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Norbiton and Dragon, Norbiton

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user reviews of the Norbiton and Dragon, Norbiton

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

Drab and indifferent, like drinking in a goldfish bowl.

quizman - 24 Apr 2012 01:39
Won't find this one by accident but would recommend you make a bit of effort to get there. We were looking for any old pub near the Kingsmeadow Stadium and just picked this off the web. Wasn't expecting too much from some comments but really liked it. Excellent choice of food at lunchtime - English and Thai - reasonable prices - open fire - comfortable sofas - welcoming staff - London Pride Almost didn't bother going to the game. All in all a very pleasant lunchtime
paulusrobbo - 29 Dec 2010 12:23
Ok place to get a Speckled Hen on draught but seems to be more a lunchtime than a night pub.
loveleedshatebates - 29 Nov 2010 20:57
Pub is pretty good...but the Thai restaurant it exceptionally nice!!!
T_Burne - 20 Apr 2010 21:10
I had a quiet pint in here with my g/f recently and it was the way forward,a chilly day it was and we supped our frothy beers next to an open fire,only downpoint was barman who looked as if he had never worked in a pub before,his first pint had a bigger head than The Mekon from the Dan Dare comics
BananaCock - 12 Apr 2010 22:53
Thai food and two ales on including Old Speckled Hen. It was a Thursday, I was so very wet outside that I needed to get wet inside as well, and sat warming my bones beside the fire. It was the answer to my question of 'where can I find a pub that does food nearby?' Not very traditional however as people have said, but still better and more so than other places in town that have been stripped back. Now I am a minimalist by nature and would like to live with a minimum of furnishings and clutter, but pubs for some reason go the other way in my mind and should be places of event and cosiness.
rainlight - 26 Feb 2010 21:01
Speckled hen on fine form..Agree with Beergut however as this is far from traditional. As far as modern pubs go i've been in worse but we all hanker for a bit of olde worlde England....
nickthefish - 2 Sep 2008 20:25
Nice restaurant and Garden in the summer

However, im one of those few people who prefer the traditional type boozer but these are few and far between in middle class kingston. I am middle class myself but I enjoy a game of pool and watching the football which is something you can no onger do in here.

This pub has very minimal atmosphere

Restaurant 8/10

Pub 3/10
BeerGutt - 16 Jul 2008 11:57
the pub as had a refurb and and a good job as been done.back ground music not to loud so you do not have to shout across the table.thai food is served here in the bar or in the restaurant and there is also a takeaway service available.the pub has a cast marque
award and you can see why the london pride was superb.also speckled hen on with a range of lagers and guinness.
clonakilty - 3 Jun 2008 08:27
Went to this pub a few years ago and it was a typical old pub and the decor wasnt great, but hey!!! the food was great and so was the service.

I've now been back here twice recently and it has been refurbished and the decor is great, unfortunately couldnt get a table in the restaurant so we sat in the bar and ordered from the thai bar menu.... It was fantastic and the staff all make you feel very welcome, speedy service and value for money and the food is great!!!! TRY IT.... :-)
bigadee - 29 Nov 2007 19:23
Great place to eat and drink. I never saw this pub before it was refurbished but I think it looks welcoming and comfortable now. The food is amazing and so cheap! Great mix of original pub food and thai. The garden is great in the summer and the staff are so friendly.
s33 - 8 Nov 2007 12:25
As commented below, this old pub has been redecorated to attract a new crowd. In most cases I think the changes are for the worse, but in this instance, it has been a vast improvement.
A former run-down rat hole, it is now a pleasant eatery and wine bar.
Great service from the bar staff.
Have eaten in the bar a few times and have not experienced any of the after effects mentioned below.

