in the lack of interior decor - just the four wood-panelled walls and that's it really. It's on a rather nice local street just north of the hustle and bustle of Marble Arch, but when next in the area I'll head back to the Carpenter's Arms just down the street (which I've reviewed previously).

21 Sep 2009 10:00

The Edinboro Castle, Camden

I recently visited this pub for the first time on a Sunday night. Prior to my visit I'd always had a misguided belief that this was meant to be a good pub, but it became clear that was sadly erroneous.

This pub is run by the same unbranded chain that run places around London like the Albany at Great Portland Street, the King's Head in Crouch End, the White Hart at Waterloo and the Goldhawk in Shepherd's Bush. The quality of the chain's outlets varies very widely according to the quality of local management, from the quite good (e.g. the King's Head) the pretty poor (e.g. White Hart). The Edinboro Castle (so named as it was originally built for Scottish navvies building the railways into Euston) is very near the poor end. The pub is a large, high-ceilinged affair, although bedecked in the rather dark, shabby-chic look preferred by wannabe-gastropubs; the pub's best attribute is its very sizeable beer garden, which I would say is one of the best outdoor drinking areas in central London.

Ale-wise, a disappointing two handpumps: when I visited, one was dispensing Pride and the other some sort of autumn ale with "fall" in its name (no brewery on the clip, oddly) which was served adequately but no better than that. The whole place had something of a chaotic feel to it. Two things I particularly objected to were: (a) the state of the gents' - both lavatories had had their seats ripped off and one had been totally blocked by wads of loo roll - I'm willing (charitably) to assume that this had been done after the staff had last checked, but it speaks very badly of a place that patrons would behave in this manner, and (b) some patrons had commandeered a large table to use as an impromptu table tennis table (!) which they then positioned blocking one of the main doors out to the garden - this was to the inconvenience of almost everyone else and the staff ought to have put a swift end to it. I might expect to see that sort of Student Grant-ish behaviour in a student union, but not in a central London pub.

14 Sep 2009 10:09

The Cherry Tree Inn, Stoke Row

The wife and I stayed here while attending an event in the area, and found time to visit the bar briefly. This is, like so many pubs in this area, a Brakspears' pub. That sort of domination is rarely good for diversity of ales, and the only two on here were Bitter and Oxford Gold. The Oxford Gold was served well though: the ideal drink to quaff while sitting outside in the sun. The pub is set back from the main road through the village, with the garden out the front. The interior has three rooms, with a central bar area and the other two rooms more dining-focused. The accommodation is in a separate building to the left of the pub: it is modern and comfortable. I'd be happy to stay here again if in the area, but don't think the pub is worth seeking out to visit.

14 Sep 2009 09:57

The Evangelist, Blackfriars

This one has bitten the dust - it was boarded up as I walked past this lunchtime.

11 Sep 2009 13:58

Bedford Tavern, Finsbury Park

CAMRA's North London newsletter reports this has now shut.

11 Sep 2009 09:50

The Rising Sun, Smithfield

Looking down I see I reviewed this rather uncharitably back in 2004. Yes, it's a Smith's pub, so poor beer quality is to be expected (although they have managed to retain the handpumps here), but otherwise this is a decent enough boozer. The interior is not an eye-opener in the manner of some Sam Smiths interiors, although the upstairs bar is pretty well-preserved. On the contrary to my previous comments, I rather like the atmosphere in here - it's impressive when central City pubs build up a local following. There's a dartboard in here for those who like that.

9 Sep 2009 15:08

The White Lion, Clerkenwell

This pub was listed in the last Good Beer Guide I bought (2006 or 2007) but on visiting I found that a bit surprising. It's a pretty ordinary boozer with a couple of nowadays very mainstream ales on (Tribute and Adnams, if I recall), and in era when so many pubs offer four of five ales including guests, I don't think it's really GBG standard. That said, I didn't dislike it: I just thought it quite ordinary. It's surprisingly large, with a central bar dividing a front bar (which I thought was looking a bit scruffy) from a rear games room with a couple of pool tables etc.

9 Sep 2009 11:20

The Sutton Arms, Clerkenwell

Judging by its average rating and the below reviews, this pub obviously has a keen local following and after a recent visit I could see why. It's a fairly small, single-roomed pub, tucked off a side street north of Clerkenwell Road. It initially appears fairly unprepossessing, but I think its down-to-earthness is a great strength in an area with a fair amount of trendified gastropubs. Three real ales when I visited, although I'm afraid I only noted TT Landlord and a guest ale, and can't remember the others. Service was notably good and efficient, and what I presume to be the landlord was bustling round the pub in very friendly fashion and clearly on good terms with his locals. A pleasure to visit this one, and I shall be back.

9 Sep 2009 11:14

The Penderel's Oak, Holborn

A fairly typical 'Spoons. The pub itself is rather uninspiring, comprising the ground floor of an office block - inside it's rather dark and not very well air-conditioned. There's a large downstairs bar which keeps rather irregular hours, and which I've only been in once or twice. Decent range of ales: I'm afraid I visited after a wedding in the area and was rather worse for wear, so I can't remember names, but I had a couple of decent pints here.

6 Sep 2009 15:14

The Cittie of Yorke, Holborn

I'm not the world's biggest Sam Smith's fan, but there's no denying that this pub has a wonderful exterior and interior, one of the finest among many visually impressive pubs in the Sam Smith's chain. John Bonser describes it very well: I can only add that the cellar bar is a suprisingly large affair with its own bar. Unlike some pubs in this chain, handpump-dispensed real ale is still very much available here: it is not to my particular taste but this pub is definitely worth visiting anyway.

6 Sep 2009 15:08

The Albert, St James's

TWG says it's "pubco-by-numbers" and he's exactly right. It's also got a rather transient feel to it: lots of people in here at any one time, but everyone seems to be passing by. Three or four unadventurous real ales; my pint of Deuchars was averagely served. Found it difficult to warm to this.

3 Sep 2009 11:04

The The Old Monk Exchange, Westminster

Looking at the below reviews, I suspect I was a bit unlucky here. I'd seen this pub advertised in the CAMRA London Newsletter, which is usually a good sign, and so popped in when walking by late one weekday evening. I found a rather uninspiring but sizeable basement bar with the distinctive Pubco look. Only three ales on when I visited, one of which was Sambrooks' Wandle. That was promptly declared to be off when I ordered it: the other two ales were uninspiring nationals (IPA and something else). I ordered the IPA, which I will admit was well-served, but I was a bit disappointed at the poor selection. Obviously others had better luck, and maybe it was a function of the late hour, so I will return at some stage.

3 Sep 2009 11:02

The Two Chairmen, St James's

This is in a lovely street tucked in near to St James' Park, and as RexRattus notes has the look of a great pub from the outside. Unfortunately, and again as RexRattus notes, it's unmistakably a Pubco outlet on the inside and has the look common to hundreds of other central London pubs. That said, I rather liked it: I visited on a filthily rainy night and the small size and lively atmosphere of the pub made it a pleasant bolthole from the elements. Service was good, I thought, although as noted elsewhere there was the standard Pubco problem of uninteresting real ales (albeit three or four of them). I'm not sure I'd return here in a hurry, but I didn't mind the pub.

3 Sep 2009 10:55

The One Tun, Farringdon

I agree with the reviewer who uses the word "throwback": this is one of those pubs that goes on, unchanging, while life bustles around it. I've visited it occasionally over the years but have always found it a bit unremarkable, to be honest. The bar is L-shaped, with high ceilings that give a nice roomy atmosphere, and the serving area looks onto the bit of the "L" furthest from the road. Normally three or four real ales available, albeit not of an enormously interesting kind. Thai food is available. I admire the way this survives with a relatively local atmosphere, but it's not a pub worth travelling to visit.

2 Sep 2009 10:20

Chester Arms, Camden

Having added this to BITE, I wonder if it has now closed: certainly it looked shut when I went past on a bus on a recent Saturday evening.

31 Aug 2009 12:30

The Dick Turpin, East Finchley

Good to see backstreet locals surviving in what I've always found a pretty sparse area for pubs. The Dick Turpin is quite a decent-sized place, with a central serving area dividing a front bar with tables and chairs from a games room with pool table at the rear. The decor is fairly unremarkable, and (oddly for a pub off the beaten track) it has the look of a Pubco outlet. Two real ales available - Bombardier and something equally dull, but to be honest it's good to see ale being served at all in this kind of pub. There's some nice seating out the front of the pub - the road it's on being quiet enough to mean that sitting out the front remains relaxing. Service from the landlady was very friendly. It must be nice for local residents to have a reliable boozer like this on their doorstep - long may it last.

30 Aug 2009 09:18

The Queens Head, Finchley

Was closed when I strolled past on a Saturday afternoon recently. Not entirely surprising as it was a very odd and ramshackle place, but in an area poorly served for pubs, I hope it reopens soon.

30 Aug 2009 09:14

The Kings Head, Guildford

Matthewb overstates it, but I've always thought this pub, which has been a favourite of the Guildford drinking circuit since I was a teenager in the town, is a little over-rated. It certainly looks the part, with a large and quite nook-and-crannyish interior, and a very decent, large, split-level pub garden out the back. But the interior does need sprucing up: as an example of what Matthewb has said, the carpet in front of the quiz machine is so filthy that my shoes were sticking to it, which is pretty revolting. Always three or four ales available, although when I visited they were all stronger than 4% which struck me as a bit unbalanced. The Hobgoblin I had was averagely served.

30 Aug 2009 09:11

The Star Inn, Guildford

This pub has been acquired by Shepherd Neame, although remains (at the moment at least) very similar to how it was previously. Standard range of SN ales when I popped in, and I enjoyed the Whitstable Bay ale. I imagine in time SN will want to smarten the place up as it does look a bit unloved at the moment.

30 Aug 2009 09:07

The Grantley Arms, Wonersh

I popped in here only very briefly, and on a night when I was taking a rest from ale. It looked like I had cause to regret that, as six handpumps dispensed three or four real ales here, including Horsham bitter and a guest from the Stonehenge brewery. What with various bottled ales behind the bar, it looked like the pub takes it beer seriously. Like many country pubs, the pub obviously had an eating-focus and the food smelt good. I liked this, and would return.

30 Aug 2009 09:06

The Villagers Inn, Blackheath

I popped down here on a weekday evening after attending a conference at a nearby conference venue. I needn't have bothered. The place was virtually deserted and had a rather timewarp-y 70s / 80s look to it. Most of the indoor area was given over to dining although the food looked pretty bog-standard pub fare. Four or five handpumps but only one dispensing real ale - Courage, slightly uninspiringly. As a city dweller, I often make the mistake of expecting all country pubs to be fabulous: this one most assuredly isn't.

30 Aug 2009 09:03

The New Brunswick, Highgate

This has looked closed up for a few weeks now. Whilst the closure of any pub is to be regretted, it was a complete dive so difficult to mourn too much.

30 Aug 2009 08:59

The Star, Highgate

Gastropubs are ten-a-penny in these parts but this one, located a bit off the beaten track in the borders of Highgate and Dartmouth Park, struck me as a relatively nice, down-to-earth one. Popped in for a quick drink with the wife on a Saturday afternoon and found it very quiet and relaxing. The bar area is a spacious and well-lit, and there's a really nice garden of the "hidden garden" type out the back, where we sat. Five handpumps dispensed three real ales and two ciders (described on the board out the front as "real ale ciders"!) between them. Good emphasis on local ales, with Sambrook's Wandle and Brodie's Wit among the three real ales (TT Landlord the third). I didn't sample, but would definitely return here to see how the ale is served.

30 Aug 2009 08:58

The Lord Southampton, Kentish Town

NW5 is one of those north London postcodes which has seen huge amounts of pub closures in the last four or five years, but there are still one or two local boozers surviving, of which the Lord Southampton is one. It's a fairly unreconstructed local alehouse, although perhaps unusually for a pub of its type real ale (Courage) is available, which is laudable. I understand the pub is on the CAMRA Regional Inventory because of its interior - I'm afraid it didn't strike this observer as particularly notable although the tiled exterior is nice. There is an interesting set-up with the gents here - they are in a separate building although the walkway from the main pub has its own roof. I wouldn't return here, but it's good to see this sort of pub surviving the threat of gentrification - long may that continue.

21 Aug 2009 17:21

The George IV, Kentish Town

Located deep in the morass of back streets north of Prince of Wales Road in Kentish Town, the George IV is the kind of pub that you would be unlikely to happen on by chance. And that's a pity because the pub is something of a hidden gem. The most noteworthy feature is, as can be seen, the tremendous exterior, completely bedecked by flowers, which looks lovely and is obviously someone's pride and joy. The interior is very traditional and unspoilt; rather dark as others have said, but pleasant none the less. The pub was busy with a varied mix of locals on the weekday afternoon I happened by. The service was welcoming and friendly. The big weak spot is that the pub doesn't serve real ale, which is a great shame, because apart from that it's a very decent place. It serves a basic pub grub menu at very reasonable prices: a decent-sized cheese and pickle sandwich set me back 2.10, which is cheaper than most sandwich shops would do it. I'd definitely return here.

21 Aug 2009 17:08

The Grafton Arms, Kentish Town

As Strongers says, this has a rather bare look to it and is a rather depressing pub. It's a large pub with a central serving area. No real ale as far as I could see. I've never found it a very friendly place.

21 Aug 2009 17:04

The Mamelon Tower, London

This looked shut when I walked past recently - all the windows were shuttered and a large "to let" sign on the front of the building.

21 Aug 2009 16:59

The Old Oak, Gospel Oak

Last time I went in this place I thought it felt so unwelcoming I turned straight back round and left again. Recently I made a longer visit, and thought it better than it had first appeared. It's a fairly unreconstructed local's boozer which I would guess draws most of its custom from the large and fairly grimy council estates behind the pub. It was quiet on the lunchtime I visited although a few fairly "gor blimey" locals turned up towards the end of my visit. Posters outside advertised real ale, although there was no clip on the one handpump I saw.

21 Aug 2009 16:58

The Gate Lodge, Golders Green

I now note that draught Courage Best is available here - good to see in a shopfront pub, where real ale is rarely available. I haven't sampled it so can't comment on quality.

19 Aug 2009 18:54

The Midland Hotel, Hendon

Afraid I think the average rating for this place (8.8 as I review this) is an overestimate by about 3 marks. This isn't a great area for pubs (to say the least) but the Midland Hotel is pretty unremarkable. It's located high above the M1 next to Hendon railway station. There's a pleasant and airy front bar and a darker pool room at the back. The pub advertises itself as a GK house, and a poster by the door advertises various GK ales, but all three handpumps were disused when I happened by - whether a temporary glitch or not, that's not really good enough for a GK pub. The landlord seemed friendly enough but ultimately I'd only visit this boozer again if I needed to kill time waiting for a train.

19 Aug 2009 17:31

Lulworth Cove Inn, West Lulworth

Hall & Woodhouse pub; I thought this a bit of a tourist trap located right by the main tourist car park at Lulworth Cove. Lots of children running round inside, which is rarely a good sign.

14 Aug 2009 12:10

The Red Lion, Swanage

This is certainly a good town centre pub, but I'm not sure it's worthy of the BITE top 20, which it has hovered round in recent months. I'll admit I only had time to visit very briefly, so some of its hidden depths may elude me, but this seemed pretty good rather than brilliant.

14 Aug 2009 12:07

Crows Nest Inn, Swanage

Was staying round the corner from this Ringwood pub and thought it a superior local boozer, situated in a handsome Victorian building. Roomy inside, service was friendly and the music on the jukebox was excellent.

14 Aug 2009 12:05

The Square and Compass, Worth Matravers

One of the UK's great survivals, and one I was pleased to be able to visit on a recent holiday. We popped in on a thoroughly depressing rainy British summer afternoon, and the pub was still rammed with an assortment of locals, tourists, beer fans and bikers - clearly a local institution par excellence. The pub retains a "serving hatch" style bar with ales (and I presume ciders as well?) being served from barrels behind the bar. The main bar is off to the right: a pleasingly chaotic jumble of chairs and tables. Ale fans should beware that this appears to be, first and foremost, a cider pub - only a couple of ales when we visited, and we tried the Palmer's Copper Ale which was very pleasant. This isn't exactly what you'd call a comfortable pub, but it is certainly very well worth visiting.

14 Aug 2009 12:03

Bankes Arms Hotel and Country Inn, Studland

Probably the most bizarrely low average rating I've yet seen on BITE.

The Bankes Arms is located in the village of Studland and I'd imagine gets a high percentage of its business from walkers walking out to the viewpoint at Old Harry's Rocks from the village (the pub is right by the carpark). The location is magnificent: the large beer garden has a fantastic view out over the bay and on a sunny day is an ideal location to sit with a beer and watch the world go by. The pub itself is in a pleasant creeper-covered cottage and I thought it much better than some of the below reviews suggest.

An excellent ale selection: I counted eight handpumps which each appeared to be serving a different microbrew, including all of the ales produced by the Purbeck brewery which is based at the pub: I had a pint of the IPA which was very pleasant. I do agree that the food here is very overpriced, although the wife and I thoroughly enjoyed it despite that.

Most of the negative reviews below allude in some way to the service and it can't be denied that this is clearly a pub which knows it's a good pub with a fortunate location. The bar staff were a bit "too cool for school" for my liking and I didn't like the way the waiters bellow food order numbers loudly across the beer garden, getting quite irate if no-one sticks a hand up. But these quibbles do not detract from what is a splendid pub, and one I would unhesitatingly return to when next in the area.

14 Aug 2009 11:55

The Weld Arms, East Lulworth

Another extremely attractive exterior, the Weld Arms is set in a lovely thatched cottage. A corridor leads from the front door to the main bar, located off to the left. The main bar has been modernised: not unpleasantly so, but I was perhaps hoping for something a bit more historic-looking. Just two handpumps, dispensing Ringwood Best and Palmer's Dorset Gold when I visited - both were served excellently. An extensive food menu although like pubsampler a fair few things were off and some other dishes not served as traditionally understood, presumably due to shortage of ingredients. Not a bad place, but not excellent.

14 Aug 2009 11:44

Cloisters, Salisbury

Popped in here briefly whilst visiting Salisbury. A large pub in the centre of the City, this had three handpumps I think; I had a pint of the Ringwood which was served well. I suspect the pubs of Salisbury might repay closer study; this one certainly looked above-average.

14 Aug 2009 11:36

The Compasses Inn, Salisbury

This inn deep in the countryside near Salisbury certainly looks the part. The main bar can't have changed too much for the last 3-400 years: it's incredibly dark, with modern lights disguised as old gaslights, and really has been very well preserved. Three ales on handpump when we stayed here: Bass, Wadsworth Henry's IPA, and Hidden Quest from the Hidden Brewery: I tried the latter two and the Hidden Quest was excellent. Food-wise I felt this was more gastropub than pub: quite ambitious, and of good, although not excellent, quality. We were staying here, having been pointed here by somewhere else local which was full up (we'd never have found it otherwise): the accommodation is upstairs and is modern and tidy. This was certainly a decent find.

14 Aug 2009 11:34

The Royal (Harvester), Boston Manor

Harvesters are in my view about the dullest of the food-led out-of-town chains and this place is no exception. It's a sizeable place on the road between Boston Manor station and Hanwell. A large part of the interior is given over to eating but there is a bar area on the right-hand side of the pub (looking from the front). Only one handpump, advertising Pride, and otherwise a range of lagers and smoothflow beers. Service from the Australian barman was prompt and efficient - good to see a barman making an effort to identify the order in which customers came to the bar.

31 Jul 2009 10:30

The Fox and Duck, Petersham

Petersham is the kind of picture-postcard London village that one imagines is populated solely by the uber-wealthy, so it was a bit of a surprise to find this very down-to-earth locals' boozer on the main road. The pub has a garden out the front, and inside is divided into two parts: a main bar and a side room off to the left with a dartboard and some games machines. Only one handpump, dispensing GK IPA on my visit. This is an OK pub, but not as good as its average rating suggests - I give it 5/10.

23 Jul 2009 10:10

The Admiral Mann, Kentish Town

One of those pubs which is so tucked away (in this case, on a side road off Brecknock Road) that you wouldn't notice it had you not read about it on BITE! It's a good survival, this: a pretty unchanged local boozer which, at least on my visit, had a reasonably civilised (and not at all rough) atmosphere to it. The interior is dark, and I found it depressing (I felt similarly about McMullen's other southern outpost, the Windsor Castle at East Finchley), but good to see it surviving anyway. McMullen's Country Ale on handpump. I wouldn't return, but wish the pub well.

21 Jul 2009 09:54

The Torriano, Kentish Town

I know this pub has had to fend off an application for redevelopment of its site in the past few years, and appears to have done so successfully (I think). It obviously has a keen local following, but I'm afraid I couldn't see what the fuss was about. It has a small rectangular interior with a central bar. The pub is in very tatty condition: this is, I suspect, intended to look "hip" but I'm afraid I thought just looked scruffy. Ale-wise there were two handpumps, but only one dispensing ale: Pedigree. I had a couple of pints of the lager instead, which was fine. Food-wise a very limited offering consisting largely of sweet and savoury crepes. I had a ham and brie crepe which took ages to arrive and wasn't that great. I'm afraid I found this a lazily run place content to rely on what is no doubt a small but devoted local following.

21 Jul 2009 09:50

The Gloucester Arms, Kentish Town

This had previously been on my 'too scary to visit' list, but walking past recently I fancied it looked slightly more welcoming - the doors were open, people were sitting at outside tables, and a sign advertised real ales. However, once I got inside I didn't fancy it had changed too much. On the plus side, service was friendly and I didn't get beaten up, but on the negative side this attracts some prettty unreconstructed clientele from the local council estates: it's sad to see people getting pissed up with their three and four year old kids in tow. The jukebox is also ludicrously loud - almost club volume with the sound clearly audible up and down the street. I'm afraid this pub is a bit of a dump and I won't be going back.

