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Old Star, Westminster

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user reviews of the Old Star, Westminster

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

Given it's a Greene King production, slightly better than expected - a pint of Lazarus went down well while there are pleasing nooks and crannies. Objectionable clientele though - suits, suits and more suits
BoehmBawerk - 12 Apr 2018 09:41
This is a cracking pub. Good choice of beer: the pint I had was excellent and properly filled: not served as a 3/4 pint with massive head on top - and the price was reasonable. The service was prompt and friendly, the food was excellent and cheap. It's a pity the pub is where it is and of course there is no beer garden but I can't mark it down for that. It looks like it's had a recent refurbishment so earlier remarks by others on this site don't do the pub justice. To be fair we called in on a Wednesday lunchtime so it was fairly quiet apart from a couple of noisy toddlers who, thankfully, were in the process of departing with their embarrassed parents.
StudioM - 26 Apr 2013 16:22
Bizarrely, given my personal familiarity with this general area, I'd never ventured into the Star before a few days ago, probably because of a fairly-ingrained Greene King prejudice. Convenience and desire for difference suggested that I try it, en route between other Westminster pubs.

What I found was, well, nice. But as someone who believes his vocabulary to be capacious enough to conjure up a rather more descriptive adjective, that is I'm afraid slightly damning; certainbly the place seemed clean, ordered, efficient, and offered what one might legitimately expect from a reasonable pub - i.e a selection of drink and food. But there was nothing about it - either in terms of what it served, or the environment in which it served it - that stood out for me.

GK have an unfortunate habit of running innumerate bland pubs across the south of England, which despite any distinctive features outside could really be anywhere. The Old Star rather falls into that category. A pleasing enough corner building near to St James's station, but once inside it is by-numbers all the way. The food menu, though not sampled on my visit, looked by modern standards pretty predictable; one can only hope the quality is such that it sets it somewhere above its competitors, but something tells me hope shouldn't be high on that front.

As to drink - the usual barrage of spirits, wines, and keg beers were available and I daresay they satisfy many palates of passers-by. But I can't think there's anything other than sheer convenience which would bring any of them back here as opposed to the myriad other pubs in London which currently offer a pleasant and safe, but predictable and sterile, experience. Cask-wise, a portion of GK ales were offered including IPA, Abbot and the slightly-less-ubiquitous and slightly-more-interesting London Glory were on pump. The LG was actually well-conditioned, though it will never be an excitement on my palate. Service was quick although it was not a busy shift, and pleasant enough, though the pints (my cousin was with me and had ordered a pint of Fosters) were both well-shy on measure.

I said nothing was especially memorable here - that at least means it was not markedly awful. I would come back to the Star if convenience and occasion demanded it. But I would never go out of my way to do so. When in this vicinity most of the other tied houses (the Sanctuary, the Buckingham) and the pubco houses (the Feathers, the Adam & Eve), will probably make that bit more of a worthy impression. Full marks for not getting it wrong as such, but none for not doing - or not being allowed to do - anything especially right!
TWG - 9 Nov 2012 16:36
Nice pub, it's not cheap but it's central London. Will certainly go back again.

As for leone34's comments, it's a pub take your kids to a starbucks and leave the pub to the adults. The sooner screaming obnoxious kids and their parents are banned from pubs the better.
kevmac - 11 Sep 2012 01:05
I used to drink here 20 years ago. It's changed layout since then and gone a bit upmarket, but one thing's the same: they couldn't keep a decent pint then and they still can't. Tiger? Full of crap. London Glory? Off - end of barrel pint. Abbott was OK but a slightly over bitter taste. Chips tasteless. Three 'nibble' fish fingers were served where 4 were advertised.

It'll be another 20 years before I go back.
strongarm - 14 Sep 2011 12:58
I forgot to mention that the amount of money we spent in there you would've thought we could've got a smile and a please and thank you from at least one of the staff members, unfortunately NOT, they seemed too wrapped up in themselves to care and really made you feel like you shouldn't be drinking in there!, they need some serious customer service training.
Leone34 - 1 Jun 2011 15:16
I was very dissapointed with the staff in this pub, there were a group of 8 of us who met there on a recent Saturday afternoon, I had my little boy with me who is 15 months old. The pub was empty apart from us and we were sat in the corner away from any other customers who might've come in as i am aware that a lot of people do not like young children in pubs, considering how much money we spent there the staff were rude, unfriendly and kept giving my son and I dirty looks. It was 2 x women working. My son had some toys and did throw one (but like i said there was no-one else around) and one of the staff members picked it up in a huff and said remove this toy as it is a health & safety hazard and could trip people up - (it was on the floor for about 3 seconds before she stormed over). No wonder the pub was empty on a Saturday afternoon in such a prime location. We will not be returning
Leone34 - 1 Jun 2011 15:14
Strange layout inside it is a restaurant with some bars all a bit crammed and space does not feel best used. Beer was okay, above average price but it's very near Parliament Sq and St James and catches the passing trade. Won't be going back no atmosphere or sense that returning customers were needed.

