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Punch Bowl, Mayfair

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user reviews of the Punch Bowl, Mayfair

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

Guy Richties pub, dining and club was busy on my Friday tea time visit, mainly with businessmen who insisted on shouting to each other being extremely blinking loud, music was playing in the back ground but you really couldn't hear it over the din of these chaps!

3 ales on the hand pumps, Adnams Southwold, Caledonian Deuchars IPA and there own ale which was Punch Bowl Ale...a rich and dark 4.5% ale, pretty tasty it was and £4.50 a pint, that's Mayfair for you.

Externally the etched glass windows depict the name of the pub, internally its dark with atmospheric lighting, wooden flooring, wooden bar and a large open fire. It's well kept but the area obviously demands somewhere like this and for the price they charge in the dining room it's clearly not aimed at the average Joe like me.

Very much not my type of place, thankfully I only intended to stay for 1 pint and that's exactly what I did....I doubt very much I will ever return here but the interior is very nice.
lezford - 10 Oct 2016 09:06
A compact and popular pub in the heart of Mayfair, this was pretty much full to capacity on a recent Friday evening visit with little space for standing never mind sitting, and several punters stood outside as well. Consequently the ambient noise level was quite high.

Most of the clientele seemed to be Hooray Henry types and struck me as being a bit up themselves. A case in point - a group of three guys were stood next to a table for eight. I assumed they were about to leave and politely asked if we could sit at the table, even though there was plenty of room for us even if they had been staying. He paused, looked down his nose at me, and wandered off to stand somewhere else. Why hog a table if you want to stand? Just so you've got somewhere to rest your pint? That said, if you can afford to live in an area where the local shop charges £20k for a set of plates (sorry, dinner service for eight) perhaps you're entitled to be up yourself.

The pub is essentially split in to two halves with the rear half appearing to be very much geared up for dining with all the tables in use by people eating and a wooden wine rack built in to the rear wall. The colour scheme was a shade of mustard and there were a number of black and white cartoon drawings on the wall. There were a few flagstones at the front of the pub, some dark wood partitioning around and a little etched glass, particularly above the bar, but this pub doesn't have the character of many of the Victorian gems in other parts of London. Bar service was a little on the slow side.

Beers on tap were Deuchars IPA, Bombardier and their own 1750. The solitary cider was Symonds Founders Reserve. We had just eaten in the adjacent Mount Street so it made a handy pit stop after our meal, but it's certainly not somewhere I'd go out of my way to visit.
Blackthorn - 13 Feb 2013 09:58
Would agree with the previous post. Limited beer selection. Deuchars IPA was in poor condition. Very expensive. Service was with a scowl. Won't be returning.
benz104 - 18 Jul 2011 20:41
This wasn't a good pub before the refurb and Mr Ritchies involvement and it's not a good pub now. Choc full of wannabee high society slebs and pretentious characters. It takes an age to be served incredibly expensive beer and you more or less have to stand outside as there's no room inside.

fury00001 - 22 Mar 2011 16:41
A beer jug is mainly favoured by southerners (and poofters, I'm told) but G & T with a handle?
Good god! What next?
The_Final_Arbiter - 23 Feb 2011 13:19
I disagree with many of the comments below. My father regularly used the place before it was renovated and agreed heartily with my view that it's a far better place now. Yes the booze is daftly expensive for a pub but the decor is fabulous - a fine English retort to the omnipresent and crass 'urban chic' that's taken over from minimalism; the beer is kept extremely well; the staff are efficient and friendly (and they kept on some of the original staff too). Also, to the reviewer below, what's wrong with the poor old jug - a thing sadly neglected! Above all, in spite of the (excellent) restaurant at the back, the place is still very much a boozer. I'd be absolutely delighted if other pubs were saved in this way rather than aesthetically vandalised or shut down altogether.
oliverhylton - 23 Feb 2011 12:49
Better than expected but nothing special. Deuchars IPA was good but why the old fashioned jug? We're not all old fogies you know. They even gave out handled glasses for G&T! What's that all about?

Guy Ritchie was holding fort with some of his mates but who cares?

At 3.75 a pint it's not cheap but neither is the area
charlescask - 15 Sep 2010 20:45
If you enjoy real London pubs avoid this place at all costs. The only thing they're good at is calculating a fair price and adding 50%. Snotty, pretentious, and number 1 on every dealers sat nav.
camraman123 - 18 Aug 2010 15:10
4.30 for a pint of kroney, you really are having a laugh! Took my gold-plated pint outside and overheard two suits complaining about 'bloody unions', 'bloody labour' and for some reason 'drunken loutish celtic supporters', drank up very quickly and moved on. Will definitely not be going back.
dalglish - 23 Apr 2010 13:48
This used to be my favourite pub in Mayfair before the Hollywood crew got their sparkling mits on it. Way over priced and rammed with the wrong people who are there for the all the wrong reasons. Shame really.