21 Jul 2009 09:44

The Victoria, Highgate

Last visited here about five years ago when I thought it was rather odd. I revisited recently, a friend having tipped me off it had improved rather under new management. It has retained the lovely green-bricked frontage and the whole pub is adorned by some very nice hanging baskets. The interior is rather standard gastropub fare although it looks better than I recall it doing back in the day. Three handpumps, I think, with ales including TT Landlord and Harvey's Bitter. A decent-looking food menu by the door, although - be warned - there is a more limited selection on Sundays when I happened by. One eccentric touch was that each table had a sheaf of Trivial Pursuit question cards, promoting their Monday night pub quiz! I liked it, and wish the new owners well.

19 Jul 2009 19:31

The Windsor Castle, Marylebone

This pub is better than its average mark suggests: it is located on a very unappealing stretch of Park Road with traffic thundering past, and the poor location I suspect accounts for the small amount of reviews it had. Inside, it's perhaps a bit gastropubby (albeit done quite well) - the main bar is surprisingly small, but there's a further food bit up some stairs towards the back and a function room upstairs. Five handpumps and four ales on when I visited, including Pride, TT Landlord, and Fuller's Seafarers' Ale: the Seafarers' was served well. I didn't eat but the food smelt good.

19 Jul 2009 11:31

The Fox, Hanwell

A very good local pub and the kind of place it would be a privilege to live near, the Fox Inn is located off the beaten track down a pleasant side street near the Grand Union canal. On the weekday night I visited it was thronged with locals, and with good reason I thought. The pub is 'L' shaped, with the bar on the inside of the 'L'. I spied eight handpumps, serving between them either five ales (I think). The regular ales were TT Landlord, Pride and the ever-more-ubiquitous Doom Bar. The guests were two beers from the Surrey-based Waylands microbrewery: Addlestone Ale and GBA. I tried both of them and they were extremely well-served. The pub has a decent food menu which I would characterise as "top-end pub grub": I had the Fox Burger and it was really tasty - the best pub burger I've had for a while. I have two small cavils: (1) I thought they might have the ratio of regular to guest beers slightly wrong - from eight handpumps I'd hope to see four or five guests (this is a matter of personal preference though), and (2) like a below poster, I thought the service could have been a bit better - it took me a while to get served at what seemed like a quiet moment at the bar, and one of the waitresses was too keen to take away my burger and various moments when I was taking a pause in eating! But this is still a very good pub, and I will be back soon I hope.

17 Jul 2009 10:05

The Viaduct, Hanwell

Not surprised to see a clutch of very good reviews for this pub - I thought it one of the best Fuller's houses I've been too. It has a large, U-shaped interior around a long central bar - the far end of the pub perhaps looked more like an eating area, and at the near end there is a dartboard (always good to see) and a couple of games machines. Decent range of Fuller's ales including Gales HSB, which is not always easy to find. I didn't eat, but the food menu was long and looked full of tasty pub grub at reasonable prices (there are even some sandwiches at under 2, which is rare indeed nowadays). I really liked this pub and will return next time I am in Hanwell.

17 Jul 2009 09:48

The George, Bermondsey

Depressing and rather tatty pub on a depressing and rather tatty bit of Tower Bridge Road north of the Bricklayers' Arms roundabout. The pub has a nice Truman, Hanbruy and Buxton frontage (albeit one that's looking a bit unloved) but inside is pretty tatty. It's quite roomy with a big central bar. On the weekday evening I happened by there it was empty but for five or six regulars. I had a pint of Fosters (fine) - there was a handpump on the other side of the bar but I couldn't see what, if anything, it was dispensing.

16 Jul 2009 10:32

The Shipwrights Arms, London Bridge

I thought this rather better than some of the below reviews (and the average mark) suggest. It's a large, and refreshingly unmodernised old boozer which looks nicely incongruous next to the overwhelming More London development on the other side of Tooley Street. There is a large central bar, two or three real ales on offer, and whilst this is perhaps only average in the context of the large number of superb pubs in the general area, I thought it above average for London as a whole. In contrast to some reviewers I thought the service was quick, if a little unfriendly: however, I could well believe the story about the toilets - I noticed the "polite notice" warning people not to use the toilets without buying a drink, helpfully translated into five or six languages! Whilst I can see why publicans would get annoyed by that, I think this pub may be taking things to a Fawltyesque extreme.

16 Jul 2009 10:27

Printworks, Clerkenwell

This has now closed - as a Wetherspoons, for good I should think.

14 Jul 2009 14:39

The City Pride, Clerkenwell

Not one of Fuller's better houses. It's a small pub just off Clerkenwell Road consisting of one room divided into two parts. The most notable feature is the dreadfully slow service: for a small and usually quiet pub I rarely manage to get served within two or three minutes. It always seems understaffed, or at least staffed with inefficient bar staff. Pride, Discovery and ESB were on on my last visit. I totally agree with other reviewers who have remarked on the characterless feel the place has.

14 Jul 2009 14:38

The White Hart, Pirbright

Extremely dispiriting. This could be a wonderful village pub - it has a splendid location beside Pirbright village green, and looks nice from the outside. Unfortunately, the inside has been completely, and very badly, renovated in the last couple of years - it now adopts a very pretentious "it is a hotel or a cocktail bar" look quite out of keeping with the traditional English pub or its village location. Most of the pub is given over to a dining area, and indeed I had visited for that purpose. The food was quite tasty, if very standard pub fare, although the service was awful - waiting staff barely able to speak English, and a drinks order made during the starter course which only arrived at the end of the main course (the waiter was chippy and defensive about this when it was remarked upon, which only made things worse). Ale-wise, I wouldn't bother: only one draught when I visited (TT Landlord) which was averagely served, and I didn't get the impression this pub cared much about its bitter.

This pub is testimony to much of what is wrong with English pubs: it must be very depressing for Pirbright locals to have this on their doorstep. Avoid.

13 Jul 2009 10:32

The White Hart, Pirbright

Extremely dispiriting. This could be a wonderful village pub - it has a splendid location beside Pirbright village green, and looks nice from the outside. Unfortunately, the inside has been completely, and very badly, renovated in the last couple of years - it now adopts a very pretentious "it is a hotel or a cocktail bar" look quite out of keeping with the traditional English pub or its village location. Most of the pub is given over to a dining area, and indeed I had visited for that purpose. The food was quite tasty, if very standard pub fare, although the service was awful - waiting staff barely able to speak English, and a drinks order made during the starter course which only arrived at the end of the main course (the waiter was chippy and defensive about this when it was remarked upon, which only made things worse). Ale-wise, I wouldn't bother: only one draught when I visited (TT Landlord) which was averagely served, and I didn't get the impression this pub cared much about its bitter.

This pub is testimony to much of what is wrong with English pubs: it must be very depressing for Pirbright locals to have this on their doorstep. Avoid.

13 Jul 2009 10:32

The Chandos, Trafalgar Square

Inasmuch as the reclusive and resolutely unbranded Sam Smiths chain has a flagship venue, this could be it, given it's location in the very centre of town, perhaps the nearest pub to Trafalgar Square. I (perhaps unwisely) visited for the first time in a while late on a Saturday evening after visiting the theatre with friends. It is a two floor pub - the downstairs something of a "standing room only" affair with some snugs round the edge, the upstairs more of a conventional lounge bar effort. Unlike a lot of Sam Smiths pubs this still retains draught Old Brewery Bitter - served very cold and more like a keg beer (e.g. John Smith's) on my visit, and not a pleasant pint. It has a very full range of the firm's draught lagers and bottled beers and lagers - I tried a pint of the Taddy lager and it was absolutely revolting - not sure whether it was meant to taste like that or not. Unlike many Sam Smith's venues, the inside of this pub is not splendid enough to make it worth visiting, so in view of the poor beer quality - avoid.

13 Jul 2009 10:26

Swan, Flitwick

Average Charles Wells pub round the corner from Flitwick station. A handsome Victorian building houses separate front and back bars - rather a local ambience inside, and not necessarily in a good way. Has a beer garden which is rather spoilt by being yards from the train tracks with expresses rattling past. The Youngs was in reasonable form on my visit, although towards the end it seemed to have turned.

5 Jul 2009 19:12

The Prince Alfred, Maida Vale

I used to live round here but never managed to visit this place back in the day, and had heard it was rather pretentious. Visiting on a recent weekend lunchtime, I was quite impressed. The interior is splendid: an unspoilt Victorian interior with the different sections of the front bar partitioned in the style of e.g. the Earl of Lonsdale at Notting Hill. Lovely large windows give a very pleasant light feel and the ceiling is wonderfully high. Two real ales were on: Young's and Directors, although as I had over-imbibed the night before I stuck to the softies. The pub is obviously food-focused (there is a large "dining room" out the back): we ate in the main bar and I thought the food good without being excellent. The pub was pleasantly quiet, and I'd describe the patrons I saw as a pleasingly mixed crowd - I didn't get any feel of pretentiousness or over-trendiness. I'd return, I think.

5 Jul 2009 18:36

The Triple Crown Inn, Richmond

Surprised to see I've not reviewed or rated this before. This is a very pleasant backstreet local's pub which as John Bonser notes is located by the rugby ground a little away from Richmond town centre. It's a good boozer and always has a decent line-up of ales.

1 Jul 2009 13:01

The Crown and Anchor, Chiswick

Absolutely beautiful exterior. I used to visit the pub occasionally about five years ago and it had an unremarkable interior. Stuck my head round the door recently and it has been modernised very unsympathetically - looks as much like a Pizza Express branch as a pub. I turned straight back out. A pity.

29 Jun 2009 11:27

The Chancellors, Hammersmith

This pub was an unexpected find nestling in backstreets between Hammersmith Bridge Road and Fulham Palace Road. It's a very traditional and unmodernised boozer which I found thoroughly refreshing in an area where so many pubs have been gastro-ised or smartened in some way. I found it very welcoming, and at about 6 on a summer Sunday evening, the pub was busy. A large screen broadcast music from Glastonbury which worked well. It has a back garden to the left side of the pub, and from the smell it appeared a barbecue was underway. Two real ales, which is good and laudable, as pubs of this kind in London often don't sell any ale at all. This was the best pub I visited on a day when I had walked from Brentford through Old Chiswick to Hammersmith.

29 Jun 2009 10:53

Rutland Arms, Hammersmith

Large and fairly well-appointed Pubco venue on the riverfront at Hammersmith. Service here was reasonable and to be honest I preferred it to the very gastro-ised Young's venues a bit further down the river, which I stuck my head round the door of but passed up. Not very exciting though.

29 Jun 2009 10:49

The Dove Inn, Hammersmith

Had always wanted to go to this pub, so my bad luck I happened by on 28 June one day before its reopening after the kitchen fire. Better luck next time.

29 Jun 2009 10:47

The City Barge, Chiswick

D'oh - "reputation" should read "location" in my below review.

29 Jun 2009 10:45

The City Barge, Chiswick

The first point to note is that changes are presumably afoot at this place: posters announced the pub is changing ownership in July 2009, and the barman told me the acquiring party is Greene King. That would ordinarily not be the cause for celebration, but I hope GK are able to raise the pub's game a bit, as it's pretty mediocre at the moment - a bog-standard Pubco pub trading off its reputation. Quite a nook-and-crannyish interior but from the outside of the pub one presumes it's not *that* old. Two or three real ales - Pride, I think, and maybe Adnam's: I forget. I didn't think was very good, really.

29 Jun 2009 10:45

Waggon and Horses, Brentford

The below reviews are very accurate - this Fuller's pub is not one of their best. It has an interesting-ish wood-pannelled interior but a general air of unlovedness pervades the place. Handpumps offering Pride and Chiswick on my visit, with the clip for ESB turned around: not sure whether the Chiswick was keg or hand-drawn, as I didn't have it. I didn't like any of the pubs I went in on my stroll round Brentford, but this was the best of a bad bunch.

29 Jun 2009 10:38

The Old Bull & Bush, Shepherds Bush

Not a good pub, but I suspect the below reviews overstate things a bit. It's a Greene KIng house which one feels is aimed squarely at the local working class population, I imagine this gets busy on weekend evenings and for sports events and is pretty dead most of the rest of the time. It certainly was on the Sunday afternoon I happened by. Draught IPA and Abbot, I think, but this pub (like most of the rest on Askew Road) is not worth visiting.

29 Jun 2009 10:33

Princess Royal, Brentford

Found myself in Brentford so I thought I'd satisfy myself that the famous fact about Griffin Park's four corner pubs remains the case. Two of those pubs are owned by Fuller's (based just up the road in Chiswick) and for some reason I passed up the attractive-looking Griffin to go in the Princess Royal. The pub is well down the Fuller's food chain, one feels: it has a sparsely furnished look common to lots of football pubs (presumably to facilitate standing room on match days) and the only draught ale was two handpumps dispensing Pride, which is as bad as it gets for Fuller's. Very much a local's pub, I felt, and not enormously welcoming. I didn't think much of the pubs of Brentford, and doubt I'd return unless my team were away at Brentford: if I did I doubt I'd head to the Princess Royal.

29 Jun 2009 10:29

Sirous Bar and Restuarant, West Hampstead

More a tapas restaurant than a bar although retains something of the traditional Spanish tapas bar feel. Draught pints include Red Stripe, Kirin, and Guinness. Bombardier available by the bottle. Food is pretty good but the Kirin was a bit insipid on my last visit.

27 Jun 2009 20:59

Toolans, North Finchley

As the below reviews indicate, this is a superior north London shopfront boozer. The name indicates it's an Irish bar although I didn't get a particularly strong sense of Irishness - instead this seemed like a pretty welcoming and friendly local pub. We were there for the enjoyable Thursday night quiz, which kicks off at about 9ish, and was well attended with an entertaining host. The interior of the pub is modern but with some interesting nick-nacks - we spotted a zither and an old Singer sewing machine! Like most pubs of this kind, there was no real ale (I spied some bottles of light ale in the fridge), but apart from that this was a decent enough place - I'd return for the quiz in future.

26 Jun 2009 10:40

The Wildwood, Stafford

Part of the Sizzling Pub Co. chain, this is essentially a 60s estate-style pub on the road out of Stafford. My wife's grandmother lives locally so we quite often eat here when in Stafford: the food is good value, and pretty tasty if you like classic pub grub. I'd recommend the mixed grills. Ale-wise it has a couple of real ales which is laudable in the type of venue often lacking draught ale: it always has Bass and something else as well which I forget. This is a reasonable pub for its type.

25 Jun 2009 15:55

Temeside Inn, Little Hereford

The wife and I stopped at this pub quite late en route to Ludlow. It obviously took its beer seriously - four or five local ales available; I can't remember what I had but it was well-served. The decor was a bit too modern for my liking but the beer makes this local's country pub worth a visit, I'd say.

25 Jun 2009 12:17

The Old Bull Ring Tavern, Ludlow

This pub came in handy when I, and friends, were looking for somewhere to have lunch at about 3pm, forgetting Ludlow wasn't central London. It served us basic but tasty pub grub - I had a BLT baguette and chips and enjoyed it. Ale-wise there were about three available; I had a pint of the locally-brewed Ludlow Gold (available almost everywhere in Ludlow) and it was unsurprisingly good. The pub is divided into two separate halves with a central bar serving both. We were in the left-hand side which was slightly tatty. The landlord's service was pretty good.

25 Jun 2009 12:15

The Charlton Arms, Ludlow

I attended an event in the downstairs function room of this pub/hotel/inn a month or so ago. Dramatically located overlooking the river Teme, it must have one of the most picturesque locations of any pub in England. A number of different local real ales were available at both the upstairs and the downstairs bar. Rooms are available although I didn't stay.

25 Jun 2009 12:13

The Smugglers Tavern, Warren Street

An odd place, but perhaps it befits the slightly odd area it is located in just south of the Euston Road. The pub is a single-room affair that is rather like a classic north London shopfront boozer. The interior is modern, and I agree with jonnyboy below that it rather jars. My main criticism would be that it was the hottest pub I had been in for years. I visited on a weekday evening when I would call the weather warm at best - but the pub interior was absolutely stifling. Not sure why, but they need air conditioning or some fans, and quickly. Two real ales on when I visited: Pedigree and Adnam's East Green (the UK's first carbon-neutral beer apparently). I tried a pint of the East Green which was reasonably well werved.

25 Jun 2009 10:48

The Fitzrovia, Goodge Street

Fairly unremarkable Pubco pub, although well-appointed, well air-conditioned, and serving three or so real ales.

25 Jun 2009 10:44

The Horse and Groom, Great Portland Street

Sam Smith's pubs, so my usual comment about the quality of beer stands: this is, as Strongers observes, yet another of their pubs with no draught real ale, which is poor. I'm normally pretty taken with the interiors of Sam Smiths pubs, but didn't like this one: whilst unspoilt I found it gloomy and looking a little unloved. I wouldn't return here, and think 6.9 average is on the high side.

25 Jun 2009 10:43

The Stags Head, Fitzrovia

I found this a rather better pub than the average mark indicates.

Its most noteworthy feature is the exterior and interior. Both look to be unspoilt since their original installation, which I would speculate would have been in the 1930s - it almost has an art deco look but perhaps a bit more modern. The wood-panelled interior looks again to be original. I'd be entirely unsurprised if this is on the CAMRA Regional Inventory.

As to the pub itself, I quite liked it: it had the feel of a family run local which is unusual to say the least in central London. Two ales, as others have said, and I thought my Hog's Back T.E.A. was quite well served. I would return.

25 Jun 2009 10:40

The Black Horse, Fitzrovia

Another decent Nicholson's pub although for my money not quite as good as the nearby Tottenham. Again, quiet when I visited, a decent range of ales (I too spotted the Morrissey Fox beer, although didn't sample it), and a clean and pleasant feel.

25 Jun 2009 10:32

The Tottenham, Soho

Famously the only pub in Oxford Street, like other posters I found this place pleasantly quiet when I visited - although it was about 11.30am on a weekday morning! It has a splendid original interior and I thought it seemed very tidy and clean. A decent range of ales although too early for me and I stuck to a softie. I've a soft spot for the Nicholson's chain generally, although their quality does depend on the quality of the management at individual outlets: this struck me as a well-run place. In particular I saw the manager going beyond the call of duty, sitting with some tourists talking them through sites to see in the West End. A good bolthole from the morass of Oxford Street.

25 Jun 2009 10:30

The Flora, Kensal Town

I should have added: it's in the borough of Westminster, but geographically I'd say it's probably Kensal Town.

23 Jun 2009 12:34

The Flora, Kensal Town

Paid a brief visit to this pub a while back. It hadn't previously been added to BITE and that probably tells its own story - this seemed to be a resolutely old-fashioned locals' boozer on a pretty down-at-heel stretch of the Harrow Road and I doubt many of the locals would be BITE regulars, to say the least. The net curtains don't make for a particularly welcoming exterior, but inside it was much better - neat and tidy, and very unspoilt by modernity. A large and quite airy bar with a raised stage area on the right-hand side, if I recall. It was empty but for the landlord when I visited. No real ale as far as I could see, but not an unpleasant place.

23 Jun 2009 12:33

The White Hart, Waterloo

After my mistaken review of this pub back in 2008 I managed actually to visit it on a recent weekday evening. I'm glad I hadn't read the reviews below, as although I thought it was mediocre I didn't think it appalling. It's clearly part of the unbranded gastropub-by-numbers chain which includes places like the Albany at Great Portland Street, the King's Head at Crouch End, and the King of Diamonds on Leather Lane (they all have identical food menus). For my money it was less impressive than any of those: some of those pubs do a reasonable range of ale, where here all we had was either Pride or a honey beer, which has never been to my taste. I had a Pride and it was poorly served. The service seemed unremarkable, but it was about quarter past ten in the evening.

23 Jun 2009 10:35

Old Nick, Holborn

Wandered into here recently one lunchtime, and was surprised I'd not visited before, having worked within 20 minutes' walk of it for the last seven years. Pleasant, traditional interior, with the large windows onto the street giving a nice airy feel. Badger beers on handpump: I like Badger a lot, and whilst (it being lunchtime) I stayed on softies, I will be back to sample the ale at some point. Manager very helpful when the games machine swallowed a couple of quid of mine.

22 Jun 2009 14:16

The Pavilion End, Mansion House

Visited recently and detected a slight improvement - four real ales on handpump, which is not bad for what is really more a bar than a pub. It's run by Marston's, so three of the ales were from them, and one was Jennings (IPA, I think). Will raise my mark a notch, I think.

18 Jun 2009 12:25

Ye Old Mitre, Holborn

Astonished to find I've not reviewed or rated this before. Suffice to say it's a gem; a true London institution. Landlord Scotty is top notch. I haven't been in since the Fuller's purchase but hope it hasn't changed things too much. I will return soon.

18 Jun 2009 12:05

The Old Fountain, Old Street

I noted this pub's brief appearance in the higher reaches of the BITE top 20 a few weeks back and resolved to visit it next time I was in the area. I was very impressed and would definitely rate this among the top ten I've been in in London - perhaps even the top five, although I'd need to give it the benefit of a longer visit. From the outside, it's a very unassuming local's boozer tucked away on a back street behind a council estate near Old Street. Inside, it's still fairly assuming but pretty large. I counted eight handpumps, and think I'm right in saying that each one had a different microbrewery-produced ale on - not sure I've seen a larger collection of microbrews in London outside the Wenlock. I could only stay for a jar and had a pint of something by the Squirrel Brewery, which was very well-served. I also noted that, unlike the Wenlock, the pub appears to do proper cooked food - I will pop back to try that at some point. My only criticism might be that it was pretty quiet - hopefully word will get around the London ale community that this is a real aleing destination.

I imagine an evening spent half at the Old Fountain and half at the nearby Wenlock with a quick stroll in between would be heaven for most ale fans. I will be back at the Old Fountain before long, I suspect.

18 Jun 2009 10:23

The Artillery Arms, Old Street

It's a great pleasure of mine to stumble, by chance, upon a pub you've heard good things about, and predictably I was unable to resist the lure of popping into the Artillery Arms for a quick visit. I found a pretty decent Fuller's house: well-appointed and traditional interior, six handpumps dispensing most of the Fuller's draught range (although no guests) and a lively clientele seemingly well-balanced between local residents and local office workers. All told, I very much liked it. My only criticism is of what I take from Larry's below review to be the "proprietor": I've never seen someone try so hard to avoid having to serve me in a pub - not sure what I'd done wrong, and eventually he did serve me, but I wasn't impressed. I knock it down a mark for that.

