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Sir Richard Steele, Belsize Park

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user reviews of the Sir Richard Steele, Belsize Park

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

*Make that Seven, not Twelve. Fumble-fingers.
_grobag_ - 27 Mar 2022 19:08
Any current user comments would be interesting to read - I passed by late afternoon during the week recently and the place wasn't open but appeared not to have been closed down.
Visible through the window is an odd choice of wall-hanging - what appears to be a photo of Sir William Empson ("Twelve Types of Ambiguity") - maybe he was a regular?!
Otherwise, happy memories of the place from 2008....
_grobag_ - 27 Mar 2022 19:06
This place has gotten a lot worse. They've refurbed it into more of a dive than it was. No ale on at all now and £5.50 for a very iffy pint of Estrella. You get clientele in those plastic hospital shoes shuffling round by the bar. Seems to be in the running for Chalk Farm's top toilet and should win hands down based on this visit.
Snarling_Mallard - 22 Sep 2019 21:44
has a few old signs and stuff to give it a bit of character. Only one ale on (Sambrook's Junction) which was average.
Staff have that annoying habit of putting your change on a saucer - and giving coinage instead of notes in anticipation of a tip. This un-pub like behaviour should be banished back to the evil continent - isn't it why we voted out of the EU ?
Snarling_Mallard - 24 Jul 2017 13:56
Mixed feelings about this place - used to love it for its still characterful interior and location in a very pleasant part of North London. A trip to see a Manchester United v Arsenal game on the telly sullied it as jabbering yobbos howled at the screen as Ruud van Nistelrooy and Martin Keown clashed and some years later, the ale situation was imperfect both in choice and execution. Still more than OK but wastes its chances to be excellent.
BoehmBawerk - 19 Jul 2015 10:11
Oh dear. Used to love this place. The garden is now closed at 8pm to allow the local toffs to enjoy their lemongrass mojitos on their manicured lawns without the sound of the great unwashed enjoying themselves. We tried three different cask ales and left them all which was a first for us. The interior is as good as ever and the comedy club is always worth a look. The staff were utterly clueless. Sadly this place now has the feel of a pub on the slide which is a real pity.
bodycheetah - 4 Jun 2013 07:44
Proper boozer and one I personally feel has benefitted from the refurb. Bar staff always friendly and the front of the building looks really smart now. Extra marks for decent pricing and the new garden.
AlistairVonLion - 22 Dec 2012 23:32
You can rarely fault a place that's playing Gang of Four when you walk through the door, even if they do then blow it by playing that Reef some straight after, place your hands on my hole and all that.

Nicely decorated with various London memorabilia. Two ales on, of which mine was pleasant, though too warm even for ale. A decent garden/yard out the back adds a point. A good find.
cid - 13 Jul 2012 21:13
Bit of a rough and ready local - fairly busy, reasonable ale. Not bad on this swift visit.
anonymous - 24 Jun 2012 14:56
Went there this weekend for a bank holiday session and was not disapointed. there was a live band playing (they were ok but could have done with a better lead singer!). found the atmosphere to be lively and friendly (some menacing looking people but the type that just look menacing and are actually really harmless!). the decor is trendy and the seating is comfortable. beer is ok + didnt try the food.

all in all, good pub experience and one that i would happily go back to.
londonloon - 8 May 2012 09:27
I used to frequent this pub as I live locally. It was recently taken over by another person or company. This pub used to have really tasty thai food - and I used to frequent this pub mid-week for a pint and dinner. I've been here a few times since the change-over and the food is astoundingly poor. It tastes cheap and highly-processed, with the quality being one-step-up from Wetherspoons. Crowd can be a bit rough on the weekends but, will come here for on a boozy night out but, certainly not for the food.
lmm - 18 Apr 2012 13:07
A party of twelve or so of us lunched here today in the upper room, and it is difficult to believe that we were in the same establishment that has been recently described. We were made to feel immediately welcome by the manager Paul and his staff, and had a leisurely drink downstairs first. The choice of beers was adequate and my pint was good; I suspect that £3.50 is the going rate in London NW3.

The roast beef (there was also pork or chicken) was a delight, and served according to order- i.e, rare, medium, etc. The bottles of red wine which we had went well with the beef. Various puddings were on the menu too.

