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Champion, Fitzrovia

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user reviews of the Champion, Fitzrovia

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

The one thing going for Sam Smith's pus is their cask old brewery bitter. This pub however does not serve it. Nevertheless, it's a pleasant enough place for a few pints.
cellarbuoy - 10 Dec 2016 20:03
Typical Sam Smith's pub for the area, with no real ale and modern stained glass windows installed by Smith's in the late 1980s.
Oasthouse - 29 Jul 2016 19:25
Having dipped my toe into Fitzrovia at the Blue Posts I ventured further & found this lovely place. Beautiful stained glass and timber work. Let down a bit by indifferent service, but that can be overlooked if you are just in for the one.
Queenslander - 12 Oct 2015 22:03
Gorgeous Sam Smith's corner pub. The usual hallmarks of tasteful old-school decor, good beer and very resonable prices are all present and correct. Extra marks for the fact that it has stained glass windows all around which creates a lovely backdrop and atmosphere and would be a suitable place to impress any visitors from overseas if you had some with you as it is in effect a slightly idealized version of a traditional British boozer. Nice touch of the dart board in a alcove. Seems a little cramped when you enter but there's more room upstairs. Service on my visit was very good, no long waits although it was reasonably busy, no sign of a bad pint or short measure and very polite too. Highly recommended.
Mr.Monkfish - 18 Nov 2014 14:59
This pub doesn't serve any hand pulled ales.
Mike_Daily - 30 Jul 2013 00:33
I would certainly have refused a short measure (Sam Smiths pubs are notorious for them)and would have walked out if he had still refused to top it up. Alternatively, as a friend of mine did, you could offer to pay less than the full price. That normally does the trick.

Tewin - 21 Jan 2013 14:06
Not topping up a short measure is not acceptable and I would have made a real issue of it.

However I would suggest it is totally unacceptable to simply plug your phone in for free juice, the barman was totally right. It is common good manners to ask first before helping yourself to free elkectricity.
kevmac - 8 Jun 2012 18:15
Nice interior of the pub to look at but the Scottish barman on this Friday afternoon gave me a short measure on my pint, refused to top up and then marched over and bit my head off when I plugged my phone into a power outlet.

"If you want to plug things in, ask first. You don't pay the bills here."

SO rude. I love Sam Smith pubs but I'm never going back here again.
kevinadam - 8 Jun 2012 16:17
2nd pub I visited the same evening as I went to the Green Man.

A very nice corner pub and under the Samuel Smith's Banner and a cracking pub it is. large Open Bar downstairs with a Good Selection of Sam Smiths beers and their range of lagers on draught. Upstairs is another large open area and a circular bar.

All in all another very nice traditional pub tucked just off Oxford Street that is worth a visit.
lezford - 22 Mar 2012 13:31
New management, very short measures, very reluctant to top up, shame really, now off list of pubs to visit in W1.
elsie_pop - 7 Feb 2012 11:11
A great little pub tucked away from the crowds in Oxford St. Love the look of the place with the stain glass windows. They make for a good read and add to its overall appeal. Its a Sam Smiths so prices are good. As is service. Gent behind the bar was friendly and attentive & pints went down well. Definitely recommend this place to anyone
dazza68 - 14 Nov 2011 19:42
One of the most beautiful pubs in London with very cheap drinks, friendly staff and, mercifully, free of music. Ideal when you want to avoid the overcrowded places south of Oxford Street.
sergeanthp - 27 Oct 2011 11:25
Yet another Sam Smith's museum... though still your standard £2.11 a pint but they only had keg. Better than a lot of the alternatives in the vicinity though.
anonymous - 13 May 2011 21:39
Nice little Sam Smith's pub, a stone's throw away from Oxford Street. Really stands out for its stained glass windows. Can get very packed at weekends.
MX7 - 2 Mar 2011 16:50
This place would be great if it were not for two things.

a) It doesn't do propper beer. Only electrically pumped stuff which is really not good.
b) Surely a pub in this part of town should stay open until 12 on a Saturday. What happened to late licensing?

