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BITE user comments - topdog_andy

Comments by topdog_andy

The Globe, London Bridge

I haven't used this site for over a year, but I went to The Globe last night and loved it so much I felt the need to get back on and review it.

The Globe's always been a great pub in terms of decor, but sometime recently it's had a makeover, and all for the better. Still the same look and feel, but cleaner and roomier thanks to some furniture removal. They had three ales (Deuchers, Adnam's, and Bombadier), which while they'll never set the weirdy beardies' hearts racing, will certainly do enough to tide them over for a bit. The highlight of the evening was definitely the DJ though. You don't expect to find a DJ in a pub this small, and certainly not on a Wednesday night, but this guy was playing the best set list I've heard in a long, long time. Nothing but soul, funk, motown, and rare grooves. I ended up staying far too long for a work night, simply because of the music and atmosphere of the place. Judging by the boards around the pub they're trying to make this a music-lovers pub with different themes for different nights, but I think I'll be heading back regularly on Wednesdays.

16 Jun 2011 22:12

The Horseshoe, Clerkenwell

The Horseshoe is a great pub. I hired the place about a month ago for a darts tournament and the landlords did an excellent job of hosting it. The garden in the back is magnificent (and rare for the area), and the Cornish Coaster was spot on. A great place to visit if you want to get away from the pretension of some of the surrounding bars.

8 May 2010 11:30

Wheatsheaf, Southwark

I didn't think I'd like this place - probably something to do with not liking the old Wheatsheaf very much - so I put off visiting it for a long time. I wish I hadn't put it off, the pub is fantastic. I think they have about 8 different ales available, fruit beer for the lady, and an inexplicable number of Mexican beers in bottle.

There's a lot of seating and it's pretty easy to eventually get a perch, even on a Friday night. They also have a dedicated area for darts - probably the best darting environment in the area.

They final positive (at least from my point of view) is they play A LOT of funk. I've visited about 6 or7 times now and every time they played more James Brown than WJBE radio. Shame they play it as background music though (the least appropriate volume for funk) - there's nothing that would make me happier than hearing some Bootsy basslines rattling off the cellar's ceiling.

This place is quickly becoming a regular haunt.

8 May 2010 11:26

The Rose, London Bridge

Wonderfully quirky pub full of pluses and minuses. The Rose has a roaring fireplace, odd Jesus paraphenelia, and a fantastically odd jukebox (the soundtrack to Shindler's List, next to the best of Stax). Not much to satisfy the CAMRA crowd, but they do have Adnam's on the handpull. The candlelighting is pretty atmospheric, but the stench creeping out from the toilets is not. Overall, it's a nice pub, especially on a cold and rainy night (which is every night these days). Might be best avoided on a Friday or Saturday night though, as it can be invaded by people pre-tanking before hitting the SE1 nightclub down the street.

22 Nov 2009 15:01

The Dog and Bell, Deptford

This pub is having it's annual pickles, jams, and preserves competition on Saturday, November 28th at 7pm. That's right....a pickle contest....on a Saturday night. Should give you an idea about the clientelle.

22 Nov 2009 14:53

The Pakenham Arms, Clerkenwell

Until Royal Mail calls off its strike plans, this place should have a lock-out of it's overpaid, underworked clientele. "I'm sorry sir, I have poured your pint, but I won't be delivering it to your hand for 2-3 weeks".

8 Oct 2009 19:13

The Bickley, Chislehurst

Went here on a Sunday afternoon, and no word of a lie:

- The three Sunday newspapers available were the Telegraph, the Times, and the Daily Mail.

- The most popular dish appeared to be Oysters on ice

- There was a man hanging around in a cream coloured suit with braces and a matching hat (admittedly the hat was sitting on the bar, not on his head, that would be improper indoors!).

If Wyoming is Marlboro Country, this is Conservative Country.

14 Sep 2009 23:26

The Great Eastern, Brighton

Fantastic pub. If this was it would easily rate #1. A fantastic selection of bourbon is available here. There's only one other place I know with a bourbon menu that extensive, and it's The Cro-bar in London, slightly the other end of the sociable scale.

Decent beers are also available on the 4 handpulls for those not wanting to indulge in Kentucky's finest, and the atmosphere is inviting. My favourite pub in Brighton.

1 Sep 2009 20:29

Le Beaujolais, Piccadilly

Fantastic winebar. If it wasn't for the fact it's run by two of the most hilariously French people you'd ever care to meet, I'd think the whole place is some racist stereotype dreamed up by some English pub co.

Drinks avaiable: wines (all French), cider (french) beer (Kronenbourg only) and various types of pastis.

Light food available: The smelly cheese plate, the dried meats plate, or olives.

Meals available: Beef bourgignon, toulouse sausages, all served with unlimited baguette.

The decor is fantastic. The ceiling beams are littered with handle jugs, neck ties, and Arsenal scarves (naturally). The walls are plastered with french posters and caracatures of frogs (literally).

But the biggest selling point is the two guys who run the place. Just uber-French. They'll serve you when they damn well feel like it, they'll sneer at your pronouciation ("What you want? I don't understand? Oh....PassTIIIICE!!! Tsk!"), but all with that irresistable gallic charm that just makes you just smile. I love this place. LOVE IT! It's made me step away from the ales and embrace the bordeaux.

4 Feb 2009 19:24

Admiral Hardy, Greenwich

This place serves fishbowls of cocktails. Literally. It's no wonder Greenwich University's always a cellar dweller in the Times' Rankings.

21 Dec 2008 15:04

All Bar One, Covent Garden

All Bar Ones are pretty terrible, but for this place to have a lower average rating than The Boadicea is excessively harsh.

16 Dec 2008 17:29

The Station, Hither Green

Seems to run out of beer every Sunday. Two weeks ago I went there to find they had no ale, John Smiths, Guinness, or Kronenbourg, which was the worst instance I've come across, but certainly not a one off. Most pubs I go to I'm able to choose what I want to drink. Here, it's pretty much up to them and what they actually have left. If it wasn't for the fantastic quiz, I doubt I'd return.

8 Dec 2008 18:28

The Smithfield Bar and Grill, West Smithfield

Update: I would rather eat my shoes than have another steak in this place. It had the texture of a car footmat. I felt like folding the thing and putting my money in it. There's no excuse for this place serving such tough/awful meat. I can only imagine the manager peering out the front window at Smithfield Market wondering "Hmmm....if only I knew where I could get some good/fresh steaks..."

15 Nov 2008 16:23

The Nightingale, Balham

Damn fine pub. Dartboards inside and out. Well kept Young's beer. Excellent pubgrub (the cottage pie is fantastic). Stereotypical Young's decor. Possibly my favourite suburban London pub.

15 Nov 2008 16:10

The Fox and Anchor, Smithfield

Why does Smithfield hog London's best pubs? This place is fantastic. Wonderful decor, good beer selection, everything I want in a pub (except a dartboard). Saying that, it wasn't my round. I suspect I would have other complaints if it was.

2 Oct 2008 22:14

The Old Neptune, Whitstable

Wow. I was going to write a review of this place, but "The_Lees" wrote exactly my thoughts/experience, word for word. I was amused by the Watney's Red Barrel on the back bar though. Nice to see it's got a long-standing history of selling awful beers.

1 Sep 2008 17:38

The Bun Penny, Herne Bay

Damn! I wish I read about this place BEFORE going, I would have had the stew!!!!

Stopped in on Sunday afternoon. The outdoor seating area is pleasant on a sunny afternoon (which it was, despite forecasts of apocalyptic storms) and the interior clean and well refurbished. I was shocked to find they only had 1 Shepherd Neame beer on though (Spitfire), considering it's a Shepherd Neame pub and the next pub along the promenade (The Old Ship) had two, and they're a freehouse. The Bun Penny didn't even have any in bottles to offer. Saying that, The Old Ship's "Beer Garden" was effectively picnic tables in the parking lot, so the Bun wins out in a summer head-to-head.

1 Sep 2008 17:34

Ship Centurion Arminius, Whitstable

I'm in total agreement with MankyBadger here. Very friendly place with some decent beers on, one I'd definitely think of going back to, but if this is the Kent Pub of the Year either Kent doesn't have many good pubs(unlikely) or the voting pool is overrun by the weirdy/beardy CAMRA stereotypes. The carpet, while clean, is ghastly and the ale selection was good but nothing spectacular. For a pub to be the best it should have something that makes it stand out, and I'm sorry, having Bitburger and Budvar Dark on tap isn't enough of a tipping point.

Oh...but the regulars are apparently a brainly lot. I gave the quiz machine a go and have never seen so many difficult questions appear so early on before. They must clean this machine out regularly.

1 Sep 2008 17:27

The Hotel Continental, Whitstable

Same prices here as at the brewery bar itself - they're just expensive in general. I love the Raspberry Wheat Beer they do, and the Kentish Lager (formerly Harbour Light?) is probably my favourite English lager, but I'd prefer to drink at the brewery bar as the views are better and it feels less like a part-time restaurant. Still - the brewery can play some awful music (as they did on Saturday) and the Hotel is pleasant enough as a fallback option.

1 Sep 2008 17:12

The Coach and Horses, Soho

In the event of a nuclear holocaust, only two things will survive - cockroaches and keg cider. In that case, this will be THE most happening joint after the fallout. Four, count them, FOUR types of cider are available - Addlestones, Strongbow, Stowford Press, and Weston's Scrumpy. I haven't seen that amount of overkill since the last Rambo movie. Ended up settling for two pints of Lowenbrau, which set me back a cool £7.60.

Nice wood panelling and IND Coope marketing decorate the place beneath the hoards of self-agrandising pictures, charactures, and paintings. This pub's biggest fan is clearly itself. I'm a big fan of old Soho drinking dens, but with all of the pictures talking about how great it is and the various chic people who have been in over the yeras , you can't help feel a bit of an outsider in the place.

Decent, but I'm in no rush to return.

25 Aug 2008 11:05

The Gunmakers, Clerkenwell

Ha ha! No, he was running it on 22-May when I was there, but at that time he was keeping his "superhero" identity secret, so I was having a sly dig. I think he's been running it for the better part of 2008. Glad he's finally come out of the closet (so to speak!).

9 Aug 2008 12:10

The Bavarian Beerhouse, Shoreditch

I previously gave this place an 8, but based on a recent visit I'm having to drop it considerably.

Went on a Friday night before meeting lee_newton at The Wenlock, and ended up waiting about 20 minutes to be served. "Andy, you lazy f***er," you may be thinking, "why didn't you just get off your sizeable posterior and go to the bar?". Well, because they don't allow you to go the bar in this place, they demand you wait for table service - then don't provide it.

The entire place was heaving and they must have only had 4 waitgirls serving the main bar area. The one who was covering our region seemed to be more interested in having shots with a neighbouring table than serving waiting customers.

Eventually we got served, which required me handing over my credit card so they could have my details should I try to tunnel out and escape without paying. Shameful stereotypical thoughts of 1940's Germany rush to my head. Anyway, we order two steins of beer. "Oh...we're out of steins at the moment". Out of steins!?!? In a "Bavarian Beerhall"!?!? Reminds me of the Monty Python cheeseshop sketch - "not much call for that sir"!

Anyway, two overpriced pints of Hacker Pschorr later, and we're on our way to The Wenlock. Don't think I'll be going back anytime soon.

9 Aug 2008 12:04

The Charles Dickens, Southwark

PS - while plaintalkingdrinker's generally negative, at least he's been to more than 1 pub in the last two years, which is more than can be said for you judging by your reviews.

9 Aug 2008 11:56

The Charles Dickens, Southwark

Let me get this right - if someone posts a review that differs from your opinion of a place, you expect them to APOLOGISE or accuse them of lying? I suspect you may have a Barack Obama-sized ego there Mr. Controller.

I think this is a decent place, but also had an experience like plaintalkingdrinkers where the place was empty and the mindless scrolling of Sky Sports News on the TVs dominated the pub. How about if there's nothing to show on the TVs they don't show anything? I have yet to meet anyone who's said "Let's go to __________, they'll have Sky Sports News on".

Anyway, I'm sure that view differs from yours, so a thousand apologies and hail marys...

9 Aug 2008 11:53

The Wenlock Arms, Hoxton

I'm a bit concerned about the people who claim this is the best pub in London. I can only presume that these people are outpatients from the nearby Moorfields Eye Hospital, unable to see the filth due to their condition. Not to say it's a bad pub, but c'mon, surely the best pub in London shouldn't have a lingering, rotting smell like this place has.

Drinking in this place reminded me of the Titty Twister in From Dusk Til Dawn. Sure, it seemed like a decent enough place on arrival in the early evening, but as the night goes on, the place just gets wierder and wierder, the customers more bizarre, and as midnight approached, looked like it was about to be overtaken by the living dead.

There are a lot of positives about this place. The beer selection is an obvious one, with a fine selection available last night (the Rebellion Overthrow was very good). The live music, while not exactly what I'd sit around the house listening to, was also a positive and added a lot of atmosphere to the place. I was particularly impressed by the way they had an organised band to start, and then allowed patrons to play the piano afterwards.

Overall, it's a decent pub, but best pub in London? Not a chance.

26 Jul 2008 16:03

Messrs Maguire, Dublin

I can't believe the place has an average rating of 5! It's an excellent microbrewery, with great beers at (for Dublin) a decent price. I highly recommend the "Rusty" - awful name, but a delicious red ale. The pub itself is expansive, and right on the Liffey with great views afforded from the upstairs area. As far as I'm concerned, this place blows The Porterhouse out of the water.

21 Jul 2008 22:49

The Dice Bar, Dublin, Ireland

Cool place - the photo doesn't exactly do the place justice, does it.

I'm pretty sure Huey Morgan from The Fun Lovin' Criminals is a part owner, and set it up to look like a Lower East Side bar. As he would say, this place is schmoove. The beer selection is identical to 99.9% of the other bars in Dublin, but the place has a great vibe, and as Winchesterclub pointed out, far enough out of the city to avoid the hen/stag/loutish crowds.

21 Jul 2008 22:43

Troy Club, Fitzrovia

I went here for the first time in years last Friday and loved it. This to me is what late night boozing in London should be about, and something I was worried London would lose with the advent of 24-hour drinking. Down a back street then up a narrow, barely marked stairway you find a little room with about 8 tables and a small bar. The place only opens about 11pm, but it's full-up by 11:30pm. The drink selection's not up to much (San Miguel or....erm....San Miguel?), but the ambience is incredible. The music is (to me) much more enjoyable than what you'll face in most other late night venues: The Beatles, The Stones, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash. It's also not shockingly expensive considering it's open late and there's no cover.

