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Coal Hole, Strand

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user reviews of the Coal Hole, Strand

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

This pub has deteriorated. On my evening visit, the music was deafening and I had to shout at someone only two feet away to make myself heard. I can't imagine the other clientele, many of whom were 40+, were too impressed either. There were six real ales on offer, but only one of them was a standard bitter. So I had a pint of London Pride which at £4.45 was on the expensive side, even for London. I was slightly short-measured. But my real problem was the quality which was awful. It was sour and there's no excuse for that when a large pub like The Coal Hole must have a high-volume throughput. There's clearly a problem with the cellar-keeping, although I doubt whether the mainly foriegn bar staff would have a clue what a good pint of bitter tastes like. Tourists may not know any better, but if you're a real ale drinker try the Nell Gwynne which is up an alley on the way to Charing Cross.
Number11 - 12 May 2016 13:28
The interior is well worth a look. Yes it is a tourist trap no question about that, but the beer quality is good (good not exceptional) and prices reasonable in my opinion, as is the pub, good standard pub food.

7/10, the average here is rather low for this pub in my opinion.
mike_s - 23 Jul 2015 12:55
Nothing really to make this place stand out from a thousand other pubs.

Everything was OK with my visit and it served a purpose.
Mappiman - 19 Dec 2014 14:57
Another on my list of pubs to drop in to, another where 99% of customers are tourists, and yet it does not overdo the olde stuff. Fantastic interior, well located, and not too expensive. This visit I had a pint of Bombardier for 3.55, and it was fine.

As I slowly work my way through my diary it occurs to me that the prices I paid are probably ancient history, as my visits were in July & August 2014. I include them because they give an indication of value for money, good or bad. In the case of the Coal Hole 3.55 is good value for money.
Queenslander - 25 Nov 2014 20:53
Wasn't planning to go to this pub yesterday. But I popped in to see what was on after visiting the Harp. It's a Nicholsons pubs with a lovely interior. It's location will always mean it proves a hit with tourists. But the ale range is a bit more 'average' than I remember it from previous visits. That said, there is still plenty to choose from - Stewart Dakota, Oakham Inferno, Truman's Runner, Nicholsons Pale Ale, Sharps Doom Bar, Adnams Broadside & Thwaites Wainwright. Cider was Westons Old Roise. I stopped for a quick half. But in hindsight, I should have chosen the Wellington opposite (another Nicholsons, but with a more adventurous range).
blue_scrumpy - 12 Oct 2014 12:18
Having posted a negative review a few years ago, I revisited the pub prior to a show at the Savoy recently. Pleased to say that there was a fine selection of ales on and the ones I tried were all lovely - excellent. Only problem was, that the pub was so popular that I couldn't get a seat!
Rob_Atkinson - 25 Apr 2014 13:17
Bring back the pies!
beernotfood - 18 Dec 2013 22:38
Unfortunately names bar which is actually perfectly presentable inside. Good selection of beers and a nice seated area, including an upstairs section, although it gets crowded come 5pm. Given that this is the strand you will not expect to find any kind of traditional pub atmosphere but it is pleasant enough for what it is. Staff friendly and efficient.
QueensParker - 7 Oct 2013 02:46
One of the more accessible and easy to find of London's pubs with heritage interiors. Defintely worth a look and a very wide selection of real ales on offer.
In spite of its location on the Strand there seemed to be quite a mix of customers, mostly Londoners having an after work drink, so a good atmosphere inside. I hadn't marked my street map guide with "must visit" pubs so it was a happy accident to bump into this one after an evening at the theatre!!
tarkatherotter - 4 Oct 2013 12:53
2nd to last pub of 9 in one evening brought us to the coal Hole.

Now I've been here before but it was late in the evening and several years back so my recollection wasn't that great.

There's 12 pumps dispensing 8 beers, of which several were from smaller lesser known breweries.

A stunning tiled floor, mixed with ornate mouldings on the walls and lots of wood paneling with lions on the staircase wonder lots of tourists visit.

