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Punch Tavern, Fleet Street

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user reviews of the Punch Tavern, Fleet Street

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

Beautiful marble ceiling. But other than it's not quite punching above it's weight. Wordplay IS funny.

Two beers on. One tasted like vinegar on the turn which when handed back did not result in the beer clip being turned around so presumably some poor sod from Portland Oregon will come and drink it and go "hey you guys drink beer that tastes like on the turn vinegar."
terenced - 23 Jan 2017 11:00
Only one out of the two real ales was on - and this was Doom Bar. It was as good an example of it as I have had.

Really more aimed at diners, with a more formal dining area at the back.

Beautiful marble bar and matching fireplace. Lovely decor.

Fleet Street Pub Crawl at
Mappiman - 19 Oct 2016 13:05
The owners have no idea how to run a pub. Total shambles. Cheap staff = cheap hospitality.
allornothing - 22 Sep 2014 21:27
Dropped in had a pint of Czech Budweiser. Decided to eat there big mistake. Steak & Ale pie was a re-heat, accompanied by some green nush and slime, lumpy mash and a film of brown water for gravy. The main 'meeter & greeter' asked what was wrong and I did say did it look appealing to him. At least they didn't charge me for it (but then I hardly ate any of it). Then I mistakenlly had a pint of Adnams Broadside - left half of it. Couldn't be bothered with a second complaint on quality. leave this one to the tourists..
anonymous - 19 Jul 2014 23:14
used to love this place, still want to but however hard i try i cant. it just seems to get worse with each visit
becks007 - 25 Mar 2013 13:12
Disgraceful! Not worthy of ever being titled a pub. Ruined. Avoid.
5thAugustLeo - 17 Aug 2012 21:11
I think this pub does flatter to deceive. It appears rather grandiose from its exterior, and internally it seems smart, with lavish twists like a marble bartop, palm trees etc. However closer inspection does reveal it's not much more than a passable Wetherspoon conversion of an old building, but without the array of quality ales and the competitive prices. Indeed, even in this locality £3.80 for a pint of Purity Mad Goose was eye-wateringly excessive. The beers - all two of them - were seemingly in good nick and they were served efficiently enough. But none of this really made me feel that I must undertake a pilgrimage to return at the earliest opportunity. The long and short of it is that there are better pubs very nearby which surpass the Punch on ale, decor, character and price measures. I'd have to recommend these first.
TWG - 27 Aug 2011 09:00
Visited very recently after a gap of 7 years. Boy what a let down - very tatty and resembles a greasy spoon. Shame.
Scoops - 21 Mar 2011 18:36
Ouch, those last few comments don't really reflect the pub I know. Each to their own though.

I have always found it to be pretty charming with a decent selction of real ales. I wouldn't say it was overtly touristy and the £5 pub classic meals are actually really tasty.

Everyone has different tastes but I am surprise so many reviews can feel so strongly about what I always found to be a decent little pub.
meltwaterfalls - 3 Feb 2011 14:42
Came in, walked about, didn't like it, walked out. Allegedly a great victorian interior but the bright lighting and one hand pulled ale didn't inspire. So I went elsewhere.
tarkatherotter - 28 Nov 2010 10:09
The Crown and Sugarloaf is just round the corner. Go there instead.
dpaajones - 17 Oct 2010 23:50
Truly grim! Only worth a visit if you have friends visiting from Japan or the US. Please up the ante guys!
StephenM123 - 18 Sep 2010 13:27
Unfortunately not half as interesting as the exterior and history might suggest - more like a cosy (in the wrong sort of way) back room, quite bland I might say really.......its ok, and food was nice enough - but nothing worth going out of your way for.
adamwalsh - 30 Aug 2010 19:18
I totally agree with DeptfordDutch : this WAS once a great pub. Now it is only fit for tourists who have lost their way. Don't waste your time coming here.

