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Cardinal, Victoria

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user reviews of the Cardinal, Victoria

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

Attractive multi-room layout and efficient service. The price of a pint of Pure Brewed Organic Lager was an eye-watering - by Sammy Smith standards - £4.24! Don't know whether the cask OBB sells at a price closer to Sammy's norm? 7/10.
wobblybob - 1 Jul 2014 22:36
This is now known as the Windsor Castle (BITE PLEASE UPDATE). Sam Smith's isn't everyone's favourite beer but you can't argue about the price. When I was there on a recent Saturday evening, it was comfortable with plenty of space and mercifully, no music!
16jamesdoc - 2 Apr 2014 14:11
Have been a regular in this pub for a few months now since moving in near by. It has a great atmosphere ranging from the bustling Friday night crowd to the quiet days where here it's still possible to actually sit down and enjoy a quiet pint and read a book or newspaper. The prices are not too bad for central London, and you can often get a round of drinks for less than £15! I'm yet to be met with bad service from any of the bar staff. Would definitely recommend if you're in the area.
Beerqueer - 7 Apr 2013 14:10
Well something obviously got under davidb's skin. I've been an infrequent but regular drinker at The Cardinal (or Windsor Castle if you really insist ) for years. I'm sorry they felt it necessary to refurb it, and even sorrier that the prices have gone up - but they're still relatively cheap by London standards, and personally I like Sam Smith's and have always found it well served here. Likewise the service. I've never met with anything but politeness , and increasingly wonder if the people who complain about rudeness might perhaps profitably look to their own attitudes.
Personally, I like The Cardinal and shall carry on drinking there when I'm in the vicinity.
earlydrinker - 27 Nov 2012 18:00
Manageress is a rancid woman, and there's a tubby little Australian barmaid working here at the moment with a real attitude problem. It's her mission to make the customers feel unwelcome. If the area management knew what the staff get up to in here they'd shit themselves.
The beer is usual Sam Smith's piss, and prices have gone up massively since the refurb while custom has plummeted - whether this is due to pricing or the rudeness of the staff one cannot say.
The brewery doubtless spent a pretty penny doing this place up, but it's a horrid place to drink. One of the old boy customers who comes in is so foul smelling, the reek of stale piss creeps up on you from 2 or 3 tables away. Not nice. Try the Jugged Hare round the corner on Vauxhall Bridge Road or the Albert in Victoria Street - a couple of nice, well run high-Victorian style pubs.
davidb - 9 Aug 2012 16:25
I do like Sam Smith's Oatmeal Stout, but five and a half quid a bottle here seems
a bit steep
bongobilly - 26 Jun 2012 07:42
The Windsor Castle actually. Sadly BITE lost the plot a while ago and as you say is only interested in selling you things. Years go by without inaccuracies being addressed, obscene filth remains unremoved. The serious reviewers now use another site.
TiaMariaJim - 29 Feb 2012 22:27
I am very puzzled. I wasted much time looking for this pub as listed in BITE Site. Only to eventually discover that it is now not The Cardinal but is The Duke of York or some such.
Anyway, the interior features are great. The beer is VERY limited, but good. The food I guess is standard Brake Brothers but inexpensive. So, worth viisting, better than most in the area, but not great.

PS Using this site is becoming close to impossible. It seems to be preoccupied with targetted advertising, selling 0870 numbers, sending me pop ups and loading me with Cookies that I do not want. And I thought that it had something to do with pub guides.
BeerEnthusiast - 29 Feb 2012 20:23
I was also in here on Thursday afternoon, from 12.00 till 16.30. There were a few noisy groups in (mine was older and a bit more sedate). The OBB was pleasant and the food OK, but I wouldn't make a bee line for here for either the food or beer. Getting served was indeed a problem- there was only one person serving and another doing the food.
jagsfan - 19 Dec 2011 12:34
My limited epxerience of this pub in its Cardinal phase suggested it was indeed a fairly by-numbers Sam Smith's outlet; cheap and cheerful enough but somewhat dingy and certainly not making the most of its potential inside, presumably as the Smith's model demands little can be allocated to refurbishment budgets if beer is to be consistently sold at Wetherspoon-style prices.

However, it would seem an exception was made for this place, as not only has it reverted to its former name, but Smith's have clearly undertaken a substantial redecoration of the entire premises, and for the better. The interior decor is classic Vitoriana but suited to the age of the building and its traditional exterior. The intricate wallpaper and other adornments make it a charming and comfortable place to drink in, and character has been restored, rather than removed, by the overhaul.