Learn some history, read some Byron and take a stroll around Mayfair on a Sunday morning. Those of you who know what I mean will understand. For the others, enjoy your over priced bright blue yo-yo shots and happy autograph hunting.
MayfairDandy - 4 Apr 2010 22:20
Rude, flat-capped doormen. I was shocked.

By all means a good bar from what I've heard - my friends had fun inside - but coming later than them, I had no chance to find out.

The bouncers' bad language shocked me. Not expected from a Mayfair bar. I was suited and boted; never saw it coming. Avoid.
i_am_tim - 12 Mar 2010 23:44
Well known pub hidden away in a quietish side street in the heart of Mayfair. As the whole world and his wife seem to know by now, this pub is owned by you-know-who and his missus, although this particular reviewer would struggle to recognise either of them if they were to suddenly walk through the door.

Outside the pub, an information board tells us that "this Georgian Grade 2 Listed Tavern was built on the ground of Hay Hill Farm in 1750". It is believed to be the second oldest pub in Mayfair after The Guinea.

An attractive wooden frontage with original double doors, which retains some etched glass leads into a basic low ceilinged bar with a mixture of flagstones and bare floorboards and much wood panelling. Note in particular, a splendid painting of Winston Churchill by a fine fireplace. There's no TV or fruit machines etc.

The pub is very much on the tourist trail and is quite food orientated, with a dedicated restaurant area towards the rear of the pub. Prices for both food and drink reflect the affluence of the area and the fact that this pub is an obvious magnet for visitors.

On my recent Saturday lunchtime visit, my pint of Deuchars IPA - at a stonking 3.90p - was on good form. Other beers on were Spitfire and Bombardier, but this is not a drinkers pub.

Rather perversely, I came here hoping that I wouldn't like it, but apart from the excessively high prices and the snobbishness of some of the other customers, it was much better than I expected.

I can't see myself returning in the near future, but I'm not going to discourage you from dropping in if you feel so inclined.

JohnBonser - 18 Feb 2010 12:53
Heaving with good looking people, eh? Doubt whether they would let me in then! I do recall the Punch Bowl as a reasonably decent pub, but it has undoubtedly changed since then.
RexRattus - 13 Sep 2009 23:25
Beautiful pub with lots of character. Friendly bar staff and good choice of ale and drinks. Food was expensive, and the portions quite small, but it is Mayfair and this is to be expected. Would recommend you go for a drink, especially in the evening, the place is heaving with good looking people.
festy - 13 Sep 2009 22:14
In summary then:-

Mayfair - check
Expensive - Check, in fact 'kin expensive
Chance to see celebs - Check, Maadonna's ex owns it. Last time there saw Freddy Flintoff, Piers Morgan and Mr ex-Madonna.

Reasons to visit - probably the last one for most people. In an 'out of interest only' way yes worth a visit, a short one unless you are packing the wallet of a Mayfairite you will need to push on.
Flasheart - 12 Aug 2009 17:21
Most ridiculously pretentious pub I've ever had the misfortune to walk into . Incredibly expensive for poorly kept beer and the food wasn't up to much . Went at lunchtime and was full of rich late teens from Daddys house waiting for their next fix to arrive . simplt awful.......
millreef - 15 Jul 2009 09:00
Looked in as occasionally do, not much change - Duchars and bombadier on. Grandly dressed up wedding party from church along the way in, so a suilably Mayfair feel to the place. Dark wooden interior, not fancy smancy thourough enough service. Grub on. Beer expensive yes. mind you you're not likely to wander round here unless working or looking for odd pubs to frequent, so...
gonetolunch - 5 Jul 2009 11:02
4.00 for a pint of Spitfire. It tasted OK, but four quid? Mind you, the barman was friendly enough, and at least the place was open unlike the last time I happened to wander past.
rpadam - 30 Jun 2009 00:19
Always full and always expensive. Lots of other brilliant pubs in the area. AVOID....!!!!
offal_cheesecake - 13 May 2009 17:07
This pub was a regular haunt of mine in the late 80s/early 90s when it was run by a mother and son team. The son hosted a rather good quiz here. There was also a dark wood partition which created two separate 'bars'. This was removed a while back, damaging the intimate atmosphere of the place. Once the Ritchies cast their eye on the place, it's fate was sealed. One can well imagine the knob-ridden hellhole it has now become. A pox on the place!
holbornboy - 7 May 2009 16:52
A shame to hear about one of my locals from the 80s era. This used to be one of the coolest little pubs to chill. I knew once this was picked up by Madge and all the other ponce co-owners, it was going turn into a total annoying hoorah, fake gangsters, etc..
Joseph65 - 31 Mar 2009 18:04
Another recent visit saw the first evidence of a 3.90 pint of cooking bitter.