Magellan - 14 Apr 2007 16:20
Whenever myself and a group have visited this pub, we find that it is quite clicky with a certain few customers. Also, the next day I am either sick or have terrible stomach acid. This does not happen anywhere else, could someone explain? Is it dirty pipes?
anonymous - 23 Mar 2007 11:26
The old Norbiton Dragon was in my opinion a s~~t hole. If a century of tradition means crappy old decor, filthy seats and football louts then thank god they modernised it. The fact that it is now busy says it all.
anonymous - 17 Feb 2007 18:05
A lot of money has recently been spent on refurbishing this place. It will be to some people's taste but not mine. It is no longer a traditional pub, more a 'contemporary' bar. What a shame that over a century of tradition in this Victorian boozer has been wiped out! Still, the women will like it.
Having read several of the comments below, I can definitely say that I belong to 'Wych Elm and Willoughby Arms' camp. At last they are proper boozers with a bit of traditional decor, character and history to them.
I guess it takes all sorts, but it's sad to see how fast the classic British boozer is disappearing.
karloff - 12 Feb 2007 15:59
i don't 'not like people recommending the Wych Elm or the Willoughby Arms', they are decent pubs that attract a particular type of customer and they simply offer a completely different experience to the Norbiton. Not having had a smile with your pint is no reason to slag off a bar and encourage people to go elsewhere, believe it or not, 'decent service and a decent pint' are not top of everyone's list for a satisfying and enjoyable time spent in a bar.
mashcroft1 - 2 Feb 2007 16:49
I'd much prefer The Willoughby and The Wych Elm any day - both highly recommended.
Shame I cant say the same about the Norbiton and Dragon any more
JohnBonser - 2 Feb 2007 13:22
Have to agree with the other recent reviews, this pub/restaurant has been transformed from a dingey, unwelcoming 'builders' pub to a slick, friendly and atmospheric bar more befitting the local residents and the quality of the restaurant has remained high. It also offers great value compared to the over-the-top prices at Pottery and Canbury Arms. The reviewer who suggests the Wych Elm or Willoughby Arms instead is precisely the kind of customer that the Norbiton & Dragon doesn't want anymore, so good riddance.
mashcroft1 - 1 Feb 2007 16:40
A worthy addition to the local scene. The food and beer may be (slightly) better at The Canbury but the atmosphere is much better here. Well worth a visit for a drink or a meal.
Matthew_of_Ham - 21 Jan 2007 02:34
New refit for 'The Norbie' sacrifices authenticity for faux-cool. Much black lacquer and slumber-style seating looks passe, creating chaotic stew more akin to a hotel bar. And, when will pub owners recognise that if they want to go up-market, the drinks offer must come along for the ride too. A bar arrangement dominated by cookie-cutter brands like Stella and Kronenbourg is plain dull and lacks imagination (see The Pottery too).

The market for the premium pound in this area of Kingston is still governed by The Canbury. The Pottery and The Norbie are trying, but both lack that elusive chromosome which The Canbury posseses.
norbitonpaul - 28 Dec 2006 10:13
I found the food to be excellent, the drunken prawns were about the best I've ever had and a two course meal for two with drinks for under 30 these days is certainly not expensive.!


anonymous - 8 Dec 2006 18:12
Went back after the mini refurb, not bad but where have the Thai influences gone, general atmosphere improved nice to see the rough crowd gone.
Food ok but the portions are smaller and the food I suggest is just about on par with some local Thai restaurants, I feel for what was offered it was expensive, service very average for a quite Thursday. May give it one more try.
gandalfthegrey - 24 Nov 2006 15:02
I have been to this pub on numerous occasions over the years in the hope it would improve. And, at last it has.!

The projection TV has been replaced by Laura Ashley wallpaper no less and the whole ambience is a sort of British Colonial meets the Orient. I'm so glad they didn't go with the cliche beige look so favoured by pubs these days and instead has injected some real character and charm into the place.

