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Fitzroy Tavern, Fitzrovia

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user reviews of Fitzroy Tavern, Fitzrovia

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

It’s mid January 2022 and we’re just emerging from the third wave of the pandemic. I’d scouted around Soho/Bloomsbury for a fairly quiet pub as remarkably, for a Tuesday night, all the pubs were full ( in the sense that there was no seating). I’ve been in the Fitzroy before but had been reading the book The Colony Room where the Fitzroy is mentioned several times. There was seating to be had and I bought a decent pint of stout and marvelled at the photos of the pub from the 40s and 50s. I was sat in the newly refurbished part ( you can tell which is the more modern part by looking at the ceiling). The Fitzroy is part of the Sam Smith’s chain and I’d already passed one of their pubs that was unusually shut, a notice saying they were only open Thursday to Sunday and subsequently peered through the window of another (The Bricklayers Arms) which seemed fairly empty too.
My take on the ‘emptiness’ is that Sam Smith’s is displaying signs banning the use of mobile phones/tablets and laptops in their pubs. I had little to go on ( the menu and a copy of the Evening Standard). Instead of staying, I was desperate to get out of there and found another pub ( with an interesting history) that doesn’t have such draconian rules. Blame the pub chain owner and not the staff if the whole operation shuts down due to lack of business and lack of ability to recruit staff who would probably prefer to work in pubs that don’t have such a dire rule to enforce.
Garter1 - 19 Jan 2022 09:46
for such a historic and attractive pub it is a shame that the bar staff were unfriendly, served customers at random and never smiled (not even at each other) all the time we were there.
colinjs - 3 Jun 2015 09:38
This pub is always busy.
Its a Sam Smiths.
The staff can be exceptionally obnoxious.
Now, to address the above points, the fact that it's so busy suggests that it's actually a good pub. It is; good beer selection and interesting lively atmosphere always. random conversations can be had as well as private ones and the punters range from students to the west end workers to well off Fitzrovians to tourists.

Its a Sam Smiths Pub. if you don't know what that means , google it. If you do, it's worth knowing that this is one of the most expensive SS pubs there is - weissbeir £3.50/pint, bottles much more.
The staff can be rude. however, the surly glass collectress who thumped glasses and collected unfinished pints soon melted into a smily cherub when we engaged her in conversation and smiles. I am by no means saying that this should be necessary (it shouldn't), but London folk can be exceptionally rude and demanding as well and then cry when it comes back to them.. lighten up. and then go to the other SS pubs in the area if you want a seat and cheaper drinks!!

tonofbrix - 17 Feb 2015 10:02
Not as cheap as it used to be. Sam Smiths pub with its own unique brands that take a little getting used to.
mont62y - 1 Apr 2014 13:03
Shame about the beer.
marklaw - 11 Mar 2013 14:10
I was disappointed to see no handles here as well.

That said, the pints of OBB I had were reasonably OK and the atmosphere fairly convivial.
eddybeer - 24 Feb 2013 18:10
I love Sam Smiths pubs and I rarely find they disappoint. The Fitzroy is clearly the exception that proves the rule. For newbys to an SS pub you can expect really competitive prices and, in London especially, great locations. This has both but it's after this that things go badly awry. Disappointingly there is no cask ale on offer here and the service is the worst I've experienced. Faced with a queue I was informed that the barman 'wasn't serving just at the moment' and his colleague demanded I go to the other side tof the bar to be served (presumably so he didn't have to move more than a foot). The condition of the place was a disgrace (all four urinals out of action for instance). The highlight was the grafiti'd notice in the Gents. Under the ubiquitous sign saying the 'These toilets are checked regularly' some wag had written 'wot each millenium'! Sums it up really.
nicarm - 11 Feb 2013 21:31
I can't quite put my finger on what makes this pub so popular. There are plenty of other Samuel Smith's pubs around and it is certainly not the most fancy one, but nevertheless, it's always heaving and the atmosphere is always buzzing. It used to be great when there were tables and parasols outside but unfortunately these have now been removed.