Good pub but maybe a bit too touristy for me.
lezford - 12 Aug 2013 14:19
A good sized pub immediately adjacent to The Savoy which of course makes for a handy pit stop if you’re staying at the hotel and don’t want to pay £15 for a cocktail in their American bar (or up to £5,000 incidentally if you opt for one made with very rare vintage spirits...). The windows at the front of the pub are etched with “SWL” and according to a London Pubs book I have this is rumoured to stand for Savoy Wine Lodge hinting at a history more closely associated with the hotel than is the case today. However, that contradicts other learned posters below, so it may not be accurate!

It’s essentially an upside down L-shape bar with a high ceiling and the addition of a further mezzanine floor at the rear. Chequered tiling is on the floor and there are plenty of beams on the ceiling, although these look reasonably modern. The windows at the front are leaded glass, and an interesting feature was a plaster frieze running around the top of the room that looked to be Roman influenced with maiden’s eating bunches of grapes. There is some wood panelling on the walls, and a plasma was stuck slightly incongruously in one corner although this was not in use. An old stone fireplace was at the back. The music was slightly louder than would be my personal preference, but then it was a Friday evening so I suppose that’s excusable.

Some unusual beers on tap which were Harviestoun Old Engine Oil, World Top Bitter, London Pride, Nicholson’s Pale Ale and Brain’s Captain Cat. The solitary cider was Aspall’s Suffolk, unless you count the mulled one that was available.
Blackthorn - 12 Feb 2013 19:45
Not that busy when I popped in during the early afternoon recently. Friendly enough staff and decent choice of ales. Nice pint of Thwaites Nutty Black, but fairly expensive for a 3.3% abv ale, almost 4 quid! Worth a visit though. 6/10
ng10 - 27 Jan 2013 15:18
Excellent Central London pub with a wide range of real ales..all well kept..The Jaipur is recommended..all served by the delightful manager Annie....Had the Sunday roast which I also recommend....
itchytony - 14 Jan 2013 12:21
Great pub, in a perfect location. Try the Jaipur, but just the two.can get busy early doors but thins out as the commuters leave.
lesalanos - 8 Dec 2012 22:55
Visited here at 1.30pm on Sunday 8th July and it wasn't very busy. I got served straight away and found a stool to sit on. Most people were sat down eating and there was a group stood at the bar having a drink after just running a 10k race. Once they left at 2pm and the Wimbledon Mens final came on the TV the place was empty.

I had a pint of Sambrooks Lavender Hill followed by a pint of Robinsons Global Hop. Both beers were well kept and tasty and cost 3.70 each. Service was very good and I thanked the friendly bar manager as I left.

Will definately return but will try and avoid the busy periods that other people reviewing this pub have mentioned.
mattbeer - 13 Jul 2012 12:55
I had a couple of enjoyable pints (Kozel and San Miguel) here, plus was told the Suffolk Blonde was good. It became quite crowded but the staff coped ok.
warrior_123 - 4 Jun 2012 15:00
Still one of my favourite pubs in the west end. Can get busy at times, but you never have to wait long for a table. There's always a good selection of ales, including both classics and guest ales and the staff are pleasant and efficient. Also, if you're looking for a decent pie then this is the place to go!
DesignerGreg - 4 May 2012 00:43
My first visit although I must have passed it a hundred times. Splendid exterior and interior too. Superb beamed ceiling. Beer was fine (I enjoyed Lia Fail from Inveralmond Brewery of Scotland) - it was too early in the day to start on Jaipur!! Bar staff were prompt and efficient and there was a fairly standard Nicholsons food offer available. Not packed when I went but I could imagine that it would be when the tourist season starts in earnest. It probably gets a good trade from commuters as it is near to Charing Cross station. I liked it and will use it again.
mcroyal - 5 Jan 2012 13:04
Went in yesterday not having been there for, heck, 10 years? Quietish when I went in around 4.30 and had a pint of the excellent Jaipur - but was on my second pint before I noted from the list on the wall that it is 5.9% ABV! Changed to something lighter after that. By the time I left around 6.30 it was packed to the seams and standing room only. I know what the last poster means about crowds and enjoyment but it's the same old paradox - if a pub's any good lots of people will want to go to it and it will be full but if you find a place that's got room to hold a dance it's probably a dead-and-alive hole. I might give it a go one weekend, when it may be less busy, since this is clearly a popular post-office destination. So, allin all, a prime boozer.
guayabera - 15 Nov 2011 16:37
Get too crowded to be enjoyable.
rpf1955 - 6 Nov 2011 18:32
A good example of a Nicholson's pub which regularly serves a good pint - tribute, doom and Jaipur seem to always be on and served well. Festival ales also usually on. Slightly more expensive than other Nicholson's but that is what you expect on the Strand. Worth a stop-off on the way from the Harp to the Edgar Wallace.
Swalebeermiester - 29 Aug 2011 13:01
Busy, multilevel Nicholson's pub midway along the Strand. As mentioned below, despite always being packed with tourists, shoppers, theatre crowds, local workers etc, the basement bar is a calm, quiet refuge, with a table usually avaliable.

