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Old Swan, Notting Hill

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user reviews of the Old Swan, Notting Hill

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

Very nice pub - lively, friendly, decent beer (bit steep, as people mention,) music turned down pleasantly low.
BUT- the food is a shocker. Unless we were unlucky, be afraid, and stick to the drinks in this otherwise very nice pub.
AbeC - 14 Dec 2014 14:27
On my latest UK pub tour I visited over 150 pubs, nearly 100 in London alone. My liver is holding up well, thanks for asking. I mention this in relation to the Old Swan because the pint of Pride I had there on 24 July 2014 at 3.20pm cost four pounds forty five pence, which was to that point the dearest pint I had sipped by a good 25p. For a bog standard pub in an admittedly nice area this is taking the biscuit. The pint by the way was quite fine and the service was OK.
Queenslander - 5 Oct 2014 22:44
Ok, not the most exciting pub in west london. But you can usually get a nice seat, the service is prompt and the lager is well kept. You are well away from the screaming masses and the pushy elbows and not a trendy in sight. Bit of a find really.
maidavale - 15 Mar 2012 18:52
Beer was OK, reasonable choice and in good condition. Not much character, but nothing to complain about.
nich52 - 8 Mar 2012 16:21
Not a remarkable pub by any means. It's quite inoffensive but also quite soulless and without much of an atmosphere. We left after a drink as there was nothing about the place which makes you want to stay, so can't speak for the food, but can imagine it's of the same standard as the pub, which is well below average.
W_Lucy - 23 Oct 2011 18:57
Popped in for a pint and some food whilst working in London. Food was OK, typical Spoons type fayre. Beer was terrible. Cloudy Bombardier and fusty lager. Won't be going back.
427scr - 21 Apr 2011 17:05
Wetherspoons-style pub. OK with large selection of beer. six if i remembr right. Mine was OK but the pub really had no character. Just somewhere to catch a quick pint.
TheHorsesMouth - 28 Feb 2011 14:15
Pretty bland identi-kit pub - pop music on stereo and Fosters on tap - more a holiday camp than a pub.
adamwalsh - 24 Oct 2010 21:36
I quite liked my visit here on Friday afternoon although there were only about five other people in. The barman was very friendly and Greene King IPA, Bombardier, Pride and Old Speckled Hen were all available alongside standard and premium lagers.

There is a plasma screen up in the corner that was showing Sky Sports News, but I didnít see any sport advertised.

This pub is OK, but there are better pubs in the immediate area.
Strongers - 10 Mar 2009 12:59
Reasonable enough pub, with well kept beer. However, I am not sure that they actually have as wide a range of real ales on at any one time as the number of handpumps suggest (because a surprisingly large number of them have little plaques on saying that the beer shown on the clip is conditioning).
rpadam - 13 Dec 2007 13:43
I popped in for a pint yesterday evening and on seeing the Casque Marque I was looking forward to my pint. They had three ales on, Green King IPA, London Pride and Old Speckled Hen, plus two others which were off at the time. I opted for the OSH and it was pretty good.

The pub itself seems to be something of a tourist pub and is lacking somewhat in character. The pub's history is scrawled in fake chalk on blackboards on the back wall, but unfortunately is looks rather tacky. There are also "Wetherspoons-style" special offer blackboards on both side walls advertising various bits and pieces (Christmas reservations, I think) but these do not add anything whatsoever to the experience.

All in all it's not a bad pub but there are plenty of other pubs in the area which offer a lot more.

gatomalo - 21 Nov 2007 13:21
No happy memories of this place. I got glassed here on Queens Silver Jubilee Weekend.
Glasgowboy - 1 May 2007 13:11
Not bad,not bad at all.The service, while slow,was friendly and the beer was fine. Didnt try the food.Next time maybe. The loos were clean, and other customers seemed comfortable enough.
MavicChen - 17 Nov 2006 18:59
This is a bit of a tourist trap during the day and at weekends it attracts a rather young crowd. Bar staff ok, drinks reasonable but the atmosphere is a little depressing and occasionally it deteriorates into confrontation among the alcopop crowd. Itís also worth remembering that where there are tourists there are pickpockets so keep your valuables close. Alternatively try one of the other pubs, which are all within easy reach and all much, much better


anonymous - 27 Jun 2006 15:51
Do keep an eye on your belongings - my girlfriend had two cameras stolen from here, and other friends have also suffered thefts. That aside, though, this is an average boozer with some decent ales on tap. None are kept amazingly well, but trial and error produces a winner. It's a T&J place so you know what to expect decor-wise, but for a single big room, it retains a semblance of atmosphere not too out of touch with a smaller, more intimate place.

