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Royal Victoria and Bull, Dartford

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user reviews of the Royal Victoria and Bull, Dartford

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

I love this place. Historic coaching inn where Treverick, no less, lived for two years. Indeed, he died here. The place had been sympathetically refurbished, keeping the original character, with various rooms and nooks and grannies, but also making good use of the courtyard by glassing it over and creating a central bar area. Only one cask on my visit. Broadside. But in good condition.
SilkTork - 4 Apr 2014 13:08
New management is rocking! Like the food and the midweek atmosphere. The building is really different too, convenient location - I'd def. go again :)
cosmogirl2011 - 11 Apr 2011 12:13
VISITED THIS PUB LAST SATURDAY WITH SOME FREINDS,THE DOOR STAFF HAVE GOT A REALLY BAD ATTITUDE. ARE THEY GODS ( I DON'T THINK SO).
THE BEST THING TO DO IS TO GO ELSE WHERE AND SPEND YOUR MONEY.

baza - 11 Dec 2010 20:58
Popped into this pub at about 12.30ish on Sat 29th with my daughter as we were deciding what to do for lunch. The rather stroppy barmaid, who looked about 16, said that my daughter (who is 14) could not come in unless we were going to eat there. Needless to say with THAT attitude we decided to spend my money elsewhere!!. Shame really as only 2 months earlier we were in there without so much of a hint of a problem. But I suppose when you have 4 bar staff on and only 5 customers in the pub (as they did when we popped in) they could afford to be choosy about who they admit during their "busy" Saturday lunchtime trading period!!.
BillBrandon - 31 May 2010 13:59
Iím afraid that contrary to keepthechangeís comments, the recent refurbishments were more out of necessity than anything I may have conjured up but having just made my first post refurbishment visit, it appears to have been money well spent. The interior is looking in fine shape with many of the features restored to their best, in particularly the wonderful old fireplaces and the glazed courtyard. The introduction of additional furnishings where floors were once bare is a welcome improvement and even the pool room has taken on a new found attractiveness that was previously lost on me. There are several new, and in some cases bizarre old photos of the town and the pub itself dotted between the various rooms, my personal favourite being of the converted double decker bus that was used to transport bicycles through the tunnel. Many of the rooms and side bars have now been named giving them a bit of identity (the Royal Room, Games Room, the Nook etc). There is also more emphasis on the life of Richard Trevithick who lived and died here with several portraits taking prominent positions and a detailed display of the pubís history can also be found.

The multiple TVís and disco lights are still very much to the fore and if there is a drive to make the place more user friendly to those of us now beyond the first flushes of youth I doubt it will catch on as the place has an inbuilt reputation for clubbers, loud music, scantily clad nubiles, plentiful bouncers and all the baggage that goes with it. Mondays will be the new live band indie and metal evenings so that just leaves Tues to Thurs for the oldies to enjoy the improvements and I just canít see the place getting busy mid week without anything specific to attract people away from their living rooms.

One final bit of good(ish) news - for all the fresh paint, new glazing, restored features and general tarting up of the place, nothing is more welcome than the 3 new handpumps that have sneeked their way onto one tucked away corner of the bar. I say this a bit loosely as, despite the clips showing Adnams Bitter and Broadside (on 2 pumps), none were available this afternoon but Iíll give them the benefit of the doubt regarding the lack of availability since today is the first full working day after Christmas and they had a metal all dayer gig yesterday so stocks may have been a bit low (you just know how these death metal fans love to knock back their Real Ales). At least it is a large step in the right direction and there is now hopefully a much better reason to make more use of the place in the future and wallow in the expenditure.


RogerB - 29 Dec 2009 16:00
Since the refurb it has improved greatly with an affordable menu and some of the original features and fixtures restored.

I spoke to the recently installed manager who told me that the intention is to attract the 25 - 40 year old crowd during the weekday evenings, which is great, but that Friday and Saturday evenings the pub will still cater for the kids sadly.

