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City Retreat, Holborn

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user reviews of the City Retreat, Holborn

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

Boarded up.

Last Resort next door also closed but that seems to be reopening in February. No notice regarding City Retreat though and every bit was fully boarded up.
ArhurPint - 9 Jan 2013 16:10
Enjoyed apint in here recently, Used to visit when worked in city and forgot what a littly gem it is. Still got the carpet floor and old 'pub' feel, proper local in the city. Warm welcome from woman behind bar who chatted away with me before lunch customers took her attention. Would definitely come back.
budvarboy - 11 Feb 2012 23:31
Don't be put off by the non-descript exterior, compared to the surrounding drinking holes once inside this place can be described as nothing less than refreshing. The pub seems to have a strong following with the surrounding offices and the friendly staff and cosy atmosphere makes it easy to see why. Great whisy selection too - if you're interested just ask the manager, he was more than happy to make a few recommendations.
sailor5 - 20 Mar 2010 13:20
Just starting coming to this pub again after a few years break. A change in management has made it really friendly with a relaxed atmosphere. A great place to come for an after work beer, the beer is also excellent, all in all a nice little local.
ilovebeer33 - 20 Mar 2010 10:15
Pleasant traditional, but unremarkable Youngs pub at the foot of an office block in Shoe Lane.

The pub has been spruced up a bit since my previous visit a few years ago, but, thankfully, the notorious Wells and Youngs changing rooms brigade have been kept in check. I suspect this is because they realise that the City Retreat has a much wider cross section of customers than the average City pub - "suits" have never dominated in here, unlike in nearby pubs - and that too much unnecessary damage would prove counter productive. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" - an adage that pubco's ought to remember more often.

It's also changed management since my last visit - the cheery London guv'nor is no more and we no longer appear to have the cross counter banter between staff and customers that used to be a notable feature of this pub.

A large selection of whiskies has been introduced and a notice by the bar tells us that the "Malt of the Month" is Aberfeldy.

The interior is part carpeted and the floor area is dominated by a large wood pannelled central pillar adorned with old framed postcards of London. Lowish ceilings give the pub a relatively cosy feel. We now have small candle lights on each table, as though a more select clientele is being sought.

I enjoyed a good pint of Bombardier - 3.10p - in here recently. Whilst I don't dislike this pub, it's nothing special and first time visitors to the area will probably prefer to focus on the better known pubs in nearby Fleet Street
JohnBonser - 23 Dec 2009 12:30
Good pub. Good beer. Enough said.
FredWestPatios - 16 Dec 2009 21:26
visited recently with the darts team i play for.
new management has smartened and brightened the place up a bit ,which it needed.
They have also gone big on malt whisky , with a massive range.
It`s a Youngs pub so had Best ( very reasonable for the area at 3 a pint ) and Winter Warmer , with the third pump not in use.
was repeatedly served my 1664 in a heineken glass which is a bugbear of mine - an unbranded glass as opose to a glass of a different brand if the correct one is not available is much better.
felt the staff /management did not make much effort to interact with the customers , which was a shame.
overall , like the changes and hope it works out .
mikestokesambii - 15 Dec 2009 01:20
Just found this pub hiding in Holborn, good food, good beer, great pint of Youngs. A good find!!
northernmonkey29 - 14 Nov 2009 15:30
Ronseal pub. Which is a good thing, really...
gcc24 - 12 Apr 2009 20:09
Good pub, not the cheapest tho', but well worth a visit for decent service, beer and atmosphere. Not too many suits, despite its location and has a dartboard!
clarkster - 30 Oct 2007 15:21
Visited here tonight playing darts for London Saints (lost 9 - 2). Ordinary, Special and Bombardier on, nothing to write home about. Average pub, take it or leave it.
GuideDogSaint - 9 Oct 2007 00:20
Fantastic 'proper' pub with a great atmosphere. Even better now the smoking ban is in force. Not full of suits like next door and always guaranteed a laugh.

Even if you pop in on your own you will no doubt become involved in a conversation at the bar, (probably with a tall chap called Steve - you have been warned), which will be highly amusing!

Has won cellar of the year on many occasion and the food (12-2 only) is of very high standard too, try the lasagne or steak and ale pie.

The place is run very well and I am surprised also, as mentioned earlier by JohnBonser, that there aren't more comments about 'The Retreat' as it's far better than others in the area.

Go pay a visit and check out the cast of 'The Office' round the corner of the bar.

SJohnson - 30 Aug 2007 11:39
In the concrete jungle that is Shoe Lane this is indeed a welcome retreat. Sure it aint anything to look at but the staff are very polite and speedy and the times when I have eaten the food has been good.
campfreddie - 4 Jan 2007 16:21
Note that this pub serves food only at lunchtime, not dinnertime! I got caught out on a visit on 12 January 06. Good atmosphere, however.
Psyche - 16 Jan 2006 12:28
I'll rise to John's challenge and comment on this pub: I agree it's quite atypical for the city and has more of a local's ambience. That said it didn't get me over-excited and the location (at the foot of a very 60s office block) is uninspiring. There are better local pubs about.
grecian - 11 Aug 2005 14:25
I'm staggered that no one has posted a comment on this pub, since my first comment below in October 2004. Nothing really to add, except that this pub is well worth seeking out.
JohnBonser - 10 Aug 2005 12:27
Well, looks like I 've got the honour of being the first person to comment on this pub.
Its a fine traditional pub not too far off the bottom end of Fleet Street. It seems to get a wider range of customers than you would expect for a City pub and its not overrun with "suits". The Youngs beer was first rate. It feels a bit like a regulars pub, but there was a warm and friendly atmosphere.
It wasnt too busy, unlike the pubs in Fleet Street itself.
If, like me, you like proper pubs, you'll like this place. I will definitely be going back. Remember that it might not be open at weekends, best to check first if you're planning a weekend visit
John - 29 Oct 2004 09:51

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