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College Arms, Bloomsbury

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user reviews of the College Arms, Bloomsbury

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

This pub, busy with student types (who must be properous!) will provide you with very good beer that is very well kept and presented. It is, however, expensive @ 3.80 per pint. Unfortunately the choice of three real ales disappointed me because all were high ABV - not what you want for an after work pint, I suggest. The landlord should try to get a better range.

PS - awful seating. New furniture required.
Beerscout - 23 Feb 2012 14:09
I booked the downstairs bar at the College Arms for my birthday recently, pretty much solely based on the claim that they had a pool table. We arrived to find that there was no pool table, which was vastly disappointing. We were also told by the bar manager at the time of booking that we could stay til 11:30pm, but the bar staff began shooing us out of the downstairs room shortly after 10pm, despite there not being sufficient seating for our party upstairs, and then wanted us out of the pub entirely by 11pm!

As for what was being served, prices were a little on the high side and choice was poor. The cocktails were somewhat lacking, despite the 6.50 price tag, and the food, while very tasty, was at the high end of what you'd expect from a basic gastro pub, at 10 for most mains, and ~5 per starter/side.

The decor is attractive and pleasant, but the music is terrible many of the chairs are deeply uncomfortable, the ladies toilets are up a very steep flight of stairs, the outdoor seating is very limited, and the barstaff seemed bored and dismissive.

Needless to say, it was a disappointing outcome for my birthday, and I would not recommend this place over any of the multitude of other pubs with similar prices and decor that would actually welcome our good business and honour their promises.
tephramancy - 18 Jul 2011 02:29
Good ales and food, but very expensive. Nearly 4 a pint. 3 for 11 tapas is probably the best value food.

