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Castle, Walthamstow

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user reviews of the Castle, Walthamstow

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

I've lived in Walthamstow village for three years and The Castle is by far the best and most welcoming pub in the area. I eat in there at least once a week and I think that the food is fantastic. The staff are friendly and attentive and I always have a great time. I've taken loads of friends to eat at The Castle and they always comment on the quality of the food and beer. It's especially fun on Friday night when there is often a great band playing. Overall this is a great, comfortable pub that has a fantastic atmosphere.
srogers - 13 Jan 2013 16:36
We now try to avoid this place because of the kids who run riot all day and evenings up to 8pm or so.
davidb - 17 Oct 2012 13:06
I have lived in the area for a few years and seen The Castle struggle with its identity during that time. It's tried open mic (which was oddly successful), carvery (slightly half-heartedly), weird art (does anyone remember the barbie dolls in perspex cases?) etc etc. The most recent owners have brought some clarity to the situation with a cleaner, albeit somewhat joyless look, and so that at least is something in an area in which a number of pubs (The Windmill, The Grove) have sadly closed in recent years. The investment is welcome.

It's always difficult to draw a perfect judgement from these sites, because people clearly have different experiences of the food and that could depend on a multiple of variables, not least levels of expectation, how hungry you are etc. I've always found it serviceable, but nothing particularly special, and perhaps has a higher opinion of itself than is warranted. Nevertheless, assuming all of the reviews on these sites are genuine (hmmm?) then clearly some people do enjoy the food. Horses for courses, as they say.

A common thread that does seem to run through the reviews on these sites is a general sullenness amongst the staff, including the landlord chap. Perhaps the grey interior has a general dampening effect on their mood, but I've never felt particularly welcome and wonder if I might get more engagement from a vending machine. As I get older I am less tolerant of poor treatment - a smile costs nothing. Even though it might mean a longer walk, more recently I have started to drink in other pubs where the bar staff make more of an effort. And this is the issue with the Castle really - it's obviously trying to position itself as a gastro pub, but the reality is a slap of Farrow & Ball cannot disguise the fact that it is a local pub too off the beaten track to attract regulars from outside the area. It needs to connect with its community and it doesn't, which is sad and possibly quite dangerous in the current economic climate.

As to the issue of kids in pubs - this pub calls itself 'family friendly' and if you advertise as such then you have to accept that families will gravitate to the place. Both the Nags Head and The Village pub have very clearly delineated policies on children (ie, specific areas and times), which means everyone knows where they stand. The pub rule in the case outlined below is a bit random - I've not seen it visibly displayed and I've not seen it being enforced on other occasions when I have been in there. The reaction of the landlord also appears to have been disproportionate. To bar a whole family because a child was walking around a bit seems pretty extreme - and again a potentially damaging business decision in an area where the NCT operates something akin to a cult. The Castle actually has an opportunity to really differentiate itself from the other pubs in the area and grow its market share, but to do that it has to be genuinely 'family friendly' and not just pretend it is when it suits them. The landlord should embody this ethos and behave like people are paying customers rather than fleshy irritants.

So I guess the point is if you want to pretend you live in the nicer part of Islington and are not too bothered about being treated like you don't, then The Castle is probably fine. The food is ok. The beer is cold. The toilets are clean. But if you want a place with more sense of identity and community, then the initial appearance may prove deceptive and ultimately disappointing.
AndreGorz - 10 Jun 2012 16:40
I have lived in the village for about eighteen months and The Castle is by far the best pub in the area. Their selection of drinks is great and I have only ever found the staff to be friendly and courteous. Best of all though is the food. As a single professional, I eat out a lot and am often disappointed with the quality and or quantity of the food in other pubs and restaurants in the village and other areas. Having eaten in The Castle on numerous occasions, I have always found the quality of the food to be great and the portion sizes large. On top of that, the prices represent great value. The beef burger is one of the best I’ve ever tasted and is served with amazing hand cut chips. This costs about £10- I really don’t think that you can ask for better value than that!

The only gripe that I have is with the parents who let their children roam about the pub. I have no problem with children in pubs and often come to The Castle with friends who bring their kids. However, children should be sat with their parents (as my friends ones do) rather than wandering around and disturbing other customers.

On a positive note, there always seems to be new additions and developments at The Castle. I particularly like the new wooden bar that’s been installed and I look forward to seeing what happens next.

suzyh - 9 Jun 2012 16:02
absdabs - I think you miss the point. Whatever your views on children in pubs, the landlord's language was completely unprovoked and unwarranted.

I witnessed the incident and at no time were the parents rude, nor did they raise their voices. The landlord's abusive language was horribly aggressive and totally unprofessional; embarrassing for 'Mrs Warbouys' and for the handful of customers who had to witness it.

The child walked to the bookshelf in an almost empty pub (6 customers including the family in question). Whatever prompted to landlord to lose it, it wasn't because the child was causing chaos or because it was a hazard to itself or anyone else.

Either a pub is family friendly, as the Castle purports to be, and accepts the consequences of that, or it bans children. The truth is without the trade that families bring the Castle would probably go under.

rodninio - 9 Jun 2012 11:07
I just think people can be so unfair! We eat & drink in the Castle & yes children are allowed in to eat & usually the Castle are very tolerant. Sometimes we have been in there when parents are sitting around chatting, drinking & the children are just running around, doing what children do, but surely, this should not happen in a pub. We have seen food being thrown & parents turning a blind eye. If they want to get one of the children’s books provided by the Castle, then again, surely an adult should accompany them to choose one & sit down & read with them.

