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Dartmouth Arms, Forest Hill

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user reviews of the Dartmouth Arms, Forest Hill

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

Another pub in Forest Hill that I haven't been for a long time, which is strange as I drink at the Capitol enough but never seem to venture any further!

The Dartmouth has been more of a foodie pub for many years now but does still retain a small area in the middle where the bar is that's still like a pub, the front area is very foodie as well as the back room, with all tables lined up with napkins and cutlery.

2 ales on the 3 hand pumps which were Shepherd & Neame Spitfire Gold & Brockley Brewery Gold. My pal had the Gold and said it was more than drinkable, while I opted for a bottle from the fridge which was Brick Breweries Peckham Pils @ 4.8%.
Modern decor with old style tables and chairs, and some fancy wallpaper.

We stayed for just one pint, the pub is decent enough and had a few people in on the Tuesday I visited, not sure why I haven't been in for a long time as it's alright.

lezford - 3 Feb 2017 13:26
The Dartmouth Arms was probably the worst of the 5 pubs I tried in the Forest Hill area. Situated close to the station, I was the only customer in on a Saturday lunchtime. As the previous poster says, it has a retro feel with strange wallpaper and lighting. There are 3 sections, a front bar where I sat, a small middle bar where you get served and a larger section of the rear where the kitchens are located. Has very much a trendy feel, with music playing to match the ambience. 3 ales were on - Charles Wells Poppy Ale, Adnams Ghost Ship & St Austell Proper Job. I went for the Stowford Press cider. Not somewhere I was tempted to linger. I imagine this pub only really gets going in the evening when the diners come in.
blue_scrumpy - 8 Nov 2015 17:16
More gastro than pub. Retro-deco, futuristic prices
Berboyblue - 6 Nov 2015 11:44
NIce cozy boozer at the front. Rather stale looking restaurant out back.

Its main faults lack of bar staff serving - expect a line of weary punters standing at the bar wondering where any staff are.
Food on a Sunday has now twice been very poor. Food being sent back from more than one table. Not what you expect for a traditional roast.

Realised it is best for a couple of evening drinks then moving on to somewhere else.

starquake - 30 Aug 2013 16:40
Again it's been at least 18 months since I've been here but my last experience was a bit indifferent.

Good choice of ales but a bit on the pricey side and the atmosphere was dead, the bar staff looked bored and this mood stayed my whole visit.

Food menu was impressive but I have heard its expensive for what you get.

Maybe it's time for another visit.
lezford - 24 Feb 2013 13:19
Nice food, inaccurate bills (that's twice now). Good beer, but watch your change since singles become doubles and small glasses become large ones when the tab arrived. For this reason alone, very unhappy about sordid ''till manager''.
af1011 - 28 Apr 2012 19:13
I'm visiting from Australia mostly to see my new baby nephew, Otis. His mum took me to this boozer as it's her favorite in Forest Hill. She loves the food and atmosphere. Unfortunately just as I was wetting my lips ready for a good ale, it all went wrong. The staff asked if the baby was going to cry if he came in. He's a gorgeous baby and very quiet most of the time. But we certainly couldn't guarantee silence. We felt offended and left.
I find it awful that a pub like this is not child friendly. It does meals big time which means it doesn't pretend to be some kind of traditional beer only, men only scene.
Very disappointing. Do not take your children here.
slock - 8 Feb 2012 15:15
One beer we had was good the other not quite so. Nice food though.
Trinker - 7 Nov 2011 11:13
Previous reviews made this place sound promising so we thought we'd give it a try. However, when we arrived there was one person in front of us but no one serving, and it wasn't overly busy. More staff were needed. We waiting for about 5 minutes, which was far too long, and left. Very disappointed. We may try again if back in the area but for now A BIG FAT ZERO!!
Viki247 - 17 Oct 2011 21:54
This pub is pretty cool. In an understated way. The decor is in the well-established 'reclaimed old pub' style, with stripped floors and trendy wallpaper, but it does it well and calmly suits the three areas, plus small outside space. In an area where culinary standards are low, and virtually no alternatives for decent eating and drinking exist, this pub would not need to try very hard to be considered above average. However there's something a bit special happening in the kitchen and the food offer, whilst not cheap, is definitely above average. This makes the pub more gastro than boozer. Friendly young staff, mixed, friendly local clientele, this pub is often busy, but never loud and crowded. The location is poor - you'll seldom hear 'yes we're out in Forest Hill tonight', but all the ingredients are here for having a nice time. It's pleasantly 'what-you-make-of-it': you can take your mother-in-law here for lunch, or have a hot date, or meet your mates, or bring small children. Not sure if the ambience has been masterminded or it's by accident, but either way it works. All things considered, this pub is not so very far off a high score. It deserves to do well, and warrants a 7 to 8 rating.
jpview - 7 Apr 2010 08:49
When the Dartmouth Arms first opened it was a a great asset for Forest Hill. The food was good and the beer ok and the staff friendly. I am afraid that in the recent year the DA has fast gone down hill. This I feel is because it has no real competition. Of the three ales that they serve it is always hit and miss as to wether or not you will get a good pint. The food has become mediocre but has stayed expensive. The beer seems flat and lacking though it has not been kept properly. In fact recently I had to return my London Pride because it actually tasted off and it was as flat as water half way evening I had reason to be there again and ordered a Pride thinking the barrel might have been changed..the beer seemed really lively as it was being pulled but when I had a taste it was the same beer as the pint I returned the evening before except it was very frothy..I asked the barperson to check see if there was a gas being added so she went to have a look..when she returned she confirmed that gas was being added not knowing the implications. I like the Dartmouth and would like to see it succeed as I live in Forest Hill but in order to have me eat and drink there in future they need to reduce their extortionist prices for food and beer, inject the bar staff with a little happiness and teach them how to look after their beer.
celticexplorer - 23 Jan 2010 10:53
Went in last weekend and they appear to have got rid of the restaurant bit and serve bar food now. Not before time. Still lacks any real atmosphere. Requires a bit more warmth (both visual and heating), some real ales, board games and a DJ rather than just pumping out random music. Could do better.
halfafarthing - 18 Jan 2010 15:29
This place is dimly lit with an open kitchen and restaurant area at the rear for the serving of gastro fare.

