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The Old Monk Exchange, Westminster

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user reviews of the The Old Monk Exchange, Westminster

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

Due to ongoing technical problems this pub is closed on 4/5/2015, and is unlikely to reopen in the foreseeable future.
58Londoner - 14 May 2015 18:16
Went into this pub last week, in the evening. Not very many in there, and was surprised to see it's all underground.

Some nice nooks with wooden tables, the space feels well looked after.

Had the best pint of ale I've had in ages, the lines are obviously kept very clean, and the barman I spoke to seemed passionate about serving the best quality ale.

However it's a bit pricey, think it was 3.50 a pint, which is a deterrent to someone quite skint. But the thought of that great pint will bring me back there.
tra.dos - 7 Aug 2012 14:34
Popped in for a couple of pints at lunchtime today. The Koinoor (diamond Jubilee) was good. . But they charged £1.60 for a splash of lemonade with a spirit! Bloody expensive! And 3 rounds with same drinks each time - 1st was £11.30, 2nd was £12.90 (!!!!!) and 3rd was £11.10. When queried was tod £12.90 was correct! Not impressed.
smudger69 - 3 Jul 2012 22:37
I occasionally pop in in the evening for a couple of beers and a bite to eat. Good selection of well kept ales and the food is good quality pub style.
Although the pub is entirely underground, it is fairly open with some nice vaulted arches on one side. This is the fith time I have been here in the last few months and it has always been consistently good
Ed_Blackadder - 27 Mar 2012 14:05
Strange place. Dont like the feel of the pub but the ale selection was good and the pint I had was one of the best ones I had on the night and I had 11.

Definitely worth a look but i wished the pub was more welcoming.
TheHorsesMouth - 7 Nov 2011 12:54
It has its moments on teh real ale front but is a bit unpredictable, both in terms of range and quality. It could be better than it is.
MeurglysIII - 19 Sep 2010 08:16
This is a spacious pub with some nooks and crannies at the back.

Not a vast selection of ales, but they've had a well kept Wandle every time I've been in.

Plus two real ciders/perries hidden on the far right of the bar, which are variable in quality but occasionally excellent. Have a taster first (they often encourage you to, because "proper" cider is not to everyone's taste).

They also serve food, which I've found to be quite good.
xeremy - 14 Sep 2010 14:48
£4.30 for a pint of Perroni.
jimd - 27 Jul 2010 15:42
I popped in here last week after an absence of about five years. (It used to be quite a regular mid-day retreat of mine.) Very much the same, though the thrust is now much more towards beer than before when it was first and foremost a wine bar.

But no matter. A good selection of both and of cider and or the first time in years I was tempted to a pint of it. But which? No problem, said the guy behind the bar, here's a small glass of a couple of them to try. More common these days but still a nice, customer-friendly touch. I opted for a cloudy scrumpy at 6.5% which went down a treat, especially at (I think) £3.20.

Bags of room and so ideal for groups from work, several of whom were happily stretching the definition of lunch hour into mid afternoon - and clearly enjoying it. Nice, well-run retreat from Victoria Street.
guayabera - 18 Apr 2010 09:26
A slightly hidden gem but one worth visiting. They've an excellent selection of draught ales as well as some interesting bottled beers too including most of Meantime Brewery (Greenwich)'s range. Their stout and raspberry beer are the real deal.
RealMcCoy - 18 Dec 2009 10:53
Ok not too bad, food & real ales, clean etc great for office lunching types but not the sort of place you would go for a long session really.
steviewonder - 16 Nov 2009 15:36
Real ales, clean, food
steviewonder - 16 Nov 2009 15:14
I popped into the Old Monk last Saturday afternoon on the strength of its recent London Drinker adverts. Large screen showing live football, and four real ales on tap, though both the Bath Barnstormer and Sambrook's Wandle I sampled seemed to be a little below par compared to previous experiences elsewhere. I applaud the pub's new direction in providing a better range, though the execution was a little lacking - however I may have been unlucky and will certainly visit again in the near future.
Dartitis - 9 Nov 2009 14:24
Looking at the below reviews, I suspect I was a bit unlucky here. I'd seen this pub advertised in the CAMRA London Newsletter, which is usually a good sign, and so popped in when walking by late one weekday evening. I found a rather uninspiring but sizeable basement bar with the distinctive Pubco look. Only three ales on when I visited, one of which was Sambrooks' Wandle. That was promptly declared to be off when I ordered it: the other two ales were uninspiring nationals (IPA and something else). I ordered the IPA, which I will admit was well-served, but I was a bit disappointed at the poor selection. Obviously others had better luck, and maybe it was a function of the late hour, so I will return at some stage.
grecian - 3 Sep 2009 11:02
In similar fashion to the previous visitor, I had hitherto ignored this unobtrusive basement bar just off Strutton Ground, and I must confess almost did the same on Saturday when last in the area. Nothing rendered it particularly alluring at ground level (not least the pigeon that was standing at the top of the steps that took some shooing before we could pass!), and frankly we were expecting to exit almost immediately on entering. However, one thing gave cause for hope - the large board exhibiting numerous pump clips which if nothing else suggested a potential hidden gem for the keen ale drinker (the Old Monk is not in the current Beer Guide but sometimes decent pubs are overlooked in such publications).
The interior was not as cavernous or dingy as one might expect, though it was routine wood panelling, and boasted few cosy alcoves inviting intimacy. Still, I was with a mate so that wasn't an issue for me. The majority of the clientele were transfixed by the latest rugby match showing on the big screen. That said, what it lacked in character I believe it made up for in beer selection. 4 reasonably priced ales featured (inc 2 from Twickenham on my visit), which were all well-kept. Clearly from chatting to him the landlord is keen to continue supplying a good range and has sufficient knowledge to facilitate this, and this place is a possible for next year's GBG - the licensee only returned in the last year and so I assume it was barred for the '09 issue.
Whilst not perhaps a venue for an all-night session, it's well worth popping in to see what's what. An important tip for those who eat here: don't shake the tomato sauce bottles to try and loosen the sauce before attempting to serve it: the screwtops are loose and you'll end up with ketchup EVERYWHERE like I did! The host was remarkably good about cleaning the mess and it seemed no-one else noticed as they were so glued to the TV, but all the same, an embarrassment I would hate others to repeat.

