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Fentiman Arms, Kennington

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user reviews of the Fentiman Arms, Kennington

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

I have to echo the review before. This could be such a good pub. The building is lovely and they have a gorgeous beer garden. Yes it's very expensive but you can spot that pretty quickly. The staff though drive me mad. They've had quite a turnover recently - but no improvement. There can be double figures serving at the bar but if there's some mates in, some gossip going on or any job needing doing other than serving then that's where they'll be. You know your place in the pecking order. Such a shame - it ruins what could be a good experience.
lot1010 - 20 May 2012 19:17
This could be such a good pub, if they didn’t apparently assume they already were.

On the rather warm Saturday we went, there wasn’t room for us all outside, so we sat inside — where it was absolutely stifling, to the extent of making us feel ill. Why not even ceiling fans?

Presumably the pub had opened early for World Cup Rugby. When we left, early in the evening, the used glasses fromthe morning were still stacked high and unwashed on the bar. Why was it not possible to employ someone for an hour or two to wash up?

Staff weren’t rude, but neither were they particularly conscientious or friendly.

One of our group ordered a “BLT”, which was disgusting — flabby, fatty, undercooked bacon, artfully arranged on a wooden slab with bread which was either very lightly toasted or stale, she simply couldn’t tell.

Wake up, this pub! Realise your potential! Stop messing your assumed captive audience about.
Lizzie13 - 3 Nov 2011 20:01
Overall rating here seems rather harsh. Great interior and lovely beer garden. My first pint of Broadside had gone off but was replaced immediately and with a smile - all subsequent pints were good. Food was on the pricey side but pretty nice. Wouldn't be desperate to return but had a good experience.
enfilade - 24 Oct 2011 15:23
I'm surprised by the terrible rating! It does have a lovely garden and depending on what you're drinking it's not any more expensive than anywhere else around there. It's a geronimo pub and the food is the same (hugely expensive) price throughout the chain and of decent quality. Staff seem ok apart from one guy who seems to think he's high champion of the world and has his nose in everything.
popalug - 16 Jul 2011 16:12
Not at all cheap. Had a very ropey pint of Broadside, before settling for the Aspalls Cider. Food was good but expensive (About £11 for Bangers & Mash!). Worth more than 3 out of 10, but not that much more. Nice back garden, though.
dan76uk - 14 Mar 2011 09:50
I've rated this pub before but I am a local and feel I am allowed to do so again as I see the place change over time. The overall 2.8 rating is VERY harsh but a lot of the comments are justified, if not all the time. The food is over priced for what it is, particularly the amount you get. The wine list is a tad pricy but there are some very nice wines on there, particularly the French Pinot Noir and the NZs. The ales need to be more plentiful but it is usually fairly good quality Wandle and Cornish of late. The service is much better than it was but was still not superb when I was in there at the weekend. It does also have a very nice beer garden.
vestanpance - 19 Jul 2010 22:18
A trifle pretencious, with lots of soft furnishings, ladies that lunch and a very expensive wine list. Friendly enough though, and the beer's ok.
nmckenn - 6 May 2010 23:52
This is a pub that should be doing well, considering the catchment in the area, the building, being well lit.
I was in there last night, only Wandles and London Pride on offer as Bitters. Took the Wandles and okay. Went out the front for a calming puff on the old senior service and enjoy the still quietness of the night.
If the owner looked to the Ale drinker and introduced more; it would be a profitable blessing I believe.
FARTINGGHOST - 4 Feb 2010 18:41
Dropped by on Christmas Eve morning at 11.45 in the morning, told it wouldn't open till 12. Despite Christmas, (ha,ha, humbug), wench didn't say have a pint and sit down in the warm, your not taking up any space etc. Said come back later? Ha, ha. No chance. Bye bye to my custom.
CityBobby - 30 Dec 2009 14:10
Ate in the Fentiman Arms last Saturday. Certainly won't again. Two people in our party ordered the burger and were violently ill - sickness, upset stomach and diarrhoea for the rest of the Bank Holiday weekend. Expensive food poisoning. No comment from the pub.
AKA90 - 2 Sep 2009 11:41
Staff more attentive, could only get better. Beer not bad.
Princemonolulu - 28 Aug 2009 09:53
