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Ship Tavern, Holborn

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user reviews of the Ship Tavern, Holborn

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

It's a great looking pub with a decent outside area for the summer. The staff are also decent.

However I hadn't been here for a couple of years until last week. Used to rate this as one of my favourite pubs in London. Have to say in terms of the number of beers that were off and beer quality this place to me is living off it's past glories a bit.

The beer quality is to me by no means terrible, but not what it was, and no more than average now, which given the prices means I can't go above 6 for this place at the moment.
mike_s - 1 Jun 2017 14:10
Fantastic looking Victorian? pub with great range of beers. However, I assume that most of their clientele are in the legal profession and can put the bar bill on their expense accounts. £5 for a pint of Old Peculier is an absolute rip-off! One to avoid unless someone else is paying I feel.
Aztecgoat - 29 Apr 2017 10:38
Nice pub and good beer, but as paul_d102 mentioned, a tad expensive. Even for London, £4.70 for a pint of bitter is a bit over the top......especially as a short walk along High Holborn will take you to The Cittie of Yorke, which is both a great building and a lot cheaper at £3.10 for Sam Smiths.
Perry - 4 Jan 2017 19:43
Spent far too long in here last night after arriving at about 5pm. Several pints of Old Peculier and Young's Winter Warmer were perhaps not the wisest choices that early on. Good atmosphere and quick bar service but did seem expensive - however, as I'm not a Londoner I assumed prices were fairly normal for the location.
paul_d102 - 4 Dec 2016 17:48
have used this pub many times and always found it a good place to have a few drinks,but went in last weekend looking for some food.we went upstairs and were greeted with a lovely dining room with good food and some of the best service I have had in years.
becks007 - 8 Oct 2015 21:28
It might be expensive, but so are many other pubs in the area. It's actually not even that expensive any more....and the staff are efficient and friendly and the beer is well kept and the food is great and the dining room upstairs is a bonus if you want to sit down to eat on a busy Friday night. Plus it is a very pretty pub and right by the exceptionally busy Holborn underground station for when you can't face the crush without a pint to cushion you. Good pub.
TwoFourTwo - 11 Jun 2015 17:39
I first reviewed this pub 2 or 3 years ago, and as stated then, found it to be a wonderful place, with helpful, friendly staff. Subsequently since I've been unable to visit the Ship much- work 'n all that. However a week ago I returned there with a friend, as we were near, and I couldn't have been more disappointed. As noted by the previous commeneter, there is a terribly unpleasant smell there now- I described it to my colleague as 'fishy urine'. That is not an exaggeration.

The staff seem rather nonplus now too. A general lack of interest in the basics meant both my friend and I had to politely ask that our pints reached the top of the glass. Poor effort. We couldn't get away quick enough, to be honest. And I don't see a rendezvous there in the future. Such a pity.
mothers_ruin - 18 Dec 2014 11:49
On the up side, Theakston Old Peculier is now a regular beer here, good news as it's becoming harder to find in London. The other beers tend to be from the better known brewers and all appear well kept.

On the down side, you'd need to love the beer and love the pub to pay the prices! As the previous poster commented, £5 for a pint of Old Peculier! I thought I had misheard! Despite that, the Ship is certainly very popular and it's standing room only at busy times.
Beermole - 10 May 2014 13:56
I have been drinking around the Holborn area for many a year. I tried The ship a few nights ago as I'm scared to go back to my old regular, The Queens Larder, through fear of retribution. As I went in the place smelt of sour beer and vomit. I decided to grab a quick pint and head outside for a cigarette anyhow. Cor blimey, what a rip off. I had a pint of Theakstons Old Peculiar. A firm favourite of mine. Well I tell you I was feeling very peculiar after being charged FIVE pounds for a pint! Five pounds I asked the non-plussed girl behind the bar, thats right she said, five pounds, looking as if I had offended her!

Well I paid my money and went out as some guy barged passed me and spilt half my pint! By the time I'd looked round he'd gone! That's 2 pound 50 on the floor I said and the bar staff refused to top it up! The cheek of it.

I certainly will not be going back there again. I guess I'll try the Waterstones or Wetherspoons round the corner, whatever its called.
johnwinchcombe - 21 Mar 2014 21:52
You won't have to look too hard to find better pubs than this that charge a lot less for their beer. Unless you have an urge to be ripped off best avoided. Luckily it's not that easy to find.
Doob - 31 Aug 2013 10:38
A very nice, back lane, narrow, city centre pub. Well worth seeking out if you are in the area. Busy and bustling after work, but still friendly to strangers. They had a nice selection of ales to choose from.
I'll definitely return when I can.
alistair_cross - 12 Aug 2013 17:59
Great little pub tucked away in the hustle & bustle of Holborn. Fantastic range of well kept ales. The homemade scotch eggs & sausage rolls are amazing. Staff are friendly & efficient. The food is a realt treat, hearty home cooked fayre. Fish & Chips is the best ive had & the biggest.
I guess its a bit pricey but it is central london & our government are trigger tax happy when it comes to pubs. Definitely worth a punt
fatbastardo - 28 Feb 2013 13:56
Anice pub but rip off prices- £4.10 for a pint !
covman45 - 22 Feb 2013 12:25
Anice pub but rip off prices- £4.10 for a pint !
covman45 - 22 Feb 2013 12:25
Tucked away behind Holborn tube station is this little gem of a boozer.

A listing in the 2013 good beer guide brought me in here but I'm sure I was here 15 odd years ago.

Wooden floors throughout, comfy little nooks for people to sit in, very friendly bar staff and welcoming land lady really set this pub apart from others in the area.

Historical decoration adorns the walls aswell as a old fashioned metal clock depicting the name of the pub which hangs above the bar area.