I for one would choose this pub in favour of The Canbury or The Pottery.
anonymous - 13 Nov 2006 20:29
The re-fit is now complete and was complimented by an opening night that was wonderful. This has been a brave decision by the pubs owners to remove the televisions and drag this place upmarket...but it has worked! The pub is busier and the builders have gone and standards are up. I agree that some of the staff like to chat but that is a problem from before the re-fit and are generally attentive. To call the place a dump is simply inaccurate and stupid. The resturant has new menu, the food is quite superb, the beer quality is good and the place is clean and open and friendly. The management team have got this right and the ambience stimulates conversation so if you want to sit and watch TV, I suggest you stay at home!

Congratulations to all concerned this is a great pub now and with a no smoking area and no smoking at the bar the management has taken on board the concerns on all clients and their staff who shouldn't have to breathe in secound hand smoke!

Go and see foryourself, I think you will be pleased with what you see but don't judge because you can't watch rubbish or football on then TV, judge it for the traditional pub that it is!
kingston1000 - 9 Nov 2006 12:30
The service here is quite appalling. A definite case
of the invisible man syndrome. Even if they do see you
waiting, staff are usually too busy yacking to their
mates. Don't bother with this place. The Wych Elm
or Willoughby Arms just down the road are far more
deserving of your custom.
A dump.
MrEddie - 31 Oct 2006 16:27
Currently closed for refurbishment, has been since 1 October (2006) and somewhat surprisingly they are actually working in there, painting the outside, and there's decking going down in the garden. Having been near deserted during the majority of the summer I half expected the "closed for refurbishment" to be permanent and the flat builders that are prevalent in Kingston to be licking their proverbial lips at a nice big site... So lets hope they have a succesful reopening in November, and that the beer is well kept..
anonymous - 21 Oct 2006 19:20
Sadly, the state of the pub clientelle has now put me off going to the restaurant too.
anonymous - 14 Oct 2006 19:37
As other reviewers have noted the only decent thing about this place is the Thai restaurant which I would still recommend to anyone wanting good Thai food at a reasonable price.

There has been a half-hearted attempt to smarten the pub up over the last year but unfortunately it still attracts shirtless drunks who only want to get hammered and shout at the football on the big TV screen. A real wasted opportunity.
Owl64 - 3 Oct 2006 16:16
If you can ignore the builder-type blokes that go in there then you will be fine. Better to sit out in the beer garden if the weather is good.

The thai restaurant around the back is lovely and the food is excellent. They do good thai food as part of the bar menu as well.
Jo984 - 28 Sep 2006 10:07
Unfortunately the turning of the Royal Borough Arms into a gastro pub seems to have meant that the rougher elements from that pub are looking for pastures new and as such are experimenting with the Norbiton and Dragon and the Willoughby Arms.
beeronaut - 24 Aug 2006 13:30
Not a good place to go if you want a decent atmosphere, decent beer and decent food. Better than the Kingston Gate though - but for how much longer?
LittleNicky - 26 Jul 2006 10:14
It's a real shame to see this place fall into decline.

Paid a visit to the place last week, only to discover its become a chavs 'R' Us venue.

When you see the male clientale passed out on the sofas, or wandering around minus T-Shirts inside the bar area and every other word screamed in the garden is of the four-letter variety.....you have to ask yourself what has happened to the place.


lawrence17 - 7 Jul 2006 14:04
Thai restaurant the only reason to visit the place these days. As other comments suggest, it's becoming a bit of a bolt-hole for nether elements; similar clientelle to the Kingston Gate....

Having been a regular patron during the heydays of Aidan Carson running the place, it's a shame to see.
anonymous - 30 Jun 2006 14:56
LAttractive pub garden but feel that the pub is on the decline. Agreed with a previous comment that it is a bit 'rough' and left the pub for that very reason the other day. Used to be a lovely garden to bring children but wouldn't do it now. Pub food also not as good, although restaurant food is often good and occasionally average. Find the restaurant staff and bit indifferent, however, bar staff are always friendly. Think it looks tacky inside.
Bosie - 16 Jun 2006 06:55
Popped in for a midweek drink for the first time in months and the place did seem to be slightly better than on my previous visit. Although, I really wish they'd dump the TV screens and odd bouts of loud music.....
lawrence17 - 14 May 2006 10:15
Went in there over the weekend and it was fairly empty considering it was peak Saturday night drinking time. The clientelle is a bit on the rough side and I didn't particularly feel like I wanted to stay there long.

