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Marlborough Head, Marble Arch

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user reviews of the Marlborough Head, Marble Arch

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

Popped in after a client meeting in the vicinity last Thursday.

5 ales on hand pump which were, Jennings Cumberland Ale, Sharp's Doom Bar, Wychwood Hobgoblin, Shepherd Neame Spitfire and Fuller's London Pride.

Being just off Oxford St this is defiantly a tourists pub, which isn't normally a good thing though they have hired friendly and attentive bar staff.

Very busy just before 5pm, music playing at a reasonable level, food being served which looked and smelt good unsure of the prices as I didn't look at a menu.

There are better pubs in the area but this one serves a purpose and is actually pretty alright.

lezford - 26 Feb 2014 11:42
Pleasant pub, notably friendly staff on my visit, ok beer. But a pub lover's heart sinks upon sight of the Taylor Walker signage (although not to the extent of Greene King) because you know what you are going to get; Nicholson's Lite. Likely historic building but refitted on the cheap, soullessly. Now, M&B (said Nicholson's) are no less corporate pub vultures than Spirit group (Taylor) but at least they do the Victoriana well.
curioushistory - 5 Jun 2012 16:28
Nice few pints of Youngs Gold.......makes a visit worthwhile
pick_e_tippler - 29 Nov 2011 21:26
A perfectly pleasant london pub,
Very nice pint of Youngs Gold.
It is a bit pricey...but then its not a cheap location
Lunchtime menu (specials) looks ok and resonably priced but haven't tried the quality yet.
straight_to_the_pint - 18 Oct 2011 06:41

How can you possibly call the Carpenters a dump? It's a lovely traditional London pub.

If it takes you 16 minutes to walk from the corner of North Row and North Audley Street to the bottom of Seymour Place, then I suggest you cut down on your pork life me ole China.

Come back to me when you can spell Edgware.
Pat_Bateman - 17 Jan 2011 13:49
The Carpenters is more like 16 minutes away just off Edgeware road and is an absolute dump but yes different to the above overpriced dump..
makemineacold1 - 17 Jan 2011 13:31
The worst lager / ale in Britain.

I'm not joking. I used to work next door to this pub and had to suffer countless office Brithdays here.

Avoid at all costs.

The Carpenters Arms is only a 6 minute walk away.
Pat_Bateman - 17 Jan 2011 13:10
Walked past this pub countless times on the way to Shepherd Market but first time I've ventured in. Very civilised pub with the usual Youngs line - had a fine pint of Ordinary and a chat with a very pleasant Polish barmaid -er- person. It's a bit blighted by the building site opposite, and I went on a Saturday, so lots of Happy Shoppers in. I am told the management has changed also.
I shall certainly visit again on a non-Saturday-afternoon !

ThLoneBoozer - 17 Jan 2011 12:50
Good proper decent size boozer, if you ever happen to be stuck in Oxford street and you need some respite this is a good place to seek sanctuary away from all the hustle and bustle. Looks good after the refurb. Be warned though if your sitting in the bar at the back of the pub up the stairs they do table service so it maybe difficult to move on from this pub.
dgriffin - 16 Mar 2009 15:22
had another fantastic evening in here last night. place has definitely picked up and it was ended on a great note. one of my friends really wanted to go to a karaoke bar, and we all ended up singing along to bohemian rhapsody at closing time. one of the bar staff even took a video and posted it on youtube for us. lol

will definitely come back again and again if it ends up being like that. :D
le_bint - 8 Feb 2009 16:22
This pub has just opened 2 days ago after a drastic overhaul. One which was needed, I might add.

I've been drinking in here with my friends for about 5 years or so now. Whilst the theme and everything else was really good for us to begin with, over the last couple of years it went right downhill. we were put off by the bar staff, and also some of the other customers in there.

Now it has totally transformed into a gastropub type place. Upstairs is more of a drinking bar, while the downstairs is now more restaurant orientated. The food is pricer than what it used to be, but is well worth the money, and the drinks are still reasonable for a central london venue.