I loved it so much I went to Troy again yesterday and found it was a bit like Groundhog Day though. The first time I went, they were playing a film involving The Clash. The 2nd time I went, they were playing a documentary about The Clash. The music was literally the same songs in the same order as well.

Anyway, if you're in Soho/Fitzrovia at 11pm and are thinking "Hmmm....where can I go for another beer without paying a cover/being knocked back for wearing trainers/getting deafened by bad music", check this place out.

12 Jul 2008 12:13

The Porterhouse, Covent Garden

This place has gone way up in my estimation after their hosting of Canada Day yesterday. First of all, they sold Sleeman's beers at a discount for the celebrations, including Sleeman's Pale Ale which I had never seen before. Secondly, they had Thwaites's Lancaster Bomber on the handpull, which is my favourite English ale.

The atmosphere there was great, and a perfect contrast to The Maple Leaf, which has screwed their Canadian customers over, and loves to fleece people on Canada Day. I still think the place draws undesirables on Friday nights, but the owners clearly care about trying to give the customers what they want.

2 Jul 2008 23:09

The Gunmakers, Clerkenwell

Nice little pub on a side street in Clerkenwell. The pub has been slightly refurbised (for the better) since the photo, and the bar staff are very knowledgeable and friendly. They had Landlord and Young's Ordinary on when I was there last week. While the landlord is a spirits man and knows nothing about good beer personally, he keeps an excellent pint.

Worth a look in if you're crowded out of the Jerusalem or the Crown.

28 May 2008 18:50

The Keg, Toronto

I don't recommend that anyone at any time for any reason goes to Rexdale. If you want to go to a Keg (which is more of a steakhouse than a bar), go to the one on Jarvis Street which is in a converted mansion, and leave this one a wide berth.

26 May 2008 18:23

The Woodman, Highgate

Excellent place to stop in as a half-way point on the Finsbury Park to Alexandra Palace Parkland Walk. Good food, cosy decor, and relaxed atmosphere. They've also got a couple of pool tables tucked away unintrusively at one end. The one downside was the ale selection - 4 of my least favourites (Courage Best, Directors, Bombadier, and GK IPA). However, I liked the pub so much otherwise that I'll definitely return next time I do the walk.

26 May 2008 18:19

The Nothe Tavern, Weymouth

This pub is on the opposite side of the harbour from the town centre, so it's a nice place to escape the crowds on a busy weekend. To get across the harbour, you can catch "the ferry"....which apparently is a man with a row-boat. A rugged man mind you, so I wouldn't suggest you make any poor double-entendres with him ("so, are you a ferry then sir?"), unless you fancy swimming across.

The Nothe has a fantastic patio area, even though they make Basil Fawlty-esque claims about their sea views (if you look through the narrow gap between two buildings, you can just about see a small section of harbour - potentially up to half a boat's worth). The interior is quite cosy as well, with your typical red carpet/wood panelling & brass pub fittings, all in good nick. I think when I was there they had Bateman's and Ringwood available on the handpull.

The place lacks the history/character of other Weymouth pubs, but if you just want a retreat for a sunny afternoon, it's worth a visit.

16 May 2008 17:51

The Firehouse, Southampton

Great Rock Bar in Central Southampton. On the night I went they had a band playing AC/DC, Deep Purple, and CCR covers. When the band is off, they also have a fantastic jukebox full of classic hard rock. There's also a couple of pool tables in here, and (now) one of my favourite pinball machines (Wheel of Fortune). If you like your 70's/80's rock and your unlucky enough to be in Southampton, definitely give this place a look-in.

16 May 2008 17:38

The Betsey Trotwood, Clerkenwell

I hate the physical aspects of this pub - it's badly laid out, the downstairs is grubby, and the ground floor has little character. However, the barstaff are excellent and make the difference with this place.

30 Mar 2008 14:51

De Hems, Soho

Great pub. The downstairs bar feels more like a swiss chalet than a dutch pub, but it's pleasant. The upstairs bar is a bit bland, but with that selection of beer, you won't notice after two.

29 Mar 2008 13:01

The Famous Swan of Lee, Lee

Re-opens this week. Seems they closed it down for a week or two to tackle a rodent infestation. Don't think I'll be rushing in there.

15 Mar 2008 12:26

The Prince Albert, Greenwich

Probably my favourite pub of the Union/Richard/Albert triumvirate. Better selection of beer than the "Young's" (ruined by Charles Wells), and sugared-up toddlers than The Union, it also has a great dart board location, and is much bigger than expected from the outside. Will stop in here more often when wandering home from Greenwich.

2 Mar 2008 23:28

The Park Tavern, Eltham

Beautiful old Truman's pub with a bar that looks like it's made of balsa wood and bought as a flat-pack from Ikea. If you're going to refurb the place, do it well! The drink selection is reasonable and the rest of the pub is well furnished, it's just the bar that looks hideous.

2 Mar 2008 23:22

The Dog and Bell, Deptford

Can only be described as a surreal experience. Wandering down a back street in Deptford passed a disused wharf and an abandoned pub, I think my jaw dropped simply finding a pub that was open, let alone one with ads for Trappist Rochefort on the exterior. At first I did a double take, thinking it must be a movie set, or that someone clubbed me across the head and I was having a Life on Mars moment, but no, it was a real, functioning pub in the middle of nowhere (sorry Deptforders, but let's be honest here).

Anyway, I wasn't particularly thirsty, but I just had to go in for a beer to make sure it wasn't an illusion. Sure enough, they had about 4 or 6 hand pulls, and I'd guess about 30 Belgian beers in the fridge. I opted for the Rochefort 8 (I felt a bit bewildered already, no point holding back on the light stuff).

This is just a very, very odd place. It's a normal run down South London boozer in terms of building/decor/clientelle, in a location that shouldn't be able to sustain trade (like it's boarded up neighbour), that happens to have the best selection of beer east of The Rake. The prices are also excellent - the 8 (£3) costing me less than half what a 10 cost me in The Rake the week before. I don't know if I'll go back - it's not often I think "I think I'll go out in Deptford tonight" - but if for some reason you happen to be around here, definitely stop in. It needs to be seen and supported before it gets turned into a flat, estate agent, or fringe Christian cult "church" like most other pubs in Deptford.

2 Mar 2008 00:54

The Smithfield Bar and Grill, West Smithfield

I should hate this place. It's pretentious, typically full of jerks, and a carbony copy of the other Living Room estates. However, for some odd reason I really like it. The music's surprisingly funky on most nights(in a P-Funk, Sly and the Family Stone way, not "So like, don't you like David Jordan yeah? He's like, oh my god, so funky!" way), and the cocktail list keeps the other half amused. I like how quiet the place is on a Saturday night or late on a Friday. A great way to unwind after a long week. They even get the occassional interesting bottled beer in.

Worth a look in if you're in the area - it's certainly better than it's peers in the area (Fluid, Charterhouse, etc).

1 Mar 2008 11:46

The Whitstable Brewery Bar, Whitstable

There's nowhere I'd rather be on a (rare) glorious British summer's day. Incredible views, excellent beer, just amazing.

16 Feb 2008 14:12

Au Bon Vieux Temps, Brussels

As usual, Lad Newton's spot-on. This pub is fantastic and needs a visit on any trip to Brussels. Thanks to the Germans there's not a lot of historic places left in Brussels, but this is a rare gem that needs to be seen.

16 Feb 2008 13:25

Delirium Cafe, Brussels

At the time of my visit I thought it was the greatest bar I'd ever visited, but to be honest but I was pretty buzzed on Belgian beers by that point. Had I gone to a Yates in that condition, I'd probably be ready to declare that the greatest bar in the world as well.

Anyway, what I do remember is:

- a great atmosphere. Strangers from all around the world talking to each other and having a great time.
- rock music cranked to 11
- interesting decor: every available piece of space was covered with beer merchandising from around the globe.
- a beer menu the size of the Yellow Pages. They guarantee to have at least 2004 different beers available at any given point. Surprisingly the missus managed to order one that was unavailable (Quelle Que Chose? from Quebec), which almost made me want to demand a stock take to back up their claims.
- They managed to have the correct glass for each beer. The wife's Mongolo (no accounting for taste) was served in what looked like a soup bowl.

Anyway, I did love the place, and would highly recommend a visit from anyone who finds themselves in Brussels. It's not like there's much else to do in town.

16 Feb 2008 13:21

Strawberry Gardens, Fleetwood

What do you do with a drunken sailor?
What do you do with a drunken sailor?
What do you do with a drunken sailor?
Send him to The Gardens.

Rough. Drinking in here was like drinking with the cast of Popeye (if Olive Oyl weighted 250 pounds, had no teeth, and was covered in tattoos). The fact that it's closed down makes me wary of going into any other Fleetwood pub, in case the Gardens' crew have moved there.

22 Jan 2008 14:06

Bell Inn, Moreton in Marsh

I agree with Chrismouse - this place has seen much better days. A bland pub made worse by the barman having soap-dodger Newton Falkner on repeat on the stereo. Not even the whole album, just the 2 or 3 songs (you know, the Massive Attack cover, the Jack Johnson style paint-by-numbers effort, and "the hit"). I suspect the barman (who looked like he'd been up all night playing Dungeons and Dragons) kept skipping back and playing them over and over because he like them, with total disregard to the cringing customers (we were the only ones there).

I was hoping for a cider, but it was off, so I went for some CAMRA endorsed Vanilla Bumble Beer in bottle that was flat and awful. Couldn't get out of the place quick enough.

22 Jan 2008 09:33

The Crown and Anchor, Euston

If you like M&B's unbranded pubs (which I do), you'll like this place. Beer selection is the same as noted by GuideDogSaint, and typical for M&B. Decent options for food to pick at as a group as well. This place is miles better than The Bree Louise around the corner, which has the atmosphere of a black hole.

22 Jan 2008 09:26

The Kings Arms, Mickleton

I agree with David, and for the most part Mike (except for his dismissing of darts!). This is your perfect country village pub. Hook Norton available, lovely coal fire roaring away, this is a great place to unwind (especially after expanding your gut at The Pudding Club up the road).

21 Jan 2008 10:13

The Black Bear, Moreton in Marsh

Bit of a rough football pub. They've got about 5 TVs showing the footy and various nations' flags adorning the ceiling. Not the kind of place you'd expect to find in central Moreton-in-Marsh. I wasn't overly impressed with the Donnington ale either, but I think that's more to do with the style rather than the upkeep.

If you want to watch sport on TV, this is probably your best bet in town. Otherwise, there's little to like about it.

21 Jan 2008 10:07

Redesdale Arms, Moreton-In-Marsh

Really enjoyed this place yesterday. Two fireplaces on the go, various boardgames available, 2 Hook Norton's available (ordinary and Old Hooky), decent burgers. Basically wiled away the day in here, as there's so little else to do in Moreton on a Sunday. We stopped in 3 pubs (The Black Bear and the Old Bell) and this was easily the best one.

21 Jan 2008 10:03

The Amersham Arms, New Cross

I LOVE IT! Went here last night for the first time after the refurb, and was amazed by the job they've done.

The pub is now very music focused, with live bands on an almost nightly basis in the back room. The music in the front bar was also (debatably) fantastic, playing a good mix of cool tunes from across all genres (notably Johnny Cash and Bobby Womack).

The Amersham also has a bar billards table, the first one I've seen in London outside of the "old man" haunts of The Pembury and The Glasshouse Stores. I didn't play, but the table seemed to be in excellent condition - better than that at the two pubs previously mentioned.

Not much on offer for the real-ale fanatics- they only had Spitfire on tap last night - but I was pleasantly surprised to find Stowford Press on as their house cider.

The menu is great, with locally produced food at excellent prices. I had a pie produced by Deptford Butchers (was on route to the footy, so it seemed appropriate) that was one of the better pies I've had in London.

It was only my first visit (post-refurb) last night, but I think I'll start making regular stops in here. It's probably the most similar place I've found in London to my all-time favourite bar (The Tap in Toronto). My only gripe is that it's full of Goldsmiths students (paying large fees studying to become unemployed artists), but they're easily ignored.

16 Jan 2008 11:43

The One Tun, Farringdon

They seem to have spent a lot of money fixing up the exterior, and about £20 inside replacing the dartboard.....a perfect refurb as far as I'm concerned! I kind of like the shabby, 60's(?) era, Watney's branded interior, and was frightened it may have been removed when I approach the new look frontage. The Thai food is still available too, which is a pleasant way to fill up before touring around Clerkenwell's numerous drinking delights.

15 Jan 2008 09:22

The Coach and Horses, Clerkenwell

If you squint really, really hard, you can almost see the remnants of a good pub behind the gastropub facade. The shell is a nice, traditional, wood panelled pub, but don't be fooled. Inside, you'll only find overpriced drinks, and pseudo-chi chi food; "Irish Hereford Steak in Bearnaise Sauce" for example. Ooooh! Irish you say!?!? How exotic. The sauce was about an inch thick too, and tasted like it was it was made from a Coleman's instant packet. "Why did you have the steak if you're such a cynic about it?" I hear you say? Well, because being an up-its-own-arse gastropub, they only offer four dishes a night, and the other 3 didn't appeal (2 seafood, one vegetarian, not exactly your alpha-male fare).

I don't particularly like gastropubs, but I know a good one from an bad one, and this was certainly towards the latter end of the scale.

15 Jan 2008 09:02

The Lord Northbrook, Lee

I agree. This place is now disgusting. The pool room (read: shack) at the back is literally rotting, with mould and fungus are running up the damp walls. It should be condemned by health inspectors.

4 Jan 2008 11:15

The Dacre Arms, Lee

Fantastic pub in the middle of a side street, off a another side street, off a thoroughfare in the middle of nowhere Lewisham. Feels more like a country village pub than a South London boozer. Up to 4 ales available.

Sure - when I go I'm the youngest person in the pub by, oh, 70 years or so, but I'm turning 30 this year and am starting to appreciate places that still make me feel young. Plus I think I'm a grumpy old man well before my time, so enjoy the like minded company.

