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Two Chairmen, St James's

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user reviews of the Two Chairmen, St James's

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

This pub is now under new management. We had our team Xmas lunch in the upstairs room and it proved cracking value with three courses for £19.99. The service was good too - and service with a smile not a snarl.
Downstairs there were four real ales on offer - and my pint of Sambrooks Junction was perfectly quaffable.
I would recommend this pub if you're in the vicinity.
Number11 - 2 Jan 2017 17:22
I went there on 26th April. Sadly for real ale drinkers this pub has gone badly downhill. The bar staff were serving Doom Bar, Directors and Youngs and all of them had gone off. Unfortunately, I failed to look closely enough at the first pint I bought and am still suffering the ill-effects now. If you want a drink in the area there are far better pubs which know how to keep their beer, such as the Adam and Eve or Buckingham Arms.
Webgrecian - 28 Apr 2013 16:23
Reasonable after work pub - good service, well kept beer. Alan Partridge moment here but had an excellent pint of Directors. Cosy room upstairs when the coal fire is lit - it wasn't last night but its only late October. Just one complaint - the music. Why do pubs feel the need to play background music - sometimes quite loudly? Is it to creat 'an ambience'? Trust me the Lighthouse fanily doesn't do it. Call me old fashioned but clubs are for music, pubs are for conversation and the Two Chairman is a perfectly good welcoming pub, as others have commented, without the music.
PopRoberts - 27 Oct 2011 11:23
I along with some friends decided to stop off in this pub for a bite to eat during the lunch time rush after visiting St James Park. Upon entering the public house I noticed the warm welcome we received from the staff within. A very delightful place to be, it's choice of food was amazing, served on time and with a smile from staff. We then later revisited the pub that evening for a few drinks and again all was to satisfaction. A wide range of drinks and a friendly atmosphere made our weekend. Well done and thanks to all the staff at the Two Chairmen.
pubholiday1 - 25 Apr 2011 16:19
Insanely busy on Friday evening with the pub besieged by office workers. Bar staff just about coping, but of the six real ales, four were off. And why on earth do they stop serving food at 6pm?
rentaquote - 2 Apr 2011 08:50
Popped in after a walk around Westminster. Lured in by the promise of one of Londons oldest pubs. Walked in and queued at the bar. The barman acknowledged my order by simply pointing at me. He then poured a decent pint of Pride and knocked the top over the bar, huffing and puffing the whole time. He never actually spoke a word to me in the whole transaction. Sat and people watched for a bit.
anonymous - 24 Jan 2011 16:52
Called in on a Tuesday night, decent number in to give the place some life. Nice pub, plenty of character, beer good, toilets a little whiffy. One you need to know about or hunt down, unlikely to be passing as not really on the way to anywhere. Would go again if in the area.
phill1110 - 8 Nov 2010 22:39
This pub is one of the most welcoming public house's that i have gone to in the London area whilst on holidays. The staff are friendly with a positive attitude. Very helpful and always polite. The food is always good with a traditional menu. Very clean and tidy and i would be sure to call in every time i go to London on holiday. A happy, cute pub.
pubholiday1 - 7 Mar 2010 20:58
Toursisty souless clean & corperate bland with side order of pricey!
steviewonder - 16 Nov 2009 15:06
Some of the reviews made me laugh out loud - do spend some time flicking through earlier and very well written comments. It may well have improved which of course is a good thing
baggydave - 5 Nov 2009 22:13
I was quite taken with this pub. Pleasant staff and decent clientele. Impressed and will give this another visit. Certainly been to a whole lot worse in the vacinity thats for sure.
saintsforever - 2 Oct 2009 09:36
It's a pleasant exterior with a bit of space outside for drinking on the pavement. Inside it's quite a low ceilinged single room with dark decor. The bar is on the left and the seating area to the right is separated into three by lowish dividers. Unfortunately on the evening I dropped in the central (and largest of the three) was booked for a private party.