6 varying ales on tap including their own 1549 ale. I had an excellent pint of XXXX Porter from Ringwood brewery. A tad steep at £4.00 but the quality soon made me forget the price.

A mix of local workers, a student group and tourists make up the clientele but this is a real cracker.

If you haven't been make a special effort for a visit.
lezford - 6 Jan 2013 11:40
Usually seek this place out when in Town. On this occasion I was a tad disappointed; a couple of the beers were 'generic' rebrands leaving few 'quality' options. Pork pies and chutney etc was still cracking stuff. Friendly spot, well used, I'll go again.
snaffu - 29 Oct 2012 16:38
Gave this pub another try before heading to the nearby Holborn Whippet (a far nicer pub with a good selection of ales). The beer selection was if anything poorer than my last visit. Being a Friday evening, it was much busier and there was no seating available. Beers on were Theakston Lightfoot, Best Bitter & Crime of Passion, The Ship Tavern 1549, Caledonian Deuchars IPA & St Austell Tribute. It's a lovely location, but still fails to hit the spot for me.
blue_scrumpy - 10 Aug 2012 21:06
Excellent pub hidden away behind Holborn station. Good range of beers. Unfortunately, being small pub it gets very busy but the staff are on the ball
asprilla69 - 13 Jul 2012 13:41
Have been to this pub on numerous occasions and I really like it. Has that traditional pub feel to it which is so welcome after being in a pub where the music is so loud, you can actually see empty beer glasses vibrate to the beat
averageman - 6 Jun 2012 16:17
Had forgotten just how great a pub this is. Great choice of well-kept beers. Ate here for first time last weekend and food was vey good. Staff friendly and helpful. Oh, and any place that has Old Peculier as a regular guest gets a massive thumbs up from me! 8/10
Darren_in_the_City - 29 May 2012 15:05
A smallish pub tucked away off the main street.
Popped in recently around 1.30 pm and expected to find it busy with lunchtime drinkers. Was pleased to discover that although there were quite a few customers present there were plenty of seats available.
The bar staff were friendly and happy to offer tasters of the various ales.
Six beers available. 1549, Bombardier, Deuchars, Tribute (very nice), Thwaites Wainwright and a special brew for the ruby called Over the Bar which was good.
The place has a cosy feel with wood surroundings and booths. Well worth another visit.
outtamehead - 18 Mar 2012 11:18
Nice, quiet (at least it is on Sunday afternoons) pub that was happy to let the couple at the next table sit with their well-behaved toddler - good customer relations there. There's nothing wrong with letting children into pubs during the day if they behave. Good beer (What's the 1549 otherwise known as?) and reasonable prices. Holborn has some of the best pubs in London and this is one of them.
djw - 30 Jan 2012 00:37
A bit of a gem this. Visited on Friday afternoon just before the post work rush decended and I thought the place was brilliant. Excellent pint of Old Peculiar and a cosy, warm environment in which to drink it. Top stuff!
BlueMoon - 19 Jan 2012 12:06
I would agree with catbert - let's keep this one quiet. If you want to visit it then you have to find it yourselves!!
mcroyal - 5 Jan 2012 12:56
Sssshh everyone! Stop telling the plebs how good this pub is. Let's keep it for ourselves.
catbert - 3 Oct 2011 01:52
A wonderfully intimate pub, tucked away on a Holborn side-road, that is very quickly turning into a regular haunt for my friends and I; Quite the feat as we all live a good 30 minute train journey away. As well as the quaintness, the other aspect worth mentioning is the staff. There hasn't been a single occasion yet when they haven't been very polite and engaging. I would recommend The Ship to anyone that like their pubs small, old fashioned, and lacking in irritatingly loud, obnoxious 'young 'uns'. Exemplary.
mothers_ruin - 17 Sep 2011 13:45
Meltje - 16 Sep 2011 20:14
The Ship Tavern is located in a narrow alleyway that runs between Kingsway and High Holborn. Apparently there has been a pub of this name operating on the site since the 16th century, although the current building appears to be much more recent than that. The pub interior is pleasantly old-fashioned in style and there were a good range of hand-pump ales available (as listed in the previous review). The prices were rather expensive (about 3.50 for a pint), but the quality was good and the service very friendly. As an earlier reviewer (blue scrumpy) suggested, this is not really a CAMRA fan's dream of a pub. The decor, while pleasant, is a little bit on the bland side; also there was unimaginative, slightly annoying * piped music playing. So, all in all, a bit middle of the road but not bad.

* Complete albums of artists like Depeche Mode and the Stone Roses - fine, I like the Stone Roses but I don't want to hear an entire album by them when in a pub (and then have that followed by an entire Depeche Mode album)
beermann - 16 Sep 2011 09:40
This is a cracking little pub ... very cosy and intimate.
I can't believe I've worked just around the corner for over a year now, but haven't tried it until today.
It will certainly be my work "local" from now on.

A choice of 6 ales, including 2 of my favourites ... Tribute and Deuchars IPA. the others being Thwaites Wainwright, Wells Bombardier, Theakston Lightfoot and 1 other that I can't recall.

Music in the background included The Who's "I can't explain" ... superb.
Pat_Bateman - 1 Sep 2011 13:43
Theakstons Lightfoot in excellent form as I showed my brother The Ship on a wander around town. I'd been in by chance with some visiting Australian friends. I saw it down the alley and took them to a traditional English pub and was not let down.