It would appear that someone is trying to take this place in hand and run it to a proper standard. I popped in last night and was straight away acknowledged and poured a pint of Wandles;very good.
Good looking, hispanic bearded bar man,was pulling through and testing beer;another goodsign. Food looked okay, but small portions.
Very busy,within and out. Will return,keep it up please.
DEPTFORDDUTCH - 15 Aug 2009 09:05
Large pub, but not sure the owners know which way to go, Place has an almost like look with all the tables around the edges which makes me think of when my mrs took me to a strickley come dancing show with large empty spaces in the middle. We were made to feel very unwelcome by staff and customers whilst our female friends were subjected to dirtytalk from the elder folk. Could be a really nice bar which would make it worth paying the amount they charge for a beer. No food either which is a shame. Defo not a pub where fun is allowed unless your a gambler
sandgrinder - 5 May 2009 15:01
Lunch at the Fentiman yesterday. Bad stomach today. We arrived for lunch at 2.30, food arrived at the table at 3.50. We waited for 5 more minutes for cutlery to be found. Roast beef, roast lamb and confit duck all almost cold. The vegetables of the season turned out to be a couple of grey and cool 'roast' potatoes and a few sliced carrots hiding under the single slice of meet. Nothing looked or tasted 'freshly cooked to order'.
In fairness, one member of staff was efficient and helpful. The other waiting staff, and manageress were less than hospitable. Our empty plates were cleared and pudding menus handed round whilst one of our table was still eating. Two of our party had cheese and biscuits for afters, supposedly served with chutney. The offering was much more like mince pie filling. We were told this was intentional. Always nice to have sunday lunch with friends, it's a shame The Fentimen was such a dissapointment. Not cheep either - best part of £40 each.
Westlondon88 - 4 May 2009 11:28
I agree with the comments about this being too expensive but generally it isn't dirty or unclean - I don't recall the loos smelling bad either. Not really my kind of place but it is always pretty busy. I should add that it does do draught cider in the form of Aspalls
Timbo1977 - 14 Jan 2009 12:45
We just moved into the area and decided to have a nightcap at the Fentiman Arms. We arrived around 9:30pm. The bar was warm and cheery although it smelled strongly of fish, the plat du jour. We ordered 2 glasses of the recommended house red wine which was undrinkable. Sharp and acidic, no body flavour or nose to speak of and at 6 quid a glass not cheap either. We complained about the wine and the manager, a cheery chap with his shirt and stomach hanging out said "oh really?!?" and offered to change them for us. He then plonked two glasses on our table, without telling us what they were and walked off with our originals. These two glasses of wine tasted just as bad and I then ordered a beer. The manager passed the table several times without once enquiring if the wine was better. Eventually I asked what wine it was, and was told it was a 2003 Bordeaux. As a wine connoisseur I find this hard to believe, and when I explained it was just as undrinkable I was met with yet another impertinent and arrogant "oh really?!?". We then abandoned our drinks and told the manager we would never return and were met with yet another "oh really?!?". I'm disgusted at the service and thievery but if you want to escape the economic downturn - just head to Fentiman Arms in Vauxhall - they haven't heard of it down there.
achurr - 13 Nov 2008 23:11
This place is filthy! The toilets stink and haven't been cleaned in ages. Sitting at the bar the other night, the floor hasn't been cleaned or mopped behind in ages. The beer pumps are thick with dust, as are the shelves and bottles behind. God knows what the kitchens and food preperation areas are like? People were actually ordering food. This place is going down fast. Don't risk it until it's taken over.
anonymous - 5 Nov 2008 20:19
Pretty much agree with most of the below actually...nice pub, beer garden's one of the best in the area (sadly....) but the staff tend to be a bit 'meh' and its way too expensive. Also no draught cider. Place tends to be full of rahs too, which is often disconcerting...!
jimmyblues - 28 Oct 2008 15:51
Cant agree more. Massive prices for very little reward. £3.70 a pint, is this the west end? Cant afford their food, but have tried the scampi as it was one of the few things under a £10. Shocked at their lack of effort. nice venue but everything else is wrong. Liked the garden but cant be bothered with the wait. Im off down the Albert, a mini Fenti in my book..
iknowmybeer - 20 Sep 2008 14:11
When the bill arrived it had a hand written note saying "service not included" - never could a statement have been more accurate.

