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Bishop's Finger, Barbican

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user reviews of the Bishop's Finger, Barbican

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

Hadn't been in for several years. It has the feel of a cleaned up pub, but a pub, not an outright gastropub now.

Spitfire was in good nick, friends also said the Whitstable Bay was good. Prices not bad for the area and friendly staff.
mike_s - 1 Nov 2016 15:21
Haven't been here for over ten years. Went in yesterday and was pleasantly surprised to find that it hasn't been converted into a ghastly gastro-pub. Spitfire was in tip-top condition. Will be going there again next time I'm in the area.
Aztecgoat - 8 Aug 2015 10:25
Been here a few years ago and it was a bit of a dive. Came in last week and it seems just a lot cleaner and tidier.
Had a pint of namesake Bishops Finger and it was tip-top.
Cracking pub, will come again.
Beerdrinker453 - 29 Sep 2014 18:28
I had a very nice night at the Bishops Finger, catching up with an old pal over five pints of Shepher Neame's Bishops Finger ale. It's a tidy yet small pub, with a function room upstairs. The staff were pleasant despite being rushed off their feet. The beer, which included Spitfire and Master Brew, was very nice as you would expect but I made the schoolboy error of not eating before hitting the booze. The result was the worst hangover I've had in years. I was as sick as a dog. - 17 Apr 2013 15:51
An earlier posting mentions Tiny. Who could forget him?! He ran the place in his own inimitable style and he was one of the reasons that we always went there. In the 70s it was one of the very few real ale outlets in that part of London and that was another reason for going. We went there some time ago as a reunion and were horrified to see the makeover. From being a smashing, characterful, packed pub it had become an empty, gasro wine bar. Yuk. We had one drink and left. Some thinga are better remembered as they were.
Tewin - 8 Jan 2013 13:15
Excellent pub. Visited lunchtime so quite busy but managed to get a table. Beers very good and food excellent. We three had Sausages & Mash, Steak, and Fish & Chips and all very good. We agreed it was the best pub food we've had in the City so far.
Jimdee - 18 Apr 2012 14:43
Great Shepherd Neame pub in a cracking area, beautiful interior, wonderful beers and the burger I tried was delicious, will be going back soon!
sprungmonkey - 26 Jan 2012 08:59
Delightful ambiance and great service. The restaurant upstairs has lovely old world charm and a great sactuary from the hustle and bustle of the city. A nice place to catch up with work collegues and enjoy and fine beer or ale before retiring upstairs to have a meal and some fine wine. Very friendly staff make for a pleasant atmosphere. Would highly recommend this pub to others.
charles1979 - 30 Jul 2010 11:39
Not been in this pub for years now. Though pleased to see its still going. Will call in for a few next time I'm in that direction. I used to go in quite a lot when I worked just accross the road. Does anyone else recollect a landlord name of TINY ? Early 70's I think? we heard he was sacked so we boycotted the place for a coupla months;never saw him again though. Eventually the lure the best Sheps for miles was too much! Anyone else recall Tiny?
oldbob - 6 May 2010 19:51
Nice dark wood single roomed Shepheard Neame pub on the south side of Smithfield market. Master Brew, Bishops Finger, Late Red and Spitfire on pump. The backdrop to the bar was impressive as is often the case in SN pubs.

It was relatively quiet on my visit and a nice relaxing place for a drink.
murgatroyd - 22 Dec 2009 00:39
Popped in a couple times just after lunchtimes and found this pub to be busy but without being heaving and possible to find a seat. The beers are pretty good too and there is outside seating. Bit of a nightmare to the toilets as it's like climbing Ben Nevis to get to them (and back)!

All in all a decent boozer though and will try the fine looking food next time.
Oakman100 - 13 Nov 2009 22:58
Polite and friendly service. Pleasant inside, lots of seating available and chairs/tables outside too. Spitfire spot on. One of the better pubs in the area.
ChrisM62 - 28 Sep 2009 11:33
The combination of the other comments describe this place well. As for a laptop area some people (like me) end up travelling and need a spot for lunch, a pint and check the email...
iamspartacus - 22 Jul 2008 16:48
Just like YoYo before me, I was passing this pub yesterday after work and it looked inviting so I popped in for a swift refresher. It was pretty quiet for 5-ish but quite pleasant. A few office workers were doing the same as me, more outside than in. There's several solid High tables and high-backed stools as seems to be popular in city pubs nowadays. There's also a flatscreen tv but the sound was off and the subtitles on so no complaints there!