18 Jun 2009 10:08

The Junction, Islington

Pretty ghastly pub/bar round the corner from Highbury and Islington station. Has a nice-ish garden out the front, and a large interior which no doubt gets hideously packed on Friday and Saturday nights. Service was poor: one barman who was seemingly unable to keep track of which order customers arrived in (thank you to the customer who politely pointed out I'd arrived well before her). No real ale. I note the comments below regarding the lavatories - the gents' were awful too - one cubicle had the door missing! Completely agree that this is unacceptable in what is clearly a Pubco venue - some money should be spent.

17 Jun 2009 10:24

The George, Holloway

The pub scene in N7 has taken an absolute battering over the past five years with closures, and the George is a fairly rare example of an N7 backstreet pub still standing. I was hopeful that it would be decent given the very positive write-up it has on the North London CAMRA site. I'm afraid I thought it pretty unremarkable though. On the plus side, it's still standing, and hasn't followed the route of so many in north London by becoming a trendified gastropub. It's still an honest local boozer serving the surrounding streets, one senses. But as a negative, there's little to make it stand out: a fairly charmless functional interior (and exterior) and of the four handpumps I noted only one was dispensing ale, and Pride at that. True, it's unusual round here to find any pubs serving real ale, but this is a mediocre pub made to look better than that by the paucity of its surrounds. Not worth taking a detour for.

17 Jun 2009 10:20

Milfords, Temple

I've worked pretty near for years but until recently had never bothered going in, put off by the fairly gloomy black-painted frontage, I think. Inside, it's rather better than that: I didn't go upstairs, but the street-level bar was compact and tidy (albeit with one or two odd posters about - one side of the bar was labelled somebody's "VIP Corner"!) Generally, this is a fairly old-school place of a kind disappearing in the City - it reminded me of something like the Blue Anchor off Chancery Lane. The landlord was again of the old school: very friendly and helpful. I noted two ales on, albeit only GK IPA and Bombardier's. The food looked very basic - no proper menus, merely a few basic options ("ham roll" etc.) scrawled on a chalkboard. Slightly odd as you'd imagine lunchtime is a key moneymaker for bars around here.

3 Jun 2009 13:52

Southern Cross, Watford

Attended the pub quiz on Sunday night here recently (looks like it also has a quiz on Tuesday nights as well). As other reviewers have noted, the big strength of the pub is that, perhaps unusually for what is a very generic pubco pub, it clearly takes its ales seriously. I think that each side of the rectangular central bar had three handpumps, dispensing about six ales between them. I had a pint of Shepherd Neame Early Bird, and two of Deuchars IPA, all of which were in good condition. I noted the pub has won awards from its local CAMRA branch. All to be applauded. However, apart from the beers the pub has little to mark it out from the crowd - it's a large, but very generic, Pubco pub, which a modern but characterless interior. Service was pretty slow (just two overworked bar staff serving a very large bar in a large pub). The food looked very bog standard - 2.99 for a steak and chips doesn't inspire confidence although I didn't sample the food. The quiz was a standard Redtooth effort, so not desperately interesting. I'd give this 8/10 for the ales, but 4/10 for everything else, so I'll give it 6/10 overall.

1 Jun 2009 11:04

The Salt House, St John's Wood

Surprised to find I've not previously reviewed this pub. It's a gastropub, and at the "gastro" end of the continuum: the front part of the pub is more pub-like, but still dominated by the NW8 crowd dining, whereas to the rear is an out and out (and rather smart) dining room. Ale-wise it's not brilliant: they've only ever had Abbot on my visits, which is too strong an ale when you've only got one to choose from, in my opinion. Food-wise it's been mixed: I've been there several times with the wife and it's ranged from the very good to the awful. I recall the chef is (or at least used to be) prima donna-ish about special requests (e.g. "no chocolate ice cream" or whatever). Overall it's not great and there is a rather snooty atmosphere to the place.

29 May 2009 11:03

The Cricketers, Kilburn

Looks closed again - it was certainly shut on the night of the Champions League final, so either it's shut down or they pick very bad nights to give the staff an evening off! I think I recall reading about a plan to redevelop the rather nasty tower block this sits at the bottom of, so whether or not it will re-open I don't know.

29 May 2009 10:55

The Phoenix, Bayswater

Luckily I visited when it was dry, given the below review!

This and the next door King's Head are a nice illustration of the importance of a good manager to the pubco model: both are, I suspect, under similar ownership (if different pubcos), but whereas the KH appears to be a decent and welcoming boozer, the Phoenix is a lot more down-at-heel: the inside does look rather dilapidated, service was not good when I visited, and all told one feels it is being badly run, and must do better. But if the pub can't even mend a leaking roof, I doubt there's much potential here for it to become much better.

26 May 2009 12:05

The Kings Head, Bayswater

Other reviewers get this spot on: this is a pubco pub, but well above average and clearly well run. Four or five real ales on when I visited, although I had a softie. I also noted the good service: a landlady-type figure was behind the bar and working very hard, serving customers promptly and being very solicitous to a rather demanding group of American students sat near the bar. Top service, and good to see when so many pubs can't get service right any more.

26 May 2009 12:01

The Porchester, Royal Oak

Fairly run-of-the-mill Young's pub. A fairly modern interior, as is usually the way with Young's nowadays, but it jarred somewhat: a lot of visual clutter in here (TV screens etc.) meaning the overall effect was a bit naff. Not sure I'd go back.

26 May 2009 11:56

The Earl of Lonsdale, Notting Hill

I seem to write the same thing about every Sam Smiths pub I visit: nice pub, shame about the beer. The same applies here. In a little more detail, this is a nice pub for two reasons: (a) in one of the most poncified bits of London, it remains resolutely a traditional boozer, attracting a varied crowd, and (b) the interior is worth a look. The main body of the pub is divided into four snugs by wooden partitions with doorways that you have to crouch to step through - there are not many London pubs which still retain partitions like that, and it's worth a look. However, as ever, the Sam Smiths drinks are by and large awful, and from what I could see there was no real ale on handpump here.

26 May 2009 11:52

The Swan, Cheltenham

Lunched here recently while visiting friends. As Steve notes, this is a former Pub of the Year for the local CAMRA branch: in fact, I think the posters behind the bar suggest it won that title three years running (2005 to 2007). It's certainly a good pub, although I'm not sure it's in the very highest echelons of British pubs. The pub has a very nice, relaxed and airy atmosphere to it which I very much enjoyed - our friends have a young baby and it was quiet and peaceful enough for their baby to have a peaceful sleep in its pram while we all ate. Ale-wise, three were available - perhaps slightly fewer than I'd expect from a CAMRA champion but they were all interesting, and the couple of pints of Brakspears' Gold I had were very drinkable. The food was good as well, although they did that thing I dislike of having a pretty limited selection of dishes available on a Sunday.

26 May 2009 11:42

Star and Garter, Putney

Perhaps the smartest (some might say most pretentious) pub interior I've yet seen in London, the Star and Garter looks more like an expensive West End restaurant or snazzy hotel bar than a boozer; no doubt many like that, but I thought it was very out of keeping with the traditional English pub, and a bit of a pity.

Ale-wise it was offering Pride and Abbot: not very exciting but the Pride was pretty well served and a number of pints of it went down very easily after a return from a day's boating on the river.

The food set-up is rather odd: on the Saturday I visited, the food on offer was plates of cheese from the bar's own cheese room (probably the first time I've seen a boozer offering that!) or plates of cured meats. The cheese room was excellent: I like cheese almost as much as ale and about 10 to 15 cheeses from all over Europe were on offer; the barman / fromagier was happy to let us taste the cheeses and clearly knew his stuff. However, I couldn't help but feel that the pub was missing a trick but not offering a proper selection of hot and cold dishes like everyone else. It was pretty empty while we were there so maybe others think that too.

26 May 2009 11:37

Ye Three Lords, Aldgate

Rather gor-blimey Young's pub, obviously very popular with local working folk. It was packed on the Thursday evening (quite early) I visited, with lots of singing along to some admittedly very good tunes being played. This had something of an East End community feel to it.

22 May 2009 10:58

The King's Head, Kilburn

I think this entry is mistakenly named - the Good Ship is just down the road. This bar used, I think, to be called McGovern's, and has now reopened as an American-style "dive bar and music joint", to which I popped in last night. That makes it sound awful, but in fact it was pretty good. The pub retains its fairly old school Irish interior, and attracts an eclectic crowd no doubt drawn by an astonishing jukebox packed full of old school rhythm and blues and rock and roll rarities. No real ale, sadly, but I can imagine that even the keenest CAMRA members might find this bar worth visiting if they like their 50s and 60s tunes. A strong addition to the Kilburn drinking scene.

21 May 2009 10:29

The Good Ship, Kilburn

Decent music venue. We were let in for a jar towards the end of a gig and it seemed a nice place: clean for a music venue, with a friendly feel, and a nice division between the peformance area at the back and the bar / drinking area at the front. For once I was drinking lager, but I did note a handpump dispensing Pride, which is rare and laudable in a music venue. I saw the famous jukebox, but sadly due to the live performance, wasn't able to see whether it is as good as reputation has it.

21 May 2009 10:21

The North London Tavern, Kilburn

I visited this recently for the first time in three or four years and continued to be impressed with it. It's predominantly a gastropub, I would say: I had the steak and chips, and although at 16 it was far from cheap, it was one of the best steaks I had had for a very long time. Ale-wise, there were two available, which from what nonzerosum says below is par for the course: Doom Bar, which was good but ran out midway through the evening, and Flowers IPA, which I've never really liked that much. I remember last time I visited being struck by the poor service, and that seems to have improved a lot: service was prompt and friendly on my recent visit. Worth a visit for the food, I'd say.

21 May 2009 10:19

The Swan and Edgar, Marylebone

I've been told this has changed name and ownership, and now isn't doing real ale. That seems a shame. When I'm next in the area, I'll check it out.

20 May 2009 10:17

The Glass House, St Albans

Not a very impressive place. The kind of place that was very quiet when I strolled in early on a weekday evening but I can imagine gets pretty crowded and unpleasant at the weekend. No real ale from what I could see.

20 May 2009 10:04

The Duke of Marlborough, St Albans

Pretty average. Quite small inside and divided into two halves, each being served by a central bar area. I quite liked the bar on the left as you walk in but thought the bar on the right hadn't been modernised very well. Four handpumps but only two were in operation, serving Bombardier and a reasonable Pride. Very cheap and cheerful food of the kind one might see in a transport cafe (sausage, bacon and chips, cheese on toast etc.). Friendly service, but all in all, pretty unremarkable.

20 May 2009 10:03

The Fire Station, Waterloo

Popped in here briefly late on a midweek night. On the plus side, I liked the interior and especially the tiled walls. Perhaps unusually for what is more a bar/restaurant than a pub, three real ales were available (Pride, Brakspears and a guest ale), which is commendable. On the downside, the layout of the bar is wasteful - it wasn't very busy when I arrived yet every table was in use - too few of them with many of the tables being too big, is the answer I think. And the ale I had wasn't very well-served - I tried a half of the guest and didn't like it. And at 3.30 for two halves of said guest, it wasn't cheap.

7 May 2009 11:43

The Knights Templar, Chancery Lane

Overall, this is probably somewhat above average for the Wetherspoons chain. It's in a decent building (as others have said, the toilets are particularly impressive) and as a general rule I think the range of ales is a bit more adventurous than the Wetherspoons average. However, the service is consistently poor (although there's a big bar, there never seems enough staff on and the default attitude is very unhurried), and I don't think the beer is enormously well-served.

7 May 2009 11:40

The Magnet, Archway

This was certainly open when I walked past last night, so disregard my December posting. It didn't look particularly welcoming, I must say, so I walked straight past.

6 May 2009 11:11

The Charlotte Despard, Archway

Visited this again recently under its change of name (and ownership?). The interior was broadly similar, I think - I fancied that some walls may have been painted as it seemed a bit darker than I remembered it. The two Bass pumps both had the clips turned round - not sure whether this lack of real ale was a one-off or a regular problem. I lower my rating by one notch because of that.

6 May 2009 11:06

The Lion, Stoke Newington

Ok but not brilliant. Quite a smart interior and clearly aimed at a younger crowd of 20-somethings. Three handpumps but only one of them serving ale when I visited (I can't remember which one I'm afraid).

5 May 2009 10:20

The Brownswood Park Tavern, Finsbury Park

Judging by the below reviews, this place evidently has a sizeable local following. By far its strongest point is the tremendous and seemingly unspoilt interior decoration - bits of the pub, and particularly the dining area at the back, can't have changed much since the Victorian era. It's not on the CAMRA Heritage Pubs list (I've just checked) but perhaps it should be.

Pub-wise, it's very much a locals' boozer of a somewhat down-at-heel kind, but I did note that, unusually and laudably for a pub of this kind, it was serving two ales: Deuchar and Directors when I visited. It was rather dark and depressing on the afternoon I visited, but perhaps that's the price paid for preserving the interior as they have done.

5 May 2009 10:18

The Spittal Brook, Stafford

My mother-in-law lives within five minutes of this pub which makes my failure to visit it in the past seven years even more disgraceful. I liked it a lot, and wasn't surprised it is the pub of the year for its CAMRA area. It has two rooms (I think - I only went in the front room) and is refreshingly unmodernised. Six or seven real ales; Pride, Black Sheep and Tiger were all on when I visited, as was Hooky Gold - I had two pints and it was well-served. If I had a criticism it would be of a slightly unimaginative ale selection - all available nationally and little in the way of microbrewery product. A good pub though.

4 May 2009 12:51

The Prince of Wales, Maida Hill

I wasn't desperately impressed wit h this. It looks quite welcoming from outside, but inside has a very sparse and unfurnished look which is rather depressing. No real ale, but good, friendly, service from the barman.

4 May 2009 12:47

The Neeld Arms, Maida Vale

I'm a big supporter of unmodernised London boozers so it is with regret that I disagree with the reviews below. I found this to be quite a dull (Irish) locals' boozer - the dull interior retains little of its charm, apart from the split bar that bluejay mentions. The pub was busy on the weekday early evening I visited, but I got a distinctly unfriendly feeling from the landlady and one or two of the locals. No real ale although I did spot a bottle of Young's of some description in the fridge. Doubt I'd return.

4 May 2009 12:45

The Crown and Cushion, Waterloo

Quite an intriguing place. Judging by the Irish memorabilia all around the bar, and the amount of people drinking the black stuff, this is an Irish pub, but unusually it had two or three (Greene King) real ales on the pump, which is to be commended. I very much liked the interior - pubs crammed with nick-nacks like this are quite rare in central London. There was a wide mix of locals in there. Thai food and garden out the back. One point I would say is that the service from a quite-frightening looking barmaid / landlady was pretty unfriendly - willing to believe she was just having a bad day or moment, as otherwise this looked a decent, unspoilt, place to me.

1 May 2009 14:49

Fleetwood, Broadgate

I've a lot of time for Fullers' - the beer is often top notch, and they have a lot of very decent pubs in a wide range of different styles and formats. But for all that, they don't half have some rotten pubs about the place, and this struck me as one of them. It's a faceless wannabe-corporate bar in the foot of a faceless glass-fronted office-block in a faceless street round the corner from Moorgate. As with the previous poster, it was near deserted on the weekday evening I happened by, and felt quite depressing. Ales-wise there was Pride, Discovery and ESB. Not worth visiting.

28 Apr 2009 12:02

The Flying Horse, Broadgate

As others have said, this is a down-to-earth no-nonsense boozer located just behind Finsbury Square. This kind of establishment is not that common in the City any more, and good to find. It had six pumps dispensing either three or four real ales - nothing very exciting though. Service was good and there was a basic pub grub menu. I liked it, and I'd return next time I'm in this area.

28 Apr 2009 11:58

JJ Moon's, Kingsbury

I tend to approach Wetherspoons out in the NW London suburbs with a bit of caution but needn't have worried here - this is well above-average for the chain. I counted twelve handpumps and, at least during the 'Spoons beer festival, each one appeared to be supplying a different ale or cider. As I was here on a Sunday morning, though, I stuck to a softie, so can't comment on beer quality. But this looked a nice enough place.

27 Apr 2009 10:53

The Lighthouse, Battersea

I made a rare foray to this part of the world to attend a friend's birthday drinks in this pub. I rather liked it. It's a rather upmarket, gastropubby kind of place, but avoids the gastropub-by-numbers look that's increasingly common in London. The decor was good and the atmosphere was good as well. I didn't eat here, so can't comment on that aspect of things, but drinks-wise there were three real ales on draught and various lagers. I'd question whether including two premium ales (GK Abbot and Fullers' ESB) among three available is the right balance, but the major plus for me was an opportunity to sample Clapham-based Sambrook's Wandle Ale for the first time. It was reasonably well-served although either it was a little unsettled or the staff here had difficulty pouring it without a huge northern-style head - they took care to top it up though. Unlike previous reviewers, I thought the service was perfectly acceptable.

27 Apr 2009 10:51

The One Tun, Goodge Street

I went on a first date with my now wife to the quiz in this pub (!) back in the day so it holds a fond place in my heart. It occurs to me it must be one of the only Youngs boozers in the West End - I can think of the Marquess of Anglesey in Covent Garden, and that's about it (probably missing some obvious ones). It's been refurbed since I last visited and I agree that the interior is pretty characterless now. However, I still felt the pub had a bit of atmosphere, and I didn't think the damage was as bad as it has been at some other pubs Youngs have refurbished. They always served a decent pint here, and I still felt that was the case - encouraged by a St George's Day special offer of 2 a pint, I made a rare purchase of Bombardier (not a pint I usually like) and it was really well-served.

24 Apr 2009 11:17

The Cos Bar, London

It's not often I see an average mark on BITE which strikes me as suspicious, but 6.9 seems well above what this place merits. As others have said, the decor of the place is ropey to say the least, and it can indeed get very crowded. Ale-wise there is GK IPA, but that's about it. In my experience, and contrary to the anonymous reviewer below, the beer is generally not well-kept. I would agree, though, that the service is usually pretty friendly and quick, and will add an extra mark to my score on that basis. But this is not a 6.9 venue.

23 Apr 2009 15:12

The Rising Sun, Blackfriars

Despite having worked nearby for about seven years, I hadn't visited this pub until very recently. The interior is fairly unremarkable, although the large windows give quite a pleasant, airy feel. For some reason I'd always thought it was a Shepherd Neame house, but actually I think it's probably a freehouse. Three ales when I visited: Spitfire, Pride and Young's Bitter. Thai food. Not sure I'd return in a hurry with somewhere as nice as the Cockpit round the corner, but this pub is OK.

23 Apr 2009 15:08

The Crosse Keys, Bank

There's a beer festival on here at the moment with 24 numbered draught ales available! A friend once observed he thought this place typically had just about the most guest ales of any pub in London, and at the moment it would seem that's certainly right. It's a bit airport hangar-ish inside but one cannot knock that sort of width of selection.

22 Apr 2009 15:45

The Goldhawk, Shepherds Bush

Large trendified pub on Goldhawk Road beyond the tube station. The pub has been done up in the fashionable style (dark interior, sofas, beads dangling from the ceiling etc.). We attended the quiz night which was quite fun; the pub was busy without being packed and the atmosphere was welcoming. Lots of continental lagers of various kinds and three ales including Deuchars and TT Landlord. The food menu looked on the short side but that may have been because it was Sunday. I'd return for the quiz but doubt I'd go here any other night of the week.

20 Apr 2009 10:15

The Fishes, North Hinksey Village

A surprising place. We enjoyed a lovely walk through quite residential streets and picturesque fields to get from the City centre to this quiet village out near the ring road. The pub is run by the Peach Pub company which appears to run ten or twelve pubs in various locations in the counties north-west of London.

The pub looks unremarkable from the outside, but once you step indoors the sheer size and scale of the place becomes apparent. A large, almost entirely food-led interior leads on to a nice outside terrace looking down on a huge beer garden. The whole place was jam-packed with seemingly every young professional couple with kids in Oxfordshire on the sunny Sunday afternoon we visited. Gastropub food inside, and pre-prepared picnic hampers for those in the garden. Our food was good although the service was very slow - we sat down for a late lunch at 2.30pm and it was near 5 by the time we'd had a main course and pudding. Ales available were GK IPA and Jekyll's from Manchester-based Hyde brewery (I see what they've done there) - the latter was quite well-served.

I'm not sure I'd return here in a tearing hurry, but it offered a decent feed and an eye-opening insight into how popular a large-scale country gastropub like this can be.

20 Apr 2009 10:10

Royal Blenheim, Oxford

When I last visited this about a year ago it was an above-average Everards pub with about four handpumps. Since then I understand that Everards has leased the pub to the Oxfordshire-based White Horse brewery, which has installed a splendid ten handpumps along the bar each dispensing real ale. As others say, three of those are Whtie Horse brews - I had the Bitter and the Village Idiot and both were on extremely fine form (with the Bitter at 2.30 being fantastic value to boot). There were a couple of Everards ales there as well, with the rest being a range of interesting-looking guests, mostly from microbreweries by the look of it. Service was first class; the barman took pains to find out what kind of ale I preferred and poured a couple of tasters. Oxford is (still) a city fantastically well-served by decent pubs, so it takes a lot for a newcomer to impress, but this certainly does. Top class and I expect to see it firmly in the BITE top 20 in due course.

20 Apr 2009 10:02

BRB at The Gate, Alexandra Park

I visited this for the first time recently and wasn't that impressed. Despite the large bar in the centre of the pub it was difficult to get served and I would second Wiccaman's references to "surly young staff who think they're doing you a favour". I may be wrong, but I only spotted one ale (Doom Bar IIRC), which ran out on the customer before me. In an area with very few pubs, though, I imagine this doesn't need to be better than mediocre to do good business.