Fix these two things and you have one of the best pubs in London.
jjamjj - 9 Jan 2011 14:32
Decent pub, two pound odd a pint, just off Oxford St.... what more do you want ?
This was the starting point of our xmas crawl, interesting stained glass windows and quick service, I will be back.
freezergeezer - 23 Dec 2010 12:47
Funny place, had never been there before and from the outside it looks closed which may explain why there were only 3 other people in there lunchtime on Sunday 100 metres from Oxford St. Other than that very nice though, as everyone has mentioned - the stained glass windows of heroic characters from life are very impressive, but there was certainly a slightly depressing feel to the place - just quite dull and sad....dont know what - but the windows are nice. Not a big beer range - but cheap! Two pints of Alpine Lager was £4.70!

adamwalsh - 16 Aug 2010 07:27
Great pub with good beer and a dart board, need I say more?
JockStrap - 27 Mar 2010 09:46
One of the West End's finest. Particularly special on a sunny day when the light streams through the stained glass windows. Brought to life in Paul Ewen's hilarious book London Pub Reviews where the character imagines himself made of stained glass and tries to find his place with the British legends in the windows...
Extinguisher1 - 7 Dec 2009 15:25
Total agreement with other posters. Must be the best value in the West End.
realalesnob - 6 Jun 2009 18:51
Worth visiting just to view the stained glass windows - very clean pub. Definitely be going back.
KeithP - 27 Apr 2009 19:47
Cannot disagree with any of the previous postings below, brilliant pub , shame about the beer.
Fantastic stained glass windows, wonderful dark wood interior , superb period lighting and a really good lively and jovial saturday night crowd.
And like Chris below, I just sat there taking it all in.
But unfortunately Keg OBB just doesn't cut it
Gann - 26 Apr 2009 22:32
Despite a lack of real OBB, this is my favourite Samuel Smiths pub purely on the strength of its stunning interior. There is nothing worse than a pub that is too brightly lit, and clearly the management have taken this to heart for the balance is just right, perfectly complementing the dark wood furnishings and those marvellous stained glass windows. Whilst my mates duelled on the excellent dart board, I simply sat back and took in my wonderful surroundings. Superb.
ChrisP87 - 11 Jan 2009 10:09
This is a Sam Smith’s pub, and another one in this area that doesn’t do OBB on handpump. The keg version is not really worth drinking (in my opinion).

The windows are quite remarkable – in fact they may be unique in design, commemorating, as they do, various, mainly unsung, British heroes. But, as good as they are, I don’t think they are very old. The Captain Matthew Webb window is signed “Ann Sotheran – York – 1989”. Old or not, they are impressive. In fact this is a good pub, but if they only did a decent ale it could be a superb one.

RexRattus - 27 Oct 2008 10:52
Quite nice pub with impressive stained glass windows. Had a SS Best Bitter and cottage pie all of which came to £6.85. Toilets fairly clean and the staff friendly. There's quite an old feel to this place and I imagine it got quite smokey in there before the ban came into effect. Disappointed though the lounge bar is closed most evenings particularly at the weekend.

wezmiester - 26 Sep 2008 06:34
I’m not a big fan of the lack of choice in Sam Smiths pubs, but they are all worth popping in to have a look at the décor and this place is no exception – Check out the windows!

I found the staff to be friendly, although my friends were not happy about the real ale situation mentioned in previous posts. The pavement outside was packed, but the pub was almost empty so lacked some atmosphere.

Cheap but not very cheerful.
Strongers - 1 Sep 2008 15:37
Typical Sam Smiths London pub, with dark interior, fancy glazing in the windows and the 'how do they sell it so cheap' beer. Handy retreat from Oxford Street, but badly let down by the lack of 'real' OBB.
rpadam - 23 Apr 2008 21:16
For such a lovely pub it's a real shame it's "all keg in here Sir"! Sam Smiths need to get some real ale in here because otherwise it's a non starter for an evening out.