Packed full of unmentionables. Landlord's wrist-bling still in evidence.
Flaneur - 31 Mar 2009 17:52
Dragged kicking and screaming here last week by the missus, she wanted to go there (honest!) as it was guys and madges pub. Very busy quite expensive and very dirty, some ales on tap but had a rough guinness instead. Full of loud knobs who would like to be mr ritchies mate, work in city/west end talk mockney sniff too much and think they're better and harder than the average man. Mmm.No return. Nice little pub round the corner though but can't remember its name (8 pints may have something to do with that)
altmann - 20 Mar 2009 13:56
The building and bar were nice but the clientele and prices put me right off this place. I didn't buy a round but my spitfire was apparently about 4 which is daylight robbery.

People were swanning around like they owned the place, the guy who particularly annoyed me was some greasy 40-something wearing a tweed long coat supping from a bottle of champagne.

Avoid if you like the traditional pub like I do.
beergibbon - 16 Mar 2009 20:20
Went in here just before Christmas and I have to agree with the other reviews, IT IS EXPENSIVE!!! I would just about stretch to 3.90 for a premium lager but not a bulk standard Best. Service wasn't too good either as some p*ssed fat head with a wad of cash was getting all the attention. Worth a visit just to see what all the fuss is about but other than that probably best avoided.
getmeonein - 11 Mar 2009 14:03
Since Mr Ritchie's arrival this place has not only become ludicrously expensive, it's also ludicrously busy. Whereas you would once find the usual post-work crowd in during the week, it now attracts a hanger-on clientele who don't really fit the location.

We were actually turned away by the bouncer(!) a couple of Fridays gone. Staggering.

At least Guy's cash is keeping the landlord in flashy watches. Silver lining and all that.

Flaneur - 16 Jan 2009 11:26
went to this pub because of the owners -the pub its self was fine decor ok but i thought the toilets where in need of decor and a good clean.

heather9 - 5 Jan 2009 13:25
Well I have to admit seeking out this pub due to it's illustrious owner etc.not that it should make any difference either way I suppose...however I must say my experience was mediocre. Firstly the Beer Deuchars IPA was fresh tasting but soured by the price i.e. 3.90 a pint and served in a slim contemporary Pint Class rather than the traditional Nonic that I prefer! Greeting from the staff was virtually non existent and perfunctory service the order of the fact there were off duty staff milling around all over the place....making for a rather exclusive as opposed to inclusive atmosphere. Talking of atmosphere it was bloody freezing no heating whatsoever and a empty and inactive fireplace....absolutely unforgivable give the exorbitant prices being charged....the manager(???) seemed to spend best part of an hour fannying around the barren fireplace rearranging the grate and log basket and was then overheard on the phone negotiating a delivery of "Logs!" (Send one of the poncy bar staff on a mission for some methinks!!!!....I mean it was 1.30pm lunchtime on January 2nd!).

No sorry, it all had the vibe of a celebrity owned place, with the staff coming across as aloof,tired and disinterested in customers,in fact they seemed like an in a bubble, not of this world, when 40 pubs a week are having to close down this is taking the piss!

Decor was authentic and understated and felt good.

Although there were 5 members of staff on and off duty in the front part of the pub when I left, not one said thank you or goodbye when I returned my glass to the bar.

Not good enough Mr Ritchie your gonna have to try a lot harder!

Redjont - 2 Jan 2009 19:01
Pleasant little pub spoilt only by its prices, 3.90 for Caledonian Deuchars
now i know its Mayfair and i know its Guy's place, but even so. However the place was busy and the suits and wannabe "it girls" seemed happy enough paying the extortionate prices. To be fair the beer was on good form and despite the price i stayed for a couple, (more fool me) purely because of the good atmophere. So the moral is, if people will pay it, you can charge it. I hope my local doesn't read this !!!
wellinformed - 25 Nov 2008 19:31
Avoid like the plague unless you like spending 3.90 for an indifferent pint of Courage Best! I thought that the blond behind the bar was joking until she asked the bloke behind me for 4.90 for Old Speckled Hen and a bag of crisps! Total rip off!
cheshirecat - 29 Aug 2008 21:42
I've been quite a regular at the Punch Bowl over the past few years and was very happy to see that the recent refurb has been well handled, and has even enhanced the very pleasant ambiance of the pub. However, a small (175ml) glass of house wine now costs an eye-watering 3.90! Which, sadly, means that I won't be idling away my Saturday afternoons here in the future. Shame.
elwood_p_dowd - 2 Jul 2008 17:01
I agree, you would barely know the pub had been refurbished, it's so similar. Just tidied up a bit around the edges. Recommended still.
mps77 - 8 May 2008 17:00
It opened again last Friday. I am delighted to say the refurbishment was very sympathetic. In fact so good that you wouldn't even have guessed anything had been done. Great little pub made even better. Good atmosphere and also great chips to soak up the alcohol!
Vickster - 28 Apr 2008 18:13
I just read that Madge and his wife are going to do a make over of the P'Bowl ? What a disgrace. Another classic pub going to be ruined.