16 Apr 2009 09:53

The Globe, Moorgate

As Gann says, this is a bit like two pubs in one and I wonder whether the two parts of the pub were once separate. Nicholson's pubs seem to run the gamut from the really pretty good (e.g. Old Bell, Fleet Street) to the very bad (e.g. the one at Hays Galleria) and this one is towards the worse end of that spectrum. Crowded with suits and the service wasn't brilliant when I visited - two bar-staff were more interested in conversing with one another than serving customers. An impressive eight handpumps in the Keats Bar, although only two or three were serving ale. I had a softie so can't comment on the beer quality.

16 Apr 2009 09:44

The Green Man, Edgware Road

Visited again lately and has improved somewhat since my review of July 2008. Now very much the bar of the adjoining youth hostel, which seems to have succeeded in ridding it of some of the more aggressive local elements - it's now very full of young backpacker types. Not somewhere one would travel to visit, but it is at least bearable now, which reflects well on the management. Adjusting my review from 4/10 to 5/10.

14 Apr 2009 10:21

The Phoenix, Lisson Grove

On the plus side, this wasn't a threatening place, unlike some of the boozers around here. But that's about the only positive, and it may be because I was the only person in the place at the time. A textbook example of a lazily-run pub - it keeps funny hours and the interior, incredibly dark and painted black, is off-putting. Eccentric service too. Given its unpromising backstreet location and the number of other pubs round here, one fears this must do bettter. No real ale.

14 Apr 2009 10:17

The Marquis of Anglesey, Lisson Grove

Looked closed when I walked past the other day - not entirely surprising given the numbers of pubs in what are some fairly ropey backstreets.

14 Apr 2009 10:13

The Green Man, Great Portland Street

Boringly identikit pubco pub opposite Great Portland Street station, not likely to be of interest to anyone other than local office workers or tourists en route to Regent's Park or the Zoo. As GuideDogSaint noted, a fair few ale pumps, all serving Pride on my visit.

14 Apr 2009 10:11

The Albany, Great Portland Street

I think this must be under common ownership with the King's Head in Crouch End; certainly both have identical food menus and a similar look generally. This pub seems to be aimed at a young and trendyish crowd and reminds one of Mitchells & Butler's efforts in that vein (see e.g. the Volunteer at Baker Street), with the usual combination of OTT decor, chalkboards and randomly assorted furniture.

Like the King's Head it has a basement room used for comedy and club nights (there's a good monthly 90s indie night which I went to a while back). There were three ales on when I visited: a couple of boring regulars including Bombardier, and Brain's Milkwood on as a guest, which was quite good. Not a brilliant pub, but if I were meeting friends around here, I'd probably choose this place.

14 Apr 2009 10:09

The Queens Arms, Kilburn

I went in to this place a couple of years ago and remember it seeming really unpleasant: dark and unwelcoming. Went in again recently and it seemed very different - very much an unmodernised locals' pub, for sure, but not unfriendly and with three or four ales from the Young's range. Bigger than I remembered it too. Not sure whether they've done something to it in the last few years or whether my first impressions were wrong, but it seemed OK. My only criticism were that there were some very scally local youths in there, some of whom looked clearly under-age.

13 Apr 2009 01:26

The Mill at Elstead, Elstead

This is initially very impressive, with its location literally on the River Wey (comparable to, say, the Trout at Godstow near Oxford). The first site on entering is a working mill-wheel which has been very well-incorporated into the pub interior. I visited on a Saturday night and it was actually extremely quiet, so much so that I wondered whether this is really a viable location for such a large pub. We didn't eat (perhaps just as well given the below reviews) - the beer was good and I was pleased to see they were doing Gales' Seafarers' Ale, which I find very drinkable. But the whole effort did leave me a little cold - it's a very clinical job, and once you're inside you could really be in a large Fuller's house anywhere - there's little local resonance here at all, which is disappointing in a village pub.

12 Apr 2009 20:03

Cape of Good Hope, Camden

I approached this estate pub fully intending to enter, but it looked so unfriendly (with heavy-set locals clustered around the front entrance) that I didn't bother. Not one for the faint-hearted, I suspect.

7 Apr 2009 11:37

Chester Arms, Camden

Surprised to find this relatively central London pub was unlisted. I haven't been in here for a few years, so I shan't rate it, but it always used to be a tolerable if unexciting mainly local's boozer with a few fairly-standard real ales.

7 Apr 2009 11:36

The Hornsey Tavern, Hornsey

Greene King pub on the main drag in Hornsey. On the plus side I noticed two ales being served straight from the barrel, which (in my experience) is a rarity in GK pubs. I had a softie, though, so on this occasion can't comment on beer quality (which some reviews below appear to question). Definitely a local's pub and I didn't feel entirely at ease in here but that may just have been me being over-sensitive. It's quite dark inside but not unpleasant and there's a pool table at the rear.

7 Apr 2009 09:52

The White Swan, Farringdon

It says a lot that's it taken until 2009 for this pub, located as it is in the heart of central London, to be added to BITE. One might be forgiven for thinking that betrays a certain anonymity, and one would be right. This is an inauspicious looking place, located in the foot of a pretty horrid office block on one of London's least appealing thoroughfares. Inside it's a bit better: smartly appointed and with a palatable looking menu and three or four real ales. I didn't find the service particularly friendly, though.

6 Apr 2009 18:43

Seven Stars, Brocton

One of the 'Two For One' range of pubs, this is located on the A34 south of Stafford. One of those pubs where, when the ale is on (which is not always) you lack confidence that it will be properly served and have something like a Tetley's Smoothflow. Not good.

6 Apr 2009 18:19

The Prince Of Wales, Kilburn

On the face of it, not a great pub - no real ale in evidence and a cavernous but largely empty interior on the Sunday night I popped in. And yet, I quite liked it. The service from the landlord was friendly and welcoming, and it's a minor triumph in itself to have kept an unashamed and unpretentious locals' pub going in this bit of London (that seems to be a difficult trick to pull off for all but Irish pubs round here). It also has an interestingly suburban feel for somewhere so centrally located. I can't give it more than 5/10 given the lack of any real ale, but I'd probably return here occasionally.

6 Apr 2009 10:27

The Bull and Last, Gospel Oak

We attended on quiz night (Sundays from about 7.30pm): the pub was very busy, unpleasantly so when we walked in at about 7.10pm and found people queueing two or three deep at the bar. Things calmed down somewhat but the pub was still pretty crammed - I think the number of tables they have crammed in is a bit over-ambitious.

The food was very good, albeit at gastropub prices, the highlight perhaps being a very decent cheeseboard from Neal's Yard. Ale-wise there were five handpumps, three dispensing ale: I had a pint of the Hook Norton Gold and it was pretty good. They also had another Hook Norton ale and one other which I forget (Adnams maybe?) Service was good and friendly, and the table service for food was appreciated given how busy the place was. The atmosphere was good, although rather north London-y; the interior of the pub is nice with a splendid large map of London on the back wall. The quiz was fun too.

30 Mar 2009 11:33

The Royal Star, Hoxton

Had twenty minutes to kill before meeting friends at the Wenlock so popped in here to see what it was like. I was slightly worried as to whether I'd be welcome in what is obviously a local's pub, but needn't have been - the pub was friendly and busy early on the Saturday night I visited, with a mixed clientele variously playing pool, watching sport on the box, or just chatting. Friendly service from the barman and I noted the pub's involvement in local dart leagues etc. Ale-wise I could only spot Bombardier, but I had a softie in (correct) anticipation of many ales to follow at the Wenlock. I'd return, I think.

29 Mar 2009 22:16

The Plum Tree, Holborn

An oddly contrasting set of reviews below. This should be good - a dramatic setting beneath Holborn Viaduct (albeit on one of central London's worst roads), and the interior makes quite good use of the vaults beneath the Viaduct. But I found the bar a bit clinical and something that really could be found on any old High Street. I've worked around here for six years or more and this place has had a number of different owners - it's obviously a difficult place to do business, and one feels this isn't trying hard enough under current ownership.

24 Mar 2009 15:57

The Live and Let Live, Guildford

Guildford is a pretty lousy town for backstreet locals' pubs, so assuming this place is now open properly again, it's a pleasing development. I went in on a Saturday early evening: the pub was very quiet but quite relaxing and pleasant. It's a small and basic single room interior with a small beer garden (pleasingly advertised as a "secret garden" on the pub sign) out the back. It's a Greene King house although unusually didn't have IPA on when I visited: I had a pretty drinkable pint of Trip to Jerusalem instead. Friendly service from the barmaid, whom I also saw being very helpful to a very elderly and infirm local: always good to see. What clientele there were were very much of the local variety, and included some impressively drunk people. I enjoyed my visit and would come again.

22 Mar 2009 11:04

The Star Inn, Guildford

The interior of this pub is well in keeping with the finest traditions of the English pub: a multi-roomed, multi-levelled interior with lots of passageways, staircases, nooks and crannies, and an outdoor drinking area on the lowest level of the pub. I used to come here years ago, and back in those days the pub struggled to live up to its premises. On returning recently I thought things might have improved a bit - there were two real ales in evidence (neither run of the mill). I had a softie, though, and am mindful of the comments below about beer quality, so whether this means anything I don't know.

22 Mar 2009 11:00

The Britannia, Guildford

No kids in evidence on the Saturday afternoon I visited. I remember this as being a Scruffy Murphy's years ago - it's now an unbranded but (at first glance) fairly identikit pubco pub. On second glance though, I noted a good range of real ales - four or five available with most of them being something interesting including a couple of Hog's Back ales. I had a softie but I'd definitely come back here to see what the ale is like.

22 Mar 2009 10:57

Canal 125, Caledonian Road

I wasn't desperately impressed with this bar on the Saturday evening I visited: quite a nice stripped back interior and quite roomy inside, but half the tables seemed to be reserved (despite being empty at about half ten), there were no real ales (perhaps unsurprisingly in what is more a bar than a pub), and the DJ suddenly whacked up the music volume at about eleven such that we couldn't hear ourselves think. We made our excuses and left.

15 Mar 2009 18:46

Ruby Lounge, Kings Cross

Above average bar, but mysteriously quiet on both the (weekend evening) occasions I've been there. Not one for the real ale drinker, I hasten to add, but not a bad place none the less.

15 Mar 2009 18:43

The Queens Head and Artichoke, Regents Park

First of impressions of this out-and-out gastropub were not promising. I'd had in mind the bad reviews on here, and the pub looked untidy, with piles of dirty plates stacked up on the right-hand side of the bar. Service was nowhere to be seen and when it did arrive there were two or three very stressed looking barmaids trying to serve the entire pub. Our table was ridiculously close to the one beside it and we had to shift it such that it blocked the fire exit. But, things improved. Two ales on tap (Pedigree and Adnams) and the Adnams was well-kept and very drinkable. The food, when it arrived was good: I had roast beef (it was a Sunday) and there was lots of it and it was tasty. The food prices weren't cheap but were good value given the quality, I thought. I thought that with a bit more thought given to presentation, this could be a decent place to eat.

15 Mar 2009 18:40

The Carpenters Arms, Kings Cross

Popped in here for about ten minutes yesterday early evening and, as was the case for Millay, the clips were turned round on each handpump. And without that, there wasn't too much to recommend this unmodernised local's pub in the badlands between Kings Cross and Exmouth Market. The most noteworthy feature is the fake brickwork which another poster comments on! That and a beer (?) called 'Toby' on tap which looked slightly intriguing, but which I didn't try.

15 Mar 2009 18:36

Ordnance Arms, St John's Wood

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.

9 Mar 2009 10:57

The Kings Head, Islington

The vast majority of pubs in Islington are either branded chain pubs or bars or rather pretentious gastropubs / lifestyle bars; this pub (now called the King's Head, as someone else has pointed out) is neither of those things. I therefore rather liked it, despite the fact that it's ultimately a fairly nondescript boozer serving only one ale (and Pride at that) and with a fairly "gor blimey" clientele from the nearby council estates. I'd return here.

1 Mar 2009 23:01

The Royal Oak, Guildford

Like beergibbon I visited this pub very regularly when a less discerning teenager, and recently re-visited it (briefly) for the first time in about six or seven years. I wasn't desperately impressed: a boringly functional one-room interior and they've taken out some of the more imposing furniture since the mid-1990s! I wasn't too convinced by the furnishing though, and bits of it were rather over-lit. The three ales on tap were as listed by beergibbon - this is an ex-Gales house now owned by Fullers after they took over Gales. I think I'd go elsewhere in Guildford to be honest, although my hometown isn't exactly known for having quality pubs.

28 Feb 2009 19:09

The Halfway House, Barnes

Came in here for one late on a Tuesday evening as quiz night was drawing to a close. A good pub, with a number of interesting regular and guest ales which Stongers summarises. The atmosphere was that of a true local, but not at all unwelcoming. This is the kind of pub that it would be great to live near to. I don't come down to Barnes very often but if I'm in the area again I will visit this pub.

26 Feb 2009 11:21

The Square Tavern, Euston

I think I've read somewhere that this has changed ownership recently and it was certainly looking OK on my recent visit. It's a sixties pub well-hidden in a development just off Hampstead Road, and the interior has a very retro feel, added to by Madness and mid-80s Madonna playing on my visit. A couple of (fairly commonplace) ales on tap, which I didn't try as it was 11.30am (!) when I happened by. Food menu looked OK. I'd be happy to come back here and see what the beer's like.

25 Feb 2009 17:29

The Clifton Hotel, St John's Wood

I live up the road in NW6 and rather despair of the lack of quality boozers in the local area, but was impressed to find this backstreet local off Abbey Road in NW8. A decent place: a rather cosy wood-panelled interior with a central bar surrounding various rooms, and a dining area off towards the rear. Three real ales in evidence, including Pride and (I think) Tribute plus a guest. A tasty looking menu, if somewhat pricey: I had sausage and mash which was nice, and shared a rather ungenerous "cheeseboard for two". The pub was very busy for the obviously very popular quiz which was on. I think I'd make this my number one drinking spot locally - pity it's taken me about three years to find it!

18 Feb 2009 23:55

The Goat, St Albans

A mixed bag of reviews below, but I was pretty impressed with this surprisingly large pub in a side street fairly near central St Albans. We visited on Sunday night for the quiz night: unfortunately the quiz was fairly bog standard Redtooth fare, but the rest of the pub impressed. A large boozer with a couple of nice front rooms (albeit one rather dominated by a large collection of board games and various studenty types playing Monopoly etc.) and some larger rooms out the back, which I didn't really explore. There also appeared to be a garden. Beer-wise, there were three or four ales, including one guest: I stuck to the Tribute and had a couple of pints, which were pretty well-served. Always tempted to head up to St Albans to do a crawl, it being the home of CAMRA and all that, and this pub would be on the list were I to do that.

16 Feb 2009 10:05

Cafe Cafe, Harrow On The Hill

A not particularly convincing restaurant / bar the top of Harrow-On-The-Hill. It was deathly quiet on a Sunday afternoon when I visited; I'd have thought it should be pretty busy at a time like that. The bar snacks we ordered were quite nice, but if you're after a decent pint, forget it: a couple of lagers are the only draft items here.

16 Feb 2009 09:57

The Neptune, Somers Town

Disappointing. It looks reasonably nice from the outside, but on the inside is a *very* unreconstructed estate pub where as another poster advises you wouldn't want to speak out of turn. Some very loud and not very pleasant locals were in there when I visited, and the industrial-grade language means that this place pips the Enkel Arms in Holloway as the most obscene London pub I have been in! I don't often get intimidated in London pubs, but I felt glad to get away from here, and couldn't advise anyone else visit it.

3 Feb 2009 10:33

The Angel in the Fields, Bond Street

Usual story for a Sam Smith's pub - an absolutely splendid unspoilt interior - the stained glass windows here are worth a visit on their own - but the usual lack of anything drinkable. I noticed here that there is no bitter on handpump, either.

3 Feb 2009 10:29

The Pontefract Castle, Marylebone

A decent Nicholson's pub just away from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street.

3 Feb 2009 10:27

The Hobgoblin, Marylebone

I didn't try the ale, but I rather liked the pub aside from that. It's in a backstreet round the back of Marylebone station and, like the nearby Feathers on Linhope Street, you wouldn't know about it unless someone told you. A roomy interior and the landlord was welcoming and chatty. A rather lovely dog was sound asleep on one of the seats - not what you expect from a central London boozer. I'd return here, if only to see what the ale is like.

3 Feb 2009 10:25

The Good Mixer, Camden

One of Camden's best-known boozers thanks to its role as the main temple of Britpop back in the mid-1990s, it's difficult nowadays to avoid the feeling that this is living off its inheritance. I visited for the first time recently and found a pub divided into two rooms with the bar looking on to each - and with each room rather dominated by pool tables (indeed a competition was in progress as I visited). I didn't spot the real ale that other posters have mentioned, which is a pity. The jukebox was listenable but ultimately I'm not sure I'd bother returning. I think the best aspect of the pub is probably the slightly unusual interior - it could do with a tidy but they shouldn't lose the basics.

3 Feb 2009 10:22

The Radford Bank Inn, Stafford

I think the Pub Inspectors should consider handing their licence back in, for this would be nowhere near a 10/10 pub even if it had real ale. It is slightly odd - the very large ground floor is given over entirely to a carvery / restaurant which as others rightly remark is extremely cheap and no doubt good value. Smaller ground level floor is the drinking area and is pretty forgettable. As the Pub Inspectors note, there is no real ale and that is poor.

27 Jan 2009 15:25

The Rose and Crown, Stafford

Not a nice pub - I've felt a slightly intimidating atmosphere on both occasions I've been in and I think it would be fair to say that the locals are a rum bunch. No real ale as far as I could see, but it does have a dartboard which is to be commended. The burgers / hotdogs being rustled up from a "kitchen" out the back looked sub-football ground standard, I'm afraid.

27 Jan 2009 15:22

The Bird In Hand, Stafford

Not bad. I'd always avoided going in here, as it doesn't look very friendly from the outside, but it was in fact fine. A large pub with lots of different rooms - a couple at the front, one containing the main bar, a further room at the back leading onto the beer garden, and a games room at the very back. Three ales on tap, including a rare sighting of draft Courage - to my shame I didn't know this was available any more. Service was friendly.

27 Jan 2009 15:19

The Nags Head, Stafford

Not a very nice pub. It's garishly overlit inside, with very loud music pumping out the jukebox. The clientele are fairly rough and ready, or have been on the occasions I've been in there. There are better pubs elsewhere in Stafford town centre.

27 Jan 2009 15:17

Apres, Stafford

Not really a pub, more a bar a place to eat. Tidy but ultimately rather clinical interior with no real ale - lagers etc. here. Quite quiet during the Saturday afternoon I visited but I imagine it could get busy in the evening.

26 Jan 2009 10:27

The Swan and Edgar, Marylebone

An interesting and unusual pub to find in central London. It's very small (about as small as I've seen for a central London pub) and tucked in a residential backstreet around the back of Marylebone station - one of those pubs you wouldn't know existed if you weren't told about it. The interior is rather spartanly decorated, but I nonetheless liked it. Only Pride on when I visited, which was reasonably well-served.

22 Jan 2009 10:39

The Holly Bush Inn, Salt

To be fair the landlord (Geoff IIRC) is very good at keeping track of the order in which people arrive and finding them a table appropriately - so although he doesn't take bookings, I've ararely had to wait longer than about 20 minutes even at really busy times. I do agree with kenmeller's remarks that the beer selection could be a little more interesting (and better served) here.

20 Jan 2009 17:42

Three Compasses, Hornsey

Visited this again on quiz night (Monday nights) and I was more impressed than I had been on my previous visits. There are six real ales on - three look like regulars (including Deuchars and - if memory serves - Landlord) and three guests; I drank a guest beer called "Jouster" which was on absolutely terrific form. The quiz was great fun and very well attended and I understand there's a league ranking of teams from week to week to benefit regular attenders. Friends reported the food was only average, but even so this is well worth a visit if you're in this area.

20 Jan 2009 15:57

The Thornbury Castle, Marylebone

This was shut when I walked past on Saturday night (17 January 2009) - has it shut permanently I wonder?

19 Jan 2009 11:27

The Duke of Kendal, Marylebone

A funny old place - very quiet when I visited, even though it was a Saturday early evening with an Arsenal game on the box. GK IPA and something else (I forget) in evidence. I didn't like it particularly and doubt I would return.

19 Jan 2009 11:24

The Charlotte Despard, Archway

Now renamed the Charlotte Despard. Not sure whether it's changed otherwise.

12 Jan 2009 14:56

The Salusbury, Kilburn

The pub didn't make a good first impression: it was cold, smelt of detergent, and there weren't any menus in evidence, which is not great for what I would call a gastropub. However, things improved when the food arrived: whilst it was pricey, the roast beef we were served on a Sunday lunch was pretty fine and just about worth the cost. Ale-wise it was serving Adnams Bitter and Broadside, and the Bitter was served very well. It has an interesting u-shaped interior around another property as well. I'm not sure I'd return soon, but ultimately I quite liked this.

12 Jan 2009 10:45

Spouter's Corner, Wood Green

I thought this was better than its average rating - very modern decor, a good range of real ales with one or two guests, and good quick service. It's a Wetherspoons, but not a bad one.

12 Jan 2009 10:38

The Jolly Anglers, Wood Green

Not a bad pub. I had a softie, but I thought this did have real ale (GK) when I visited the other day - I could have been misled by the GK frontage though. I visited on a Saturday afternoon and the atmosphere was nice and relaxed, with a very mixed crowd of locals quietly watching the football, chatting, or playing pool according to preference.

12 Jan 2009 10:36

Goose, Wood Green

The Goose chain is not known for its exacting standards, but I though this was poor even for a Goose. It was probably the smelliest pub I've been in since a visit to the Murray at Camden Town - like there, the smell here could easily have been soiled nappies but was more likely, I suspect, to have been the stale beer farts of a thousand regulars. The service was very poor: the barmaid blatantly ignored me twice in favour of serving regulars whom she knew so well she didn't even have to ask what drink they wanted. Very poor. I think it had Pride if memory serves. Avoid this place, it's one of the worst pubs I've been to in London.