Many times, we have been sitting having lunch, or a quite drink & a child has come up to talk to us, which we don't mind, but we have also seen childless couples getting quite annoyed by this & have heard the comment, "oh they should not let children in."
Unfortunately, sometimes pubs that allow children in are in a no win situation, Don't you think?

absdabs - 7 Jun 2012 14:08
Yesterday we were barred from the Castle, our local for the past six years, and where we’d been going regularly with friends, family and just the three of us. Since our son was born nearly three years ago, it’s been a staple for Sunday lunch, as children seem to have been welcome, making up half the numbers sometimes.

We were barred from this self-styled ‘family friendly’ pub because our two-year-old son was fetching a book from the bookshelf, on a very quiet lunchtime, rather than in his seat, in a bizarre, sudden and aggressive tirade from the owner.

We were the second group in on Jubilee bank holiday Monday. Our son saw the owner, cashing up at a window table and wandered over to say hello. Admittedly, not everyone finds this endearing, and the owner just told us to keep him in his seat, as it was a ‘pub rule’. OK, we’ll try…

Fatally, at our instruction he went to get a book from the bookshelf – presumably provided for us pesky customers – and the owner stormed over, saying he didn’t want children wandering about as it’s ‘not the sort of pub we want to be’. With no further debate, he told us to: “Piss off and don’t come back”. Adding the blinder: “It’s people like you that are ruining pubs.”

Au contraire. It’s people like us that are keeping his gaff in business. Every weekend lunchtime it’s rammed with young families, paying through the nose for frankly average food, seemingly under the impression it’s as ‘family friendly’ as its marketing blurb suggests. I’m sure they’d be interested to know the landlord’s true feelings on the matter.

If well-behaved children aren’t welcome, perhaps this could be made clearer, rather than policed in a randomly despotic manner. With his attitude, I’m wondering if the ‘sort of pub he wants it to be’ is ‘empty’.

MrsWarbuoys - 5 Jun 2012 17:03
Had a family lunch today and the real grip was the size of the portions and value for money. The Spanish Omlette (just shy of £10) was tiny - a wedge that was 2.5-3 inches at its widest point and accompanied by small green leaf salad with four cherry tomatoes. I though nouvelle cuisine died in the 80s.

We remarked to one of the staff how small and poor value it was and that it was probably more appropriate as a £4-5 starter. She agreed and mentioned that we weren't the only ones to point this out. Question is if others have pointed this out then why no change to portion size or an apology. We had to go home and have lunch.

Even though we're local and there are limited choices in the village we've decided we're not going to go back to the Castle for food.
rodninio - 4 Jun 2012 22:41
Dear Ross Newman,

Can you explain why we got nothing by way of an apology when a plastic bottle of tomato ketchup exploded, covering my wife, me, two tables of people next to us in awful, smelly red sauce?
It was terrible, we had to leave and go home to shower. When I presented it to the manageress she laughed. Not so much a sorry or a drink, just " oh sometimes that happens" - I've ever seen it before or since.

richandstrange - 17 May 2012 17:26
This is a lovely pub and has been decorated and furnished very tastefully and looks perfect for adults to come and have a drink or bite to eat. Exactly what a good pub should be, except...

...KIDS! I don't know why it is, but all the young kids that pour into this place with their parents are especially badly behaved. It really is insufferable on a Sunday as it's basically an out of control creche.

Sorry, but good as this pub may be, family friendly shouldn't mean annoying for everyone else.
villageperson - 18 Jan 2012 14:50
Firstly, I would like to introduce myself and my sister, Ross and Ria. We are the owners of The Castle in the Village Ltd. (The Castle Gastro Pub). This is the first and last time I will be writing in response to comments regarding The Castle, so I hope what I write will answer any questions.

I love the concept of the review sites. I would love to use constructive criticism from these sites to better my business and give people what they want. If we could use genuine feedback to create and improve our menu and service it would be fantastic. We have received comments in the past and with some I agree, it has helped us grow, thank you. This advice benefits everyone, the community that frequent the pub and us. We have read and heard comments and it has helped us to make the business better and more efficient. The Castle is now a thriving family friendly food pub which is a stark contrast to three years ago, before we took over.

Unfortunately these sites can provide platform for fake, malicious and sometimes ridiculous reviews that are not always the truth. This is a shame. I find it disturbing that anyone would take to a review site to talk about a member of staffs physical appearance, one reviewer mentions ‘the manager with the pretentious awful moustache’. This quite frankly is not acceptable. This reviewer is known to The Castle and was asked to leave due to her drunken behaviour and foul language towards staff.

I am not saying we are always perfect, mistakes happen, but we do strive for excellence and I believe we provide good quality food at a reasonable price. All our meat is free range, our vegetables are delivered daily and our menu is produced by us fresh. Nothing bought in ready made, nothing frozen. Every dish has been designed by our Chefs, from the Burger recipe to the Cheese Sauce on your pasta. We even pipe our own Sausage mix from a recipe our Head Chef James created. How many Gastro pubs could say that?

I would like to advise booking on a Sunday for a roast as it does get extremely busy. We will always try to accommodate anyone that hasn’t pre-booked but we may not always be able to find a table for you immediately. At peak times we can have up to 90 -100 customers in at any one time, so it may take 30-45 minutes from ordering to receive your food. Nothing is precooked the night before and reheated like many other establishments do. We cook our meat to order.