The beer is cheap, the staff are sometimes a little hard, but they are always efficient and you know exactly what you're getting. Being bang on Charlotte St it's also very conveniently located for after work drinkers and students alike. Don't sit downstairs, the extractor fan from the gents blows straight into the seating area!!
EdLondon - 3 Dec 2012 18:07
Odd pub, staff are rude, no TV's for sport but cheap so it's a winner for me!
statto74 - 2 Sep 2011 15:58
Top boozer.
keyser_soze - 15 Apr 2011 17:58
Possibly my favourite Sam Smith's in the capital. Lots of seats, though it can get impressively packed at weekends. It's easy to strike up a conversation with all sorts of people. If it's just too busy upstairs, it's often possible to sit in the basement. A good all-round pub with a rich history.
MX7 - 2 Mar 2011 16:55
Spent last Saturday night in here after a nice meal in Soho. The place was busy but we managed to get the last table in the corner. Even though it was busy it was friendly and welcoming unlike so many pubs in the area. A Sam Smith's pub with the usual beverages on offer, I opted for the Stout and my wife had one of those bottled cherry beers; the stout was superb. We stayed until closing (1100hrs) and had a very nice night.
Paulb014 - 3 Feb 2011 12:39
Buzzing on a Thursday afternoon with city workers, off-the-clock docs and home counties students avoiding the anti-fees demo violence just a few streets away. A barmaid that can efficiently and promptly serve several people at once. Usual walnut veneer of a Sam Smiths pub suit the literary feel of the place & enhanced with tasteful Xmas decorations. Recommended.
ShenaniganOFlanaghan - 10 Dec 2010 20:06
When I was there last night the place was absolutely packed - I don't think I've been in such a busy pub for years. According to the unflusterred barman Thursday and Fridays are always busy. Many of the customers were students, attracted by cheap beer, but it certainly did not feel like a student bar. The walls are decorated with prints and photos alluding to the pub's glory days in the 1930s and 1940s when anybody in Literary London who was anyone drank there. My pint of Extra Stout was magnificent, although there did not seem to be any real ale.
simontheeditor - 29 Jan 2010 13:16
Well yet another Sam's pub I have found and another that seems to do the business. Fitzrovia is a surprisingly nice area that isn't overly busy and the same goes for this pub. Probably a rubbish place if you don't like Sams but if you do then pay a visit here, which is just round the corner from Goodge Street tube.

PS the pub was beautifully decorated at Christmas with an enormous blue lighted tree in the corner.
Oakman100 - 21 Jan 2010 18:07
Not a bad sam smiths if you like'em. Just to busy on a friday nite & no one likes plastic glasses. Great for a quite pint on a sunday though.
JimmyJacksonJones - 31 Oct 2009 15:01
A lovely building in a great location is let down by the bizarre policy of only having one member of staff on at lunchtime. If you only have an hour for lunch this is best avoided.
WalthamstowBlade - 28 Oct 2009 15:00
I have never been to a Sam Smith's pub that I liked, including this one. All the beers are disgusting, the interior resembles a 1980's old mens social club and there's no atmosphere. Avoid.
lennie384 - 13 Sep 2009 17:50
Visited this as a late Thursday afternoon (6ish) meeting point with some mates - not overly busy with 'suits' and Charlotte Street and 'Noho' is a pleasant area. A good, unspoilt interior and the staff seemed okay to me.
Royston15 - 5 Jun 2009 22:09
Rude staff, plastic glasses on a Friday night and the toilets are flooded with !!!!
KeithP - 27 Apr 2009 19:52
Well known Sam Smiths pub in Fitzrovia that apparently used to be a former haunt of artists and writers up to the 1960's.

I recently paid what was probably my first visit since when I did this pub in the 1970's due to it appearing in the Evening Standard Guide to London Pubs.

Nowadays, it's a not unpleasant typical Sam's pub - no music etc - with some interesting pictures of the pub and its patrons in days long gone.

There's also a small downstairs bar.

No real ale - Sam Smiths fizzy OBB is 1.88p.

In contrast to previous reviewers, I found the bar staff positively effusive and welcoming by London standards
JohnBonser - 12 Feb 2009 12:58
Have never been 2 a pub where the staff are so rude
pensioner - 26 Jan 2009 14:56
I really, really hate this pub. I hate it so much, this is now the second review I've written. The beer (Sam Smiths) is poor - there is no real ale on tap. The staff are astonishingly unfriendly and unhelpful, and service is glacially slow.