So if you don't want to feel old avoid it on Friday and Saturday nights, to to the Royal Oak instead!!


roostifer - 20 Nov 2009 12:40
Within days of RogerB pleading for this pub to be renovated (see review, below) the builders arrived, erected scaffolding and began work on the restoration. Some may call it a co-incidence, but I prefer the idea that the owners of the pub read BITE and took Rogers comments on board!

It's obvious that a huge sum of money has been spent on restoring this building and overall, it's quite a transformation. Visually at least, the Bull & Vic is now an impressive pub. With more seating and the odd leather sofa dotted around, it feels a far more inviting place to sit down with a pint. The extra seating would also suggest that they're trying to attract more diners - on my visit most people had ordered food.

Unfortunately, the beer selection has remained the same, with only Guinness and John Smiths offered as an alternative to the various lagers. That decision does seem at odds with the country pub feel of the place. The Guinness I ordered was perfectly acceptable.

Its a shame the budget didn't stretch to the bar staff because on my visit, the two who served me weren't the cheeriest and seemed rather bored. Typical pub chain apathy.

I noticed that the disco lighting and massive speakers have survived the refurbishment so it will continue to act as a night club come the weekend. And this might be one of the biggest problems for the Bull & Vic. Is it an 'olde world' pub or is it a nightclub? Even the website for the owners list this place under their "party bars" section as opposed to the "traditional pubs" section.

It's great to see this place restored and is definitely worth a visit, if only to appreciate the grandeur and history. Just don't expect any real ales or overly friendly bar staff.
keepthechange - 4 Nov 2009 11:28
Within days of RogerB pleading for this pub to be renovated (see review, below) the builders arrived, erected scaffolding and began work on the restoration. Some may call it a co-incidence, but I prefer the idea that the owners of the pub read BITE and took Rogers comments on board!

It's obvious that a huge sum of money has been spent on restoring this building and overall, it's quite a transformation. Visually at least, the Bull & Vic is now an impressive pub. With more seating and the odd leather sofa dotted around, it feels a far more inviting place to sit down with a pint. The extra seating would also suggest that they're trying to attract more diners - on my visit most people had ordered food.

Unfortunately, the beer selection has remained the same, with only Guinness and John Smiths offered as an alternative to the various lagers. That decision does seem at odds with the country pub feel of the place. The Guinness I ordered was perfectly accpetable.

Its a shame the budget didn't stretch to the bar staff because on my visit, the two who served me weren't the cheeriest and seemed rather bored. Typical pub chain apathy.

I noticed that the disco lighting and massive speakers have survived the refurbishment so it will continue to act as a night club come the weekend. And this might be one of the biggest problems for the Bull & Vic. Is it an 'olde world' pub or is it a nightclub? Even the website for the owners list this place under their "party bars" section as opposed to the "traditional pubs" section.

It's great to see this place restored and is definitely worth a visit, if only to appreciate the grandeur and history. Just don't expect any real ales or overly friendly bar staff.
keepthechange - 2 Nov 2009 17:20
Having lived in Dartford for over 25 years, I have always rued the fact that this wonderful historic building (the oldest pub in town, originally established in 1360) has been allowed to decay by its uncaring PubCo owners. Paintwork is peeling, windows are rotting and the place is a magnet for customers that probably couldnít care less as long as the music is loud, the drink is cheap and there is enough eye candy to suit all. In the evenings the place is more of a music venue and night club than a pub and of interest only to certain age groups of which I am sadly no longer. That said, for a couple of quid you can watch 4 or 5 local bands of varying abilities on a Tuesday night if you can stomach the occasional local idiot and the poor beer selection (often at discounted prices when there is an event on). There are (and have never been since I have been going there) any Ales so standard lagers / kegs / Guinness is the norm and this is actually now one of the few pubs in Dartford that do not offer any Real Ales. The interior is indeed probably the only thing worth meriting a visit even if it is rather run down and taken over by TVís and fruit machines.