I cannot forgive the owners who partitioned and sold off about half of the former pub. The bit that's left is a shambles. Disgraceful.
malo66 - 16 Aug 2010 14:13
The owners of this pub need to wake up and realise that this prime retail location deserves far better. Service is mediocre, the beer is mediocre (and expensive), and the toilets stink of damp (and other things). The only good thing about the place is the free Bombay mix which is on offer - but this is far from enough to attract m back I'm afraid!
StudioM - 2 Aug 2010 12:59
Suffolkfarmboy! Get a life? Your obviously in the employ of the Punch; you must have left the Flask in Highgate recently?
Try to grow some hair on your chin before telling seasoned men and drinkers that the Punch is a great pub? It isn't. It was once a great one, remarkable and dearly loved.
It is a ruin now, and no longer fit for purpose. People make slums and made management ruin pubs.
The beer is foul, badly served and over priced.
The food and presentation tat.
What hold has the owner over you to get you to sprought such rubbish? Did he offer you a bag of sweets, an XBox game or tickets to the cinema?
Away and grow up; your to young to judge beer.
DEPTFORDDUTCH - 18 Mar 2010 13:55
Lay Off People!!!

I work around the corner from the pub, and visit quite regularly. They have really great home-cooked meals for a fiver at lunchtimes, well kept ales and pretty good service. OK the place is looking a bit tired and could use a lick of paint, but the food is very good and my work even order sandwiches from here on special occasions, that are also pretty damned good too. My rating is: 7.7 out of 10, a bit of a spruce up and I'd give it an 8 maybe an 8.5 even and believe you me, I've been to a lot of pubs over the years, especially in this area!
suffolkfarmboy - 18 Mar 2010 12:44
This place was awful! Service wasnt great and neither was the beer. I had a pint of Hooky Bitter here which was very flat with a poor taste. Certainly not somewhere i would go again.
nutsaboutbeer - 22 Feb 2010 17:11
Sums up "Punch Taverns" trying to be something that its not.
anonymous - 10 Jan 2010 19:44
To be avoided. No longer a pub.
Princemonolulu - 10 Jan 2010 19:19
A waste of space; no longer trying to be a true pub.
GlasgowGuy - 15 Dec 2009 23:05
Some sort of pub/curry house. Expensive. Could do so much better.
HLC - 5 Dec 2009 23:25
The place has a somewhat chaotic feel to it , and always seems busy with local office workers.
Found the beer to be of good quality and the Burgers to be exceptional .
Service was freindly and efficient from the staff who took table orders despite being busy.
The deor is certainly worth a look , though i feel a bit of money spent on restoring some features and livening the place up would not go amiss.
mikestokesambii - 5 Dec 2009 22:15
Could be a jewel in the crown, rather than the floater in the toilet that it is.
shipper - 14 Nov 2009 01:31
There are a lot of conflicting views about this place expressed below, but ignoring the sound of grinding axes and obvious plugs, I still find it difficult to reconcile what I found (i.e. an unexceptional central London pub) with either the positive or negative extremes... Limited choice of just two real ales, but the Hooky bitter was fine, and since most of the other pubs in the area are closed on Saturdays then you could do worse..
rpadam - 31 Oct 2009 22:46
Ummm......Yeah. Don't bother.
wolvesfan - 24 Aug 2009 15:51
Not really a pub... more like a cafe/restaurant that serves beer. Food was quite good, albeit expensive. Was busy on a Saturday afternoon, so must be popular for some reason. 7/10
dpaajones - 16 Aug 2009 12:05
Decided to pop in after reading the comment by the new owners and the mixed reviews. Conclusion - nothing has changed! Put it out of its misery or put in totally new management and staff who know how to run a decent pub!
MikeTheMechanic - 15 Aug 2009 13:12
retiree - 11 Aug 2009 11:01
This pub has had its day. It is very sad indeed and the brewer should be ashamed of it. It is probably the worst in Fleet Street in terms of appearance. Behind my seat was a broken light fitting with exposed wiring. TTo make matters worse, Mexican music was playing loudly.

here were only two "real ales" on tap, Summer Lightning and Hooky Bitter, both of which were in reasonable condition.

The pub claims to have won the best London Pub food award in 2008 and I have to say that the bangers and mash in red onion gravy and the pate/toast were of high quality - the only redeeming feature.