This made it impossible to find a seat and despite finding the pub initially appealing this put me off somewhat. I know pubs need to make money where they can but when 50% of the seating is a no-go it doesn't do much to attract. It loses marks for this although I would be happy to return.
murgatroyd - 24 Sep 2009 22:36
This is in a lovely street tucked in near to St James' Park, and as RexRattus notes has the look of a great pub from the outside. Unfortunately, and again as RexRattus notes, it's unmistakably a Pubco outlet on the inside and has the look common to hundreds of other central London pubs. That said, I rather liked it: I visited on a filthily rainy night and the small size and lively atmosphere of the pub made it a pleasant bolthole from the elements. Service was good, I thought, although as noted elsewhere there was the standard Pubco problem of uninteresting real ales (albeit three or four of them). I'm not sure I'd return here in a hurry, but I didn't mind the pub.
grecian - 3 Sep 2009 10:55
Itís a Spirit Group pub, so the beer choice is unlikely to be very imaginative. When I was in they had on Bombardier; London Pride; and Deuchars IPA. The Deuchars was £2.80 a pint which is a pretty good price, but unfortunately mine tasted fairly lifeless. The exterior of the pub has got the appearance of a classic hidden backstreet gem, but in comparison the interior is a bit disappointing, having been given the Spirit Group corporate appearance. The pub itself is a small one-room affair; carpeted throughout (which I always think gives a pub a warm feel) and with furniture consisting mainly of banquettes and stools. Thereís not a lot of natural light getting inside, making it fairly gloomy, but which is not a problem as it can lend a more intimate feel to a place. The interior is not completely soulless I suppose, but it would be so much better without the SG style faux chalkboards above the bar, as well as the games and cash machines. Banal pop music being played of course Ė but where doesnít play it? Par for the course I suppose.

For some reason I didnít really take to this pub, but I canít put my finger on why. Perhaps itís because I expected so much more from a pub with such an attractive exterior, or perhaps because I was the only person in there for most of my stay Ė or maybe it was the below par pint. Anyway, Iíll give it another try when Iím next in the area.
RexRattus - 28 Aug 2009 17:20
Used to work in this pub 40 years ago. I now live in America. Met my husband a Coldstream Guard there.( little did I know )!!!!
Bill and Betty Leach where the manager's at that time.I guess all the regulars have either passed on or moved on. Have good memories but boy could I tell a few stories....
englishrose1950 - 25 Aug 2009 04:17
Pleasant little boozer - friendly staff and comfortable, well preserved decor. Sadly...spoilt by the totally banal muzak/rawk they must play for the American tourists....

Seymour - 24 Jul 2009 20:03
Not a bad little pub although it does take an age for your pint of Guinness to be poured and they insist on putting a shamrock on the top.

Bangers and Mash is great - the Mash is made with Smash.. ooo lovely.

wolfie_292 - 24 Jul 2009 15:09
This place is ok, but nothing special in an area full of real ale boozers. The barman was friendly enough and he was dishing out Pride, Bombardier, 6X, Greene King IPA and Deuchars along with Guinness, Strongbow and three standard lagers.

There is a small TV set up in the corner, but I got the feeling that it is only turned on for royal weddings and funerals. There is some pew seating jutting out either side of the fireplace as to face it at 30 degrees and this does drastically cut down the standing room of the pub, but it looks quite cool and it wasn't very busy when I visited anyway.