A jazz band played competently, although for those with slight hearing loss this can make conversation tricky at times.

I note the previous comments about the gents’ lavatory, and all I can say is that there was no evidence of such dealings anywhere throughout the time we were there. A sign stating “no dumping” on the loo door is potentially reducing its purpose, and I understand that there is a bongo drums technique required to activate the hand dryer but no matter, the place was clean.

This pub is currently cash only (no cards).

I hope to return.

pubsampler - 8 Apr 2012 21:37
Went Friday before last and had a decent pint however being offered"marchng powder" on both my visits to the toilet and the pretty blatant dealing in the bar and smoking of joints outside the pub do nothing to encorouge me to return!
thehappydrunkard - 19 Mar 2012 13:49
I've always used this site to find pubs and never had the urge to post a comment. BUT, The Steeles used to be my local. It used to be probably one of the best pubs in london but since the take over by a pub company this place has gone rapidly down hill. The atmosphere has gone, the music is awful the prices too high and the staff are probably some of the worst i've ever come across. Its such a shame to see a once great pub brought to its knees. I now frequent the pub round the corner as do most of the once loyal locals...

If there was an option for a minus rating i would select it...
londonnw1 - 25 Feb 2012 11:45
I can only describe this pub as dressed up "Grunge".
mycetes - 13 Feb 2012 23:22
Thought this was a smashing place, full of mid Victorian character, beer fine as well (two good guests on) and for London reasonably well priced.

Two out of three times quickly served. Good live music as well. Maybe Hampstead way you are spoiled with too good a selection of pubs!

Only down side is that I still can't get me head around people paying in pubs with cards. Maybe I am stuck in a timewarp (this posting was not done on an i-phone.

PS I was reliably informed that it is not as good under the new management
baggydave - 20 Nov 2011 23:41
Used to really like this place but since the takeover a severe disappointment. Prices are now expensive and one of the things which made it something, the locals have left in droves as have many of the old staff which says a lot. There is one woman behind the bar, didn't get her name but was told she was South American that seems to take great delight in being abusive to the punters which puts me right off it. Pity as it was a good pub at one time
dazza68 - 14 Nov 2011 19:57
Correction: I have now not left any rating at all, which has caused the average to creep up from 6.6 to 6.8
mistsiren - 13 Apr 2011 06:57
As a belated response to PercySledge’s 15/09/2010 posting, I’m sure that foghorn did far more damage to this site’s reputation through his plethora of vulgar and offensive posts than I may have done solely on account of my zero rating of this particular establishment because of his liking for it. Now that he is, fortunately, no more as far as BITE is concerned, I’m revising my assessment to “don’t know”.
mistsiren - 13 Apr 2011 06:53
Excellent pub. A fine selection of drinks, not too busy and lovely & snug in the book-lined back-rooms. Could have spent all afternoon and night in here then curled up to sleep in the armchair till next day!
Firky1 - 20 Mar 2011 18:11
Decent boozer with decent people. I had a quick G&T here before going on for lunch somewhere
SidneyJames - 26 Sep 2010 15:55
dennisleigh you are such a charmer you sound like a very little man so please get tucked up in bed before 10 at night and stop with the win gums bad for a little ones health.

ps you have absolutely no wit not even half !!
anonymous - 16 Sep 2010 11:28
mistsiren if you have marked this pub a 0/10 you do this site as well as the pub a big disservice,the guys who run and work the place work very hard and you`ve diss`ed them because you don`t like a guy who makes comments on this site !!!!

Is that fair ?????????
anonymous - 15 Sep 2010 19:44
Happy b/day to the horn he`s 160 yesterday bless his cotton`s.
They don`t make them like that anymore Thank heavens !!!!!
anonymous - 15 Sep 2010 18:13
0/10 from me cos bogporn likes this place
mistsiren - 12 Sep 2010 11:09
Really nice decor, lots of character. I like the quotes on the bar. They do thai food that smelled very nice, though we didn't try any.
jo_leblanc - 10 Jun 2010 12:57
Have given this a high score eventhough haven`t visited in some time, simply because this was my fav pub anywhere for about 4 years (03-07) and was there most fri evenings. Will hopefully get back for bottle of pale ale this year, and liked seeing the Steeles on a recent "pub" edition of "The Culture Show" on the bbc.
darloexile - 11 Feb 2010 18:16
A fantastic pub providing not just a reasonably priced pint of Coke, but also some fine music and food. I would recommend a visit to this public house to just about anyone who is interested in different types of International music forms, the music ranging from good 'rock and roll' through to traditional Irish party music.