The place has admittedly been done up a bit, but it's all a bit half hearted to be honest and could have been done much better.

I would still use the Thai Restaurant though as they seem like different worlds from each other.!
anonymous - 11 Apr 2006 21:04
Not bad, but Thai at The Cricketers is far superior and better value.
anonymous - 12 Mar 2006 11:28
Long past its halcolyn days...and did go steadily downhill for awhile with a half-arsed refurb and a boorish cliental prone to grunting and growling whilst practicing the art of conversation

But does seem to be gradually improving, so I shall keep my fingers crossed
lawrence17 - 14 Jan 2006 18:53
Visited last night first time in a long time, much improved since new manager arrived, London Pride great, thai food excellent and great value. Nice to see toilets refurbished. Good atmosphere in the bar nice crowd of people, will go back again.
gandalfthegrey - 12 Jan 2006 15:06
Don't know when Mr. Sound went in last, the pool table was taken out a year ago and replaced with wonderful leather sofas which has helped to create a much better atmosphere.
There is new management in now and they have already sorted out the lousy bar service, refurbished the gents toilets at the restaurant end of the pub and coupled with the recent decoration things are looking up. The bench seating around the edge of the pub has finally gone though the problem of passing through the curved section of bar remains as stupid people with large backsides tend to push their chairs into your path. A swift kick to the chair leg or 'sorry did I spill my pint on you' normally deals with such things. If you find you are getting drink spilt on you then pull your seat in, or lose weight!!!
Food wise the bar food is OK though some of the English food is getting a lot better too!
The restaurant is fabulous and is best accessed through the door futhest away from the petrol station.
All in all much improved but just a little too bright!
kingston1000 - 27 Dec 2005 13:40
It is quicker to exit the pub and re-enter through the door by the pool table to go to the toilet by the pool tables than to try and squeeze past people standing by the curvy bit of the bar. Then it's even quicker to realise that there is a toilet right behind you and that you don't have to use the ones by the pool table after all. Then again, it's probably better to just go for a shit before you leave home.
mr_sound - 7 Dec 2005 22:02
Recent redecoration makes the place look clean-ish but it's only a slight improvement. The beer was fine when I last visited but has been too inconsistent in the past to trust completely.
anonymous - 11 Nov 2005 08:51
Never eaten the pub grub, so can't comment - But the Thai Food in the restaurant is very good indeed and not at all expensive.

I hope the rumours are true and the management has pulled their finger out and had the decorators in.!
anonymous - 23 Sep 2005 13:09
Yes, the pub is the scruffiest in the world and yes they overcharge for drinks, but the food is to DIE FOR!!!
And I hear on the grapevine they have been refurbished
Never yet had better Thai food in Kingston!
anonymous - 11 Sep 2005 23:54
The bar food at this pub is very unpredictable - but more often than not there is a problem. Today a few of us went for lunch - my food and another person's was cold and very fatty (bacon), my friends food was burnt (scampi) and the draught coke was completely flat. On other occasions we have waited an hour only to be told our order didn't go through.

Food aside - the chairs and seats are very wobbley or completely ripped with foam sticking out.
Lawyerspam - 26 Aug 2005 13:14
The pub area looks like it's in the process of being done up...but no one can be bothered to finish it.! At the moment you feel like you want to chuck your trousers on the bonfire after sitting on their seats and the place generally looks a shambles. What used to make this pub so unique was the influence of The Orient mixed with the old victorian charm of the pub. Now, it's just a mess.