We have recently changed our wet offering, so far these choices seem to have gone down well. Please let us know what you think.

I felt obliged to write this response today out of respect for our staff. The kitchen team especially work extremely long hours and are passionate about getting it right. It’s not on for business rivals and drunken fools to condemn the work they do.

Ross Newham
The Castle

the_castle - 11 Jan 2012 16:54
NOT A GASTROPUB Food not good enough, too expensive and a bad ambience, much better eating options on Orford road.
Robert1977 - 3 Jan 2012 21:51
being new to the area was keen to try out all the local pubs and restaurants, we started with the castle, we have mixed feelings on the place, the food without a doubt shines above all, we are told the chef is of michelin backgound and it shows, my partner chose the parfait, which was as promised smooth and full of flavour, served with a warm fig and hot toast. i chose the rabbit terrine, i ended up with a ham hock terrine (which was grand) although i was offered no real reason as to why i couldnt have the rabbit terrine, fine, i had sea bass to follow, which was fresh as it gets, a really lovely plate of food, although i got clams instead of mussels, (i did ask at the bar when paying why and i just got a smile!) i must say that the clams worked well with the fish, but it wasnt what ordered! my partner had filet of beef with the most fantastic chips ever, the beef was cooked pink, and was tasty and juiicy, we shared an apple crumble for dessert whiuch was delicious too, so to sum it up, the foods pretty much high end, ambience was nice, service, erm well could do with being shaken up a little, and maybe a few English lessons!!
meredithw - 14 Dec 2011 13:40
Had lunch on Sunday, as usual very tasty, fresh & plentyful. Nice festive feel & really relaxing.
A really great local!
absdabs - 13 Dec 2011 10:55
Wow, some amazing views on the Castle in Walthamstow village expressed here!

My Impression is somewhat different. The Castle is definitely sees itself as a gastropub and dealing with the pub side first, the beer range is fairly small with around four ales on tap at any one time. At the last visit I tried the Rev.James and one of marco pierre whites beers - both in excellent condition.

Having ate at the castle around 10 times since moving to Walthamstow in the summer I can assure you that the the food is excellent. The Chef apparently achieved a Michelin star at his previous place of work and here they are serving up very good quality modern British food. Have had toad in the hole, steaks, burgers etc... and all have been excellent. Price wise a burger/thrice cooked chips/'slaw is £10 which I thought more than reasonable. Burger juicy and filling. Meat Sweats.

Looking below, some people have obviously had not so good experiences here. I'd say their main issue stems from having a large number of tables and a tiny kitchen. So, on Friday night we had to wait 20 mins before ordering food. Not an issue for me but I can imagine it is for some. They're also very kid friendly, which again may not suit all. They could also benefit from expanding their music catalogue a little! I have found no issues with service at the bar or table.

All in all, excellent and welcome establishment in this area. With a little tinkering, could easily move into outstanding territory.

JBL1980 - 4 Dec 2011 12:53
AVOID AT ALL COSTS!!!. Sunday dinner tasted like a £1 frozen Birdseye ready meal. Totally tasteless bland frozen veg and potatoes of very poor quality I felt quite sick after eating this expensive slop. Disgusting food disgusting downright rude arrogant service from the staff and the OWNER. You have to pay upfront so checked my receipt to see how long i waited before my meal arrived' the wait was . .1hour 10mins !!! extremely surly response from staff when asked after 40mins how much longer to wait.
On leaving i spoke to the OWNER about the ridiculously long wait. Her excuse about being busy i would have accepted if i hadn't seen other people who come into the pub after me being given their food before me. No apology from the owner . Her customer service response was to imply i was lying and had only waited half an hour for my meal gathering her staff and my server to agree with her !!!!!!. When I challenged her she told my daughter and I to get out of her pub. My daughter who talks in whispered tones and quite shy told the owner her customer service is bad. can you belive it the staff and owner ganged up on her too!! my daughter was horrified. Totally offensive and appalling behaviour.
The irony is I have been eating at The Castle regularly for many years . I took my family loads of times my in-laws etc. Introduced friends to The Castle as my favourite pub. Today was the first time back in a while. Must have new owners. Previously the food was good, the staff a little bit more mature and extremely pleasant . we had a good banter with them. The food and service was 1000x better, Other reviews have mentioned the New Owners disgusting bullying behaviour so seems im not alone. Don't go there. Besides the food being absymal the odious owner doesn't deserve 1 penny of your money or custom.
Ivy11 - 20 Nov 2011 19:39
Went for Sunday lunch with 2 friends. Was prepared to put up with many kids running around with abandon as though it was their private playground (bless 'em) but not for the blandness of what was served. I had a lamb roast with mixed veg minus sprouts. The lamb was tasteless, spuds were the kind you get from the frozen section of a supermarket and the rest was over cooked. For £10.95 I expect better. Granted, its not a fully fledged restaurant but even so that's poor quality. I've been to other gastros' and they've been better and in some cases cheaper. The place looks farely new so I hope given time things will improve. Overall its not a bad venue and my rating of 3 stars is solely for the food and the price. Yet to go there on a busy wk/end.
eatme2 - 18 Nov 2011 14:28
Visited this "gastropub" for the first time on a windy sunday at lunchtime. My wife and baby (in stroller) were in a large group of other parents with babies in tow and had made a booking, so we didn't have any problems finding a seat, even though the pub seemed very busy (it was lunchtime).