Small but cosy. Staff have always been pleasant on my few visits.
willesden_seadog - 1 Sep 2011 08:07
The Ship is a bit dingy inside and the real ale range is uninspired - Wells Bombardier, St Austell Tribute, Thwaites Wainwright, Theakston Lightfoot and Robinsons Crusoe. The location is evocative of a bygone era and despite the darkness, it is quite cosy. Nautical themed pictures and items are featured. The upstairs 'Oak Room' was also open on my Friday lunchtime visit. However, sandwiched between visits to the Edgar Wallace and the Harp, this pub proved to be a poor relation to both.
blue_scrumpy - 4 Jul 2011 17:35
Always pop in here when in the area,againwas not dissapointed has a great range of Real Ales and the Thwaites wainwright was excellent !
Meltje - 28 Jun 2011 11:59
First visit last weekend, definitely worth a visit. Although it's small the staff were friendly and the Theakstons Lightfoot was first class. If you're a fan, make sure you try the pork, sage and apple pie - delicious.
thehonesttruth - 4 Jun 2011 10:02
Have been a fan of this place for a while now but what's happened. Since the Easter break the prices have sky rocketed. 5.20+ for wine & the Guinness has hit the heady heights of 3.90. It's one of the only places in the area that seems to jump it's prices every few months & though the food is great it just seems overpriced for what it is & when it's busy you have to be prepared to wait. I do like this place but it's letting itself down with it's extortionate prices & the management seem to be set on squeezing as much as they can out of it. I for one won't be back as I can't afford it & the area is full of cheaper alternatives.
dapubappreciator - 22 May 2011 21:28
The beer range was not very exctiting - had Bombardier which was very good. Seemingly popular with foodies but a bit over my price range, me being riff raff!
JBGatelad - 13 May 2011 10:19
Good pub with decent beer at slightly above middle-of-the-road for Central London prices (3.40 last time was in) and fine staff. Sometimes have very big and very homemade pork pies behind the bar, not tried yet but may do.
Oakman100 - 5 Apr 2011 18:18
Best pub in Holborn by a mile.Was lucky enough to pop by yesterday & St Patrick.s was in full swing. Staff made the effort & the guinness was great, tried the irish stew which was great really tasty. Lots of diddly diddly music. Love this place & maybe its only fault is its prices. Expensive but i guess in line with the area & of course keeps the rif raf away, Keep up the good work
dapubappreciator - 18 Mar 2011 18:36
The Sunday roast was excellent, just about the best pub food I've ever had. The Charles Wells IPA was superb also. Only disappointment was the beer range itself - all 6 handpumps were well known beers.
oftenscore6 - 7 Feb 2011 00:28
Very busy - which is expected given it's Central location (even if it is down an alley by Holborn tube station). Had a pint of Caledonaina 80/- which was a bit musty but drinkable, A reasonable enough kind of place but nothing special and not worth making a special effort to find.
anonymous - 2 Dec 2010 22:59
visited last month but forgot to post a review , probably because of the number of pubs visited that day. one of my favorite pubs in the area,friendly bar staff, decent beer,all in a good atmospheric setting.I much prefer this pub to the mitre in Hatton Garden going on recent experiences,well worth a visit.
Picasso09 - 18 Sep 2010 16:33
Not quite as interesting as I hoped it might be having walked past once and reviewed their website - I certainly could do without the elevator music and sports/news tvs........maybe some quiet folk music playing to be in mood with the name and history would be nice. Id go back, but please - turn that crappy music off!
adamwalsh - 30 Aug 2010 19:21
Our favourite pub in London: frequently changing guest ales, nice atmosphere, often some decent indie music in the background, fantastic food, and the friendliest staff I have ever met.
urbex_horror - 4 Aug 2010 12:55
I discovered this pub last year and have returned to it several times. It's what I would call 'versatile': I've taken my Mum and wife there, and they both loved it for the history and pleasant ambience, but also my old mate Dave - a large, northern CAMRA person, who likes his beer and was also very happy to spend time here.

Friendly, attentive staff, several well kept ales (some old favourites and some I'd never heard of) and reasonable (but slightly over-priced) food. Also, well placed for both the West End and the City. Overall, pretty good stuff.
Brother_Neil - 26 Jul 2010 10:48
Harry is not sad, he is never happier than when he is amongst real beers and in a real pub, (search for Crown Posada in Newcastle) but unfortunately this is not one of those real pubs.
Service same as always in here, some character would not go amiss!
One for the tourists and sad suits.
Nuff said.

