skip nav  

Red Lion, Westminster

back to pub details

user reviews of the Red Lion, Westminster

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

Prices haven't been frozen since the last review. I visited on a Sunday afternoon and although it was busy there were nowhere near the number of people you could expect on a weekday.

As well as Fullers ales there was Dark Star Hophead on off and I seized the opportunity to sample it. Nice, but not the best pint I've had (see the Harp just of Trafalgar Sq.) but it was very drinkable.

Baking hot day so I stayed inside as it was refreshingly cool. Very well decorated pub, ornate with a strong sense of history. Not surprising really being so close to the Houses of Parliament. There was a restaurant upstairs which appeared to be closed.
Several people were eating in the main bar and have to say the meals looked very appetising. I didn't look at the prices!

outtamehead - 9 Jul 2018 14:05
Excellent pint of ESB in superb condition and tasty food, but VERY expensive. 8/10 - would have been 10/10 but for prices. :-
wobblybob - 10 Mar 2016 21:44
The beer here is always in excellent condition, however, due to its' location the prices are truly horrendous, not somewhere I would stay for more than one pint.
Aztecgoat - 14 Nov 2015 21:41
This Fuller's pub at the bottom of Whitehall near Westminster station and the Houses of Parliament was absolutely packed on a recent Wednesday at 6pm mainly with local office workers / civil servants.

After a fight to the bar I find 3 ales from Fuller's on cask and various other offerings including Frontier lager and their own Stout on keg. As the pub was so packed I quickly necked several pints of Seafarers which were excellent.

We managed to find a standing space towards the door and sup our drinks without being bumped and pushed too much. The pub is laid out like an old fashioned parlour with etched glass windows, several interesting looking hanging light's and chandeliers.

On a wall hangs a large picture of William Pitt the Younger and there’s also a script about William Shakespeare visiting the pub.

A very attractive pub inside with a large separate dining room up stairs that was also very busy on my visit.

Worth a visit.
lezford - 10 Oct 2015 11:28
Very busy pub on Whitehall with sky-high prices. Almost a tenner for a lager and a bitter. London Pride was, however, good and it's a characterful pub.
Number11 - 21 Jul 2015 19:56
Needed food and had looked at the menu on-line before popping in on my walk. I knew they were big on pies.

There's a nice little restaurant upstairs with great service.

My ESB was served in the ceremonial handled jug, which was a nice touch. Damn fine.

Pie was good as well.

All in all - a good experience in a busy part of town.
Mappiman - 9 Jul 2015 18:35
Tourist trap. Suckers only
rodninio - 9 Aug 2014 01:40
Just popped in for a pint - it is a Fullers pub had a pint of Pride and £3.85 which for London seems standard now. The Bar area is very narrow and was full of after work workers. The beer was good
milsonman - 27 Mar 2013 19:07
Have to agree with the below - We had 4 pints and it was around 13.50/14 which means for one pint and a glass of vino you have been ripped off! It is by no means cheap but for the area is not too bad. Staff were fine and the beer tasted ok, would visit again if I was in the area.
Miker1234 - 10 Apr 2012 18:25
graham2, it must have been a very big glass of wine or a very posh wine, because I don't think you could pay much more than 3.90/4.00 for a strong pint - which means you paid over 6 for a glass of wine?
Having said that, this is the Prime Minister's local!
malo66 - 12 Aug 2011 11:17
True London prices! Over 10 for a pint of beer and a glass of wine.
graham2 - 6 Aug 2011 07:19
Just another pub - downstairs area was handy as no seats in main bar - but certainly cellar bar lacks atmosphere - next time Ill stand in the main bar instead. Nice enough.
adamwalsh - 24 Jan 2011 14:15
It's OK. It doesnt do too much wrong. Pubs in London are expensive (though this is the higher end). The food was OK but not exceptional. Service has always been OK. You can do better, or indeed worse!
mally_drinker - 2 Dec 2010 11:16
I've been here a few times recently and it keeps going up in my estimation. The ale is splendid, the (limited) sandwich lunch menu very good and not bad value either for central London, and the staff are very friendly and cheerful. Although the ground floor bar gets a bit crowded - unavoidable in such a touristy area - the downstairs bar has more space and provides welcome respite from the bustle above. Strongly recommended.
tbennett54 - 22 Oct 2010 14:44
This is a great London pub, if a bit 'touristy'. Great real ales and usually packed. Recommended.
wolvesfan - 4 Oct 2010 15:36
Service has perked up a bit here of late, even though it gets pretty crowded at lunch time. I thoroughly recommend a visit if you are in the area.
malo66 - 29 Sep 2010 17:24
In my humble opinion, MPs do not come here that often as they now have their own premises next to Westminster tube station in addition to the facilities in the House of Commons. But this is the local for Number 10 Downing Street!

