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Rugby Tavern, Clerkenwell

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user reviews of the Rugby Tavern, Clerkenwell

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

it is NOT in bloody Clerkenwell
ALBEERT - 6 Feb 2018 07:53
Visited here after an earlier pint at the crowded Lamb nearby. This pub was pleasantly populated by a quieter, grown up crowd. Nice pint of Spitfire (4.50), and a restful place for a sip.
Queenslander - 13 Sep 2017 00:19
Went in here for lunch during the week. Fish and chips were ok, nothing to shout about. The Whitstable Bay was expensive at £4.40 for a 3.9% beer. Much too expensive. Marked down for beer prices
rpf1955 - 17 Apr 2017 10:31
I agree it is generally a good pub and the quality of the Shep Neame beers is very good. Have always found service to be pretty slow though with a lot of staff standing around not doing a great deal. Seem to struggle when it gets busy.
mike_s - 28 Apr 2016 17:19
Great little pub near Russell Square. Friendly landlord who gave me a taste of the winter warmer after she put it on. Neame ales in good nick.
endoderm - 5 Mar 2012 16:17
Lunchtime visit again and found the food and Spitfire in tip top condition. A really comfortable pub. A pity its shut at weekends.
rpf1955 - 6 Nov 2011 18:19
Shut weekends
Picasso09 - 16 Aug 2010 22:41
A Shepherd Neame pub in a nice residential location not too far from Holborn. Plenty of people were enjoying the pedestrianised area outside the front of the pub, as it was a nice early summer's day. The inside is nicely decorated and fairly cosy. It has cream walls, is carpeted and displays various rugby pictures on the walls. Spitfire & Master Brew were the only 2 real ales, with the Early Bird off. A nice location. But there are better pubs in the area with a better selection of beers.
blue_scrumpy - 22 May 2010 15:52
This is always a very pleasant, clean, well lit, pleasant pub with good beer. Well worth adding to the pub crawl.
TALLTORQUIL - 1 Mar 2010 18:00
This is a nice enough Shepherd Neame boozer with Late Red, Master Brew and Spitfire being the ale choices alongside their usual draught selection. There is another bar upstairs, but it was closed during my week night visit due to the pub being very quiet.

The back ground music was decent and at a good volume and I spotted a plasma screen that was showing muted Sky News, but I didnít spot any signs for Sky Sports which I found odd in a pub with Rugby memorabilia on the walls which is called the Rugby Tavern.

The barman was friendly enough and the pub is spacious with some character and I would return here again even though Iím not a big fan of Shep pubs.
Strongers - 2 Jan 2010 16:04
This is a pleasant back street pub tucked away in a very quiet set of streets north of Theobalds Rd. One of the main attractions is that part of the street outside is pedestrianised so there is a proper outside seating area of which many people were taking advantage when I visited. Inside it is a single room with a central bar and plenty of traditional tables and chairs. The beer is Shepherd Neame and as the day was warm an Oranjeboom for me.

This is a nice pub in a quiet location that is a comfortable place to drink with the added advantage of being 5 minutes walk from the Lamb
murgatroyd - 18 Oct 2009 11:45
I remember when this was a Fullers house - but that just dates me. Sheps have kept the character more or less intact, and it's good to have somewhere to sit outside without being on a main road...

meurglys_iv - 16 Jun 2009 18:55
A cosy little pub in a side street near Lambs Conduit Street, the beer is Shepherd Neame - I had Early Bird. Comfortable leather sofas at the back and more usual pub furniture elsewhere. Staff pleasant. No food before 5.30 pm on a weekday. This was all in all a pleasant pub experience and I would recommend this one.
rainlight - 7 May 2009 21:49
Pub number nine of a crwal. Beer was good and we managed to get a seat. Good news for one of our team who was struggling to stand up at this point. He had made the school boy error of having a few at lunch before the crawl.
TheHorsesMouth - 5 Mar 2009 12:58
A pricey pint (£3.25), but in very good condition. The Early Bird ale was in tip-top condition and it was the only one I sampled all night. The Master Brew looked in fine fettle as well.