The service was truly dire, this pub can't seem to decide whether its a restaurant or a bar and seems to compromise by treating drinks and food customers equally badly. It takes an age to get a drink at the bar and longer if you wait for table service. The food came after an hour and was pretty dissappointing (although to be fair on my previous visits the poor service has been rescued by the good food)

The staff were forgetful, unattentive and seemed obsessed with their own incomprehensible process(i.e. it appears that only some of the staff are qualififed to take food orders, while some are just responsible for drinks... although it wasn't clear why).

We were told off for walking towards the bar to try and order food, even though we had said to another member of staff that we wanted to order food 20 mins ago and no one had materialised to take the order. We asked for a jug of extra gravy and were told yes, no problem, but it never arrived.

All very bizarre, because this place has the ingredients to work really well - good decor, decent beer - generally good food and a nice beer garden.

The training and the management must be spectacularly bad to make if fail so miserably.
mikelawsy - 15 Sep 2008 12:22
Went on Sunday night after a day at the testmatch, they ran out of beer, and the staff have no idea what a pint measure is always coming up well short and having to get the glas topped up.
surreytriumphant - 14 Aug 2008 16:12
I agree with the previous comments. The manageress always seems to have a long face! It seemed to me that she was churlish all evening & just plain rude come closing time. You'd think at least that would put a smile on her face - it didn't.
glasshalfull - 9 Jun 2008 16:04
I took a party of 20+ people to the Fentiman yesterday. I rang the duty manager last Thursday as a courtesy and was told that the upstairs bar would be opened at 3pm so there would be plenty of room to accommodate us. He thanked me for the call.

I arrived at 2.30pm and understandably, for a Sunday afternoon, every table was full.

After 3pm, I enquired whether the upstairs bar was open yet and was referred to an unsmiling woman who informed me, in no uncertain terms, that the upstairs bar was a private function room and was only available to rugby fans. I mentioned my phone call of a couple of days previous and she just shrugged.

Consequently, my reunion celebration was held in a corridor between the bar and the serving area meaning that we were blocking the flow of food from the kitchen.

A friend and I ventured upstairs at one point to check on how big the rugby crowd was. The room was empty with a plasma tv blaring the match out to no-one. Pointless.

As we came back downstairs, the unsmiling woman saw us and gave us a dirty look.

On the plus side, I have to say that the rest of the staff members were friendly and helpful and the beer was excellent. The pub decor is warm and inviting and a couple of my friends commented that the food smelt delicious.

In the two and half hours that we stayed there, we paid a considerable amount of money across the bar. Such a shame that our custom was not valued and our visit was marred by a 'jobsworth' attitude.
pomona - 4 Feb 2008 09:43
I like this pub, its so much better for being seconds from my place. Food is really good (although I have never brought myself to try the £3.50 green beans - at that price they must be beans of joy!) and it's a nice place to chill out at the weekends.

Regarding the comments about the staff, they are always friendly; its there is just a strange air that life would be easier for them if there weren't any customers and they have a massive aversion to people taking up tables who aren't eating. I think they are just victims of their own success and under pressure to cater for all the people who visit to eat. If you are in a big party expect to wait for your dinner. Worth the visit though!
mazlaws - 11 Jan 2008 09:49
Haha, i love the comment from the manager. This is a great pub for a drink and the bar staff are good, there is a nice (if limited) ale selection fairly well kept, good garden for summer. Being a local I have eaten there numerous times and the food is usually cooked well but the service is indeed poor because the manager has few people skills and eventually these wear off on new staff. Her response below is indicative of her self delusion.
vestanpance - 7 Oct 2007 16:40
Have been to The Fentiman twice for food and will never ever be going back again. First attempt we waited for over an hour just to have our order taken then gave up. Second time we were told they could not take our order for 45 minutes as "the kitchen was too busy". When we did eventually order it took a further hour and a half for the food to arrive and when it did it was very average and overpriced. We gave them the benefit of the doubt the first time but twice in a row confirms their ineptitude.