harrythebastard - 28 Jun 2010 22:35
Tucked away off Kingsway - been a pub since 1549 it said on plaque outside. Looks bigger than it is from outside - friendly and good range of Real Ale - shuts at 11 on Saturday though.
kernott1 - 1 Mar 2010 19:32
Decent beer, but gets rammed so not a place for big groups.
rabbitcowboy - 13 Feb 2010 18:29
Leaving aside the somewhat dubious claim to have been established in 1549, the Ship Tavern has pretty much everything you would expect to find in a historic London pub - irregular shape in plan, plenty of dark wood, selection of booths and cozy corners, interior with plenty of interesting features, upstairs dining area (the Oak Room), etc. Six real ales on handpump, including a decent pint of the Six Nations-themed 'Over the Bar' from Caledonian plus a few usual suspects and a couple of other more interesting brews. Overall rather good, just let down very slightly by that other well-known feature of historic London pubs namely a slightly short measure requiring a top-up to be requested (but in this case given without fuss).
rpadam - 10 Feb 2010 21:28
I want to like The Ship Tavern but for me, the jury's still out. I went in the other night night after the theatre, for a pint. There were eight real ales on and the Bombadier was good but the Barnstormer wasn't great. The barman seemed friendly enough, but what irked me was they that called last orders at 10.40pm and within 10 minutes had the lights up, TV off and stools upturned on the bar - we didn't exactly feel welcome as the staff hurried through their chores.
halfabitterman - 14 Jan 2010 19:03
This Harry chap seems a bit of a sad character and sounds like he doesnt like any of the pubs he visits.Most people who have such a problem ask for the manager and sort it out because if you use the Ship Tavern regularly it is a great pub and the problems he is stating does not exist ! I agree with dapubappreciator maybe real pubs are not Harrys scene and he should use Wetherspoons round the corner and stop whingeing !
Meltje - 13 Jan 2010 19:02
Mmmm......................... harry the bastard & harry nash? Same names I wonder....... As for being the landlord mate No I am not, but i do frequent The Ship on a regular basis. Not a great selection of Ales? at my count there is six i think & they always are kept in good condition. As for the Ship i believe it is a family run pub & has been for at least 5 years or more, so id take it they aren't tied to any brewery.(i.e Cask Marque comment) At the end of the day the place is always busy, seems to have a fair few regulars(myself now included) and ive always found the staff friendly & attentive.
As you said maybe you should avoid it till the summer & put that sun where it really doesnt shine. If u want that sterile service y dont u visit the spoons or allbarone round the corner or even any of the various strip jonts that seem to be popping up all over the area, im sure they'd welcome ya!!!!
dapubappreciator - 8 Jan 2010 21:05
Popped in last night and it felt like a real traditional pub which is hard to find in central London.Good selection of Ales to choose from and had a great pint of Deuchars I P A. Staff were attentive and freindly,great mix of people so will be back.
Meltje - 23 Dec 2009 18:07
Popped in there after work on Thursday and unimpressed. Having read the below poster I think he must be the licensee trying to defend it. Lacklustre service and not a great selection of ales at all, coupled by disinterested staff.
Perhaps the place is too busy, being so close to the tube, to be more personal and inviting.
I fear my namesake below had it right and we all know that Cask Marque is run by the breweries for the breweries, a bit like letting MPs do their own expenses.
One to miss until the summer arrives and puts a bit of sunshine through the doors!
harrynash - 20 Dec 2009 17:14
I suspect harry is as his name suggests.Get your facts right mate. The Ship charges 10.95 for a fish & chips which is huge & prob worth twice that. Beer Average? Its cask marque accredited mate. If you had a problem why diddnt you speak to a supervisor/manager? One suspects you were giving a short shift by a barmaid who probably had enough of geezers like you coming on to them. For me the ship is great always busy but youn always get looked after. I've read your comments previously & you seem to have a problem with every place you go. Maybe you are the problem! Get a life
dapubappreciator - 20 Nov 2009 21:20
Twelve quid for cod and chips??
Beer average, staff missing a sense of humour and the reality of where a pint of beer fits in a pint glass, surely I am missing something?
Is it the Wong Kei of pubs?
harrythebastard - 11 Nov 2009 23:48
Good beers, nice atmosphere and friendly bar staff - can't ask for more than that really !
lennie384 - 27 Sep 2009 01:04
This pub is one of the best keep secret in London. The drinks are keep great if you are a real ale drinker or lager drinker alike. The staff are very friendly and helpful and the food is great. They are doing two for one pies on Tueday at the moment if you want to check it out.

One of the few pub in Holborn to be open at the weekend and the Sunday lunch/dinner are just as good as the rest of the week.

However I would prefer if the masses did not go there as it would be nice to keep it a secret!!!! Just joking well worth a visit
Nigel123 - 22 Sep 2009 13:59
I am a newbe to the area but if you could see the size of my beer gut you'd understand im a pub/beer appreciator. Discovered this absolute gem of a place a few weeks back(i lie a mate reccomended it). On looks, a typical british pub that offers what a pub should be, none of this namby pamby gastro bull that seems to be on every corner & a million miles away from its dirty cheap excuse for a pub nearby(yes JD its you!!). The food i had was excellent, a huge fish & chips was washed down with some superbly kept Old Speckeled Hen (Cellar Person I Salute you), And the staff make the place. Well informed & attractive staff seem to be well marshalled as they seem to be knowledgable & are very attentive. There also is a "Locals" feel to the place with a jovial irishman ,i think he was the manager/team leader, instigating great banter with the punters & his staff alike. A brilliant example on how a pub should be ran. Ive a great respect for those who take pride in their pub & with the sorry state alot of our boozers its great to see a place that is stickiing two fingers up to the recession & doing what they do best. I for one will be frequenting this place alot more & so should you!!
dapubappreciator - 5 Sep 2009 14:51
A traditional pub with a nice athmosphere. Beer is good. Food is even better, especially the amazing pies. Highly recommended.
duboff - 11 Aug 2009 11:26
Went in here last night for a post-prandial double brandy and was short-measured by the barmaid - she didn't even make the pretense of waiting for the optic to fill. It wasn't like I was at the other end of the bar, she was almost in front of me so I could see exactly what was happening.

I made her pour another one - probably should just have walked out. Did I get an apology, did I heck.

Not coming back, which is a pity as it looked a reasonable pub. A few too many braying lawyers, but that's an occupational hazzard in Holborn.
nk74 - 24 Jul 2009 17:00
We went back today and the beer was as well kept as usual. Realised the last time we were in there was January, so far too long. As said previously it is tucked away from the main drag, but is well worth hunting out and trying some of the decent (and changing) ales on offer. We will be back.
Bonzos_beard - 19 Apr 2009 21:34
Nice traditional pub tucked away from the main drag. Decent pint too...deuchars was particularly well kept. Some of the bar staff were a tad miserable and not particularly welcoming. Sadly a common trait these days.
nickthefish - 21 Mar 2009 08:25
Paid a rare Saturday visit yesterday - the place seems to have a totally different and more relaxed atmosphere at weekends. A decent couple of pints of Bombardier were had whilst nervously awaiting the result of the Man U - Liverpool match. This has been a favourite pub of mine for a while now and will continue to be so
MINTYBOOM - 15 Mar 2009 11:51
We popped in here last week on the way to Loftus Road and found the beers to be in excellent condition and it appeared that they were holding a minin beer festival at the time. Everyone in our party was impressed with the quality of the ale and will be back again soon
Micky_P - 9 Mar 2009 21:43
I will always love this Pub. It's away from the street so staggering after a skinful out into the road is close to impossible. To get to it come out of Holborn Tube and turn right and then first right or left then first left both pathways lead to the SHIP.