Joseph65 - 25 Apr 2008 12:25
Q'man - I just the saw the same thing. What a bummer! I hope it doesn't run out the local crowd who I used to enjoy when I would come back to London.

Joseph65 - 4 Mar 2008 17:30
Is this press release true?
'Pop queen Madonna has become a pub landlady - after buying her local, The Punchbowl, near her West End home. Beer-loving Madge and hubby Guy Ritchie splashed out more than 2.5m to own the 18th century boozer. A friend of Madge, 49, said last night: "She absolutely adores the pub. They pop in regularly to get away from it all." Madonna and Guy, 39, bought the pub in London's Mayfair district from their pal Greg Foreman - son of former Kray twins gangster Freddie Foreman.'

quizman - 3 Mar 2008 16:37
This is a fairly decent pub in a fairly quiet location. The pint of Bombardier I had was OK for 2.80 or so as I recall. A couple of the larger tables in the main pub area already had reserved signs on them when I was in there at about 11.30 AM. Useful pub if you arrive at the Red Lion before it opens at 1200! OK place to stop for a pint, but would not go out of my way to visit.
RexRattus - 4 Feb 2008 14:20
Nice out of the way pub with a decent range of beers, though the Bombardier I had wasn't good at all.
The food I had (Pizza) was excellent, though I did get it just as every one else in my group was finishing their meal!

Disintinterested staff and dirty glasses; but worth a try if you're in the area.
dyyony - 26 Sep 2007 13:59
Good beer (speckled hen, bombardier, etc.), good food (at lunchtimes only); and if you go often enough the barmaids are already pouring your favourite before you've ordered. All good stuff, however... there is a bald headed Polish gentleman - and I'm pretty sure he's not the landlord, but probably the chef - who keeps telling me to move whenever I sit down! It's now becoming a bit of a joke - and one that's wearing a tad thin; why can't I sit where I want to in this pub? Am I not a paying customer? If he does it again I shall tell him to get lost and I will take my custom elsewhere. I think he needs to brush up on his customer relation skills.
marmarth - 28 May 2007 10:48
Very cosy candle lit interior. Lots of old charicatures and WW2 memorabilia for decoration plus a picture of the queen and 4 hounds!

bigaerials - 15 Feb 2006 16:52
Solid enough boozer dishing up very good Bombadier and Courage Best. Does fill up after work and the barman was a bit clueless but that's a minor gripe. I reckon that there are better pubs in the area but if you fancy a change you could do a lot worse than this.
MrLash - 16 Dec 2005 11:32
Smashing pub, great staff, very friendly, good 'Landlord', the place is pretty busy at lunchtimes serving excellent food, try the sausages!
A good selection of beers.
Had lunch in there with Paul Burrell recently(well, I had lunch in there and he was there..ok?!
harlequin - 21 Apr 2005 03:40
excellent pub. more of an eating pub than a drinking pub at lunchtimes. it can get irritating jumping out the way of the waitresses every couple of minutes.
marco_van_penners - 4 Feb 2005 16:23
Cozy pub. Been going here since I was 19 in '84 and still go back every year when I go back to London. Great staff and you can still have your privacy.
Joseph - 15 Oct 2004 17:51
This pub is absolutely fabulous! Its warm, hospitable environment is inviting and the staff are great to chat to. Fantastic venue to go to on quiet or busy nights!!
Rachel - 23 Sep 2004 20:12
This is a lovely old pub. The bar staff / management are very friendly and welcoming, it is often less busy than similar pubs in the area e.g. Red Lion. Having worked in Mayfair for several years, I'd vote it the best pub around Berkeley Square.
Mel - 10 Apr 2004 14:02
Good pub grub & some real ales that aren't badly kept. Can get very busy on Friday's or when there is good weather.
azur - 10 Jun 2003 13:49
Old country inn that once served the grooms and footmen of the Mayfair grandees.Farm Street has evolved into a residential address for the well-heeled.Usually not as busy as the nearby Red Lion, but that allows one to spend a comfortable and relaxing time in this unassuming pub
Bob F. - 19 May 2003 19:44
Traditional style Pub right in center of Mayfair. Clienteal varies from weathy loud v. posh city boys to quiter old wealthly older people depending when u go.
RIchard - 16 May 2003 15:34

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