Fractionale - 11 Apr 2011 11:25
This pub used to be okay and Carrie was nice to chat to; maybe the only human in there. The other staff, including the landlord and lady, give you the feeling that you should not be in their pub.
Do not like the new layout in there at all and the food is crap. Will do it for old times sake if I ever take part in the circle line pub crawl.
alcohol1c_anonymous - 24 Feb 2011 18:35
right the crawl is on, leave your work chatter at home boys, im not on the brassing clock neither, so hands off boon
andy_kilometrepork - 23 Feb 2011 14:15
I've been a regular in this pub for the last year and only because it is a stones throw from work and we use it as a meeting point and most of the other pubs in the area are fairly dark and dingy. I've been meaning to review this pub for so long mainly because of the unbelievably rude bar staff and I'm hoping the manager cares enough about his pub to read online reviews. The only time I have ever seen one of them smile is when they joked about charging me extra when I asked for a splash of orange juice in my soda water. How I laughed.

This pub could be great, all we need is service with a smile now and then - PLEASE!!!
katy137 - 9 Feb 2011 12:54
Good if unpersonable service, some items on the menu not available and weren't told about not having any mash or chips until the food actually arrived. This happened to several other diners over the course of our lunch. Food was actually OK. Beer was OK. Pub was cold. Toilets were all overflowing with urine. Basin was overflowing with water and the tap was broken. I wouldn't choose to go back. Definitely a "let's just take the tourists' money" type of place.
adderladders - 10 Mar 2010 12:58
FAO Admin - could someone please do something about the troll, Unionjak? Some of their other posts is below the belt and plain offensive.
MsWiley - 22 Dec 2009 15:22
It's OK - what you see is what you get. No better than any other GK I have been into. The IPA was OK, the service was OK, food looked OK...get the picture? Agree with comments about the crap positioning of tables right near the door making access difficult.
mally_drinker - 22 Dec 2009 14:08
I popped in here today with my best friend after a spot of shopping (we only went in here because the Adam and Eve had a private party going on) - It looks like a standard Greene King pub, shiny new laminate flooring, spotlighters which dazzle you as you enter, a distinct lack of character and atmosphere, and bad placement of tables (there were 2 groups of people sitting at tables right by the door so it was awkward to get in and out). I won't be going out of my way to come here, but might change after a few turns.

One thing though, the staff were very pleasant and helpful, but then again, that's what they are trained to be...
MsWiley - 16 Dec 2009 19:45
Dont think i would visit here again even if i was just detrained at St James accross the road, really has nothing at all going for it. Staff were not in the least friendly, the beer was hit and miss and the general ambience is not very nice.
Hobgoblin666 - 17 Nov 2009 13:02
This is an o.k pub but they could use dimmers as a bit too in your face with the lighting. I would go in again but only if passing.
publandlady - 15 Oct 2009 14:09
Opposite the entrance to the tube station the Old Star was pretty busy when I ventured in. It's large enough that I was able to find a seat but the stripped pine flooring only added to the slightly unpleasant volume generated by the after office crowd. There's nothing too much wrong with it but I prefer the Adam and Eve and Two Chairmen in this part of town.
murgatroyd - 24 Sep 2009 22:38
Being a Greene King house it had what you would expect on, but it did have Morland Original as well as the usual offerings. Interestingly all the nozzles on the handpumps, with the exception of Old Speckled Hen for some reason, sported sparklers. As a point of principal I’m immediately prejudiced against anywhere that uses these devices. This is a typical scrubbed clean, characterless place, of the sort that we see so many of these days. Nothing like the pub I knew in the 60s. But some people obviously like these sort of places, so good luck to them. I don’t suppose that I’ll be paying a return visit.
RexRattus - 28 Aug 2009 16:55
A wee bit too "new" looking.
wolfie_292 - 24 Jul 2009 15:13
This Greene King pub had five GK selection ales and Peroni available alongside some standard lagers. It certainly feels like it has had a new lick of paint and I think the staff have been told to keep it clean as I had to wait a while for them to stop wiping it down before I could get my drink.

