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Nell of Old Drury, Covent Garden

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user reviews of Nell of Old Drury, Covent Garden

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

Since when does average Deuchars and one other whose name I've forgotten get you into the GBG? Like the Coach & Horses round the corner, decent enough in its way but there are much better pubs not far away.
djw - 10 Sep 2014 00:29
I found this place to be very theatre orientated and to be honest I don't get why it's in the GBG 2013...what am I missing ?

There were just 2 ales on offer, the doom bar I had was good.

Small inside, the whole place is pleasant enough but I've been in much better pubs in the area.

Being able to see the "famous" tunnel that apparently exists would have been good but instead I was left with a unfulfilled feeling.

lezford - 12 Aug 2013 14:14
A truly awful Covent Garden boozer. Surly landlord. Badly-kept beer : the pint of Old Hooky which I ordered was nothing short of undrinkable. Landlord refused to listen to my protestations. Shame on you landlord.
JackyBrown - 28 Apr 2012 08:52
Beer Gutt - this place has traditional opening hours, closed in the afternoons and open again in the evening.
Ferg_White - 18 Feb 2011 17:08
Wanted to try this place when I was uptown on Friday. Turned up there about 4pm and place was closed...Please Explain! ! !
BeerGutt - 14 Feb 2011 14:24
Nice enough little pub in among the theatres. The one downside is that you do encounter a fair number of...now I don't want to say bellends, because that would be predjudicial, so instead I'll say "budding actors and actresses talking loudly about their most recent auditions and performances on the off-chance someone connected to a theatre might hear and offer them a massive role on Broadway".

But the pub's fine.
cid - 21 Sep 2010 15:34
Narrow frontage with doors either side of an attractive bay window. One entrance takes you into a compact bar with a limited amount of furniture (mostly tall stools) and the other accesses a narrow flight of stairs which leads to a more spacious upstairs room with a better selection of seating and tables. You can't miss the theatrical connections as the bar and staircase walls are covered with pictures of the stars from days gone by and posters from the shows (plus adverts for their interval drinks service for the Theatre Royal Drury Lane directly opposite). Just two real ales on offer, but my pint of Doom Bar was excellent and well priced for the area at £2.85. There is no food, and the landlord has a bit of a reputation, but this is a decent spot for a pint (provided you avoid the busy periods when it fills up with theatregoers).
rpadam - 21 Aug 2010 10:45
Not a big pub and apart from the chairs in the window there are only stools to sit on.
However the beer was good and not expensive, (under £3 a pint), considering the area. The staff were friendly and it had the feel of a typical local pub.
When I was there it wasn't too busy but before and after plays and shows it can bet very busy. The Theatre Royal Drury Lane is just opposite.

outtamehead - 21 Aug 2010 02:21
Friendly laid back pub. Good locals feel. Musicians from the Royal Opera House orchestra use the place to refresh between performances, checking the results of the horse races while they are there. Adnams and London Pride. OK place.
SilkTork - 25 Jul 2010 11:41

Great large window at the front, with seats to the interior, small bar made for ambient drinking atmosphere.

Mainly regulars on my visit,but I can imagine the pre and post theatre surge is irksome so time your visit.

Judging by the Adnams the Landlord knows his trade.£2.85 a pint is Suffolk prices too - very reasonable for this part of town

Only 2 handpumps gave it a 2 dimensional feel, but me the required standard for its GBG entry.
Polypinmath - 19 Mar 2010 10:33
Traditional pub in the heart of Covert Garden. Well kept real ale and friendly atmosphere. Not the biggest of pubs and can get very busy in the hours leading up to a show. Serves food but did not try it so can't review it.
Rod_Hariga - 12 Oct 2009 23:19
This is a nice wee pleasant unpretentious boozer right in the heart of theatre area. I like pubs like this non nonsense you know what your getting. Good selection of beer and also if you want you can bring your own sandwiches as they dont sell food. We need more West end boozers like this.
dgriffin - 16 Mar 2009 15:12
This is a decent boozer and well worth popping into. Even though the pub was packed the barman spotted me straight away and was very polite. I tried the Adnams and Tanglefoot and enjoyed them both. I also noted 3 standard lagers alongside Guinness available from the bar.