As always, the only cask ale on offer is the OBB, but that was found in splendid nick last Thursday when I visited. And inevitably, the price tags remain very competitive, so the customer isn't seemingly paying for the refurb at the point of sale.

Clearly this is doing something more than right, as the whole pub was absolutely awash with punters; the custom was more what one would expect of a Friday evening session, although I expect the pre-Christmas period was partly to blame for the squeeze. Unfortunately, the volumes did rather shine the spotlight on what seems to be the pub's weakness: slow and generally unfriendly bar staff. Whilst one does not want or expect an exchange of witty banter with staff, especially on a busy night, one can legitimately expect a smile and quicker, more responsive service. I and friends of mine were seemingly ignored on a relentless basis by the 3 girls serving in favour of others who had been waiting a fraction of the time, and were only eventually noticed at all thanks to the courtesy of a gentleman who recognised our plight and allowed us to go first. These girls seemed haughty, disinterested in their job and surly, and we weren't prepared to accept the busy nature of the pub as a valid excuse.

A shame, but sadly not unheard of in the capital pub scene. All told, an excellent revitalisation of a tired pub, with good beer and a pleasant atmosphere. Just get some staff who care and can move with the pace of the custom and it'll be a really worthwhile option when in the Victoria area.

TWG - 19 Dec 2011 11:34
Typical Sam smiths pub. If you like the beer its great if you dont too bad. i do and as usual place was "cheap as chips" easily the cheapest on my travels in the local area
TheHorsesMouth - 9 Nov 2011 13:55
A bland pub with no atmosphere, particularly now that they've turned the back of the pub into an airport lounge. However, it is their senseless glass policy that I felt compelled to write about after a jaw-dropping experience that I had last night. After ordering two pints of the pure brewed lager, the bar woman went off in search of two pure brewed lager glasses. After about two minutes she returned with one glass and then resumed her search for another, stopping to talk to other customers on the way. After a few more minutes without luck, I said that I would be happy with a normal pint class. "Oh no" came the reply, "it's company policy that only the right glass can be used for the particular beer", even though there were plenty of normal glasses available to use. Another couple of minutes searching on the bar and in the dishwashers (talking to other customers on the way again), and no pure brewed lager glass to be found. A customer-unfriendly Aussie bar woman standing nearby said that I could have another type of lager, for which they could use a normal pint glass, but if I wanted pure brewed lager I would just have to wait. "Rules are rules, and I am not risking my job just to serve you a drink". Er, sorry, serving drinks is your job, and if you don't have enough glasses to implement your farcical policy, then do the obvious thing and use another glass. The other bar woman then miraculously found one of the prized glasses on the bar. She gave this dirty glass a quick rinse and was just about to pour the drink into it when I had to ask her to wash it out properly with washing up liquid. The company policy on hygeine was not explained. Ten minutes after the whole ordeal started, I had my two pints. Ten minutes later we left, never to return.
Jimbob67 - 29 Oct 2011 10:18
Fantastic venue, a round of 6 beers cost us less than 13.50! Friendly barstaff and a good atmosphere. And as if that wasn't enough to attract you to the venue, it's even Phil Collins' local - and we saw him in there with a half pint of Taddy lager!
SenorRicardo - 30 Sep 2011 09:39
i have had reason to not pass this pub by on look at this establishment and one would think if this place was pricey and unfriendly you would completely understand.BUT IT IS excellent i have a weakness for weisse beer from munich there was a paulaner on tap.the food i have eaten here is of the high westminster standard and i have a warm feeling that the cardinal wants to see me again in the near future
easystep73 - 17 Aug 2011 17:39
There are plenty of things in the pub world to get excited about, and the Cardinal reverting to the Windsor Castle isn't one of them. Unless anyone has an irrational attachment to names based on Catholic church job titles, I suggest you save your efforts for more useful petitions about pub closures, rather than refurbishments.
paul154 - 8 Jul 2011 16:03
Hadn't been in here for years, and wanted to see what it was like after being done up. Some things don't change - the ceiling for instance, or the fact that there appeared to be only one bar staff on after 2pm (and they'd stopped serving food at the same time on the day I went in).

Not sure about the refurb. The pub is now split into 4 distinct areas by large partitions, and the kitchen area at the rear has been removed to make more room for seating (which was quite comfy).