Nicholson's typical selection of real ales was avaliable, along with the usual vastly overpriced Peroni and, more unusually, draught Kozel, the first time I have come accross this outside Prague.

Always worth a visit if you are in the area.
flashharry1965 - 22 Aug 2011 14:18
Been in here a number of times, due to its prime location. Last visit was for lunch. Choice of five ales and had a decent doom bar (it seems to be following me around from Cornwall, to London, to the welsh borders this month). Had the fish and chips, which was OK. Only grumble is a pet hate of mine - paid with a card at the bar before receiving any services and the waitress made quite a play of me leaving a tip. We'll decide that when we have had the service.
Mappiman - 21 Jun 2011 10:52
Good quality (though expensive) beer. The problem is that other than London Pride, the other real ales are high ABV and that is not suitable at midday or early evening. The landlord should organise a better range. Good menu and although we did not eat, the food served to neighbouring tables looked good.

Gents' toilets grim. Inexcusable in 2011.
Beerscout - 9 May 2011 15:45
Finding a pub in or near Covent Garden where there's room to breathe on a Friday night is a bit of a trial. We regretfully abandoned the Harp as it filled to bursting , and didn't even try to get in the Porterhouse. We looked into the Coal Hole and that was heaving as well, but Milady suggested we just give the the downstairs bar the once over before trudging on

I was surprised. I was expecting a beer free wine bar, but there were several truncheons on display, and if only one was working, it was at least dispensing a very nice pint. Thornbridge Kipling, which tasted very light and refreshing for 5.2% . We got a table easily and slowly realised that we didn't have to go back out onto the Strand to look for something to eat. The menu was more or less standard Nicholsons, and therefore pretty good for bar food. My chicken pie had hefty lumps of actual recognisible chicken in it and her fish and chips was very good.

If I have a complaint, it's the beer price. 3.60 a pint I think it was, but then what do I expect in London? By contrast, the food was quite reasonable at 8 or 9.

I don't think I've ever been disappointed in a Nicholson's pub. Tim Martin should try one. And take notes
Royed - 20 Mar 2011 15:43
On a saturday evening, I tried the old porterhouse and then the neville gwynne, no chance of siting down in either. The coal hole was my back up plan and it did not let me down. Had a tasty pint of jaipur ipa, they also had a thornbridge stout on but sadly did not try it.
legionuk - 30 Jan 2011 07:45
Popped in here for a Sunday roast dinner one weekend before Christmas and was not disappointed. Slices of roast beef about an inch thick and potatoes crunchy on the outside and fluffy in the middle just as I like them. Washed down with a decent pint of ale for me and a red wine for the missus. Service was friendly and efficient and will pop in again if in the vicinity. Roast dinners for two and two drinks came to just over 25 quid which is a fair price for London.
GreedyG - 7 Jan 2011 23:31
This was the dearest pint we encountered in London. It tasted fine but the price was difficult to swallow!
Visit proved interesting thanks to a bit of a domestic by a French couple......she needs to get him out of her life!
LickeyEndBooze - 3 Jan 2011 13:46
Indeed a beautiful example of a fine London hostelry, under the reliable husbandry of the consistently-appealing Nicholson's brand, which despite being under the M & B stable just goes to show that pubcos can do it when they want to.
The Coal Hole is essentially no different from the usual formula, i.e. a range of well-kept cask ales, good-quality traditional pub grub with an emphasis on pies and sausages, oaky wooden interiors and a distinct welcome lack of company branding. The oddity here is the curious neon-lit pub sign above the main door, which in some contexts could be dismissed as needlessly tawdry, although this being a main London thoroughfare and not far from the ostentatious over-egging of theatre-land, it sort of manages to sit the right side of ridicule.
Always busy in my experience, but notwithstanding this you should get service fairly speedily and if you're really lucky, with a smile. A mix of clientele from young students to wealthy old boys can be seen in here, with many bases covered in between. Not a unique pub experience, and perhaps a true individuality of character is lacking, but still compared to the numerous below-par excuses for boozers in the capital, your evening or lunchtime could go far further adrift than it would here.