Please take our advice and avoid this pub at all costs.


anonymous - 23 Sep 2007 16:57
The manager's comment seems to reflect what's wrong with the Fentiman. Instead of apologising and trying to do better they defend themselves and hide behind the figures (which is more a reflection of the lack of competition in the area). Ths staff tend towards surliness and incompetence, the drinks are expensive and the food is overcomplicated and overpriced. I keep wishing improvement on it, but it somehow manages to get it wrong each time.
montmorency3 - 18 Sep 2007 17:53

Our party of 12 was greeted with contempt by the waiter, who treated us like children, passed comments about someone going out for a cigarette and then followed us out of the pub and loitered behind a tree to make sure we left quietly. Seriously felt like a 5 year old!

That said - as a gastro pub it does some good food and the beer garden is a big plus.
Cat07 - 30 Aug 2007 15:26
The manager here is not at all terrible. I personally feel I do a very good job at managing an extremely busy pub and have the figures to prove it.
I am sorry that the last comment feels as though they have been let down.... there were plenty others that day that said completely the opposite. Infact that they loved the food and service so its clearly down to individual taste.
Our BBQ and BBQ menu have been completely changed this year to please our forever amount of increasing customers. The summer so far has proved to have been a great success, the start of the 5 day test in particular at the Oval, and we have a Spanish BBQ in late August. I can assure you we have plenty of staff and smiles to cope with more than 80 people.
Look forward to seeing people soon.
The manager
(smiling!)
anonymous - 10 Aug 2007 20:44
absolutely terrible terrible female manager there. Rude and obnoxious. We had a function there which we had obviously paid a lot of mony for a company barbeque. Bread went to some tables and not others, when we asked for some bread she practically screamed at me that it wasnt her resopnsibility to share bread amongst us all. % minutes later she chucked some bread onto our table that she had scraped off some tables. It got worse from that point really. She gave us dirty looks and couldnt cope whatsoever with a group of 80.

The food was crap too.
Shame really as it looks very nice from the outside.
rosalind - 7 Aug 2007 13:10
Manager is horrible!
mooose - 3 Jun 2007 23:10
Pleasant interior, friendly bar staff, very "gastropub"...

...but f*ck me is it expensive. A large white wine and a San Miguel came to £8!!! God knows what a small glass of wine looks like, because the large one was tiny.

A BOTTLE of Sol and a San Miguel came to £6! That's 50p+ more than I would pay in most other places. Someone needs to tell the manager that it's a leafy suburban pub, not the Ritz.
steve5312 - 29 May 2007 15:10
I guess it depends what you want from a pub. This place is always full and a good atmosphere. Food is great. Wine list and choice of ales very good. I have dined here now for several months and have been impressed everytime. Royal Albert is empty and dingy. Not my kind of night out at all. Staff are occasionally pushed but I have seen lots of new faces recently so seems the management has emplyed more which is for the better. They have an an enourmous garden and I ate at the BBQ last saturday and it was great. It gets a thumbs up from me!!
anonymous - 27 Apr 2007 16:22
Too overpriced. Especially when the service you receive is rubbish.
anonymous - 23 Apr 2007 23:37
Unbelievably poor customer service (staff are very rude), way too expensive and the beer can be poor. Take this advice from someone who lives just down the road. The Royal Albert is much better.
Fentiman_Resident - 22 Apr 2007 19:37
Agree with previous post - manager is worst thing about this pub; she is never less than abrupt and usually downright rude. Why people continue coming here is beyond me.
sophiett - 18 Feb 2007 22:43
Not quite sure who the previous reviewer was looking at when they said the manageress was gorgeous. In fact, the manageress is the biggest gripe I have with The Fentiman. The pub is nice with a good garden and good food (although slightly overpriced but as its London you kinda get used to it!). The manageress on the other hand is what turns me off going to The Fentiman.

When she is not there, the staff are friendly and chatty and the atmosphere is great. When she is there however, the atmosphere is flat. She strides around the place looking down her nose at customers. She never smiles and is regularly rude to customers. It is almost as if you have just turned up in her front room uninvited and she cant wait to get rid of you. I once asked a member of staff to put the football on the TV and she was having trouble with the remote control. She offered it to me to sort out, but before i could press a button, the manaeress came stomping over saying "what do you think you are doing?". I explained but she was having none of it and snatched the control out of my hand. With that, I put my half-finished drink down and walked out. Will only visit now on the manageress's nights off! Shame because other than her this is a great pub.
vauxhall_resident - 19 Jan 2007 17:47
Been into this place a couple of times recently and it has certainly changed and for the better. Lovely decor (the xmas decs were great!), lovely coal fire, smart and friendly staff, and a gorgeous manageress!! wow!! anyway.... food was great, and we then finished it off with a game of Jenga with our coffees. A very pleasent evening and we will certainly return.
anonymous - 3 Jan 2007 14:10
I went in here for lunch before going to a county game at the Oval. Good service and a huge and delicious burger - I'm glad I made the trek into the Kennington badlands for this place. We had lunch in the garden and it was very pleasant indeed.