I can’t see myself returning here in any great hurry.
Strongers - 25 Mar 2009 08:52
Refurbished by Greene King since my last visit, and not necessarily an improvement. Brighter, but with a corporate makeover antiseptic feel to the main ground floor bar. My pint of Morland Original was fine, if expensive, but I won't rush back.
rpadam - 23 Mar 2009 22:21
Expensive, busy, yet the beer range is uninspiring - I have seen nothing as good as Pride on, it is Greene King IPA, Morland, Ruddles County and Abbot normally. These are ok, if they are really well kept. They are not really well kept. Go to the Speaker if you want decent ale!
deho - 27 Feb 2009 12:41
Very average London pub with a typically boring range of real ales, Pride, Youngs Ordinary, GK IPA. All served at the usual inflated prices round this part of London. It's a tidy enough pub on two levels but it's nothing to write home about. Sanctuary House or the Adam & Eve are a better option.
ROBCamra - 9 Feb 2009 16:49
Best avoided unless you are deaperate for a drink
beercritic - 27 Apr 2008 06:50
Has been shut for the past few weeks undergoing a full refurbishment. Reopens on saturday 5 April
RogerB - 3 Apr 2008 19:08
For anyone that knows this pub from 20 years ago. This has seriously changed. Used to be a small one bar pub. Now on two floors. Must admit preferred it when it was small.
TheHorsesMouth - 9 Nov 2007 15:00
Still a favourite, but don't get caught out by the "imported" lagers on draught. You'll need a second mortgage to pay for them, so stick with the carling.
YoungElvis - 19 Sep 2007 21:59
Enjoyed a pleasant pint or two in here one saturday afternoon away from the crowds up teh tube at westminster - very pleasant and friendly would always call in if i was in need of refreshemnt in that part of london and very convenient straight across from the tube.
zamora250 - 19 Aug 2007 20:21
I've tended to avoid the Old Star as it's far too close to my office for comfort, but have been in 3 times in the last 2 weeks and it's certainly growing on me. The bar staff are friendly and do remember you if you're a semi-regular and apart from Friday nights it's fairly easy to get a seat. The arches downstairs are nice if there are loads of you, although there'd be a bit more atmosphere if the lighting wasn't so harsh in there. The gents toilets downstairs are tiny... not sure if there are more on the top floor, which never seems to be open.
kingston_toon - 31 Jul 2007 11:34
A large pub which is initially welcoming (busy, bright, looks smartly-kept), but ultimately rather flatters to deceive. It's spread over three floors but none of them are particularly inviting. The arches in the basement are particularly unpleasant - water drips from the ceiling onto the table and seats, so you have to be very careful where you sit, all of which is really unacceptable in a central London pub. The beers are the standard Greene King selection of IPA, Abbot, Ruddles and Morland - my pints of IPA and Ruddles were reasonably well-served although nothing to write home about. I don't know this area particularly well but I'd be surprised if there weren't some far better pubs around.
grecian - 21 Mar 2007 10:30
There was a pleasant ambiance when we were there with friendly bar staff. Food was decent too. Just across the road from St James tube station.
WaitorseBoyz - 29 Jan 2007 14:27
I see what you mean, I last came here last century also! But come on, it isn't that bad (as Harry Lime said). Still a proper pub, on three levels, with pleasant bar staff and as decent beer as you are going to get from Greene King who are not, in all fairness, my favourite brewery, but the Ruddles County was fine.
beeronaut - 18 Dec 2006 18:52
Last Century when it was "The Old Star And Crown" and had a Wine Bar in the Basement it was a Great Pub...but Progrees has changed that, which is a Pitty. The "Crown Vaults" Wine Bar was one great place in the 80's...My visit in the 21st Century was disapointing. The beer was average, The service slighty above average. A shame that a Pub with shuch Histroy as it has has been changed.
MadKiwi - 21 Oct 2006 02:16
As always when i visit this pub the atmosphere here is great i have never meet such friendly staff and management, who at all times go out of there way to please.
anonymous - 28 Aug 2006 17:30
This Victorian corner pub is spread over 3 floors. The ground floor has a great deal of wasted space with about 25% of the floor space lost courtesy of a large open stairwell that leads to the cellar bar. The area around the bar is partially blocked by a large pillar and the overall space for seating is minimal given the overall size of the ground floor. The décor is rather bland as is the piped music. There is a fruit machine and a solitary TV that does not really cater for everyone who would want to watch. Beers are predominantly Green King IPA, Abbot, Morland and Ruddles County and are not always particularly, shall we say, palatable, rather disappointing given the Cask Marque accreditation. Downstairs (note the interesting panoramas of medieval London on the way) is the cellar bar although this comes as a disappointment for to who expect a dark and dingy dungeon like environment with bare bricks and a good musty smell. Instead, it is quite well lit thanks to the open stairwell and is of modern pub décor, again rather bland. The 2 recesses that go under the arches are fairly inviting but can be fairly cramped. On the top floor is a further bar that never seems to be open when I am there but doesn’t look particularly interesting from my peep through the door. You have to take your chances on what floors are open – on one visit both the cellar bar, the upstairs and half the ground floor were reserved leaving everyone squashed into the remaining area or onto the street. The food is a bit pricey and not anything particularly interesting and the wine also seems a bit on the dear side. This is one of those pubs that is fine on the first visit but the more you go, the more you begin to dislike it.
RogerB - 13 Jul 2006 21:31