The Master Brew was absolutely fine. Early Bird, Spitfire and Bishops Finger (of course!) were also on offer, but no Kent's Best.

Yes, I'd happily drop in again - if I was passing . . .
sussexred - 2 May 2008 12:24
The "laptop area" might sound a bit discouraging, but in reality it's only really one high stool and a bit of a ledge on the wall. In fact, the whole pub is a little cramped and somehow not as roomy as it looks from the outside. Sausage menu looks interesting but on the day of my visit the staff who were on duty didn't seem to know much about it so I left the eating for another time. Shepherd Neame beers average, I've had distinctly better elsewhere. On the plus side this pub is fully accessible, including disabled toilet.
Martinl - 22 Aug 2007 21:27
quiet local, well kept Sheps beers - if you like them
moclips2002 - 14 Aug 2007 21:49
I was walking past and decided any pub name Bishop's Finger was worth a visit. Not bad if you happen to be going by, but don't make effor to seek it out.
YoYo - 26 Jun 2007 17:56
Rather soulless and modernised Sheps pub close to Smithfield Market.

This was the only Sheps pub in London back in the 70's and it therefore acquired a bit of a cult following amongst the real ale fraternity

Now it's just an ordinary run of the mill modernised City pub

And why have a "laptop area" in the pub ? - people dont come to the pub to work, they come to drink and socialise with their fellow human beings
JohnBonser - 15 Aug 2006 13:21
Very decent Shepherds Neame ales - always a good thing. Ate here quite some time ago and it was just possibly the best bangers and mash I've ever had.
tim_eyles - 12 Aug 2006 16:58
Used to be a decent enough local boozer. Refurbished until soulless and best avoided.
anonymous - 12 Aug 2006 06:23
Asahi lager on draught was my main reason for a visit. Sausages good and service ok with friendly staff.No longer an outstanding pub and refurbishments of recent years have resulted in a rather clinical atmosphere but the beer choice is good if you like Shep Neame!
leggless - 1 Aug 2006 21:48
As we say in Swansea, "s'oright, isn't it?"

Just about decent place for after work drinks, ok beer, wouldn't eat here I don't think, but that's not what pubs is about
fragileonamonday - 13 Jul 2006 14:16
Having just read the comments by Ale King, I'm tempted to try this place as I wasn't previously aware it had disabled facilities. So, apparantly, does the Fullers pub on the other side of the little park outside. Interested too to hear of good bangers and mash, but then if you can't put on a decent bit of snap of a luchtime when you're bang outside the world's most famous meat market (in the real sense of the phrase rather than the Yates's/Edward's/Walkabout meaning) when can you? I shall try both places and report back on my Smithfield shindig.
Martinl - 17 Jun 2006 00:12
Average pub, but far from offensive. Beer was good but I can imagine the place being a bit cramped in an evening. I was there on hot day so most people were outside.
TheHorsesMouth - 16 Jun 2006 13:08
Nothing adverse noted in my only visit to this pub, but it's nothing special and I was irked that a pint cost 2.95.

Given that a much cheaper drink can be had in numerous places that are of equal or better standard in other respects, I'll be giving the 'Bishop's Finger' a miss in future.
brucebrazier - 8 Jun 2006 18:36
Can get very busy with lawyer-types on certain days, especially lunch time (in which case it is a cramped little place), but other times it is quiet (in which case it is cosy and relaxed).

Shepherd's Neame is a pretty consistent brewrey and the ales on offer are usually of a high standard. The bangers and mash are also great, although traipsing up the stairs for the toilet is a pain, unless you fancy using the diabled one?