I would go back here if passing, but I probably wouldnít stay very long.
Strongers - 25 Mar 2009 15:28
I agree with Mobey, this place is OK. No problems for me with the service or availability of beer, on what was a quiet weekday night. It is a bit nondescript and something of an underachiever given that the ingredients are there for this to be a great pub in a special location, but actually I think we'll miss this kind of bog standard old-fashioned Westminster pub offering if & when it goes.
Bronxrichie - 1 Mar 2009 01:53
I like this pub. I wouldn't go there for food, it's not that sort of place, but if you want to sit in a quiet, dark corner and have a good chat with someone it's great. The ales I've had in here have been fine and the service has always been good. Judging by the comments below either I've been lucky or they've been unlucky! Anyway, I wouldn't hesitate to pop in for a pint, particularly on a cold, rainy evening when it is the perfect homely shelter.
Mobey - 18 Dec 2008 10:13
well i thought this pub was great. decided to go out after work for a few drinks the other night and ended up here, the staff were great very polite and i had a good giggle with them all night. they have a few christmas decs up already which make the place feel very warm and welcoming. keep up the good work i shall return very soon.
ruth.inn - 23 Nov 2008 20:57
Decided to pop along on Friday lunchtime to see if it was as bad as thee reviews said. Nice enough inside for a lunchtime drink. Service reasonable enough and with beers like Adnams Broadside and Bombadier a good option.
cookster101 - 2 Jul 2008 10:11
So-so pub between Westminster and St James's Park. To give you an idea about this place, on my last visit I asked for a pint of Bombardier and the bar person topped up a glass that had obviously been standing there for some unknown period of time before I arrived. When queried whether they actually sold fresh beer, the staff member looked rather surprised that a) I had noticed, and b) that I had bothered to query this practice. Eventually got a promise that she would give me a new pint if I didn't like it, but chose to drink the stuff and write a grumpy review instead...
rpadam - 21 May 2008 20:27
I'm a little surprised by the negative comments on this place given that its one of the better Westminster pubs (god how this country could use some decent pubs around its parliament) and i quite like the dark limited space.
loveleedshatebates - 2 Apr 2008 09:36
Having read previous reviews I was interested to find out if this pub really lived up to its poor reputation, so I visited with friends on Friday 28 April. I was not to be disappointed! I managed to get served fairly swiftly and the staff seemed OK if not very knowledgable. I asked for a pint of Spitfire on a hand pump, but it failed and the barmaid said the 'gas' had gone. Interesting comment as this was gravity drawn. Still, I had 2 decent pints of Bishop's Finger before that ran out. By 18:30 all of the beer had gone and there was no pumped lager to be had either. No bottled cider in the place and the cider tap was the next to go. The staff resorted to running up and down from the cellar with boxes of bottled lager at £3.07 a time. I have never been in a pub anywhere that has run out of beer by half-six on a busy Friday night. Needless to say we and most everyone else had left by 20:00. Off to the Sanctuary House for decent food and beer, but that's another story.
Beerjacker - 31 Mar 2008 22:08
i agree the service and attitude to customers here is very poor.
mps77 - 7 Mar 2008 15:09
Went here on a Friday night and was greeted by possibly the worse service I have ever seen. Beer was ok after I waited 15 mins plus for my pint. Sort out the service and it will be OK.
TheHorsesMouth - 8 Nov 2007 14:38
Had an office lunch at the pub on friday and were incredibly disappointed.

The food took a long time (We were warned 40-50 minutes - in fact it took an hour and a quarter.

When it eventually turned up one of the meals was cold. The manager stuck a thumb in the pie to confirm it was cold and sent back for a new one. This took another 20 minutes.

The staff were incredibly unfriendly and unhelpful, often blaming us for not ordering certain things (when the receipt said otherwise)

Whatever happened to the customer is always right.

I will not go back to this pub again.
meepmeep - 15 Oct 2007 14:51
Such a shame. This pub is potentially a great little work local in an area of pubs devoid of character. It's always been expensive, but some of these reviews show a pub with no steady hand at the helm. I'll keep popping in though, just like to give the place a chance!
dry_riser_inlet - 20 Jul 2007 14:05
The ale is average and overpriced. The food is mediocre, but the portions are fair.

Only been there during the day so not much atmosphere.

mattmo74 - 1 Jul 2007 19:28
Pretty mediocre. Beers just about tolerable when they're available, but service is slow (too few bar staff) and food looks to be in the dubious tradition of good old British pub grub. A good number of Westminster pubs are nondescript if not actively offensive and this lives down to that level.
marqueemoon - 29 Mar 2007 17:11
Well interesting reading RogerB, perhaps you drank all the beer. I am absolutely gobsmacked. This too is a work local, and better than the closer Westminster Arms. Prices are good and it has greatly improved since the obnoxious drunk previous manager went.

But tonight, a Friday night, and they have six handpumps but not one ale on. Are they bothered? Like hell. I couldn't engage any of the staff on this. Dunno who the manager was. Something about problems with ordering. I've been to lots of pubs with a couple of handpumps on for show but don't actually use them by design, but out of incompetence??

So I buy a couple of bottle beers. Both warm. Take one of them back and ask for a cold one. They don't have a cold one. You are offering a service and a product, please please show some professionalism. I am not into name and shame, but if I can't take up my gripes with you what else is left, and by all means take up your argument with me on this site, but it was pathetic! And when I told you that I would resort to this you showed not the slightest interest.

Some additonal comments - the upstairs has a charm like an old fashioned mens club. The fire is clearly very artificial. And the food is pretty dire, along the lines of most pubs in the country.

