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Pembroke Castle, Primrose Hill

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user reviews of the Pembroke Castle, Primrose Hill

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

As a pre-gig venue, this isn't a bad shout if going to see a band at the nearby Roundhouse. The closer Enterprise is a good rock and roll pub but can get unpleasantly busy while this is tucked away just the other side of a railway bridge from Chalk Farm tube. That said, the presence of Doom Bar on tap immediately signals a pub where the beer isn't a priority while London Pride is a serviceable but uninspired choice. It's a well heeled neighbourhood and the other Primrose Hill hostelries tend to be Gastro with a capital G.
BoehmBawerk - 14 Feb 2016 10:23
I think this is one of the nicer pubs in the area, living here for several years I think it has definitely become one of the top pubs to go to and it is a pub, some of the others are wannabe restaurants but I find if you want a good beer, catch up and they do do food - go to the Pembroke Castle, it had a refurbishment recently and it is better than ever. Always open and serving a good pint, thumbs up
booloujenkins - 23 Feb 2015 17:45
Probably the best pub in the area, it has always been a good place to drink and eat but it had a make over about 6 months ago and it is now the best looking oub in my opinion, the staff are always lovely and they seem to know everyone, it is very busy at the weekend especially in the summer - I think it is worth going to see a good pub done well
pixydust - 11 Feb 2015 17:52
Wow, I believe you should give credit where credit is due, this is such a lovely pub and I have seen it go from ok pub in the past few years to an out and out great local pub, thought every one should know how good it is :-) this place has had massive investment and boy you can tell, form outside to inside, toilets, woodwork and staffing - there seems more staff on and it it shows, such great service - table service if you want it or just stand at the bar and chat or get up and get your own drinks - its all relaxed but very slick operation, I think theyve invested in the menu because it seems so much busier on food, I eat there once in a while but s=just standing having a pint you see the guys and girls on the floor putting out loads and loads of food. such a great atmosphere, well done to them for doing it so well, a pub worth shouting about in an area that never seems to get it right with just a nice pub such as this has done so very well
timtaylor1976 - 7 Oct 2014 14:51
Turned up in the evening and found a parking space right outside the pub. Suited us as we had just run the dogs in the park. Lots of people drinking outside, seemed ideal as we could stand outside and keep an eye on the dogs with the windows down. All fine and then after 10 mins a guy in a khaki shirt comes out and says no drinking outside.. No problem but no notices to say the same as at any other pub. Said OK and were getting dogs out of the car and this knob stands there with arms outstretched like some sheep dog while my wife and I got the dogs to take them into the garden. What the fuck is wrong with this man! We are in our 50's and journalists and surely not a real problem, but he stands there like the police have given him some special powers. Bit my tongue to be greeted with a garden tighter than an anchovie tin. Just drank up and left. Staff totally disinterested and very Camden with "server locking up" and several attempts to pay for drinks. You are welcome to this pub, waste of time. Staff just as up their arse as the "customers". Health and safety would require another exit in case of a fire than through the pub.
Bilboman - 27 Jul 2013 00:15
This is a lovely little pub in the heart of a beautiful green park area that is primrose hill. I found this pub straight over the bridge as you go in and out of the primrose hill area so its really good stop off before and after you go to the area.

The food is pub grub but the higher end - you can tell its sourced fresh and made well the beer and drinks in general are pretty cheap for London - good range but would love a chance to get some good craft beers in like some coo ipa's.

Staff lovely in all ways, seemed really nice and would lean over and ask if you need a top up as they're walking by - I found them to be really nice and helpful - the way it should be

Check it out if your in the area
colinbus - 24 May 2013 14:52
After coming back to the area I have to say that this is still my favourite boozer, the garden in the summer, the Roasts on a Sunday, always a great selection of drinks and wines bordering on cheap - New Zealand SauvBlanc £22 quid! Always a great atmosphere, warm inviting and always a smile, definetly one to check out
jmclane - 11 Dec 2012 16:29
bland sunday roast the lamb had no flavour and had a t spoons worth of cabbage 2 carrots burnt yorkshire puddings but at least they were hand made and the gravy was nice and the roast potatos were amazing and the hobgoblin was also very nice but overall the food is soo overpriced and not seasoned i will never go back.especially when brewdog is just down the road .
1honeydew - 25 Nov 2012 00:32
I came here a few years ago and you can really tell there has been some TLC put into the place...