I shall be going to this location next week and seeing yet another group. My weekly visits are on Sunday afternoons and I shall NOT be reducing my need to see this location.

sigeospratt - 25 Jan 2010 11:30
Large, traditional main road pub on Haverstock Hill.

It's a large spacious pub, a single L shaped bar, well decorated with curios and bric a brac, that some may considered to be overly cluttered. Note in particular the fine painting mural on the ceiling. It's a characterful interior that contrasts favourably with the modern minimalist characterless style that is very much de rigeur nowadays.

Green tinged frosted and leaded windows would appear to indicate that it's a former Charrington's pub. Outside, I did see an old pub sign on the wall indicating "Wests Brewery Co Limited- Prize Ales". Inside is a large Bass mirror over a fireplace.

There's an upstairs Comedy Club - "Monkey Business".

On the real ale front, the Adnams Bitter - £ 2.80p - was distinctly moderate, but a subsequent pint of Kingstone Brewery Abbey Ale ( 5.1%) - also surprisingly at £ 2.80p - was a much more tasty and memorable pint. Rather irritatingly, the two other pumps round the other side of the bar, which I noted as being unclipped when I came in, had, unnoticed by me at the time, started serving Meantime London Pale Ale and Mad Goose Purity Pale Ale by the time I came to leave.

I quite liked this pub - it's a more traditional, pubby, ungentrified atmosphere than many in the immediate area and I'd happily drop in again if the opportunity arose
JohnBonser - 28 Oct 2009 09:00
Great boozer
James_R - 25 Aug 2009 20:15
Definitely a local's pub, but enjoyed the visit very much. It has a wonderful character and amazing interior. Good selection of beer too.
robmarsh25 - 19 Jul 2009 18:05
A delight ! Eclectic is probably the best word to describe this place. A total misture of customers. Not sure what the painted roof is all about, but it's unique I'm sure. Second hand books for sale - always a winner with me !

The beer was excellent and the whole place was friendly and relaxed.

Quote above the bar : " I've never seen a situation so dismal that a politician couldn't make it worse".
nmckenn - 7 Jul 2009 20:57
Friendly staff, some really great music nights... especially the Tuesday night (Jingle Jangle) and its free! they serve Doom and Landlord! and the best pad thai in the area...
beerdyman - 7 Apr 2009 15:09
I lived opposite this place in 1969/70. Ronald Fraser and other luvvies used to drink there, and the beer was good and cheap, the decor theatrical in all senses, the atmosphere noisy and generally good humoured.

I hope so much that the place is still the wonderful watering hole it was then. Good luck to all who visit her!!

Greywolf - 16 Feb 2009 19:26
Great atmospheric pub and many happy Monday evenings spent listening to the excellent live Jazz. Until 12 Dec. 2008, that is. Late programme changes section of JazzinLondon website reports "We hear from Darryl Kenworthy that the regular Monday night gig has been cancelled as of now."
This really is a great shame and I do hope the gig can be revived. The pub's still worth a visit but in my case it isn't likely to be on a Monday night now...
_grobag_ - 16 Dec 2008 16:40
Love love love Steele's. Nowhere like it in NW3. But definitely a pub for people who can't be arsed to check what they're wearing before they leave home, or even if they've got their trousers on the right way round. Definitely a pub for people who tell their other halves 'just popping out for a quick one' and never make it back till early hours.

I could sit in here for days. The music on Sundays, from late afternoon through the evening, is brilliant.