mattygroves - 26 Jan 2009 10:52
Quite busy on an early saturday evening, but was disappointed to be ID'd by the rather overworked barmaid. Not one of the more memorable establishments in the area but worth considering if you're desperate to escape the crush of Oxford Street for a half-decent pint.
ChrisP87 - 11 Jan 2009 10:14
Fine if you've got the patience. Ok when it's quiet but never enough staff and the beer must be piped down from Yorkshire the speed it comes out of the pumps.
PMG - 16 Dec 2008 11:48
The first time I went to this place was to do a set down stairs at the 'Pearshaped' comedy club on a Wednesday. Went in the other day on a Monday - very quiet, three bitters/ales on. So so. Will go again when I do a comedy set.
Jonnysaint - 1 Dec 2008 10:22
Looks to be a pretty decent Sam Smiths pub but still no real ale on handpump.
RexRattus - 26 Oct 2008 10:04
Cheap Piss considering the area. If you going to a gig at the Astoria its worth considering.
HENDO - 17 Sep 2008 21:03
There's always remarks about the service at this place, but it's been pretty good the last few times I drank there over the summer. Nice to buy two drinks and get change for a fiver too.
gkelly - 22 Aug 2008 13:47
Had a swift Wheat Beer here yesterday. It seems quite pleasant - but no cask ale, as has previously been noted by rpadam.
sussexred - 10 Jun 2008 15:43
A jewel in the Samuel Smith empire.
badwolf - 6 Apr 2008 14:41
Cheap and cheerful, but although I don't even drink OBB out of choice, I am still offended that it doesn't serve any cask beer. Even if only 1% of the clientele wanted to buy real ale, there would ample demand to justify installation of some handpumps. I can't image why Sam Smiths persist with this approach for some, but not all, of their central London pubs (it just seems pig-headed to me). Having said all that, a nice pint of stout, as always...
rpadam - 27 Mar 2008 23:21
Some Sam Smiths pubs have a rather manufactured historic feel to them but this one just oozes its own past. The walls are adorned with old photos of the pub, many including its first licensee 'Pop' Kleinfeld and famous customers from the artistic fields in the 50s. It is said that the pub existed before Fitzrovia itself and gave the area its name. Its worth visiting during quieter times just to stroll around the pub looking at the old photos and historic documents. As others have said there is no cask OBB and the service was indifferent, I was asked quite off-handedly if I knew the prices had gone up and was a bit undecided as to whether this was a pleasant courtesy or if I looked like a bloke who would walk out for the sake of 5p, or whatever the increase was.

Millay - 21 Mar 2008 13:47
Packed out but a generally good vibe... didn't notice rude staff but they were really busy, expected for a Saturday night.
Not bad but there are better pubs in the area.
NWLondon_Girl - 2 Mar 2008 23:53
The only thing animated about this pub is the bar staff's aggressive attitude to its customers. Interesting history as a mainstay of Fitrovian culture but - alike modern day England one could say -it has a certain stranded feel of melancholy and hopelessness about it.

TS77 - 29 Feb 2008 15:12
Well, I do like the Fitzroy, but it can get terribly crowded. It`s a friendly, convivial, and *very* cheap place to drink. The staff are often overworked, however, but I have to say that I`ve never once experienced any rudeness, even when it`s obvious that they are working their arses off.
Welshbeard - 10 Feb 2008 12:51
The staff in this pub were rude all night to all of my friends, and when, at the end of the evening, I tried to make a polite suggestion that they might want to improve customer service, they were even ruder to me. They suggested that the rudeness was justified because they had 'worked 180 hour weeks.'. Firstly, this can't be true. Secondly, if itthey have worked long shifts, it's not my fault but the manager's. Thirdly, I'm not saying bar work isn't hard, and I've worked long shifts myself,but it's no excuse to be rude to polite customers. The drinks might be cheap, but I will never go to this pub again. There are plenty of other more pleseant sam smith's pubs in the area - I advise you to visit the Groom and Horses on Great Portland Street instead.
suzyw - 17 Nov 2007 23:58
I drink in this pub on the first Thursday of a month, as there is an informal meeting of Doctor Who fans. This is the only reason I visit this pub.

As this is a Sam Smith's pub, the drink is astonishingly cheap, but deservedly so. There is no real ale - indeed, no branded beer at all (apart, of course, from Sam Smiths). The staff are indifferent at best, and rude at worst (though I do realise it can get very crowded, and for health and safety reasons they have to keep the outside crowd from blocking the pavement).

There are pubs with better (though not cheaper) ale - and if cost really is your issue, you might find a Weatherspoons more to your taste, if you want a selection of real ales. It's a shame, since the location is good, and the building is nice.

Ah well.
mattygroves - 1 Nov 2007 11:25
The staff in this pub are rude. I've observed them serving short pints to many customers. When I asked for my pint to be topped up, the barmaid denied that she had poured a short pint, even though it was clear that it was short of the pint line. She then proceeded to top up the pint with dregs from another glass, which shows their attitude to hygiene.

Service is generally sharp and rude - no pleases or thankyous. Expect to wait for ages to be served, and don't expect staff to serve customers in any fair order.