12 Jan 2009 10:34

The Toll Gate, Hornsey

Towards the less impressive end of the Wetherspoons range, although it is in a very down-at-heel area between Turnpike Lane tube station and Hornsey High Street. The beer range looked fairly JDW standard when I visited, and the service was indeed extremely relaxed - luckily the pub was fairly quiet so it wasn't a problem. All that said, this is probably the best pub in an area one wouldn't naturally choose to go drinking in.

12 Jan 2009 10:31

The Hole In The Wall, Waterloo

I like this place. RogerB describes it very well and I don't have much to add - it's very characterful, very undeveloped, and a good survival in central London, perhaps because of its slightly obscure location. As RogerB says, there's a good number of real ales - I had a pint of Doom Bar and it wasn't brilliant but wasn't awful either. The whole place smells strongly of pub food - that would put off some but as someone who likes pub food I bet it's very tasty here!

8 Jan 2009 11:32

The Duke Of York, Acton

Thankfully I didn't see any unpleasantness of the kind the below reviewer describes. This is a sizeable local's pub off the beaten track near Acton High Street. Despite the fact that it only had two real ales on, and the one I was served was not particularly drinkable, I nonetheless liked the pub: as another reviewer notes, it's got a very old school interior which I doubt has changed much since 1970, and had a very relaxed and friendly ambience when I was in there, with eight or ten locals dotted round the bar and the quiet hum of chatter. There was also a rather sweet little dog in evidence. I'm not sure I'd go back soon, but I hope this kind of pub continues to survive.

6 Jan 2009 10:47

Winchester Pub Hotel, Highgate

I used to live round here four or five years ago, and I dimly recall visiting the Winchester around that time and not being impressed. On a recent re-visit, I felt things had improved a bit. The interior of the pub is lovely and worth visiting for alone really. The pub was quite quiet on a midweek early evening and the pub was a bit dominated by a television programme being shown on all the screens. There was, IIRC, one real ale, so could do better on that front. But for someone having to contend with the very depressing walk along the thundering A1 from Highgate tube down to Archway, this would be a worthwhile point for a brief stop!

2 Jan 2009 15:09

The Gate Lodge, Golders Green

The Gate Lodge doesn't inspire much confidence from the outside, where it looks like a fairly rubbishy north London shop front pub; in particular the name of the pub is in very dated lettering and it basically looks worth avoiding. Inside, I thought it was rather better than that - it had obviously been refurbished quite recently and was clean and welcoming although a trifle over-lit (it reminded me rather of a much smaller Highgate Ale House at Highgate, which again is a bit overlit). There was a pleasant crowd of locals drinking at the bar, although there were one or two definite oddballs about, which is perhaps unsurprising in an entrepot such as Golders Green. No real ales but I'd rate this above the Refectory, which is the only other pub in the immediate vicinity.

2 Jan 2009 11:27

The Orange Tree, Friern Barnet

Going by the nearby pubs listing, there isn't a pub within 0.7 miles of the Orange Tree, which must make it one of the most "remote" pubs in north London. Given that lack of local competition, one probably wouldn't expect the pub to be much cop and, to be fair, it wasn't. It's a very large pub with a large main area and a big games area out the back. It's quite dark with the sparse look of a fairly down-at-heel pub inside. Service was reasonably friendly although I don't think I'd return here swiftly.

2 Jan 2009 11:23

The Three Horseshoes, Whetstone

I quite liked this - small and cosy interior with a good local's feel on the weekday afternoon I visited. Two or three real ales and very friendly service from the Australian barman. In an area which appears to lack many other pubs, this is a decent enough place.

2 Jan 2009 11:16

The Malt and Hops, North Finchley

A very old school interior which doesn't look as if it would have changed much since the 1950s, but for the addition of various fruit and games machines. It was unsurprisingly very quiet on the weekday afternoon I visited, but still quite pleasant. Quite interesting music playing at a less intrusive volume than Strongers evidently experienced. I quite liked this.

2 Jan 2009 11:12

La Zeez, North Finchley

This was open when I visited on 30 December, so I'm not sure how that ties in with Tubeboy's report from 17 December. It's a resoundingly mediocre place which clearly aspires to be some sort of lifestyle bar but in reality lacks any distinctive qualities at all. No real ale.

2 Jan 2009 11:09

The Drummond, Guildford

This pub has now transmogrified from the above photo into what I think is one of M&B's attempts at a trendy gastropub. These can sometimes work quite nicely when there's a decent beer range and good service but none of these was in evidence at the Drummond when I visited. Two tremendously overworked barmaids, one of them clearly new to the job, were unequal to the task when I was there and it took 15 minutes or so to get served - not good enough. Four pumps but only two ales being served - Pride being one of them. Due to Christmas surfeit, I ordered a diet coke, so can't comment on beer quality. Quite a young and well-heeled-looking crowd. The bright spot was quite a well-presented Sunday night quiz, albeit from the Redtooth stable. But the music played between questions was top notch.

29 Dec 2008 11:45

The Chetwynd Arms, Brocton

Pretty average Marstons pub serving Pedigree and Banks with one guest ale when I visited. Beer was OK but the interior of the pub was very unexceptional. And with a rather unpleasant traffic-blasted location right on the A34 out of Stafford, not sure I'd see any reason to visit the pub again.

29 Dec 2008 11:41

The Beehive, Islington

A no-frills estate pub, but I thought it was better than the average estate pub. Friendly service and I certainly felt comfortable inside it (whereas some London estate pubs leave one feeling very uncomfortable). No real ale that I could see, and a cheap and cheerful food menu.

22 Dec 2008 11:35

Nelson's Retreat, Old Street

Not too bad - aimed at the more basic clientele but none the less not unpleasant - a couple of real ales available and good service.

22 Dec 2008 11:33

The Priory, Crouch End

Strongers can be relied upon to talk a lot of sense about north London pubs but on this occasion I think he's being a bit generous. The Priory is, in my view, a pretty unexceptional pub - as Stongers says it looks bad from the outside, and doesn't look much better inside, being over-lit and a bit of a mess, with a fairly uncompromisingly local clientele. On the plus side, though, I thought the service from what I presume is the Irish landlord was very friendly, and a fairly decent pint of IPA was served (the only ale available). Not sure I'd return.

19 Dec 2008 11:33

Three Compasses, Hornsey

Not a bad pub in a rather dull spot of north London. It's got a pleasant front bar and a large area out the back which I imagine is good for functions etc. - some local old folk were enjoying a Christmas meal when I was there. Three or four interesting real ales and it looked like they make a bit of effort with the food as well. Not brilliant, but not at all bad.

19 Dec 2008 11:29

The Litten Tree, Old Street

I cannot understand the Litten Tree as a concept. They're like Wetherspoons but without the real ale, and more expensive - in other words, what is the bl**dy point? This wasn't awful, but it was entirely unremarkable, on the weekday evening I visited. The clientele was possibly a little better than the almost next door Wetherspoons (the Masque Haunt), but there wasn't much in it.

18 Dec 2008 11:36

The Trader, Old Street

Quite a nice pub - part of the Smith and Jones chain if I remember their name rightly - on what is actually a pretty grotty street running north from the Barbican up to Old Street. A spacious inside and four real ales on when I visited, including Sharp's Doom Bar and IPA. Clientele looked to be made up of local office workers, although I'm not sure how many offices there are round here, and I'd have thought this a bit far for workers from the Barbican area to bother venturing to.

18 Dec 2008 11:35

The Three Compasses, Farringdon

Went in here towards the tail end of a Friday night, so not the best time to review it. It's definitely a very characterless and forgettable place - despite having worked in the general area for six years, I'm not sure I'd ever been in here before - although they did have three real ales, albeit all relatively unexciting. My pint of Deuchars wasn't brilliant to be honest, and I'm not sure I'd return here (even allowing for the total paucity of decent pubs in the Farringdon area).

13 Dec 2008 13:32

The Goose, Holborn

Big improvement since re-opening: now renamed The Sir Christopher Hatton (which was its previous name) as part of the Nicholson's chain. Five or six real ales on when I visited, including two or three interesting looking ones, although pubs in this neck of the woods will always struggle to compete against the Mitre. I had a boring-looking but actually quite tasty sausage bagette. The decor is rather nicer in here than it was when it was the Goose as well.

13 Dec 2008 13:29

The Magnet, Archway

No sign of life here when I walked past on a Tuesday night the other week. I wonder if it has the gone the way of so many pubs since Strongers visited in September.

11 Dec 2008 22:41

The Kings Head, Acton

Fuller's house. Pride and HSB on when I visited but no sign of Discovery or Chiswick. Like a number of Fuller's pubs in the London suburbs, this has been allowed to retain some of its own character and isn't as identikit as many of their central London houses. I noted (but didn't sample) the astoundingly cheap food menu - mains for 3.95 are notable in what is not a rich area. I quite liked this, and would return.

9 Dec 2008 10:19

Belvedere, Acton

Had heard this place had been specifically aimed at Poles although I got little sense of that on my visit: it struck me as the typical boring chain pub run by the large PubCos - it was fairly quiet on the Monday I visited (apart from some locals shouting at one another in a far-flung corner), but I bet is heaving (and horrible) on Friday / Saturday night. Not worth visiting.

9 Dec 2008 10:15

The Tabard, Turnham Green

Quite a nice pub. A large interior full of nooks and crannies, with two separate areas connected only via the external door as far as I could make out. The bar sits in between. I was having a softie, but there were three or four real ales on display including what looked to be one or two guests. A small beer garden with steps going up to an upstairs theatre advertising comedy. I would return.

9 Dec 2008 10:14

The Kings Arms, Clerkenwell

I like this pub. On a quiet backstreet off Grays Inn Road (not sure "Clerkenwell" is an accurate location) but always busy when I've been in. Two or three well-served ales and does decent pork scratchings!

5 Dec 2008 17:49

The Charlotte Despard, Archway

I found this pub to be rather better than the below reviews indicate - it is located in a tremendously inhospitable location, yards away from the thundering traffic of the A1 just south of Suicide Bridge, but on a Tuesday evening I found the pub welcoming and friendly (and quite busy to boot). Just the one ale on tap - Bass, rather uninspiringly - but the food smelt good and the cheese board being advertised at the bar looked really good. Sadly, I didn't have time to stay for food but I'd return here.

26 Nov 2008 10:48

The Crown, Upper Holloway

Wandered in this very old school local's pub a while back and thought it was OK. No real ale, so I had a softie. I don't ordinarily like Guinness but seeing the below reviews wish I'd had a pint here. This is an old-school Irish local which probably looks much as it did in the 1960s - those who like that kind of thing will like it, those who don't won't.

26 Nov 2008 10:44

The Golden Lion, Putney Bridge

EyeCandy overstates matters rather, but this certainly isn't a brilliant pub. Pretty bog standard in pretty much all respects; Pride on when I visited but little else; some rather raucous locals in one area of the pub dominating the whole place.

25 Nov 2008 11:06

The Normanby, Putney

Attended this place on a crowded Monday quiz night. It did some things well and some things less well. On the plus side, the decor was first rate - really smart and modern and a cut above most gastro-pubs; there was only one ale (Adnams) but it was well-served, and the quiz was very entertaining. On the negative side, service was a bit slow (it could do with some more staff) and the food was a bit of a joke - they had clearly run out of top halves of burger buns and were using two bottom halves - it was like something out of 'The Restaurant' and pretty unpalatable - they ought to have taken the burger off the menu instead. I think with time this could improve to be pretty good.

25 Nov 2008 11:02

The Stamford Arms, Lambeth

Quite a nice friendly atmosphere inside this pub which I've only visited a couple of times, both briefly. Not had any ale here; Black Sheep was on when I visited which is always good, but if the previous reviewer's comments on ale quality are accurate, perhaps doesn't mean that much.

24 Nov 2008 11:31

The Five Bells, Streatham

Not bad at all - friendly and welcoming pub - I presume a GK house going by the IPA and Abbot available on handpump, but there was a guest ale served from a cask behind the bar. The GK was pretty drinkable. The pub is big, and goes back a fair way from the road. Service was friendly. Will pop in here next time I'm in Streatham.

24 Nov 2008 11:15

The Calthorpe Arms, Holborn

Surprised to find I hadn't previously reviewed this superior pub. Since the gastro-isation / tarting up of much of Young's portfolio over the past year, it's become increasingly difficult to find old school Young's pubs but the Calthorpe fulfils that role splendidly. It manages to tread the line between being a genuine local's pub but remaining welcome to visitors and does so very well. The beer is nearly always in very good order and this is well worth a visit - although beware, it's a surprising distance from a tube station.

24 Nov 2008 11:09

The Island Queen, Islington

I'd heard good things about this and visited after a visit to the Wenlock at the weekend. I wasn't terribly impressed, but I suspect that after 11pm on a Saturday night, when the place was heaving, probably wasn't the best time to assess the pub's qualities. On the plus side it's a very impressive building, full of ornate glasswork and fairly unspoilt - quite unusual in what is really a quiet residential backstreet. And I can imagine that of a weekday afternoon it would probably be a lovely place to peruse the paper with a beer in hand. But when I visited it was rammed full of young trendies, very noisy and not at all relaxing. Seemed to have a few different ales but I have to admit that the number of ales had previously meant I had to stick with a spirits measure...

24 Nov 2008 11:05

The Highgate Inn, Highgate

Superior shop-front conversion. This used to be Roses' Ale House and is now the Highgate Inn: under both names it's always had a pleasant, cosy, and welcoming feel to it. Serves Black Sheep ale, which is always to be commended, and although I haven't eaten here I bet the food is good. Lots of screens for those who want to watch the sport. The only complaint I'd have is that it's a bit modern and over-lit indoors, but generally it's a decent place.

29 Oct 2008 10:44

The Woodman, Highgate

They've definitely smartened this pub since I last went in it (at least four years ago) but the whole effect still left me a bit cold - very dark and self-consciously trendy feel to the place with some ghastly modern jazz or somesuch playing. The road outside Highgate tube station is not a hospitable place and the Woodman wouldn't make me stop there - hurry on up to the village, I say.

29 Oct 2008 10:41

The Rose and Crown, Southwark

I meant "correct" not "incorrect" - d'oh.

23 Oct 2008 10:00

The Rose and Crown, Southwark

Not sure it merits the 7+ average rating but this is, as someone else said, a "decent, unpretentious, locals' pub". An interesting layout, with two rooms connected by a doorway and - if my counting was incorrect - about four or five different doors to the pub! Ale-wise there were four pumps, disappointingly all serving Pride (which I didn't try on this occasion) - but I suspect this may be more of a lager-drinker's pub.

23 Oct 2008 10:00

Escape Bar and Restaurant, Camden

A pretty unpleasant pub which as Mr Newton suggests is largely an estate pub. No real ales, and a garishly lit interior. The bit of the pub by the entrance to the toilets reeked - no other word for it. Oddly there was a large fish tank in there. Didn't like this, and wouldn't go back.

22 Oct 2008 12:38

The Park Tavern, Finsbury Park

An honest local (Irish) boozer of a kind which still exists - in gradually declining numbers - in certain spots in North London. I rather liked it to be honest - the atmosphere was friendlier than is usual in pubs of this kind and there was a certain cosiness about it - last poster's comment about being the least friendly pub he's ever been in seems unfair to this reviewer. No real ales as far as I could see.

21 Oct 2008 10:32

The Worlds End, Finsbury Park

Last went in here four or five years ago and remembered it being a pretty grotty place. Went in the other night and found it much improved: atmosphere felt pretty civilised and I noticed Sharp's Doom Bar on the pump, which is always to be praised. In an area a bit starved of decent boozers (IMHO) I'd revisit this.

21 Oct 2008 10:28

The Faltering Fullback, Finsbury Park

Looking at the high ratings and effusive reviews, I suspect this actually fairly average pub may benefit by being in an area where decent pubs seem to be fairly thin on the ground. It has a characterful interior, with a triangular front part of the pub with walls covered with nick-nacks, mementos etc. The back of the pub consists of a large and fairly unadorned room in the style of e.g. a Walkabout which I could imagine gets fairly rowdy when big sports events are on telly. Drinks-wise, it looked pretty poor: three pumps but only one serving ale, and London Pride at that: for once I drank lager. Thai food which did smell good. But ultimately I'd find it difficult to rate this at any more than 6/10.

21 Oct 2008 10:26

The Wykeham Arms, Winchester

A very characterful pub in a very characterful city. Large and bedecked with various old nick-nacks, pictures etc., I thought the atmosphere was reminiscent of an Oxford or Cambridge pub, perhaps unsurprisingly as Winchester College is just round the corner. I particularly liked the use of old school desks as tables, although as GuideDogSaint acknowledges, practically they are a little awkward! The beer range is as GuideDogSaint indicates: I too had a pint of the Butser, which was nice but not amazing. A lot of the bar was given over to dining, and from the number of reservations, I fancy the food is probably of good quality.

13 Oct 2008 12:04

The Cayo Arms Hotel, Cardiff

Very nice pub near Sophia Gardens serving a variety of different ales - as GuideDog Saint said, nice to see a change from the ubiquitous Brains in Cardiff.

21 Sep 2008 17:41

The Westgate, Cardiff

Stumbled in here on my ownsome on a Thursday evening recently and was warmly invited to join the quiz. The quiz was great fun, and the beer (Brains) very drinkable. The pub was very welcoming.

21 Sep 2008 17:40

The Pembroke Castle, Primrose Hill

I think this pub was established for Welsh navvies when they were building the main line north out of Euston (the Dublin Castle and Edinboro Castle being for Irish and Scots navvies, and the Windsor Castle, which I'm not sure exists any more, being for English navvies).

I'm pretty sure when I last walked past this some years back it looked like an unspoilt local's pub but since then it's been smartened and clearly has gastropubby aspirations (as if Primrose Hill doesn't have enough pubs for the smart set). The whole effect left me a bit cold. I had a pint of Tribute (always a welcome sight), but it was quite average to be honest. Not sure I'd bother coming back.

12 Sep 2008 15:01

The Hoop and Grapes, City Of London

Recently revisited this former regular of mine. The atmosphere and interior of the pub were still as nice as ever. The food, though, was almost inedible - probably the worst pub burger I've ever had, and definitely the stalest burger bun. I agree that a pub is primarily for drinking in, but they shouldn't be doing food at all if they can't get basics like burgers right.

11 Sep 2008 01:29

Queens Head, Farnham

Pleasant but not desperately exciting Fuller's pub. Pride and Discovery on tap when I visited, along with HSB (no doubt stemming from the pub's status as a former Gales house) and, interestingly, Butcombe's as a guest (quite rare to find Fuller's pubs serving guests in my experience). Atmosphere was a bit dead on the admittedly horribly rainy Saturday night I was in there. I enjoyed hearing a run of tracks from Nirvana's 'Nevermind' playing on the pub's system.

8 Sep 2008 19:08

The Victoria, Camden

I was impressed. Relaxing and welcoming backstreet pub - I felt at home immediately. Two ales on tap (IPA and Pride); my IPA was well-served. Fairly good quality jukebox which is always a find in a London pub. Beer garden as well. I thought the lighting was perhaps a little too low, but other than that a good place.

2 Sep 2008 06:51

Shillibeers Brasserie Bar, Holloway

As other reviewers have suggested, this is an interesting place: a sizeable bar / pub in an old warehouse, with a theatre in the same building. On the Saturday night I visited it was virtually empty, although I was told this was atypical as the theatre was closed. The location is in the middle of nowhere, in an industrial / council estate road between York Way and Caledonian Road. No real ale when I visited, although one pump suggested they serve Old Peculier (bizarrely - not sure what the market for it would be). The food was basic pub grub, but very tastily done. I'd return.

31 Aug 2008 12:18

The Nags Head, Covent Garden

I didn't think much of McMullens' beer when I first stumbled upon it in the Castle at East Finchley a while back, and I didn't think much of it when I had it here either. I didn't like the very touristy and 'West End by numbers' nature of the pub either, although I'd accept that midnight on Friday evening wasn't the best time to see it!

24 Aug 2008 10:38

Old Red Lion, Holborn

Above-average GK pub serving the full GK range plus a guest or two (Everard's Tiger was on when I visited). I was ordering large rounds in a group when I was there so stuck to IPA for simplicity, which was well-served. The interior is a fairly unremarkable 'standing room only' set-up typical in central London.

24 Aug 2008 10:33

Nell of Old Drury, Covent Garden

Pleasingly this pub has one of its early BITE reviews printed out on the wall! This is a small and usually rather peaceful alehouse on the Aldwych side of Covent Garden. Despite the location it retains something of a local feel to it, which is nice. The interior is nothing to shout about but I do like the bay window at the front, original feature or not. Two real ales when I visited, one of them Badger. I'd heard stories about the landlord's tendency towards grumpiness but he's been very civil on my occasional visits.

21 Aug 2008 16:52

The Castle, Holborn

Ate here for the first time at lunch yesterday and was impressed - I had a very nice Ploughman's (with cheese from Neal's Yard - lovely) and my pal had a burger, and we both much enjoyed it. The upstairs room is nice as well - a bit more modern looking than the downstairs.

21 Aug 2008 12:00

The Telegraph, Moorgate

Fairly dull and characterless Fuller's pub in a side street near Moorgate. Full range of Fuller's ales but at 3.25 for a pint of discovery it was very far from cheap. The inside was pretty dull although a good amount of standing room outside is good for summer evenings.

16 Aug 2008 09:37

The Quays, Holloway

Didn't really recognise the below reviews from my visit on a quiet Tuesday night - looked quite a nice place with a pleasant interior and uplifting blue-painted exterior; I thought it captured the look of a proper Irish pub quite nicely. Quite friendly inside and I noticed lots of locals eating in there. I'd return, I think.

30 Jul 2008 15:04

The Old Kings Head, Holloway

I thought this was really pretty awful to be honest. A very spartan interior with the front half of the pub dominated by a stage not being used on my visit. No sign of any real ale, and the rather insolent and fed-up looking barmaid managed to make a total hash of pouring me a diet coke (!). The locals seemed like the usual bunch of heavy drinkers and oddballs all too common in pubs in this part of London.