The upstairs area seems ideal for darts. But the dartboard and the lighting are not the best. May be times have moved on, but £1 for a standard size packet of crisps (albeit posh ones) seemed a lot.

Still, the beer is the main thing and that was very good. Good pub atmosphere as well, and friendly staff. I wouldn't go out of my way to it, but it's definitely what you'd class as a decent boozer.
Roodeye - 27 Feb 2009 14:29
Shep Neame isn't my favourite choice of beer but the Spitfire I had was well kept and the pub was warm and welcoming. The barstaff were smiley and worked hard.
chick - 17 Feb 2009 12:30
A Shepherd Neame house Ė Master Brew, Spitfire and Canterbury Jack on when I was in there. Now a single-room pub, but the central island bar plus unused doors indicate the original multi-room nature of the pub. There are a couple of sofas tucked away in a corner not annoying anyone, but otherwise seating was pretty comfortable. The Canterbury Jack tasted fine; the food was the usual non gastro-pub fare at typical prices.

Fairly quiet on a Wednesday lunchtime, with one group of around a dozen workers enjoying some sort of team-building exercise, plus me and another couple of punters. This is another of those decent if unremarkable off-the-beaten-track pubs that are not really worth going out of your way to find, but OK for a pint if you happen to passing nearby.
RexRattus - 10 Oct 2008 17:50
In here on Thursday, Spitfire, Master Brew and the seasonal Early Bird. Looked like there was one main room with a function room upstairs. Horseshoe bar, cothooks attached but not many bar stools. Large windows all round and various rugby memorabilia on the walls. Paved drinking area outside.

Pleasant enough.
GuideDogSaint - 14 Jun 2008 12:39
Great pub, needs a new dart board mind. The staff are friendly especially Beth (cute too). The cheesy chips are good and orangeboom is a top lager, even at £3.05 a pint! Definitely worth a visit
dagpaul86 - 29 Feb 2008 12:37
Clerkenwell? Surely Bloomsbury?

I'm not the World's biggest Shepherd Neame fan, though I am coming around to Spitfire, MasterBrew and the seasonal Late Red -- all of which are on tap here and in good condition.

The staff are friendly and the food is fair. It fills up with suits after work, but empties by 8pm or 9pm.
surgecommodore - 16 Oct 2007 12:01
nice decor, but its shepard neame, bugger
ginthedog - 28 Sep 2007 18:23
Not a huge fan of Shepherd Neame but a perfectly OK place for a cheeky lunchtime pint or a evening session. On a bit on a side street so minimal tourist trade (a huge bonus). Food was typical pub grub but edible, friendly and attentive staff and room to sit and enjoy.

Only downside for me was it got very smoky after a couple of hours but come July 07 that will be a thing of the past...What joy!!
halfbee - 11 Jan 2007 17:26
Had a proper pint here the other night, Late Red, the seasonal. Nice easy splash.

Alright pub, got a bit of a local's vibe to it but also attracts lots of suits. Not expensive.

Well located. Definitely, definitely, definitely NOT IN CLERKENWELL THOUGH.

I wish I could buy this site and run it efficiently (i.e. adding pubs suggested by users, adding photos uploaded by users, making sure to change incorrect locations for pubs when these are pointed out by users...)
anonymous - 26 Oct 2006 09:33
Martin - you are right - Holborn it is. There's me harping on about historic areas of London and I'm getting it equally wrong.
anonymous - 17 Aug 2006 10:07
I'd say Holborn: it's in a side street off Theobalds Road, wherein lie Holborn Police Station and Holborn Library. Bloomsbury is further west. But not Clerkenwell, no.

Can't understand why anyone would eat fish and chips in here when it's only a stone's throw from London's best fish and chip shop, Fryer's Delight in the aforementioned Theobalds Road. They still fry in beef dripping rather than cooking oil. Unhealthy? Possibly. Delicious? Certainly.