The food is better, the decor is vastly better, the garden has improved since I last came in. It is a seasonal pub and it gets so busy in the summer but I always find the staff are friendly and knowledgable

I like it it is well worth a visit
jmclane - 18 Apr 2012 16:49
I visited The Pembroke with two friends a few weeks ago for Sunday lunch. I went to the bar and ordered our three main meals. The girl behind the bar went and put the order in, and came back to me for payment. I realised I'd forgotten to order some chips - which we wanted with the main meal - so she went back and put them in, then I paid. The chips arrived very quickly, with the meals following around 25 minutes later. I complained to the server, who was extraordinarily rude, informing me in no uncertain terms that "the menu very clearly states any food not ordered together will not arrive together". I explained that they had been ordered at the same time, and he couldn't have cared less. He was wearing a white shirt, had scraggly shoulder length hair, a wispy beard, was wearing some of those cloth band things on one wrist and a watch with a thick leather strap on the other. The way he spoke to us was disgusting. I would advise anyone not to visit The Pembroke, at least until he has been relieved of his duties
SWSW4 - 14 Apr 2012 15:02
This is yet another beer joint which you can directly judge its quality of service from the state of its loos.

Their loos haven't been updated for about 50 years. Disgusting considering the price charged for beer here. Definitely no value for money in this department.

mycetes - 13 Feb 2012 23:09
Interesting pub. Great food. Service was lovely. Fantastic German girl looked after us well with cool pints & a smile. Met the manager he was a bit awkward to be honest but overall a good pub.

dazza68 - 10 Nov 2011 23:59
wow you wouldn't recognise this place, I used to live in the area about 5 or 6 years ago.... it was tired run down, nothing to ride home about but now they've painted and decorated - not the flashy over 'glam' way nice subtle details, there's a new garden and the food is great - I had a bacon chop with poached eggs it was fab! highly reccommend
timtaylorlover - 7 Aug 2011 21:29
I ended up in here last friday night and it was heaving, inside and out - didn't eat in here but the menu looked good - stayed til it closed at midnight - all round great little find - would go again soon
daveutoxeter - 14 Feb 2011 15:40
oops, I meant to say you Don't get service like that any more.... a real thumbs up for this place
willep - 11 Nov 2010 15:32
I popped in to get a quick drink out of the rain, the pub is nice enough - could do with a bit of a tart up (one of the walls looked like it was falling down!!!) but that aside - fantastic pub! I asked one of the girls behind the bar if they knew where Calvert street was.... not knowing she called over a manager and he preceded to give me directions after consulting his iphone... in my opinion you don't service like that any more
willep - 11 Nov 2010 15:30
This is my first review but I like the idea so I'm going to do it for all pubs that i think really do it well,,,
This is a lovely little pub, with a lovely atmosphere.
The barstaff were all helpful and friendly.
The food was lovely, and the garden was really warm and inviting with really fun and funky seating.
The type of place you can go for a lovely family meal with kids - me my mum and my sister all really liked it.
We all Really enjoyed our meal and would highly recommend it.

teddypendagrass - 15 Oct 2010 15:45
this place was buzzing last saturday really heaving inside and out, it has a big outside garden area which in itself is a luxury in north london but it was really nicely done - it had 2 huge sofas and loads of seating - we stayed quite late and when it was getting cold we realised they had cushions and blankets which i thought was a nice touch. we stayed for food and had a nice pub lunch, good burgers, pizzas and a huge chicken salad - nice pub food done with a bit of a gastro twist. I would recommend this place to everyone - hence the review :-)
cloudvanpelt - 2 Jul 2010 13:08
P.S. I forgot to was like they were waiting for Jude, Sadie or Kate to walk in - and I'm sure if they had, the bar staff would have dropped the nail files, wet their knickers and bowed down to their every request.
Muzzletoff - 3 Apr 2010 22:17
I would have to agree with the comment below about this being the most unfriendly, stuck-up pub, and with the worst customer service I've ever come across. My friend booked a table for 11 people a few days beforehand, but when we arrived we were told that "we don't take bookings" - despite her confirming with two different members of staff a couple of days before. The pub was empty so we didn't think it was a problem to accomodate the 11, but everything we did - from moving a couple of chairs, to ordering a drink, to breathing their air, was met with a derision, and a huffy attitude. It seemed as though the bar staff had come into work to just file their nails and tidy their quiffs, and anything to do with work was a complete chore - and the thought that people wanted to actually order a drink was absurd. Although this pub is in a great location, and has a lovely garden - I would stay away if you are a normal, nice, down-to-earth person.
Muzzletoff - 3 Apr 2010 22:10
very average indeed. not terrible, but really nothing to write home about.
mps77 - 11 Dec 2009 11:23
This must be one of the most unfriendly pubs I have ever visited. Last Thursday a group of us had the misfortune to stumble across this pub after a game of softball in Primrose Hill. It looked quite nice from the outside and while we sat on the terrace drinking we had no complaints, but as the evening drew on and we decided to move inside it became obvious that we didnt "fit in". we heard constant comments comming from other drinkers and were told by the bar staff that we were no longer welcome and would not be served any more drinks. When I asked for an explanation I was told it was because one of our group was a little loud and the barmaid agrred that we were not drunk.
This was a case of us being ok while out of site but as long as we were not inside the pub.
stevex100 - 4 Sep 2009 11:39
nice little london boozer thumbs up
dazkins - 23 Aug 2009 19:09
I found the crowd in here to be nice enough, although there were a few wannabees that were trying a little too hard to be cool. The staff were nice and polite and the Tribute was on top form. Bombardier was also available from the bar alongside a selection of standard and premium lagers.