30 Jul 2008 15:02

Bedford Tavern, Finsbury Park

The Bedford is a down-at-heel pub in a down-at-heel area. If you're after real ale, forget it. The pub was dominated by the extremely loud jukebox when I went in on a Saturday afternoon. Lots of Arsenal memorabilia was in evidence so I imagine this could get busy on matchdays.

30 Jul 2008 14:59

The Flask, Highgate

Never been very convinced by this place. Nook-and-cranny-ish interior and a fairly large beer garden out the front, but a tiny bar which on a warm summer's day is typically wholly unequal to the task of serving patrons at all quickly. That said, there's a fairly well-respected queueing system for the bar which works well. The ales were Adnams (IPA and Explorer), Landlord and something else on my visit - the Landlord wasn't fantastic. The food was OK but nothing to write home about, but given its location and beer garden, it probably doesn't need to try much harder.

27 Jul 2008 17:18

The Albert, Primrose Hill

Wasn't that impressed. Liked the exterior and the stained glass window but the fairly minimalist interior I found boring. It has a nice beer garden out the back which was quite full on the warm weekend evening I visited. Ale-wise, IPA, Abbot and Bombardier, so nothing very exciting - the IPA was on reasonable form.

27 Jul 2008 17:14

Metro Bar and Canteen, Holloway

I can only think that the previous reviewers have very undiscerning standards as this seemed to be to be a very characterless bar. True, it's not intimidating, which elevates it above many of the watering holes in this area, but it has few other points of note.

26 Jul 2008 20:08

The Wych Elm, Kingston Upon Thames

Quiet and very old-school Fuller's pub in a quiet residential street. When I wandered in it was very quiet although several people were sitting out in the very nice garden which I noted had won several awards. Certainly not the most exciting pub I've ever been in but the kind of pub that's increasingly rare in gastropubby London, and would be lovely to have as a local.

25 Jul 2008 16:39

The Richmond Park, Kingston Upon Thames

An unexceptional local's pub - Deuchars and IPA on tap although I was in the mood for a lager so bought an (expensive) San Miguel. The interior is unusually divided into two halves although the half I was in was not desperately exciting. The landlady was very friendly though.

25 Jul 2008 16:32

Sheephaven Bay, Camden

Quite a decent attempt by Pat to recreate the interior of the Oxford Arms in his new place. A large interior with several component parts, and (per the Oxford Arms) large screens for sports-watching. Ale-wise, only London Pride I'm afraid, but I can forgive it that. Quiz night was excellent as ever - lots of the old faces from the Oxford Arms and good cheer all round. Free chips and sausages, but this pub serves food later than the Oxford did - I had the burger and chips and it wasn't bad at all.

23 Jul 2008 17:02

Rob Roy, Paddington

Not sure I'd seen a Scottish pub in London before. A fairly unexceptional interior albeit quite a good collection of Scottish memorabilia on the walls. Deuchars IPA and (less Scottishly) 6X on the pumps: bog standard pub food with "Highland stew" the only nod north of the border.

14 Jul 2008 11:16

The Stag, Belsize Park

I quite liked this, but felt there was a lot of room for improvement. As others have said, it's off the beaten track from central NW3 so escapes a lot of the young rich that populate a lot of the bars in that area. The clientele seemed mixed to me, and I felt the pub had a nice friendly atmosphere. I liked the interior of the pub a lot and particularly the bar, which looked to be original. Ale-wise it was a bit dull: just London Pride and GK IPA - the IPA was well-served but room for improvement here. The quiz (oddly timed at about 7pm on a Sunday) was good, but poorly attended.

14 Jul 2008 11:04

The Dickens Tavern, Paddington

One of many identikit tourist trap pubs in this area; this one bills itself as the longest pub in London, which may be true but does not make it any more worth visiting. When I was in the pub (which was about 4pm on a Sunday), the pub was dominated by a group of very loud, very drunk 20something men singing obscene songs and generally acting like giddy goats. I thought in the circumstances the barman should probably have asked them to leave.

14 Jul 2008 11:00

The Golden Egg, Kilburn

I live pretty near this but had never ventured in before the weekend. I was quite impressed - it's certainly well above the Kilburn High Road average and is probably the best of the non-smart pubs along the road, in my view. Oddly but interestingly it's run by a Welsh chain whose other branches are all either in Bristol or South Wales. A couple of real ales when I visited: Brains and Felinfoel (Double Dragon, I think). They were serving roasts from a carvery on the Sunday lunchtime I visited; the pub was very busy and they smelt very good. The food looked outstandingly good value: they were advertising fish and chips, plus a drink I think, for something like 2.99. The pub's a little down at heel, which is unsurprising in an area like this, but I'm pleased to add this to my roster of decent local boozers.

14 Jul 2008 10:52

Sheephaven Bay, Camden

I've not been here yet, but am looking forward to doing so: this is the new pub of Pat Logue, legendary former landlord of the Oxford Arms. I hear he will be re-starting the quiz as well, which is good news. Pat's aim is to create a "community boozer": I'm optimistic he will succeed and in any case it can't be worse than the pub which previously stood on this site, which was awful.

10 Jul 2008 10:42

The Porters Lodge, Monument

This looked like it had closed when I walked past last night. From the below reviews, I'm not sure it's a great loss to the world of London pubs.

10 Jul 2008 10:24

The Banker, Cannon Street

Unless one works in the immediate area, it would be easy to be put off attending this Fuller's pub because of its poor location - one has to track down the side of Cannon Street station and cross the thundering traffic of Queen Victoria Street to get there from the city proper. But once one has put that effort in, it's not a bad place - interesting interior in an old railway arch with lots of nooks and crannies - the Fuller's range of ales (and, I've always found, notably prompt service), and (although I've not eaten here), a decent smell of food tends to pervade. It's also got a small garden overlooking the Thames, which makes it a rarity among London pubs.

10 Jul 2008 10:23

The Doric Arch, Euston

Agree with the previous poster's remarks: visited the other week and it looked to me like they had cut down the number of guest ales significantly - I did wonder whether this marked the start of it turning into a normal Fullers house by stealth. And without the guest ales, fundamentally it isn't much of a pub: grim location at the foot of an office block between Euston train and bus stations, and a pretty shabby interior that doesn't look like it's been refurbished for years. When a pub offers a fantastic selection of ales, such factors can be endearing, but become less so when the ale count goes down. I think Fullers need to think carefully where they want to go with this pub; I'm not sure it's got the location or building to be a successful bog-standard Fullers pub.

9 Jul 2008 11:21

The Albion, West Kensington

I liked this. Two or three real ales on the pump including Hop Back Summer Lightning. Friendly service and a quiet and relaxing atmosphere in the pub - would be the ideal place to spread a Sunday paper out on the table and spend several hours reading it.

7 Jul 2008 00:17

Latymers, Hammersmith

Fuller's house in the base of a rather soulless 60s block. Was packed on the Sunday lunchtime I visited and the Thai food smelt good. Some big family-type parties in evidence, so it obviously commands a local following.

7 Jul 2008 00:16

The Crabtree, Hammersmith

Very surprised at the average rating of this pub - I rather liked it. Set in quiet residential backstreets off Fulham Palace Road, it's a fairly large and unremarkable interior. Three or four real ales on the pump when I visited, on a Sunday lunchtime. Didn't eat but the food smelt really good.

7 Jul 2008 00:14

The Pakenham Arms, Clerkenwell

Quite a nice local's pub in back streets behind the Mount Pleasant sorting office. Wandered in on a quiet Sunday night when many of the other pubs in the area were closed. Had a nice pint of Doom Bar - would return.

7 Jul 2008 00:00

The Crown, Willesden

Not a very inspiring place, but it was about the only proper (i.e. non dingy shopfront) pub I saw after a trek up from Willesden Green station - a very pub-free area. A couple of handpumps but no real ale in evidence. Friendly service from what I presume was the landlord. Jukebox was playing an unusual but listenable mixture of hits.

5 Jul 2008 18:14

The Refectory, Golders Green

Has been tarted up since I last went in, but doesn't really work - looks pretty naff. I can't remember whether there were ales on tap last time I was here, but there certainly aren't now. I like it less now, at least it was an unpretentious local previously.

5 Jul 2008 18:11

The Prince Albert, Southwark

They've certainly started doing some ales since you last went in Vinnie; maybe it's under new ownership?

3 Jul 2008 12:20

The Stinging Nettle, Shepherds Bush

What used to be the Bushranger has been acquired by Young's, tarted up per its standard new "gastropub" look, and (oddly) renamed the Stinging Nettle. Like all of these Young's makeovers, it left me a bit cold: very deliberate attempt to make it look trendy and appeal to a hip young crowd, which never quite works. Full range of Young's ale available (good); friendly service (good); bog standard pub food at gastropub prices (bad). More generally the pub was too narrow for the large numbers of customers, at least on pub quiz night.

3 Jul 2008 12:18

The Mill Hill, Acton

They've definitely smartened it a bit since its Mr Q days, but it's still a very average place. Interesting layout in a triangle between two streets: smaller front bar and a long passageway through into a more roomy back bar with pool tables etc., plus a beer garden. I didn't notice any real ale. Didn't have food; it smelt very nice though.

1 Jul 2008 11:54

The Green Man, Edgware Road

Recently visited this for the first time in about five years. I remember it being pretty vile back in 2002, and it's perhaps improved slightly - but not much. The pub was dominated by a local weirdo moving round the pub bellowing loudly at various people - I thought it reflected poorly on the pub that he wasn't shown the door, to be honest. The front part of the pub is also redolent of unpleasant smells from the gent's toilets. Not very good.

1 Jul 2008 11:52

The Brazen Head, Lisson Grove

A very odd place - very sparse interior and virtually emtpy when I visited. I think there might have been one hand-pump but no real ale available. There's evidently some sort of youth hostel upstairs - I don't envy backpackers staying in this area, but I'd guess it's cheap.

1 Jul 2008 11:50

The Duke of York, Marylebone

Ah, that explains a lot Biggles. I gave it 5 and would say this is nearer a 5 than a 6.

22 Jun 2008 12:12

The Prince Albert, Southwark

Better than it looks from the outside, had a decent pint of Black Sheep bitter here.

20 Jun 2008 12:12

The White Hart, Waterloo

Actually, I think I got the wrong pub - I'm thinking of a different White Hart, on Great Suffolk Street the other side of Blackfriars Road. I'll get my coat.

20 Jun 2008 12:08

The White Hart, Waterloo

I agree that the below reviews are overly negative. It's not the most exciting pub in the world and I only spotted GK IPA on tap although may have missed others. The food smelt nice although I didn't try it.

20 Jun 2008 12:06

The Union Jack, Southwark

Pretty average. The service was pretty surly when I was there - I was one of two waiting to be served, and when asked who had arrived first I truthfully said I had done; the barman looked at me as if I was lying and waited until the other guy confirmed that I had indeed got their first! Quite a relaxing interior, but probably due to lack of custom as much as anything.

20 Jun 2008 12:04

The White Horse, Shepherds Bush

A fairly rough-and-ready but not unpleasant locals' pub at the Shepherds Bush end of Uxbridge Road.

10 Jun 2008 10:35

The Puzzle, Clerkenwell

Tend to agree with the poor reviews - a very mediocre place. Oppressively hot when I visited, as well.

6 Jun 2008 12:39

The Old Ship, Richmond

An (increasingly rare?) example of an unmodernised Young's pub. Quite dark and a bit nook-and-crannyish indoors, but not unpleasant. The Young's Bitter was in pretty good form when I visited. Good service as well - all in all a nice pub. Hopefully there are no immediate plans to gentrify it.

2 Jun 2008 11:42

The White Swan, Holborn

This smart gastropub is a sister pub of, amongst others, the Gun at Docklands and the Well at Clerkenwell. I'd been for a quick drink in the smart ground-level bar before - which does two or three real ales. Recently lunched in the upstairs dining room - the food is restaurant quality (if restaurant prices as well). Only partly a pub really, but still a good place.

28 May 2008 17:47

The George And Dragon, Acton

I think that this has changed hands again in the last couple of months, and in my view it's gone slightly downhill. The menu is now a lot closer to average pub grub than it was when I reviewed it in February - I had a particularly average burger recently. Service has also gone downhill slightly. Still a nice pub, but definitely less good than it was.

28 May 2008 00:38

The Buck's Head, Camden

Went in here for the first time recently and I'd say it's a pub that wants to be a bar, but doesn't quite manage to be that "cool". Three handpumps, but all dispensing London Pride when I visited.

26 May 2008 19:30

The Albion, Blackfriars

Apologies my first post misled - I was only drinking softies, and it was table service, so my comment that there appeared to be one or two ales was based on squinting across the pub! Four or five ales sounds better, and I shall return to sample them at some point (and will adjust my rating if necessary).

26 May 2008 19:28

The Duke of York, Marylebone

Average pub I would say - surprised at the 7.2 average. A basic one-room interior: functional but not unpleasant. Three ales on tap when I visited, but none desperately exciting.

21 May 2008 01:05

The Victory, Marylebone

An odd place, and not as nice as the below reviews or average mark suggest (I thought). Looks superficially pleasant, but when I went in on a weekend afternoon it was almost dead, but equally difficult to concentrate due to a very loud lady playing noisily with a two-year old kid, which was a bit off-putting in a central London boozer.

18 May 2008 10:22

The Albion, Blackfriars

Young's pub which has replaced an O'Neills formerly on the site. A very clinical gastropub-by-numbers affair inside, I'm afraid. I ate here and my club sandwich could have been pub grub at any old pub, so I don't think they'll be threatening the Eagle any time soon on that front. Only looked like there as one, or maybe two, ales on tap, which is poor from a Young's pub. Lots of good pubs around here, and in future I'll go elsewhere.

17 May 2008 20:49

The Shaftesbury, Holloway

This place was boarded up when I went past on the bus the other day.

8 May 2008 10:47

Kings Head, Crouch End

Visited the Wednesday night quiz in the downstairs bar. The quiz was good, but the bar was pretty horrible - very dark and dingy, rather hot, and just one ale on the pump (London Pride). We didn't drink upstairs so on this occasion I won't rate the pub.

8 May 2008 10:45

The Gallery, West Hampstead

Hosted a birthday bash in the downstairs bar of this place and I have to say they did me proud - helpful and friendly beforehand and the service was excellent on the night. Whilst it's not usually my kind of place, I'd definitely return here, and would definitely hold future parties here (if I hold any).

7 May 2008 18:13

The Green Man and French Horn, Covent Garden

As someone else put it, a nondescript but tolerable West End pub. I thought the landlord seemed a very decent bloke too, plus I heard him clearly telling a tourist that he needed to come and order food at the bar, so perhaps Millay's story was a one-off.

7 May 2008 18:09

The Bald Faced Stag, East Finchley

The below reviewers are too harsh on the refurb here.

Yes, it is a rather identikit gastro refurb, but it is unquestionably an enormous improvement on the hellhole that it previously was.

Went there for lunch on Bank Holiday Monday. The food was fairly decent, and although only two ales were on tap, they were interesting ones - something from Skinners in Cornwall, and Harviestoun Bitter and Twisted. I was too hungover to sample them, but my friend, who is a keen ale drinker, rated the Skinners' ale in particular as being well-served. I think the ale was about .280ish a pint, so certainly nowhere near a fiver.

Whilst I'd rather drink in Highgate, Hampstead or somewhere in between them, if and when the pubs there get too full (e.g. on Sunday lunchtimes), the BFS stands as a worthy fall-back option.

7 May 2008 12:07

The Camel & Artichoke, Waterloo

Smart pub with an atmosphere more like a bar than a pub. Greene King IPA and Abbot Ale on tap. I liked the old skool 90s house playing (e.g. "Don't You Want Me" by Felix) but it seemed out of place at 6pm on a Monday evening!

30 Apr 2008 10:14

The Stoke, Guildford

Definitely improved from its days as Finnegan's Wake back in 2000, when I used to work near here! Recently upmarket effort although the clientele on a Saturday night was, it must be said, loud and raucous. Couple of real ales in evidence and I had a reasonable pint of TT Landlord. The food menu looked fairly nice. The King's Head over the road means this is a good spot to stop for a couple of ales.

28 Apr 2008 11:20

The Kings Head, Guildford

Always used to be Guildford's best pub and on a recent tour of some of the town's alehouses, it's still up there. Superior Fuller's pub with a pleasingly rambling interior.

28 Apr 2008 11:15

The Keep, Guildford

Agree with the positive comments. I've moved away from Guildford now, but it seems to me this place changes name/ownership every couple of years - hopefully the new owners will stay for a while. Only two handpumps and one ale (Surrey Hills Shere Drop), which was on very good form. Music was good too.

28 Apr 2008 11:12

The Astolat, Guildford

Popped in recently and I did think it had improved. On a Saturday night, the atmosphere was relatively welcoming and service from the barman (who I suspect was the new landlord) was friendly.

28 Apr 2008 11:07

The Anchor and Horseshoes, Burpham

Visited on a Saturday afternoon recently and found it better than the below reviews suggest - three or four interesting real ales, although as I was on the softies I can't speak for how well-kept they were. But I thought the atmosphere was fine and there looked to be a nice garden out the back. Would return.

28 Apr 2008 11:05

The Marylebone, Marylebone

I think the average rating is a tad on the generous side, but this isn't a bad pub. Three ales on display when I visited, but Deuchars was off so I had to make to with Bombardier, which was pretty average. One oddity of the pub is that it actively encourages patrons to order takeaway food (a collection of flyers is on display!) and eat it in the pub. Presumably they're making the best of a lack of kitchen. The pub quiz (at 8.30 on Sunday) was well-attended.

28 Apr 2008 11:01

The Crosse Keys, Bank

An unfairly low average, I think. Definitely one of the best Wetherspoons I know in terms of number of ales served, and it's always been quite well served when I've been in there. The interior is a bit cavernous but impressive none the less.

23 Apr 2008 15:52

The New Brunswick, Highgate

Walked past this the other day and it does look a very rough place. Broken and boarded up windows, a large sign out the front warning about drug taking on the premises and (from what I could see through the window) that very spartan look redolent of a seriously rough pub. I'm afraid I bottled out and didn't go in (quite rare for me where pubs are concerned).

21 Apr 2008 10:16

The Horniman at Hays, Southwark

Went in this place without having read the below reviews and I concur wholeheartedly about the awful service. It's a big pub with lots of tourist custom and a long bar, so it doesn't take a genius to work out that you'll need quite a few people pulling pints to keep up. Instead we had just two, both of whom were doing their best but were quite unequal to the task. No shortage of staff elsewhere in the place, but none of them seemed interested in helping out. Which is a pity because Nicholson's pubs are usually reasonable, and this one looked to have a better ale selection than most (five or six on the pump including two or three interesting-looking guests; I wasn't drinking so can't comment on the quality).

21 Apr 2008 10:06

The Wheatsheaf, Borough

Nice Young's pub which probably suffers a bit from proximity to the Market Porter, but equally was pleasantly quiet on my visit. One thing I would say is that the lavatories make the back of the pub absolutely reek - can something not be done!?

21 Apr 2008 10:02

The Angel and Greyhound, Oxford

Above average Youngs pub. Pleasant wooden interior. Had Deuchars IPA as well as the standard Young's range when I visited. Can get a bit studenty, but for my money a better pub than Young's main Oxford pub the King's Arms.

21 Apr 2008 10:00

The White Hart, Headington

Despite having lived in Oxford for a number of years in the past, I was unaware both of this pub and of the lovely roads around it until a friend took me there at the weekend. Almost everything one would want in a pub really - lovely Cotswoldy exterior, cosy interior and fine Everards beer. The kind of pub that one imagines drives nearby house prices up.

21 Apr 2008 09:57

The Bree Louise, Euston

Visited this for the first time last night. An unremarkable one-room interior, and the poster who said the tables could be laid out a bit better was, I think, right. I also thought the part of the pub near the gents' was a bit whiffy. Moving on to the important aspects, the pub impressed on the beer front - three ales on handpump and five on gravity: I had Doom Bar on gravity, which was excellent, and Atlantic IPA (also Sharps) on handpump, which was almost as good. A basic range of food was available: I had a fairly average burger, and my friend a pie which he thought was good. I'd definitely return: it's good to find serious ale pubs in slightly unexpected locales like this.

16 Apr 2008 12:00

King Of Diamonds, Camden

Whilst this is in the borough of Camden, it's certainly not in the geographical area Camden - it's just up Leather Lane off High Holborn. Located at the foot of a tower block but the interior was OK I thought. Only London Pride on when I visited but the place wasn't as bad as I'd feared.

9 Apr 2008 11:26

Paradise By Way Of Kensal Green, Kensal Green

I've never been to this place, but it's name is a literary allusion (to a Chesterton poem), rather than "trite public school wordplay".

8 Apr 2008 10:38

The Whittington Stone, Highgate

TS77 is too harsh about this. Yes, this is very much a local's pub, and I would expect it predominantly serves the council estate located behind it.

But I thought it was a reasonable place: friendly and polite service; some real ale (I think - I didn't look very carefully); and a very non-threatening atmosphere unlike some pubs of this kind. I felt effort had gone in to making this reasonably welcoming to allcomers.

8 Apr 2008 10:13

The Woodthorpe Hotel, Prestwich

Large out of town pub, the flagship outlet of Manchester brewer Holt's. A nice, newly-refurbished interior. Very friendly and helpful service. A good range of Holt's ales although I must admit I didn't find the Bitter desperately exciting (it was the first time I'd sampled a Holt's brew). For reference, there's also a very decently-sized function room out the back.

8 Apr 2008 10:04

The Murray, Camden

Backstreet locals' pub in Camden. The kind of pub I'd like to give a kind review to, as there's so few of them about, but actually it was pretty awful: smelt of baby's nappies; no real ale; barmaid bellowing across the pub at locals. Avoid.