It's a shame because this really ought to be a good pub: it's in a good location with outside seating, the decor is ok and Sam Smiths beer is cheap and cheerful. But avoid it until they sort ther staff out: there are plenty of good pubs in the area such as the Bricklayers Arms, the Marquis de Granby, or the Three Tuns.
philipt - 16 Sep 2007 23:12
Good quality and value pub food, cracking beers, a real gem of a pub.
snowdog2112 - 21 Aug 2007 08:29
As many people have already said the pub is too crowded, so I recommand getting there early unless you don't mind standing for HOURS. I waited until the smoking ban was in force until I visted for only
my second time. Met up with some Doctor Who fans (1st Thursday of the month).

Will consider going back (but as I said, it gets busy really quickly).


P.S. More staff needed at pub...Not that landlords ever seem to take notice :( Only gave it a 6 score as it is so poorly staffed.
Roxy641 - 20 Jul 2007 20:38
A decent Sam Smith's pub with their usual range of drinks and a few tables outside for when the weather is nice. You're not allowed to stray more than a metre or so from the building though, and the bar staff often come out to enforce this. There's a comedy night downstairs here every Wednesday called Pear Shaped (you can Google for their website) which, at a fiver for 2 hours of entertainment, is excellent. Be prepared for some good, some bad and some downright ugly but it's a small intimite venue and we had a great time.
kingston_toon - 28 Jun 2007 16:44
great grub rubbish ale, end of story pal

the steak was like butter in my mouth but the ale tasted like ashes in comparison

hats off to the landlord though
Jimi - 1 Apr 2007 15:25
lovesong - 16 Feb 2007 16:01
Yet another Sam Smith's pub with NO Handpumps, if you mwant a decent pint of bitter go to the Champion
lovesong - 16 Feb 2007 15:57
On a cold winters night nothing beats slipping into a steamy fitzroy tavern, kick off your shoes, grab a pint of Alpine lager, just simply join a table and join in the conversation. I have made untold friends in this pub. They also do great chicken goujons
Jimi - 5 Jan 2007 16:28
Legendarily cheap & tasty beer. One of the few decent boozers in Central London.
AuntieBeryl - 25 Nov 2006 10:44
Expect a minimum 20 minute wait to get served on Thursday/Friday night. Not knocking the bar staff who do do their best, but the management who refuse to hire more staff.
Selly - 9 Nov 2006 10:23
A fine pub; good value and good quality beer!
couldwehaveaneel - 28 Oct 2006 11:00
Why are there never enough staff on when it's always so busy. Go somewhere else if you want a few beers on a Friday night
PMG - 2 Oct 2006 10:24
Superb interior but lack of any hand-pulled beers lets it down
BlindTiger - 11 Aug 2006 09:17
I actually prefer Sam Smith's German-style wheat beer to (Belgian) Hoegarden - I am probably alone in that respect
anonymous - 8 Aug 2006 22:17
Too right. If Sam's won't even stock decent lagers, apart from their own, why expect them to stock bad ones?

The Fitzroy has had its ups and downs over the years, but continues to do what it says on the tin, provided the tin reads cheap but basic pub that isn't a JD Wetherspoon and therefore is not frequented by the socially and intellectually inadequate in alarming numbers.

Like other long-term Sam's devotees, I was alarmed when the Old Brewery Bitter went from draft to keg in here, and for a good few years now the cider has been more or less undrinkable, but there is now Pure Brewed Lager on draft as well as the former Heffe Weiss (aka the poor man's Hoegarden) which is now sold as just Wheat Beer. So all that remains is the perenniel Sam's problem of being there with a work crowd who may want wines or spirits but will find only obscure brands that other pubs wouldn't even stock to sell as cheap house doubles.
Martinl - 8 Aug 2006 18:24
I love the Old Brewery bitter, particularly when its in a plastic pint glass (usually on busy Fridays) strangely tastes better that way

Cant say I agree with the comment from Stench re: Budweiser, I think millions of drinkers world wide, who love the cool taste of a Bud make me right on that one

Jimi - 7 Aug 2006 17:14
The last three reviews are completely random. So much so I want to draw attention to them.

First, you've got a punter who lives entirely in a world of his own - mate, this isn't anything like a Parisian salon, god knows what reminds you of Blake, and the wine is awful. Second fella thinks Yates Wine Lodges are "trendy". The last one makes a totally irrelevant reference to Thatcher and then laments the fact that a Sam Smiths house doesn't serve an incredibly awful beer which is rarely found on tap in England anyway (Budweiser - I'm assuming you meant the yank gnats piss and not the decent Czech variety).