Anyway, while it's a lovely pub, it's one dependent on support from the local community in order to survive, as it won't get any passing trade. If you live in Lewisham/Lee/Blackheath, you should try to stop in here when possible. To paraphrase that jobless-hippie waster Joni Mitchell, you won't know what you've got til'it's gone.

3 Jan 2008 09:02

One, Lewisham

If this pub's so great, why do all the customers seem to socialise via this website, rather than in person? And why does everyone refer to it as ONE in capitals? Is it an acronym? Owners Need Evicting? Once Nice Establishment?

After slating this place without ever entering, I gave it a try before bowling across the road. No surprise - it's terrible. If you think you're sophisticated because you drink "Foreign Lager" (Kronenbourg and Stella), this place is for you.

2 Jan 2008 17:42

Bunker, Covent Garden

Good beer, awful venue. What is it with microbreweries and industrial surroundings? Just because you brew on the premises doesn't mean I want to drink in what looks like a factory. It's like going to a steakhouse made to look like a meat processing plant.

The toilets are confusing as well, as they label the ladies "Herr", which of course means man in German, and I tend to associate Bunkers with Germans (or at least ONE german).

It's a good place to stop in for a swifty while the missus is blowing your credit limit in Neal's Yard, but I'd never settle down for an evening in here.

Oh, and I love photos of this place! Minutes of mind numbing entertainment flicking between the two. Doors open/doors close/doors open/doors close.

2 Jan 2008 08:27

The Nellie Dean of Soho, Soho

I can't believe I've lived in this city for nearly 12 years now, and last Friday was the first time I stepped foot in this place. I love Soho pubs like this - traditional decor, seedy orange lighting, and odd mix of characters, so it was no surprise that I instantly fell in love with the place upon arrival. A strong selection of beers (for Soho at least), a smattering of loons around the place, rock music in the background, and even though the place was rammed shoulder to shoulder, we managed to get stools at the bar within about 10 minutes.

A new favourite.

27 Dec 2007 10:32

Spice Island, Rotherhithe

Indigo: Perhaps the new name is an attempt at subliminal messaging (piles of salt = very thirsty!).

They can name this place "Super Fantastic Fun Pub" for all I care, it's still terrible.

21 Dec 2007 11:13

The Imperial Pub Tavern, Toronto

I love this pub - it's so depressing, it's funny. It's one of those pubs where you can just tell from looking at it: it's not a place to drink, it's a place to get drunk and maudlin. It could be the nicest day of the year and you approach this place with a skip in your step, and then as soon as you walk in - BAM! - instant depression.

At the back there's a dark and dirty pool room, with shutters over the windows. I went there once, and thought "my god it's dark here, what if I open the shutters?". The answer is - you're faced with a filthy window, prison-style iron bars (I presume to keep the customers in, rather than intruders out), and a rubbish strewn alley.

The main room itself is caught in a (70's?) period time-warp. It's not a theme pub, it's just that it hasn't been touched since that period. In the middle of the central bar is a vintage fish tank for mind-numbing entertainment. I swear, even the fish in this place look like they want to kill themselves. There's allegedly an upstairs "library" bar, but I've never ventured up there - simply entering the downstairs bar strips me of all enthusiasm and ambition, so stairs are out of the question.

It's additionally worth noting that there's nothing on the jukebox later than the 1950s (fact, not hyperbole), as the owner apparently doesn't like anything later, so you're faced with drowning your sorrows to silence, or the wallowing sounds of Gene Pitney.

Anyway, I kid, but I love it. If you're ever in Toronto (as this is a UK focussed site), and you fancy a drink, do stop in this place - it's right in the centre of town by the Eaton Centre, and it will seriously affect your vacation experience.

A trip to Toronto without stopping in The Imperial:

"How was your vacation?"
"Fantastic! I had such a wonderful time"

A trip to Toronto with a visit to The Imperial:

"How was your vacation?"
"Who cares.........."

20 Dec 2007 11:04

The Saracen's Head, Poulton Le Fylde

Excellent Thwaites pub in a one-horse town off the Fylde Coast. The homecooked food is some of the best pub food I've ever had. I highly recommend the steak & ale pie w/chips, although their seasonal pies are excellent as well. The pub has 3 handpumps, typically offering Bomber, Original, and some sort of Thwaites seasonal. They also have smooth and mild on nitrokeg.

The pub has a very large car park in the back, capable of holding the town's car population twice over, which is helpful as Preesall is the middle of nowhwere, and you'll probably need to drive here. The entrance to the car park can't be missed, as it's marked by a giant Saracen's Head - from the days when portraying arabs with comically oversized turbans wasn't offensive (to Brits at least.......)

Don't miss out on checking out the Black Bull next door either.

20 Dec 2007 09:44

Kings Stores, Bishopsgate

People afraid of catching MRSA at the Royal London Hospital should ask to have their operations done here, such is the sterile atmosphere of the place. Egg-white walls, bright lighting, easy-wipe surfaces (no carpets, hard-wood seats) - the place has about as much atmosphere are Mars. Don't expect a seat either, they keep tables and chairs to a minimum, as it would hinder their pack-em-in policy. Imagine city workers packed at the bar, like pigs packed at a water trough in a barn, and you've got this place. Terrible.

19 Dec 2007 10:37

The Ship, Soho

Really don't understand why everyone makes such a big deal about this place. It's a Fuller's Pub. It looks like any other Fuller's pub. It has the same beers as any other Fuller's pub. The only thing that makes it different is the music, and to be honest, music-focused pubs should either have:

a) jukeboxes, so the customers can choose what they want to hear, or
b) DJs/Bands, where you can say " and so's playing tonight, and I like what he plays, so let's go".

Instead, you have to rely on a member of barstaff with similar tastes working that night, and let's face it, when customers get to know a pub's staff rotas they're perilously close to being either alcoholics or stalkers.

Take any other Fuller's pub, turn up the music, and you've got The Ship. Nice, but nowhere near "the best pub in Soho".

14 Dec 2007 10:57

The Rising Sun, Smithfield

A wonderful pub that is often overlooked in the Sam Smith's portfolio. The main bar has a working fireplace, and is a great place to waste away a Saturday or Sunday winter's afternoon playing darts. The upstairs resembles a Victorian study, and is a very relaxing place to sit around with the paper or a book. The place can occassionally resemble a flash mob scene when it's overrun by walking tours or escapees from weddings at the neighbouring Priory Church (of 4 Weddings fame), but they're usually brief blips in an otherwise enjoyable place.

4 Dec 2007 09:48

Suchard, London Bridge

Back when this was The Czar Bar, it was a legendary dive bar. Now that it's Suchard's, it just seems confused. It still has remnants of the gritty Czar Bar feel, but now with Pad Thai and Chang beer. Very bizarre.

However, the Bishop of Southwark appears to be a fan, as this is where he famously got sozzled before breaking into a stranger's car and throwing toys around. Perhaps it's not that different from the Czar Bar after all.

4 Dec 2007 09:38

The Grapes, Limehouse

Maidenman is spot on with his review. The Grapes is a fantastic old pub in an area that time either forgot or demolished. My favourite feature in this pub is the old painting on the wall, which is a picture of the interior of the pub. I'm no art collector, so can't tell you exactly how old it is, but the picture looks like it's about a century old, and yet the interior looks in the painting looks exactly the same (minus the mutton-chops and top hats of the clientelle). Secretly, I was kind of hoping for a Twighlight Zone moment, seeing myself in the painting, looking at the painting in the painting, and so on, but sadly not.....

The pub also doesn't allow people to use their mobile phones in the pub, which prevents the workers of nearby Canary Wharf using the place as a 2nd office with taps. Wonderful policy.

24 Nov 2007 16:43

The Punch Tavern, Fleet Street

Held my wedding reception here last month. The interest and care they put into the planning was amazing, and the appearance/service on the day was excellent. I'd highly recommend hiring this pub out for any function. It's also a nice pub for a drink in its own right, with a working fireplace, attractive decor, and plenty of seating. As Rex mentioned they don't have a lot of different beers, but the ones they do have are well kept. Will definitely be spending a lot more time in there.

15 Nov 2007 16:34

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, Fleet Street

This is one of my favourite pubs in London, so I brought my Canadian visitors to check it out last night. It turned out to be a huge disappointment.

It was ever so slightly cool yesterday evening, but they responded by firing up the coal fireplaces. As a result, the front bar resembled a walk-in oven. The Chop Room and the restaurant were fully booked for the entire evening, so we had to go to the cellar bar for food. It took an hour and a half to arrive, and when it did, the food was stone cold.

What was meant to be an introduction to London's great pubs just went on to confirm all the worst stereotypes about Britain: warm beer (warm everything with the fires), crap food, poor service. At least they enjoyed the prices, as their peasant currency doesn't go far here.

28 Sep 2007 12:08

The Eight Bells, Putney Bridge

After a cold and coma-inducing 90 minutes of football last night ('beautiful game' my arse), we decided to abandon the Fulham/Bolton match before extra time, and retreat to the pub. Apparently this is an Away Supporters pub, but after watching the keepers hoof long balls to each other for an hour and a half, we were firmly not supporting either team. The only thing we were supporting was the refs blow of the final whistle.

I don't go out in Fulham enough to confirm anonymous's comment (Regent Street is essentially the pub Berlin Wall for me), but I wouldn't be surprised. This is a charming little pub with a warm atmosphere and friendly staff. Hogsback T.E.A. was on while we were there. I sank two while listening to my bemused Canadian friends moan about the lack of highlights on Sky Sports news. "You mean people actually watch other people watching games and telling you about it!?!?". Even after 11 years in this country, it still surprises me as well.

27 Sep 2007 09:50

Ye Olde White Horse, Aldwych

Surprisingly lovely pub, considering it's populated by the four horsemen of the apocalypse (theatre luvvies, lawyers, students, & left-wing professors). Seems like they had the same ale selection as ever: Wherry, Landlord, and Brakespear, but there's worse selections out there, especially in this area.

One question though: what's the deal with the bottles along the top of the backbar? Some of them I can understand displaying - aging bottles of Thomas Hardy Ale for example - but 2 bottles of Molson's? It's like going to a posh delicatessen, and finding tins of Spam on decorative display.

19 Sep 2007 08:54

5b Urban Bar, Limehouse

Very, very odd place. This pub is up a narrow laneway off West India Dock Road, where you would next expect to find a pub. More bizarrly, they fly the Confederate and Cuban flags out front.

Last time I was here, the jukebox seemed to be possessed by evil spirits, and would only play songs from the Grease soundtrack. If you put coins in and selected songs it would play them, but as soon as your selection was done, not only would it go back to playing Grease, but from the exact point it stopped. As a result, this place brings back horrible, horrible memories.

Oh......and it smells a bit like a zoo inside. But hey, compared to The Star of the East on West India Dock Road, this place is like the Dorchester. Best (non-Narrow Street) pub in the area by default.

11 Sep 2007 16:51

Digress, Soho

Hell. Went here for a birthday party last night hoping the doorman would turn me away, but was unfortunately welcomed in. The upstairs is a very bland, non-descript bar - essentially a characterless bistro that's had some gaudy 4 for £20 chandeliers put up. Plasma TVs are used to show continuous footage of CGI fish in a fishtank (surprised the eco-fascists that seem to infest London these days haven't complained about the garish waste of energy). On the beer side of things, one nitrokeg ale is available (Bass), but there are 3 types of latino bilgewater in bottle - Corona, Sol, and Brahma. Obviously Mexican/Brazilian beer is so varied, it's important to carry a wide selection. For those wanting something a bit more substantial, Leffe is available at a cool £4 a half.

On the way to the toilets downstairs, you pass through a meat-market of office managers attempting to force themselves on their temps/PAs, after getting them drunk on Happy Hour cocktail pitchers. Lines like "I know you've only been temping for us for a week, but I feel like I've really gotten to know you....." are slurred by men with their work shirts unbuttoned down to the belly-button, while shuffling from one foot to the other, remaining completely still from the knees up.

Finally, if you can swim through the pungent air of musk, you hit the toilets, where you get mugged by the toilet attendant. You know you're in a place that's trying to be pretentious when they have a toilet attendant:

Bar: "Look, we're providing you with an extra service!"
Me: "But I'm expected to pay for it, whether I want it or not, and am completely capable of using a soap/paper dispenser myself!"

Oh......and they played about 8 songs Justin Timberlake songs in the space of 3 hours (not an exaggeration). You'll know if this is your kind of place. Unfortunately, it's not mine.

7 Sep 2007 16:38

The Castle, Angel, Islington

Sharp's Doom Bar and a roof top patio - enjoy it while the weather's pleasant!

4 Sep 2007 10:51

The Station, Hither Green

For a pub that doesn't need to try (it has a monopoly on Hither Green), this isn't a bad place. The Sunday pub quiz is excellent too, and is miles better than The Northbrook's or The Crown's.

30 Aug 2007 12:22

Bar Ria, Old Street

Awful name for an awful bar. My god, "Bar Ria", it sounds like a disease!

This is a bland/sterile place, even by Old Street standards.

24 Aug 2007 13:21

The Old Fountain, Old Street

Yesterday I was in the mood for a rough & ready boozer & a quick game of darts, and when I saw this place down the lane (see photo) I thought "Bingo!". Delight quickly turned to disappointment when I opened the door: New & clean carpets? Crab sandwiches? What the hell?

Double dismay formed when I noticed there was a dartboard.....above the end of a long row of tables. If there's one thing that upsets me more than a pub without a dartboard, it's a pub that uses a dartboard as a purely decorative object.

3 ales were available, all belonging to the failed Archer's Brewery. I'd describe their survival as "phoenix-like", but they don't seem any more focused than when they originally folded. Their survival is more "Zombie-like" - slow, aimless, and brain-dead. Still, bland ales better than no ale I suppose.

If you all you want is some sort of ale in a clean pub, this place would suit you in an area that's increasing devoid of decent boozers. Where else are you going to go? The Masque Haunt? The Litten Tree? Shoreditch?

Not a bad place, it just wasn't what I expected or wanted.

24 Aug 2007 13:15

The Victoria Hotel, Cleveleys

Massive Sam Smiths halfway between Blackpool and Fleetwood (eye of the storm). There are two distinct bars in the building: the lounge bar, which is huge, full of oak beams, and furnished like your grandmother's living room, and the Sportsman Bar, which is what you'd expect - rougher & smaller, with a pool table and a dart board. The two are unconnected, so if you get a pint in one of the bars, you're committed to staying there. Make your choice wisely.