Well worth a visit.
TWG - 23 Nov 2010 17:16
Beautiful example of a London pub. High ceilings, polished wood and brass. Good beer, good service, well worth nipping down to the Strand for a swift one if you are in Covent Garden shopping.
Lord_Jeffers - 16 Nov 2010 23:24
Great pub, always pop in if in the area, in fact its worth the walk from/to if in and around Covent Garden. Usual type of Nicholson pub with a good selection of beers and reasonably priced food, great history to it as well. Good atmosphere inside, never a problem being served, no complaints at all.
phill1110 - 28 Oct 2010 22:03
Part of Nicholsons empire .Very interesting interior. The lady behind the bar was very pleasant and knew about the ales on sale, She also offered samples before we bought.The bitter I tried was on good form.Well worth another visit
covman45 - 25 Oct 2010 17:26
Good pub with good bitters. Always busy but usually manage to get a seat somewhere. I like the upstairs bit where its possible to have a good chinwag amongst others who are doing the the same - a noisy (with conversation) sort of place!
iannfa - 4 Oct 2010 23:01
A reasonable boozer. Crowded sometimes - nice interior.
alexdeane - 14 Sep 2010 12:21

This is now on my list of highly acceptable London pubs. The staff are friendly and helpful. As on my last visit there was a large range of real ale - of which I tried three - all kept to perfection. A reasonable price too (for London).

pedantnic - 19 Aug 2010 21:01
Would be quite a decent little pub if it wasn't for the east european bar staff. Why can't pubs pay more than minimum wage to get some decent english staff?
The Coal Hole - More like The Shit Hole!
Broadgate - 24 Jul 2010 11:02
An interesting pub. Friendly, helpful staff. A good selection of real ale. I had an excellent pint and a reasonable steak. I will return when in the area. Well worth putting on your pub-crawl list.
pedantnic - 8 Jul 2010 23:57
Well, I went on a return visit, just to see if there were any major changes (who am I kidding, I was dead thirsty having just flown in from forrin climes). The bar was quite full as was the alley outside. The bar was manned by four attentive staff who all knew what they were doing and what beers they had. I like the idea of tasters, but I stuck with what I knew and had four lovely pints of Timothy Taylors.
Cibalia - 18 Jun 2010 08:02
Had a couple of very respectable pints of Pitchfork and Doombar (3.10 each), but was thwarted in the quest to eat due to the kitchen being shut due to a leak.
Shame, as on Thursdays they do a pie and real ale deal for 8.95. Good value, as the pies are always quite decent and the cheapest one on the menu was about 7.50.
Also had Landlord and Pride on tap.
Gets busy after work, due to the location, but by 7.45pm the area upstairs had cleared out and there were plenty of seats. Or maybe that was because it was pretty warm up there.
duchyjim - 11 Jun 2010 09:52
popped in here for the first time the other sunday and was quite shocked , after all the hit n miss comments ive read i didnt really know what to expect , walked in and wasnt too sure about the decor , had a look at the real ales and didnt really know what to try , the barman (eastern european) let me try a drop of each till i found one i liked , which i thought was a nice touch , ended up having a 4 pints in here before i moved on as i liked this pub , will be back whenever im in the area
romfordir - 4 May 2010 17:59
Quite interesting interior - staff were a bit off but nice place, busy as you might expect for The Strand. Will go again. Interesting art-deco features (original?) around the interiour walls...........nice.
adamwalsh - 4 May 2010 07:55
Jay i fully understand your comment about the amount of pubs owned by Nicholsons, Fullers, Sam Smith etc in central London, but I don't think you should hold it against the individual pub, they are only doing what have to do, opening their doors and giving the people what they want, a drink. As for the Eastern European bar staff comment, I agree there should be more British staff behind the bar in central London pubs, but jobs are only given to people who actually want them. I worked for Nicholsons for 2 years, in 3 different pubs, the assistant manager at the Coal Hole and British I can count on one hand how many CV's I've had from British people but every week we're getting CV's from foreigners and for the record many of the work a lot bloody harder than some of the British staff I worked with.