25 Mar 2008 23:32

Latin Quarter, Camden

Arse - above review intended to refer to the Murray. The Copenhagen is a rough-house: a stripped down interior redolent of a bar at a dog track or something. Clearly an Arsenal pub and I suspect it'd be horrid on match days. 2/10's about right.

25 Mar 2008 23:32

Latin Quarter, Camden

Backstreet locals' pub in Camden. The kind of pub I'd like to give a kind review to, as there's so few of them about, but actually it was pretty awful: smelt of baby's nappies; no real ale; barmaid bellowing across the pub at locals. Avoid.

25 Mar 2008 23:28

The Wolseley Arms, Stafford

Reasonable food-led chain pub in a pleasant setting on the road between Stafford and Rugeley. Two beers on tap when I visited: Bass and quite a well-served Timothy Taylor Landlord. Our party of five were all fed well: service was prompt, apart from when we went to pay our bill. Wouldn't go here for an evening's boozing, but fine for a meal.

23 Mar 2008 12:29

Wilmington Arms, Exmouth Market

This used to be a bit of a dive but apparently has been bought by the same people who run the celebrity favourite (but fire-damaged) Hawley Arms in Camden. Certainly when I walked past lately I thought it looked a lot smarter - as I didn't go in I'm not in a position to rate it.

18 Mar 2008 11:28

The Unicorn, Kentish Town

This had changed since I last went in there. Looked to be styling itself as a music (heavy metal perhaps?) venue - there's a stage area out the back, and the landlady/barmaid was dressed all in black, Johnny Cash style. On a Sunday afternoon, it was quiet and relaxing with just a few locals supping pints and quite decent music playing. Despite the fact that it appears to be another GK pub serving no ale on handpump, I thought it was a reasonable place in an area with some lamentably poor pubs.

18 Mar 2008 11:26

The Enkel Arms, Holloway

A bit of a rough-house. I was here for about an hour and heard more expletives from locals in that hour than I think I've ever heard in an hour before. Not sure if it's still a Mr Q's, but there's a large pool area out the back of the pub. I couldn't spot any ales on hand-pump.

18 Mar 2008 11:13

The Red Lion, Thorpe

I didn't like this. A funny lay-out, with a large, empty dining room off to the left, and all of the customers crammed into the fairly cramped main bit of the bar. Lots of different screens showing sport (including Premiership football screened from an unknown European country...) and it was difficult to know where to stand to avoid disturbing people's sightlines. A somewhat local clientele with kids running round everywhere, which is always off-putting. A couple of ales on but service was poor.

16 Mar 2008 00:08

The Vine, Cambridge

Had quite a nice Sunday lunch in here a while back. Nice decor, nice atmosphere, good food. Was on the softies but espied three ales on the pump, including Deuchars. I'd return.

10 Mar 2008 16:26

The Stapleton Tavern, Finsbury Park

Amazed at the number of reviews of what is to my mind a fairly unexceptional place. The interior is large and pleasant enough without being remarkable. Ales were IPA and Abbot on tap when I visited - are Larriks part of the GK empire, I wonder? Food was OK (the wife and I had sandwiches) without being terrifically exciting. The quiz (which actually ran from 8-10 rather than 5-8) was quite good. All in all, an average place.

10 Mar 2008 12:08

The Old Black Horse, Oxford

I too was quite impressed with this when I visited a while back. A friendly atmosphere busy with people watching sports on a big telly. The barman was an extremely affable either Australian or South African (I forget now), who helped us get our money out of the ItBox when it short-changed us!

8 Mar 2008 16:41

George, Littlemore

The pub used to be a Gales pub but changed to Fullers when Fullers bought Gales a while back.

I'd have to disagree with the generally positive reviews of this place. A boring interior, bizarrely divided into two separate bars in the last few years for no good reason. The entrance from the car park is very untidy and they could smarten both that and the corridor between the two bars.

Normally only seems to have a couple of the Fuller's range on, normally including Pride which I think is my least favourite Fullers ale (in its defence, I have seen occasional guest ales). The Sunday night quiz is very good, but they blot their copybook by not serving food in the evening. Could be much much better than it is.

4 Mar 2008 18:25

Plough, Crews Hill

Large out-of-town pub which looked like it had a dining focus. Didn't have any ale but had the full McMullen's range. Was very quiet on the Sunday night I visited (perhaps evidenced by the lack of reviews it's had for the past two years). Can't say much more really.

25 Feb 2008 10:32

The Windsor Castle, East Finchley

I wasn't as impressed with this as previous posters. The pub's very much a local's pub in a back street in East Finchley, not the kind of place that would be discovered by chance. The interior is a basic one-room affair. This was my first encounter with the McMullen's brewery and they had a respectable five or six ales on handpump. I had a pint of Cask Ale and it was drinkable without being very exciting. Generally I'm afraid I found the pub a bit depressing. I'm not sure I'd go back.

25 Feb 2008 10:28

Ryans Bar, Blackfriars

On last review I said this could do with a refurb, but the refurb that has taken place has actually made a bad place worse, I'd say. We're down to one real-ale now, and diet coke was from a can, which is never a good sign. No crisps either. The look is as basic and stripped down as one can imagine. To be honest, it's a rubbish, rubbish place with few redeeming features. Avoid.

20 Feb 2008 14:51

The Puzzle, Holborn

It's now one of those Jamies' wine bars, so not really a pub any more.

15 Feb 2008 11:51

The Oxford Arms, Camden

I hear that Pat Logue has departed the Oxford Arms for pastures new, and of course the legendary quiz has gone with him. Does anyone have information on Pat's current whereabouts?

13 Feb 2008 12:20

The Rising Sun, Tottenham Court Road

I didn't sample the ales on my last visit but did notice it had a couple of regulars and a guest (can't remember what, but it's a start). Suspect this is probably an all right place.

12 Feb 2008 15:06

The Jack Horner, Tottenham Court Road

Below-average Fullers' pub. Rather dark and oppressive inside.

12 Feb 2008 15:05

The Punch Tavern, Fleet Street

Visited for lunch recently, and I didn't like it. The interior is interesting and retains a slightly raffish feel perhaps more redolent of pubs out east. I was on the softies, but drinks-wise it looked limited to Theakston's Best - not a bad pint but a bigger range would be nice in an area where real ale is fairly readily available. For lunch, it was a choice between a hot buffet (unusually for a pub - the table containing it rather dominates the front room of the pub) or choosing from a menu. My ploughmans was distinctly average. I wouldn't go here over nearby pubs like the vastly superior Old Bell, or even the Crown and Sugarloaf next door.

12 Feb 2008 15:01

The Crown and Sugarloaf, Bride's Lane

Visited for lunch recently, and I didn't like it. The interior is interesting and retains a slightly raffish feel perhaps more redolent of pubs out east. I was on the softies, but drinks-wise it looked limited to Theakston's Best - not a bad pint but a bigger range would be nice in an area where real ale is fairly readily available. For lunch, it was a choice between a hot buffet (unusually for a pub - the table containing it rather dominates the front room of the pub) or choosing from a menu. My ploughmans was distinctly average. I wouldn't go here over nearby pubs like the vastly superior Old Bell, or even the Crown and Sugarloaf next door.

12 Feb 2008 15:01

The George And Dragon, Acton

Reading e.g. voddy_voddy's review, there's clearly no pleasing some people. I was very impressed with this pub on my recent visit and wish there were pubs like it in my neck of the woods. A very characterful interior befitting a place which has obviously been open in some shape or form since the 1750s. The back room, with Rousseau-style artwork covering an entire wall, is well worth seeing. Drinks-wise, it had the full Fullers range on the hand-pumps (but unless I'm mistaken isn't a Fuller's pub); the Discovery was very drinkable. I thought the food was really pretty good - a good mixture of meals and sharing plates and my calves' liver and bacon was very nice. The only cavils I would make are the poor acoustics in the back room making the Monday night quiz rather difficult to follow, and the somewhat surly service from the barmaid in the back room. But other than that, top notch - residents of W3 are lucky to have a place like this nearby.

12 Feb 2008 14:51

The Castle, Holborn

As other reviewers note, the recent acquisition of this pub by Redcar makes it a very different proposition from when I added it this time last year. Visited recently and noted seven or eight real ales available - the ones we had were very good. Early on a Monday evening, though, the atmosphere was very lacking - it was very quiet and rather dark and gloomy. Hopefully this will improve as word gets around that its ale selection elevates it among the better pubs in town.

6 Feb 2008 12:35

The Market Porter, Borough

Having heard much about it, I recently visited the Market Porter for the first time and was impressed. Nine or ten real ales available, all of them unusual. Wasn't sure I liked the interior particularly (a bit dark and boring), but well worth a visit for the ales alone.

6 Feb 2008 12:31

The Royal Oak, Borough

A top notch pub in every respect. Beautiful unspoilt interior, retains its local feel, excellent Harvey's ales.

6 Feb 2008 12:29

The Crown and Sugarloaf, Bride's Lane

Maybe you're right Anonymous. Whilst I can't see any chain buying this pub (it's so small) I guess it would probably have become some tedious wine bar otherwise, so perhaps we should be thankful it's still a pub. I disagree with you re. the beer though.

11 Jan 2008 11:54

Deacons, City Of London

This appears to have closed, along with the nearby Slug and Lettuce, as they appear to be demolishing this block.

2 Nov 2007 10:54

The Slug and Lettuce, Bank

This appears to have closed - I think they are demolishing this block.

2 Nov 2007 10:53

The Pineapple, Kentish Town

A local's pub in some very pleasant back streets near Kentish Town station. It's been very well restored/conserved/renovated inside and looks lovely. Three real ales including some decent Adnam's Explorer. Somewhat disappointingly the only food in evidence was bog-standard Thai food: I'd have thought they could aim a bit higher than that. The trendy clientele that AleRider alludes to was in evidence on quiz night, it must be said, and I could see that it might grate on established locals. But generally, an above-average place.

30 Oct 2007 10:13

The Carpenters Arms, Marble Arch

A decent place. Much more of a local's ambience than one normally finds in central London, but certainly not unwelcomingly so. Four or five guest ales and the ones I sampled were well-served. My only criticism would be that the service was a little unhurried, but equally that did suit the laid-back atmosphere of the place. I would return.

30 Oct 2007 10:05

The Lyceum, Strand

Very surprised this one's sustained an average of over 7 from so many voters. To my mind it's the same old boring Sam Smith beer selection but a much less attractive pub than most Sam Smith outlets. However, I wonder whether I'm missing something given the high score it gets on here.

24 Sep 2007 17:17

Ye Olde London, St Pauls

I second what others have said about the downstairs bar being a surprising size. Until recently I'd been in here on a number of occasions and didn't even realise there was a downstairs! Also the grumpy barman's usually upstairs (he definitely still works there) so the service'll be a bit better downstairs!

5 Sep 2007 22:18

The Crown and Sugarloaf, Bride's Lane

On the plus side, this pub has a beautiful and well-kept interior. Both times I've visited, service has been friendly and good. The major negative, though, is that it's a Sam Smith pub, so expect pretty mediocre beer and horrible own-brand coke. The Sam Smith connection will put me off visiting regularly but if this were owned by someone else, it would be an absolute gem.

24 Aug 2007 12:21

The Crown And Anchor, Stone

Poor. Over-lit, over-heated and over-furnished. London Pride the only bitter on tap (oddly). We moved on after a pint.

13 Aug 2007 16:03

The Swan Inn, Stone

A splendid pub. A large range of real ales, none from predictable sources. Joule's Priory Bitter is indeed very good; I also had a pint of Kelham Island Pale Rider, which was very good as well. The pub itself was nice and welcoming, and pretty busy (it was Saturday night). Lavatories a bit institutionalised, but other than that a really good place.

13 Aug 2007 16:02

The King and Keys, Fleet Street

I won't miss this one, I have to say. Do we know who's bought the building?

6 Aug 2007 23:27

The Allsop Arms, Marylebone

I was here on a Sunday night and it was pretty depressing, to be honest. A fairly gloomy building and fairly quiet clientele, who mostly seemed to be tourists or foreign students. Not really worth a visit unless you're waiting for a train from Marylebone, I'd have though.

30 Jul 2007 12:50

The Flask, Hampstead

Why is this pub so well-known? It's an absolutely bog standard Young's house in my opinion. Could do with a lick of paint (no sign of any revamp when I was in there last weekend) and could, if truth be told, do with dispersing the crowd of old boozers that seem to perennially congregate in the front bar by the door. A classic example of a pub trading solely on reputation and location - there are better places in NW3; avoid this one.

20 Jul 2007 10:02

The Famous Royal Oak, Muswell Hill

We attended the quiz and were quite taken with the pub. From the outside it doesn't look much, being in the "classic" 60s estate pub style. Inside it's quite small and pleasant. Lots of nick-nacks and also a very readable selection of books, which I was told are the landlord's own - very trusting of him. A friendly atmosphere and two or three locals had dogs with them, which was nice and contributed to a genuine feel of a local's pub which is all too rare in London nowadays. Not a desperately exciting ale selection (Pride and a reasonably well-served IPA) but the bar did have a very extensive selection of scotches. In any case, the pleasant atmosphere made up for any shortfall in ale selection.

20 Jul 2007 09:57

The Coach and Horses, Soho

As someone else said, not to be confused with the Coach and Horses in Greek Street. This is a fairly unremarkable Greene King outlet - my pint of IPA was reasonable although quite pricey. Pubs like this do serve the useful function of allowing those shopping on Oxford Street to take a breather. The pub rarely seems to be that busy which is often a good thing in Soho.

28 Jun 2007 11:16

The Moon and Sixpence, Soho

I visited this only infrequently when it was a Wetherspoons; whilst it was on the small side for a Wetherspoons it was always tolerable. No more. It's now called the Nanobyte bar although on the inside it's still very pubbish; little attempt has been made to modernise it since its Wetherspoons days; it reminded me of when the Hogshead in Islington closed and some jokers ran a pub called 'Shade' (using five of the Hogshead letters!) for a few months before it went bust. Loud, rubbish music being played to a half empty bar. Some real ale on, but my pint was served very short, and the bar staff lacked the English to understand that I wanted them to top it up (we got there in the end). Really poor.

28 Jun 2007 11:13

The Edgar Wallace, Temple

Having heard a few whispers about this pub being one of the best within walking distance of my office, I paid it a visit on Friday night and wasn't disappointed - as other reviewers have noted, it's an uninspiring space but an impressive number of guest ales, and the ones I sampled were lovely. I'm sure I'll be back.

10 Jun 2007 16:49

Ye Olde Watling, Mansion House

As with all the Nicholson's pubs, quite a pleasant place. A decent range of four or five real ales when I visited and it wasn't too busy.

26 Apr 2007 11:07

The Pavilion End, Mansion House

A very tedious place. I visited on a Wednesday night and the place was absolutely thronged with suited city types. No atmosphere and by the look of it, no proper ale, although I could be mistaken. Very average.

26 Apr 2007 10:59

The Maynard Arms, Crouch End

This has changed totally since my last visit about a year ago. It used to be an unpretentious and slightly scruffy local's pub. Greene King have now given it exactly the same rather over-corporatised pseudo-gastropub makeover that befell Ye Olde Black Lion (the Lion as now is) in West Hampstead. Very busy on the Sunday afternoon when I visited but lacking any real charm - there was also a rather noisy and dominating jazz band. I suspect a number of the former locals will have had to move on elsewhere as a result of the move upmarket, which always makes me uncomfortable. On the plus side, there is a beer garden (can't remember whether there was one before) but to be honest next time I'm in Crouch End I'll probably have a look at one or two of the other pubs.

16 Apr 2007 11:13

The Engineer, Primrose Hill

Visited this for the first time on Sunday lunchtime. It struck me as about as near a restaurant as you can get in a pub - the food was very good indeed and my cod and my wife's burger both went down a treat. It is expensive, but not unreasonably so given the quality of the food. I queued for our drinks initially but thereafter it was table service, which was good. The flip side, though, is that this is not really a pub in the sense of being somewhere to go to drink. Only two real ales by my count - Bombardier and Hook Norton; I had a pint of the latter and it wasn't great. So, great for a bite to eat, but remember - it's not really a pub.

16 Apr 2007 11:05

The Horse and Groom, Merrow

Large pub set in a lovely old building. Unfortunately the inside does not quite come up to the same standard - it's very modern and rather over-lit. A beer festival was in progress when I visited, which meant a good number of ales with some unusual and well-served guests. We attended on quiz night: the quiz was quite enjoyable but we felt the number of teams getting near full marks in what was a reasonably challenging quiz may have indicated some strategic use of mobile telephony. So, a perfectly reasonable place but probably no point doing the quiz unless you're a genius or prepared to cheat.

10 Apr 2007 15:01

The White Swan, Golders Green

A very average London pub, but none the less a welcome one in an area with virtually no pubs. Only one ale on when I visited - London Pride, which was averagely served. The pub is big and roomy with lots of games machines etc. Big screens for sport and pretty busy (unsurprisingly considering the lack of local rivals).

4 Apr 2007 16:04

Jericho, Oxford

Another of Mitchell and Butlers' oh-so-studied trendified gastro-pub-and-Belgian-lager places (see e.g. the Volunteer at Baker Street also). That said, they're not bad really - three decent guest ales on the pump here and the food looked nice (although they'd stopped serving it by 9.10pm when I asked, despite the menu saying until 10pm). Definitely better than the It's A Scream which used to be here (if I recall correctly).

4 Apr 2007 12:43

The Rickety Press, Oxford

I didn't eat here so probably missed out on this pub's best aspect, but when I visited on a Saturday night I wasn't impressed - a poor selection of ales did not tempt. It also seemed that they'd got rid of one of the doors (maybe I'm wrong?) so the pub is now an L shape, with a door at one end of the L and a long walk through the pub to the other end, which appeared to be in the midst of decoration. Could do better.

4 Apr 2007 12:40

The Witness Box, City of London

Probably one of the more obscurely located pubs in the City, off the beaten trail and frequented, I suspect, only by those who work in the nearby office blocks. Its main weak point is the fact that the main bar is entirely underground in a rather dingy bar than can get rather crowded. On the plus side, it always has three or four real ales, including some guests, although they're not always in best condition. The service is generally good.

27 Mar 2007 14:44

The Old Bank of England, Fleet Street

As a general rule I don't particularly like Fuller's City enormo-houses such as this, the Counting House or the Butcher's Hook. The beer in Ye Olde Bank is fine - good, in fact - but it is just too big and busy, with not nearly enough seating, to be an at all relaxing experience. Suitable for a quick pint, but I'd prefer not to spend the whole evening in here.

27 Mar 2007 14:37

The Old Star, Westminster

A large pub which is initially welcoming (busy, bright, looks smartly-kept), but ultimately rather flatters to deceive. It's spread over three floors but none of them are particularly inviting. The arches in the basement are particularly unpleasant - water drips from the ceiling onto the table and seats, so you have to be very careful where you sit, all of which is really unacceptable in a central London pub. The beers are the standard Greene King selection of IPA, Abbot, Ruddles and Morland - my pints of IPA and Ruddles were reasonably well-served although nothing to write home about. I don't know this area particularly well but I'd be surprised if there weren't some far better pubs around.

21 Mar 2007 10:30

The Winchester, Islington

I'm not sure which gentlemen's club the previous commenter frequents. I visited this last Friday night and agree that for a late venue in Islington it is better than average. That said, a predictable lack of real ale counts against it and also the music the DJ was playing was pretty terrible. I also slightly objected to paying for entry at 10pm in the evening to what is essentially a glorified pub, although it probably does keep riff-raff out if truth be told. Didn't venture downstairs much although it looked OK.

19 Mar 2007 17:16

The Old Shades, Whitehall

Not bad at all. A less good range of ales than the average for Nicholson's (although my IPA was perfectly adequate), but a lovely wooden-panelled interior made this a pleasure to spend time in. I'm not sure whether it's original or a more modern pastiche, but either way I liked it.

14 Mar 2007 11:30

The Tattershall Castle, Embankment

Popped in here last night for a cheeky one, my first visit for several years. I felt it was smarter than it used to be, and the floating location offers a certain novelty, but I was unimpressed. No real ales at all and a rather lifeless atmosphere combine with expensive prices and a slight feeling of queasiness to mean that I wouldn't head back.

14 Mar 2007 11:28

The Princess of Wales, Charing Cross

As another correspondent has said, the Nicholson's bunch of pubs are generally pretty good but this one is less good than the others. I had a coke, but thought the range of ales looked less good than at some Nicholson's houses; also the pub itself is rather uninteresting and (I suspect) full of commuters. Better pubs in the area.

14 Mar 2007 11:26

The Blue Anchor, Chancery Lane

I rather like this place, I must admit. Obscurely located down a passageway off Chancery Lane it has a small upstairs bar with outside seating and a larger downstairs bar which is often used for functions etc. The food always smells good although it's probably five years since I've eaten here. A few real ales on tap: nothing exciting and not brilliantly served last time I was here. But it's refreshingly different to the city norm and something of a break from the bustle of EC4. A nice place to come and peruse the paper in one's lunch hour.

13 Mar 2007 14:47

The Slug and Lettuce, Holborn

Re-opened last week as a Slug and Lettuce. Not been in there but imagine it's similar to other Slugs and Lettuce.

12 Mar 2007 17:08

Ye Olde White Bear, Hampstead

Visited last night and was delighted to note that they have revamped the ale selection here. Whereas they used to have a rather tedious selection of three well known ales (Young's IPA, Pride etc.), which I always found surprising in such a good pub, last night there were six ales on tap, including four unusual guest ales: my pints of Sharp's Doom Bar and Titanic White Star were both well-served. The food was as good as ever and with one of the best pub quizzes in North London, this really is a top-dollar place. If they keep it up on the ales front I expect to see this in the beer guides before long.

9 Mar 2007 10:41

The Volunteer, Baker Street

Spent Saturday evening here drinking with friends and was impressed. Four beers on tap - the Landlord was very well-served and there was also a guest ale from Theakston's (Copper Butt) which was on good form. Lots of continental lagers as well. Pub did what looked like quite nice gastropubby food, but we didn't eat. The pub itself is quite pleasant, with modern decor. Although it got busy, service was always prompt and good. I'd definitely come back.