A solid performance - a modestly improved backstreet pub that hasn't become too trendy. Just a little bit.. Nothing amazing about it, but if you're in the area, worth a visit.
lipster - 4 Sep 2006 14:23
Not sure about this one. When I went there it was pretty busy, with a selection of ales (Deuchars IPA, Greene King IPA and Bombadier) as well as the likes of draft Magners – for the connoisseur pleb – and all the usual nitro-keg urine.

Anyway, the bar staff were chirpy and pleasant enough, although they were struggling to pull a decent pint of ale, with some pretty big heads dished out on occasion.

The décor is a split between some bohemian lounge and a rather cramped dining area, although the menu was certainly on the pricey side.

On balance, I suppose it was alright for a few mid-week drinks, but it certainly has nothing that would really inspire a second visit.
AleKing - 24 Aug 2006 10:26
All credit to the new manageress, she's really turned this pub around in terms of atmosphere and staff. I have one complaint though...the food. Its horrendously overpriced for what you get. The one veggie option on a BBQ night came as half a red pepper and a mushroom on an old chopping board £8.One piece of chicken from the BBQ with some couscous...£10. It was disgraceful. The Fentiman may be trying to be a gastro pub, but I think it needs to try a lot harder.
anonymous - 18 Aug 2006 12:29
The Friday BBQ is fantastic!! Staff also seem to be a lot more politer and smilier recently!
anonymous - 17 Jul 2006 15:58
Disagree with the previous comment about the 20/20 game. I had excellent service on all games I attended (2of the4). It was extremely busy but this place always is after any cricket event as its the best in the area. They also offered a fantastic BBQ. Staff were pleasant and smiley although a little stressed!! I will be attending for the 5 day test in August and have been recommended to this pub as they provide an efficient, good priced and great BBQ lunch so that we can all go back to the cricket. Seems to have had a refurb since last years cricket season and all for the better. Definately my cricket local!!!
anonymous - 17 Jul 2006 15:55
Tried it out after a 20/20 game at the Oval, they couldn't take the pressure of so many people, the staff have one speed, lets call it steady looking as though they might get to you in a day or two come on you lot cheer up, smile once in a while
anonymous - 9 Jul 2006 20:07
Agree thats its full of beautiful people. But on the whole not bad at all. Staff can be a bit clueless and more interested in their own concerns that those of customers. Excellent garden
yt22uk - 18 May 2006 23:33
What a pleasure to come here - there were so many beautiful people here on a recent Friday night visit it was a joy.

And the Manager is indeed very fiesty!
Simon28 - 3 Apr 2006 13:09
Manager is a fiesty minx even!
cuttysark - 28 Mar 2006 14:11
Seems to have been repainted and improved recently and now promises pub quiz, improved menu and other frills. Pub still basically the same - pleasant environment with reasonable range of beers and wines. Expensive but not outrageously so. Good range of games to play and newspapers. Tends to attract a certain rugger type s crowd which may or may not be to your taste.

The manager is a fesity minx - definitely not to be messed with!

cuttysark - 28 Mar 2006 14:11
Right, I need to revise my previous message, posted in August 05.

I have persisted in coming here in the hope that one day it will meet my expectations, but instead I get more and more disappointed. The staff turnover must rival that of Harrods, which doesn't help create a homely feel to the place. And certainly not when you feel like you are encroaching on the barstaffs' time when you order a drink.