I also loved the way the bay window hangs out of the pub making you feel like you are hovering above the pavement outside.

This is a good pub and I’ll be back.
Strongers - 25 Nov 2008 13:32
Pleasingly this pub has one of its early BITE reviews printed out on the wall! This is a small and usually rather peaceful alehouse on the Aldwych side of Covent Garden. Despite the location it retains something of a local feel to it, which is nice. The interior is nothing to shout about but I do like the bay window at the front, original feature or not. Two real ales when I visited, one of them Badger. I'd heard stories about the landlord's tendency towards grumpiness but he's been very civil on my occasional visits.
grecian - 21 Aug 2008 16:52
Nice pub, Well worth a visit, but nothing out of the ordinary.
TheHorsesMouth - 12 May 2008 08:43
The way a real pub should be run, simply the best.
And a very cold beer fridge.
jolajosa - 23 Dec 2007 00:28
Went to this a few nights ago with my co worker, she's French but likes ale.As I said in Opera Tavern review these pubs were great and the managers a real laugh, like laurel and hardy with beer bellys. A really nice night out. We'll be back!!!
pinthunter - 13 Jul 2007 23:18
A cracking pub, very friendly staff and plenty of seating upstairs. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your inclination) it gets very busy from about 10pm onwards with theatre-types from the shows in the surrounding theatres, but still recommended.
anonymous - 8 Jul 2007 00:26
Great little "battle-cruiser".well worth a visit whilst on a Covent Garden crawl.
ginner - 30 Apr 2007 20:47
I met a couple of friends here early yesterday evening for a quick drink - and ended up staying until closing time! Downstairs is a small bar with limited seating, packed with friendly people having a good time and plenty of banter with the efficient, cheerful bar staff. The atmosphere was great and I got into random conversations with various other drinkers; always the mark of a good pub, in my opinion.

I like pubs where I have a good chance of getting a comfortable seat and was not disappointed by the upstairs bar. The atmosphere was calmer and quieter, allowing myself and my friends to catch up over a few decent bottles of wine. One of our party was starving, but we still couldn't tear ourselves away to find somewhere that served food - happily, drinkers are welcome to bring food in from elsewhere and eat.

A great pub - I am glad to have found it - and I'll certainly be returning.
dawnage - 22 Apr 2007 13:14
Best pub in London. Nuff said
tbase26 - 14 Apr 2007 18:19
Fantastic pub, you are made really welcome, the service is swift although it does get busy just before the show goes up across the road but then it gets much better. The quizz machine becomes a whole pub affair in a way that you meet new people and friends.

Great little pub pub, good staff, drink and atmosphere
anonymous - 7 Feb 2007 17:33
A theatre pub. Well kept beer.
mitomighty - 19 Oct 2006 13:20
I visited here recently with three friends. We found a cosy corner, ordered 4 beers (good pint of Spitfire) and started chatting. As soon as our glasses were empty the barman shouted over "same again ?", poured our pints and brought them over. Needless to say, we stayed for the whole evening.

This level of service marks the Nell out as a special pub for me.
manxy - 29 Sep 2006 11:06
Came here a couple of weeks back before going to see the theatre opposite. Looked to be a really nice place though did seem to get very busy before the show. Came back in during interval and it was a lot easier to get a seat. Definitely will visit again when next in the area.
JoePaul - 20 Jun 2006 16:05
Recently had a great night out here with some mates. Bit crowded before the show starts, but good atmosphere, good beer, enjoyable experience.