The main bar is in what was the old flag stoned courtyard, glazed over in the 1820ís when it was used as a Corn Exchange. A succession of rooms lead off on both sides, some containing original fireplaces and paneling (one panel is said to have some 18th century bullet holes) but most of the original rooms have been knocked through and lost much of their sense of identity. Around the courtyard is a balcony, now glazed in, and the rooms where the guests have included Cornish inventer Richard Trevithick who lived and died here (there is a placque outside) and Queen Victoria who stayed here in 1836. Iím not sure either would be too keen to vist if they were alive today.

To the front is a small bar for private functions and at the rear is a room containing 2 pool tables. Interestingly, beyond this point was a ballroom and another bar which was effectively a separate pub called the Bull Shades. Sadly these buildings were demolished in the 1970ís when the Priory Centre was built. Itís a shame that a place with such history has become such a neglected waste. Oh, for someone to come along and restore it to its original splndour and give it the dignity it deserves.
RogerB - 2 Aug 2009 14:57
This pub has so much potential, amazing, histioric and natural decor with spacious rooms and so much size.

Sadly, they have never really seemed to get it right with the Bull. It has always been a bit of a letdown - depressing atmosphere, too many louts who clearly aren't there for the karaoke or live music etc and detract from the atmosphere. The food is very poor and the beer selection is chain-pub basic.

The atmosphere is non-existent; you really don't feel anything in there, it all feels a bit pointless in all honesty and, half way through your first pint, you'll be thinking about moving on.

Having to pay at times to enter this poor pub adds insult to injury. The doormen are pretty poor and generally unhelpful and unfriendly, as are the bar staff.

Overall, not a great pub, below average pub with no real atmosphere. It should be, it could be but it needs a major image overhaul first.
Dunmall - 2 Jan 2009 07:20
This pub is awful, I went in here for a music night a few weeks back, I ordered a pint of lager of a stroppy barman wearing a chartlon shirt! It tasted like egg and he refused to change it...

I would not drink in here if my life depended on it, absolute dive! and the fact that you have to pay to get in here most nights is a joke... awful beer, awful staff, awful pub!
Rjf - 20 Aug 2008 12:14
ITS OK JUST DONT PUT YOUR COAT DOWN MY MATE GOT HERS NICKED AND IT WAS ON THE CHAIR NEXT TO US PROBABLY THE PIKEYS THAT GO IN THERE
anon1983 - 7 May 2007 10:29
Another small town pub that suffers from STS (small Town Syndrome), like it's near neighbour the Litten Tree. Full of plastic hardmen and gangsters, who are probably still at school and shouldn't even be in a pub.

I don't care for pubs that are this big, as usually they favour cramming people in over having any kind of atmosphere.

The beer isn't of a standard that would encourage you to make a second visit. As for the food, well, it's so bad that it must in some way breach teh trading standards act. Horrific! In particular stay away from anything that suggests it was caught at sea.