God love it.
adelondon - 10 Oct 2008 14:36
Wonderful pub with a pleasingly mixed clientele. Easy to forget that this was the pub that started the cluttered interior trend, so not a copycat but an innovator. I like the bats hanging from the ceiling....
Dannysigma - 6 May 2008 14:26
Popped in today about 4pm. I must say, the draught bitters were all in tip-top condition. Very good. Not only that, the Flowers was on offer at £2 a pint. What's to complain about? Tell all your friends...
foghorn - 23 Apr 2008 21:00
A completely rubbish pub experience. Full of posturing backpackers, and mind numbingly rude staff. Several of the bitters were off on a busy night, and the Broadside being poured was skunk. The Cotes du Rhone was cough syrup, the place is in desperate need of a cleaning, and the Americana kitsch is tired, tired, tired.

cfarley - 10 Feb 2008 13:02
Who runs Steels these days?
treacle81 - 3 Feb 2008 17:22
With so many copycats around, it is easy to forget that The Steeles is the original on which so many 'retro' pubs have been re-modeled. Its hand-painted ceilings, downstairs and upstairs, make references to the Sistine Chapel and help make this pub one of the most original in north London.
The live music is back, great comedy nights upstairs every Saturday and The Steeles seems to be subtly reinventing itself. The rowdy football fans have gone elsewhere (as have the drug dealers and Castlemaine XXXX) and the atmosphere is generally much friendlier.
Plans are afoot to develop the garden and the toilets, the latter, without doubt, being the pub's weak point.
crescentdude - 1 Feb 2008 11:35
Decent pint of Staropramen with thai food being served until 11.
Food was quite good & service prompt & surprisingly polite. Beer garden has a mix of punters & diners enjoying the sun.
Decent pub on the whole.
Smelly toilets!

chrisbinns1974 - 13 Sep 2007 15:55
Several things need to be done to make this pub great again. 1) Bar the drug dealers (I've heard this has happened but I've not been back since). 2) Clean it. 3) Serve some better beer (I think Castlemaine XXXX was on tap last time!!!). 4) Get the live music back.

Then it would be great again.
bunglebear - 1 Jun 2007 14:57
Great pun TS77 - "a sea of urine" being "somewhat passe". Or did you just misspell the last word?
anonymous - 22 May 2007 10:18
Interesting interior and clientele though the sea of urine in the Gentlemen's toilets is somewhat passe. Anybody who enjoys this kind of faux-jollity is highly advised to investigate any public house on the island of Ireland for the real thing.
TS77 - 22 May 2007 09:25
Very gorgeous interiors and interesting drinkers, some gorgeous and some thug elements. Beers only so-so. Dirty.
seasiderMM - 8 May 2007 22:30
I had used the Steeles garden quite a few times before, but had not actually sat inside the pub for a drink until Saturday evening. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised that if you move away from the toilet side of the pub the clientele turn into normal pub going people.

I was always served promptly with nice pints of Stella by one of the hoardes of staff members behind the jump.

There was a queue for the one trap in the men’s every time I went to the toilet and there were a few tits flexing there wallets and talking at each other as sound doesn’t travel through the vacuum between their ears!

I would go back if I was in the area.
Strongers - 1 May 2007 07:52
The comments about the cokeheads may have had something to them, never noticed much thuggery in there - but a bit. Anyway, the pub has now been bought and is apparently shortly due to go gastro, which will be a loss to an area which now has a lack of old fashioned boozers.
anonymous - 12 Feb 2007 13:43
1st time vistor lastnight. Good music, nice atmosphere and reasonable drinks. Not to full of arseholes either - although we could have just been lucky. Maybe they all go in the Hill over the road?
anonymous - 4 Feb 2007 14:14
Made only one visit, but very impressed. Superb place with great atmosphere (early evening). The ale is mediocre, but no worse than normal for London. No experience of thuggery or coke-heads. HBC's experiences are interesting, but the pub was here before she was. Maybe a flat above a Brittany bakery would be just right for those not-fancying-London moments.
northernsky - 26 Jan 2007 22:53
Not as good as it used to be. Too many thugs and Coke sniffing. They're not allowed to show the world cup because of past football related fights. Go to Camden and party with the kids!
DrunkGeorge - 16 Jun 2006 13:38
HELENA BONHAM CARTER has made inquiries about buying her local boozer - to stop any latenight noise.

The 40-year-old actress is one of 27 North London residents who have objected about the Sir Richard Steele pub applying to open until midnight.