TWG - 8 Jun 2009 17:03
Situated along Strutton Ground and just off Victoria Street, is a tucked away and rather elusive bar called The Old Monk Exchange. Having walked past a couple of times of late, I decided to finally pay a visit on a recent weekday afternoon. Down the stairs and beyond the unassuming foyer and one will find themselves in bar with about as much feel as a nuclear bunker: quite large and sprawling - and yet, one almost senses instant claustrophobia. There is seating aplenty, though the layout is more suited to larger groups and although there are a few secluded spots, even they are not the most private of areas to sup your given beverage in. There is a well-positioned plasma television for those all important sporting occasions - showing Sky News on silent during my stay - and although background music can be a plus, it was a little overly loud and echoed awkwardly where I was sat. Fellow clientele consisted of groups of nearby office workers: there were seemingly few tourists or indeed, solitary drinkers such as I. At the bar, it was pleasing to see a number of working hand pumps displaying a variety of different ales. I opted for a pint of Green King’s ‘Fresh Golden Beer’, which although drinkable, was a little too chilled for my liking. Also worth noting, is the almost epic variety of bottled wines on display behind the bar - wino’s paradise! Prices were average and fair for the area. Service was prompt and staff friendly. To conclude: although I would pay another visit here, I would certainly choose to accompany someone in future as this bar is not geared towards those going solo – unless perhaps, if you time visit accordingly.
HTM69 - 1 Jun 2009 23:37
The ales on here during my visit last week hadn’t changed since the previous review except the ‘Dark and Strong’ had changed to ‘Grandstand’ also from Twickenhem ales. There is also a selection of premium and standard lagers available from staff that I found to be pleasant enough. I spotted a plasma screen and the six nations rugby was being heavily advertised, although I spotted no sign of any Sky Sports advertisement.

I got the feeling that most of the other customers were local office workers that had crossed the road to drink/eat here as I’m not sure anyone would go out of their way to go here and I doubt that I’ll return.
Strongers - 24 Mar 2009 14:34
Sorry, forgot to add there were two handpulled ciders too, Thatchers Heritage and Cheddar Valley.
Maldenman - 14 Feb 2009 07:34
A surprisingly large subterranean pub,and fairly busy in the afternoon. Nice cheery welcome from the young girl behind the bar who also knew how to pour beer properly and to the top of the glass,top marks for that. Lots of exposed brickwork and wooden floors, large floor area with a choice of seating, but I reckon can be cleared if needed for functions, but there is a raised area similar to a terrace with a number of arches over, wine types announced over. A laid back bluesy jazz type soundtrack and SSN on muted, but a bit echoeing due to hard furnishing.

Beers on, were Bath Ales Barnstormer, Twickenham Strong and Dark, plus GK IPA and Abbot.