I visited two other pubs on the day but will not be going back to this one, good food or not. There are better alternatives nearby.
Jaguarman - 15 Jul 2009 09:42
Horrible! Horrible! Horrible! Best to put it out of it's misery and turn it into a charmless office block now. It's no longer a decent pub of old. The last reviewer, obviously works in the kitchen, stressing food before Ale on a Beer web site.
FeeFyeFoeThumb - 12 Jul 2009 11:30
I am amazed at what I have read here. I had lunch there today, the staff could not have been any friendly, the food was great English fodder, (Ham Egg and Chips, Beer Battered Haddock etc) and the beer was well kept Hook Norton or Summer Lightning.

It was busy throughout lunch and I will definitely be back.

And no, I don't know or related, to the owners, just could not believe the stuff I have read about a decent pub with hardworking staff and great food.
JasonW - 9 Jul 2009 22:55
A once great pub seeking a saviour. Dirty, badly managed. Badly served and over priced Ale. Avoid.
anonymous - 27 Jun 2009 11:09
Hello Posters!

Just wanted to say hello to everyone out there and thank you for your opinions both positive and negative because they help us to improve!

We just wanted to mention that we are doing everything we can to ensure that this beautiful pub gets the treatment it deserves!

We have just re-lunched with an all British Menu - this includes a British Roast Carvery! We have also added 2 new ales for those beer lovers! We are tied for beer so please bare with us on prices, we currently get charged twice before it gets to us!

Dave and The Punch Crew!

By the way, The Pub was on the market 2 years ago because we were nervous about the smoking ban and not having outdoor space, but we have taken it off the market now and are pushing on in the face of the ban and credit crunch!

ThePunchTavern - 9 Jun 2009 14:37
This pub has history and a very unusual interior, and therefore should have loads of character. Unfortunately it does not! The grubbiness and inept staff make it about as desirable as the Seven Stars in nearby Carey Street. Beer unimpressive as well. The only reason I can think for visiting this pub is to view the interior if you have never seen it before.

I have docked an extra mark because of the way this pub overflows onto the pavement. Since the smoking ban people have to use an outside area. If there is not a dedicated area they overflow onto the pavement. This is not really a problem if it is kept in hand and I know some pubs in the area have made efforts to stop this annoying people. If it is not raining and a Thursday or Friday evening the pavement outside is overflowing with smokers and their non-smoking friends. Many of the chavs that seem to frequent this pseudo pub seem to think the pavement is for them alone causing passer-bsy to walk in the road. This reflects very badly on the landlord.

Pass by and go to the Olde Cheshire Cheese!

MikeTheMechanic - 22 May 2009 18:21
Went in here once. Once. It felt like drinking in the entrance hall of a provincial museum. This place was recommended by CAMRA ?!?
Green_0nions - 4 May 2009 16:48
Seen it for sale on christies website
they are asking very high premium for it. rep from christies told me that the owners are not too interested in selling but if someone pays the asking price , they will consider it.

