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Hoop and Grapes, Aldgate

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user reviews of the Hoop and Grapes, Aldgate

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

My second stop on a Thursday evening visit to the City was this Nicholson's establishment near to Aldgate tube station. I'd just come from the Craft Beer Company's nearby branch (not listed on BITE). Not venturing into the City too often, I never failed to be surprised as to just how busy these pubs get. Even with it being only a Thursday, nearly all pubs in the area were packed. Fuller's London Pride is the regular ale here. Guests were Marston's Pedigree, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Sharp's Sunset Red & St Austell Jolly Holly. I was impressed that they had a real cider. This was Devon Mist. It's clearly an old pub and whilst there was no realistic change of me getting a seat, it was quite a nice drinking environment. Not as good as the Craft. But certainly above average.
blue_scrumpy - 6 Dec 2019 22:03
Great piece of architecture - one of the few surviving wooden framed buildings from the 17th Century that survived the fire of London.

A Nicholson House - so you kind of know what to expect. Had both TT Landlord and Black Sheep on - so it was like choosing between your favourite children.

Been on the wish list for a long time and I will be going back.
Mappiman - 19 Feb 2016 12:17
Pleasant old pub with well-kept beer. They sell Sharp's Doom Bar. Staff respond to you with sufficient civility, but this is London, after all. Probably late 17 century, timber-framed building with elaborate cellars. The loos were reported here as smelly in 2012; they still are. And perhaps have been for centuries!
Mona_Growser - 17 May 2015 16:52
nice pub ,excellent beers however..... not too impressed when a regular walks in behind me gets served first then the bar lady proceeds to completely ignore me and natter for several minuteswith this bloke, not as if there was a shortage of staff on a friday evening, two other bar staff were busy serving and some bloke who i assumed was the manager just paced up and down the bar serving nobody.... Hoping for more excellent beer next time and better service...
moclips2002 - 3 Nov 2012 16:06
Brilliant pub. The fish and chips we had was good. Though the loo's were a bit smelly
zaax - 5 May 2012 15:23
A splendid example of a City of London local pub with a very old history. The service is always very friendly with some great barmaids and the boss Hamish always with time for a chat. The real ales (Pride, Tim Taylors, Doombar plus guests) well always in good condition and reasonably price. I don't visit often but never disappointed. The place is crowded on Fridays from 5 til 7 but then thins out. On other weekdays the place is a little less lively. Highly recommended.
IronsRus - 13 May 2011 10:09
Excellent pints and a great TT. Looks much smaller than it is.
gmb6 - 30 Mar 2011 11:24
Called in the other day lovely building it was clean and tidy staff were on the ball,supping Doombar on this visit which tasted fresh and crisp.
All in all above average on our visit.
Dementer - 18 Mar 2011 12:26
Went there mid week for a quick pint with friend after work,nd it as OK. Not particuarly welcoming, or busy (Just how hard is it to smile?). In a word, average - there are better pubs within a few minutes walk - which had it been a longer catchup we wold have done.
grimbo - 31 Oct 2010 16:06
Beautiful old building, great history to the place, just a shame its been so commercialised - pop music on the stereo, very O'Neills-esque lay out. But staff were helpful and friendly, food was nice and quickly served.
adamwalsh - 29 Oct 2010 19:05
"The Hoop" is one of the friendliest pubs I've ever been in! The staff are courteous, knowledgeable and always striving to serve their customers with the minimum delay.
Too many pubs don't care about their customers, this isn't something you can accuse "the Hoop" of.
Easily worth the 9/10 rating I gave.
CuddlyD - 4 Oct 2010 12:55
Pride, Doombar, Landlord and Thornbridge Jaipur today. Ber was OK but nothing exceptional, Music was loud.
cheshirecat - 2 Jun 2010 22:21
A nice pub with plenty of character. Surprisingly quiet given that I was here
around 17.30 onwards. It's a nicholson's pub so expect A good range of
real ales and a good sausage menu.

As an interesting footnote it claims to be be the oldest 17th century
timber stucture in London (a bold claim) but I can verify that the ceiling
and entrance are suitably wonky. This does give it a unique charm.
Also while the landlord used language that would shame sailor, he did
seem jovial enough. Also the barmaids were some of the friendliest,
bubbliest characters to serve beer in London.