A pal said: "She and her husband are desperate for peace and quiet and buying the pub would be one way to make sure they get it."
anonymous - 4 Jun 2006 09:30
Its pretty hard to find a better atmosphere than the Steeles: one thing that it really needs though, is a massive improvement in its beer !
I know i cant expect all my regular haunts to have exceptional standards of Ale, though the SRS lacks big time, catering mainly for the "Stella" crowd . The IPA is often off, albeit dirt cheap. The Pride is not much better, as is the Abbots. What the manager should do (apart from cleaning the pipes) is to take a look up at the Washington, get a couple of guests on and then SRS will be pretty hard to beat. Scenery, service and punters alike, combine to make this a good evening out. Not for camra purists though.
darloexile - 19 Feb 2006 13:04
I used to love this place, unique character with all the littel alcoves, fires and books. Closing time was a loose concept, and they even let you eat Chinese takeways brought in from the place next door. So was disapointed with it somehow when I returned recently, terrible terrible pint, and seemed to have lost something. But still worth a visit.
OldRogue - 5 Jan 2006 12:15
A really quirky pub. Well worth a visit just to see the incredible interior. Plenty has already been said about the tiolets. Alwasys good fun - especially when the regulars are on a bender.
gjs34 - 31 Oct 2005 10:28
A great pub. One of the few remaining that hasn't suffered insipid modernisation.

Great atmosphere, live music, superb food (Thai - try the thin egg noodle soup with chicken)), decent selection of drinks (Magners!!), genuinely friendly and interesting people, plenty of room, beer garden, open late, etc.

The only downside is the toilets which are certainly basic.

However, overall it's a belter of a pub and anyone who doesn't like this sort of pub undoubtedly likes the All Bar One chain and probably reads the Daily Mail.
Dylarolla - 14 Oct 2005 11:53
live music, thai food, great beers, fantastic athmosphere, friendly staff. The gents is crap, apart from that is the best pub in London.
anonymous - 30 Sep 2005 12:01
A great pub. Unless you end up drinking at close proximity to the toilets which, quite frankly, stink.

ron_devous - 14 May 2005 14:18
Ten years ago this had a bohemian, shabby-genteel atmosphere - now it just seems shabby. Last time I went it was full of Hogarthian 'characters' pestering the young lady I was with, when I protested I was threatened with violence which fortunately didn't happen because the intended protagonist was too drunk to stay upright. If you want something a bit grittier than the generic trendy trainers 'n' DJ type pub, this is for you...
Hugh1971 - 25 Apr 2005 09:55
This place is indeed legendary...I went there on New Year's Eve and there was a man dressed as a chicken, a man dressed as the grim reaper, and a catfight between a 16 and a 60 year old. I defy you to come away without an anecdote!
anonymous - 18 Apr 2005 17:22
There's a bar manager for the upstairs now. It's open from 6 in the evening.
Yeldnih - 13 Apr 2005 13:51
If loud music, z-list celebs, iffy beer, toilets from the dark age are your thing - then try out the Old Steeles. One of the few pubs in the area that tries to maintain a proper drinkers pub feel in area of excessive up ones arsieness, and the decor is second to none. Recently they did out the upstairs with sofas and big tables - only downside you have to go downstairs to get a beer.
darloexile - 1 Apr 2005 14:02
It's a fantastic pub - a real one-off. I've been drinking there for longer than I care to remember and always take visitors to London there as an antidote to all those samey blonde wood pubs that have sprung up everywhere!

The food's pretty decent too.
Yeldnih - 3 Feb 2005 13:22
I stumbled into this pub during a crawl which started at the heights of Hampstead working my way down to Camden. This place is a gem. Lots of little nooks and crannies to indulge your anonymity whilst surveying the various touches of art (mock Baroque ceiling mural)and enjoying the reasonable choice of real ale. There is a beer garden that extends to the high street. I found the locals and staff amiable: but then, I was well behaved.
zaparoski - 4 Jan 2005 08:03
A local pub for local people. Regulars can get away with spectacularly debauched behaviour, non regulars cannot. Good fun to sit back and take it all in though - if a little scarey at times. Chris Evans rumoured to be buying it. A few C List celebs frequent the place. Bar staff are good. A very cosy, atmospheric pub if the regulars aren't on a bender. I love it and Evans had better not change a thing! Oh, the gents loo is horrible.
Micky A - 10 Nov 2004 15:40
A marvellous pub that's full of character and characters. It's worth going on a Sunday to watch the proper drinkers sway (and occasionally collapse) in time to the excellent folk bands that play here.
Generally very friendly although trouble does occasionally surface between regular acquaintances - nothing to worry about though. Good real ales and a selection of other options at reasonable prices. Eccentric painting and random objects hanging off every vertical surface keep provide constant talking points.
A real drinkers pub with proper regulars, so don't walk around like you own the place....unless you do.
Chris P. - 1 Sep 2004 13:42
Yeah, a nice pub with so much tat on the walls that it makes the nearby Enterprise look like the Wine Bar. Flowers is the ale on offer here, and it tastes like Flowers too, which is nothing to write home about.