The beer is a fair standard and the last time I was there a selection of about three or four fine ales was available. I don't know about regulars. I've only been when meeting friends prior to an evening football game in North London (Not that team from Woolwich) and normally it's a quite happy atmosphereQuite a Victorian feel to the decor.. Guys in suits winding down, that kinda thing.

Not tried the food yet. I'm quite fussy so if I have to pay high prices for food I want organic, for a start. Otherwise I'd pop over to that Chicken place opposite the Princess Louise. I haven't experienced food poisoning yet ;-)

RealAleDave - 19 Feb 2009 18:02
Shame to hear the guys before had a bad experience, as this is one of my favourite pubs in London. Met up with some guys in town to watch the rugby at the weekend and had food there for the first time. Portions are for the hungry type.. MASSIVE fish and chips and the sandwiches were proper doorsteps. All washed down with a few pints of Deuchers and a couple of pints of the aptly named Flanker.
lollygagger - 18 Feb 2009 13:22
Having been recommended this pub (especially the food) I looked forward to meeting a friend here after work. Sadly the bar staff were incompetent, taking payment for a food order which was never put through, and the manager was downright rude when asked how long the food would be. As it turned out the kitchen weren't actually taking food orders but until we asked this question direct no one would give us a direct answer. Ok, mistakes happen and had the manager been polite, reassured us our food was on the way after a 60 minute wait already and offered us a drink we would have stayed. Sadly we wont be going back.
happydayve - 10 Feb 2009 19:58
I had read the good reviews here about this pub so decided to meet a friend there yesterday after work. We arrived at 5.30 and waited to get a seat. We ordered some food at 6.30 and had another couple of drinks. At 7.30 our food hadn't arrived so I went to the bar to find out about the delay. The barmaid told me that she was sorry but there had been a party of 20 upstairs which she hadn't been told about by the kitchen or the manager. I assumed this meant the food was further delayed - but no, it wasn't going to arrive at all. I got a refund for what I paid for the food and the bar maid offered us a free drink for our trouble. I explained that we had just ordered a drink which we now had to finish before leaving to find somewhere else to eat, so could she refund what we had just paid. She said she couldn't so I asked to speak to the manager. He told me the barmaid shouldn't have offered us free drinks and there was nothing he could do to compensate us for the delay, lack of food and inconvenience caused.
If we had known there was no food available we would not have stayed two hours to drink there. There was no indication that staff were going to let us know that food we had paid for wasn't going to arrive if we hadn't asked ourselves. A decent apology would have been nice.
I accept that mistakes happen when staff are busy - the pub was full - but it seems that staff at The Ship Tavern are not interested in caring for the customers they are lucky enough to have.
If you want to be sure of good service - and an evening without an argument with the bar staff - find somewhere else. I won't be going back.
lindaw - 10 Feb 2009 12:28
A few of us dropped in for lunch here yesterday. An old worldy pub, a little dark and just tucked round the back of Holborn tube. A little jazz playing quietly in the backround gave it a relaxed feel. Good ales on offer-Spitfire, Theakstons, Caledonian Drop The Bar all kept beautifully.
The food didn't quite come up to expectations: The Famous Fish and chips was ok but I felt the batter not crispy enough; The crispy belly of pork was apparently a little soggy and the steak and ale pie adequate.
Nevertheless,the service was good.
All in all, will definitely go back, a real pub !!
KOTB - 4 Feb 2009 10:49
Handsome looking pub - dark and cosy. Theakston's Old Peculier on handpump, which was delicious, as well as a couple of other ales on handpump.
chick - 28 Jan 2009 15:38
Pleasant, comfortable, decent ale. The Tavern Ploughmans, including a pork pie and two excellent cheeses, was good value.
joegreen - 14 Jan 2009 16:12
I was in on Thursday night (27th Nov) and there was a good selection of ales on. Enjoyed a couple of pints of Young's Winter Warmer. Nice atmosphere and bar staff are friendly enough. Recommended.
bayfox - 29 Nov 2008 11:54
I popped in here last week and wasnt disappointed with my decision to search for this place (to be honest it wasnt at all difficult). I think that there were 5 real ales on including Bombardier, Old Speckled Hen and Old Peculiar with an array of standard lagers. The barmaid was a little off and to the point, but apart from that I found this to be very good and would recommend it to others.
Strongers - 26 Nov 2008 08:52
Pleasant spot situated on a corner of two alleyways behind Holborn Tube. Lots of dark wood, an ornate plastered ceiling, mainly alcove seating with bar and shelf stools. Various pictures of mainly ships and lots of maritime paraphenalia. Wm Youngers stained glass windows indicate a previous life.
5 on, St Austell Tribute, Theakston Bitter, OSH,Deuchers and Bombardier. The "coming soon" board includes Everards Sunchaser and Holts to me as an ex Mancunian.
A decent enough spot for a beer or two.
Maldenman - 7 Oct 2008 17:17
An excellent little pub, nestled down the alleyway behind the tube station, stumbled across it a couple of Sundays ago the manager (I think he said he is Canadian) is a very welcoming chap and an excellent conversationalist, the ale is excellent, recommend it to anybody who is looking for a nice pint in relaxing surroundings in Holborn.
Robin88 - 6 Oct 2008 16:51
A "real gem", tucked away behind Holborn station.
Good atmosphere and a selection of five real ales on handpump. I had a pint of Robinsons Olympic Gold, as it is currently available (I presume until late August).
Landlord is friendly and a ready conversationalist. He made me welcome, as a chance visitor driven in by a heavy shower of rain, on a dim evening.
jbsjazzer - 13 Aug 2008 09:52
Surprisingly good pub tucked away behind Holborn tube station, good ales and not full of mentalists like many other local pubs.