There is no music, fruit machines, TV, etc to distract you, but it can still be quite nosiy. But for some reason it didn't have any atmosphere. I'll be going back to see what it's like in a few weeks.
blueallover - 1 Jul 2011 12:05
An excellent restoration.
busman77 - 4 Jun 2011 18:37
Aren't they just reverting it to the original name ?

Don't see why Sam Smith's should bow to the whims of the catholic church anyway.

Will look forward to dropping in to the Windsor Castle for a pint some time.

anonymous - 24 May 2011 16:53
Is this just a ploy by Sam Smith's? They spend months (and lots of money) renovating their pub and people move to other pubs. Nothing like a bit of controversy to regenerate interest and get people, old and new, coming to their pub. All free publicity as well.

bongobilly - 24 May 2011 07:41
For 'Petion' please read 'Petition'
Incredulity ate my 't'.

mib - 7 Apr 2011 20:14
From the MA today:
"The owners plan to rename the Cardinal by Westminster Cathedral as the Windsor Castle following its refurbishment.

More than 150 people have signed the petition since it was started on Tuesday by the Independent Catholic News.

The pub was named after ex-Westminster Archbishop Cardinal Manning. Current Archbishop Vincent Nichols said although the pub was originally called the Windsor Castle, its second name of the Cardinal has a better historical connection to the area.

It was changed to reflect the great impact that Cardinal Manning had on London.

Former Conservative MP Widdecombe has also signed the petition as she has drunk in the pub in the past.

I think its extremely silly, she told the BBC. Everywhere you go in London you find a pub has a connection to the area that theyre in.

Theres absolutely no connection to Windsor Castle its miles away. "
The_Final_Arbiter - 7 Apr 2011 14:16
Currently closed, being refurbished. Will update on re-opening when I know.
Fractionale - 3 Mar 2011 17:08
Going to be reopening as the Windsor Castle according to the Sam Smiths recruitment site. Looked like it needed it last time I was in there.
robertster - 27 Jan 2011 10:40
When Sam Smiths do a refit they do not worry about how long it is closed for... what are they doing in there... drilling for oil ?!?!?
douvres - 19 Dec 2010 16:24
Great pub, but its closed for refurb for 2 months :(
Billumbo - 1 Oct 2010 15:21
Stumbled on this and went in out of curiosity. A pretty much bog standard Sam Smiths pub. Good service, but made almost unbearable by the nutters drinking in there. Particularly the one with a tendency to bark. Yes really.
turbohorsebox - 8 Jul 2010 11:41
A once good pub gone to the dogs. Not worth going to even for cheap drink.
beercritic - 6 Apr 2010 08:11
Stumbled on this pub whilst heading to cask & Glass, typically unspoilt Sam Smiths Pub with the OBB 1.94 per pint - marvellous
boroboy23 - 29 Mar 2010 17:50
I was in again last week, and was told that they're due to close for a refurb some time in the next couple of months. Was promised the atmosphere wouldn't be ruined, but you never can tell - so if you're a fan of the place as it is (like me), get in quickly, and make the most of it, in case the worst happens.
By the way, I always find the service very good, and the manager in particular is very friendly and helpful. And of course, the prices.....
earlydrinker - 18 Mar 2010 22:24
Quite a large horseshoe-shaped bar, with a reasonable amount of seating on three sides and a more tables dining area behind a low partition towards the rear. Some fairly ornate decoration, with dark wooden panelling, an interesting high ceiling and a curious skylight at the back. Usual Sam Smiths offering, with OBB on handpump at 1.97 for a pint. Very mixed clientele. A startlingly brusk, if efficient, barmaid so you certainly don't get service with a smile here...
rpadam - 3 Mar 2010 22:45
Some Noogs searched out this pub one evening - first impressions: fantastic old school interior, seriously impressive ceiling. Cant believe I just wrote that.
......reasonably full early on a Wednesday night, but plenty of room and an open fire. Mixture of suits and the welcome sight of some proper old time all day session drinkers (complete with sticks and hats). Thinned out nicely as the evening went on - as commuter trains were caught no doubt.

Drinks: the usual "Man in a Box" fare, but the bitter as actually quite nice. And 1.88 a pint. 1.88! .......ONE.EIGHTY.EIGHT....Oh my.....
Food: not partaken.

Worth noting though, not really enough staff to cope with early rush, and first pints were probably the most laughably under-measured I've ever had, 1/3 head. Yikes! Quickly returned and filled by stressed/tutting manager without a word.