To be fair, it's probably the best pub in the area, i.e. just off Notting Hill Gate. The Windsor Castle and Churchill are much better, but a wee walk away.
Mike_D - 19 Apr 2006 10:38
pleaseant quiet pub, good place for a peaceful pint, ale choice not exactly inspiritional but palatable. The non-smoking area is about as effective as a chocolate tea-pot

moclips2002 - 14 Mar 2006 16:56
For a couple of years in the early 90s,this was one of Notting Hills only gay bars. In those days,the staff were rude & downright obnoxious.It is little wonder that the clientelle of the time soon went back to the much more established Champion. When it closed down, I vowed that should it reopen I would never give it chance. Last Sunday I broke that vow. Im glad I did.Very plesent surroundings,great staff,nice mix of customers and decent menu.My only gripe is that it is a tad expensive.However,I will definitely be back.
Mr.Raffles - 3 Jan 2006 15:48
As this was my first trip to the UK, I'm not an expert on pubs, but The Old Swan was everything I imagined in a British pub. We stopped in twice (once for dinner and then a few days later for lunch) and had excellent meals both times. The fish & chips were incredible, great draught pours, and jovial atomsphere. We have replica pubs here in New York but The Old Swan is the real thing- highly recommended!
billtei - 23 Nov 2005 19:20
I must pay this pub a visit next time I'm in London. I used to drink here regularly back in the mid to late 80s. Very good pub with a great atmosphere. I'm sure this was the pub that had the guy that would appear from nowhere at chucking out time, shout something like "in the corners, by the bar, by the door, see your drinks off" and then start to take them off people. Literally. I was there the night drinking up time extended to 20 minutes in 1988 and no-one bothered to tell the bloke. He caused a near riot when he began his "removal" routine that night!
lagerciderdrinker - 27 Aug 2005 18:19
As Assistant Manager of this pub, I highly recommend that anybody who has visited before come back after 4th August.

I have been in the trade for over 6 years and in this time I have to say that this is one of the best pubs I've worked in! The customer base is so varied and the staff (for the most part) are a great asset.

We are having a facelift and as such are closed between 1st and reopen 5pm on the 4th.

Ventilation is a problem, but we are improving this facility as well as increasing our lager range - I agree that foxski must have had a bad time, as these are thankfully very rare!

I'm not saying that we're perfect - far from it, but for a complete pub experience in the NHG/Kensington area you could do a lot worse!
cdlaing - 28 Jul 2005 18:53
Foxski, it was a far better pub when it was known as The Old Swan first time round. Great Beer, Great music,and Great Staff who looked after you. I suppose everything must change
swedescot - 17 Jun 2005 18:24
Excellent range of ales and very lively without being too full on.
realalesnob - 15 Jun 2005 15:51
The guy below must have been unlucky. I've been in twice recently and there were 6 ales on (which seem to change regularly) and the two I tried were very good, (6 nations and Young's Special). Very friendly staff (and good looking!) and the food was great for pub grub. Very handy for the tube as well
anonymous - 2 Mar 2005 12:51
Pleasant attractive pub, friendly staff, good range of food. However, when I visited this evening, the real ales were very poorly kept. There were only two on offer. One was cloudy and undrinkable, and although it was replaced without quibble, the alternative was only just barely drinkable. It's a shame, because this pub has improved immeasurably since its old "Rat and Parrot" days.
foxski - 23 Jan 2005 22:22
Not bad... generally have decent range of ales on, and the food is very good (typical T&J Bernard menu).

On the minus side, looks and feels very much like a shop conversion, with the open plan layout taking away any sense of cosiness or atmosphere. Also very smoky unless you're sitting very near the door, in which case you'll get regular blasts of cold air (in winter) as the layout does not provide any shelter from the door into the pub's seating area.
tonyandrachel - 16 Jan 2005 17:18
Nice place to stay, good beers, friedly service, excelent food.
Peter - 28 Apr 2004 16:53
Good pub on a friday and saturday, tends to empty a little around nine, so you are always guaranteed a seat...
Carolyn - 3 Oct 2003 10:09
trendy without being pretentious. intruguing regulars. good looking staff. extensive new cocktail list; it seems well researched and thought out. pub style food. i recommonend a visit during the afternoons particularly.
susan - 12 Jun 2003 18:24

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