till then , just a craphole!!
The_Pub_Inspector - 20 Mar 2009 15:13
I think this pub is brilliant. I love the fact that it's a bit rough around the edges and that you probably don't want to eat the food. You go to a pub to drink not eat! I have to admit the toilets are a bit iffy... and you probably don't want to drink the draft beer. Apart from that it's great.
JonathanFawster - 20 Mar 2009 14:41
So who's it for sale with?
threeravensmoor - 25 Jan 2009 20:49
Dear Beer Drinker,
Look upon "The Punch Tavern" as one of the worst examples of allowing someone who knows nothing about the art of beer keeping, pub management or presivation of a London and Nation historical treasure. This pub has been ruined! Please hurry the present fool of a land lord or owner off as quickly as possible and allow someone who cares for British beer to run the place and bring it back to being one of the best of British bars. The present place is dirty, The beer taste filty. The staff useless. And yes, I take it that the various list of commentators praising the place: JamesO,TommyK,JD10,georgep,henryb, below are bar staff or midnight chums of the Landlord asked to puff the pub up. GIVE IT UP! Take up another trade, flower arranging, hair dressing, become a meter maid? But give up the pub game; it's not fair on London drinkers.
ke it that
anonymous - 2 Nov 2008 22:02
Carlsberg tasted awful , lines in desperate need of cleaning, place is dirty and run down , This place is for sale so you'd think the owners would want to clean it up to sell. My mate had the theakstons and wasnt impressed with that either, both pints left 3/4 on the table as we walked out
kiwiphil - 28 Oct 2008 20:48
A real pub in the heart of the City. The food is awesome and the staff make a special effort to make you feel welcome and smile which is more than can be said for many pubs in London!
JamesO - 26 Oct 2008 20:19
Great food, great service, great people watching. The pub has recently been smartened up, whilst retaining its comfortable atmosphere.
TommyK - 24 Oct 2008 18:25
Discovered this pub on a Saturday and had a wonderful lazy boozy lunch. We managed to work our way through the excellently priced wine list. Great local with friendly staff - the perfect way to spend a cold grey day if you live in the City.
JD10 - 3 Oct 2008 12:39
Reasonably good selection of beers. Tasty burger and chips which was bigger and cheaper than Corney and Barrow or any of the other local pubs. The Blonde enjoyed her food, so no doubt we will be back.
georgep - 2 Oct 2008 14:28
If Carlsberg did pubs, this would be it! Very friendly bar staff which is unusual in a busy London pub. Seems popular with the locals and lots of women there too. It's a classic historic building, and the food was more interesting than your run-of-the-mill pub grub.
henryb - 2 Oct 2008 13:24
A curious place that doesn't know whether it wants to be a psuedo-trendy eatery or a pub. Still, it's easy access and it's always entertaining to watch the overly camp manager mincing around to keep the trops happy.
CaptainJamesTPint - 14 Jul 2008 14:12
Decent pint of Carlsburg Export served by friendly barstaff. Interior is interesting and might have had a couple more given the state of Saturday's weather - BUT £3.50 a pint!!?? A session in there's going to leave you with a real cash-flow problem.
A pity as everything else was fine
Wheel154 - 10 Mar 2008 15:07
Visited for lunch recently, and I didn't like it. The interior is interesting and retains a slightly raffish feel perhaps more redolent of pubs out east. I was on the softies, but drinks-wise it looked limited to Theakston's Best - not a bad pint but a bigger range would be nice in an area where real ale is fairly readily available. For lunch, it was a choice between a hot buffet (unusually for a pub - the table containing it rather dominates the front room of the pub) or choosing from a menu. My ploughmans was distinctly average. I wouldn't go here over nearby pubs like the vastly superior Old Bell, or even the Crown and Sugarloaf next door.
grecian - 12 Feb 2008 15:01
I really liked it but it certainly was expensive. The atmosphere was good considering the number of lawyers and financiers in there.

A good but limited choice of beer - in fact quite a small selection of drink generally. However, I loved the decor, the open fire, the charming staff and the slightly strange features like the bowls of popcorn and Bombay mix on the tables.
I'll definitely go back - and I have passed this place in the morning when it does a great-looking breakfast buffet. Maybe les of a pub than a bistro, but that is OK by me.
spincat - 2 Feb 2008 11:12
Fighteningly overpriced, an interesting interior, but not at this cost
baggydave - 29 Jan 2008 22:29
I love this place and take my kids there regularly - the waiting staff are very friendly and the hot buffet means you can be in and out within 30 mins if you need to have a quick business lunch.
EdgeOn - 5 Dec 2007 10:38
Held my wedding reception here last month. The interest and care they put into the planning was amazing, and the appearance/service on the day was excellent. I'd highly recommend hiring this pub out for any function. It's also a nice pub for a drink in its own right, with a working fireplace, attractive decor, and plenty of seating. As Rex mentioned they don't have a lot of different beers, but the ones they do have are well kept. Will definitely be spending a lot more time in there.
topdog_andy - 15 Nov 2007 16:34
Pretty cool little place, I like to see old pubs so it appealed to me inside! Had some nice food, they go to a bit of effort for a pub meal, was very busy so hard to get quick service but service was still good, nice night out! Beers went down well after a rough day (hehe)
anonymous - 19 Jun 2007 16:32
Not so impressed as recent reviewers. Definitely not impressed by below par Timothy Taylor Landlord at £3.20 a pint! Seemed more like a French bistro than a pub; there were quite a few people in on a weekday late lunchtime but no atmosphere to speak of. Mirrors round the walls were fair enough as a decoration but I thought the adverts for this and that written on them were very much out of place - for a pub, but perhaps not for a bistro! Won't be returning, but gets a 4 for the tilework in the hallway.
RexRattus - 26 Mar 2007 22:31
Super decor and friendly staff. Only been there once but got the feeling that they were having a party and that I was invited. Downside, poor choice and quality of beer (only Landlord and Guiness, although a reasonable choice of lagers) and those people averse to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers may want to give it a miss, as they're played loudly... a lot.
simes69 - 15 Feb 2007 09:37
What a great find. I have been in a few times and always had a warm welcome from the guys behind the bar. The food is great. The buffet is a fairly original idea and the I thought the burger was very tasty. All together a great spot for a few lunchtime or afterwork beers. I'll certainly be going back.
G01548 - 1 Aug 2006 21:55
I read some of the recent reviews for this place and because I work in the City, thought I'd check it out one lunchtime. I thought it was great. As has been mentioned the decor is somewhat unusual and well worth a visit alone. But I was also quietly impressed with both the staff, who were very friendly, and their style of buffet which, despite having worked in the area for six years, I have never seen attempted before. Whilst I can't comment on the price of the beer as I didn't try any, I will say that the wine list was excellent as well as being extremely good value. I shall be returning.
StanleyBells - 5 Jul 2006 09:55
BIG & STRANGE........