A pint of Old Brewery Bitter in this place will set you back a cool £1.33, and I think the Alpine's about £1.50. As a Londoner, the atmosphere and prices made me feel a bit like Nicholas Lyndhurst in Goodnight Sweetheart.

I'd mention it's the best pub in Cleveleys, but that's a bit like saying Mel C's the most talented Spice Girl - it's not a praise of the individual, as much as an indictment of the collective. Let's just say it's a nice place to stop if you're in Cleveleys, but don't go to Cleveleys specifically to check it out.

22 Aug 2007 13:35

Marine Hall, Fleetwood

A shocking find. Fleetwood makes neighbouring Blackpool look like Monaco by comparison, and this pub is in a somewhat rundown public conference centre, so any right-minded person would expect it to be terrible.

For some unknown reason I let my stubborn, skeptical guard down one day, and checked it out. The place is excellent. An amazing selection of beers which (at least the ones I tried) were very well kept. The pub also looks like it was recently refurbished, so was a lot cleaner than expected. It also has large windows facing the sea, so you can enjoy the views, and forget you're in a derelict town.

The only other option for ale in Fleetwood is The Thomas Drummond (Wetherspoons) which often looks likes it's inhabited by the cast of Pirates of the Caribbean. So, if you find yourself trapped in this town (ie. you fell asleep on a Northbound tram, or washed ashore) you could do worse than stop in for a pint here.

topdog_andy: boldly going where other Londoners have not gone before.....for good reason.

22 Aug 2007 09:07

The Yorkshire Grey, Fitzrovia

Nice old Sam Smith's pub in Fitzrovia, ruined by a large group of people playing Bomberman very loudly on their Nintendo DS's. Queue contstant screams "OHHHHHHHHHH! OHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! PHEWWWWWWWWWWW! AHHHHHHHHHHH! CRIKES!!!!!!!" Seems to be a regular meeting between the social outcasts, so I won't be rushing back anytime soon. It was like trying to enjoy a pint at Funland in the Trocadero.

9 Aug 2007 08:55

The King and Keys, Fleet Street

I'm sorry to see this place go. Not because it was a good pub - it wasn't - but because of the amusement gained by reading as the owner and a small handful of customers went to such great lengths to pretend to be a series of different customers, all stumbling in and miraculous finding the greatest pub in the history of pubs.

What a way to sign it off though - "An oasis of tradition here on Fleet Street". You'll have to excuse me while I clean up the coffee I spluttered all over my desk.

2 Aug 2007 15:27

Garlic and Shots, Soho

The place only does two beers - San Miguel, or Stella Artois. A bit like Sophie's Choice really, it's not a pretty decision.

I opted for the San Miguel and a famed Bloodshot, and quickly realised why only two horrendous beer options are required. The Bloodshot strips out your taste buds, and your beer is going to get necked in a search for fire relief. Now...I've consumed a lot of stupid things in my time, but nothing before that made my eye sockets feel like vomiting. Wow! I think anyone who fancies themselves as a bit of a spice fiend needs to come here and try one of these. Like the hottest Bloody Mary you've ever had, times 10, in concentrate form.

Anyway, if Bloodshots don't sound like your bag, there's 100 others to choose from. The bar downstairs is nothing much (it's painted ceiling to floor in black, what is there to describe?), and plays metal. The upstairs looks much better, but as we weren't eating we quickly got whisked downstairs. Seemed an odd way to run a business - sweep everyone out of sight (downstairs or in the back patio) so your place looks empty, but it's been around for ages, so must work I guess.

2 Aug 2007 14:59

Ye Old Mitre, Holborn

Legend has it that because this pub was on the grounds of St. Etheldreda Church, criminals could not be prosecuted inside as they had immunity. I suppose that's how the landlords get away with their prices. (boom boom.......)

Variety show commentary aside, this is a fantastic pub. Unfortunately the laneways surrounding the pub are covered in scaffolding at the moment, which takes away a lot of the charm. Without the scaffolding I wouldn't mind if the pub was busy getting a pint, standing outside, and waiting until it dies down a bit. Now if it's busy I'd just go somewhere else, as it's pretty much a construction site outside.

The beer selection is very good, and given the pub's size/location/age, I can understand the slightly higher than the norm prices. I'm also impressed that a pub as small as this can continually offer a selection of four ales, all in top-condition. I wouldn't go here on a glorious evening, as the surrounding building virtually block out all sunlight, but on an average or gloomy day this place has no peers.

20 Jul 2007 11:09

The Coach and Horses, Covent Garden

You're kidding me! Third best pub in the country? This isn't even the 3rd best pub in Covent Garden.

This isn't the 1950s people; Irish landlords aren't really a novelty anymore. By some of the comments here, you'd think the customers believe the owners are able to put some celtic spell on the place, which makes all the Irish whiskeys & Guinness taste superior to the same products sold in other pubs. They get the same deliveries as anyone else, and the whiskey will taste exactly the same as everywhere else, no matter how many times the landlord dusts the outside of the bottle.

This pub is pretty bog standard (apart from the non-standard bogs).

20 Jul 2007 10:31

The Taps, Lytham St Annes

I'm the kind of guy who wears a shirt when he goes out and doesn't like to get glassed, so my drinking options in Blackpool are rare. Luckily, in the next down the coast, there's this gem.

Don't judge the place from the outside, as it looks like a brick shoebox. The interior is much nicer, and the pub has an incredible beer selection. They seem to primarily sell ales from the local area, so it's a nice place to visit and try beers that I'll probably never see in London.

Worth the trek out of Blackpool.

4 Jul 2007 13:57

The Salisbury, Leicester Square

This place is criminally under-rated. I think people give it a wide berth, because it's viewed as a tourist trap, filled with "stupid American tourists". To be honest, I don't understand why American tourists get such a bad rap. Sure, they might not be that worldly to begin with, but the whole reason they're here is because they're trying to learn about London's rich history. Compare this with your En-ger-land-er who goes to Greece to drink as much as possible as cheaply as possible in an English theme pub showing Coronation Street and Eastenders, and then ask yourself who the stupid tourist is.

Politicking aside, The Salisbury is not just a pub to be visited for its history - it should also be visited because it's a fine pub operationally. An excellent selection of beers is available, the staff are quick and friendly, the food (if that's your thing......) is reasonable, and there's no sport, so you don't have to time your visits around the football schedule. Sure, there's a theatre rush, but at least theatre people won't fill up the bar bellowing "AV-EN-UE Q, AV-EN-UE Q, AV-EN-UE Quuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu,uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!" at the top of their lungs.

To me, it's easily the best pub in Covent Garden.

4 Jul 2007 11:54

The Brew Wharf, London Bridge

Decided to go here last night because I was feeling lazy, and thought "where's the only place I'm GUARANTEED to get a seat around London Bridge?". The answer is this place, as it's huge, and pretty much the Millwall of pubs (no one likes it, they don't care).

This pub is soulless.....and extortionate (the cheapest beer is £3.40).....and to be honest, doesn't offer anything that you can't get in at least a couple of places within a 2 minute stroll. It also seems to get its staff from the Wong Kei's School of Customer Service. It's all about how much you value a table and some chairs, and judging by how empty it was, the answer's a resounding "not that much".

4 Jul 2007 11:10

The Bavarian Beerhouse, Shoreditch

Right - I checked this place out for a second time a couple of weeks ago. The first time I went here I fell asleep on the train home, woke up in Chatham with no way of getting back, and felt like the victim of a 21st century press-ganging, so I didn't feel it would be fair to review on THAT experience.

However, the 2nd time is was a quiet Saturday afternoon, and the visit was somewhat more social. I really like this place. The decor's not much, but there's an excellent selection of German lagers and wheat beers, the food was pretty good (for padding down beer consumption, and the! If this is what positive discrimination can achieve, then call me a social activist.

Word of warning - a stein is 2 pints. That may seem like stating the obvious, but it's easy to forget as the fine beer is slipping down. I don't recommend Chatham Town Central at 1am on a Friday night to anyone.

28 Jun 2007 09:46

The Keating Channel Pub and Grill, Toronto

Eh? Nicknamed by the owners I presume. The Keating Channel Pub & Grill isn't even on the lake, it's at the mouth of probably the most polluted river in Canada, on the edge of a stagnant, virtually disused dock. The entire area is a dustbowl of cement works, abandoned heavy industry, and disused railway sidings. The pub doesn't even have any historic charm itself, it's a generic, box-style pub built (I'm guessing) around 20 years ago.

If you want a "lakeside oasis", try The Casa Mendoza on the west side of the city, near Lakeshore Blvd and Royal York.

15 Jun 2007 15:09

The Crown, Lee

Returned for the first time in a year, to see what effect the Charles Wells (for all intensive purposes....) takeover has had on the Young's pub/beer. Very disappointed with what I found. No summer beers were available; whereas in the past I'd have been able to choose Kew Brew or Lord's, the only Young's bottles available where Special (which was also on draught), Champion, Waggledance, and Winter Warmer (nice beer for June.........). I don't know if it was an off bottle (unlikely - it was within date) or a change to its brewing, but the Waggledance was awful and left unfinished.

They've also hiked their take-home "deal" up by a pound, so it's now 4 bottles for £6. Call me a cynic, but I think Wells are trying to make "Young's" fail. It survives in name only.

The only good thing left about the place is that it's easy to pick up a few pounds in the quiz. Challenging the customers here to a quiz is like challenging paraplegics to a 100m dash.

4 Jun 2007 09:10

Graduate, Greenwich

Offers a 1L drink that's a combo of blue WKD, Smirnoff Ice, Quinn's Orange, and a double vodka. Should give you an idea of the intended clientele.

At least I like the ironic "Please drink responsibly" notice.

14 May 2007 09:07

Ben Crouch's Tavern, Fitzrovia

If you've ever sat on a Ghost Train, and thought "Wow! I wish I could stop this car and crack open a beer", this place is perfect for you.

27 Apr 2007 10:39

The Champion, Fitzrovia

A wonderful place to unwind after shopping on a weekend. Oxford Street fills me with rage and despair for humankind, and there are few better places to de-stress and be anti-social than this place.

Let's face it - the best pubs are the darkest pubs, and the windows at The Champion are all stained glass, thus preventing any natural light from entering & polluting the pub's interior. Even on the sunniest of days, this pub is so dark that the staff probably have to alternate afternoon shifts to prevent from developing Rickets. This has the added benefit of driving away most level-headed people, so getting a seat is no problem. The pub is also a Sam Smith's which means you can get a pint for less than £2 (a simple pleasure after just spending over-the-odds on worthless tat), and there's no music playing. This allows you to clear your mind, and run through the usual post-Oxford Street experience questions in your head:

"Did I really just spend that much on this piece of........?"

"What on earth were those people stopping mid-step to look at?"

"What goes through the mind of someone holding a 'Golf Sale' sign for 10 hours a day?"

Etc etc.

There's even a dart board, if your shopping experience was so infuriating, you need to throw sharp objects around.

Sure, there are nicer Sam Smith pubs south of Oxford Street in Soho, but they've got people in them. This one is strictly for the miserable.

19 Apr 2007 15:01

The Ring, Southwark

Stopped in here on Saturday afternoon after disappointly finding The Charles Dickens was closed(!?), and scrambling for the nearest alternative. I was drawn to this place by the sign out front, which seems to proclaim that this place is where boxing began in 1910. Now, my previous experience with the BiTE administrators has shown me that I can't tell you the exact words that sprung to mind, so let's just say it was "Fornicating male bovine excrement" I had to look in to this claim a bit more.

There doesn't appear to be much about the history of the pub on the net, but this is what I've managed to piece together. First of all, I'm no historian, but I'm fairly certain boxing has been around much longer than 100 years......unless they meant 1910 BC, which would probably be somewhat closer. Second of all, the Luftwaffe - perhaps trying to wipe the sport off the map after Max Schmeling's pummeling by Joe Louis in 1938 - flattened the pub in WWII. I don't mean a slight grazing, I'm talking complete destruction. As a result, the current pub holds no historical value, unless you're a member of the Post-War Architectural enthusiasts club (current membership: about 3). Thirdly, historical accounts seem to indicate that the historical boxing venue (not where boxing began, just a legendary venue), was in fact across the road, where the Southwark Underground Station currently stands. Having struggled on occassion to change from Waterloo East to Southwark underground at rush hour, I'm happy to say the boxing tradition continues on the site.

So...perhaps they should change the sign to state "The Ring: A relatively new pub across the road from where boxing once took place, long after it was established"? Doesn't quite have the same ring to it.

Anyway, enough about it's bombastic historical claims. The pub itself is fairly pleasant, and what they lack in genuine history, they make up for in some interesting paraphenilia on the walls. The beer selection's not much to write home (or here) about - the only ales available are Greene King, which in my opinion any ale/pub lover should be boycotting. They do have Fruli in bottles though, which made the female contingent of the visit happy.

Overall, a fairly average pub, in an area where most of the time (bizarre closures excluded) average doesn't cut it.

3 Apr 2007 09:37

Southern K, Kilburn

Seems to be suffering from an identity crisis. This was once a notorious IRA fund raising pub back in the old days of Kilburn, then became an Anitipodean theme pub, and now seems to be a confused hybrid of both. Has reverted back to the Biddy's name, but still has signage directing you to the "Dunnies" and "Sheilas". Very bizzarre.

I stopped in on my annual St Patrick's Day Kilburn High Road pub crawl, only to be less than impressed. While alleging to be celebrating St. Patrick's Day, the place was virtually empty, and was playing Puffy Daddy/Puffy/P Diddy/Diddy (again, adding to the identity crisis). Was ultimately disappointed to find that I couldn't use the dartboard, because beneath it was a reserved table with a handwritten A4 note on the wall noting "Staff Only". Nice to note the staff reserve the best spot in the pub for their breaks, at the customer's expense. Great way to run a pub people.

Anyway, I only go to Kilburn once a year, so my typical "won't be going there again" response will be of little consequence. I wouldn't recommend the place to anyone though.....except possibly the confused Irish/Aussie comic Jimeon.