Wes Mantooth apologies about your "cliche 70's sitcom" moment, one thing I know is that because you told them something was wrong, they have learnt a lesson. No one is born with knowledge, you have to start from somewhere, don't you?

I'm not attacking you guys, your reviews are your opinions on your visit, all I can do is invite you guys down and anyone else that has had a bad experience, and wish them a better one. If you have any complaints about anywhere you go, tell the person in charge and if that person wants to improve their place they should listen.
Rhubarb86 - 30 Apr 2010 13:13
Quite poor really. Wes_mantooth below puts it well.

I wonder how long it'll be before every pub in the centre of London is owned by Nicholsons/Fuller/Sam Smith? We'll all be have to choose from the same list of drinks, order food from the same plastic menu and give our order to the same east european bar staff? Terrific. Drinking in London is becoming like a kind of self-inflicted deja vu these days.

Jay28 - 28 Apr 2010 16:07
Popped in recently for a pint when in London, and was disappointed that the former quirky local has been tourist-ified more than what should be necessary. It is always a shame to see a quiz machine, laminated menus and fake chalked noticeboards teleported into an old fashioned boozer, when you can get all those things in any Wetherspoons, and this really lets down what could easily be a charming pub with no other obvious faults.

Equally, the knowledgeable bar staff are now all clueless youngsters (which would be OK if they knew anything about the beer they were serving, which they don't) with limited command of the English language. When my first pint of Doom Bar was clearly off, the barman admitted he had only just put the barrel on and did not "pipe flush long time". It was like a bad cliche in a 70s sitcom.

Nicholsons should remember why it is people go to their 7 historic "gems" in London rather than a Slug and Lettuce, and have a god look at this pub. A real missed opportunity.
wes_mantooth - 6 Apr 2010 19:40
I remember popping in here with a mate probably about a year ago now. We went to the bar in the basement which was decent enough. Quite nice and cosy with friendly and efficient bar staff. It wasn't until we left that we realised there was an upstairs bar. Haven't been back in since but wouldn't turn it down if I was in the area.
telephones_and_toliets - 28 Mar 2010 23:32
A short visit saturday on route to the ship and shovell. Had the odd looking stonehenge taste of spring, despite being green it actualy tasted quite nice. I was though rather dissapointed i didnt spot the excellent jaipur ipa tucked away around the corner till to late. Wouldnt go out of my way to come here but the beer was good so worth a pint if passing
Picasso09 - 28 Mar 2010 23:24
Packed!!! London Pride was quite poor... Had one and left.
Bernie5 - 21 Mar 2010 22:07
Usually worth a visit and I was not disappointed. Good pride and landlord and quick service too.
keith253 - 9 Mar 2010 18:25
Well known Nicholsons pub situated half way down The Strand in the midst of theatreland - indeed it's next door to the Savoy Theatre.

It's a longish L -shaped bar with a high-beamed ceiling and fine plasterwork friezes high up around the walls featuring nubile young ladies picking grapes. Of note also are the unusual circular-leaded windows where the letters SWL can occasionally be made out - this denotes the establishment's former name of Strand Wine Lodge in days long gone.

At the far end of the pub - by the atmospheric and cosy Wolf Parlour - are some stairs to an upstairs mezzanine area, from where you can often sit in a bit more comfort watching the throng down below. Downstairs from the main bar is the Edmunds Ale and Wine Bar with a typical city wine bar ambience, rather different from the main pub upstairs at ground level.

A former Ind Coope pub, it was absorbed into the Nicholsons chain a good many years ago. On my recent Saturday lunchtime visit, the usual Nicholsons suspects were on the pumps - TT Landlord, Pride, GK IPA and Thwaites Nutty Black. The latter - 2.95p - was a pleasant pint, but, as seems to be the case in many Nicholsons pubs now, the beer was not quite as good as it could be. Also on was a beer called Organic Cragg Vale Bitter from the Little Valley Brewery in West Yorkshire, which I didn't get to sample.