Please please sort it out...and soon.!
anonymous - 13 Aug 2005 11:21
Are people in Kingston mad??? This place used to be good about 5 years ago but was recently shocked by the cheap decor - dust sheets for curtains do not give a quality atmosphere and certainly do not warrant the price of the beer and wine!!! THE PLACE IS A RIP OFF!!!
PS Agree with the Cambridge estate comment - maybe their decor is following them???
LouiseB - 5 Jun 2005 05:02
Use to be my local 5 years ago and was a great pub full of paraphernalia such as the gimpy fox (stuffed fox with lower teeth well in advance of it's upper). Not sure if it still does lock in's but they used to be fun right up to the point you realise you have to be at work in 4 hours!
GNC - 28 Apr 2005 17:03
Curiously shaped (as people have said) curved little pub which still has marks of the Victorian backstreet boozer it undoubtedly once was, and which then opens up into a Thai restaurant (the 'dragon' half of the name) at the back. This is no identikit gastropub, though; beyond the leather couches and wooden floor there is a quirky and individual pub which is good for settling down into a quiet corner. Not a huge range of real ales when i was there, but 6X is always welcome.
beeronaut - 7 Mar 2005 18:10
Strange pub when you first enter (from the Park Avenue side) with a long curving bar area. There was no Fullers available so drank so-so pints of 6X. A mate booked a table in the restaurant which comes as a bit of a (pleasant) surprise after the strange bar area. Enjoyed the Thai food and was wondering about the name of the place when the afore mentioned mate gave us his interpretation of the dragon theme by putting paper serviette and candle together. [don't worry the pub is still there]
lout_from_the_lane - 6 Dec 2004 13:19
The best pub in Norbiton... and the world!! Great atmosphere, great music, great food, perfect for all day sunday drinking and quiet relaxing pints after a hard days work.
Danboy - 3 Dec 2004 13:27
Fantastic place bit like a well kept secret! Walked into the back and the place opened up into a stunning Thai restaurant. Such a surprise like a tardis. The food was wonderful will definately do again and again!
Rachel - [email protected] - 21 Oct 2004 12:23
Great Pub..new management and good beer... nice food 2!
The Cheat - 10 Sep 2004 18:56
Good Thai food (but there is better to be had nearby). Thai Bar snacks very good value. Great but very busy garden. Unfortunately the ale has been VERY poor the last 4 out of 6 times I have been there, but the staff are always polite and ready to exchange a bad pint.

A friendly pub (I have never seen any trouble there)and worth a visit, if only for great Thai bar food!
Sloth - 17 Aug 2004 13:25
Fantastic Thai food, the beer was all right too. Congrats Loz!
Nige - 5 Jul 2004 12:52
A great pub only suffers from th ebrewery changing land lords too often, currently in the hands of one of the best land ladies in the business! Long may it last
Ben - 2 Jul 2004 20:23
A member of the BeerInTheEvening.Com review team (me!) is having their Wedding Breakfast in this pub in July, so it can't be that bad ;-)
loz - 2 May 2004 15:07
Rotten ale, not cheap, good Thai food. And it's a fish bowl (what's wrong with frosted windows???). Far better pubs nearby (Willoughby, Wych Elm, Park Tavern).

DeviousDave - 18 Feb 2004 16:36
I've ben a reular for the best part of 20 years and have never seen any trouble. On the one occasion when I felt a tad uncomfortable I mentioned it to Charlie and he said that he had clocked it. The other day, the ciggie machine was out of order - the barman took my money and went out to buy them for me from the local petrol station - how's that for service??? Grub - the best Thai around and two thirds the price of a similar establishment nearby. Summer evenings in the garden - superb, great relaxed friendly atmosphere. I'm a lager drinker so the points about ale/ bitter are lost on me. Bring back 1666 though

Marcus Retsof - 29 Jan 2004 16:16
The comments are a little unfair IMO.