26 Mar 2007 11:39

Boadicea, Charing Cross Station

Arrived at Charing Cross last week just in time to watch my train depart from the platform, so I thought "What the hell, why don't we check out The Boadicea?". You see, every time I travel through this station, I glance at The Boadicea, and snicker at the ridiculous advertising.

First of all, it claims to be a "Traditonal English Pub". Now typically in London, that never translates to meaning "A Traditional English Pub", it actually means "Tourist Trap". However, this is not a touristy pub, as it's in a railway station that only deals with commuter lines. Saying that, it still can't literally be a traditional English pub, as a traditional english pub isn't typically found in a rebuilt railway station, next to a Burger King. Bemused curiousity about what they could possibly mean eventually got the best of me.

The second item on the advertising is "Fully Air Conditioned". To me, this negates the first point about it being a Traditional English Pub. A true Traditional English Pub is uncomfortably humid, and smokier than a Cypress Hill show. Still, as a non-smoker, this did sound mildly appealing.

Finally, the key advertising draw, "Real Ales". Could some kind of mini-Doric Arch/Head of Steam be hidden behind the concealling frontage of wood and frosted glass? I had 25 minutes to spare, and the spirit of an adventurer (not a good one, just a curious one).

On my approach to the bar, I was optimistic. Sure - I had to pass a few of customers who looked like they'd slipped their minders' attention, but it's the kind of location I'd expect to find them. On the handpulls they had Courage (would have been my first guess as to what they'd have) and Davenport's from Birmingham, something I'd never seen before. "Hazzah!" I thought to myself, this place isn't 100% sh*t after all.........until I was informed by the barmaid that the ales were off today. Obviously in the rush of serving all of the 5 customers in the place, there's no time to take the clips down.

"Would I like something else?". After some deliberation over which remaining option was the least non-drinkable, I selected Kronenbourg. That's off as well. "Would I like Grolsch?" Not particularly, but it seems to be the only beer they have in stock.

So there I sit, in the "traditional English pub", drinking a beer I didn't really want, in a pub smokier than the waiting area in front of the platforms (air conditioning didn't seem to be on either), with Neil Diamond blubbering on the jukebox. It's a shame Dante never had the chance to drink here, otherwise his vision of hell might have been completely different.

20 Mar 2007 09:41

The Crown Tavern, Clerkenwell

There were only so many glowing reviews of this place I could read from Stonch, before finally setting out to see what all the fuss is about.

I stopped by here late on Sunday afternoon, and I'm now a convert. I approached the place with skepticism: I'm not a huge fan of M&B pubs, and didn't really like the pub in its old form about 5 or 6 years ago. However, they have done a great job with this place since. It took me about 5 minutes to decide on what I wanted, eventually going for a Liefman's Goudenband. My fiancee decided upon a 500mL Schneider Aventinus, which caused me to feel a bit of a beer inferiority complex (size matters......), until I tasted the Goudenband, and felt more than satisfied with my lot.

Even after ordering two fantastic beers, there was still a lot of "Oooooh! I didn't see that one" grumbles, and mental notes of what to order next time. The service was friendly and excellent as well, which itself puts this place several notches about The Rake, who seem to have hired the closest living resemblance to Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons.

The interior was pleasant (a good combination of historical features and modern approach), although we decided to sit outside and enjoy the first truly nice weekend of the year. Despite being in central London, the square out front is very calm and peaceful, and almost feels........dare I say it...........Eurpoean.

Anyway, a wonderful, wonderful pub. I can't go back soon enough.

12 Mar 2007 12:58

The Red Lion, Soho

Typical Sam Smith's decor and beer, but even so, it's one of my favourites, if not the favourite of Sam's Soho pubs. As Mike D mentioned, the placement of the dartboard is ill-advised - as if the landlord thought "where's the worst place I can put this thing" - but a dartboard ANYWHERE in a Soho pub these days is a good thing.

Always a great place after being dragged out shopping. The pub is tardis-like, in that all you can see from the outside is a tiny front bar and narrow passageway, but the back bar is very large, and the upstairs enormous. You're almost always guaranteed to get a seat somewhere in this pub. I love the fact that the main bar is tucked away in the back with no windows, so you can completely ignore the hustle-and-bustle of Soho after a long day's elbowing along Oxford Street.

One gripe - This place needs to get some sort of dress code in place for its staff. Watching the staff stroll past each other behind the bar is like watching a catwalk show for Madhouse. Cheap t-shirts, oversized jeans showing more crack than a televised search of Whitney Houston's house. One of them I think only owns the one t-shirt. The cynic in me thinks there's no dress code because then Sam Smith's might have to shell out some coin for a uniform, but I could have sworn other SS pubs have some sort of standard outfit (ie. branded T and apron).

Any, presuming you can avert your eyes when ordering, a fine, relaxing pub to collect your thoughts in while deciding where to go next.

7 Mar 2007 11:12

The Summerfield, Lee

Wow! In a snit last night because Sky took all their channels away from NTL (sorry...."Virgin Media") and I couldn't watch the latest Rescue Me episode, the missus and I decided to check out The Summerfield for the first time. Previously if we went for a drink up Burnt Ash Hill, we'd go to The Crown, but now that the Young's boycott is in full-flow, that's no longer an option (so much rage for such a young man...........)

Anyway, I was delighted we finally checked it out, and saddened that we hadn't been there before after living around the area for 2 years. The pub is a delight. A great, friendly landlord who welcomed us like we were regulars, customers who actually talk to each other, and Buzztime trivia! When I lived in Canada, I was virtually addicted to this game in it's "NTN" guise (essentially a trivia game you play with a remote device, that let's you compete against others in the pub and the nation in general). Not quite as exciting here, as it looks like there's only 16 other pubs that have it compared to the thousands your compete against in North America, but still a lot of fun, and a good excuse to stay in the pub. Shame I got beat two out of three games by the smartie-pants fiancee.

It's not the cheapest pub (about £3.10 a Guinness), or the best furnished (it's an old-school boozer with the traditional poster-board ads for their quiz night & trips to the races and peeling wallpaper), or the best stocked (only Young's on handpull...ARRRRRRRRRRRRRGH!), but just the welcoming feel of the pub makes the gripes seem inconsequential. The place is small-to-medium sized, but they've got the Buzztime trivia, a pool table, a jukebox, Cask Marque can tell it's the kind of place where the landlord will do whatever he can to please his customers and give them what they want. I'll definitely be coming here again.

2 Mar 2007 09:11

The Maple Leaf, Covent Garden

Hear hear Ganger! I was here for the first time in about 2 years on Saturday (after years of gradually growing more and more dismayed with the place), only to remember why I stopped going there.

The selection of Canadian beers is awful - I wouldn't be caught dead drinking any of them back home. Also, if you're only going to carry about 4-5 Canadian beers, why duplicate two of them by having them available both on tap and in bottle (Sleeman's Honey Brown and Molson Canadian)?

They've also stripped the "Canadian" menu, and replaced with bog-standard pub fare, bar 4-5 token items.

So...what makes this a Canadian pub now? Fake log walls, a mountie outfit, a stuffed bear, and sports memorabilia for teams that don't even exist anymore (Quebec Nordiques/Montreal Expos).

Lame, and embarrassing.

28 Feb 2007 14:03

The Rake, London Bridge

I've been here about four times now in the past month and was going to profess my undying love for the place, but.....

On Saturday I was served a beer a good 2 months past its best-by date. I questioned it, only to be told "Oh...that's only when it's BEST by. It doesn't really go off".

Might be true, might not be true. However, if I'm going to pay about £4 a beer, I expect it to be at it's best, not just still drinkable.

Any place happy to serve sub-standard beer can sit-and-swivel for all I care. I'm not going back.

26 Feb 2007 15:03

The Lamb and Flag, Covent Garden

Lowenbrau on tap! Okay, call me easily impressed, but sometimes I just want a lager, and Lowenbrau's as good as any in the 'low-rent' category. It's not often I see it in London pubs anymore.

Anyway, after incorrectly giving it a wide berth for 10 years thinking it was just another Covent Garden tourist magnet, I finally decided to check it out after seeing some good reviews on here from the more reliable reviewers. I'm glad that I did, as I really enjoyed my pint here.

Good beer selection, great location, and loads of history. If only they could bring back the bare-knuckle boxing! >:O)

22 Feb 2007 11:24

The Wheatsheaf, Borough

Worst outdoor seating area ever (in the back). Two tables, encompassed by towering, mouldy, Victorian stone walls on three sides, and the pubs toilets on the fourth. If HMP Pentonville has a beer garden (which, with criminal rights these days, it probably does), it probably resembles something like this.

"Fancy standing out front, watching the bustle of life go by and admiring Borough Market?"
"No, let's sit out back, stare at the walls, and listen to people use the toilets"

Back in the day when Young's was a London brewer, I used to pop in here from time to time and find something great on the handpull, like their Double Chocolate Stout. The last few times I've been, it's just been Ordinary, Special, and Bombadier. Hell, you can usually get at least two of those at The Globe just across the way, which is a far nicer pub in every respect. This is one of the worst pubs I know for smoke as well (low ceilings and no ventilation)

Unless The Market Porter and The Globe are full to capacity, I don't think I'll be back in here anytime soon.

20 Feb 2007 13:35

The New Tigers Head, Lee

Still boarded up over a year later and using about 4 or 5 different Estate Agents looking for anyone to acquire it. This was an amazing building, but now is a blight on the Lee Green intersection (and if you look at the other 3 corners, that takes some doing).

Enterprise Inns ran this place into the ground, and turned it into a dilapidated mess. Nice of them to then go to the trouble of blacking out their logo out on all the outside signposting, to abscond from any responsibility for the mess.

I honestly feel that this pub, with a major refurb, could become very sucessful. The building is grand, and if they did something with the interior to match, I'm certain they could pull in a decent and sizeable clientele. Surely not ALL of Lee is interested in getting drunk as cheaply as possible in any old surroundings (see The Edmund Halley) or getting it on with their relatives (see The New Tigers Head - music bar). It would be the closest pub for most of 'South Blackheath' and the Cator Estate.

14 Feb 2007 08:48

The Horseshoe Inn, London Bridge


You're right about the board next to the bar, but unless I'm mistaken, there's two more boards in the room around the back? I suppose you've got to make a difficult decision - easy bar access, or better playing area. I'd opt for the least until my throw becomes misguided with ale. :O)

If I'm in London Bridge and get the uncontrollable urge to play darts (which is increasingly regular as I approach 30), this is easily my destination of choice. It's also a nice retreat if you get fed up with the overcapacity of London Bridge's finer venues on a busy night, as it's a sizeable pub off the beaten track. The Horseshoe has a back garden and an upstairs patio, so it can be a nice pub on a hot summer day as well (a wishful thought, as it's belting with snow outside right now).

On the downside, the beer selection and the decor are nothing to get excited about...although nothing to avoid either.

All in all, an slightly better than average pub, but in this area, slightly better than average doesn't quite cut it.

8 Feb 2007 10:29

Abacus, Bank

Can't think of a better name for the an Abacus is simply a load of balls.

The previous reviews are all true. No draught beers on Friday nights. Oh......they've got the taps.......and the beer......they just won't sell it to you. Now, I don't exactly hold a PhD in Customer Service, but I know that bars need customers to survive, and denying a customer a product they want, simply because you decide you don't want to sell it, isn't exactly going to help business.

Note to managers (because I presume this is a snobbish policy): Selling draught beer won't make the place unclassy. Your music policy, decor, and catering to lecherous city workers on the other hand..........

The only reason I went to Abacus was for someone's leaving do (seems to be the reason for most of the reviewing patrons), and it's a good thing they left, because they would have never heard the end of it on Monday morning. Avoid.

24 Jan 2007 15:25

Serjeants, Fleet St

Empty and closed. Permanently I think.

Anyone know what's happening with the Wig & Pen? It's steeped in history, but I think has been closed for at least 3 years now, and I'm surprised it's remained vacant for so long! Would be great if somebody could open it up to the general public, after the tradition of only being open to lawyers and journalists. If anyone knows what's happening with the place (if anything) please let me know.

19 Jan 2007 10:44

French House, Soho

I like this place, but really - a French bar with no ales, (virtually) no seating, and a refusal to sell pints ranking in the Top 10 of BEER in the Evening?!?!? Sacre bleu!

17 Jan 2007 10:29

The Harp, Covent Garden

Enjoyed this place on Sunday afternoon. Good selection of ales available, although nothing really noteworthy on the day I went. Lovely decor and an excellent barmaid who kept friendly banter with all of the customers. In a small pub on a quiet afternoon, you need to have great staff to make the difference and this place certainly did that. It's great to see a place with a functional no smoking room too (it's on the 2nd floor), unlike The Salisbury's, which is as effective as a no p*ssing section in a pool. Didn't actually use it though, as the atmosphere downstairs was so enjoyable, and it wasn't terribly smoky due to the number of customers. Could see it coming in handy on a weeknight though.

One thing bemused me about the visit though....why are there three coat hooks in the single gent's stall? Does it tend to attract heavily layered customers, or is there something else going on I'd rather not know about? :O)

16 Jan 2007 09:19

The Blackfriar, Blackfriars

I didn't believe the reviews at first, but I was here Sunday and it's true - this place absolutely reeks, and of different things in different places, all of which are nasty. It's like a Museum of Bad Smells.

I'm surprised that Nicholson's has allowed this pub to deteriorate to what it is now. I don't particularly like the Nicholson's franchise, but I at least respected how they keep their pubs...until now.

12 Jan 2007 14:29

The Three Compasses, Farringdon

Unless you want Thai food, I can't think of a single reason to come here, and if you're only looking for something to pad down the beer (ie. not a date dinner or a business dinner), you're better off going to The One Tun on the other side of Farringdon Road, which (in my opinion) does a nicer Phad Thai, and is a real pub - not some try-hard place that's had more facelifts than Joan Collins.

For anyone thinking "this is beerintheevening, you should review about the pub, not the food", if this 'pub' had a single remotely distinct attribute, I'd mention it.

12 Jan 2007 11:38

The Hand and Shears, Barbican

On Monday night a group of us had a spontaneous & borderline obsessive-compulsive urge to play darts, so crawled from Fleet Street to Kings Cross looking for a board. The Rising Sun had people playing on their board (I was surprised to find customers, let alone customers using the board!), so we wandered up here thinking it looked the kind of place that might have one.