I can understand that the staff want to go home early, but is it really necessary to stop last orders at 11pm and then turn off the music and turn the lights on fully? Despite my praise in my previous message (which I can only assume was due to a bout of sunstroke) this pub is a disappointment. It could be brilliant, but instead it appears to be settling for mediocrity. Shame.
womble54321 - 2 Feb 2006 11:30
feels a bit overdone. Expensive beer (and not great choice). Nice open fire and beer garden, nicely laid out, but feels a bit pretentious. Food is expensive but have never eaten here so won't comment.
silverside - 22 Jan 2006 22:01
£73 for four dinners! (one course + bread and two bottles of wine)
anonymous - 3 Jan 2006 21:42
I haven't been to this pub since the new manager took over, but I was a big fan even before then. OK, the food isn't as cheap as some other places in the area, but the quality has always been excellent. I also found the staff very helpful and friendly. I will be back soon, despite the fact it's a bit of a trek from where I live in Stockwell.
onil - 13 Oct 2005 12:20
We visited at lunch during the Surrey v Middx relegation struggle at The Oval. We had a pleasant relaxing lunch with better thanaverage scoff, good beer and wine. Very helpful and pleasant bar staff who all seemed to be Australian. Perhaps they were ex-test cricketers filling in. Bit pricey but you can't take it with you.
thelardyman - 28 Sep 2005 16:41
Ciaran_S' comments about the previous pub manager saying "its nice to be important but its important to be nice" was EXACTLY what that bloke said to me as well! (although he added "In MY pub" beforehand).
Our crime was simply to try and sit outside on a Sunday. And yes, Sundays were the day to avoid it as the service and the grouchy landlord were nightmares. Hopefully the new manager will turn it round and having seen the message I will be giving it a go again. As a resident of Fentiman Road, and seeing that the Albert is temporarily shut down, it is a good bet (although the Greyhound on Clapham Road is a great old school boozer with a new range of wines and irish whiskeys and the sunday roasts are half the price for more food)...
Oval - 1 Sep 2005 20:16
Still not happy about about this place, didn't feel comfortable, it doesn't feel like my 'local' even though I only live across the road.
anonymous - 28 Aug 2005 01:59
Since the new manager has taken over its a whole new pub with a great atmosphere. Plus the Acoustic nights are absolutely fantastic, well worth a visit.
Anonamouse - 23 Aug 2005 18:49
Having spent several days searching around Vauxhall for a pub with some atmosphere, I suddenly found this little gem tucked away on the way to Oval. There's nothing outrageously amazing about this pub, but it does the basics very well. Lounge room decor, a couple of ales on tap, a good selection of lagers, and very decent food. The prices are pretty steep for the location, but you get what you pay for. Very pleasant, and definitely my new local after the slightly disappointing experiences of the Wheatsheaf and Wyvils down the road.
womble54321 - 23 Aug 2005 12:08
Hi there guys. A memeber of my staff brought my attention to the experiences some of you have had at The Fentiman Arms. I am the new floor manager here, who along with a new bar manager and general manager are now working to put right alot of the issues raised in this message board.

All our staff are now involved in a continuous training programme, service, wine knowledge, customer service being particularly focused on.

The previous manager, I have noted the comments on this board in respect of him, has moved on, and our staff turnover has reduced allowing us to build an experienced friendly team.

I do hope that those of you who have had a bad experiece at The Fentiman will come and give us another go soon to see the efforts we are making to improve your experiences at the pub.

We are no longer running the Tuesday night Comedy event but instead are running a fortnightly acoustic night on Mondays. We will also be hosting a dinner and jass night with the Jazzberries in our upstairs function room and are looking to introduce other nights, perhaps a quiz to improve the pubs atmosphere.

I will check up on the comments made and will take everything on board to help improve what has great potential to become a really great pub experience.

fentiman - 5 Aug 2005 12:05
I am suprised and was unsure if the previous postings were for real. I have had a somewhat different and more pleasent expereince in the pub. Yes the food is pricey, but get what you pay for. I have have quite a good few evenings in the place and have always been treated well by both staff and manager alike. As for the Roebuck being an oasis! well if you were on a desert Island maybe, but my money is on the Fentiman's for a good night out.


anonymous - 3 Aug 2005 16:26
What a dreadful pub - as its my Fentiman Road local I keep thinking I should like it but every time I go in (after usually a two month gap) I resent it and vow never to go in again. As others have said there are plenty more in the local area which deserve your custom far more

Nigel
anonymous - 13 Jul 2005 22:56
Aftering ordering a pint of cider I recived a pint of snakebite! it was the guys first night and I was being gentle with him, honest! In comes the manager (previously swanning about and drinking with his mates)who has a serious attude problem, to tell me wait for it...."its nice to be important but in here its more important to be nice!" so I pointed out to him its nice to get a drink within ten minutes of entering a Pub and maybe he should use his pent up energies on serving his thirsty customers then have a go at a customer who was only asking for what he had ordered. Then the bloke's gone ballastic ranting on about beinging the GOVERNOR! and how he's been in the game 22years and if I don't like it I could F off. I honestly he was going to jump the bar and have a go.