The food is still the best Thai in town, and the restaurant good (for family occasions as well as generally)

the beer garden is a little souless, but more than adaquate in the summer.

The only trouble I've seen was a drunk argument, that got one of my mates barred, and another chucked out because he was trying to stop it kicking off (both offences were swiftly forgotten).

Bar staff a little on the antipodean side.

I still like it, could do with a re-furb though.
James - 16 Jan 2004 10:06
I liked the pub a lot on a recient visit. food was good, staff very polite.
arran - 17 Dec 2003 13:37
I agree with the recent comments. This place used to be good about a year or so ago, but has gone down hill so fast it's untrue. Good chance of some violence and well worth avoiding given the number of good alternative pubs in Kingston. Needs a major overhaul.
Dieter - 8 Nov 2003 22:01

Originally run (very well) by the two sons of Frank Carson, who then set up the Jim Thompson Thai/pubs.

However these days it's a different story Real Ale is filth, food very slow. Bearable for a drink in the garden in the summer, but as previously posted ruined by fall out from the Kingston Gate. (which is now totally dead)

I live locally and hear the "enthusiastic" people staggering passed way after "kick-out" time, hopefully the brewery will gut the place an turn it into a Harvester. Avoid unless you like "electric lager".
anonymous - 26 Oct 2003 11:51
ruined by those scabs barred from the kingston gate emigrating over to this pub - full of pikes now and avoided like the plague by us - unless we go the the restaurant which is still very good(no doubt due to the fact the pikes finish their nite with a kebab from down the road and not a thai!!!)
legallyblonde - 6 Oct 2003 14:41
A great little pub- friendly atmosphere and nice garden for a quiet pint on a summer evening
Tommy - 23 Aug 2003 17:05
Sorry but the service is very slow
anonymous - 15 Aug 2003 15:54
Nice pub. The beer garden is great for the summer with loads of seating. The interior is a bit shabby but the beer is good and there is also a pool table. Wasn't that impressed with the food in the restaurant but the thai bar snacks are great.
Angus - 14 Apr 2003 13:46
I like it - the food is good too
Katja - 22 Mar 2003 23:58
Lost its edge over the past 6 months. Seems to be an invasion of Cambridge Estate possies generally drinking to much and causing trouble. Feel sorry for the bar staff as management no where to be seen and they generally seem to be left to fend for themselves.
Lousie - 18 Mar 2003 11:17
Superb restaurant-a real oasis!
V friendly staff. Excellent landlady in Jackie. Give her some money to do the pub up though.
mel - 7 Feb 2003 14:28
Been there for years and will probably still be there when all the others around have fallen, me and the pub.
CARE FREE WHERE EVER - 16 Jan 2003 10:37
Good beer, excellent staff, nice food and with doubt my best local
simon s - 12 Jan 2003 16:20
Jim must be one of the w**kers then cos no way is it the greatest pub - food is good - but beer yuk - poor selection and it was warm obviously been in pipes for hours - ok for lager louts but not for bitter bastards - use the suggested ones instead
Quizman - 9 Nov 2002 23:29
Very average beer, not cheap, excellent Thai food. Far better pubs nearby (Willoughby, Wych, Park Tav).
Dave - 30 Oct 2002 11:21
Old style pub crossed with trendy Thai restaurant! Very popular place.
Zod.. - 3 Oct 2002 13:39
Fantastic local. Friendly antipideon barstaff and a nice landlady called Jackie. Food is good especially in the restaurant section and the beer garden is huge. I've always got a freindly welcome.
mark - 25 Sep 2002 16:11
Great pub, friendly bar staff and nice food! Best local in Kingston!!
Lisa - 2 Jul 2002 15:53
Greatest pub this side of Kingston Upon Thames.
Great food decent music and very few w**kers.
Jim - 12 Jun 2002 17:25
Great pub, good beer and very nice bar staff. The food is superb as well
paul smith

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