The pub has just recently been re-decorated and looks very smart.
malo66 - 14 Jun 2010 16:56
Not too many Members around given the purdah period pre-election - and this is no bad thing given that they aren't known for enhancing any pub's atmosphere, especially given the cool reception they are currently getting from Joe Public post-expenses scandal. I do wonder whether some of those excessive claims involved ludicrous bar tabs racked up at places like the Red Lion, where a well-kept but nevertheless hardly unusual or exceptional pint of London Pride will set one back 3.45, so one can only guess at the extravagant tags on other more MP-friendly beverages such as double malt whisky.
For all that though, the Lion isn't a poor venue. Indeed, it covers all bases reasonably well and whilst the overall effect is forgettable, it fares better than many of its capital counterparts. A decent range of 5-6 ales feature; service is prompt despite getting busy during after-work hours. The decor suits the traditional outlook of the building, and there is outdoor seating to accommodate overspill on a clement day.
I suspect that the numerous tourists swarming around London's flagship buildings of interest regard this as a "typical" English pub, and maybe there's something in that. Just a shame it's a jack-of-all-trades and master of none.

TWG - 22 Apr 2010 17:27
As usual rpadam has done a good summary of this pub - This is a rather unremarkable, small pub but keeps its beers well (a couple of pints of Chiswick in good nick during my visit) although at a pretty steep price. Staff were fairly attentive and it was busy with the after work crowd, but either I'm not as clued up or I used to be or I geniunely didn't see any MPs during my couple of hours there.
ChrisP87 - 26 Nov 2009 22:09
Famous for mp watching, my local mp had a fight here. Full of tourists when I was there. Total rip off for indifferent beer - clearly tourists not discerning. Go to the St Stephens Tavern - beer 20% cheaper and better kept. And just as much character. Or go to any of the other pubs in Whitehall.

I challenged their prices, and go a totally indifferent response from the bar maid.
baggydave - 5 Nov 2009 21:40
Last visited this pub years ago when i worked in this part of London, but back recently for a day trip and can really recommend it for food. The bar is crowded, but the upstairs eating area is pleasant and despite being told there was a 20 minute wait for food we were served within 10 minutes, The food was excellent and reasonably priced for the heart of London.

I thoroughly recommend a visit to this pub.
gizmo2brian - 11 Sep 2009 10:38
This is a incredibly friendly public house, and also has a variety of different nights there from film markers networking evenings to comedy nights and a quiz. I always find the staff quick and helpful. I would reccommend this pub to everyone :)
msmatrix - 8 Aug 2009 17:08
Not my favourite pub due to the very cramped bar which makes it difficult to get served even if there are only two people in the place (which there never is - it is always packed). However, it has always served good beer and continues to do so. No real sign of the change of ownership to Fullers (apart from a discreet chalk-board at the bottom of the back stairs), and it currently has guest ales in the form of the Rev James (very good) and Morrissey Fox Blonde.
rpadam - 21 Jul 2009 23:44
Couldn't agree with the last user more ~ this is a great friendly pub depite being in the heart of tourist central. The quiz is fun and as I found out last week actually returns on Wed 3rd June ~ my visit wasn't a waste though as there were some great guest ales on!
drinkingbaron - 30 May 2009 21:36
I love this pub. Discovered it only a couple of months ago when looking for a pub quiz on a Wednesday evening and this one popped up. The pub's always fairly busy being right in the heart of "Civil Service Land" but it has a decent atmosphere, the staff are all friendly and helpful and if there's no room to sit inside there are benches outside. Wide choice of drinks and snacks and good food from the kitchen.

They also do a fantastic quiz. Standard general knowledge type quiz but not so much of an emphasis on celebrities or sports as some quizzes and therefore much more accessible to everybody. 1 per person to enter, winner takes the pot. Quiz took a spring break recently but is relaunching on May 20th 2009.
mcgowanm - 13 May 2009 20:22
I don't agree with the view that this pub is expensive, given that it is the local for 10 Downing Street! Only Wetherspoons will be cheaper in the area I will not criticise Wetherspoon and their 99p pint!
malo66 - 13 May 2009 19:32
Enjoyed a pint of Morrisey Fox in here last Saturday, thought it was shite out of a bottle but was a very nice pint, slightly expensive but hey, look where we were. Nicely quiet considering it was tourist central outside, visited a few times and it's an enjoyable location overlooking such a grand view.
ToxtethOGrady - 5 May 2009 17:41
Nice pub, but the price of a pint of real ale is 3. 50. find another pub, ther are plenty more in the area, and cheaper too.
Arthurish - 23 Apr 2009 16:24
Good choice of well kept beer. Short measure pints but that seems to be normal for central London.
Islander - 27 Mar 2009 18:49
Great pub. I keep hoping to catch a glimpse of my hero - Kenneth Clarke!
malo66 - 27 Mar 2009 18:35
And I saw the mouse! It was so cute! Great pub!
brolem - 10 Mar 2009 06:04
Probably the best of the pubs on Whitehall probably because it's the furthest from Trafalgar Square and diners are banished upstairs. Hence it resembels a pub rather than feeding time at the zoo.