They let us get a pizza delivered which was considerate, particularly considering if we hadn't eaten we would have fallen over.
tour_contact - 3 Dec 2005 18:01
This pub has got it right.
The bottled beer is cold,
Take note other pub managers, this is the way to run your beer fridge.

jolajosa - 23 Nov 2005 11:49
The Nell of Old Drury is similar in size, age and layout to its near neighbour the Opera Tavern, a couple of doors down. Situated opposite the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, the pub is obviously geared towards the theatre-going crowd. The interior is rather scruffy with walls plastered with photos, posters for plays and theatre productions plus a few theatrical masks and instructions regarding interval drinks. Whilst the general layout of the pub has probably remained unchanged, the interior appears to have undergone many refurbishments and does not appear to have retained many original features. Both the bar and the wooden flooring appear to be relatively modern. Even the bay fronted façade appears to be in too good a condition to be original. It can probably be rather cramped pre-theatre but there is a corridor partitioned from the main bar that leads to an upstairs bar. Regarding the previous comments regarding the landlord, I found him friendly enough, welcoming me when I first came in and thanking me when I left although I get the impression he stands for no nonsense (he threw one chap out while I was there who was wandering around without a drink or attempting to buy one – I have no problem with that). They serve two Real Ales, Adnams and Spitfire alongside the usual selection of lagers and cider but the prices were slightly higher than similar pubs in the area. They have a TV but it is not particularly well placed and certainly not worthy of a night out watching any sporting event. My overall opinion is that "Nell" is not a bad pub, but not as good as some of its close neighbours
RogerB - 18 Nov 2005 14:53
Found the staff very friendly on a recent Wed night.
The downstairs was full so went upstairs and enjoyed my Spitfire.

Nothing wrong with Nell but nothing that sets it apart either.


jorrocks - 22 Oct 2005 04:13
I agree with Shandyandy - the landlord is a miserable old git and certainly put me off ever coming back to the pub again.
sadmafioso - 10 Oct 2005 11:56
Great pub but the landlord is a miserable old sod. If he won the lottery he'd complain that it wasn't a roll-over week.


Shandyandy - 11 Apr 2005 13:29
yeah friendly gaff this,...went solo style here,....they charged my phone for me,...i then turned it off.
kmcs - 8 Apr 2005 16:40
one of the best and friendliest pubs in London which is why I've been a regular for the past six years. Bar staff are great, good beers, wine and a very nice crowd of regulars and visitors. It gets top marks from me.
Phil Shaw - 17 Nov 2004 14:30
i visited this pub on friday night and felt i just had to say something. i've never had such a great experience in a london pub. it has the look and the feel of a traditional family run pub. the bar staff (a young guy and a young lady, both English!) had incredible presence behind the bar and seemed to genuinly enjoy their jobs. the service was polite, prompt and extremely friendly. but the real joy was the real ale. you can tell this landlord really knows how to keep it. overall, this is a fantastic "no nonsense" theatre pub. one of London's little gems
Richard Evans - 11 Nov 2003 13:05
Great little pub,very friendly,and popular with actors musicians and backstage theatre people.Free facilities to hold parties upstairs.
Greg Fairy - 8 Nov 2003 15:53
Nice sized pub, inhabited by locals, luvvies and the odd passer-by. Cracking barmaid and decent pints. Thumbs aloft.
jeremy - 1 Oct 2003 15:34
Small pub but nice window seating. Pleasant atmosphere.
george - 18 Sep 2003 20:30
Nice and cosy pub. Gets a bit busy before the theatre is finished but still very enjoyable as there was an upstairs area to escape to.
James - 16 Sep 2003 13:45
the pub was used in hitchcocks film frenzy
mark - 4 May 2003 08:44
Good little pub always seem crammed however many people in. Odd curiosity not how they make'em these days.
arturo_morales - 20 Mar 2003 09:07
Ideal for pre theatre drinks. Good atmosphere and cosy pub.
Ferg - 13 Nov 2002 14:35

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