All in a good drinking pub!
Agger5 - 14 Apr 2010 17:30
best pub in the area, friendly landlord. interior sympathetically renovated. free sausage samples on bar in early evening - sausage and mash (choice of sausages) highly recommended!
jolives - 13 Dec 2009 08:03
As suspected from previous ‘thru the window’ visit, you pass the door & door-frame which seem to lean in contrary directions, & enter to a welcoming woody interior, comfortable mish-mash of tables/chairs to the right of the wood&glass screen forming a hallway. On to a more open area with ridiculously tall studded-leather free standing banquettes in attendance at even taller rectangular tables, we sat at one of these before realising how impractical & uncomfortable they are. Further to a large central pillar encircled with drinking shelf and barstools, bar to the left. Four handpumps, three in action on this visit tho the guv said they are usually all on. Regulars TT Landlord & London Pride, plus Hopback Crop Circle, £2.90. Yet further, past a coal stove, to dining-looking area beyond which is a small chesterfield-style lounge. The entrance hall has some nice prints of local scenes from days of yore and a claim that the pub is ‘the oldest licensed house in the city’ with 13c foundations, and also the oldest timber framed pub, having escaped the Great Fire by 50yds. Built as The Castle in 1598, it became Hoop & Grapes in 1920. It’s a Nicholson’s house with character, I liked it.
trainman - 12 Jun 2009 10:39
Also surprised to find it closed on saturday. other pubs were very busy.
strange that m&B let the manager close on a saturday. they normally want the slaves working all hours.
The_Pub_Inspector - 4 May 2009 14:25
I should have guessed but was still disappointed to find this pub closed yesterday (Sat). The ground level exterior has a charming look with the old (closed) door leaning at a surprising angle, a peek through the window showed a woody welcoming interior. No rating yet, but I’ll try to return if over this way on a weekday.
trainman - 8 Mar 2009 18:27
Good selection of ales with a great decor of what an English pub should be like.

Tidy place, good range of ales, sausages etc.
pc09 - 5 Mar 2009 15:13
This boozer is getting more and more popular, must be doing something right. Well they are in my eyes. Good choice of guest ales and decent tucker, plus a bit of eye candy behind the bar to boot. Just been sampling the ale that Neil Morrissey has had his hands on brewing, (Morrissey Fox Blonde). After 4 pints of it I am pleased to report that it is a glorious drop, hoppy and a cross between real ale and Weihenstephan weissbrau, (which, by the way, is the oldest brewery in the world, founded in AD724 by Irish Benedictines near Munich). A decent chicken pie went down a treat too. Keep it up, Hope & Grope...

PieFace - 8 Oct 2008 16:29
Love this pub. Gorgeous building that ensures it retains its character. Great ever-changing ale selection, clued-up friendly staff and plenty of space to accommodate the huge numbers it can attract on weekday nights. The manager's a no-nonsense nice bloke who I've seen deal well with the odd drunken city boy trying it on. Good food too, the sausage tasting is worth a go. Overall a great place to spend an evening.
box_twenty - 11 Aug 2008 00:48
Had an excellent pint of Jennings Cumberland Ale in here recently. This is not an ale you see very often in London – or I haven’t anyway. Original timberwork frames testify to the historic pedigree of the pub, but the interior still has an up to date feel to it and was a comfortable place for my chums and I to start our days imbibing. Great pub – highly recommended.
RexRattus - 23 Mar 2008 12:52
used to be a good pub when a bloke manager was there but he moved to the duke of somerset. so since then pub has gone really down hill the girl that took over didn't suit the pub at all unfortunatly doubtful it's her fault. nice to see all the old wood still there keeps it character does need a good clean though the smells not brill
daniel234 - 9 Mar 2008 22:47
Does a good range of sausages, in sarnies, or Yorkshire pudding. Ale generally in decent nick too. This pub has turned corner, seen a few changes over the years but now that Nicholsons are on board it's improved quite a bit.
PieFace - 4 Mar 2008 14:21
as previously commented upon now a NO SMOKING venue ! Well kept beers. Worth a visit. Open Sundays - not always a guarentee in this part of london.
moclips2002 - 1 Apr 2007 22:50
It’s been revamped and it is a bit smarter and tidier inside. It now has a specific dining section. Prices are still reasonable and there are going to be guest ales. Currently it is Black Sheep, but Deuchars IPA, Harveys, 6X and Old Hookey are promised.