In a trendy part of town, so the usual type of clientele were in attendance, but also a few other families with young children, so we didn't feel like we were imposing too much, despite some tears and screaming (from the babies).

Decor was nice if "banksy" style artwork and a bookcase is your kind of thing, open fire was welcoming, and at the middle of lunchtime rush, a wait of 5 minutes to take my order wasn't too bad, although interrupted by a power cut in the middle of my card transaction - promptly sorted with the minimum of fuss.

Only had a few pints of London Pride, which was perfect, however the only other ale on was Spitfire.

Overall, very accommodating, attentive and polite service, and excellent toilet facilities.

When we arrived we ordered our lunch straight away and this took almost an hour to receive - even though other members of our party received theirs within 1/2 an hour. Luckily the sunday lunch was decent, nice cut of beef and everything cooked well, though not sure if it was "gastropub" standard, however the yorkshire pudding was excellent and the sprouts perfectly cooked! For the price, we would definitely return for lunch.

We would probably come here again, it was very accommodating and the service was friendly, the sort of place to have a lazy sunday afternoon (which we did).
pisto - 7 Nov 2011 13:53
A kind of hybrid place - like half arts centre bar, half creche. They did have three unadventurous ales on (Black Sheep, Youngs and Pride). Tried the Black Sheep which was murky and off, they changed it for Pride - which was insipid and lifeless. They also didn't turn the pump clip round on the Black Sheep and carried on selling the stuff despite it being obviously off. It seems to concentrate on trendy avant garde bottled fruit beers and lager. Okay if this kind of establishment suits you but I prefer a pub.
anonymous - 3 Apr 2011 04:13
Ok, all I can say is women beware! If you are vaguely attractive and look like you are having a good time you will be most unwelcome and the target of the most bad mannered landlady that I have ever had the misfortune to meet.

Goodnight and thank you for spending all your hard earned wages on our overpriced beer is normally followed by get out now and if you can't drink up fast enough you are an apparent chav (pot/kettle if you ask me) and told to get the f**k out why she has her private lock in. No freebies supplied by the way, extortionate prices apply during and after hours!! Oh and being male and providing a lap will always help!!

schavda - 19 Feb 2011 02:52
I've lived on the Village borders of Walthamstow for over 4 years - but somehow, until today, have never been to The Castle. I decided randomly this afternoon my boyfriend and I should pop up and check it out for a lazy Sunday evening pint of guinness. We sat by the open fire, had a couple of very nicely kept and poured pints of (then a cheeky glass of wine) and checked out the food options (almost wishing we didn't have a chicken roasting in the oven at home) and decided we'd pop back one night next week to try great-sounding menu. Great atmosphere, comfy, relaxed, easy-going. Could've sat there and had several more drinks very happily. I'd choose it over the Village or the Nag's (having been to both many times) from now on and am hoping I've found another option to add to the Orford Road eating options for a relaxed mid-week meal - we'll see how it goes for mid-week atmosphere and how good to food is later this week. Good find so far, though,
fibee - 21 Nov 2010 20:45
I never visited the place in it's last incarnation but i've been a couple of times recently and both times had good beer and good food.

If anything the midweek food was better than the sunday roast but no complaints. hope it does well.

mralistair - 9 Nov 2010 13:25
Fake/ malicious reviews aside this pub is fine. Well worth the 2 min walk from Orford Rd. Beer selection is good with at least 2 handpump ales on.
The Monday night quiz though is fantastic. I've been to a fair few in London, and this is definitely the best. The quiz master actually knows what he's talking about ~which makes a nice change!~ and the rounds are varied and well thought out. They also do a homemade curry for about £6.
Lozzachops - 22 Aug 2010 11:55

On wheels, maglev or a hovercraft. either way, unlike Orford Road there is zero passing trade.
wynlactona - 20 Aug 2010 17:03
Gotta love that last review. "It needs moving to Orford Road". Genius mate. Why not ask the people who own the pub to stick it on wheels and push it over there? Would that help?

Personally, I've got sympathy for the new owners. They've tried hard to make this place work. Looks a lot better than the utter shambles it was before although the inside space doesn't naturally work that well as a pub. Lots of nice touches to try and pull the punters in as well - various nights, kid friendly, wi-fi etc so they're trying hard.

Beer selection isn't anything fantastic - fine, but nothing much exciting though a reasonable range of lagers (if that's your bag). Food when we've had it has been pretty decent, albeit hardly gastro. Well cooked but unimaginative choice. Given that Eat 17 is doing good Sunday lunches just over in the Village, feels to me like they should be upping their game on the food front, either in terms of quality or imagination.

Main problem is that it's incredibly quiet in the week, quiz nights and one-off nights aside. And it doesn't work well when quiet - just too big for it so it has a real lack of atmosphere. Good weekend pub though, and the quiz nights etc. are definitely worth the trip.

iwonderif - 29 Jul 2010 12:15
If only the die hard 'fans' (billymadeupnamerepeatposter and so on) of this boozer would turn up during the week. They love the pub (allegedly) but cant be arsed to patronise it.