Broadside, Pride and Landlord were all available during my visit along with a premium lagers selection. The Guinness was off and the Landlord was not the best I�ve had, but it was unavailable when I left so I was probably drinking the bottom of the barrel.

This place is one for gastro fans and as I�m not one I don�t plan on returning.
Strongers - 14 Nov 2009 10:45
We really liked it here. Popped out of the Horniman for lunch. Back room was booked out for a function but front bar was great. Good atmosphere, Very quick and friendly service, very amenable to having small babies there (I can see how this might put some punters off but this is really good for us) and really nice food and beers - Broadside and Landlord + 1 more i can;t remember. Tim Taylor Landlord was really excellent.
jdawks - 26 Oct 2009 20:18
Good pub, staff are usually friendly and the beers alright.

Food is unbelievably expensive. Don't know whether it is worth the money as have never parted with the cash to pay, too stingy.
reverendlionelblair - 7 Jun 2009 20:31
Great pub. Love it! Good food, great atmosphere.
SkyJ - 6 Sep 2008 23:04
This is my Local, I like it in here, the staff are really friendly and there is always a nice atmosphere, the food is amazing too.
diablohorn - 12 Aug 2008 16:48
As a pub, no great shakes really. Pleasant enough and the usual gastropub real ales (Pride, Bombadier and, slightly more unusually, Brakspear)but really this is more of a restaurant, and a very good one by all accounts. Had a pleasant drink with my partner as The Dolphin (its sister pub) was closed for a function but wouldn't come here just for drinks.
JonW999 - 27 Apr 2008 18:17
Its a shame, as this pub is almost amazing. The Chrome cafe furniture outside is a BIG mistake and completely out of keeping with the rest of the pub, easy to stack maybe, but too blinding and transitory for the punter.
Also its TOO concentrated on the food, and its purpose as being the centre of a community is lost as a pub. People drinking (the adittedly decent ales) are sidelined in favour of couples eating alone.
TomAngel - 25 Jul 2007 10:39
This pub thinks it is situated in the west end,not forest hill.
anonymous - 16 Jan 2007 21:48
I am a regular at this fantastic pub and I disagree with absolutely everything you say. The service, food, and environment are all impeccable. The atmosphere has a constant buzz and it is a wonderful place to drink by yourself or have an incredible meal in the restaurant. This is south London at its finest.
amber - 4 Oct 2006 13:18
Went in for a pint one afternoon with my mate, never got served as the barwoman was too busy chatting on her mobile and waved us away.

Dont bother.
chavsum - 2 Oct 2006 18:45
It's *alright*, this pub. It promises a lot, but the bar staff are pretty slow and the beer's on the pricey side.

It's a restaurant masquerading as a pub, if anything, though if you catch in on the right day (say, a sunny day so you can take in the decked beer garden - or simply a day when you can get a seat in the 'pub' part) then it's nice.

Restaurant wise - only went once. No real vegge options and the place was ridiculously hot.

Now, I'm not trying to sound too negative here, it's just that - expectation wise - the place promises more than it delivers.
eelio - 16 May 2006 11:22
Decent pub. The most respectable option in Forest Hill.
Beertastingmonkey - 24 Mar 2006 11:53
Love the food - proper gastro pub.
jonnyt - 25 Nov 2005 13:43
Like it a lot - it works very well for lots of reasons. I spent an hour waiting for friends to arrive a few days ago - not a problem - papers, a steak sandwich, music, wine. What more do you need?

Also have had excellent meals there on three occasions.

Only criticisms are:
1. I would like to see more real ales - Harvey's would be perfect.
2. How about later opening?
3. What happened to the OS maps of Iran in the Men's?!

Donnington - 24 Oct 2005 11:50
Wow- New Years Eve was a night to remember! I went along with some close friends for a meal and a dance. The food, as always was faultless and the atmosphere sparkling. It was a fantastic idea to have a juke box, as it got everyone up and going. That was definitely one of the best New Years I have had.
anonymous - 4 Jan 2005 15:24
I loved the new Dartmouth - a fabulous venue for Forest Hill. Check out the restaurant - now I understand why all the fuss is being made of the Gastro - Pub revolution - the food is truly superb - and reasonably priced.
jimmyboy - 17 Dec 2004 11:15
Pride, Bombardier and Directors when I visited - all in great condition. The restaurant is tucked away at the back but is a hidden gem. Excellent food and very good prices. I didn't get to the wine but there is plenty of it.
harrya - 15 Dec 2004 22:15
nice conversion from a smoky old man's pub to a decent gastropub - food is excellent, good range of beers.
ermsey - 26 Nov 2004 16:43
Fantastic gastro pub- the food is to die for and reasonably priced. There is a lovely buzzing atmosphere here, welcoming staff and delicious wine- what more can anyone want?
Sarah - 18 Oct 2004 10:58
The Dartmouth Arms is being closed for refurbishment and will re open in early september. it is going to become a trendy gastro pub. if anyone has any enquires, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Amber - 12 Jul 2004 10:07
Traditional pub with 3 bars, darts, pool table + several TV screens
Vinnie - 17 Mar 2004 16:32

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