I too find the Rugby Tavern somewhat uninspiring these days, but these unremarkable places Shepherd Neame are buying up obviously have some appeal that's lost on me and other recent posters, as evidenced by the recent award of North London CAMRA Pub of the Year to the nearby Mabel's Tavern. I'm with Stonch on the lack of a nearby Fullers, but to work up a thirst you could head down Red Lion Street to the Melton Mowbray near Holborn Circus, or cut through Lambs Conduit Street and up Marchmont Street to Euston Road for the Euston Flyer or The Head of Steam.
Martinl - 16 Aug 2006 22:49
If pub is in Bloomsbury, not Clerkenwell. Clerkenwell ends at Farringdon Road in my opinion, that being the course of the old River Fleet which the priory of St John and village of Clerkenwell hugged to on the east bank. Or maybe I am wrong. Whatever, this pub isn't in Clerkenwell.

Went in last week post lunch time to find a pub reeking of fish and chips - absolutely reeking. Perfectly pleasant interior otherwise, and the location is lovely (nice sleepy street, large paved area outside).

Sheps beers as you'd expect - half-decent real ales accompanied by shamefully bad lagers (they might pretend to be Oranjeboom, Kirin and Holsten - but they are brewed under license in Kent and all taste dreadful).

Was rather put out to see they had not one but three keg ales on - sad to see Shepherd Neame trying to pass such rubbish off on unawares customers.

Unlikely to visit again, as the Lamb is just around the corner and infinitely better. I wish this was still a Fuller's pub - the area needs one.
anonymous - 15 Aug 2006 15:18
Been in loads worse pubs in London than this one. The seasonal beer (Kent Porter) was spot on, the bar maids were pleasant and you bcould get a seat and a bit of breathing space in marked contrats to the Lamb just round the corner in Lamb's Conduit St. Bad points were the crap sub soul/rap muzak - who the hell wants to hear that - supermarket levels of annoyance and the extremely dull, very short and bombastic "business man" type who waas hogging the bar and bullshitting the bar staff when we went in. Good news was he left to enable us to enjoy 3 good pints.
Joe_Cundy - 17 Feb 2006 19:53
Orangiboom is all it has going for it. That and it is about 2 minutes walk from my office
dribbling_ak - 24 Jan 2006 09:06
Rather uninspiring and a bit too modern and bright for my liking.

With The Lamb just a couple of streets away, and several other better pubs close at hand, I can't see myself rushing back to this one

The Spitfire was on form and my work colleagues were impressed by the Orangeboom, however.
JohnBonser - 22 Dec 2005 16:41
Yup, Orangiboom. That's all it has going for it.

Mildly crappy old school atmosphere. S'oright, I suppose - good place to stop off on the way back to the office when it's raining.
gingerweasel - 26 Oct 2005 17:57
Reasonably good Shepherd Neame pub in a nicely set location with plenty of opportunity to stand outside. Beer well kept. 6/10
Darren_in_the_City - 19 Oct 2005 14:16

Not a bad pub, not a great pub.

Low ceilings, a proper old pub, does exactly what it says on the tin.
stoner - 23 Sep 2005 11:40

Fantastic. Cold. The aircon is always on. Eaten in there once, don't think i would again.
thebigman - 23 Sep 2005 11:32
Right, this place is supposed to be a Rugby Pub. Biggest domestic game of the season tomorrow, The Premierhip Final, THEY'RE NOT OPEN! "We don't open at weekends", well that's good, at least you get to show all of those big games that happen MID-WEEK!! Don't make yourself out to be something you're not.
jamesleek - 13 May 2005 11:14
Seats outside are back!
striker - 29 Apr 2004 16:10
I am afraid the seating has gone from outside - I think the locals complained. Good pub otherwise - though does get crowded early doors.
Striker - 5 Aug 2003 12:16
Not a bad pub can get a bit crowded at lunchtime.
Upstairs room is not too bad
Food is pretty good usually has some outdoor seating come the summer
Shepard Neame beer
Steve - 17 Apr 2003 16:02

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