TheGP - 28 Jun 2008 09:30
Cosy little pub round the back from Holborn tube station, not too busy, ploughmans and pork pie and a pint of McMullens, good service, quite what was needed. Most people who use the local pubs like the Square Pig on the square, probably don't know the Ship is there. Worth a visit.
rainlight - 7 Jun 2008 17:26
Lovely pub 5 real ales on offer tried the Theakstons dark mild....good pint....The Deuchers IPA also excellent...good atmosphere
lilscse - 3 Jun 2008 10:59
Popped in yesterday for a swift pint. They currently have a beer festival on: I tried a pint of Merrie Monk and it was very nice indeed. Continues to be a favourite calling point whenever I'm in the area
MINTYBOOM - 20 May 2008 11:57
Looked very enticing, tucked away in a back alley with outside drinkers enjoying the sun. Beer festival was on, bit unadventurous, but the Theakstons Black Bull was probably just about Beer Guide standards. Lovely interior and decent staff.
mtaylor40 - 16 May 2008 21:25
I like this pub. I went in on Wednesday 9th April. A reasonably busy pub, but no problem getting served with good ale by pleasant bar staff.

This pub has a regularly changing range of ales. There is bound to be something worth drinking.

My only complaint is that it sometimes gets extremely busy, but a good quality london centre pub is always going to have that problem!
alexw123 - 11 Apr 2008 13:24
Extremely cosy and traditional old pub within a small network of narrow, very picturesque back alleys which, bizarrely, is only about a one-minute walk from the frenetic chaos of Holborn station. I was in there on a Thursday night and the place was absolutely packed out. We managed to find standing room at the back. The upstairs was closed. I considered the people who had found seats to be very fortunate. Despite the crowds, drinks could be had quite quickly, the bar sparsely manned by efficient staff. My friend got a pork pie with a ramekin of Branston pickle as a bar snack, and very nice it was too. This place might have peeped the Princess Louise as my favourite pub in Holborn, so I'll be back.
Greshon - 7 Mar 2008 10:32
Nice pub. Good ales.
edrok666 - 26 Feb 2008 22:47
While I can't vouch for what happened to Sonofpubman as I wasn't there at the time, I think he is being a little harsh with his descriptions of the staff - I have never found them to be anything other than polite and friendly and I don't recognise the picture that he paints. I suspect that he may have been put in his place by the barmaid he mentions, although obviously I can't be certain about that either. Maybe I'm biased because I like the place - either way don't let one bad review like that put you off and go and try the place for yourself.
MINTYBOOM - 20 Feb 2008 23:24
I haven't reviewed on here for a while, but I was driven to it by a shocking experience in the Ship tonight. The pub is usually a pleasant place to drink, but after I queried a dodgy pint of cider-it looked like a dog had pissed it-I was bluntly told to get lost by a surly little emo wench they have mistakenly employed behind the bar. This pub is ruined by terrible service-all the staff have the grim thousand yard stare of war veterans, forget orders, are habitually rude to customers and generally treat customers like escapees from a leper colony. A decent place to eat, and a nice location for a quiet pint when not to busy, but totally spoilt by the staff at present.
Sonofpubman - 12 Feb 2008 23:53
Popped in for a swifty on Monday lunchtime - nothing changes here: Service is always prompt and friendly and the ale in good nick. Very much one of my favourite pubs in the area.
MINTYBOOM - 6 Feb 2008 12:42
Great pub with a friendly atmosphere and good beers. L
phil_27 - 1 Feb 2008 00:25
Popped in yesterday for a swift pint at lunchtime - very busy but the beer (Holt's in this instance) was on good form. Nice to see a pub like this making an effort on the real ale front. Couple that with decent staff and it makes it well worth a visit. Keep it up.
MINTYBOOM - 12 Jan 2008 11:47
Nice pub but very packed on the evening I was there (Friday 23/11/07).
topcat455 - 11 Dec 2007 16:24
Great pub, regretably I only recently ventured into the Ship after many years of walking past. During November they are having a beer festival. The Theakstons Old Perculiar and the Best Bitter were very tasty. Looking forward to going back again soon to take advantage of more guest beers!
BenEd - 13 Nov 2007 16:24
One thing you notice about this pub is that they really enter into the spirit of annual festivals / events - When I was in there yesterday they were in the process of decorating the place for Halloween. A couple (well, 3 actually) pints of Bombardier and Toad in the Hole went down very well. Good stuff.
MINTYBOOM - 1 Nov 2007 12:05
Lovely old pub with good beer served in pint jugs. Top drawer!
TheBeerMonkey - 4 Oct 2007 12:12
Nice little pub tucked away off Kingsway. Reasonable beer and nice atmosphere, although not a place to go if you want to sit down.
mrse1 - 2 Oct 2007 11:44
Comfortable, old-style surroundings, nice bar staff but not many places to sit during the week as its an after work favourite. Great in summer as you can stand outside in the passageway leading to it and also has its own newsletter for regular event and offer updates.
mikeandshelle - 1 Oct 2007 13:44
Popped in with a mate for a pint and some lunch yesterday - beer was good and food (albeit a tad expensive) was good too - especially the pudding! Will continue to be a fan of this place.
MINTYBOOM - 30 Aug 2007 19:14
pleased to discover this pub in passing this year and made a return visit a few weeks later. good selection of beers on, had wards on amongst others in april when i was last there.
the_amsterdam_man - 16 Jul 2007 23:17
We had a great evening here on Friday. The bar staff were good, apparantly the beer's good (according to my beery friends). Food was a liitle limited
studentclaire - 25 Jun 2007 15:41
My first experience of this pub was a bit unsatisfactory due to the just about acceptable quality of my pint. Despite the Cask Marque accreditation notices I got the impression from the staff that a request for a replacement wouldn't be welcomed so I drunk up and left after one. However I always like to give pubs a second chance before posting a negative review so I called in again last week. I still got a bit of a suspect feeling about the staff's knowledge of their product but this time the beer was excellent.