The pub is often busy with theatregoers or people from the Savoy next door and is a popular meeting up place, but it's worth calling in if you get the chance
JohnBonser - 24 Feb 2010 09:20
I have to admit I was impressed by The Coal Hole. Impressed that service could get as bad as that which I received. On attempting to order a round which included a couple of pints of one of their guest ales, Becks and Staropramen I was informed that they had none of their listed guest ales on tap and that they had run out of both Becks and Staropramen. Impressive stuff. Then the bar staff serving me changed her mind; Becks was available. Yet, instead she mysteriously decided to furnish me with 2 pints of London Pride instead of Becks. Sadly, I paid before I pulled these 2 pints into the light to realise they were not Becks. In this time, she'd already run off to serve someone else in this busy bar. I attempted to catch her attention so that she could rectify her mistake, but instead she proceeded to drop a glass on the floor and then disappear somewhere out of public view for some minutes. By the time she did return to serving and see me, she claimed that I had been standing at the bar "for well over half an hour" since she'd served me and thus she could not take back the 2 wrongly delivered London Prides. I had been there for 10 minutes, max 15. Eventually she extremely begrudgingly exchanged the pints for what I had originally ordered.
Avoid this pub.
SaintAlbanian - 7 Feb 2010 22:21
The real point about the Coal Hole is that it is consistently busy and is therefore getting through a lot of real ale, which as a consequence tends to be of decent quality. I've never had a bad pint of TT Landlord, which always seems to be on, in there. A recent visit again saw the Landlord on top form and the Coal Hole is one of the best places in London to sample this great, but often badly treated, beer.
Thuck_Phat - 8 Dec 2009 10:14
Not too bad for a Nicholsons, with an interesting interior and nothing like as dull as the name suggests! A reasonable selection of real ale, and the Robinson's 'Wags to Witches' was on good form. Better than I remembered...
rpadam - 31 Oct 2009 23:10
Have I been drinking? The stained glass lettering is SWL...Strand Wine Lodge!
Maldenman - 27 Sep 2009 08:38
There never seems to be anywhere to sit in this large Nicholson's pub, whenever I arrive its like the last seat has just been taken! Deservedly popular though and not cause for complaint. The usual Nicholson's abundance of dark wood, this pub has very high ceilings, a tiled floor and bar edge, a huge and attractive feature fireplace with a frieze adjacent of women picking grapes. Above the fireplace is a gallery area which was full of diners on my visit, but I don't think it is exclusively for eating.
The pub name apparently came about due to the regular custom of the coal heavers from the nearby riverside. previously it was the Strand Wine Lodge, the letters YSL are picked out in yellow glass in the leaded windows.
I received friendly and chatty service, beers on are TT Landlord and Golden Best, Pride, GK IPA, and the guest was Daleside Autumn Leaves, at 2.85 good value for this part of town.
There is also a wine bar area downstairs in the basement but I have never ventured down there.
I agree with others, better than its current rating of 5.4, worthy of a 6 in my estimation.
Maldenman - 27 Sep 2009 08:35
Like some of the previous reviewers, I find the mediocre rating for this pub inexplicable. I had a superb pint of Davenport's 'The Fall' here at the by central london standards very reasonable price of 2.90. The food looks worth a shot as well. Its only downside is the gents khazi which is bloody tiny, but what kind of humourless bore seriously marks a pub down for that? A definite to try if you find yourself killing time before a show or a train from Charing Cross.
ChrisP87 - 21 Sep 2009 18:37
Another nice pint of Greene King - much the same as my June visit but quieter and not so many Bar staff - Think I got there before lunchtime rush this time.
Bitter_Man - 10 Sep 2009 15:20
Paid my first visit here yesterday for what must be two or three years now, and am delighted to report that this is still a very fine pub. Gorgeous building, quick and friendly service, good range of draft beer all in good nick, and with a nice atmosphere. If there is any complaint, it would only be those age-old bugbears of West End pubs that it can be a little pricey and at time simply isn't big enough to comfortably accommodate everyone that wants to drink there.
Well worth a visit though.
Mr.Monkfish - 31 Aug 2009 13:02
Not sure why this pub has such a low rating on BITE. Good selection of ales and a nice interior. Small upstairs dining area (we were allowed to just drink there too). Quite busy when we were there, on a Saturday lunchtime.
dpaajones - 16 Aug 2009 11:58
I went in here whilst on a trip to London last year and I was very satisfied. So I returned this year, but unfortunately things didn't go so well. I was served a bad pint - it was very sour. I told the barman and fortunately he was apologetic and swapped it for something else. He also turned the pump clip round so that nobody else had the same problem. I'd like to say I would go back, but one bad pint is enough to put me off for life. It's a shame really as they do seem to be quite big on ales there, they have leaflets boasting about their upcoming guests etc. But if they can't look after the stuff then what's the point?
jarofporter - 9 Aug 2009 00:54
I do not recognise the pub from the review by alphaking. I have been there a couple of times for an hour or so each time and it has been enjoyable. On each occasion they had a really good range of ales (including Landlord which is a personal favorite) each of which was perfectly fine and exceptional value for money. As a CAMRA member and beer enthusiast I had no complaints about what I was served. The staff were perfectly polite. We're using it as a meeting point tonight so I'll cast a more critical eye over it this time.
cbensonis - 6 Aug 2009 14:41
Service much improved since my May review, There were lots of staff on who were willing to serve with a smile. Nice pint of Greene King IPA for 2.25. No short measures either. MAnaged to get my Tee shirts this time (I phoned ahead to make sure they had some). Will be back.
Bitter_Man - 19 Jun 2009 09:10
I went here with a group of friends on Friday night - we sat upstairs and there was plenty of space for a good get together, generally good selection of beers and spirits.