Small bar area with plenty of political memorabilia on the walls this is a comfortable drinking environment. Obviously there are the tourist element here but in smaller numbers and less obtrusive than further up Whitehall. Worth a visit if in the area.
murgatroyd - 10 Jan 2009 20:41
I like this pub. It may be a tad overpriced but it is the Prime Ministers local after all. Although I've never bumped into Gordon Brown here, or Blair or Major or Thatcher either. Although I did see John Prescott here once or twice (surprise surprise). Lots of senior civil servants and MP's leave the barstaff with many a good story to tell which makes the place worth a visit. RogerB describes the place perfectely.
The_Inspector - 31 Oct 2008 17:29
Dubbed the Prime Ministers Local due to its close proximity to Downing Street, the Red Lion naturally has a Parliamentray flavour with many politicians present, either in person or adorning the walls in picture form. The classic Victorian exterior is bedecked with flower baskets and is quite an enticing sight. The interior is 1 long, narrow room but divided by a wooden screen. There are planty of ornate traditional features, notably the burgundy moulded ceiling, dark wood paneling, bar frame and patterned windows but overall it seems quite basic with bare floors and none of the soft furnishings that blight such places. There is indeed little in the way of tables, just a couple of high tables at the very front and rear with the rest of the pub being stools along a ledge or standing at the bar. At one end is a small food bar above which are several shields. There is a further dining room upstairs and a cellar bar but I never venture to either. If the weather is OK, there are some seats outside under pull down blinds but it is a busy and noisy road so dont expect peace and quiet. Naturally, being in a tourist hot spot, it can get busy, especially lunctimes, but I have always been served promptly. There are generally up to 6 Ales available - Pride, Bombardier, Waggledance, Deuchers, Speckled Hen and Black Sheep on my most recent visit although the selection does not match the displayed price list. Cask Marque accredited and I have never had a problem quality wise although prices are fairly steep but not outrageous with Ales in the 3-3.25 range. There is a small TV and piped music but it is generally a pub for the babble of conversation and MP spotting.
RogerB - 11 Sep 2008 11:24
A CAMRA Heritage Pub, which most certainly looks the part, with numerous original Victorian features having survived for more than a century. But it is always crowded, being where it is in Whitehall almost opposite Downing Street. Expensive of course Pride at 3.25 a pint (tasted OK), and a pretty naff coffee (she said!) at 1.80 is expensive even by London standards. Worth dropping in for a good look at the place, but probably not worth a repeat visit.
RexRattus - 10 Sep 2008 23:01
Whatever you do,don't eat here. They have been prosecuted twice for the state of their kitchens.Mouse excrement was discovered under the meat grill and on top of barbecue sauce containers.YUK !

Miles007 - 5 Jun 2008 16:12
Small very busy pub the pint of Theakstons Old Peculiar was acceptable.
Womble - 19 Mar 2008 09:02
OK pub, very busy when I was in here with lots of people drinking red wine. Pint was good but nothing special.
TheHorsesMouth - 8 Nov 2007 14:34
One for the summer. Unless you're a civil servant who plans to forget their briefcase - before seeing it on breakfast news - I wouldn't venture here for a long night on the beer.
YoungElvis - 19 Sep 2007 22:07
Have drunk in here on many occasions, on and off, over the last 15 years. The pub is fine generally the staff are ok but I was really disappointed when I was in there on Wednesday evening and having been served two of the cloudiest pints of London Pride I have ever seen in my life - the bar maids response was 'what is the problem?'! There was then only a couple of beers to choose from which were very average for a serious price! Worth a visit and for local workers it is a good pub but I have been really disapointed by the cost and service recently hence the poor points!
MartinRAF - 5 May 2007 01:12
Very crowded on the street level so we went downstairs. Pleasant enough but nothing to shout about.
WaitorseBoyz - 30 Mar 2007 15:07
Hi there Folks, i read that someone had seen in the paper that The Red Lion had a mouse problem, well, the closure occurred in January 2006, its not recent. Since then, there has been a complete change of management and staff alike. They have now regained the exsquisitely high standards people expect from The Red Lion.