One thing that cannot be doubted is the attractiveness of the pub and its dcor. As you would expect it has a nautical theme with loads of wrought iron fittings, leaded windows and old naval memorabilia. There's a pleasant snug area to the right of the bar and what looks like an upstairs function room. It's only a small place and is very popular but being tucked down an alleyway away from the main road there's plenty of opportunity to go al fresco. Another thing to note is that they have pint jugs hanging up at the bar, don't see that too often these days.
Millay - 2 Jun 2007 11:07
Stupid, unnecessary music, but, that apart, this is a great place serving great beers and offering up cumberland sausages to the punters at tables. What could be better!
JonW999 - 12 May 2007 00:59
Whenever I'm in Holborn I always head to this pub. Decent ales, good atmosphere - recommended.
Bodger - 18 Apr 2007 01:32
good traditional pub.
worth a visit when in the area.
becks007 - 2 Apr 2007 20:10
Thanks for that posting John. I was in here a couple of weeks ago and wracked my brains in a futile attempt to remember which brewery it was tied to when I used to visit it regularly in the 70s (probably drinking keg McEwan's Export!). It looks to be pretty much unchanged over the years, with the furnishings having something of a traditional feel to them. The Bateman's XXXB was off when I was in, but there were a couple of other decent ales on. The Ship is a welcome haven away from the large drinking dens that infest Kingsway round the corner.
RexRattus - 15 Mar 2007 09:24
First visit from yours truly yesterday. Old fashioned decor and a nice welcoming atmosphere, music a bit loud though. Formerly a William Younger's pub - note the old frosted leaded windows. Currently having a real ale festival until the end of March. The festival flyer offers you the opportunity to win "a KEG of ale" - I kid you not !
JohnBonser - 8 Mar 2007 13:54
Great looking pub in a nice location behind Holborn tube station. About four casks. I had Well's Bombadier and a not too common Bateman's XXXB. A little expensive at about 2.95 but nice atmosphere with pints served in dimpled mugs.
endoderm - 24 Feb 2007 16:37
"CLOSED UNTIL 3PM DUE TO POWER CUT" read the sign on the door at the Shakespeare's Head at about 11am. "OPEN AS USUAL JUST WITH LOTS OF CANDLES" read the sign outside the Ship. And open it was, with proper lighting as well and a decent pint of Bombardier to boot. "We never close" said the amiable chap behind the bar. If a mere power cut brings a place like Wetherspoon's to it's knees but a place like the Ship keeps going then bring on the blackout.
MINTYBOOM - 13 Feb 2007 01:13
Cracking boozer hidden down an alleway behind the tube station - and away from tourists. 7/10
Darren_in_the_City - 7 Jan 2007 22:14
A nice little hideaway in Holborn, and quickly becoming a personal favourite. If I remember rightly from my last visit they had Theakston's Old Peculier, Theakston's Best Best and also Bombardier and a couple of guest beers on handpump - I plumped for the Bombardier and it was on good form. Bar staff were also pleasant, which can only be a good sign.
MINTYBOOM - 2 Jan 2007 18:55
Went here on the last Friday before Xmas after work and although it was busy we found a little snug corner to stand in - could've got a seat later but we were leaving to meet others.

My husband had a couple of pints of good real ale and the atmosphere in there was that of a proper london pub. Nice interior as well.

The only downside was the loud Christmas music being blasted out of the speakers - what is the need for this in pubs??!! Isn't it nicer just to hear the people you're with when they speak!
ickleprincess - 26 Dec 2006 19:52
Not bad for a city pub, reasonable beer and friendly staff, can get crowded but what do you expect?
Phantom_Raspberry - 12 Dec 2006 13:00
Nice boozer, good beer and friendly locals. Does get crowded but not so bad as to make it a no go issue.

Heartily recommended
Norealaleinorpington - 24 Nov 2006 14:27
Nice pub, a proper London pub.A bit crowded, but you cant moan about that.Service was quick.My only complaint was teh Guinness wasn't up to much
tottenhamsean - 4 Nov 2006 10:18
Not been here before but decided to try it after reading these reviews. I visited about 5.00 on a Friday night. It's a lovely little boozer in a quiet alley just off the main road. A 'real pub' feel to it. Only had time for one pint and I had a great pint of Theakston's Paradise. Definitely worth a longer stay next time.
Mystery_Shopper - 3 Nov 2006 22:11
Have been to this pub twice now, the food is very good and the service very friendly, would recommend it. Looks deceiving from the outside as it doesn't look much but once inside it is quite large, great little restaurant area upstairs.
lubey - 22 Sep 2006 17:50
I really like this place , very cosy and friendly . The only pub i visit every time i travel to London . Already looking forward to next visit in April 2007 , bring it on .
jmcoo7 - 13 Sep 2006 14:34
Excellent pub - one of the best in London.