Ticked a few boxes for me and a new discovery too,
Maldenman - 13 Feb 2009 20:48
In some ways, a typical London 'pub in a cellar', but actually rather more pleasant that most Davy's and similar places. Friendly staff, and a very nice pint of winter beer - Potbelly Brewery's Beijing Black. All-in-all, much better than I expected.
rpadam - 29 Jan 2009 00:02
Beefburger was not all that. Staff are nice. The being built into a cellar is another matter, if that is what cleans your clock then this will do it for you. Greene King beer and a couple of others, I could not tell what.
rainlight - 3 Jan 2009 00:16
Strangely I was in the Old Monk last night at the same time as RogerB. I was in one of the office groups. We didn't know about the DJ and he rather spoiled our evening as we don't really want to shout but had no option in the matter. Of the 4 beers that were on 2 changed later. The highlight for me was the Elgood's Pageant which was beautiful! I have never been let down by the beer in here over the past 2 years. Working nearby I really like this pub for office "dos" as it is big enough to support several groups without all pissing each other off, but I wish they would lose the DJ!
Joe_Cundy - 26 Sep 2008 23:36
I have popped in a couple of times this week thanks to the lure of the advertised beer festival. Having 50 Ales is one thing but only having 4 on at any one time seems a bit frustrating to anyone wanting to sample a decent range and selection over the course of an evening. A beer list would have been useful to see what was on, what was coming up and what we had missed (the ones I noted ranged from some previous unheard of to others that are fairly regular as guest ales in many pubs). Whilst the lunchtimes were relatively peaceful, the evening crowds made it hard to see the tasting notes and the majority of people didn’t actually appear to be taking much notice of the Ales. The noise in the evening session was unbearable with office groups trying to outshout a DJ (and this was only 6.30pm) so instead of lingering over what was available and hoping a couple would run out and be replaced, we bid a relatively hasty retreat. Today is the last day although I suspect there will be a few barrels that may spill over into the weekend and whilst it’s good that they have made the effort, as beer festivals go, it’s not really worth making a specific effort to go unless you combine the trip with a few other local pubs which is what we ended up doing.
RogerB - 26 Sep 2008 10:47
They are currently advertising another Beer Festival 22-26 September - 50 Real Ales. Shame no-one commented after the last one but I will assume it was a success for them to be repeating it.
RogerB - 18 Sep 2008 14:53
I used to work near the Old Monk but never went in as it never appealed from the outside. Went in yesterday because it was advertising a beer festival 3-15 March. It looks like it used to be a wine bar - exposed brick cellar and Belgian cafe like tables and chairs. The barstaff were very helpful and seemed keen to promote real ales. Food seemed a bit pricey but didn't try it. Will probably give the festival a go.
chick - 28 Feb 2008 14:19
The Old Monk is built into the basement of a dull and quite boring, modern office block and is quite easy to walk past in favour of the more alluring and traditional Strutton Arms next door. The rather mundane entrance leads downstairs to the spacious if somewhat dim and gloomy bar with its contrived décor and expanses of stripped back brickwork. The ceilings are a tangle of exposed pipes and air conditioning units and there are raised areas to the one side and at the rear. The main bar area has bare floors and plenty of tables so you can usually grab a seat unless it is exceptionally busy. The most interesting part of the pub is at the rear with its 6 carpeted arched snugs that are quite cosy for small groups. Note the small skylights where the pub extends underneath the pavement above. This provides the only natural light as well as the weird experience of watching people walk overhead. The beers are nothing to write home about – Green King IPA, Abbot and Pride although signs are up showing the introduction of Swing Low for the Rugby World Cup. The quality is variable and prices are OK for the area. Food looks nicely presented but a bit pricey. It can be a bit hollow and cavernous when not busy when the piped music tends to echo around the walls. A single central plasma screen is usually supplemented by a few makeshift TVs during major sporting events. On a hot day (remember them?), the Monk is one of the coolest places to escape the heat but overall, it’s really a pub geared up for the local office workers rather than anything to go out of the way for.
RogerB - 4 Sep 2007 15:43
This would be a lovely pub if it wasn't underground. Beer is normally good, and the food is ok. Had many a drink in here, but not through choice - others have dictated it!

Natural light can make all the difference!
blueallover - 15 Mar 2006 12:38
A bit plastic, but spacious, not too smoky and with a fairly good range of beer. There's usually an interesting guest ale, too. Reminds me a little of being in Central Europe - it's in a cellar, and on the gloomy, cosy side.
rayray67 - 17 Feb 2006 12:07
Great pub for a beer after work. Very spacious with excellent air conditioning/smoke extraction. Busy but never packed. No facilities to stand outside which may interest people on a summers night but in comparison to the other 4 or 5 pubs around St James Park (The Old Star, The Buckingham, The Sanctuary, The Feathers, Adam & Eve) that I frequent it comes out on top for it’s surroundings and ease of use.
Captain_Mannering - 5 Oct 2005 16:28
Very nice pub - didn't go there before it was done up, but it's a spacious cellar bar/pub with nice beer on tap, plenty of tables...definitely recommended for a lunchtime pint, and I imagine it's just as nice in the evening.
cid - 8 Apr 2005 15:55
When Nick says slow, I assume he means the staff are asleep. They always seem to serve the person nearest to them, so try and stand next to a till. Otherwise you'll be there all day. I loved this bar when I found it many years ago. The nearest I get these days is the pub next door.
YoungElvis - 5 Mar 2005 12:40
It's a downstairs pub that's newly reopened, well peopled but never too crowded, popular with suits and non-suits alike. Serves delicious IPA. Bar staff are relatively slow but pleasant. A great atmosphere, helped by a good exhaust fan system that means it's never too smokey. There's a large open area by the bar, plus plenty of tables and three old wine vaults to sit in. Food is relatively decent for pub food.
Nick Laurence - 23 Feb 2005 15:35

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