Anyway, it was awful. This place is a sh*thole, and I'm shocked by some of the descriptions of this place. I love an old-style pub as much as the next person, but an old and cared for pub, not one looking like the brewery has forgotten it has on the books.

The wood panelling is in terrible shape. The walls are adorned with topical cartoons from the 1800s that probably weren't very funny/clever at the time, and certainly have lost all relevance now. Like a pub in the year 2130 (presuming they haven't all become All Bar Ones at that point) with cartoons of John Prescott dressed up like a cowboy, or William Hague wearing a baseball hat on the wall.

All framed items that are above arms height are also caked in brown film. Please - even if it's just once a year, get up on a ladder and do some cleaning.

Also encounted the staff surliness previously mentioned (though not directly). The customer before me ordered 3 Stellas and 1 Fosters, and asked "Which is the Fosters". The barman snarled "the one in the glass with Fosters marked on it". Oh very witty...if the Foster's logo wasn't facing the barman, and not visible by the customer.

This place was so awful the dartboard crawl nearly dissovled in mutiny. Drinks were quickly consumed, and so we continued our nearly fruitless search.

11 Jan 2007 13:01

The George, London Bridge

There are some statements that, no matter how justified and true they may be, will inevitably get you lynched by your peers. A magician who tells people how tricks are done. A historian who suggests that perhaps not everything Hitler did was pure evil & insanity. A member of the Labour Party who admits the party might have made a mistake at some point, somewhere.

I know I risk getting lynched for this, but.........I don't like this pub.

Yes, yes, I know, it's the last galleried pub in London, and is truly a pleasure to look at from the outside. However - the beer selection is pants, and not just for ale drinkers, the lager selection is poor as well. The bar is difficult to get to because there's only one for the entire pub and courtyard, and the main bar area is quite narrow. There's nowhere to sit inside, because the entire upstairs area is dedicated to being an overpriced restaurant that rarely gets used, and the oldest bar area downstairs is almost always reserved for some function. This means that the pub cannot be enjoyed when the weather's most days.

My idea of a good pub isn't one where you need to sit outdoors on a wooden bench, drink poor beer, huddle around a patio heater (if they can be bothered to fill it with fuel and light it), gaze at private parties enjoying the place, and use an unheated outdoor toilet. This isn't far removed from a tramp drinking a can of Skol, sitting over a ventilation grate in the pavement for warmth, and staring at a fancy office block.'s better than going into the Heeltap and Bumper.

3 Jan 2007 12:58

The Tipperary, Fleet Street

About as genuinely Irish as "House of Pain" (showing my age here...), this is a pub with a lot of history but history that ended long ago. If you think drawing a shamrock in a pint of Guinness is tacky, I ordered a pie here on Sunday, and there was a shamrock in my pie lid. FFS - what next - hiring midgets for bar staff and dressing them as leprechauns? Further proof Greene King has no shame.

Faux-Irish cuisine and Greene King beers? The worst of both worlds.

2 Jan 2007 15:18

The Intrepid Fox, St Giles

Forget my rant below. I won't miss this place (as The Conservatory) one bit now. Long live The Fox! It's better than the original.

29 Dec 2006 12:11

The Intrepid Fox, Soho

I agree with Sean. I was sceptical when I heard they were going to resurrect "The Intrepid Fox" somewhere else (like when they tried to resurrect "The Marquee" in Islington), but wow - it's bigger, louder, and angrier than the original. Plus you can get to the bar, and sit down now! I love it - a genius move to take over The Conservatory.

29 Dec 2006 11:54

The Black Bull, Whitechapel

Okay - I would never suggest that anyone goes to Whitechapel specifically to drink in this place...or for any other reason to be honest...but if you're misfortunate enough to find yourself around here (ie. you've been dragged out for dinner in Brick Lane, or you've awaken from a coma in the Royal London Hospital), try to swing by this place. Great ales are always available. A traditional pub in a far from traditional area that could use as much support as it can get.

29 Dec 2006 11:25

The Blue Posts, Soho

What a Soho boozer should be. Sleazy lighting. A couple of ales available, but nothing fancy. Mixed crowd of professional, eccentrics, creeps, and oddballs. Wonderful.

29 Dec 2006 11:09

The Anchor and Hope, Charlton

Could possibly hold the Guinness World Record for packaged snacks on offer. The wall by the bar is essentially a mural of heavily salted delights...which is good, as NO PUB IN WOOLWICH OFFERS FOOD ON A SUNDAY. (if I'm wrong, I'd love to know where) I decided to do the Green Chain Walk one Sunday, and attempt to have lunch around Woolwich. I stopped in every pub between Woolwich town centre and here, and ended up having to have a brunch of Scampi Fries and crisps here. It has done nothing to erase my view of Woolwich as a backwater dump.

I've found that riverside pubs are only as beautiful as their surroundings. Riverside pubs around Putney are airy & beautiful. Around the concrete eyesore of the South Bank you have the eyesore of The Founders Arms. Near the chav-y looking townhouses of Roterhithe you have the chav-y looking Spice Island. Then down around the grand buildings of the Old Naval College in Greenwich you have the grand Trafalgar Tavern.

.....this pub is down an industrial laneway, in an area 60 years past its prime, with views of Silvertown and North Greenwich. Should give you an idea of its appearance. You get the feeling the owners only hold it in the desperate hope that one day the area might become attractive, and then it can be converted into some gastrobistrotequepub. In the meantime, they're doing nothing to the place but opening it, and it looks like that's been the plan since the early 70's.

29 Dec 2006 10:41

The Hole In The Wall, Waterloo

It's as if they go out of their way to make this place look bad. I mean really...they've got a framed poster of a chimpanzee drinking beer and eating mash potatoes on the wall for christsake.

This place is a testament to what people will endure for good beer. It's dingy, smoky as hell, has what could be the world's most indifferent jukebox (basically every "Now!" album since the mid-90s), and it looks like they were decorated by Athena.

....but they've got two types of Paulaner on draught and a selection of ales, so it's marginally acceptable in my books.

13 Dec 2006 15:02

The Greenwich Union, Greenwich

"I'm also getting tired of the tediously middle class, increasingly middle aged crowd who frequent this place..."

Middle class? Middle aged? In a niche bar halfway up Royal Hill in Greenwich? I'm shocked......

"Yeah, the zoo wasn't bad....except for all those damn animals"

13 Dec 2006 14:45

The John Snow, Soho

The upstairs bar has the worst wallpaper ever. I could almost feel my retinas burning in there. Snow-blindness? I think I suffered from John Snow-blindness.

The downstairs bar is nice but small. Obviously not small enough for some though, so it's been partitioned into three unfeasibly smaller areas. Not a pub for claustrophobics.

Until I stopped in here, the Duke of Argyll was my least favourite Sam Smith pub in Soho, but this place has replaced it. That doesn't mean it's a bad place - it's still probably in the upper-half of Soho pubs - it's just that if you want a Sam's experience there's much better alternatives within a couple minutes' stroll.

13 Dec 2006 10:04

The Polar Bear, Leicester Square

Yep - definitely closed.

Not being able to make a go of a pub as large as this, in such a prime location, takes a level of managerial incompetence that would cause even Sven Goran Eriksson to blush. I would have gone more often, if I could have ever been certain what kind of pub/theme was awaiting my arrival.

Given its history, it's only a matter of time until it reopens as an organic non-alcoholic cocktail bar, or something equally retarded.

11 Dec 2006 13:15

The Charles Dickens, Southwark

Fantastic. Did a mini-pub crawl from Waterloo to London Bridge yesterday via Southwark's less appealing roads, and staggered into this gem. 6 ales available, nice decor, and friendly bar girl. Also had all the tables candlelit - I think this was meant to make the place look more classy, but actually just made it look like a place that missed its electricity payment.

Bizarrely, we were the only customers in the place. On the other hand, the rather shite looking Union Jack (when crawling past I believe my mate's comment was "I'm not THAT thirsty") was full. Their loss I suppose.

Anyway, a great find off the beaten track. I give this place the highest recommendation, and if you read any of my other posts, that's about as rare as steak tartar. Better take a map though!

24 Nov 2006 11:09

The Mug House, London Bridge

Selling points:
1) The novelty of a pub being set into London Bridge
2) Um.......

Bad points:
1) Idiots on mobiles saying "Oi mate, guess where I am?....I'm drinking in London Bridge!....No no no, you don't understand, I'm drinking IN London Bridge! Hur hur hur..."
2) One choice of lager, one choice of bitter, both are awful
3) Being charged about £3 for drinking awful house ale
4) The decor
5) The staff
6) The clientele

Underpasses are always a risky spot for being mugged and taken advantage of, and this place is no exception. A pint had in here is a pint you could have otherwise enjoyed at The Market Porter, The Globe, The Wheatsheaf, The Bunch of Grapes, The Southwark Tavern, etc etc. Don't waste your time.

23 Nov 2006 15:19

The Intrepid Fox, St Giles

It was only 10 years ago that I used to work/live at The Falkland Arms/Bull & Mouth up the street, and I used to drink here on the patio in the summer, or stop by for cocktail pitchers before going clubbing (ah, to be young and stupid.....). I always quite liked it, despite its grubbiness, lack of decent beer (not a consideration at 18/19), and occasional militant lesbianism.

Anyway, what concerns me is the number of bars the immediate area has lost since I worked around here. I used to do shifts across a few of the S&N pubs in the area, and as a roll-call:
The Falkland Arms/Bull & Mouth (Bloomsbury Way) - now a noodle restaurant
The Oarsman (Bury Place) - now an office lobby
The White Hart (Theobald's Road) - now an office lobby
The Three Compasses (New Oxford Street) - now a russian theme bar

There also used to be two bars across a laneway from each other just off Woburn Place that had a great pricewar going on (one was called Dean's, the other I don't remember) that are both now gone, and now The Conservatory is gone. What's been created during the time? The aforementioned russian bar, an All Bar One, and the hideous Point 101. Sure, the 4 S&N pubs listed were for the most part awful, but I miss the freedom of choosing not to drink in them. Now, Bloomsbury's serious lacking options that aren't rammed with tourists from The British Museum, or some chain/theme pub.

Anyway, apologies for the rant. In short, I'll miss this place.

16 Nov 2006 11:50

The Cittie of Yorke, Holborn

Does anybody actually use the front or cellar bar at this place!? I've (understandably) never seen anyone in the front bar, and have never looked downstairs, as the back bar is so impressive. Coming to this place and drinking in the front bar would be like going to St. Paul's and praying in the coat check.

If anyone's interested by the way, Sam Smiths are now selling fruit beer (feel that cold draught from the ground? That's hell freezing over). I tried one in here on Saturday. If you can't make it to a Sam's pub to try it, just mix 4 parts Cherry Panda Pop to 1 part Children's cough syrup, and you'll have a fairly close equivalent. Ghastly.

Anyway, the rest of the beers here are readily drinkable, and if you haven't seen this place before, you're truly missing out. Best Sam Smith pub in London.

14 Nov 2006 14:33

The Gate Clock, Greenwich

It’s a Wetherspoons in an insignificant building, so you can pretty much guess 99% of the details without ever going there. You’ll know what beers they have to offer, what is available on the menu, what the décor looks like (like any other Wetherspoons in a new building), what the service levels are like (1 person to run the entire upstairs bar), and what kind of clientele you’re going to rub shoulders with.

Here’s the 1% though. Wetherspoons patrons typically drink vast quantities of ale, and eat cheap food. This should have been a consideration when they designed the toilets. Instead, they built stalls the size of phoneboxes, with solid floor to ceiling doors, and no ventilation/extractor fans. Plus there’s only four of them for a two floor pub, so they are in constant use. I’ll leave you to consider the ramifications.

14 Nov 2006 11:20

The Dukes Head, Putney

England v South Africa at Twickenham I fear. Will give this pub some distance that day.

25 Oct 2006 12:44

Trafalgar Tavern, Greenwich

Great mid-week pub (the kind of place that should be enjoyed when it's quieter), but overcrowded on weekends and summer evenings. The views from The Yacht next door are better (more panoramic windows) but the decor's can't be compared. The restaurant section is also excellent, but that can be reviewed somewhere else.

Two problems though. First of all, when I went there on Tuesday night they were playing jazz at foreground volume levels. I'm not as opposed to jazz as a lot of people, but even so, there's something wrong about needing to talk over it at a pub.

Secondly, their house beer - Trafalgar Bitter from the Chatham Brewery - is ghastly. The problem isn't that it's not too my taste, but that I can't imagine it being to anyone's taste. I suspect they just hold the empty bottles out into the Thames to refill them and recap them - such is the murky, brown, unpleasant swill. The Chatham dockyards should get back to building ships of mass destruction, and not beers of ass destruction.

25 Oct 2006 09:29

The Jolly Knight, Rochester

Nice old-style pub; lots of brass buckles and other quaint pub fittings. Fantastic Sunday Lunch with all the trimmings. Acceptable easy-listening Sunday music at good volume. About five ales available as well. Great way to spent an awful, rainy afternoon in Rochester, as yesterday was.

So...why the low score? Because they served my Shepherd Neame's Master Brew with a sparkler. Why on earth would you use a sparkler on a Kent beer!?!? In Kent too! They should know better.

23 Oct 2006 12:36

The Edmund Halley, Lee

The worst Wetherspoons I've ever been to, and yes, I've been to the one in Leceister Square. Came here specifically for their Curry Festival once, only to be told they hadn't started it yet, despite the fact you couldn't look anywhere in the pub without being confronted by a massive poster confirming the start date in 20 point type. Came here another time for breakfast, only to be told I can't order it yet, because "she (I presume the manager, acting as chef) is upstairs in the office". This was at 11:30am. If I can't order breakfast at 11:30am, when exactly do they suggest I have it. 12pm? Surely that would make it lunch. No apologies for either, just a straight a matter of fact - no food. Last week, we were served by an Eastern European who gave us the wrong drinks, then tried to double charge us for the drinks, then brought us the wrong food. At least he got our table number right; well done.

On Friday and Saturday night, the bar is rammed with chavs, pre-binging before going to the dreadful Old Tiger's Head across the street, which stops allowing entry at 10:30. (Obviously the £2.30 or so the Old Tiger's Head charges is too steep, and must be avoided as long as possible). As a result, the bar is inevitably sticky with Aftershock and Red Bull spillage, and crowded with people shouting at each other from distances of up to 1 foot apart. I usually only talk that loudly to people if they're foreign.