It's hard to seperate this hovel and the Litten Tree. My advice? Go somewhere else!
PigPen_in_the_Fens - 13 Sep 2006 09:03
One of the better places if you want to stay out a bit later on Friday or Saturday. Not saying much considering the alternatives though!
During the week its quite nice, if a little soul-less
rocco_nelson - 18 Aug 2006 14:37
I visted a few of my local haunts when I was young - Dartford has changed so much including this pub sadly for the worst!
anonymous - 19 Jun 2006 20:37
I've been here several times. Admittedly, never on a weeknight or during the day, but I'd recommend to stay away on Friday or Saturday nights. It seems aggressive, though like one or two others have said, it's interesting with all the little cubbyholes and such. It's not bad, but there are other places I'd much rather frequent.
HTM69 - 26 May 2006 19:33
Nice pub, very cool atmosphere, lots of little hiding place that you can tuck you and your firends away in if you want some privacy.
Best night is Rock Night Live on the tuesdays - just good to hear the local talent and know that there is still some people in this area who can do something constructive with their time.
Kaylee - 28 Apr 2005 17:40
If you haven't been to the Bull and Vic for a while go on a weekend night and give it another try. Friday is a bit younger whilst on Saturday it seems to attract an older crowd (no bad thing), the DJ's play a mix of everything without the attitude! Lovely barstaff, wicked cocktails (2 for a fiver!), happy people....want more could you want from a pub Dartford and it's now open till 2am. Crack on!
anonymous - 11 Apr 2005 17:40
gd pub but need more up to date music, 6 shots for a fiver tho, its ite
sadie shingleton - [email protected] - 9 Apr 2005 02:33
Good place for pre-club crowd on Friday and Saturdays, as has already been said. Never encountered any trouble in there myself - and they do have bouncers - but I suppose anyone from Dartford knows how to avoid trouble! Does get absolutely rammed so expect to wait a while for that pint though. Food is very ordinary - there are plenty of better places to go in town for that.
Hammered - 26 Dec 2004 20:01
Right laugh on a Friday and Saturday night!Friendly bar staff and good atmosphere.Can get some attitude in there, but where doesn't?Cheap and very cheerful, good music.Fun night out!
Rach - 10 Aug 2004 16:13
Friday nite in here is amazing, the cheap booze the staff the women, stop off and have a laugh
AJ - 8 Jul 2004 22:26
just to clear some misinformation up. this place was called the bull way before queen vic. its earliest origins are in the 1400's. it was after her death that the name 'royal victoria and' was added. out of interest, take a look at the mirror in the pool room. you can see a bullet mark where the debt collector was accidently shot then chased and accidently shot again upstairs in the function room according to 1500's records.
karen - 1 Jul 2004 14:55
Ah, the Bull and Vic! Has good nights and bad nights! On a good night, its unbeatable! The atmosphere, the music, the people!! Beautiful! BUT, on a bad night, puts u rite off!! Worth a visit tho!! And not too pricey!! Quite a bit of attitude in tehre tho!
jimbo - 24 Mar 2004 22:41
The Bull and Vic has changed a lot over the past month or so!! The new manager (does anyone even know who that is?) is nothing compared to the previous one Rachel who always had time to spend with her customers. The assistant Kelly is also rude and obnoxious since Rachel has left. The staff look miserable. The only helpful one was a guy with a goaty. Apart from that the music is good as is the food. But it's a friendly atmosphere you're after try somewhere else.
James - 24 Feb 2004 12:38
The oldest pub in Dartford, this historic coaching inn was one of the main stopovers on the London to Dover route. Queen Victoria stayed here giving the place her seal (bull) hence the name. Legendary Cornish engineer Richard Trevithick lived and died here. What was originally the courtyard is now the bar and the building does manage to keep it's historic character even if the typical regular is probably too young to appreciate it. A standard selection of beers, slightly higher price than other local pubs, and good helpings of unadventurous but certainly edible pub-grub. Unless you are single and under 25, this pub is best enjoyed before 8.00pm when the youngsters take over and the volume goes up.
RogerB - 15 Feb 2004 19:04
this pub is now under new management. no offense to the former land lady but i feel that towards the end her love of the pub began to decline and so did the quality of care that the customers recieved as a result. with the new manager in place and the lovely handsome barmen the bull and vic is now the only pub i go to on a weekend.
karen - 2 Feb 2004 15:40
Accommodation very central but really crappy. They could make a nice place to stay out of this pub if it weren't for the mould and grime in the bedrooms and especially bathrooms.
Beryl - 20 Dec 2003 15:46
Only bee in there once. Beer was okay. Bu the food was totally shockingly awful. Even by the lowest of pub food standards.

Haven't been in there since. Go along to the Roayl Oak. Better beer and most certainly better food.
Rob - 16 Aug 2003 18:00
Used to visit this pub a couple of years back, got got very bored with it. Since the litten tree has become such a profit making business and nothing else, the bull and vic now offers a great night out! Rock on!
Rebecca - 29 Jun 2003 18:05
Busy on Saturday (but then where isnt), slow bar staff but otherwise friendly atmosphere.
David - 23 Jun 2003 12:59
Good lively place to be, with good loud music and friendly atmosphere.
Char - 20 May 2003 18:37

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