In conclusion: Best pub around here. Cheap pints. Some welcome local crazies. Dont expect bar staff to smile or talk to you. Good place to recover from major surgery.


PissedMonkey - 3 Mar 2010 15:52
Staff were rude, and walked away wail I was talking to them. You can only pay by card if your round is 10, 500 fine if you take your glass outside. And for some reason you cant pay by "Legal Tender", and there was no explanation way?
KevinFlynn - 13 Feb 2010 13:48
Pleasant enough no thrills, great for conversation & cheaper drinks.
steviewonder - 16 Nov 2009 14:25
A few weeks have past since my last visit,had my first rubbish pint in years, & when i complained the NEW manager told me to drink somewere else.......
what a difference a manager can do!
jonjames - 21 Oct 2009 10:08
Visited The Cardinal tonight hoping for a bite to eat, but due to new management taking over this morning, no food until tomorrow.
lesshops - 19 Oct 2009 20:43
Lovely area and pretty nice inside. Affordable as you would expect from a Sam Smith's spot.

Would have been a 7 if it wasn't for the shocking service. Rude, incapable bar staff. Forget the Campaign for Real Ale. How about Campaign to Stop Asking 'Who is Next?' It's your fecking job!
Larry_E - 15 Oct 2009 16:09
Stumbled across the Cardinal and we were immedately drawn to it. I've always enjoyed Sam Smiths beer so I was double pleased. I was tempted by the stout but went for the Old Brewery bitter instead. I too was curious about the enclosed area at the back but enjoyed sitting on a small sofa taking the traditional decor and pleasant atmosphere. We didn't eat but the menu looked reasonable. Struck me as the sort of place that, if you lived close by you could enjoy a long Sunday with the papers.
gdm - 30 Sep 2009 21:33
Large Sam Smiths pub in a quiet street between Victoria St and Vauxhall Bridge Rd. As is usual in Sam Smiths pubs the decor is dark with half wood panelling, dark wall paper and what looked like a dark maroon ceiling. It's a central bar with (to its credit) a dart board on the smaller right hand side and traditional chairs and tables to the left.

The rear of the pub looks a bit odd - seems to be a glassed off food preparation area but as it wasn't in use when I went in so couldn't really tell. The toilets though are tiny for a pub this size and in the gents if someone is washing their hands it is hard to reach the urinals without becoming more intimate than one would wish.

There were quite a few people in here but the size of the pub meant it was easy to get a seat. As usual with Sam Smiths pubs the atmosphere was pleasant without music or TVs. I'm not a huge fan of their drinks though so while I could recommend this pub for the environment I'm not likely to spend an evening here.
murgatroyd - 12 Sep 2009 09:38
There are many many worse pubs in the immediate area surrounding this pub... Its not great, the beers are an aquired taste, but neverless a very comfortable pub and consistant and steady
ramsgatecouger - 1 Aug 2009 15:04
I like this pub, but the only downside is the fact that there always a Kevin Keegan lookalike (female ) who hogs the dart board.

Other than that the Alpine = lunchtime goodness.

wolfie_292 - 24 Jul 2009 15:31
This is one of the less structurally remarkable Sam Smiths pubs that I have been into, but the barmaid that served me was friendly enough and they still retain OBB on hand pump.

There is a dartboard at the front of the pub and the rear has a dining area feel as it is overlooked by a big food bar.