There is a dining room downstairs and a room that is available for hire upstairs, where the Hampstead Comedy Club now resides. I remember going to a few of their comedy nights some years ago when they used the Flask in Hampstead and I remember them being very good. There is a reasonably sized beer garden at the side of the pub next to a quiet enough road, but the trains that pass on their way to Euston are very loud.

This place is ok, but I wouldnít make a special trip.

In regards to the previous comment: I didnít know about the connection of the Castle pubs in Camden to the navvies and found it very interesting. As you mention, the Windsor Castle is no more, but it is still loosely a drinking establishment called NW1 which is also on BITE.
Strongers - 17 Apr 2009 09:58
I think this pub was established for Welsh navvies when they were building the main line north out of Euston (the Dublin Castle and Edinboro Castle being for Irish and Scots navvies, and the Windsor Castle, which I'm not sure exists any more, being for English navvies).

I'm pretty sure when I last walked past this some years back it looked like an unspoilt local's pub but since then it's been smartened and clearly has gastropubby aspirations (as if Primrose Hill doesn't have enough pubs for the smart set). The whole effect left me a bit cold. I had a pint of Tribute (always a welcome sight), but it was quite average to be honest. Not sure I'd bother coming back.
grecian - 12 Sep 2008 15:01
true and honest review mate
rikerst - 10 Aug 2008 11:57
this is by far the best pub in the area, if you decide to gon anywhere on the hill go here! If i said it was clean, nice staff, prompt service you might go so what... well around these parts and other pubs around that seems too much too ask... this pub is a little gem - check it out!
waynebgrayson - 9 Aug 2008 22:16
went in last friday, it was busy, when I got served - I was served effceintly and the girl seemed to know what she was doing. I had Bombadier it was ok, but then I had the Cornish Ale, Tribute and it was a very good pint indeed
rikerst - 6 Aug 2008 10:34
We had a terrible time here on Saturday. We had pre-booked an area about 3 weeks ago and were planning a nice evening for a group of about 30. However, the manager went out of his way to make sure our evening was rubbish. In the end we left after 2 hours. He was rude, aggressive and arrogant to us. He didn't care that they had messed up our booking and only resrved tables inside when i had specifically arranged inside and outside areas - he was unhelpful and aggressive. Such a shame as the pub itself is in a great area and has a lovely beer garden but it's just not worth going there for the attitude and rudeness you have to put up with. Would never go back.
sarah01 - 4 Aug 2008 17:21
I turned up at this pub at 10.20 pm on a Sunday evening in August. Before I could advise the barman what my order was I was advised by the Manager that the last bell had already been called. I replied, pretty evenly I thought, that it was only 10.20 pm but the Manager did not bother to reply, just eyeballed me.

I turner smartly on my heel while saying 'never mind, we're getting there' or some such remark beloved by marketing people but also, I must admit, uttered an expletive before leaving.

Afterwards, there still being time for a drink, I went to the Enterprise on Chalk Farm Road and relayed my experience to a guy at the bar. He said that the Manager at the Pembroke Castle has annoyed so many people, customers and staff alike, that he was pretty much considered a pariah in Primrose Hill and was ruining the pub.

The message seems simple - do not go to this pub at any time but particularly if you fancy a drink just before closing time at the week-end, after all, you are only a customer!
davem1960 - 4 Aug 2008 00:56
nice pub, friendly staff, good range of beers and I had a great burger in there that i could have fallen off
doriansc - 4 Jul 2008 16:12
Haha... I actually love this pub, I live locally and sometimes in the summer you get a load of NON locals coming to the pub - like softballers playing on the hill... Where are they in the winter months - not looking afte this pub. I've seen the new manager having to deal with these non locals - like when they brought their own beer into the garden and got rowdy - I thought he dealt with them with more restraint and politeness than I would have...