They've been doing some sort of Oriental BBQ so far this summer in their standard London-type concreted beer "garden".

travis - 31 Aug 2004 15:55
Fantastic, grimy, characterful pub - one of the best in London and certainly the best in the area. Not for the white-wine spritzer crowd though - which is a Good Thing. They used to turn all the lights off at 'time' and you just have to find your way out...can be fun.
moomina - 29 Aug 2004 17:07
Go here every weekend, and I think it's fantastic.
Laid back atmosphere, with friendly staff and great decorations. Reasonably priced spirits, and regular live music, as well as a warm fire in winters and a good beer garden for the summer means this is a great pub all year round.
Monty - 3 Aug 2004 17:30
I'm in complete agreement with frankie five - the apocalytic pseudo-Blakean painting in the back room alone is worth getting swindled at the bar (not that's ever happened to me). I'd rate it 8, but I'm too lazy to register. As an American, I'm not sure how much my opinion should count anyway.
Jim - 14 Jun 2004 19:57
Good lively pub - fantastic back rooms full of paintings, stained glass window, dark corners. Beer could be better but the larger's fine. Really atmospheric place definately worth a visit.
steve - 7 May 2004 16:26
This pub certainly has 'character' but watch your bag - mine got nicked and the barmaid told me that at least 15 get stolen from here each week!
anonymous - 10 Feb 2004 10:54
It attracts a good crowd and i've seen a fair few celebs in there also. However, this is a pub where you really have to check your change each time you go to the bar.
sean - 14 Nov 2003 10:23
the steeles is wicked, if a little crazy. i danced with gazza here (honestly). good atmosphere, esp in winter - mulled wine etc. live bands sometimes too.
Zoe - 5 Nov 2003 16:22
i am floored by the poor rating ole steelsie gets here. it's the single greatest pub in north london. real life. real people. yeah, it can be rough sometimes. so can life. go there - it'll be your new favourite pub.
frankie five - 23 Oct 2003 16:00
I love it. The chinease garden looks lovely in autumn
bobby gilespie - 10 Sep 2003 14:10
I visited 7/31/03, travelling from the US.
Sir Richard Steele is an ancestor, and I wanted to see the pub.
The place is very interesting and when the manager Gregor, dicovered that I was a decendent he personally gave me the grand tour. He also bought me a few pints
D. Hellman - 24 Aug 2003 22:34
You're right. It is an odd place. Been going there on and off for years now. Finally decided I don't like it much. Always seems to be full of nutters. Used to have a kind of rough feel but not intimidating. Must be getting old.
anonymous - 11 Aug 2003 21:18
I've had odd experiences here. On my first trip I sat in the back room and thought, hey, this is a nice wee place. On my second visit it was packed full of alcoholic gits with loud voices and dribbling problems. I don't think I will be returning.
anonymous - 19 Jul 2003 16:31
great live music all week, and the food is probably the best pub food i've had in london yet and affordable. real ales ok and the ceiling is something else, seemingly all the regulars from past and present up there in a mock micheal-angelo cistine chapel effect. rocks!
Roger G. - 13 Jul 2003 16:24
Cool and busy.
Rob - 26 Jun 2003 14:40
My favourite pub in London. It's quirky, with a great atmosphere. Tons of old objects on walls. Loads of candles, lovely fire place.
anonymous - 18 May 2003 23:45
Boho pub with small patio garden.
Duck - 5 Dec 2002 22:29

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