5 Mar 2007 14:53

The Bookbinders Ale House, Oxford

Pleased to see this has made it into BITE's Top 10. It stands out in a city with many good pubs and is one of my favourites. Great pub quiz as well (Tuesday nights if memory serves).

27 Feb 2007 12:03

Ryans Bar, Blackfriars

Popped in here last night at about 6.30pm. It was almost empty and quite depressing. An air of grubbiness and unlovedness pervades it - no atmosphere at all. London Pride and Bombardier available on top although the Pride was not on when I was there. This could really do with a refurb, I think, or even with being taken over. Head to the nearby Cockpit instead.

27 Feb 2007 11:59

The Castle, Holborn

Slightly surprised to notice this was omitted. On the plus side, two real ales on tap, notably Black Sheep. Against that, it wasn't particularly well served and at 3 a pint was expensive even for London. The interior is unremarkable - mostly standing room and often quite quiet in my experience.

21 Feb 2007 17:48

The Chicago Rock Cafe, Stafford

Not really worth adding to the site, as it's hopeless, but for the sake of completeness I add it anyway. Typical for the chain - bad service, very pricey, not worth visiting.

12 Feb 2007 14:59

The Hogshead, Holborn

This has now closed for renovation, presumably prior to the change to a Slug and Lettuce.

12 Feb 2007 14:39

The Cat And Canary, Canary Wharf

Well below Fullers' usual standards. I could forgive the uninspiring location in the foot of an office block were it not for the general air of dirtiness about the place - discarded glasses and crisp packets etc. everywhere, and the state of the gents was poor even for London. My pint of Discovery was mediocre as well. Poor.

9 Feb 2007 17:21

The Fox and Firkin, Lewisham

As someone else said, the fourteen unused pumps tell the story of a bit of a wasted opportunity. No proper beer and generally the shabby air of a nightclub during the day. No food either, which surprises in this day and age. On the plus side, very friendly and pleasant service, cheap prices, and a jukebox. If they got some real ale in and decorated this could be a nice place.

6 Feb 2007 11:26

The Alliance, Kilburn

Shocking story from Sketchers if true.

I went in here last night for the first time since the refurbishment - much smarter and more welcoming than it used to be. IPA and Abbot on tap from what I could see although I had a softie. Following the gentrification of the Lion this is really West Hampstead's only 'locals' pub and I hope it remains that way.

2 Feb 2007 10:44

The Windmill, Cricklewood

Drove past this last night and it was closed and full of builder's equipment etc. Looked like a full refurbish in place.

2 Feb 2007 10:40

The Queens Head, Finchley

Stumbled in here the other night; a very odd and not very nice place. No real ale at all, and very little in the way of pumps at all at the bar. Odd decor which looked rather temporary and empty apart from a cluster of people playing some sort of pool tournament. More a youth club than a pub, and not a very nice youth club at that. Don't bother.

31 Jan 2007 11:35

The Bald Faced Stag, East Finchley

Very mediocre. The problem is with these pubs that are so given over to pool tables is that the pub begins to look less like a pub and more like a snooker hall. Here it's a snooker hall-cum-youth club as the clientele is pretty youthful. Whenever I've had ale here it's been poor although I recall it is cheap. Not a brilliant area for pubs but the nearby Five Bells is much better than this.

23 Jan 2007 11:52

The Kings Arms, Waterloo

A good, but not great, pub. Four real ales when I visited - slightly uninspiringly Adnams, IPA, Bass and Pride. The IPA was in very good nick, though. As someone else said, the main body of the pub is very pleasant and well-preserved with two separate bars, but the back is a bit of a bolt on extension full of typical pub tat. Thai food on offer out the back, which is above average for pub Thai food, I'd say.

23 Jan 2007 09:22

i-bar, Whetstone

Not great but slightly better than the below reviews suggest. Full of sports fans when I visited watching on the many televisions. A cavernous place with loads of pool tables, games machines etc. - but no real ale as far as I could see, which was disappointing. I also noted the sign explicitly saying they don't accept Scottish notes - why on earth not, as they are legal tender in England?!

22 Jan 2007 09:53

The Windmill, Cricklewood

I wasn't particularly impressed - very much a local's pub with a loud and lairy football crowd when I visited. No real ales as far as I could see. I think I'd visit the Wetherspoons over the road instead in future.

22 Jan 2007 09:49

Coach and Horses, Fleet Street

Fair do's John Bonser - I meant not a great *immediate* area for pubs, most of the pubs on Fleet Street being pretty average. Of course, there are plenty of great pubs within 10-15 minutes walk of here, but on Fleet Street itself I'd say only the Old Bell deserves particular praise. Recommendations warmly welcomed, though.

19 Jan 2007 14:07

The Pillars of Hercules, Soho

Loth as I am to gainsay a reviewer of Stonch's expertise, but I think this is slightly better than he suggests. It is indeed "pokey", and too dark, but six real ales is well above average for this locale, and my Adnams Explorer (I'd say reasonably uncommon in London) was in pretty reasonable condition.

19 Jan 2007 14:03

The Hogshead, Holborn

Not surprised no-one's bothered commenting, as this is a very unremarkable place - used to be a Hogshead, seemed to be non-chain for a bit with an eye to gastropubby food, and is now owned by the Laurel Pub Company and apparently being re-branded as a Slug and Lettuce in March 2007. I can't wait.

19 Jan 2007 14:01

Lowlander, Covent Garden

I met some friends here for lunch. We all agreed the food was pretty good, although as I was sticking to the softies I can't speak for the wide range of continental beers, which looked very tempting. The interior is very pleasant and the service was good. I would definitely go back although I can imagine it would be difficult to find a table in the evenings, given the beerkeller style seating.

18 Jan 2007 12:05

The Newton Arms, Holborn

I didn't sample the beer in here; instead I had cokes which were served by the bottle and lukewarm. Despite its location this is something of a local's pub with, as RogerB says below, the ambience of an estate pub. That said, I thought the service and atmosphere was friendly and I'd pop in here again to try the beer.

18 Jan 2007 12:03

Coach and Horses, Fleet Street

Below average. The barmaids are friendly, I agree, and the bar architecture is nice, or at least would be if not for the glass shelves. However, only one real ale on tap is poor, and I didn't feel it was well-served. Also, the layout of the pub is very boring. Not a great area for pubs, but even so there are better local pubs around.

18 Jan 2007 11:56

The Black Lion, West Hampstead

Visited this place last night. It evidently has pretentions towards gastropub-dom (table service, glass frontage etc.) but ultimately is too corporate to be that convincing. The menu is really fairly standard pub fare - we had battered haddock and chips, and whilst reasonable it was not desperately exciting. Service was enthusiastic but could have been sharpened a little. IPA and Old Speckled Hen on tap but we drank wine with the food. On the plus side, they've done a nice job with the decor and I noted a beer garden out the back. I have slight worries about the way the "ordinary folk" (to be patronising) who used Ye Old Black Lion have been turned out in favour of the thrusting young twentysomethings of NW6, but you probably can't blame Greene King - this place looked far busier than the Black Lion ever seemed to get.

12 Jan 2007 10:13

The Devereux, Temple

Never had a pint in here but have popped in here occasionally for a quiet read of the paper at lunch - ideal on a hectic day as the pub is often refreshingly quiet. The location is very good but the interior is, I suppose, a little London pub-by-numbers.

4 Jan 2007 14:59

The George, Temple

I pop in here every so often and like most Nicholson's pubs it is above average for central London. The interior is pleasant and comfy and it's never too busy. A good selection of real ales although last time I was in here I thought my Adnams was pretty mediocre. The food (the Adnams standard menu) is also good, honest pub grub.

4 Jan 2007 14:57

The Keystone, Guildford

Vastly better than the average in a town centre filled with mediocre pubs. The Keystone serves a good selection of ales and on my occasional visits, they've always been well-served. Never gets too crowded which is a plus in Guildford. Has a jukebox to boot. My only caveat might be that the interior is a little bit soulless.

3 Jan 2007 15:31

3 One 7, Hampstead

Not a very impressive place - soulless, no proper ale, has the air of a place that could get very loud and aggressive on weekend nights (I've always kept well clear at those times, though, so can't comment definitively). No particular point visiting.

3 Jan 2007 11:27

The Harrow, City Of London

Several visits later, I've decided I was unduly mean-spirited with my last review - the beer here is pretty well-kept and the food was OK the one time I have had it. I have even come to like the interior more. Raised from 5/10 to 7/10. Still smokey, and still expensive, though, but both of those are par for the course for EC4.

3 Jan 2007 11:20

The Hand and Shears, Barbican

I agree with someone else who said this place *should* be great but disappoints rather. The layout, whilst nicely unspoilt, is not very conducive to a good atmosphere. It's rather smokey and the selection of beers is not great - Courage Best and Directors, and Adnams, which is ten a penny nowadays. Could do better.

6 Dec 2006 10:28

The Warrington Hotel, Maida Vale

I haven't been for a while, but when I lived down W9 way I always greatly enjoyed this, one of the few decent pubs in that area. As I recall, decent real ales and a splendid interior. I hope that the Gordon Ramsey takeover doesn't alter things too much, although I have my doubts.

27 Nov 2006 16:35

The Wheatsheaf, Fitzrovia

I wasn't impressed with this, although I appreciate that 10pm on a Friday night isn't the time to see a West End pub at its best. Only Youngs on tap, and I thought it was poorly served. Quite pricey and I thought the atmosphere was pretty poor as well.

20 Nov 2006 17:11

The Cricketers, Kilburn

This is back open now. I popped in very briefly. No real ale; lagers only here. A very basic estate pub interior, but I didn't feel it was rough or threatening. That said, this doesn't add much to the NW6 pub scene.

20 Nov 2006 14:55

The Holly Bush Inn, Salt

It bills itself as one of England's oldest pubs, and certainly has some of the best food. Huge and wonderfully tasty portions of good, honest pub grub - a real "gastropub" with no pretentiousness. Ales are generally reasonably well-kept, although the vast majority of this small pub is dominated by eating, and it's the food people visit it for.

16 Nov 2006 16:27

The Harp, Covent Garden

Very good. I had heard good things about this place and it definitely bucks the trend of appalling pubs in London's West End. A small but very homely pub with a local's atmosphere and a range of four or five real ales. When I was there both Harvey's and Timothy Taylor were in excellent condition. I'd definitely pick this as venue next time I'm in the area.

13 Nov 2006 16:46

The Maple Leaf, Covent Garden

Not a very impressive place. I'm not Canadian so can't speak to whether it accurately sums up memories of the mother country for UK based Canadians, but as a pub it's below average - only one real ale when I was there, which was (a) not in good condition; and (b) at 8pm on a Friday evening, served in a plastic glass. I'm afraid this epitomises the paucity of good pubs in the West End. I should say though that some hockey was showing on at least one telly when I was in there (perhaps because no football was on at the time...)

13 Nov 2006 16:43

The Spotted Horse, Putney

This Youngs house is rather cavernous and on the nights I've been in struggles to fill the place and hence seems a bit empty. Generally I've found the beer here to be very well-served. The Sunday night quiz is quite good fun although from experience quite sparsely attended.

13 Nov 2006 16:36

The Tipperary, Fleet Street

Not sure I agree there's much of a sense of Irishness here, but this Greene King house is worth visiting none the less - the downstairs bar is very nice, the upstairs a bit shabbier but with more room to sit.

13 Nov 2006 16:32

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, Fleet Street

One of London's most famous pubs but not a particular favourite of mine. The historical importance of the pub is matched by its benooked-and-crannied interior with lots of different rooms, small doorwars and rickety staircases. Very big so generally always some room somewhere, but let down by the poor quality of the beer: whilst the price of Sam Smiths is to be commended, the beer is below average which is a pity as they own three or four of the most impressive pub interiors in central London. As for food, I've eaten the bar food here before, but there are a couple of restaurants which look as though they might be quite decent. Nice bar upstairs as well for private functions.

13 Nov 2006 16:30

The Black Lion, West Hampstead

This has re-opened. I've not yet been in, but with glass frontage and a swish interior it looked more like a restaurant than a pub. I think it's called something like the Lion.

13 Nov 2006 16:21

The Oakdale Arms, Harringay

A very nice pub. Obscurely located, it doesn't look much from the outside and even the inside is a bit cavernous and scruffy on first glance. But the Milton beers are marvellous, and extremely well-served, the service is very good, and the clientele seem friendly and pleasant. Ultimately this is the kind of pub that would be great to have as one's local.

7 Nov 2006 17:42

The Rose and Crown, Highgate

Change of ownership. I'd now say this is "less a restaurant than a pub" - the food is less good than was the case (although still fine), but cheaper. On the down-side, the atmosphere isn't as nice; the food service is mediocre and they've done away with the one real ale they did have. A disappointment.

16 Oct 2006 17:04

The Black Lion, Kilburn

Had a quiet pint in here t'other night. A splendid interior - rightly on the CAMRA list - but generally a nice pub. Broadside was superb although could have done with more than one ale. Menu looked nice in a gastropubby way although I didn't stay for food. Very pleasant relaxed atmosphere inside, but quite dark.

16 Oct 2006 17:02

The Refectory, Golders Green

Not bad - shabby admittedly, but I thought it was quite welcoming in a funny sort of way. I'd probably return here.

16 Oct 2006 17:00

The Hendon, Hendon

This advertises itself as a Greene King pub which makes it doubly disgraceful there's no proper ale on the pump here. Otherwise it's very big, very dark and lots of pool tables and games machines. A poor man's Bald Faced Stag i.e. very poor indeed.

16 Oct 2006 16:58

The King and Keys, Fleet Street

What a lot of talk for probably the most forgettable pub on Fleet Street. It's neither egregiously bad nor particularly good; and in an area with a lot of pubs there's plenty of other options.

In my view the landlord of the pub would be advised not to comment here at all - BITE isn't a place for landlords to advertise what's going on in their pubs; it's a place for customers to provide their opinions.

25 Aug 2006 14:29

The Paternoster, City Of London

A bit corporate and soulless. Expensive food but I've not eaten here so it could be worth it. Nice pictures of London on the stairs down to the lavatories.

25 Aug 2006 14:12

Ye Olde London, St Pauls

I pop in here occasionally and would agree that the level of service is not what it might be. There's only ever the one guy behind the bar (not sure if he's the manager or not) and he definitely does have a bit of an attitude problem - likes to take his own sweet time; always takes pains to be as grumpy as possible. That said, for whatever reason I actually find it quite amusing. I think it makes fundamentally a boring pub more amusing.

25 Aug 2006 14:09

The Magdala, Hampstead

A very decent gastropub - the food is excellent; the atmosphere is nice; the layout is good (bar is divided into two - one the dining area and one a drinking area); and always a few decent ales including IPA.

25 Aug 2006 11:20

The Walkabout, Finchley Road

This is far from the worst Walkabout I'd say - Shepherd's Bush and Cambridge Circus are surely worse. That said it can get very unpleasantly crowded in here when e.g. Australian sporting events are being shown. Other than that, it's as you'd expect from a Walkabout.

25 Aug 2006 11:17

The North Star, Finchley Road

Only been in here once but I thought it looked much better than the below reviews suggest - in particular a good number of real ales were in evidence (although I only had a diet coke as it was lunchtime). Has a quiz machine as well...

25 Aug 2006 11:16

Wetherspoons, Hampstead

Agree that this place has gone downhill over the last year or so (part of a more general decline in the 02 centre I'd say). Service is very poor and the custom tends to a little rough round the edges, shall we say.

25 Aug 2006 11:14

The Czech Bar, West Hampstead

Went in here to sample some local atmosphere during a Czech World Cup game and I was impressed - serves a very decent pint of Czech lager.

25 Aug 2006 11:13

The Black Lion, West Hampstead

Currently closed with a large skip outside. I presume this is the precursor to the renovation that Lyncroft alludes to in his below posting. If so, a great shame; hardly a good pub but a pub none the less in an area very poorly served for proper boozers.

25 Aug 2006 11:11

The Printers Devil, Holborn

Noticed this was closing at lunchtime today so thought I'd give it a quick review - in a word, mediocre. Anyone know what'll be replacing it?

17 Aug 2006 16:25

The Wenlock Arms, Hoxton

I can add nothing to the reviews already here but suffice to say I have long regarded the Wenlock as London's best and am pleased to see that BITE reviewers share that view.

16 Aug 2006 15:11

The St Brides Tavern, Blackfriars

Don't judge this reasonable little pub by its horrid 60s frontage and inauspicious location off New Bridge Street. Service is friendly and serves an excellent pint of IPA - I was drinking upstairs and the barmaid offered to have it sent up in the lift. Worth a visit.

15 Aug 2006 11:38

The Harrow, City Of London

Average Fullers' house - bit of a clinical interior, seems quite expensive, good air conditioning. Ultimately no particular reason to go here in the face of better pubs in the locale, though.

15 Aug 2006 11:36

The Old Bell, Fleet Street

Probably the best pub along Fleet Street. Good range of real ales, reasonable pub grub and a very nice indoors. Never too busy and despite its central location, one feels this remains something of a hidden gem.

15 Aug 2006 11:34

The Finchley Tavern, North Finchley

A pleasant and friendly little boozer.

30 May 2006 12:40

The DISTILLERS, Barbican

Seems better than it was when it was a Jamie's. I noticed some real ale being served which is a rarity in a bar of this kind.

24 Jan 2006 14:12

The Cockpit, Blackfriars

A very solid little place. Nice atmosphere, decent range of ales, quiz machine to boot. Not many gems like this left in the city any more.

19 Jan 2006 10:44

The Vinum Bar And Restaurant, Kentish Town

Had lunch in here a while back and wasn't overly impressed. Didn't think the food that was good despite the price. Service was generally pretty poor and the shabby-chic decor didn't float my boat. Plenty of gastropubs in North London, and most of them are better than this.

28 Sep 2005 15:28

The Rose and Crown, Ealing

I think this is a fairly decent place - a large Fullers' house, it serves the full range of Fullers ales fairly well. The food clearly aspires to more than bog standard pub grub and looks OK. It also has a nice garden and the service is pretty good.

9 Sep 2005 10:38

Ye Olde White Bear, Hampstead

Visited last night for the quiz. A very nice pub; cosy and welcoming interior, good food, good service, decent (tho' fairly standard) range of real ales. Also, the quiz is well above average. I think it also has a beer garden out the back.

9 Sep 2005 10:33

The Victoria, St John's Wood

Pretty sure this has been pulled down recently. The site is now a surprisingly large building site.

2 Sep 2005 16:55

The Horseshoe, Hampstead

Visited this yesterday and it seems to have changed ownership. Less pleasant than it used to be, I'd say.

30 Aug 2005 12:32

The Magpie and Stump, City Of London

Only been in here a couple of times. Struck me as fairly unremarkable; has a pool table downstairs.

22 Aug 2005 17:35

Smiths Of Smithfield, Smithfield

Amazed only one person has commented on Smiths given how popular it always seems to be. One of the highlights of Charterhouse Street, I'd say; the ground floor is always a lively place to have a few drinks and the selection of lagers is quite good. The two restaurants on the upper floors serve quality food (Smiths is owned by John Torode); expect to pay a fair whack for top floor food though.

22 Aug 2005 17:33

The North London Tavern, Kilburn

Visited for lunch the other day and was quite impressed. Lovely inside and the food was pretty good. Some others have commented on poor service and whilst it was very quiet when I was in there I have to say even then the service did seem lackadaisical. I imagine it would be poor when busy.

22 Aug 2005 16:56

O'Neills, Muswell Hill

It's better than average for O'Neills, chiefly on account of the splendid building, a converted former church as other contributors have said. But ultimately the usual shortcomings of O'Neills of no real ale and a chain pub ethos.

11 Aug 2005 14:39

Hog's Head, City Of London

This has closed now although they appear to be renovating it so I guess it could re-open under another name/chain.

11 Aug 2005 14:26

The City Retreat, Holborn

I'll rise to John's challenge and comment on this pub: I agree it's quite atypical for the city and has more of a local's ambience. That said it didn't get me over-excited and the location (at the foot of a very 60s office block) is uninspiring. There are better local pubs about.

11 Aug 2005 14:25

Chambers Bar, City Of London

Definitely been rebranded since the last comments. I've been in their once since and sensed a definite attempt to take it a bit upmarket - table service for food and that kind of thing. Which is a pity as, as the posters below have said, it previously had a lot of character. I was also charged about 3 for a pint of coke which I thought was far too pricey.

11 Aug 2005 14:23

The Angel, Angel, Islington

It's not one of the better Wetherspoons around. But it's far from the worst either.

27 Jul 2005 11:24

The Five Bells, East Finchley

Some harsh comments. I think the refurbishment has improved the pub - yes it is slightly identikit and bland, but it's also much more clean, pleasant and welcoming. It's a big out of town pub with parking and a beer garden. Always a couple of ales on tap and the food is cheap (although I accept it is very pub-standard fare). Excellent quizzes on both Monday and Thursday nights.

26 Jul 2005 12:05

The Narrow Boat, Islington

Nice place. Always a couple of well-kept real ales. Great location by the canal. Interior is a bit modern for my liking but is always clean and tidy. Quiz is good as well.

One problem I have noted a couple of times is the bar getting overrun with rather rough and aggressively drunk types. However I think the landlord's aware of the problem.

26 Jul 2005 12:03

The Black Lion, West Hampstead

Very average on all the times I've visited. Given it's the only pub north of the stations in Whampstead I'd say it could do much much better.

26 Jul 2005 11:56

The Railway, West Hampstead

Doesn't look very inspiring on first sight but is actually better than it appears. Always has two or three real ales on tap and a large selection of other drinks. Lively in the evenings but also fine for a spot of quiet newspaper-reading during the day. In an area as starved of decent boozers as NW6 this is not so bad a place.

26 Jul 2005 11:54

The Rose and Crown, Highgate

Less a pub than a restaurant really although has a little bar area at the front. The back garden is lovely to eat in on a summer's evening. But as I say, not really a pub.

26 Jul 2005 11:27

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