BothamsAshes - 2 Apr 2008 16:21
Such a great looking pub - the windows are stunning. No real ale, but it's a fine place to escape the consumer hell of Oxford Street. Knocking back pure brewed lager while this afternoon's snowstorm blew outside was particularly enjoyable.
Albert_Campion - 22 Mar 2008 22:24
last time i was there was for a leaving do..... had a real hard time finding a decent drink till i found the "man in a box". it came served in a flute style glass which didnt do much for my image and was refused sale when i asked for the beer in a 'normal' pint glass???? (marketing nonsense)
next morning i had an ALMIGHTY hangover and dind even drink that much.
i dont like Sam Smiths beer.
the pub lacked any warmth and felt like a market place. too many "UBER COOL" kids who work in HMV drinking there...... wont be going again.
doodleman99 - 20 Mar 2008 17:04
Fantastic pub, lovely pints and great decor, really warm and friendly.
Billgates1 - 6 Feb 2008 13:15
Sam Smiths do it again. Sams have pretty much followed a simple enough concept

i) Buy a pub in a prime area of London
ii) Avoid temptation to turn it into a wine bar and keep beer selection limited, but high in quality
iii) Charge virtually nothing for the beer

It's really easy to please me despite my reviews - keep a pub looking like a pub and serve beer to a reasonable standard!

Anyhow, back to the pub

Good old fashioned decor, with a dart board greeting you as you walk in (for me this is a bonus, for some this is a negative). Downstairs and upsatirs bar means there is usually room to find a seat or get one relatively quickly, and as its a Sams pub the beer is usually good standard.

Decor is nicely kept within the spirit of ye olde pubs from Victorian times, and this helps to create a beautiful serenity away from the madness of Oxford Street.

Overall, worth a visit if you've spent too much iN Oxford Street and need to consider things, and even worth taking a diversion on a night out as the beer is good and you'll get a seat.....

rampantwurzel - 18 Jan 2008 09:42
Couldn't fault it really. Decent enough drink (lager), at the best prices in town in interesting surroundings and away from suicide shoppers. Service with a smile (that's a change), so will be back again when next in the area
Wheel154 - 3 Dec 2007 13:10
If this pub were anywhere else, it might not get an eight, but having a pub that is an oasis of calm so near to Oxford Street is wonderful. The traditional Sam Smith's is there - good, cheap beer, no music, nice fittings and so on - but something about this pub makes it very relaxing after having fought your way along Oxford Street. I was very glad to find it.
unoriginalname38 - 25 Sep 2007 17:18
Gorgeous pub BUT what a massive let down. Don't complain about anything if your not happy with what you get. The manager is probably the worst at handling little problems as you will come across, along with his snooty and inept staff. Give this bar a body swerve and keep your good mood intact. One word, AWFUL!
anonymous - 11 Sep 2007 12:55
I would like 2 say... First of the champ prob like one of best pubs in london. Second the staff is amazing. Steff is the most friendly guy there. Nadia and Jenny prob the sweetest best bar staff anyone could ever want. So if you looking for a good time 2 have a beer and kick it come to the champ.
jenny12321 - 26 Jul 2007 20:14
A wonderful place to unwind after shopping on a weekend. Oxford Street fills me with rage and despair for humankind, and there are few better places to de-stress and be anti-social than this place.

Let's face it - the best pubs are the darkest pubs, and the windows at The Champion are all stained glass, thus preventing any natural light from entering & polluting the pub's interior. Even on the sunniest of days, this pub is so dark that the staff probably have to alternate afternoon shifts to prevent from developing Rickets. This has the added benefit of driving away most level-headed people, so getting a seat is no problem. The pub is also a Sam Smith's which means you can get a pint for less than £2 (a simple pleasure after just spending over-the-odds on worthless tat), and there's no music playing. This allows you to clear your mind, and run through the usual post-Oxford Street experience questions in your head:

"Did I really just spend that much on this piece of........?"

"What on earth were those people stopping mid-step to look at?"

"What goes through the mind of someone holding a 'Golf Sale' sign for 10 hours a day?"

Etc etc.

There's even a dart board, if your shopping experience was so infuriating, you need to throw sharp objects around.