Me and my two friends that were with me yesterday were all impressed. We will definitely be returning next saturday for our annual halloween get together, despite there no longer being the eerie theme anymore. :D
le_bint - 26 Oct 2008 13:02
If this pub opens before halloween then they should put a huge 'SCREAM' face around the gents' urinal basins so we that we can pee into the scarey open droopin mouth.
wortman - 16 Oct 2008 14:02
Closed for renovation at present, reopening October?
rainlight - 25 Sep 2008 07:56
After a really hot day shopping in the West End we were gasping for a cold pint and happened across this little gem. Yes, it's a bit of a novelty with the goth/gargoyle decor but it's a lot better than some pubs I've been in. We had burgers (as it was easier to stay put and have another beer) and very nice they were too. The boyfriend had beef burger - nicely cooked, I had falafel burger - again very nice, very tasty. Food was A1 really - good size portions, freshly cooked, freshly prepared. Couldn't fault it to be honest. We'll definitely head for here again if we're forced to do another shopping trip in the dreaded West End.
elllie - 24 Jul 2008 22:46
If you're ever shopping in Oxford Street, and your lady over does the whole 'shopping experience' a bit... pop into the "Marlboro' Head" for a 'pick-u-up'!! It really is worth seeing (probably better during day-light hours though!) and check out the toilets in the basement...!! If you're easily scared, of a nervous disposition, or don't like the whole 'vampire' thing then STAY AWAY !!! Otherwise, i dare you to checkit out... just one drink shouldn't hurt...!!!?? TJ
TeeJay - 17 Jun 2008 11:06
I have just got back from Lunch at the MARLBOROUGH HEAD, I am very disappointed, they were obversely having problems, but instead of sorting it out all the staff started shouting at one another, whilst I was waiting at the bar to order, they would then try and serve me before the Manager would interrupt.

Then I ordered my food, I had a Gammon, Egg and Chips, I asked for my egg to be well done, this then came out raw, AND I MEAN RAW, I could not eat it, which then put me off my food, in general it was so oily.

The waiter came to take away my full plate and asked if everything was ok!, I said not really, the egg was not cooked and not really very nice, he said, I would not have had Gammon on a Lunch time, which was really strange, he then took it away and that was that.

I will never be going there again, Bad Service, Bad Food.

diablohorn - 16 Jun 2008 14:23
lovely pub, friendly, good beers, nice food and holds a lot of great memories for me so i think its great and would recommend any day.
Billgates1 - 4 Feb 2008 11:41
Not bad if you stick to the lager! Interesting interior and music ok and not too loud. Not quite sure why there is piped sound of screaming and baying wolves in the toilets, but at least it's original! Better than many a trendy, overpriced hell-hole in Central London!
Oolybel - 21 Jan 2008 16:47
This pub used to be such a great little place to come to. For at least the last 3 years, I've been coming here frequently with a group of at least 15-20 people, usually on a saturday. The music while loud, was bearable, and generally the other punters werent complete morons.

Now, however, this place has become uncool. On my most recent visits, it seems theres more and more dodgy people drinking here, the bar staff are inept, you can barely get to the bar downstairs on occasion on a saturday night because of the idiots standing at or around it and being too stupid to move, the menu has been replaced with something more befitting of a gastropub(which this is not, at all), and the bar staff are rude to you when you try to leave. I mean, how exactly are you supposed to know how to get out if you lock the upstairs bar and dont leave any signs to indicate where the exit is?(which i might point out, was at the back, behind the 'dj', which was so loud, my ears were ringing as i left and my friends were peeved at the rather inconsiderate attitude from the bar staff when we asked how to get out.

I blame bad management. I used to love coming here, but I really think that this pub needs to sort itself out and decide what it wants to be. Gastropub, or out of date gothic theme bar that attracts all sorts of wrong people and is totally confused? needs an overhaul, and some fresh ideas. To prove my point, Ben Crouch's Tavern on Wells Street, which is owned by the same company, and retains some of the themed bits, is a far better establishment.
anonymous - 26 Nov 2007 00:50
I took my mum in here a few weeks ago one lunchtime, she absolutely loved the dark Goth decor downstairs and the ok food.
wortman - 27 Jul 2007 14:20
The beer is pretty average in this pub, but the food is ok.

I often visit this pub whilst shopping with my daughter on Oxford Street.

There always seems to be the same faces ... too many builders and in particular a plump, ginger skin headed, loud mouthed cockney type.

Avoid him at all costs ... he always stands at the left hand side of the pub right next to the bar.
Pat_Bateman - 15 May 2007 16:14
This pub first got themed in the sixties when the bar downstairs was called the Fishermans wharf. Plastic fish nets and lobster pots were tastefully placed here and there. Now the dim downstairs is an aperetif for the London Dungeons. Candlelit rustic tables with orangey walllights. I enjoyed the fun thing about it. The London Pride beer was ok too.
wortman - 24 Feb 2007 14:07
I'd say this was the better of the 2 "Eerie" pubs in the Oxford Street vicinity (the other being the Ben Crouch).