Worth a look if in the area.
Strongers - 15 Jul 2009 09:06
The Cardinal is a good local pub with plenty of character and a good range of British beer (Samuel Smiths). It can get quite busy after work but the staff are friendly and it's location close to Victoria is very convenient. A nice change from all the characterless, metallic, pseudo-gastropubs that are taking over London.
Pinkie - 13 Jul 2009 10:49
stopped by mid week after work its been a while!
but had a great night, beer was tip top as always,not sure about the last comment as i found the staff quite friendly with very quick service considering it was packed.
jonjames - 5 Jun 2009 15:30
Shame. This pub could have been a real keeper but was ruined by rude and unfriendly staff. Slightly off the beaten track but within an inch of Victoria station. If you're paying by card/ no cash tab, watch out for the surcharge they don't tell you about. If youre not happy about the surprise addition to your bill, you can pay by cash then. Although the lager is cheap, it clearly pays for the poor service. Exercise your rights to a good night out by not supporting this establishment. Customers are not wanted here.
acusomter - 30 May 2009 01:00
So much better since the smoking ban; used to avoid, but love the local feel now...
anonymous - 27 Apr 2009 11:14
Hmm, what to make of this place. Made my first visit last Friday night. The first thing that struck me as I entered was the most appaling and overbearing pong, as though the local 'street drinkers' had just left after a vomiting competition. Not nice. However, after getting used to that I have to say that it was very busy, full of rather jolly locals and assorted civil servants all getting happily snotted on the cheap beer. As other reviewers have noted it does have a certain dank, oldie-worldie, charm. It wouldn't be a surprise to see an old man in a corner, dressed like something out of Dickens, taking snuff. But efficient and friendly staff and reliably cheap (and O.Kish) Sam Smith's beer. I'll make another trip some time but I hope they've cleaned the carpets by then...
Pumpkinjuice - 6 Apr 2009 13:16
I personally think that the old-fashioned, dark appearance of the place makes it more appealing rather than less so - at the end of the day it's a traditional boozer not a soulless chain bar. It's a place which seems to have a good 'local' following, coupled with a healthy injection of local workers as well. Popped in on Friday afternoon and it was comfortably busy. Sam Smith's OBB was in good form.
MINTYBOOM - 9 Mar 2009 12:03
I always enjoyed coming here when it was a Charrington pub. Sam Smiths took it over and it seemed to lose its way a bit but I popped back today and found it back on an even keel. As previous reviewers have noted, it is dark and "old-fashioned" which might put some people off but there was a real "local" buzz at lunchtime and the place was doing quite a trade. A shame there is only one real ale (Old Brewery Bitter) but it was quite serviceable and - wait for it - 1.88 per pint! Is this one of the cheapest pints to be had in London?
Ordinary - 5 Mar 2009 21:14
This is what pubs in the metropolis are supposed to be like. Yes its seedy, dank, dingy, whatever you want to call it. Its a local pub, off the beaten track, serves pints at 2.10 a pop and has a dartboard.
If you like the open planned, spacious, commercial bars then please take yourself into the wetherspoons just round the corner.
M1cky83 - 17 Feb 2009 14:27
Have been in there twice in the last 3 weeks and on both occasions the bitter has been unavailable.
Huey - 21 Jan 2009 10:16
It's popularity has to be down to the price of some decent Sam Smith's products. It's a Marmite boozer. You'll either love it's dark, brooding interior, worn carpets and what look like smoke stained high ceilings - or hate it. The lighting levels are so low it's hard to be sure.
Euro staff have gradually replaced Antipodeans. On my last visit prior to amateur fortnight the incumbent group could not master the art of multi-tasking; ie talking among themselves, serving customers and clearly empty glasses off a grubby beer-stained bar at the same time.
On a positive note, Sam's Stout was stunning!

SantiagoDC - 31 Dec 2008 19:57
It clearly takes all sorts! I was in the other night, and was thinking that I needed to upgrade my previous review. I'm with jonjames &ChrisP87; this is absolutely a 'top boozer', and I can only see any attempt to make it less 'scruffy and seedy' ruining the place. Leave it alone - it's great as it is.
earlydrinker - 5 Nov 2008 10:26
What has gone wrong with this pub? It has become scruffy and rather seedy.Sam Smiths at its worst.
beercritic - 3 Nov 2008 16:55
A decent enough pub... Sam Smiths so very cheap beer. Apparently it gets busy at tea time but when I called in on Saturday afternoon there was plenty of room. A convenient location too, only 5 mins from Victoria Station.
alexw - 11 Oct 2008 18:27
was drinking here friday not been in here for a while,what a top ss pub was on top form,great pint well looked after will be more often
jonjames - 7 Oct 2008 17:18
quiet, dignified and appears untouched by civilisation since 1982. Another top SS boozer.
ChrisP87 - 2 Sep 2008 13:10
Only ever been here twice - the second occasion being last Monday - but both visits have been very favourable. A friend who was with me on my latest visit commented that the place had a certain "dinginess" about it, which maybe it does, however it adds to the traditional, comfortable feel of the place and to me is an attraction, not a deterrent. Good quality and cheaply priced Sam Smith's beer tops off the package that makes this "slighly off the beaten track" pub worth a visit if you happen to be in the area
MINTYBOOM - 16 Aug 2008 15:41
I can't remember why I stopped using The Cardinal a few years back, but whatever the reason, I was delighted last night to find it back as it was about 20 years ago - a real, traditional London boozer, pleasantly dingy, with its marvellous dark ceiling giving it a slightly cavernous aspect. Sam Smith's beer at less than 2 a pint is a bonus - and not a negligible one, these days. I shall certainly be there more often, particularly now that The Buckingham's been ruined.
earlydrinker - 26 Jun 2008 18:39
Its not too bad, went in for the first time in 4 years the other day and it hadn't changed a dot. have always though it would be better with the roofs painted white....
loveleedshatebates - 7 Jun 2008 09:12
It's the God Damn best dingiest, darkest Sh*thole I've ever had pleasure to drink in. Currently working in Victoria and to mix with the best scum of the earth heralding from the area can only be described as perplexing! Still, great old school drinking mans pub! superb!
mlmcjonesy - 8 May 2008 13:32
Paid my inaugural visit here last Monday - it's very much a place that gives you the impression of being a "proper pub" and, as with all Sam Smith's outlets, the ale is of a good quality and it's also cheaply priced. Nice quiet location just tucked in behind the Cathedral and away from the main road and worth seeking out.
MINTYBOOM - 6 Feb 2008 12:34
This is just round the back of Westminster Cathedral so one might expect to see a few priests in there if not a cardinal. It is a former Charrington house, now part of the Sam Smiths estate, which makes it one of the few pubs in London for a sub-2 pint of real ale (or any beer for that matter).