This old style boozer is a hidden gem, off the main road.

Great service, great food and even better beer.

Mainly populated by locals - but no idiots - worth seeking out if you're in the area.
jackgavin - 20 Jul 2006 14:38
A hidden gem. One of the best pubs in Holborn and served me the finest pint of Old Hooky I've ever had!
Denbigh_Dog - 24 May 2006 20:04
A fine hideaway, especially on a saturday afternoon, lazing with a pint and a paper. Agree with previous comments : decent laid back punters and plenty of space on my visit but imagine this place is busier on a week night. Theakstons Best, nothing special. Though with 4 real ales on, you shouldnt go far wrong.
darloexile - 3 Apr 2006 09:44
Met a young lay-dee here for a drink last night. Her suggestion, not mine. Damn fine suggestion, it was too!

Lovely ambience, chilled out punters, good beer and cracking tunes (Soul 2 Souls Jazzy B mix D- niiiicccccceeee).....

To qoute the Guvnor of California- 'i'll be back'

anonymous - 31 Mar 2006 15:32
Nice pub for a pint in after a bit of culture at the Sir John Soane Museum just around the corner on Lincolns Inn Fields.
Boothers - 28 Feb 2006 09:16
I worked at the Ship Tavern in spring '04 while studying in the city... I loved it there - loved the people, the customers, the atmosphere. I would love to get in contact with people who worked there at the same time and whenever I visit again I'll definitely be stopping by.
sallym - 30 Dec 2005 18:00
Traditional pub. Used to have clandestine Catholic masses upstairs back in the day.

Was a bit disappointed in my Theakstons Best Bitter during my last visit. It was a rather dull pint. Can't comment on the cellar as do not frequent the place often enough to judge.
jorrocks - 22 Oct 2005 04:10
Delightful on a Saturday afternoon. Pop in and you may, if lucky, meet characters who seem like the two Johns of BB&F, John Fortune and John Bird in light hearted banter with the Rumploes of the Bailey of this world. The Ship is now open 11-11 on Saturdays, but still closed on Sundays.
mikem - 15 Oct 2005 18:10
went there last night to watch the cricket on my way to Smiths. Easy to get served, friendly staff, and a good view of the television (which is refreshingly not enormous, thus keeping out the All bar None crowds). Only stayed there for a short while but will go back if i am in the area
mr_lunch - 9 Sep 2005 16:36
Im sure I do not stand alone when I say that I am fed up with big chain pub operators such as wetherspoons and all bar ones saturating the area. I think once in a while they should take a long hard look how the real pubs operate. Remember friendly service? Good QUALITY home cooked food? Well kept real ales? Well look no further as we have found ourselves a perfect little drinking oasis which meets all of the above criterea! A big sigh of relief as we can once again drink real beer in a real pub. Here's to the Ship Tavern!
anonymous - 16 Jul 2005 16:24
As a visitor to London, and a member of The Pipe Club of London I arrived at The Ship Tavern a few hours before the club was due to start their monthly meeting in the upstairs section of the pub. The staff were very friendly to this bloke from Down Under. The beer was great as was the food, and the character of the pub both upstairs and in the bar area was a joy to behold.
I hope the wowsers of this world are never able to stop a pub in the UK hosting smokers if they wish, wowsers dont like alcohol too remember.

Cobber - 8 Jul 2005 08:39
Quite small, very traditional pub. Perfectly ok for a quiet night; usually full of local office workers.
rah - 2 Jun 2005 13:16
Greal little pub - good beer, friendly staff and a welcoming ambiance. Am yet to be dissapointed by the lunchtime food; my compliments to the chef.
Jon - 18 Sep 2004 10:55
You can tell how much the refit has changed (or at least cleaned) the pub by the fact the number of clientele has doubled. I miss the days when it was filthy and no one wanted to go there as it meant I could always get a seat in one of my favourite pubs in town. Does look a lot nicer now, though. Friendly staff and Speckled Hen; what more could you ask?
piles - 5 Mar 2004 11:23
Good boozer, along with the nearby Princess Louise one of the standard bearers for traditional London pubs in the nearer.

Two other observations - they play, surprisingly, some pretty good music, Costes compilations, Jazzanova, that kind of thing, and also do pretty good food, although sometimes not adequately heated up.
Jim W - 11 Dec 2003 14:07
still the best pub in the area by far, some people are more facinated by how the alleyway smells, I for one am sticking up for this pub a great find and will definately be returning.
Steve - 29 Sep 2003 23:42
Just been closed for about a month for a refit...........funny things is it doesn't look that much different. Alley still smells of piss too.
anonymous - 26 Sep 2003 21:53
The alleyway stinks of piss, but the pub's alright. Not that great though. Easy on guys. It's an ok normal boozer.
TheG - 2 Jul 2003 14:36
Proper pub in a world full of All Bar Lettuces.
Ed - 9 Jan 2003 09:16
Nice to go into a pub with friendly service.
emma - 18 Nov 2002 17:42
A good find in this area, go check it out!
Lisa - 6 Nov 2002 13:32
Chilled atmosphere and ver friendly. Worth visiting the cosy candelit first floor bar to escape the crowds. 10 out of 10
dave - 25 Oct 2002 16:27
Its refreshing to find a central London pub which still offers good quality beer with friendly service. I went there for lunch and even the food was out of this world. Highly recomended.
ros - 4 Oct 2002 17:13
A nice pub to unwind in on a friday night (or any other night, come to think of it )
Tony - [email protected] - 20 Sep 2002 16:32
A proper old fashioned drinking pub, right behind the tube station
Ross Evans - 16 May 2002 10:18
Great atmosphere, friendly staff, excellent, cosy lunchtime restaurant upstairs. a real pub!

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