The downstairs area is nice and cozy and often not too busy. The music is too loud however.
xeremy - 19 Jun 2011 14:51
Re-opened last month after a big refurb. Perfectly pleasant to look at and nicely decorated, but prices all shot up ... the food menu has been altered ie smaller tapas style ideas and higher prices. Usually empty lunchtimes during the week.
celt7 - 20 May 2011 17:31
Awful place, met some friends in here and decide to have a bite to eat, bloody hell what a mistaka to maka. Their famous pies were burnt inside and hard as rocks outside, staff couldnt care less even though we were the only people in the pub, ah well dumps like this make you appreciate the better pubs out there.
paddypint - 11 Aug 2010 18:59
Went in on a saturday lunchtime to find only one ale on - Adnam's Old. I presume the students at the nearby College of Law drank it dry during the week although that might perhaps be a generous assessment. The place was near empty at ground level although there appeared to be something going on in the basement, perhaps a private function. For a while it was adequate enough, until the barmaid began fiddling with a portable heater or something and managed the short circuit the electrics, causing the Telly showing the darts to switch off just as it was getting good. She showed no real willingness to remedy this problem, which put me in a bit of a bad mood. I necked the Old and left.
ChrisP87 - 10 Jan 2010 10:22
Was in here today and met new manager - really nice bloke who is taking an interst in the place. Food was fantastic, nice atmosphere and welcoming. Hope it continues as early this summer it was terrible.
celt7 - 16 Dec 2009 17:59
A great meeting place tucked away just off Tottenham Court Road. Always seems to have a good after-work crowd with almost a party atmosphere. Good times!
Bond_Girl - 19 Oct 2009 11:23
Over the Christmas period I stopped at my old local from years ago and was pleasantly suprised. Friendly staff, good food and a lovely pint of Adnams. Just what the doctor ordered!
Oyser - 6 Jan 2009 15:18
Stopped in here the other week to find both pump clips on their hand pumps turned around, and the atmosphere, like the beer selection, also lacking. For prime time on a Thursday evening the pub was fairly quite, suggesting I'm not the only drinker in the area unimpressed by the establishment. The pub is obviously aimed at students, but I often see more drinking on the other side of Tottenham Court Road in the excellent Samuel Smith tied houses there. Needless to say I won't be back of my own free choice. There are numerous better places to drink in the area.
Misk. - 13 Dec 2008 21:21
There's a strong rumour going round that a pool virtuoso will be playing in this pub tomorrow lunch. He can play shots no-one has ever seen or attempted before. The only problem is apparently he's playing a very average player so being the nice bloke he is, he might be kind to his friend and tone down his genius.
thehustler - 25 Jun 2008 18:13
I loved this place. I think I was here a few years ago and wasn't impressed, but this time I found the staff to be welcoming and a good atmosphere ensured a few pints too many! Recommended
RobBlake - 8 May 2008 11:07
Great after-work atmosphere. A lot of students but not your typical "half-a-cider-and-black" students. Met some fantastic people here and will definaltley go again!
RachelPenny - 4 Mar 2008 11:50
Law students. *Shudder*
northoftheriver - 11 Dec 2007 16:32
Went in to this establishment the other day and was served a pint with a dead spieder in it. Asked for a replacemennt and the barman tutted and mumbled something under his breath. Very dissappointed...
anonymous - 1 Nov 2007 15:44
I find the staff and the manager here to be really friendly and competent. I agree that it gets very crowded with students during term time but it is an excellent pub during the holidays.
DaveTownsend - 16 Jul 2006 11:27
I work at the College of Law, and can assure you that the majority of our students aren`t as many people describe them here. Of course, some of them are loud; they`re students after all. A group not exactly known for being shrinking violets! For an unpretentious, standard student boozer, it`s perfectly fine. If you`re looking for anything trendy, or hip, or an old-style pub, then look elsewhere.
Welshbeard - 11 Jun 2006 15:44
studied there recently and hated the stereotype I was put in.
Give me a decent boozer and undercover tax dodging.
baboosi - 6 Jun 2006 21:36
This pub officially sucks. I have been many times as a former student of the College of Law and even I cant stand the constant law prattle from all the wannabe barristers. Its not that cheap- always packed and the toilets are rank. As a student, youre much better off going round the corner to the Marlborough where you can get a seat adnd 2 meals for 7.99 and a double vodka and redbull for 2.75.
emlan - 28 Mar 2006 13:42
Great place to watch sport, have been comign here for years. beer is fine, never had the food as there are plenty of resturants in the area.
scottD - 1 Feb 2006 17:07
When the undergrads are in town this pub is more like a playschool with booze as they have a giant screen with Playstation football on permanently. By 10pm it's often one free-kick from kicking off into a riot. During the holidays it's a pretty dependable boozer and still stays busy enough upstairs for some atmosphere.
robinson - 23 Dec 2005 17:21
Visited this place the other day. Wasn't too impressed. Little bit cliquey, full (at 4pm!!) and my pint wasn't exactly setting the world on fire. Can't really comment on the bar staff, but I wouldn't choose to drink here again. I suppose it's ok for students, but fortunately those of us with jobs and a modicum of taste can walk across Tottenham Court Rd and find a selection of three fantastic pubs to choose from.