How do they do it? They must have similar running costs to other pub operators.

The pub itself is a quiet oasis of calm in central London, very dark wood fittings and popular with the retired (presumably because of the prices) . It is also Derek Conway MPs local but he wasnt drowning his sorrows when I was in there earlier.

Ordinary - 4 Feb 2008 22:05
could do with turning a few lights on, very dingy and possesses the most poorly designed toilets I've experienced. that said, the beer's cheap (1.99 a pint), fast service and clientele of varying ages makes for a good night out.

like it.
DavidWaspnest - 4 Feb 2008 13:57
great pub best in the area in fact cheap price for a pint in victoria and not bad beer, love the fact there are more younger people using this place at the min staff are very helpfull
jonjames - 22 Jan 2008 16:09
How can you not love this pub - man in the box, dart board and polish bar staff that forget to turn the taps off so you cna top up your pint when their backs are turned.
timchat - 11 Jan 2008 17:19
The Cardinal is unlikely to win any awards, and many will avoid it because of the Sam Smith's range. Yet it's a perfectly reasonable pub: (very) cheap beer, dependable if unexceptional food and a charming interior. And all only five minutes' walk from Victoria Station. Note, however, that women seem to give this pub a wide berth: the male/female ratio among the drinkers the other night was about 20:1.
DholeMoney - 22 Nov 2007 11:07
Cheap as chips which is very nice for the poor civil servants that frequent it. However can't drink too much Old Brewery as its not exactly the best ale going. That said there is a good selection of bottled beer that is worth looking at. And for the lager drinker the Ayingerbrau still does the trick!
One of the few pubs in the area that has a dart board. Normally there is someone on it.
Winkleman - 19 Oct 2007 14:25
Not entirely sure what beercritic and anonymous 10 Sept are talking about - this pub isn't heaving all the time, but even at weekends it has a steady trade in a dead area and it's quite lively on some evenings.
unoriginalname38 - 25 Sep 2007 17:20
Do NOT go anywhere near this pub. I like it too much, especially 1.99 for the lager formerly known as man in a box. If you do pop in, save me a seat.
YoungElvis - 19 Sep 2007 22:22
One of the few good pubs around Victoria, bit of an old man's pub but great Sam Smith's beer. If you want an antidote to the Ha Ha bar then come here.

A solid 8-10.
jimd - 13 Sep 2007 12:52
Agree with previous comment. This pub has really gone downhill.Church halls can be more exciting than this place.
anonymous - 10 Sep 2007 14:28
What has happened to this pub? It used to be a comfortable place to have a decent drink. Went in there yesterday and it looked like it was on its last legs. What a difference a new manager can make!
beercritic - 26 Jun 2007 17:15
"Beer drinkable but not good" don't know what ChrisF was drinking but the handpump Bitter is Fine, unless one of these people who call lager beer?
lovesong - 31 May 2007 18:47
Home to some great Sam Smith brews, well worth a visit in winter, a little dark in the summer.
drinksandcanapes - 18 May 2007 17:54
Really liked this pub, particularly in an area that lacks decent pubs. Beer fine, pleasant atmosphere, could get a seat on a Friday evening. Will definitely go back.
unoriginalname38 - 8 May 2007 17:19
Popped in here at lunchtime and marvelled at the way that a pub with such huge windows could be so gloomy. It defies the accepted laws of physics. The odd lights may have a part to play here. However in its unassuming (and rather dark) way this is a fine pub. Two pints for 3.44 can't be sniffed at and the scampi and chips were fine. We're not spoilt for choice in Victoria and if you're looking for a real pub you'll find a home here.
Drouthy_Neebor - 1 Mar 2007 14:43
Sam Smith's pub so you know what you are getting in the way of beer. Operational dartboard which is a plus, as well as an increasing rarity in the Central London area.