Rest assured,a visit to The Red Lion will have you leaving with a big smile on your face after a great time at one of Londons best located Pubs
anonymous - 18 Mar 2007 22:05
Must admit it's years since I've been in here (2000?) but just read in the papers that it's just had a mouse infestation??
Boothers - 9 Mar 2007 09:29
Great pub for me, over the road from work and has Greene King IPA. Have had many a lunchtime pint in here.
silentbob9484 - 2 Feb 2007 10:55
Hard to take a look around as the place is packed everytime I have been there. I had a tough time being recognized at the bar as a customer but eventually I got a Theakston's Best Bitter which seemed past its prime.
I would not go out of my way to drink here.
jorrocks - 28 Dec 2006 03:01
Very busy pub set in the middle of the main Government offices. Main drawback - you always have to stand. Handy for the Houses of Parliament.
rpadam - 8 Oct 2006 16:18
Great pint of Adnams and friendly staff. Luckily we were in there on a Saturday evening so we didn't encounter any of the 'Rupert and Cuthbert' types mentioned by FattusBlokus. Didn't appear to have changed too much since a previous visit some 18 or so years ago which is great.
johnkn7 - 15 Aug 2006 13:33
Traditional in appearance, woeful in service. Interior tables 'reserved' for non-existent diners - the procedure for ordering food is apparently to be harried by a spotty, spikey haired chap with him prodding a modest menu of overpriced microwave tat at you. Disappointing - please reassure me that we were just unfortunate to be visiting on a Sunday?....
LondonWolf - 2 Jun 2006 14:19
Nice pub 2 sit outside on one of the benches and watch the world go by. Ale selection was a tad limited on day visited though.

My Rating 7/10
fat_beer_badger - 11 May 2006 14:52
The Guy behind the food counter is Great !! Best hand turned cod in Westminster.

Good pub only downside is full of Rupert and Cuthbert types - who seem to have 50p between them. They always wear their House of Commons passes though - so you can spot them a mile off !!!

Apart from that - its the best pub in Whitehall
FattusBlokus - 5 Feb 2006 11:48
Decent pub. Apparently Gordon Brown's ex adviser Charlie Whelan used to run his ops from the bar here. Good Adnams on with some limited outside seating.
anonymous - 5 Jan 2006 19:03
Traditional pub - enjoy it whenever I am in the area. I have been fortunate to be there during off hours so have been able to enjoy the pub rather than fight the crowds. Fits Westminster well.
jorrocks - 26 Oct 2005 01:53
I was here yesterday afternoon after walking through London in the blazing heat, and I was rewarded with one of the coldest beers I've ever tasted and a nice little seat outside watching the world go by. The interior is very "traditional pub", staff are pleasant, good range of beers, although there didn't seem to be an abundance of seating inside and I suspect it gets packed in the evening (it was fairly full when I arrived, and that was at 3pm). If you sit outside you can play "spot the politician" as you watch all the anonymous big black Mercs collecting important-looking people from the government buildings thereabouts.
steve5312 - 10 Sep 2005 11:35
Dropped by in the evening and saw a good mix for patrons: government types in ties, tourists in comfort clothing and various friends and relations. All seemed to be having a good time. Good ale selection and at a fair price for London. The pub fits into its surroundings well.
Mr.Matt - 23 Jul 2005 03:03
Very nice pub, good range of drinks and sitting outside in the sun with a cold beer watching the world go by in such a busy location is a good way to spend an hour.
anonymous - 29 Jun 2005 01:09
A pub in this area will always attract cappucino seeking tourists.
But the beer is fine and staff are spot on. The cartoons on the walls of politicians past add as sense of location to the place being just round the corner from the Commons and across the road from Downing St. Worth a visit.

Wendy_UK - 23 Feb 2005 21:00
Rammed full of parliamentary researchers that descend on it as soon as the sun comes out. The pub in London where everyone knows your name.
Wonderful atmosphere and does not matter that it gets crowded as everyone piles outside anyway.

Laura - 27 Aug 2004 10:34
Rammed full of tourists drinking coffee when I was there on a Saturday lunchtime.
Martin - 18 Mar 2004 17:01
Excellent central london drinker's pub.
will - 27 Nov 2003 14:48
The last two times i have been in here the service has not been very good. On the first occasion they ran out of druaght 18:00. Not good.

The second time was about a couple of weeks ago. Ordered some food and had to wait over 30 minutes for that culinary masterpiece.....the pub sandwich!

Must say the overall standard has dropped markedly, as is becoming more of a tourists pub.
Rob - 25 Jul 2003 10:57
My fave London pub....and so close to Big Ben
Andy Middleton - 17 Mar 2003 22:21
This pub has a top notch selection of ales, including the often overlooked cask conditioned tetley's Bitter, all the mor refeshing after a long awaited stressful interview.
Patrick - 9 Mar 2003 14:37
Good beer crap food. One of my favorite London pubs (because it's only 5 minutes from the office!!).

Very busy all week round with a mixed crowd, and no dress code facsists!
Rob - 3 Jan 2003 13:42

got anything to say about this pub?

Please read our reviews policy before posting.
Only registered users can post reviews. Please log in. If you don't have an account yet, register here.