Sure, there are nicer Sam Smith pubs south of Oxford Street in Soho, but they've got people in them. This one is strictly for the miserable.
topdog_andy - 19 Apr 2007 15:01
I went in here just before Christmas to meet with friends. Would normally drink real ale and was slightly dismayed to find that there wasn't any on offer, it being a Sam Smith's pub and all. Had a pint of their Wheat Beer which was quite pleasant and reasonably priced.

I'd sum this up as being better than I thought it would be, given its proximity to Oxford Street. Better than most in the area, but nothing special, to be honest.
mr_goatboy - 5 Jan 2007 15:46
Just to be clear, the pure brewed lager is NOTHING like Stella.
anonymous - 9 Oct 2006 18:57
wat a fantasic pub for a pint after a hard days carpet fitting in the local area. must bring pushard in here to try the 'stella' in the tall glass. will always go back for another pint when nearby
snowy7684 - 9 Oct 2006 18:22
Decent pub in a area populated with bad ones. Staff have been a bit stroppy lately, mind you I usually go on a Friday after work when they get really busy, not that that's an excuse. Good things: it's cheap, the beer's good, the pub itself is traditional (check the stained glass windows) and it's in a damn good location. Bad things: when it gets busy you have to stand outside on the pavement, which is (although obviously not their fault) not quite so much fun. And the staff should cheer up. Come on - you're not doing me a favour here, you're doing your job.
Hzy - 16 Sep 2006 12:40
This used to be a really good pub and I used to use it a lot when I worked round the corner from it.

Lately the staff all seem to be having a competition as to who can be the most peed off whilst serving the customers. They ssem to be irritated by your prescence. which may explain why its not as busy as it used to be.

Its a shame because because the pub itself is lovely, full of character and not the bland look of a chain pub. The beers are pretty good too, (I know not everyone likes the Samuel Smith range, but I quite like it.)

Maybe the staff's attitude works in an area where there are no other pubs, but in a part of London where there is nearly a pub on every corner... you have to ask is it worth going back?

At the moment, no. Unless grumpy bar staff in an empty pub is your thing.
jackgavin - 10 Aug 2006 14:56
From the huge lantern on the outside and the stained glass on the inside this pub feels like a little slice of old london when every pub had a distinct personality. Of course i dont need to mention Sam Smiths wonderful beer and his excellent prices.

maximcondor - 22 Feb 2006 15:04
No real ale but all the rest of the SS range. Bottled Imperial Stout in the fridge - SS's best beer in my eyes so that's a plus. Lovely interior with nice customers, though a bit dark. Nice aussie barman on when I was there, really friendly guy. Quizzer in the corner. I like it a lot.
anonymous - 12 Feb 2006 12:21
Yet another standard but decent west end boozer. Benefiting from not being in Soho or Cov Gdn and having a Sam Smiths bar (this is contraversial) It's a dark wood and glass interior as would be expect. Great place to have pint after battling down O*ford Street... ergh
danrkelly - 30 Nov 2005 01:04
A really nice pub that only Sam Smith's could hold on to in that part of expensive London. It caters for it's cientele. Even though I drink Fizzy pop lager, I love the Bitter.
Stained Glass windows are not just of Champion sports "people" ther is one of Flo Nightingale due to its proximity to the Middlesex Hospital where she worked.
zagreb - 27 Oct 2005 22:24
Another Sam Smiths glory. This is near the Blue Posts and is much better because of the stunning stained glass window displays of champion sportsmen from the late 1800's. It is more of a gin palace (or even a chapel) than an English pub, but is worth visiting to experience the uplifting effect of these Victorian heroes in glowing glass. I had the "man in a box" Ayingerbrau Lager at £1.98 for a pint because this pub doesn't do any cask ales. There's just enough hops to suggest dried grass, and the fizz isn't too aggressive. It's a fairly typical keg lager - slightly better than Fosters, perhaps? A sad beer for such a glorious setting.
SilkTork - 27 Jul 2005 22:01
Nice pub away from Oxford Street. Almost a locals pub. Sam Smiths prices - "Man in the Box" darling..Who needs bitter! Interesting clientele. Bit bossy when it comes to closing. Would go there again. A little gold nugget. Without the gold chains.
jordiesarah - 27 May 2005 00:15
Great drinking hole. Enjoyed the look and the selection of beers... will be going back for sure.
vittel24 - 12 Mar 2005 23:01
A nice pub. This is a Samuel Smith pub, why wasnt it in that section?