High ceiling which should make it airy, but it seemed to me to be fairly dark and dismal. I suppose in the summer it will be brighter in there. Certainly getting a bit scruffy around the edges, but it certainly qualifies as a "real" pub, which is a definite plus in my book. Good to see office workers still hard at it in the pub at 3.30 PM, combined with a few of what appeared to be local regulars. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants a "no frills" pub.
RexRattus - 14 Feb 2007 23:20
A pub having the usual advantages and disadvantages associated with Sam Smiths pubs (cheap as chips , beer drinkable but not good). Major plus point is the perfectly situated dartboard.
ChrisF - 12 Feb 2007 09:19
Tucked away from the main streets. Its a large pub with a no smoking restaurent area at the rear. It does get busy at lunch time. Decent atmosphere and bar staff. Food portions are generous. Worth a visit if you like Sam Smiths.
WaitorseBoyz - 7 Dec 2006 09:36
It's a Sam Smiths pub so you don't need me to tell you what to expect. An OK place to drink.
Muzthing - 28 Nov 2006 12:36
Convenient location (at the back of Westminster Cathedral), Samuel Smiths beers (which I like), pleasant interior (though as yet I've only seen it by artificial light), central bar lit curiously by lampshades.
clissold345 - 27 Nov 2006 00:07
This quickly became my local pub and darting venue every lunch break as i work two minutes walk away on victoria. The Cardinal also gave birth to my love of Sam Smith pubs, brown booze at 1.72, and has started my quest to drink in all the Sam Smiths in the london city area, and throw darts where i can. I'm curently up to about 15 pubs, keep an eye open for the reviews.
Lancashire_Hot_Shot - 6 Oct 2006 17:41
Went there on Thursday evening for a drink. Beer was typical Sam Smiths - cheap prices, but hit & miss on quaility. Decor oldish & shabby-ish, but it does give the pub character. Well behaved office types were standing drinking outside (no seats) on a fine late evening summer, very pleasant as Francis Street is all but traffic free. Inside there were plenty of seats and it was women friendly. Bar staff quick and friendly. Food was being served which I didn't try, but I did see an enormous and fine looking plate of chips. No music. Clean air no smoking area at rear, air conditioned. Toilets small and in the ladies only one cubicle!
padthesaint - 24 Sep 2006 10:10
Without a doubt, this is the best pub in the Pimlico area. Fine ale is served at very reasonable prices. The barstaff are extremely friendly.
anonymous - 26 Mar 2006 00:54
Been using this pub, on and off, for about 15 years. Always seems the same, no matter what they do it - smokey, dark and in need of doing up (again!). At least thyey got rid of those dodgy seats that covered the radiators and came away from the wall when you sat down. Could do with restuffing the the other chairs along the long wall though.

Beer is nearly always good, the food has got a lot better, and at a reasonable price for the area (the beer is almost the cheapest!).

Having said that, still one of the friendliest pubs in the area and doesn't mind large groups enjoying themselves.
blueallover - 15 Mar 2006 12:05
Been using this pub for about 4 years now.Seems to be getting busier in the last few months. Real mixture of clientele inc. Priests in dog collars from nearby Cathedral pop in for a 'cheeky pint' on occasions. Can get smokey though.Same landlord ensures high quality staff.Off the beaten track but well worth the detour.NB. The price diffence between the 2 lagers on sale is just short of 70p. The Alpine is still under 2.
douvres - 4 Feb 2006 18:07
This pub is one of the few remaining with real English character in the heart of London. Pints are cheap, atmosphere is jovial, staff are friendly! Definately a pub worth a pint and worth preserving well into the future!
flayge - 2 Feb 2006 09:10
This dark and smokey old boozer may not be for everyone, but it provides welcome relief from the trend towards the 'All Bar One' brand of soullessness. Popular with civil servants, voluntary sector workers and the Westminster working class who haven't been swept away by gentrification. Busy most week nights but dead at the weekend.
anonymous - 23 Sep 2005 11:27
I used to study at Westminster Uni and live in the halls of residence round the corner from this pub. Needless to say I have many happy memories of the place. Back then it was a Bass pub and entertained a strange mix of drunk students and grey suited men.