Any positives? Well......the quiz machine is easy to win on, because it gets plowed with coins from people who presumably left school at 14 to pursue their lives as benefit claimants or single parents.

Unfortunately, it's the only pub in Lee Green to do food.......occasionally.......when they feel like it.

19 Oct 2006 11:43

The Intrepid Fox, Soho

The Fox is irreplaceable, but if you're looking for a substitute in Central London - The Cro-Bar is acceptable. The decor's less impressive, but it does have a decent jukebox and a three page bourbon list. The beer selection is better too (try the Dixie dark), although they have NOTHING on draught.

Last I heard the manager of The Fox was looking to set up somewhere else in London, so best of luck.

16 Oct 2006 09:01

Lord Hood, Greenwich

I read in the local rag that the "Save the Hood" campaign was victorious - this pub will not be destroyed.

...shame they couldn't save The Cricketers...

12 Oct 2006 13:28

Extra Time, Barbican

...point c should be "dressed appropriately". I'm not implying it's a bar for indifferent nudists.

11 Oct 2006 14:33

The London Pub, Bloomsbury

Places like this shock me. Why is it that tourists come here, see a pub called "The London Pub", and think "That's what a typical pub in London must be like, let's try it."? I would never go somewhere like, say, Paris and drink in a place called The Paris Bistro or something similarly named in a blatent attempt to draw my tourist dollar. I'd hate to say that tourists from other countries are more naive, but there's some pretty strong evidence looking at this pub's main client base.

Tourists who drink here are wasting their holiday experience. Presumably they've come for the history of this fine city - so why drink in the lobby of a god-awful hotel, in a hideous post-war block? The Princess Louise is only 5-10 minutes away! Fools.

As for locals just wanting a good pint, I would rather drink in the Bloomsbury Bowling Alley than this place - even if I'm not bowling. No ale, but plenty of higher-end lagers (Meantime Kolsch on tap) and some interesting choices in bottles (including the Meantime Coffee beer - best of both worlds!)

10 Oct 2006 10:32

The Charles Lamb, Angel, Islington

Does any other pub on BiTE have such a continuous stream of praise from 'anonymous' users and people who created profiles soley to rate one place?

The only one that comes to mind is the infamous King and Keys on Fleet Street, but even there the manager at least admits to when he posts reviews...

2 Oct 2006 09:41

Founders Arms, Bankside

"One of my Top 3 Young's Pubs in London"? I have to ask - have you only been to two others? I don't understand how a place that's admittedly an eyesore with questionable beer can rank in the Top 3.

27 Sep 2006 11:42

The Railway, Blackheath

Refurb is....erm....interesting. Lots of kitch wallpaper, and has gone from being excessively dark to blindingly bright, and as Sid notes, a roof top garden that just opened last week. Did not feel like checking it out though, as it was cold and rainy (as you'd expect in late September). Also has a selection of board games, all of which seem to be missing vital pieces. The thinking behind the refurb seems to be "Hmmm....The Princess of Wales does well, let's copy them". The place is surely now the most pretentious pub in Blackheath, which let's face it, takes some effort.

Anyway, as much as I dislike the decor and clientelle, their draught beer selection almost makes up for it. Options include Leffe, Franzikaner, and Schneider Weisse for the guys, Belle-vue Kriek, Leiffman's Frambozen, and Fruilli for the ladies and fruity types. Ales include (at last sighting) Young's ordinary, TT's Landlord, and Green King IPA. Also has the usual psuedo "premium" beers in bottle (ex: Kirin, imported all the way from...erm...Shepherd Neame in Kent), but these are easily avoided with the draught options.

An acceptable place for a pint, if:
- you're leaving Blackheath station
- it's raining, you've got no umbrella, and want the first pub you can find, and
- you can tolerate people discussing how Pete Doherty is a poetic genius, and other trendy nonsense.

26 Sep 2006 14:30

The Madison Avenue Pub, Toronto

Sells more beer than anywhere else in Canada, including the Skydome. Incredible place - they've converted two (or is it 3 now?) old town houses into multi-floored, multi-patioed bars. Beautiful neighbourhood as well. Can get a bit overrun with U of T students on a Thursday, but otherwise a great place. Has about 30 different beers on tap.

Worth checking out the rooftop bar of its sister pub (Paupers) down Bloor Street as well.

7 Sep 2006 14:00

The Victoria, Bayswater

Excellent pub - tried this place for the first time on Friday night on recommendation. The place has a beautiful old interior in the main bar, and plenty of seating outside. It was a nice day, so there was no trouble getting a table inside. Didn't have a chance to check out the "library" upstairs, but will do next time.

The steak and ale pie seemed a bit stingy (gravy and ale pie more like), but I washed it back with my first bottle of Fuller's Anniversary Ale, which was incredible. I always viewed Paddington as a bit of a black hole for pubs before, but will definitely be coming back here when I'm in the area.

5 Sep 2006 12:14

The Spice of Life, Cambridge Circus

Oh...dave71 likes The Spice of Life.....still. I'd have never guessed from the two previous posts he made about it.

Not everyone likes acoustic music, or open-mic nights, and I'd put a lot more faith in a review from JohnBonser, who's been to a lot of pubs and posts very good & justified reviews, than someone who reviews the same pub over, and over - and clearly has some personal interest in the place.

Sitting outside The Spice of Life is awful, and only slightly better than sitting outside the Nell Gwynne. If you manage to survive the fumes of one of London's biggest traffic bottlenecks, you can be harrassed for money by passing tramps on a seemingly endless basis. All this, while watching the local "pharmacists" use the pub's hanging baskets to hide their stash.

25 Aug 2006 11:14

The Silver Cross, Whitehall

Once an old, narrow, beautiful and unique pub, now a rather bland "concept" pub. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think they knocked down the wall to the Deep Pan Pizza that used to be next to it and quadrupled the size. It's a shame - the Deep Pan Pizza probably had more character than the current incarnation.

The T & J Bernard concept has a lot to answer for, and not just with this place. Why destroy traditional pubs, to create a faux-traditional pubs!? It makes no sense to me.

25 Aug 2006 11:04

The Dun Cow, Hornton

Had the misfortune of staying in this village once, and ended up going to The Dun Cow. We're the only people in the pub, and we sit down at one of the many (well, 8 or so) tables that are free.

Moments later, a guy walks in, stands by the table, and stares at me. Literally, just stands and stares silently, like I'm his f*cking dog, and I've been caught on the sofa. The barman speaks on his behalf: "Sorry mate, that's where he always sits."

"But there's loads of other tables free!?"

"No, that's where he always sits, can you please move".

So I moved alright, out the door, vowing never to return.

I hope this pub is closed down. Not because of the experience as such, but so the locals are forced to leave the village for their pints, and hopefully expand the gene pool of Hornton.

Even 5 or so years after it happened, I still think back to this pub, and how much I hate it.

25 Aug 2006 10:09

The Princess Louise, Holborn

Came in here on Saturday - this place still has the wheat beer available, which is definitely a plus. I tend to stay off the hand-pulled Old Brewery Bitter in London, as it understandably doesn't travel well (still uses old casks).

The pub is admittedly a beautiful place and a must-see, although I'm not sure I'd say it's the Most Beautiful Pub in London (recently received the award). Just because a place is traditional, doesn't mean it needs to be scruffy & dirty, and this place is tattered around the edges. Places like The Mitre, The Salisbury, The Grapes, and The Mayflower are able to keep their traditional appearance without looking like they haven't seen a wet cloth or mop this century. This place just needs a deep clean (and the toilets repainted).

Cleanliness gripes aside, a great pub.

22 Aug 2006 11:40

The Bree Louise, Euston

Oops! It was the Adnam's Explorer. Thanks for flagging it.

I'll give this place another try if you say the ale's usually on. If it's a nice day I'd prefer an airy place like this to The Head of Steam (Doric Arch...whatever it's calling itself this week). Hopefully there's another nice day left in 2006 for a second chance!?

21 Aug 2006 08:54

One, Lewisham

I love the irony of being chastised for commenting on One, only to read:

"I would daren't not have gone into the previous White Horse, which was known for being a pub for the down and outs of Lewisham. Since the conversion into a classy bar, the previous tinkers and vagabonds..."

My comments were based on its appearance, which with the invention of windows, I'm capable of judging without drinking and dining at the same time. If I stated the food was cold and the beer was flat without going in, then I could understand the upset.

Anyway, I've reset my rating of this pub to "Don't Know" to appease, and will - against my better judgement - have a beer here soon.

16 Aug 2006 17:53

The Three Kings, Clerkenwell

Personally, I prefer people describing areas by the nearest tube station than the historical area, as it lets me know which stop to go to. If someone said "this pub is in Clerkenwell", there's about 3 or 4 stations that could be closest. "Farringdon" is pretty precise.

Also - I'd have to disagree that Farringdon/Clerkenwell is pub-mecca. Surely that title has to go to London Bridge? ("Southwark" for Stonch):O)

Anyway, this pub is acceptable if you happen to be in the area, but unless you work for the Guardian or live locally, there's probably little reason to be in this part of Clerkenwell, and it's not worth a special trip. Plus the place just tries too damn hard to be quirky (the exterior in the picture tells the story).

Like a Shoreditch pub that lost its way.

14 Aug 2006 12:50

The Nell Gwynne, Covent Garden

To the people sat inside - congratulations! You have some of the most sought after property in London, and I'm very jealous. Enjoy your pint and soak in the warm surroundings. This pub is a gem.

To the people standing inside - I admire your dedication. In order to enjoy this beautiful pub you're willing to be constantly jostled and uncomfortable (there's virtually nowhere to stand out of the way, it's that small). A tip of the glass to you.

To the people standing in the alley outside (there's always one group) - Seriously.....take a good look at yourselves. You are one microstep away from being a tramp. Unless you have some kinda fetish for the smell of stale urine, I cannot imagine the attraction of drinking outside of this place. It's not like the exterior is impressive! If you want to drink outside of somewhere, wander down Villiers Street, go to Gordon's Wine Bar, and stand outside at the edge of Embankment Gardens. The two plastic garden chairs outside of this place can only be a cruel in-joke by the pub.

11 Aug 2006 12:09

The Garrick Arms, Trafalgar Square

Nice pub....unless you're Richard Bacon.

10 Aug 2006 09:45

One, Lewisham

Now called "One", which was coincidentally the number of customers I saw in it when (speedily) walking past.

This place is trying to do upmarket, but on the cheap. Kinda like it's nearest Lee High Road neighbour The Dirty South. Seems to be a pseudo-gentrification going on in Lewisham.

Doomed to fail. The old school White Horse lads won't drink here because the renovation was blatently an attempt to get them out. The aimed-for up(per) market in Lewisham won't drink here because

a - they don't exist,
b - if they did, they'd be unimpressed by the half-a**ed attempt to pull them in, and,
c - you can do up the pub all you want, but at the end of the day, it's still in Lewisham. To quote George Clinton (it's not everyday I get the chance to do this): "It's like trying to put a five-dollar hat, on a nickel-p*mp"

So long as Lewi-shites have enough bus fare money to get to Blackheath/Greenwich, this place will fail.

9 Aug 2006 13:29

The Princess of Wales, Blackheath

Perfection! Excellent drinks on tap and in bottle. Huge wine selection (if you're that way inclined). Blackheath out front, large heated patio out back. Two seperate rooms providing traditional and modern decor. Funky music policy. Food looks top-notch for a pub (although admittedly haven't tried it - usually go to Zero Degrees or The Railway if I'm eating in the area). Walking distance from home. Minimal chav level (at least relative to other places in the area).........

Yet...despite ticking all the boxes for me, I don't come here very often, and I honestly don't know why. Some kinda negative x-factor I can't quite put my finger on.

9 Aug 2006 12:24

The Duke of Argyll, Soho

Not that long ago, had the best jukebox around - filled with 60's rock that totally suited the pub. Then without any apparent reason, they removed the jukebox. Now it's just a bland pub full of people drinking up the nerve to do their dirty shopping on Brewer Street.

The least interesting of Soho's Sam Smith pubs.

8 Aug 2006 16:01

The Lamb, Bloomsbury

Vastly overrated. A substandard Young's pub, it's only redeeming feature is the "snob shutters", which are fascinating for.....oh.....two seconds, and then just become irritating when you're trying to get the barman's attention. If I was in the neigbourhood and desperately wanted a Young's beer, I'd jump in a cab and head to one of the options in Clerkenwell.

Very disappointed I broke my Young's boycott for this place last week.

8 Aug 2006 09:13

Zero Degrees, Blackheath

Mango beer is back in season, and is just incredible. Worth going to this pub for that alone (their other beers are generally good as well).

Additionally, the pizzas are fantastic, and they've expanded the menu. Not a big fan of the decor (pretty much all exposed steel) and the place is starting to wear (getting progressively filthy, as the place is constructed in a way that's virtually impossible to clean), but for their beer, I'd stand in a shed.

4 Aug 2006 12:06

The Kingdom, Kilburn

Sigh...not sure why I'm even going to respond to such ridiculous criticism, but here we go:

1) I never mentioned what style of music it was, all I mentioned was the lyrical content. If it was selective hearing, then it must be contageous, because all of the group I was with heard exactly the same thing.

2) If I was prejudiced and ignorant against the Irish, what the hell would I be doing in The Kingdom, in Kilburn, on St. Paddy's Day!?

3) If that was "what I wanted to hear", my post would have been entirely different. Do you think I go around pubs trying to find things that offend me?

4) Yeah, I saw what you did with 'loyal' there. Genius....

31 Jul 2006 13:18

The Bree Louise, Euston

Went here for the first time in about 8 years last Friday. Disappointed to find my pint was slightly sour (Adnams Discovery), so the previous reviews appear to be more than isolated incidents.

Was impressed with the barman though. Ordered a bottle of Hoegaarden, which turned out to be a couple of weeks out of date. I mentioned it to him, and he looked like he was about to go into an Incredible Hulk like rage. "I go away on holiday, and this is what happens...." he growls. "Don't worry about it..." I start, to which he replies "No, I DO worry about it", and proceeds to check every bottle of beer in the fridge. Nice to see.