The problem with this place is the location - it needs moving to Orford Road and two poor refurbishments havent helped. Fond memories of Stuarts quiz and his DJing but shite atmosphere, naff refurb and overpriced beer killed it for me.
wynlactona - 26 Jul 2010 11:33
My wife and I visit the castle with our two children (aged four and one) about once a week, quite often for the Sunday roast. The staff are always so accommodating, making sure we have a high chair, that the kids are away from hot food spills and getting toys and books out for them. The Castle is the only pub in the village that is family friendly and as such there is a really nice friendly family atmosphere when you enter the pub. However, they don't let the kids run amok and I've heard there's a DJ on friday and saturday nights for when the adults want to let their hair down.
ArchieFoster - 21 Jul 2010 15:22
Can I be the fifth person to post a breathless, gushing report on this pub in the last half hour?
Oh, sorry, I haven't actually been here and I have posted on other pubs, so that's me ineligible then!
flashharry1965 - 21 Jul 2010 15:18
There's a pub quiz here on Mondays that me and a couple of teacher friends go to. The questions are good, and of a decent standard, but we need a few more teams to compete against, so come on down Walthamstow!!! The prizes are good (money, wine etc.) and we really enjoy our evening. They serve curry on Mondays so you can have a great night out. It could only be better if there were a few more teams.
MaryChislehurst - 21 Jul 2010 14:59
I was recommended this by friends who said I would enjoy it. Being a bit of a foodie, I was dubious but headed down to The Castle with my wife and a friend early Saturday evening. We decided to go all out and have a three course affair, as I had heard such great things, and we were not disappointed. We started with the scallops which were extremely tasty and fresh. I then moved on to the seabass from the specials board, which was cooked to the kind of perfection you would expect from a michelin starred restaurant. My wife had one of the two vegetarian specials - a cauliflower gratin, while our friend had the other, a mushroom stroganoff en croute. They were both extremely happy with their meals and thought these vegetarian options were strong compared with what we are normally offered. Finally we decided on the shortbread that we were told by the helpful bar staff had been home made fresh that day. It was absolutely delicious and I loved the twist of being able to choose a topping for it. This all went with some superb wines we selected from the extensive list.
Overall a thoroughly enjoyable and accomplished meal, I shall certainly be returning to this gem.
fussyfoody - 21 Jul 2010 14:51
This pub is a great addition to the area. You used to wipe your feet on the way out but now it looks wicked. Haven't tried the food out much yet but have seen it go out to other people and it looks good, so will be back to try it soon. Worth the walk from the other end of walthamstow.
village_nerd - 21 Jul 2010 14:40
I go there with my book group and we really like the atmosphere. I enjoy the range of bottled ciders which are refreshing in summer. I personally love the stripped back wooden floors as it suits the building, and obviously as a book group we appreciate the book shelves as it gives us ideas for our next meeting. I'm alway recommending this place to friends as an alternative to the other three pubs in the village.
AngiePotts - 21 Jul 2010 13:52
Blimey Jon Murphy - you're a proper little cheerleader for Ross and Ria, aren't you? Like a frisky little Jack Russell who Ross and Ria have been giving Good Boy drops to. Did you get your steak free? And £16 ain't that cheap for steak and chips pal. The garden is like a shoot from a glossy mag? Er, perhaps if the mag is from 1980 when this sort of thing was cutting edge, otherwise it's what we call decking these days. Perfectly pleasant but a yard is still a yard (sorry, patio) so anyone reading your review who heads here expecting the Hanging Gardens of Babylon is going to be extremely disappointed.

"The Castle now has a big fan in me, I will be telling all my friends about it. I’m looking forward to trying the rest of the menu, I’ve heard the roast is also fantastic." Christ, are you for real jonmurphy? If you are, and are not the owner posting good reviews about his battle cruiser, you really are an obsequious little brown-nose, aren't you?

The truth is The Castle is an OK pub - too dark and gloomy for my tastes with all that heavy wood panelling and dead on weekday nights - I took a mate there on a weekday and we were the only punters. It was excruciatingly embarrassing to be outnumbered by owners and staff, the upshot being we talked in very low voices out of self-consciousness, drank up and left after one pint, heading to the Nag's for a bit of life.

So there we have it. An OK pub, bit pricey, often dead, sometimes not, backyard with decking.

A lot of these glowing reviews are very stilted - either they are by Stepford customers or by the owners and their mates. Pop in for a pint - it's OK. They can use that as their slogan if they like.
calmdowndear - 20 Jul 2010 15:37
they do my favourite rev james, cracking roast, good atmosphere and music. an excellent local.
JohnBoy99 - 15 Jul 2010 15:32
I don't usually bother writing reviews but was really shocked by some of the reviews on here - there seems to be a lot of vindictiveness going round the village, which is a shame, as it seems to me that more successful businesses will only help the village.
I did not see the pub before the revamp last year but I really like what they have done with the decor, it feels homely but in a stylish way. The staff members are friendly and helpful, a couple of times now they have gone out of their way to help when I have come in in a large group or when I couldn't decide which wine to drink! My niece loves to stare at the fish in the martini glass on the bar too.
There are still things the manager needs to work on - they could do with a non-alcoholic lager, and I would like to see the DJ every weekend. The addition of the specials board is a positive, and the garden was gorgeous last weekend in the sun.
I hope they listen to the constructive criticism on here and not to all the hate.
Gracie99 - 7 Jul 2010 15:25
I cant believe some of these reviews. I have been to the Castle numerous times with my girlfriend. I have never experienced any of the issues others seem to have.
The siblings have always been welcoming and the staff are excellent. We have eaten there a few times and the standard is always constant.
We found out about the pub through a flier. The garden is fantastic.
Its been a great find and its my favourite pub in walthamstow.