I'd just like to make a quick point about the comment from the London2600 guy about their friend being accused of theft. Quite apart from the unlikelyhood of busy barstaff taking it upon themselves to phone the police about something that never even happened, I'm also familiar with London2600 and it wouldn't surprise me if at least some of the people at your meeting that night were ouright criminals. Your organisation is, after all, largely geared towards what most normal people would perceive to be illegal activities.
anonymous - 31 Oct 2005 21:17
I was there that night, and your friend who you claim was wrongly accused of trying to rob the till, actually told a female member of the pub staff to empty the till - Quote "gimme the monry out of your till". Yes she did call the Police, but please tell me if a 6ft+ Black bloke walks into the pub and asks for the till money, what do expect is going to happen. If this was your, or your mates version of a joke, you are sadly very mistaken and sick. I know the manager their and the amount of backup from other landlords and pubs was great. Yes please do choose another venue and next time don't be so stupid with your actions or again another pub landlord will call your bluff.
anonymous - 16 Sep 2005 11:34
been booking this pub regularly staff are a great laugh and v. friendly top notch grub and good atmosphear
vinny_i - 26 Jul 2005 12:37
I'm a student next door to this place and also think its crap. Only redeeming feature is a pool table downstairs. Its always rammed from 5.30 onwards and in summer it spills out onto the street. Staff are pretty obnoxious and seem them a few times just walking off to the side of the bar for a rest even if you're waiting to be served. Would definitely advise people to take a 2 min walk down to rising sun or fitzroy
anonymous - 25 May 2005 13:35
Went once, staff were rude and aggressive, never going back. I wish imminent bankrupcy upon them.
anonymous - 7 Apr 2005 14:21
College Arms is the best students pub in London.I've spent there a lot of time during summer holidays,because two of my best friends are working there.Tom, my mate is working behind the bar and Cocoon is a chef.They are very nice young guys and they serving customers with their best attitude.Best wishes for them and the manager(Paul).C U soon.
Sienki - 9 Dec 2004 14:24
Got a very eerie sense when I went in that a fight was about to break out between the students and the suits. Rude, uber-cool studenty staff who can't pour pints - stick to the union
andy33brixton - 21 Nov 2004 15:30
We have been regularly booking the function room of this pub for events for a while now, and I have to say I have found the staff who are on duty during our events to be very helpful and friendly - to the point where I walk in the door all flustered and organisey, and come back upstairs to find a cool g&t waiting for me on the bar. We have never been double-booked or messed about, which is quite something these days.
Dark_Young - 20 Nov 2004 17:21
I really don't like this bar. The drink all tastes the same to me - HORRIBLE - and my mate. The staff are quite rude when it comes to ordering drinks. It feels very clicky, with a feeling that you don't belong if you're not a student and you haven't a rugby jersey on or a cashmere sweater draped over your shoulders. Its a shame really, as the location is really good for train and tube stations...Owners should really re-think things
Davey - 11 Nov 2004 04:45
Boo hoo, was SO MUCH BETTER when it was the University Tavern! All the character has been ripped out (and the manners)to leave a hoorible shell of what used to be one of the gretaest little pubs in the Central London area! A real shame.
Kyle - 9 Nov 2004 11:46
I agree this pub is crap. My girlfriend left a small bag of shopping behind. She came back a day later to be informed that they were too busy to get it and could she come back. Staff are helpful and surly! AVOID!!!!!
Mark - 29 Oct 2004 17:12
Went in here today and was surprised by the foul language that I heard from the local "students". I thought it would be good to go to an educated boozer for a change. I WAS WRONG! What a dive!Many of these students need their mouths washed out with soap. And waht is up with the drinks being so expensive. From what I saw, there was nothing to warrant such an exorbitant amount of moolah!
Davey - 22 Oct 2004 15:59
I went to Kings College Bar last nite and realised howe horrible this bar (College Arms) is. The College Arms is a smelly, grotty, cheap, nasty establishment. It must be the only bar in London which allows the homeless to come in to beg. Seing a grotty beard and fleas jumping from it whilst you're trying to drink is a big turn off! 2/10
Junior Senior - 7 Oct 2004 13:26
Ya,this bar is the bomb Daddy! What a fantastic "College" Bar. Its just like the one you see in Dawson's Creek. Drink is good, food is yummy and so are the bar tenders! 9/10
Henry - 5 Oct 2004 13:05