Three nutters or one nutter with a split personality? Who knows.

This pub is a good one to know. Staff aren't interested. Sam Smiths beers only (its a tied house). Interior comfortable but uninteresting. Lots of history but seen better days. Lovely location with great seating outside - big plus.
anonymous - 4 Aug 2006 22:31
My father often talked of this pub during my childhood and was a regular visitor during those terrible Thatcher years of the mid eighties. I visited for the first time last week and enjoyed myself enormously, although it would have been better had there been budweiser on tap. Spotted Bill Treacher (Arthur Fowler from Eastenders) enjoying a quiet pint near the jukebox.

Jimi - 4 Aug 2006 15:52
You know, I think that a lot of people have had their expectations of pubs coloured by those trendy bars such as Albarone and Yates Wine Lodge. This is what drinking should be about; good locally sourced and produced authentic beers; hearty food; cheery staff; and comfortable surroundings. This place serves some of the finest Weiss beers this side of Leek. A personal favourite.
PS try the scampi chips, they're divine!
MarkMorris1972 - 4 Aug 2006 15:24
I think a number of your reviewers are missing the charm of this traditional olde worlde pub. The gothic splendour of this place reminds me very much of the work of William Blake. I've always found the atmosphere very convivial and almost reminiscent of the salons of Paris I used to frequent in my youth. Although, in many ways, I'm glad that the yuppies don't like coming here so that I can enjoy my glass (es!!) of Italian rioja in peace.
Ratters - 4 Aug 2006 15:07
Sam Smiths, cheap beer, tired interior, though nice on a summers evening if you can tolerate the utterly useless `ossie` staff. Even when the place is half empty they are rubbish, slow and thick.
darloexile - 16 Jul 2006 10:26
It's a Sam Smiths pub, so you know what you're getting to drink. Reasonable beers at prices that knock everything else in the area into a cocked hat. Always busy, though, so difficult to get a table. BUT the staff are fantastic - actually capable of dealing with several customers at once and keep things moving.
stargull - 14 Jun 2006 18:48
Its in store street so Im positive about bumping into them but you're right stonch I have gone too far about the comments about col students but I still hate this pub.
juzza - 11 Jun 2006 23:00
Juzza what is your massive problem with College of Law students? You have mentioned them in several reviews? Am I missin something, or is the college of law not on chancery lane? If so why do you claim this pub which is miles away from there gets full of them? Are you sure you are reviewing the right place.

This pub has some things going for it - cheap Sam Smith's beer (no real ale however, so stick to the pure brewed lager/wheat beer/bottled ales), a wide pavement, outdoor seating, and a a leafy charlotte street setting. Good for summer, not very good for winter.
anonymous - 9 Jun 2006 10:04
You have got to be joking this pub is awful Ill be honest Im not a fan of Sam Smith pubs but this is really a terrible pub full of college of law students thinking they're Gods gift. avoid guys!!
juzza - 8 Jun 2006 22:04
Good cheap pub. Charlotte steet atmosphere is excellent in the summer for standing around outside. I think the bar staff are great - there's not enough of them but they always know who's next and seem to be able to serve about 4 people at once. Would definitely benefit from a smoking ban inside though.
kknb3398 - 7 Jun 2006 09:02
Good cheap products, as good as brand name stuff. Would be nice if the brewery forked out for a renovation though. Stick around long enough and see just how hard (and how long!) the staff work.
i_like_pubs - 5 Jun 2006 11:46
Cant see the appeal of this pub cr*p atmosphere and these awful sam smith brands
juzza - 31 Mar 2006 14:11
worst pub ever, a barmaid called nicole was the rudest most obnoxious girl i have ever met.
deliverer - 29 Mar 2006 13:30
I have in the past had a lot of time for this place. However on Sunday afternoon it was pretty miserable. The bar maid was doing her best, but the place had a strangely depressed atmosphere. The absence of any real ale is sad for such a historic pub. Had a pint of wheat beer which was nice. We were starving so ordered a main course of chilli between us - just about half decent for 6.50.