Charming. The guys a nut. The staff are poor (probably because they never stay more then a couple of weeks) and the food over priced and suspect.

DON'T WAIST YOUR MONEY. There are plenty of good pubs within striking distance where you can get a real welcome and value for your hard earned cash.
Ciaran_S - 12 Jul 2005 16:05
Someone should tell the manager he's only running a back street pub, not the nation. He really is rude to customers and staff alike. Makes no effort, the only thing he's good for is glaring at customers. No fruit or mint in a Pimms? Rubbish. I took my partner to the Roebuck, (out of the Fentiman door as quick as possible, turn left into Carroune Road, pass the little houses, under the arch), walk about a 150 yards and get a full fruit salad with your Pimms for £2.50 and no service charge! A little oasis.
anonymous - 9 Jul 2005 12:21
Full of lovely people with names like Tristram who seem to like shouting loudly and drinking champagne - which is nice
anonymous - 6 Jul 2005 00:15
Its got no soul!

As a Fentiman Road resident and probably a member of target market ('young professionals') for this pub I feel as if I should like it but on my visits always feel let down.

I do slightly resent paying over the odds for what is fairly ordinary food, wine and beer but its something that is hard to put your finger on that lets it down most.

It feels as if its trying too hard to be flash and not carrying it off as everything is just too shiny and taken too literally from the How to create a middle class gastro pub guide-book (if such a book exists!)

To be AVOIDED AT ALL COSTS ON SUNDAYS - table service (and consequent 'optional' service charge) is compulsory so food is hugely expensive.

On the whole I suggest that The Royal Albert is a much better choice.

Having said that garden is nice and it is fairly easy to direct people to when meeting in the Vauxhall/ Oval area.
anonymous - 10 May 2005 18:19
Definitely agree about the staff. I was there with colleagues one lunchtime and some of them ordered steak sandwiches - some well-done, some medium. When they were brought to our table we asked which were which. "Don't know mate" came the reply, "I'm just the delivery boy".

To be fair, the food isn't bad but at their prices I would expect some level of politeness from the staff.
Gostevie - 3 May 2005 13:02
Yeah agree with last comment - staff attitude seems to leave something to be desired especially when it comes to food. At the prices they charge (or in fact any price) you expect better.