Watching people trying to find the toilets is excellent entertainment!

edrok666 - 27 Jan 2007 11:56
Started going back to the metal nights on Saturdays now they have real ale (and a Cask Marque) in the upstairs bar. I've always found the service friendly, then again I go to pubs to DRINK, not eat. If I want food and waiter service I go to a RESTAURANT - there is a difference, not that you'd know it from some of the reviews on this site. Anywhere I can go and drink real ale and listen to real metal gets 2 horns up from me!!
mannyowar - 17 Jan 2007 15:20
This place is the pits, but I like it. It's kind-of fun inside, it's in a decent location and the Kronenbourg's good. Now here comes the river. It's extremely smoky. The toilets are grim and have flies in. They never fill your pint up to a reasonable level: I ALWAYS have to ask them to top it up (and I like a head on my beer); this happens so often, it must be on purpose, must be. They have a habit of turning the music up now and then to just above the level that it's feasible to have a conversation at, just when you're having an interesting one. Staff can be extremely stroppy. But - some of them are very attractive. All that said, I still like it. It's a good, nasty, fun place to get pissed on a work night. And it's not too busy. Love-hate all the way. The best thing is to watch tourists with their kiddies come in off Oxford Street to experience a traditional English pub, turn round and leave immediately scared beyond belief. Absolutely classic.
Hzy - 16 Sep 2006 12:50
Been back here recently. Like it more now.
edrok666 - 19 Feb 2006 22:21
Another example of theme pubs done badly. The theme is here horror yet since its been opened they just seem to have given up on it and hope the goth and metal crew will keep coming along (and they do like sheep!!!)

The place is in need of (1) a good clean (2) re-decoration and (3) some decent beer served at a decent price - a small fortune for a frothy pint of Kronenburg is not my idea of good value for money - and Im not willing to pay extra for my beer just because i'm in a theme pub either

Like John (below) I'll be sticking to the Dev if I want an alternative night - at least its original not just a ready made alternative venue
ickleprincess - 1 Jan 2006 19:39
I like this place. Have only been a few times, and have not experienced the bad service mentioned below.

I prefer the Ben Crouch Tavern, but this one has cooler toilets!!
edrok666 - 27 Oct 2005 21:02
Went to this pub recently because my girlfriend wanted to go there. She should've listened to me and we should have gone to the Devonshire Arms as I recommended! Dreadful barstaff who: 1. Kept adding their own drinks to our bar tab (not once, twice but three times!!) 2. Didn't understand a word we said to them and gave us the wrong drinks on several occassions 3. Had no idea how to pour a decent pint.

Will not be returning!
John_138 - 23 Oct 2005 16:40

This is a cavenous pub split over two floors, the decor resembles early psycho, and they have come up with the wheeze of hiding the entrance to the toilets behind a fake bookcase, why I will never know, seems like a pretty stupid idea to me.
The bar staff are friendly enough but as they are mostly foreign students communication can be difficult especially when it gets busy. The female bar manager could do with some customer care training and possibly learning to smile.
The beers are reasasonable but all are served with a monumental head. didn't try the cocktails but they are apparently quite famous in the area. Tip for the management fix the leak above the bar, there is no point telling me its always been like that!!!!
All in all not a bad pub for a quick pint but there are much better in the area.
anonymous - 22 Oct 2005 10:57
stopped off for lunch - very disappointing. Not a lot on the menu, especially for veggies, and ended up ordering pasta and goats cheese, but was expecting more than just pasta, goats cheese, covered in garlicy oil. Ate it anyway because I was in a rush and didn't want to send it back but later on in the day was very ill which I suspect was due to this pub. Violently sick all evening. Shame because staff were very nice.
tengu - 30 Aug 2005 15:57
I love this pub. It is my favorite place to hang out on Fridays with their theme nights. The drinks are amazing, buying their 7 deadly sins by the pitcher. The people there are great- good times.
Megan - 18 Jun 2005 00:17
Try finding the toilets after a few shandies.
aldhous - 24 May 2005 17:22
Not attended on too many occasions but their New Years parties are fantastic.
Prices are decent and staff are friendly.
Jackrum - 21 Apr 2005 22:39
Ooopaloopa - Yes, the building up the street is the us naval headquarters and we used to go the head quite a bit. thank god the crew i hung out with were some what cultured and didn't fill the ugly american cast ! I totally forgot about sitting outside of this place in the summer. had a lot of good piss ups here.
Joseph65 - 28 Mar 2005 16:53
Used to be a cosy traditional pub, but now it's not worth crossing the road for.
It's not that there's anything particular to dislike, it's more that there's nothing to like.
Better pubs around here can be found quite easily
John - 4 Nov 2004 13:14
The "Head" as my office calls it is a pretty wild place. Not a place to take your father-in-law for a nice quiet pint but a great place to meet friends, listen to music and check out the strange clients that come and go. Very popular with Americans as its just up the street from some military building and their Embassy but a nice place to sit out and have a pint. Foreign staff turns over quite often. Watch your bags if you do sit outside because the minature gypsies are fast. Food is not bad and standard pub fare. See you at the Head.
Ooopaloopa - 29 Oct 2004 15:57
This has changed big time ! I used to go here quite often in the mid/late 80s. It used to be a cozy pub often busy. The theme thing caught me off guard. Didn't know that would swing in London, but apparently it has. Must say, it's a bit of a trip. Especially the bathrooms. Cheers/Joe/usa
Joseph - 18 Oct 2004 18:18
Absolutely Fantastic, visit it everytime i am in London, try the cocktails if you can handle all 7 sins.
Lisa - 30 Sep 2004 12:46
Used to be a traditional pub...whats gone wrong?
michael - 28 Sep 2004 11:36
Good Food and drink, friendly staff, excellent decor, toilets - well what can i say - spooky - that's if you can find them. seriously though, loved it.
Catherine - 10 Sep 2004 21:13
Super atmosphere, loved the decor, food was great drinks rocked something wicked, nice and spacy!! That pub was built for me I'm sure of it ;)
Carpes - 20 Aug 2004 13:46
Great pub, manages to be pretty dark and gothic in style, whilst retaining an air of friendliness and not taking itself too seriously.