My view is that this is a summer pub - outside in the street is where you want to be as the interior is gloomy and tired.
anonymous - 27 Mar 2006 10:41
Possibly, one of the best Sam Smith pubs in London. Excellent busy atmosphere on week nights, chilled out by day and at weekends. Staff not the greatest, lack of maybe: esp on a Friday night. The keg bitter is cheap and mostly nasty, invest in their gorgeous Oatmeal Stout or Nut Brown Ale by the bottle, and the night will just fly by. Recommended.
darloexile - 1 Mar 2006 14:36
Ace pub love it, Dripping with history which is displayed in the photos on the walls, cosy downstairs and snug upsatirs with people lining the pavement out side 3 deep in summertime.
Of course its also a Sam Smiths pub so the beer is good and the prices are fanatstic. This used to be my work local and i just keep going back.
maximcondor - 22 Feb 2006 14:54
Sam Smiths beer, on the whole, is not bad. The Hefe Weisse, despite being brewed in the UK, is pretty authentic tasting; the Oatmeal Stoute, Pale Ale and Porter in bottles are incredibly good, and the new Pure Brewed Lager is an excellent, crisp-tasting lager served in tall glasses. The Fitzroy is probably my favourite Sam Smiths pub, although it's sometimes too busy.
rayray67 - 16 Feb 2006 15:16
Good Cheap Beer. Good service on a Friday night.
Very busy pub, good atmosphere - a nice place.
Only problem was that staff were very keen to get people to move on once time was called.

adamsant - 16 Jan 2006 16:55
Top boozer, good beer and cheap compared to the other pubs in the area
fatshirt - 7 Nov 2005 10:40
Famous literary pub used by Dylan Thomas and others in the 1930's - gave its name to the Fitzrovia area. Photos of the pub's history are on the walls - including the "Pennies From Heaven" charity fund-raising when people would pin bank notes on the pub ceiling. The atmospheric and cosy downstairs bar has photos of Dylan Thomas drinking at the pub. A traditional Sam Smith's pub, though lacking much of the charm and original features of some of the other Sam Smith pubs. A suitable gloomy atmosphere which with imagination could evoke romantic associations with the intellectual and artistic crowd from the 1930's, but, to be honest, is mostly quite ordinary. If you don't know the pub's history then this is just another pub - nice, but nothing special. However, given the pub's history, this is an essential stop if you're in the area. The keg stout was served with too much nitro, making it over foamy, but it had a pleasant dry bitterness and was quite acceptable.
SilkTork - 17 Aug 2005 09:33
Ok - I admit it; I love the Fitzy for its Heffe Weiss - my all-time favourite beer (don't bother me where it's brewed it tastes great). The worse, most miserable manager in the universe; rude, obnoxious and, if you're a woman, don't even try asking him to serve you.. as for the Fitzroy's rule on a Friday night to dispense with washing glasses after 8 and pour everything into plastic cups - like, just what IS that about?
anonymous - 22 Jul 2005 15:13
Alright - I`ll concede from the outset that the syphilis may well have got its scabby claws on the last remaining parts of my frontal lobes. However, I still maintain solidly that a cockney dealers white van must have done at almighty junk fart from the Fitzroys entrance as there is no other reasonable explanation for the chaotic mixture of tat and second hand weirdness that has come to rest in its interior. Seriously, can anyone really tell me that this spread of mismatched clutter has been laid intentionally down by a rationale human mind? Not only does no table match either its accompanying chair or the table next to it (ditto for beer mats, stools, pictures etc), but the shear amount of stuff and its crazy placement makes any attempt to cross the floor a serious test of dexterity.

Of course, all of this madness does lend the Fitzroy a real dose of character, even if its of the deranged lunatic variety. After all central London more than any other area of the UK is rapidly succumbing to the bland chain pub virus, a fact that makes any place with a smidgen of individuality is a welcome relief.

Unfortunately though this big bonus is lessened considerably by the Fitzroys serious customer service problems. This isnt a slight at the staff, who are bloody hard working, but at that fact there simply arent enough of them. Quite why the management dont realise this is beyond me as not only is the end result a serious loss of cash for them personally but also an infuriatingly long wait for anyone looking to quench their thirst from 5pm onwards on any night of the week. This is a real shame as while the prices maybe typically London, the drink selection is pretty decent (on all fronts) and the clientele very pleasant but all of this (along with the character) is heavily dampened by the deep queues all customers have to endure.

As a result despite my desire to give the Fitzroy a 7 or an 8 I`m going to have to go for an average 6. No matter how good the surroundings or the vibe, if you cant get a pint within four hours of stepping through the door its not going to get anything other than average.

anonymous - 10 Jul 2005 21:21
OK, and I liked the wheat beer. It might be UK-brewed, but as one who has lived in Germany, it passed muster.
Agree with the inadequate staffing comments. I nearly died of thirst waiting for a jar.......
jcraf - 10 Jun 2005 17:41
Not sure about this place. Inadequately understaffed even at peak times, it'll take you an age to get a drink. No big-brand beers but thats ok as the quality is good. Great to sit outside in summer, but inside can seem a bit of a dive. Even so i've spent a few good evenings there. Worth a look in
crisp - 25 May 2005 13:10
As mentioned, great beer (especially the Heffe-Weissr) and it has a slightly rambling, if overcrowed and extremely smokey, atmosphere. It's also great to stand, or sit , outside with a pint in the summer.