I really really wanted to go to the most excellent Speaker tonight, particularly as it has a beer festival on but colleagues had already decided to go to the Chairmen. Perhaps my posting will do some good.....
baggydave - 19 Jan 2007 19:15
This being one of the closest pubs to my office, I have tried hard to get to like this place. It has all the ingredients of a decent pub but somehow it just lacks anything to make it stand out. Dating from 1756, it stands in a grand street where every other building seems to have a blue plaque. The alley that runs down the side, now called Lewisham Street, was once a major thoroughfare linking St James to the Houses of Parliament and was a base for operators of sedan chairs and the pub name is derived from this trade. The interior of the pub is quite cosy but rather dimly lit and with little natural light to lift the gloom. The dťcor is fairly dated with old fashioned wallpaper, dark paneling and a dark patterned papered ceiling. The central area is divided by 2 low angled wooden screens with pew seating and a tiled fireplace in a wood panel surround. At the back is more pew seating and 3 fading murals depicting 18th century scenes but these are badly lit and best observed from distance. They do a decent range of Real Ales, usually 6 at any one time although the guest beers generally tend to be rather unadventurous. Quality is usually OK and they have Cask Marque accreditation. Food is reasonably priced and looks fine but the choice is standard pub fare. There is an upstairs ďSedanĒ bar into which I have yet to venture. It can also be very smoky although this will thankfully be a thing of the past come July. I canít help feel that this pub is a bit of an underachiever given its location and targeted customer base and whilst the cornerstones are in place to make this place become one of the best in the vicinity, it really needs a bit of brightening up.
RogerB - 17 Jan 2007 16:12
Liked this one. The Deuchars was extremely good, friendly welcome, and a good atmosphere inside. Pubs this size suit me fine.
AndySk - 22 Dec 2006 22:39
Well, this is allright then, isn't it? Nothing wrong with this one, or perhaps we're overwhelmed with cosy little pubs in this area. The decor is ok and the fireplace is interesting, as are the five ales on tap and not one of them under par.
beeronaut - 18 Dec 2006 19:02
A small pub out of the way which can get busy. Nothing to rate it highly on and nothing to rate it lowly on. Average.
WaitorseBoyz - 7 Dec 2006 09:47
Was and allways will be a Great "Watering Hole" Fond memories

MadKiwi - 21 Oct 2006 02:00
The paintings on the far wall were interesting and contributed most of the character to the inside of the pub. Small and comfortable. Beer was fine. I would pop in here if I was in the area again. Perhaps not just after 5pm.
mitomighty - 26 Sep 2006 13:15
one of my favourite pubs in the area - bar staff are friendly and well laid-out inside. v v smoky at times although that will presumably change.
mozzzzzz - 11 Sep 2006 12:07
There is a certain 'je ne sais quoi' missing from the Two Chairman....

Maybe it's the layout of the pub - there just isn't quite enough standing space, which means many of the punters (if it's full) have to sit down and be reserved...

Good beer though. A Deuchars IPA in Westminster is no bad thing.
AshingdonMan - 13 Feb 2006 21:56
Its ok I guess - bit dark and small for my liking - but have no probs with the lagers they sell.

Can't put my finger on why I'm not a big fan - I just wouldn't go there by choice.

Everyone to their own though of course.
FattusBlokus - 13 Feb 2006 12:54
Agree a bit dark but a nice boozer in the traditional style. Bar staff was okay. Enjoyed a couple of pints in a comfortable and relaxing setting. Will go back!
jorrocks - 26 Oct 2005 01:15
Beer OK, but it needs a damn good clean. Will benefit very much from smoking being banned.
BigPete - 30 Sep 2005 14:31
A bit dark and dingy but serves a good pint and reasonable food - and doesn't get too crowded compared to other pubs in the area.
Dickster - 15 Sep 2005 20:47
I loved this pub--very friendly barman, good range of beers on tap, good food and cool interior.
ICBadger - 16 Jul 2005 18:08
Yes I must say that the plastic glasses are rather poor.

But as a former employee of the establishment I can assure you that they are only used as the police for us too following complaints from the neighbouring apartments.

Then they had the nerve to drop a whole load of bottles from a party they had on our doorstep and expect us to get rid of them for them.
Toby - 14 Nov 2004 17:20
Old-style pub with dark carpets, dark furnishings. Good location opposite Cockpit Steps, brings you away from tourists around Parliament Square.

Outside drinks only in plastic glasses (boo!)
Wullie - 17 Aug 2004 15:40
Pokey pub with charrac ter and bombadier on tap. Quite nice but can be smokey. Easy access to St James Park through Cockpit Steps.
anon - 5 Jun 2003 16:59

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