roddylopez - 6 Jul 2010 16:56
The previous reviews are a joke. It's obviously a disgruntled member of staff. No mention of the new garden that looks like a shot out of a glossy interior design magazine? The food is fantastic and the pub is by far the most friendly no attitude pub in Walthamstow. I have been going to The Castle for a year now and the transformation has been vast. Ross and Ria have constantly upgraded every aspect of the place over the year - so much for 'only in it for the money'. I have now become a friend of Ross and Ria and I wish them luck. It was a brave decision taking on a pub in this economic climate and they've created a great addition to the village.
jonmurphy - 5 Jul 2010 20:11
Couldn't disagree any more with previous comments, The Pub was very friendly on my first visit there and I will be going again the Sunday roast was lovely! the staff where great participating in conversation with myself and friends, I have nothing but good words to say of this public house best one I have visited in Walthamstow
Briggsy - 5 Jul 2010 08:27
Coming in on your own shouldn't feel uncomfortable Polly, not for a member of staff!
flashharry1965 - 30 Jun 2010 15:14
I think I will have to agree with the majority of reviews on here which point out the siblings bad attitude towards customers. If you're not in their little clique, you don't exist and therefore don't matter, despite the fact you are in their pub supporting their business. It's seems to me that all they want to do is get p*ssed every single won't be long before this place falls foul to the typical landlord, they drink away their profits.

As for the staff, the friendly, wise ones obviously left, clearly having enough of the rotten behaviour of the siblings.
loopyloula - 30 Jun 2010 13:49
The last review is so true. Only one veg option, should of had some training before they got into business. Also have been in before and the owner's where screaming at the staff, so unprofessional .People should stick with what they know not much by the sound of things. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks I think the saying goes :)....What goes around comes around this is life wish them all the luck in the world think they need it ..Ahahahahahah
dave1973dj - 21 Jun 2010 07:29
this place looks better - nothing amazing but that's about it. I have been to a lot better pubs in Walthamstow and I don't think that this place warrants a second visit. It is now run by I understand a brother and sister. On our visit they were as inviting as a wet weekend. Clearly only in it for the money and have very little interested in the local community. The evening me and my girlfriends went in the female of the two siblings was screaming at one of her bar staff for making a mistake!
The bar staff on the other had were really nice. The food is ok very very limited menu which tasted like average pub - nowhere near the gastro pub standard. One veggie option only.
All in all ok but not very welcoming and very little atmosphere........lots better more better in the area run by people who have a sense for the area and a smile on there faces.
fayne77 - 14 Jun 2010 15:02
This place is ok it just had a revamp. To be honest its a little dull which is a shame. The decor is very nice but it lacks colour and unlike other good pubs in the area doesn't reference the local history of the area, buildings heritage or the local creative community. The food is average and so is the wine, beer and cider list - the place presents itself as a Gastro pub so it should have a sharper selection. We ordered the chicken it was over done and the veg were reheated and lacked I said dull. The bar staff were very friendly and welcoming but this place really lacks atmosphere and charm - lets hope the atmosphere, clientele, food and drink brighten up......
frankie68 - 28 Apr 2010 10:28
I think the place has had an amazing makeover. Beer is always nice and crisp, served in squeaky clean glasses, prices are reasonable and the bar staff are lovely! The place is always busy on Fri and Sat, it can be a challenge to get a table on Sun due to the roast and the quality of the place has much improved since the new owners took it on. It is now run by Ross and Ria – siblings that managed to turn this place into a very friendly and trendy pub open to everyone.

Coming on your own doesn’t feel uncomfortable – you have an impressive choice of books and a couple of games. Bar staff is always happy to spend some time having a chat with you and you generally feel very welcomed. It actually seems as if you were in someone’s living room.

They have been serving a food for over a couple of months now. Prices are competitive and quality is exceptional. On Mondays you have a really nice curry for £5, Tue - Sat a regular menu (my favourite is the vegetable tartlet) and on Sundays – roast. Desserts are fabulous but for me the chocolate brownie with ice-cream takes the prize.

The Castle seems to be going from strength to strength with constant improvements. I now have really high expectations with regards to the garden. I bet it will be amazing!

VillaPolly - 14 Feb 2010 18:43
On arrival at the Castle last night, I noticed the owner Ross talking to another customer with great enthusiasm about the NEW Fillet Steak he had just added to the menu, replacing the Rump Steak he wasn’t happy with. As he handed us a revised menu, I questioned him about the new addition, I was told with excitement that he had just tasted the new fillet and believes it is one of the finest steaks he has ever eaten, anyone choosing this dish should be prepared to be impressed. I decided to take him up on the challenge. £15.95 for an 8oz Steak with chips and salad sounded like a good price. WOW, I’m glad I did, this was a fantastic meal. I asked for the Steak medium rare and it was cooked to perfection. The quality of the meat was sublime and the home made chips were great. The Castle now has a big fan in me, I will be telling all my friends about it. I’m looking forward to trying the rest of the menu, I’ve heard the roast is also fantastic, see you sunday.
jonmurphy - 14 Feb 2010 18:19
If they're not going to give a nod to some proper beer (especially with the Sweet William Brewery down the road) they I doubt they'll really thrive in 'Stow.
danrkelly - 15 Dec 2009 17:21
Much improved by the new owners - the previous landlord seemed over-stretched with this and the Nag's Head to look after.
The new regime is very friendly - one of them invited me and a friend in to look around one morning when he saw us peeking through the window at teh recent refurbishment.
The decor is nicer tham it was, but rather dull. There's too much grey gloss paint.
The furniture is comfortable and the drinks selection good (but no emphasis on real ale, sadly).
Now we have three good pubs in the Village - and who can complain about having more choice? Good luck to the new owners, they'll definitely keep my custom.
davidb - 17 Nov 2009 19:44
Not really a pub just somewhere where young teachers and semi professionals gather without much drive, then they go to the Nags Head as well, boring another pub bites the dust.
steviewonder - 16 Nov 2009 17:02
Recently re-opened with new management and a fantastic new look inside. The exterior is still looking a run down, and scaffolding is still up, apparently this will be finished in a month.