I've been there since in it's current Sam Smith's state and am sorry to see that the pool room up stairs is gone. It also seems a lot quieter... no students from the halls anymore.

However, the place looks great with a dark cosy atmosphere. The fact that it is soaked in fuzzy memories and is now a Sam Smiths pub all means it scores points.
MarkyMarc - 30 Aug 2005 15:25
Proper Sam Smith's boozer frequented by proper old geezers and lamentable civil servants. 1.70 a pint of best - you can't go wrong.

Home to Kamilla (tall, brunette) definitely the hottest barmaid in all of Victoria, if not London. Great pub for a game of darts.

Gets proper busy on Friday evenings when hordes of grey-suited, grey-haired, grey-skinned civil servants shuffle in for Joan's/Derek's/Keith's* leaving drink.

*delete as appropriate
Nicklaus - 1 Aug 2005 17:40
A welcome change of pace from the normal Victoria pubs. Quiet, gentle atmosphere and the usual Sam Smith's drink (if thats what you like, fine, but if you don't yr generally stuffed). Nice interior, cosy chairs.
anonymous - 1 Aug 2005 14:25
Enjoyed the Ayinger weissbier on tap as a change of pace. Very cool interior.
ICBadger - 16 Jul 2005 18:18
Lovely pub in a nice quite area just away form the mahem of Victoria station and the main roads surrounding it. Nicely done inside with a good selection of ales. Never had a problem with the staff myself but have only been four or five times when in London, looking forward to going back again soon.
jonrodge - 13 Jul 2005 18:18
A reliable stand-by in this desert of boozers. I'm not a big Sam Smith's fan and the bar service is below average (one of the senior staff in particular is frequently unpleasant to customers). But still worth a visit and one of the best from Victoria's limited offerings.
davidb - 14 Apr 2005 12:15
A fine old boozer, though the pictures of Catholic hierarchy on the walls can be a bit off-putting when you're trying to neck your fifth pint of a lunchtime...definitely the best of the back street Victoria hostelries though.
cid - 8 Apr 2005 16:40
Lovely pub and one of the few near Victoria that you'd want to drink in (other than the Cask and Flask). Typical Sam Smith's style atmosphere (e.g. cosy, fag smoke, old men) and the dart board is an extra added bonus.
Paddy - 20 Aug 2004 10:19
Loads of very comfortable seating, with a traditional old pub glass frontage which I find quite quaint. The cheap beer is great, and I've never had a problem with the staff who, in fact, I would describe as very efficient. I would recommend it as a good place to have a good few beers, particularly if there's a few of you.
Tony - 23 Apr 2004 14:49
I like the sams smiths pubs fro their cheap beer and the Kid in Wapping is exellent but this pub is awfull, twice I have been and had my drink snatched out of my hand by the rude landlord that was after he kept pestering me to finish the drink, me and a friend actually now find it quite amusing to go there and wind this guy up.
Trev - 3 Apr 2004 18:07
Undeniably cheap beer, but general 'old man's pub' aura and heavy cigar smell is off putting.
Bill - 6 Feb 2004 16:06
Great Yorkshire bitter, average to good food. Very easy to get settled in and miss getting back to the office. No birds though!
Jim - 24 Sep 2003 17:28
Typical Sam Smiths offering, but atypical in the rude and obnoxious manner of the staff - watch out for the short-changing Kiwi and Aussie bar staff (a scam to subsidise European trips).
Ivan - 2 Jul 2003 09:59
It wasn't that friendly to those of us who weren't locals... But it did have rather cheap beer and was bigger than expected.
Diddy Kong - 4 Jun 2003 06:19
No totty to speak of, ever!
anonymous - 12 Feb 2003 16:04
Very cheap beer and first rate service. Definitely worth a visit for the preliminary drinking session or the "one for the road" routine at the death.
Ed - 5 Dec 2002 11:28
Nice pub - pretty cavernous despite narrow frontage. Well worth a try if you've strayed off the beaten track from Vic Street
Pauly H - 12 Aug 2002 11:43
It is a Samuel Smiths pub, cheap beer ie 1.64 a pint and good food. Has a darts board and friendly staff.
Arthur Barnes - 23 May 2002 13:39

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