The stained glassed windows add to the nice feel of the pub...

The Bitter is no longer hand pulled though, and there is only the Old Brewery and Soveriegn Best now...
CockAlex - 2 Jan 2005 13:35
A Samuel Smith pub, a very short walk from Oxford street, and not too far from Regent Street.
Stainglass windows add to the 'Old English' appeal.
CockAlex - 2 Jan 2005 13:18
A nice old-style boozer - the bitter I had was from a gas tap, which will upset the purists, but when it's £1.68 a pint you can't really quibble. The stained glass windows are an impressive feature. One of the better pubs in the Oxford St/Tottenham Court Road area.
Kris - 11 Aug 2004 19:15
I'm puzzled by Big Lad's comment that "once you've been to one Sam Smith's pub you've been to them all." I think they all have their own unique character, and th eonly things they all have in common is great cheap beer in really nice traditional surroundings. Even if the beer or the decor wasn't to your taste, I don't think you can deny that the pubs are unique.
Johnno - 2 Aug 2004 15:21
It's my work local and it's good as a starting point for a night but if you've been to one SS pub you've been to 'em all really. Cheap.
Big Lad - 23 Jul 2004 15:02
My lunchtime local, with very drinkable yet surprisingly cheap beer (and yes, the bitter is hand pulled) and a good atmosphere. Downstairs features excellent stained glass windows by Ann Sotheran - worth a detour just for a look.
Mark Jones - 14 Jul 2004 16:28
It's true - many of the pubs just serve gas tap pints of bitter now, not hand pump real ale (e.g. Sam Smith's Rising Sun, Smithfield).

The 'museum ale' SS used to do alongside the 'old brewery' now appears to have totally disappeared.
Jon - 7 Jul 2004 15:17
I'm puzzled by Mike's comments. I'm sure I've had a proper pint of hand-pulled bitter every time I've been in a Sam Smith's pub. Maybe years of living in London have dulled my taste buds!
Can anyone else confirm this? (The bit about the hand-pulled ales, not the bit about my taste buds.)
Johnno - 22 Jun 2004 15:21
Nice old-fashioned pub, with lots of character. It's a pity Sam Smith's have stopped selling decent draught bitter in their pubs down south. If you like nitro-keg "smooth" or lager you'll probably find something you like. If they sold proper bitter it would be a good place to have a pint and a chat with friends, particularly when the early evening crowd depart.
Mike - 21 Jun 2004 22:48
Another great Sam Smith's pub in central London. I keep finding more of them, and I'm never disappointed! Lots of character (this one has stained glass windows showing lots of 'champions' from English history) and great beer at cheap prices. Went on Friday and it was packed, but the service was brisk and efficient, and so we never had to wait very long to get served. Excellent pub.
Johnno - 7 Jun 2004 09:34
Great beer and great prices. You cant go wrong
Tom Gillham - 22 Apr 2004 16:52
Great pub. Interesting ambience. Ace windows, ace prices, ace decor and friendly staff. A gem.
Steve - 11 Mar 2004 13:18
Oh the memories. Used to work in the Pub when it was owned by Chef and Brewer.Did not care too much for the Manager and his wife but Pub was very nice.
elizabeth - 23 Jan 2004 02:08
Part of the Samuel Smith chain so you know you're going to get a decent pint at a fair price. Cracking little place to go whilst the wife is shopping down Oxford Street.
PieFace - 14 Jan 2004 14:19
Great little boozer with lots of little booths downstairs (and gorgeous stained-glass windows) plus more room upstairs. Reasonably priced beer (esp. for central London) and lovely atmos. Design hasn't changed since the 60s.
Kate - 24 Oct 2003 10:34

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