The prices were very high on the opening night but this has now been sorted out.

Bar staff told me about upcoming music and art events which sound great. I'm also looking forward to the new menu and the garden once the work has finished.
superseeded - 22 Jul 2009 16:09
Re-opened last week, prices are astranomical !!! £4.50 for a glass of wine and £3.80 for a pint of beer !!!
vilalgenumpty - 15 Jul 2009 23:08
Currently (June 09) closed for refurb.
E17Bee - 20 Jun 2009 13:39
Now under new ownership...Having a refurbishment over the next few weeks watch this space.......
dave1973dj - 20 May 2009 21:02
Pub seemed to be closed when I went past yesterday, all locked up and no lights on, has saddo left it then ?
vilalgenumpty - 4 May 2009 14:06
I don't entirely agree with some of the comments. We went there last night (Maundy Thursday) as part of a Village pub crawl. It was busy as it was quiz night. Yes the DJ/Quizmaster was a bit 'TonyBlackburnish' but there was a good selection of beers on (can't remember what I had by this time). It is a cavernous pub so needs to be full to create an atmosphere - probably good for bands.
HornchurchJohn - 10 Apr 2009 09:50
The Soulless comment is very apt. When I went in there they had a dreadful DJ not a very welcoming place
3DoorsDown - 14 Mar 2009 01:00
I have met this landlord at the Nags Head - he seemed like a nice chap to me! Still, the castle remains a peculiarly soulless place - strange really, when the Nags is so nice.
walthamlab - 11 Feb 2009 21:18
I agree with Suzanne, I only live down the road but I won't set foot in the place mainly due to the ahole that runs it. He swans around like some sort of sad little east end gangster and he does the same in the pub round the corner that he owns, the Nags Head. As for the barmaids, they are appalling, they do realise that they're there to SERVE customers don't they ?
vilalgenumpty - 11 Nov 2008 21:09
They do a great Sunday carvery in here.
Also good music at the weekend.
A fine establishment run by a forward-thinking team who seem to know what the area wants more than most others.
As for the landlord - he's a sound bloke. He's never groped me or leered at my missus. I'm pretty sure you can find much worse around E17.
adeybaby2001 - 3 Nov 2008 22:37
Godawful pub! set in beautiful, idyllic walthamstow village which is the only plus point. I have been to this pub a few times, mainly for a late drink at the weekend, but also have been in weekdays and evenings. Never quite know what to make of it. The barmaids seem to be there just for the landlord to grope and are clearly miserable (i dont blame them), and almost 'tut' if you place an order!
My usual observation is that its usually quite dead then the owner swans in and spends the evening leering at all the female customers- a vile man! I also observed the barstaff smoking.
suzanne1 - 27 Sep 2008 11:00
A good local but real ale not always as reliable as the Sister Pub (Nags Head round the corner). Food is good when it is on. Usually reliable for a quiet pint except when they have a music evening on.
Abikeandapint - 17 Aug 2008 21:30
The comments about the decor amuse me - this isn't what the Castle is about - the Castle is great becuase anything goes - you never know what you are going to get - Big Stu's legendary Thursday night quiz, DJ's (of which I'm one), Bands, Food and a great landlord. Only a few weeks ago I watched an old school New Orleans style jazz band one night followed by a real ale festival the next and an Acid Jazz DJ the next - the Castle rocks!
Monobrow73 - 17 Apr 2008 14:24
Good trip here recently. Lots of ales, pleasantly busy & good service. It was the afternoon though and there were a few too many kids for my liking (I counted 6 or 7).