Anyway, it has certainly raised its game and looks promising, plus – one last great move – it is now a no smoking pub.
AleKing - 30 Mar 2007 12:07
A big place for the City, and surprisingly cheap given the area it's in. Nothing particularly distinguished about the place, but nothing wrong with it either.
pubcollector - 31 Dec 2006 12:43
Good pub , decent choice though wasn't impressed by toilets though not a major negative . I would definately return on next pub exploration trip to the big smoke .
jmcoo7 - 13 Sep 2006 14:18
In an area that was virtually levelled by the Lufwaffe and has undergone major redevelopment in subsequent years, it is hard to believe that a pub of this age is still standing amid the concrete. Parts of the pub predate the Great Fire in 1666 and the building is not only listed but protected by English Heritage. Despite the wonky wooden frontage, it is obvious that the interior has undergone various refurbishments, extensions and rebuilds over the years with the bar now set into an alcove off to the left and the rear extended to accommodate pool tables. Despite concessions to the current times like fruit machines and multiple TV’s, it does retain its old world character with its abundance of wood and bare floors. Beyond the flag stoned pool area towards the back is a small recess with comfortable settees for those who rear ends cannot take the wooden seating for any length of time. The toilets are in the basement and must be visited, if only to see the mass of exposed old brick arches. A detailed history of the pub can be found on the wall near the front windows. Beers are rather mainstream (Adnams / Pride / Bombardier) but reasonable priced. One final note - the lampshades – is it me or do they look like the spaceships from an Ed Wood movie!
RogerB - 29 Aug 2006 11:22
This is one of the better boozers around Aldgate, and a nice change to the inane chains that are becoming more common in the area.

They usually have a few ales on, which although not inspiring (Pride, Bombadier, Adnams) does the job. It is also very competative with prices, the bar staff are friendly and the food, whilst not awarding winning, is solid, pub grub at good prices. You can have lunch and two pints for under a tenner.
AleKing - 28 Jun 2006 11:47
One of our regular haunts - Big Pub, typically busy lunchtimes and Fridays and anytime the footy is on SKY.
Piped, 80's tunes cranked up loud on Fridays may not to everyone’s taste.

Have to get there before 5 to grab the pool table (which is a £1 a go).
Often deserted mid-week evenings when no sport on but at least it stays open 'till 11 unlike a lot of bars in the City that close early and chuck you out if it’s quiet.

Good range of Beers and competitively priced for City (Carlsberg £1.90 / Fosters £2.00 a pint) but indifferent in drinking quality.
Good place to go to for lunch, food reasonably priced and plentiful too.

Friendly, approachable bar staff and good Governor.

RB 14/03/06

Bigrichy - 15 Mar 2006 18:48
a good pub managed by a great guy just wished his staff would work as hard as he does, a good crowd of regulars aswell. the food always nice but very slow.
anonymous - 30 Dec 2005 12:23
'Great looking pub. All wooden beams and floorboards. Frequented mostly by city workers. Beer ordinary but not undrinkable. Personally I would go to Still & Star round the corner. Better beer and cheaper.
TheHorsesMouth - 20 Oct 2005 13:56
What difference does it make if the barmaid is eastern european?
carterse9 - 10 Oct 2005 11:50
a good pub ruined by blaring music, which makes converation so hard. it looked like everyone was there for a chat and nobody came in their disco clothes.
Wardy - 18 Jul 2005 13:47
Visited here recently mainly for its architectural interests. Have to say that while its timber-structured origins are still very much evident, most of the interior design is a fairly modern affair with TV screens, pool table and gaming machines. I asked for half an Adnams bitter and was served a short measure. The young barmaid, who was of Eastern European origin, made no attempt to give me a full measure so I made no attempt to hand over my fiver. I might have stood there for a minute or more as the penny definitely wasn't dropping, so I pointed with my fiver to the shortfall and asked please for a full pint. She took this as some kind of personal insult, clumsily topped up the beer, rudely plonked it down on the counter, thus spilling some of what she had just put in, and literally snatched the fiver out of my hand as I offered it to her. She also dumped the change back into my hand without so much as an apology. I was thinking of calling the manager and making a complaint but, to be honest she needs the job and money and the onus should be on the management to give their staff proper training to present this kind of thing occuring. I might write to the local Weights and Measures inspectors, though. Oh yes and the beer was very average in quality. I have to say that this was the first of ten pubs I visited that day and in the other nine I had full measure and polite friendly staff
thequaffer - 17 Mar 2005 13:31
The Adnams was in good nick and there was plenty of room at the bar and plenty of seating which isn't bad for a Friday lunchtime.
michael - 18 Oct 2004 09:17
This is the only remaining timber structured building in the City that escaped the Great Fire of 1666. The Hope and Grope sold Caffrey's befoe anyone else in London in the early 90's and it used to blow your head off.
PieFace - 10 Sep 2004 15:10
my farther and bill wyne remodernised this pub many years ago now i have one of the original
beers and the history in detail of this fine pub
Bill Elvery - [email protected] - 28 Jan 2004 06:39
lovely landlord :o)
k - 31 Dec 2003 16:22
Better than average but not great city pub. Serves London Pride and fast but forgettable food. Decent atmosphere but it can get smoky.
Rex Jacobus - 17 Sep 2003 09:52
Typical city pub, overpriced beer and fast (ish) food. Don't bother

Millay - 9 Jul 2003 22:24

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