Anyway - the pub. Fairly stale refurbishment, whenever it was it happened. White walls, neutral/uncomfortable furniture, etc. Yes, it was a pit when it was the Jolly Gardners, but at least it had its own character. Now it's pretty faceless. Dub music was also off-puting. The only redeeming feature of the place would be the beer selection, but if it's off, what's the point?

I think it's back to The Head of Steam next time I'm around Euston.

31 Jul 2006 12:56

Spice Island, Rotherhithe

I went here once through desperation (very hot day, and had just walked from Blackheath along the river), and spent the entire time gazing across the river, wishing there was some easy way to get across to The Prospect of Whitby.

If you're unfortunate enough to be stuck in Rotherithe and want a place to drink by the river, wander 5 minutes up the road to The Mayflower. Nicer pub, better selection, better food, and cheaper drinks. The Mayflower would thrive anywhere, whereas with this place, you get the feeling if it wasn't on the river it would close immediately. Sterile atmosophere, populated with (unfortunately) not sterile clientelle.

Next time I wander the Thames Path, I'll stick to the north side, thanks.

27 Jul 2006 12:38

The Black Lion, Plaistow

Lovely place. Loads of (changing) real ales, low ceilings, oak beams, good pub food, lots of space, and tables out back. A truly great pub...but it's in Plaistow. I can only presume the locals stole it from somewhere.

26 Jul 2006 12:52

The Polar Bear, Leicester Square

Imagine you had a very good friend; kinda dodgy looking, but he loved the ladies, and was fun to watch sports with. Then without warning, he had a complete makeover, became gay, and made it clear he had no interest in watching sports or drinking the likes of you anymore.

After his period of 'experimentation', he goes through another makeover, and pretends to be your friend again;

"Hey - I'm still the same old guy, interested in sports and ladies...blah, blah blah...why don't you come over for a drink", he says.

"But you turned your back on me, and your place reaks of smoke", you reply.

"Not anymore! I've quit smoking!", he says.

You then go around there, and the place stinks of cigarettes. You leave feeling betrayed, vowing never to be fooled again.

This is my relationship with The Polar Bear.

13 Jul 2006 14:28

The Southwark Tavern, London Bridge

The beer selection is excellent here, both on draught and in bottles. Check your best-by dates if you buy a bottle though - got an Erdinger Dunkel that was 6 months out of date once. I don't think they're great at stock rotation in the fridges (new bottles at the front, old at the back).

The cells downstairs are good in that you can seperate yourself from the often pretentious crowd. Plus I love the irony of buying a round in this place, and then drinking it in a former debtors prison.

Unclear why they have a DJ upstairs though, when it's nigh on impossible to move.

3 Jul 2006 13:21

French House, Soho

I wouldn't say it's pretentious, it's just French, and it's difficult to distinguish between the two.

Came here for the first time on Sunday afternoon and fell in love with the place. Great decor, loved the bottled cider (nice way to get around the halves-issue), and the barmaid was quite quirky (in a pleasant way). Will definitely be going back.

3 Jul 2006 13:14

The Blind Beggar, Whitechapel

When the biggest selling point of a pub is that a notorious criminal once came in and killed a patron mid-drink, I think it's best left unvisited.

You're better off wandering up to The Black Bull. Sure, it's a shithole as well, but at least it has decent beer, and isn't populated by plastic gangsters and morbid tourists who think the Krays deserve some adulation.

Anyway, if Ronnie Kray was so great, he would have had the decency to buy a pint before creating the mess...

27 Jun 2006 09:00

The Angel, Rotherhithe

Came here on the weekend. To be honest, I liked the place more when it was dilapidated, and looked like one sudden movement might cause the back end to plunge into The Thames. The new refurb feels false (old style, but not original characteristics). Can understand why others like it though - the dividers add some uniqueness and privacy to the place.

This is the first Sam Smith's refurb I've seen where I can tell the difference though. The Duke of Argyll and The Chandos (thankfully) look the same as before their alleged refurbishments. Perhaps this one was done out of structural necessity?

16 Jun 2006 13:35

The Market Porter, Borough

Ah, you see Stonch, for 99.9% of the pubs in London I'd agree - Harvey's is a good choice as a house beer, for all the reasons you mentioned.

However, I don't think it suits The Market Porter. Here you have a pub with about 12 different ales of all strengths, styles, and varieties. I think you'd have to be hard pressed to scan the 11 others and say "Actually, I'll have the Harvey's". Plus almost everyone goes to The Market Porter to try something new and/or special, so relatively little is sold (it's the only beer in the pub where I might question its condition).

I think in order for the house beer to compete with the variety of ales, it should be something truly special - perhaps the Champion Beer of that year?

No debate about the bargirl comment though. Shame it's difficult to stand anywhere near the bar!

15 Jun 2006 16:01

The Market Porter, Borough

A great pub in a great location. Only problem is that, even with its recent(-ish) extension, it's still got more customers than space, so there's a good chance you're going to have to stand outside. Unlike The Toucan however, this place trusts you with glass outside, and won't issue you a plastic cup.

One slight complaint though. If you're only going to carry one permanent house ale...why choose Harvey's? It's okay, but hardly worth keeping as your one house beer. It would be like Vinopolis having Mateus as their house wine, or The Porterhouse offering Carlsberg as their house lager.

15 Jun 2006 12:01

The Crown, Lee

I used to love this pub - great patio, great beer (although see issue below), good food, and generally a nice place.

Thing is - I've barred myself from drinking Young's beer, or drinking at their pubs, since they declared themselves more property holders than brewers, and announced their plans to close the Wandsworth Brewery.

Passing this pub on a summer day is a serious test of my willpower...

14 Jun 2006 12:36

The Flying Scotsman, Caledonian Road

So the German police want to know how to keep the peace at the World Cup? They should look no further than The Flying Scotsman.

Every match day, at about 6pm, fans of northern clubs converge on this place, waiting for return train. They're completely inebriated, have likely suffered a drubbing, and are most likely from Leeds/Luton/Hull or Sheffield - not exactly the best of friends.

Yet for the brief time they're in here there's not a hint of trouble.

So what unites the lot? The pleasure of seeing women so desperate for money, they'll show you everything for 50p. Perhaps next time violence breaks out in a place showing the match, rather than switching it off to a blank screen, they should put some p*rno on. It seems to do the trick.

14 Jun 2006 11:58

The Tottenham, Soho

Before anyone gets on my case, yes - my maths suck.

13 Jun 2006 17:44

The Tottenham, Soho

Randomly ask 20 people why they are here. Odds are:

12 out of 20 chose it as a convenient meeting point, and are impatiently waiting to go somewhere else.

6 out of 10 won't understand the question

2 out of 10 are so bogged down with shopping, they'd go anywhere with a seat.

1 out of 10 will be picking your wallet

Kinda like drinking at a pub at Heathrow.

13 Jun 2006 17:43

The Toucan, Soho

If anybody wanted evidence of how powerful advertising and branding is, they needn't look further than The Toucan.

Here is a pub that has a very limited selection of beer, charges above average prices, has no history whatsoever (opened in 1994), and has virtually no seating. As a result you're forced to drink on the pavement outside, in plastic glasses, where you will inevitably be harassed every 5 minutes by tramps. (Some would argue the tramps have more class than the clientelle - you'll never catch a tramp drinking Guinness from a plastic cup).

So - why do people flock to this pub? Because it's covered in Guinness branding, and is named after a bird used in Guinness promotional advertising. As a result, people seem to think their Guinness is the best in the UK, despite the fact that it's distributed in the same delivery as every other pub in Soho, and the pub is not even loosely tied to the brewery.

The Guinness here is no better than any other pub in London that regularly cleans its lines. The stuff comes in pressurised kegs, that require no special treatment. If you want to properly enjoy a Guinness - go to a pub where you can sit down and drink from a glass.

13 Jun 2006 11:46

Crobar, Soho

Proof that all a place needs to be successful is beer, a jukebox, and word of mouth.

I love this place - it's like drinking in hell's off-licence. It's bottles or cans only, a 3-page whiskey & bourbon menu, and a jukebox full of anger. The only downside is that the music should be turned up "to 11", but typically only plays at around 4 or 5.

9 Jun 2006 14:44

BRB at Arc, Angel, Islington

A £2-3 mark up per drink is more than slightly above the going rate, especially in a place that (in my opinion) had nothing going to merit it. On that principle, they should be charging £5-6 a pint.

Plus it's absurd that a place does £5 cocktails, but £8 double & mixers.

Anyway - they could charge £2 a drink and you wouldn't catch me back. Poor service, no atmosphere, poor beer selection (hence the G&T choice), and a music policy that was - in volume and genre - totally out of place with the venue.

9 Jun 2006 12:24

The Blues Bar, Soho

Actually called "Ain't Nuthin But..", this is my favourite bar in London. Ticks all the boxes - good beer selection (including guest ales), decent food, happy hour promotion, great live music (and humourous host), late licence, and loads of character. Only opens at 6pm, so if you leave work at a reasonable time and go straight there, you're sorted for a table, meet happy hour, and beat the cover charge that comes in around 8pm. Fills very quickly though.

9 Jun 2006 11:17

BRB at Arc, Angel, Islington

Me: "I'll have a gin and tonic, and a Cosmopolitan (for the lady)"
Barman: "Would you like a double G&T?"
Me: "Sure"
Barman: "That's £12.80"
Me: "Um...but the Cosmopolitan was only £4.95. That makes my double gin & tonic about £7.80!?"
Barman: "Yep"

How any place can charge that much for a gin & tonic, without offering even a single stipper, I'll never know. Needless to say, the place was empty (on a Saturday night), barring the DJ blaring dub music. Obviously not a popular music choice for the £8 drink crowd.

9 Jun 2006 11:06

The Brew Wharf, London Bridge

Agree with the earlier review - the staff here are dreadful. I was there last Bank Holiday weekend, and they arbitrarily closed the bar at 9:17, so that they could go out and drink with their obnoxious buddies who were sat at the bar getting drunk for free. There were four people who just came in for food (advertised 'all-day') and were standing at the bar when the barman/manager decided to shout "Last Orders!", and he refused to serve them.

Considering the number of gems surrounding this place, they'll have to do better to compete.

3 May 2006 09:30

The Lord Northbrook, Lee

Nice, local pub split into two bars. As Zaphod said - no real ales and extremely smokey (Long bar, low ceiling, no ventilation). Also has the slowest quizmaster known to man (about a question every 5 minutes, with a half-hour break between rounds). It's like a quiz testmatch - congrats to anyone with the attention span to sit through it!

All in all, a pleasant local when the weather's too bad or you're feeling too lazy to walk up Burnt Ash Hill to the Crown or Summerfield.

26 Apr 2006 12:06

The Kingdom, Kilburn

Oh yeah, (mind slip - probably due to excessive Guinness on the night)...

While PHYSICALLY the pub has been stripped of it's old character, unfortunately not all of the old aspects had been removed.

On St. Patrick's Day I briefly stopped in on a Kilburn High Road crawl, to find their 'entertainment' for the evening was a very drunken man with a keyboard and a microphone singing (well....bellowing) about the IRA and killing protestants.

Not going to get political (it's not allowed, and my personal views are irrelevant), but how any pub - in this country - in this day and age - can pay someone to sing to their patrons about killing people based on their religion is beyond me. A disgrace, and deserving of a boycott.

6 Apr 2006 14:35

The Kingdom, Kilburn

After Biddy Mulligan's became the Southern K, this was THE last of the traditional Kilburn-Irish pubs. However, it seems even The Kingdom couldn't avoid Kilburn's gradual gentrification, and it has now been refurbished, and stripped of it's character. Whether that's a good or bad thing I'll leave to your judgement, but it's the end of an era.

6 Apr 2006 14:08

Dirty South, Lee

Terry Hall (ex Specials frontman) is apparently DJing here once a month for the next 3 months, starting with this Saturday. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

28 Mar 2006 09:15

The Lyric, Soho

Worst pub news I've heard all year - the pool room upstairs was one of the best kept secrets in London. I drank and played pool upstairs countless times, and only found the room in use on one occassion. Lord knows where I'll play in Soho now.

15 Mar 2006 12:30

The Old Tiger's Head, Lee

One night a friend and I wanted a late night drink, but were feeling so lethargic about it we went to the most local place knew - The New Tiger's Head. To our horror: Not only did the DJ played Saturday Night by Whigfield (bad enough on its own), but the entire clientelle got up did some synchonised line dance - live a chav version of Michael Jackson's Thriller video....and this was in 2005! (Not that it would be acceptable in any year, but even so...)

Like a Ferrier Estate Social Club. Avoid.

7 Mar 2006 11:24

The Brewmaster, Leicester Square

Possibly the most misleading name of any pub I've seen. "Any place called Brewmaster," you'd think, "must have some pretty good beers!" Right? Wrong. It's the bog standard choices you'll find in 99.9% of pubs across the country.

Calling this place The Brewmaster is like calling Wimpy's a Steakhouse.

23 Feb 2006 09:08

The Intrepid Fox, Soho

If it had better beer, I'd never drink anywhere else.

22 Feb 2006 11:52

The Maple Leaf, Covent Garden

I have mixed feelings about this place. On the downside - it's patronisingly Canadian. I mean really - a stuffed bear in the corner? Mountie uniforms on the wall? Canadians have enough trouble fighting off stereotypes in this city without its only representative pub re-enforcing them. On the plus side, it's finally got Sleemans beers, after years of only selling Molson's products. Finally - Canadian beers I'm not embarrassed to buy for people!

21 Feb 2006 11:21

The Duke of Edinburgh, Lee

Friendliest landlords I've met in ages. Despite being a local/regulars pub, we were made to feel very welcome from our first time in. Great selection of beer for a small local pub. The jukebox is full of classic rock. Given the four main options in Lee Green (the two Tigers Heads, and the Edmund Halley), this is hands-down the best. They got a beer garden too (although admittedly not a great post on December 1st...)

1 Dec 2005 13:39

The New Tigers Head, Lee

I think this place has finally died its slow, painful death. I haven't seen it open for at least a couple of weeks now (incl Fri/Sat), although they've left the bar lights & TV on. It's a shame, as the building itself is quite impressive, but they've let the interior deteriorate so much that the Old Tigers Head and the Edmund Halley seem better options. I fear it will inevitably be converted to flats.

1 Dec 2005 13:24

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