Tip: track down the toilet BEFORE you drink too much.......!
Tim - 20 Aug 2004 11:49
Amazing pub, ground floor with normal clientele and music etc, but go downstairs at your own peril, metal/rock music and clients. Very different decor and interesting history. They also do "the seven deadly sins" cocktails.
Michelle - 24 Feb 2004 13:17
Nice pub, good cocktails. Head barman was a bit of a tool!! huge sign saying ask about our discount card so i did and he told me "We don't give them out willy-nilly you know" then why have the sign?? Good place for a large get together if you like eerie pubs v.big with lower level. "rustic" toilets though!
Alex - 8 Jan 2004 16:11
Love the test tube shots!! My friend Maria bought me one and vomited straight away but great if u want to have a quick buzz!
anonymous - 29 Oct 2003 14:15
Bonkers. Gothic, dark, lots of bats and skeletons, although that may have been partly decoration for the forthcoming Halowe'en weekend, and partly my, erm, drunken imagination.

Worth checking out. Some ales, I think, and a fair share of tourists in cowboy hats (well, one when I was there, but he stood out)

Good luck tracking down the khazi.
Ruby - 25 Oct 2003 20:02
The pub is really good and is the Marks and Spencer employees local - pity about the miserable barman with the dodgy beard!
anonymous - 23 Oct 2003 12:49
Found this place by accident, much like the way I found its toilets. As theme-stylee pubs go, it's not bad at all. However I missed the metal music, snogging chicks and visiting rockers on my visit. Maybe next time, eh?
jeremy - 1 Oct 2003 17:24
great cocktails
great music and atmosphere
1.00 for a shot! whoooopeeee
friendly environment
Liana - 16 Sep 2003 15:29
The Best Pub Ever,i,m going there for two years in a row ,every Saturday,I,m still going,never get bored of it.
Kavvadias Anastasios - [email protected] - 11 Sep 2003 02:08
Fun theme pub but don't let that put you off. A fun place to meet friends for a drink before heading off into the night...
anonymous - 2 Apr 2003 19:30
this pub is great on a saturday night when hellnoise is on, playing the best metal in town. the only time it sucks is when the aforementioned kerrang crew turn up..15 year old girls snogging does nothing for me, as does their fighting!!
death metal gal - 4 Jan 2003 19:43
I like this pub. If for no other reason than it is fun to sit downstairs and watch drunk people try in vain to locate the toilets hidden behind fake bookcases.
Alistair - 28 Nov 2002 10:28
Very camp gothic pub, a nice place to hang out with the local gay scene, shlock horror camp metal bands on saturday nights - clay dyke
clay dyke - 4 Nov 2002 19:30
This is by far one of the best pubs in London. Great gothic hangout. Look out for the Kerrang crew in there about once a month on one of our manic meet ups.
Kerrang London Crew - 19 Jul 2002 06:32
very gothic interior, especially in the downstairs dungeon, and with hidden toilets!
Ross Walter - 17 May 2002 16:00

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