On the whole, one of the better boozers around Smithfields and a nice antedote to the overpriced bars that are cropping up around there.
AleKing - 6 Jun 2006 16:50
Average. Beer was ok, decor was ok, atmosphere was sadly lacking. After work kind of pub. I think I was charged a quid for a pack of McCoys crisps which was upsetting.
womble54321 - 3 Jun 2006 17:23
I visited this pub for the first time yesterday (a Tuesday evening in April). It was busy but not heaving at 7pm, and rather quieter by 9pm.

It's a very clean place - the tables are amazingly shiny! - but not terribly comfortable. Many of the tables are more suited to leaning on than sitting at, but I guess a lot of the visitors are just having a quick pint at lunchtime or after work so perhaps that makes sense. With all the hard surfaces everywhere, though, there's no sound absorbtion. If it was really busy it would be very noisy. There are a few tables outside, and there's not much traffic, but on a damp April evening they we decied to give them a miss!

The Bishop's Finger (when in Rome...!) was fine and the Early Bird was OK. There's a short food menu on which pride of place goes to the Smithfield Market sausages (pick any 3 types from a long list), which weren't at all bad. The staff were friendly, helpful and attentive.
StewartR - 12 Apr 2006 13:20
Nice splash of Finger! For that it's worth going
mitomighty - 31 Mar 2006 13:14
Absolutely full of suits (though I was there at 9 on a Thursday night, when they come out to play). Jam packed in fact - not an unsuited person in there apart from us (almost).

Service was sullen but not bad. Interior is quite tarted up but uncomfortable and unwelcoming - very much the vibe of a busy after work place and not somewhere to go for a quiet pint.

We tried the Bishop's Finger and the winter Porter on draught - both were ok but like all Shepherd Neame beers, strangely watery despite quite high ABV.

In all, not the worst place around Smithfield Market but certainly not the best either.
anonymous - 3 Feb 2006 10:19
I went in to have a nice pint of summink Neame and there was only one staff member who in a pub which wasn't even 1/8th full couldn't get it together at all, I went across the round 'square' to the Sutton Arms and they almost threw the beer at me...!! Will try again sometime.
anonymous - 9 Dec 2005 21:58
Open again & strangley much the same as it was before, just slightly more airy & open.
anonymous - 5 Oct 2005 15:50
Yep - is currently closed for refurbishment. Due to re-open sometime in September. It looks like the interior is being ripped-out, as far as I can tell whenever I stroll past. Shame.
anonymous - 31 Aug 2005 14:01
Went in last week, food (try the wonderful selection of sausages) and service and beer were excellent but upstairs was closed for refurbishment and the sign downstairs said that it would be closing soon for full refurbishment. Lets hope they just give it a lick of paint and don't change anything else!
Hucks - 16 Aug 2005 19:04
Lovely almost genteel little pub in a quiet part of Farringdon - polite, friendly staff. A good place for a relaxed mid-week drink.
gjc - 1 Aug 2005 13:32
Nice little boozer, lots of city types winding down after work. Got a big room upstairs with lots of sofas and tables you can hire for a private party too.
hlascelles - 22 May 2005 12:43
Great little pub opposite Smithfields. Good atmosphere and nice interior.
Jack Knight - 24 Aug 2004 12:14
Just stopped by for lunch as I was in the area... Lovely little pub with a well mannered land lord, great sausage & mash and a nice drop of wine. Very civilised. Reccomended.
Chris - 6 Jul 2004 17:00
the pub has well mannered and polite staff, brilliant tasting food especially the sausage and mash potato specials that all will enjoy and a great atmosphere with music just loud enough to enjoy but quiet enough to hear your frineds when it's playing.

james roberts - 25 May 2004 17:11
Good food, interesting beers (e.g. Oranjeboom), pleasant staff (small bar though) and seating outdoors (which is usually shaded sadly). Considerably more civilised than the nearby Butcher's Hook. Gets busy but rarely unpleasantly crowded (except in the toilets).
Matt - 12 Jan 2004 13:00
Shepherd Neame alehouse with very decent food, especially the sausages. Can get a bit busy immediately after work but otherwise a nice place.
grecian - 30 Dec 2003 10:13

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