My advice if you find yourself in Fentiman Road area is go to the Royal Albert (5 mins walk - down Meadow Road; left then first right)where you will find a much better pub which is cheaper too.
anonymous - 3 May 2005 01:02
The bar looks good and they have a fantastic garden. The food can be good, however it is not reliable (we once waited 45 min for two burgers. when our food eventually arrived they brought us out completely different meals assuming that was normal practice when a dish is sold out!) and the drinks are expensive. Unfortunatley senior staff are very rude to customers and staff alike making the fentiman arms an uncomfortable environment in which to relax. Service can be slow and hostile. If its a quick pint you fancy then this is the place to be, but word of warning-don't order a jug of Pimms-£18.50 and apparently its not supposed to come with fruit! Upon commenting about the price and suggesting i had not recieved the best service (i was at the bar for sometime and passed off to three seperate members of staff) the manager told me very loudly that he thought i was being very rude. Not a nice experience and an establishment we certainly won't be returning to!
anonymous - 1 May 2005 18:45
Good pub for drinks. Dont go there for food on a Sunday as a service charge seems to be obligatory - even when trying to avoid it by ordering at the bar I still seemed to get charged and only realised later. And they have the cheek to have an gratuity section on the credit card payment form. Food is over priced to start with anyway - £9 for a burger and chips. For food go to the Royal Albert where an equivalent burger will cost a whole lot less.
Simon - 13 Sep 2004 10:29
Best beer garden I've ever found and I'll be going back. The indoors looked ok aswell but you'd go there mainly for the garden.
Stuart - 20 Jul 2004 12:47
A posh pub with a nice garden out the back, patio at the front, and an upstairs where they have standup comedy (or did when I last went) on Wednesday nights.
ben - 31 May 2004 20:59
Very good in summer - the garden out the back is amazing and sitting in the front watching the traffic on Fentiman road isnt bad either. Toilets are entitled the fentimen and fentiladies which is slightly cringe inducing. Overall good pub.
Simon - 28 May 2004 11:31
Good general pub for beer, wine, general day to day drinking - young professionals type but with more character than All One One and clones. Watch out for the cost - on sunday a quick sunday lunch for two came to £50 after three drinks each including 'discretionary' service charge - we were paying this for waitor service apparently; I had left my card behind the bar and the staff had taken our orders whilst we were at the table and brought our drinks the 2 metres or so between the bar and our table (opting to bring us the more expensive wine of course). It is a good pub though and thoroughly recommended especially in summer. Pay for everything as you get it rather than all at the end to avoid paying over the odds is my advice.
Fentiman Road Man - 18 Mar 2004 20:29
I used to sit on the steps outside the public bar back in 1948. The Smith's Crisps were great, the lemonade was always a bit too warm but not overpriced. No garden, but there was a great bomb-site opposite.
Dan Crilley - 2 Mar 2004 11:01
it's not that bad. Yes I agree, often full of putney [b]ankers but not that bad. nice for a relaxing drink and the garden's the best in the area during summer.
Honestly, if anything round oval/stockwell had a better beer garden and relaxing atmos I'd b there
Jim - 3 Jan 2004 23:37
ok, so its not the pub from 'only fools and horses', but its comfortable, great in summer, and has decent IPA. For pool, smoke, and wide screen TV go to the Royal Albert a 5 minute walk away.
koho - 17 Nov 2003 12:47
The Fentiman has its downsides but the contributors below are being a little harsh. Trust me, due to a lack of anything else remotely decent in the immediate vicinity I reluctantly have to call this my local. Yes, it attracts a few too many rugby-loving rahs - but it depends when you go because at other times the crowd can be pleasantly mixed. Yes the food is pricey - but overall it's tasty and good quality. And James might have suffered from a one-off rude waitress but, again overall, I reckon the staff are very friendly. Maybe not worth a trip or a detour, but definitely fits the bill if you're in the area and in need of a decent pub.
Oval Man - 21 Oct 2003 11:48
I would like to make a more positive comment about the Fentiman. The food's not for people that are starving, but it's generally good quality and the atmosphere can be great, depending upon when you go. It's not too pretentious if you don't want it to be.. As for cost, it's London, so it's not cheap, but if you want cheap, go to MacDonalds!
Rich - 7 Oct 2003 12:41
Have to say I largely agree with Pub Eater. Horrendously overpriced food and no atmosphere at all. For some reason a lot of the girls in the office like this one but I just can't see its attraction.
Stevo - 16 Sep 2003 08:52
This used to be a nice down to earth pub but in the last couple of years its made a definite attempt to go up market. Unfortunately in doing this it has lost all of its charm, The sign outside read 'showing Rugby, NOT football' which sums up the kind of Bolly swigging rahs they intend to attract (incidentally, they were showing the football). These pretentions unfortunately also extend to the food which is overpriced (£10 for a tiny portion of bangers and mash), measly (small portions meant we were all still hungry after we finished) and uninspiring (Thai chicken noodles looked and tasted microwaved, and again was tiny). Our waitress was rude (my friend asked if they did pizza and she repled sniffily 'do you see pizza on the menu?) which wasnt answering the question was it? The other customers look like they would be more at home in Clapham. Rugby shirts, fat bellys and upturned noses made for a dull, bland atmosphere. All in all not good. Its a shame as the beer garden is quite nice, although a tad overdone (theres such a thing as TOO much decking). This pub has pretentions but unfortunately neither the atmosphere nor the food live up to them. OK for a pint but dont eat here - you will leave hungry and unsatisfied. Restaurant prices for tiny portions of average food in a noisy smoky boozer full of loud mouthed, fat bellied, uptight bankers. Yuk. 2/10
pub_eater_man - 7 Sep 2003 14:32

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