However, it gets very overcrowed in the evenings and can take up to 30mins to get served. There are not enough staff serving and don't even dare to question whether it is your turn to be served as I was basically shouted out of the pub by the landlord for doing so.

All in all, if you enjoy good beer, overcrowding and being treated like dirt by the classy bar staff it's the pub for you!

dadrobertson - 29 Apr 2005 22:20
A Sam Smiths chain pub. No real ale, but good cheap tap beer.
Don't be conned by the "German" wheat beer, its brewed in England and
is not great quality.
Generally has a good vibe, but has lots of large groups of rowdy
drinkers. Inside, the music is too loud in the evening and if you can't
get a table there's too much pushing past to be relaxed. So it's better in summer
when you can stand outside.
timdownie - 15 Apr 2005 12:41
Great sams pub on the fashionable Charlotte street great beer at cheap prices, lots of history great in summer for outside seats and tables fast and friendly service keeps bringing me back, just cant stay away!!!
anonymous - 14 Apr 2005 00:42
Nice enough pub, but not much fun drinking outside where you are constantly chivvied for cash by the packs of roving smackheads.
anonymous - 7 Apr 2005 14:32
Does anyone realise that George Orwell used to be a regular when he lived in Fitzrovia?
ganger - 12 Mar 2005 13:53
Ahhhnow this is what a London pub should be! Take heed all you bland chain pub zombies...get out of the All Bar None and get your self down here!
A great range of beers, ales and stouts...super fast service...beautiful & historic surrounds and loads of atmosphere. How much can a Koala bear?

AusseiMatt - 4 Mar 2005 09:52
One of my favourite London pubs. Tremendous watering-hole. Excellent Sam Smith brews (and at 1.68 for the Sovereign or Old Brewery, dirt cheap for the area). Do still play some (quiet) music, good mix, nothing too lame.

But beware - thieves very active in this pub/area - have had mates deprived of all sorts; coats, wallets, souls etc.

Added bonus: Icco is just about a block north on the corner - some of the best value genuine pizza in london. Perfect bite before hitting the pub.
eccentric_man - 4 Feb 2005 15:06
Any Samuel Smith pub gets a thumbs up. Cheap, good beer - especially in the city. Usually a pretty good atmosphere. There's not enough of these around.
Flatman - 28 Jan 2005 18:30
Benn going here for years for cheapo mid-week beer-ups. Quite simply a great pub in a great location.
Nick26580 - 18 Jan 2005 10:47
Brilliant pub. Great looking pub, cheap because it sells the Samuel Smith range, and great location...What more do you need.

Perhaps if Samuel Smith still had music in their pubs it would be perfect..
CockAlex - 2 Jan 2005 13:56
A beautiful old English 'island bar' (ie. the bar is in the middle with seating all around it).
One of the nicest looking Samuel Smith pubs around. Absolutley full of atmosphere.
CockAlex - 2 Jan 2005 13:22
The Fitzroy Tavern is a great pub. I regularly go with the Doctor Who crowd on the first Thursday of the month. I would recommend this pub to anyone who wishes to stop for a drink while up town. Great atmosphere and great prices to, try the Princess Louise in Holborn to (another Sam Smith pub).
grantpaul100 - 5 Dec 2004 10:52
i used to manage this pub for sam smiths (circa 1987-89) along with my then... other half and i absolutely loved the atmosphere which was a mixture of new bohemia, office and hospital workers and even some locals! it is a pub absolutely steeped in history and has had many famous 'writers and artists' among their clientele
carol lees - [email protected] - 18 Nov 2004 22:57
Quality beer served at a quality pub. Nice and cosy. Worth seeking out. Interesting range of beers and lagers, which is typical of a Sam Smiths pub. Nice not to see Fosters, Stella & London Pride for once. Well worth seeking out.
Simon - 5 Nov 2004 07:35
Good centre-of-town meeting place, ace beer too.
Darryl - 25 Oct 2004 18:15
quality boozer as it should be - a busy pub can be a good thing, this pub is busy for a reason, it's a good pub. Great pint of stout too!
mike2004 - 21 Sep 2004 21:15
Packed in here on a Saturday - Go to one of the quieter ones.