Only T Taylor on tap when visited ,£3.15 a pint too!
Building is a gr8 bizarre looking place and well worth a visit. Just strange things like the granite slab on the bar with cakes and flapjacks on, and a stack of plates on a table at the door of the pub...

My Rating 8/10(mainly 4 the building!)
fat_beer_badger - 11 May 2006 16:56
Got taken here with friend, got to say I was unimpressed. It felt a bit soulless, no atmosphere, but strangly it wasn't like it was empty. Spent a while trying to decide what to drink, as I didnít fancy the ales ended up with a pint of larger with a good inch of head.

Luckily friends agreed, it wasn't all that much (has great reviews outside) so wonít be returning.

anonymous - 1 Feb 2006 17:22
Expensive, food was slow and average quality, this place might be trying to be a gastropub, but seems to have stopped trying after a few good reviews.
anonymous - 20 Jan 2006 11:45
Only real ale on last night was Timothy Taylor's Landlord - at a whopping £ 3.10 per pint. As previous contributors have correctly noted, this is no longer a pub anymore, but probably still worth a flying visit for curiousity sake - then head for one of the many splendid pubs nearby
JohnBonser - 26 Oct 2005 12:04
Oh what have they done. .. This used to be a fantastic pub full of characters and interest. Now it's hideous. They've cut the place in two (it's half the size it was) and it's a mess. And what bright spark thought it was a good idea to include a bloody fish tank in the middle of the room! And the ersatz "bric-a-brac" does nothing to improve the cheap, tawdry shadow of a former great self. Avoid!
Nailed - 15 Aug 2005 14:07
When I worked in Blackfriars, this was the place I would head for first for a liquid lunch. Went to meet a mate there for lunch the other day and its lacking that old atmosphere, had a drink and headed for Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese opposite.
VaVaVoom14 - 22 May 2005 15:59
This used to be one of the classic Fleet Street drinking dens, but not now. It is now run by an Indian management team who are focussing on food. Not really a drinkers pub any more - beer range seems to have been reduced, only Timothy Taylors Landlord on at £ 2.80 p per pint last night. Has also gone female - friendly somewhat, although in fairness the impressive tiling in the front entrance and the glasswork inside seems intact. Try the Old Bell, a few doors down Fleet Street instead, or Ye Olde
Cheshire Cheese, which is also close by. Also The Tipperary is still worth visiting, and, of course, The Blackfriar by the tube station
JohnBonser - 19 Jan 2005 12:54
Having recently moved offices to the Fleet Street area I have become a great fan of what the guys at the Punch are doing. When you walk in even on a busy night the management will come out and greet you and try and organise you a seat - unheard of in most pubs! The atmosphere is friendly and cool, the food is healthy and very tasty - I can even take it back to my office. Free popcorn and bombay mix on the tables is nice gesture.
anonymous - 9 Dec 2004 14:22
Fantastic food, wine, beers and staff. Classy & fun all round in one.
Mark W - [email protected] - 24 Jun 2004 13:57
Birthplace of the magazine of the same name.
anonymous - 14 Jan 2004 18:35

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