Went in today and my mate ordered a Fosters, a Carling and a Black Russian. We received two Carlsbergs and a coke. If the bar staff concentrated on their orders instead of trying to impress the girls with their Tom Cruise "Cocktail" routines, perhaps this might be an "ok" place to go.
Claudia and Clive - 27 Sep 2004 17:02
Hi its Tod again. I went back in June and not much has changed since. The place is still full of hoorayh enrys who self-confidently shout at eachother with every second and third word being "Ya", "Crazy", "Wizard"> This is in my opinion a breeding ground for Mummy and Daddy's spoilt little brats. They have more money that sense and lack manners!
Horatio - 26 Sep 2004 23:10
College Arms is a mix of fun and crazy place... It's difficult to enjoy some times because is full of students, but why not? This is the "College Arms"... crowd, full of energy and everyone wants to be served! :) Just be patient, the staff wants to serve you but even them go mad! hehe
Jnr - 25 Sep 2004 13:49
Hi there, I really don't get why all the students go here at all. I had a drink there last year at 5 o'Clock and couldn't get a seat or even standing space inside. Instead I was drinking my apple juicey looking pint in the middle of the road (literally!) What surprised me more, was that the guy who served me was outside 5 minutes later in a fluorescent coat shouting abuse at my friends and I to get out of the road. So it was alright for him to take our money, but it didn't matter that pub and outside was so crowded we were literally drinking in the road. I'm not being rude, but you would have to be a moron to go to this place more than once. I'm no moron
Nico Suave - 15 Sep 2004 16:42
Nate and I spent alot of time here with brett, matt, paul, olly (forgive me for the spelling if im wrong) while we were supposed to be doing schoolwork for JMU. We learned more from people like Guiness chugging Mark (the fat one with marxist views) than we did from our adjuncts. Had it not been for the cook in the kitchen, I would have starved for three and a half months. CHEERS TO THE COLLEGE ARMS!!!!!! p.s.- anyone got an e-mail address for Brett?
Paul Evans - 4 May 2004 06:40
Never again am I going to this pub. I went in with my friends a few months ago and we were disgusted by the foul language used by the students. We were used as walking ashtrays and menacingly pursued by a group of young men who obviously wanted to buy us drinks and get in out pants! One to avoid!
Stephen - 3 Jan 2004 14:12
Its scrumptuosly delightful. Whenever I go here I know I will be challenged mentally by my peers. Its simply divine!! Only joking! The locals are all spoilt little hooray henry's which look at you as if you're sh*t if you are not one of them. Those behind the bar act as if thet are Tom Cruise in Cocktail! Rather stick needles in my eye than visit this place on a regular basis.
Tod - 3 Jan 2004 13:28
This pub is great!! I spent most afternoons here in the spring of 2003. Eckerd College student's recommend it 100%. The two beautiful bartenders, Edith and Gabriella made my semester in London!!!
Seantennant - 19 Nov 2003 09:46
this pub was the best! I spent many a night here with my FSU buddies and Bunac friends. It's not the quality of the beer or music that makes a pub great, it's the people who you meet and drink with. . . My boyfriend was a bartender here and it made my semester in London. If you visit the pub, be friendly to the manager Paul, he's a good bloke . . .
Kat Klein - 15 Nov 2003 05:21
One of the duller boozers in London, located specifically so that students at the nearby Law College can shout self confidently at each other.

Crap in a cup and stare at it - you'll gain more from the experience.
Ruby - 16 Jul 2003 12:25
Usually packed with students and as a result pretty dead towards the end of summer. They seem to be doing a lot of work on it at the moment, but no matter how many workmen come and go the place seems to look identical.

Anyway, back to the point in hand. It's an ok pub. We found it cos it's near to the office and we still go there so that's got to be a good sign. We have our fair share of complaints about the place but it's ok. Food and beer alike.
TheG - 18 Jun 2003 17:32
This pub is my alltime favourite. lovley students and cheap drinks... miss it alot!
edi - 8 Jun 2003 16:27
Was there at the Changeover from University to College Arms. Sad day :( But Paul is still the best tender in the City. Good Beer, Good Times, Great Atmosphere.
Andy - [email protected] - 17 Jan 2003 00:31
this pub is awesome! excellent staff and good drinks and great atmosphere. none better.

moe - 16 Jan 2003 03:08
All the character that this pub had has been ripped out to leave a rather uninspiring shell of a pub. Far better places to drink in the vicinity.
mike - 6 Sep 2002 00:31
Sob! It was so much better when it was the University Tavern...
Clare - 5 Sep 2002 11:36

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