My previous review was removed, presumably because it was deemed to contain a ‘personal attack upon a member of staff’, so I’ll try again. Imagine the scene: it’s Cup Final afternoon and a bunch of us (late 40s – professionals) have been driven out of our pub of choice by a sudden influx of 20-30 Morrismen (don’t ask). Eventually, we find a tiny corner of the Old Star where we can just about see the TV set. However, we buy a few rounds and enjoy the remainder of the match until the dramatic 90th minute equaliser by Liverpool. Readying ourselves for extra-time, the manageress approaches us and asks if we’d mind if she turn the TV around so that we can no longer see the screen. We say, ‘Yes, of course we mind, how are we going to watch the rest of the match? She says, ‘You can move’. So we did: to the Buckingham Arms.

I stand by my previous opinion that this pub is overpriced and that it has an all-pervading smell of stale chip fat. I withdraw my accusation that the manageress is somehow mentally ill but still contend that she is rude, unpleasant and manifestly in the wrong job.

Avoid. 0/10.

anonymous - 19 May 2006 14:01
Large ground floor bar in a mock traditional style. Four Greene King beers on sale which were in good condition if a little pricey. Downstairs “crypt” drinking area was more to my liking. Fairly quiet on a Saturday afternoon but places tend to close early in this area at weekends.
Chief_IDIOT - 19 Feb 2006 10:54
One of my favourite London pubs. The "crypt" areas have real atmosphere.
glenfarg - 1 Nov 2005 16:31
My favourite pub for a drink at lunchtime. Can get busy in the evening when the Home Office empties, and part time drinkers always get in your way on payday. However, if you're in the area pop in and see the lovely staff. It will be worth it, especially when the sun comes out.
YoungElvis - 5 Mar 2005 12:35
Great crypt downstairs for tete-a-tetes. Bar design upstairs is ridiculous - bar is some 10 feet wide yet can only serve one person due to the unfortunate placing of a pillar. They should ban people sitting at the bar!
Lawrence - 5 Oct 2004 16:44
This pub used to be an excellent place for lunch .... until they changed the menu from pizzas (which were the best in this part of town) to plates of salads. Great it you like blowing money on over priced, unfullfilling garnish. Not so good if you need to eat to get rid of hunger. Beer was okay but I don't go there any more as there are other pubs with better beer!
Feasty - 27 Jul 2004 14:22
excellent Service, nice and friendly staff. Good food for a pub. Definatly go there. AND THEY DONT DO CIRCLE LINE PUB CRAWLS, you will be ejected from the pub
Andrew - 22 Apr 2004 15:31
My local. The best beer in SW1 - fact. Regularly cleaned pipes and a general pride in appearance mean it is my pub of choice. Yes it's full of tourists but there is an upstairs and downstairs to sit in too. Mention how well Cardiff are doing to Lyndon the manager and see if you can get a discount....
Matthew - 19 Apr 2004 13:47
It's been nicely refurbished, but the service is really awful. On a crowded Thursday lunchtime it took my colleague 15 minutes to get served. Tends to be full of tourists too.
Juliet - 23 Feb 2004 21:55
Very nice food for a pub, a bit small but fair selection of beers/wine and a nice atmosphere.
Robin - 8 Feb 2004 13:16
Not a bad pub, although it was pretty expensive - was it to pay for the refurb I wonder!
Mike E - 19 Jun 2003 23:08

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