A good pub though, as it is Sam Smiths.
TheGP - 21 Sep 2004 14:06
Yeah good totty. The totty's good. Try the organic beer too if you're health conscious.
Tonio Cubio - 17 Sep 2004 13:03
My mate drinks here. He loves it. So if you see someone that looks like Charles Hawtery, (from the Carry On's), then go and have a word with him as he's a good lad who loves his ale.
PieFace - 2 Sep 2004 16:54
Mate had a bag nicked in here a while back, so watch out if it's busy.
Grecian - 23 Aug 2004 14:51
feels like a local pub in the middle of London.well done Pete,forever the best landlord!
Iestyn - 16 Aug 2004 22:41
My favourite boozer in Fitzrovia for cheapness and its location. The bar service is dead slow when it's busy though - they NEVER have enough bar staff.
Nick - 13 Aug 2004 16:29
Not the best Sam Smith's pub in London, but worth a visit all the same. Friendly staff and good prices. Tends to fill up with too many suits for my liking, you'd think they could afford to drink at more expensive pubs! :p Gets very packed most nights.
Larry - 19 May 2004 15:34
Another fab Sam Smiths boozer with bitter and Ales under 2 a pint. BLOODY MARVELLOUS. Great to stand out on the broad street and watch the world go by day or night. Put it this way, I dislike the west end but this is a pleasant oasis.
Dan - 7 May 2004 09:41
the fitzroy tavern is a great place to be on a friday night esp in the summer good beer good people great staff. i would not be seen anywhere else.
l - 9 Mar 2004 21:52
A great, cheap, charecter-ful pub hidden from the hoardes of tourists on Oxford Street just a couple of minutes walk away. There's also a cosy comedy club in the basement - I think they have gigs there most nights...
Glenn - 2 Mar 2004 13:33
One of the bestpubs in central London-great atmos, fab Sam Smiths white beer too.
anonymous - 12 Jan 2004 21:34
Over-rated pub resting on its laurels from the days when it was a centre for intellectuals, rather than wannabes. Stodgy food as well. There are much better Sam Smith pubs in London.
grecian - 24 Dec 2003 10:50
Great hangout. My local when I lived in the area. Great prices and nice staff
Fred - 4 Dec 2003 15:25
Great pub. Good Aylinbr... beer, a steal at 1.90 too. Nice outside tables with proper brollys though (but often hastled by tramps out there). Good atmosphere too.
anonymous - 30 Sep 2003 21:27
The greatest pub this side of London
Raymond - 30 Sep 2003 10:09
Very erotic, very sexual. Everything that I look for in a pub. Good drink too.
Greg Moorlock - 12 Aug 2003 18:58
Genius! 1.90 for a Man in the Box. A total lady!
Hale - 29 Jul 2003 14:20
This pub has a great atmosphere and has had it since 1948 when I first drank in it.

(Erik - 16th July 2003 21:46)
Erik Gould - 23 Jul 2003 21:54
one of the great pubs, in possibly the nicest street in town. has an amazing feature that enables me to drink an astonishing amount of prinz and smoke lethal amounts of cigarettes whilst talking complete rubbish. my spiritual home.
Gus - 15 Jul 2003 11:36
Great for the Hefe Weisse (ask for Heffer), German wheat beer.
Landlord Pete is very friendly too. Insists on calling me 'Boris'
Ruby - 11 Jul 2003 16:39
The best thing about this pub is that it doesn't sell a single thing with a brand name on it. How refreshing.
Bob - 23 Jun 2003 10:24
This pub is probably the BEST pub in the centre for an intellectual birthday bash, poets discussing all issues, whilst sipping a nice lager in the centre.
Gareth Mealing - 19 Feb 2003 15:37
The Aying...commonly known to regulars and staff alike as "the man in the box" because of it's comedy tap featuring, whaddya know, a man. In a box. Very reasonably priced too.
MrE - 23 Jan 2003 13:02
Very comfortable atmosphere and good ol'fashion english food as well. It's been six years since I lived in London but I always remember having a few pints & playing darts at the Fitzroy. Used to sit outside at the picnic tables in the summer - very cozy little location. Would be nice to see some photos of it posted.
Steve - 8 Jan 2003 19:54
Great atmosphere and surprisingly tourist free (or so it seems). Also the place is perfeclt placed for access to the various restaurants on Charlotte Street. Oh and yes, the Ayingerbray is pretty good.
Alistair - 28 Nov 2002 10:26
the Ayingerbrau Heffe-Weisse is GORGEOUS
Darren - 15 Nov 2002 10:52

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