Ps I like the changes he's made
pubnbargoer - 2 Jul 2008 12:10
Me and my Labrador used to be regulars at the Pembroke and always liked the beer, food, staff and management. However, there has been a change in management who instantly barred dogs, put the prices up, made what can only be described as ridiculous changes to the pub and managed to lose all the good staff.
The food is still pretty good and the beer is ok but I don't understand how an arrogant, rude manager who has made such a negative impact on a once friendly local pub, still has a job!
After 4 years of being a local, it's a shame to add this once favoured watering hole to my list of no-go's.
reiss - 30 Jun 2008 09:54
Have been a regular customer here for around 8 years. New management have proved to be rude, short-staffed and unfriendly. Won't be coming here again!
hartleka - 6 Jun 2008 14:55
used to come here regularly in summers gone by, and it was a very pleasant place. not perfect, but not bad. went back there recently however and the new management have made a lot of changes which have made it a place to avoid. the tv in the corner now shows a computer generated aquarium instead of sports. now if that's not a huge waste of electricity i don't know what is. the main problem is the totally unwarranted rudeness dished out by the manager on a routine basis to the customers. it's a shame because the rest of the staff are very pleasant. won't be going back.
koosh - 24 May 2008 20:06
Came in here late on Saturday afternoon for a bite to eat; nice bar, passable beer and prompt service. However, I ordered a steak and Guinness pie that was instantly forgetable. Although the carrots that came with it were very tasty, I wouldn't pay £10 for a small bowl of carrots.

Would come here again, but not for the food.
lancalot - 7 Apr 2008 15:46
Pleasantly surprised by this pub. Chose it to meet people arriving at Chalk Farm tube before going to the Roundhouse - I was so impressed we went back there afterwards to eat. Staff were very friendly - didn't even mind me ordering meals just before the kitchen closed at 10 - and the food and beer were excellent (though, disappointingly, they only seemed to have IPA on at the time - albeit well-kept). Nice interior and a good outdoor area for the summer, I'd imagine.
Teddy_Boy - 29 Oct 2007 14:48
Good decent pub, Its fairly friendly and relaxed. Nice selection of beers aswell. I came here with my girl on saturday and found it by chance. Will try and pop in again soon. Well worth a visit.
dgriffin - 23 Oct 2006 09:38
Slightly soulless venue. London Pride was ok, staff prompt. Wouldnt rush back though.
darloexile - 20 Mar 2006 12:00
Not a bad place Primrose Hill (most of the bars around here are rubbish). The bar staff are usually very friendly and the seating is good. You get loads of characters in here(although this varies - somedays it can be full of snotty people) - The food menu is excellent - If your near Primrose Hill or Chalk Farm definately worth a try.
marky_watson - 25 Feb 2006 17:04
There is something quite nice about this pub. Everyone is pretty friendly including the bar staff. The beer is ok and the food is actually quite nice. Nice big heated patio. A good Primrose Hill pub with none of the pretentiousness of the Landsdowne!
simonbard - 31 Dec 2005 17:18
Decent place with a decent location. Serves Leffe on draught with Fullers real ales (Pride and seasonal Jack Frost on when I was there in December). I imagine its lovely in summer what with its large patio outside. Not a "proper pub" but I'd still say go here if you are in the area.
anonymous - 30 Dec 2005 13:28
A great pub with fantastic food and friendly staff. A large garden to watch some of the more intresting folks from the hill go by as well as relaxed atmosphere inside. A must if in the area
sinclair - 29 Nov 2005 13:07
saturday afternoon and outside was packed with people drinking and enjoying the sun,food and service was excellent.would return if in the area in future
My strongest memory is of a man with black and crusty lips telling me to 'be happy' shortly before collapsing, face first, into 2 glasses of white wine. He was bundled into an ambulance some minutes later.

ron_devous - 14 May 2005 14:12
welcoming on a cold night, kept the kitchen open late for us for a great light snack very friendly staff, great venue for an evening drink.
anders_31 - 15 Dec 2004 17:50
it's a great pleace
Tomek - 12 Nov 2004 16:42
Very slow service...very camp bar staff. Hardly a pub worthy of Primrose hill.
Jamie - 18 Oct 2004 14:53
So so very bad. The place was full of people who cannot pronounce the word "Yes" and talk about Big Brother way too much.

Never again.

Unless I'm paid.

A lot.
travis - 31 Aug 2004 15:35
Whatever happened to "TED" the manager. My name's Lee and I used to play the piano in the pub at weekends during the summer of 1983.
lad_newton - 19 Nov 2003 19:52
great function room, good size, great price
anonymous - 27 Oct 2003 19:58
Usually slow service, and not a good range of food. A couple of real ales, in theory, though they're not always on. A pool table upstairs, in a room that's often closed. Should be a good boozer, but it isn't.
Pauly - 22 Sep 2003 12:41
My lager was nice, warm and soapy with a 3 inch head on it.
anonymous - 31 Aug 2003 11:25
One of those pubs where all the empty tables have dirty plates on them. Nice.
Duck - 17 Aug 2003 13:26
A quite ordinary but ok pub. Light and airy with a beer garden that gets the evening sun in summer. And pretty close to Chalk Farm tube, which is always handy.
G - 16 Jun 2003 16:45

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