Incidentally, you'd have thought SteveEast17 would have learnt his lesson after coming here in July, but no! He goes and takes his poor mates in (again), just so he can come on BITE and moan about it.
tuppence - 20 Feb 2008 01:10
Was ashamed of this place when a mate was visiting ans had misfortune to take him in there. No fun, no friends, no service, no smiles, no atmosphere, no nothing !!!
SteveEast17 - 20 Dec 2007 22:26
This so called pub is like some sort of waiting room, poor service no characters. No atmosphere at all chilled sums it up erm chilly with frosty people behind the bar. Service is slow and as if you are a pain of some kind... I think the secret is to ask for a tub of overpriced olives to go with your drink, saying that go to another pub like the Nags Head it really is dreadfull.
steviewonder - 20 Dec 2007 22:12
The pub is miles better since it was done up and the is getting better its just hard to put of finger on why this local doesnt grab me. The layout isnt that clever - it feels a bit impersonal and 'boxy' if its less than half full its a bit hangar like. Service is patchy too. When the foods on its fine and good value but its not often the good elements get together for a good evening.
Magpie - 13 Dec 2007 12:13
Went in this pub on recommendation for food. Was told that they were not cooking for whatever reason. Had a drink of bitter which was just drinkable. I was told by a guy that this pub is owned by the same guy who owns the Nags Head. I did'nt have another drink as I had had a bad experience in the Nags Head. Is there any decent pubs round here? I have just moved in to the area and it ain't looking too good pubwise!
offthewagon07 - 15 Nov 2007 15:59
Took a mate in there one Sunday eve, barmaid surly and clueless. Full of dull couples and cosy cliques, pure rubbish. Just as bad as the Nags Head !!
SteveEast17 - 9 Jul 2007 23:25
I visited on a Friday night at about 8:30pm with a couple of old friends, the place was lively with a eclectic mix of people and ages but no morons. The bar staff, a girl and be-muscled chap were pleasant and attentive. Had a few pints of Pride and found it to be pretty decent and Pride can be truely awful when kept badly. The decor is odd, especially the wads of render on the fireplace covered in gold paint but the lighting is soft enough to soften the quirks on the wall (including a Barbie type doll in glass case). However we got a decent seat and I would certainly visit again.
danrkelly - 28 Apr 2007 08:49
What on Earth has happened to this place? It has always been a bit of a dump but some bright spark has turned it into a gypsy's caravan. Frightening bar staff! I walked in waited to be served, waited, waited and waited. It was so bad I went to the Queens in Orford Road instead. If they carry on like that it will be flats like the poor old Windmill!
pommytomkin - 17 Apr 2007 20:05
Went to this pub on a pub crawl in August 2005 and remember it as a bit dingy and very average - unmemorable in fact. Been there twice since the revamp and it's very nice. A good mix of punters, good range of drinks and good food. Also, not as ponsy and self-conscious as the sister pub, The Nagg's Head.
Greshon - 9 Feb 2007 15:12
This pub is improving - like its sister pub The Nag's Head it is pricey, but the chavs stay away which is good - can be pretty deserted, but on a busier night is good - strange layout...
Vicbic - 19 Jan 2007 19:33
Bar staff attitude seems to have improved dramatically of late. Live open-mic night on 1st Sunday of month well worth checking out. Good range of beers too. If only we had a pub like this in Central W/stow.
E17Bee - 29 Nov 2006 20:12
Definitely improving all the time.
pamelagiles - 27 Nov 2006 17:25
Slowly improving, aiming for a more upmarket clientele. Good luck.
simonpattinson - 25 Nov 2006 20:02
Seeking planning permission to put a 12 metre mobile phone antenna on top of the pub.

Drink in this pub if you want brain cancer!!!
anonymous - 11 Oct 2006 13:40
Pub which has the potential to be pretty good but is still a long way off it.

Female barstaff vary between pleasant and downright surly (mainly the latter). Beer garden is stuck around the back and can only be accessed from the street whilst the outside tables at the front slope so your beer skids off them.

Most of all the place desperately needs more customers to fill the space and give it some atmosphere. Gets busy on nights with live music but can be incredibly barren on other nights. Wide open-plan interior doesn't do anything to improve the atmosphere either.
iwonderif - 31 Aug 2006 16:26
My pint had fag ash in the glass. I asked to have it changed some rough moody cow behind the bar finally changed it. As I sat down I look up at the bar and she was necking my pint.

I thought smoking and drinking behind a bar was not permitted. Avoid this pub at all costs.
bungle_bodyjar - 28 Jul 2006 13:58

dreadful pub before its refurb

dreadful pub after it refurb
BarnsleyLad - 23 Jul 2006 00:12
Moved to E17 six months ago, and although the village is generally an oasis of serenity (have a go at the food from the Orford Saloon tapas bar - out of this world) the standard of pubs is woeful - with The Castle being near the bottom of the ladder. Where do these places find the surly staff? The one evening I visited with my wife and in-laws, there was some assinine little blonde troll behind the bar, doing her best to be as unfriendly as possible. When I asked for a pint of Leffe she looked at me liked I'd poo'd in her face and refused to serve it to me, citing their policy of only serving it in half-pints. 'It's a very strong beer, you know'. Oh, is it? I'd never noticed in the 10 years I've been drinking it with few ill effects. Here's a tip: give the customers what they want and they'll keep coming back. Treat them like idiots and you won't see them agan. Their 'sister pub' the Nag's Head is little better, with some of the surliest people I've ever met serving behind the bar. Sort it out.
pocketcalculator - 20 Jun 2006 13:38
Lord B is a bit harsh there, I feel. Went there on Sunday night for the monthly open-mic music night - good variety of acts (folk to rap) and three good beers - London Pride, Adnams Broadside and Dark Island - at reasonable prices. Gentrified decor is a bit odd, but crowd was a mix of Bright Young Things and earthier E17'ers. Service prompt if a bit take-it-or-leave-it. All in all, not bad at all, and a welcome enhancement to Walthamstow's less-than-brilliant pub selection.
E17Bee - 9 May 2006 11:21
Utter plop
Lord_bangstick - 8 May 2006 14:57
Taken over by the people who run the nearby Nag's Head a few months ago. The Castle has had a make-over - clearly designed to be female-friendly - and is further evidence of the gentrification of this part of town.
davidb - 1 Mar 2006 12:12

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