The only thing that was a bit offputting was the food - the burger I ordered was well done, and the bun it was served in close to carcinegenic (sp?) proportions, i.e. charcoal black. This is a bit disappointing, a few other friends ordered pies too, and their pastry was well done.

One comment about the staff, I didn't appreciate being told that when still hungry: "Didn't you order chips earlier? You know what'll happen if you eat a burger, you'll get fat". This was said to me by some rather masculine-looking short-haired cocky blonde barmaid. I also didn't appreciate being told by the same barmaid that I was 'being trouble' by ordering a couple more drinks on my bill when a couple of friends arrived. This is not the service I expect.

Anyway, to sum up, the place is ok, the staff just need to ease off on the London attitude and not burn the food.
sapphirerose - 1 Jun 2009 18:02
This pub is always Busy and the service always slow, not enough Customer Friendly staff. Food looked good but was going to China Town for a Chinese so did not try. Good range of normal Nicholson Ales. Did this pub as part of the Dick Whittington Ale Trail but unfortuately they had no T Shirts left
Bitter_Man - 7 May 2009 12:40
After visiting several pubs during the St George's day festivities my friends and I happened upon this pub. Obviously it was very busy so therefore it must be a reasonable pub. Ordered an ale which was found to be very cloudy so we asked the bar maid if we could have an alternative. The bar manager then came up and promptly refunded my friend his 3 and told the bar maid we are not to be served again. The cutomer service was appauling along with the condition of thier beer. I feel that I will not be visiting this establishment again.I would not recommend this pub at all. Horrible beer and Horrible bar manager.
Steve.w - 24 Apr 2009 19:36
I do believe this is the worst in the london "ale house" chains, bringing purportedly good beer to a new low. CH is part of the "Dick Whittington Ale Trail," a network of so-called cask ale pubs that boast all the same (bad) beers, all the same "classic british" food (for ths same "low, low price!"), the same manufactured "ale house" environs--all just more of the same ole same ole bs. Readers from the U.S. will know what I mean when I describe this chain as the Denny's of cask ale houses. If you're a non-beer-enthusiast tourist who just wants to boast that you drank a pint of "cask ale" while visiting london, then this is the place for you. Cheap tasting beer, cheaply served. If you care at all about the quality and craft of the beer you drink and the authenticity of where you drink it, steer clear of Coal Hole and the "Dick Whittington Ale Trail(s)" altogether. Of the pubs in this chain, I'll say that CH is especially bad, as all the fake ale house facade is accompanied by unusally bad service. I would recommend this place only as a joke.
alphaking - 3 Apr 2009 17:45
A good Nicholson's pub, 5 real ales in decent condition interesting interior and not too crowded. Service was a little slow but generally a good pub.
Randyray - 10 Feb 2009 17:18
Great atmosphere, festive crowds, good ale, but frequently too crowded to relax.
psark - 9 Jan 2009 01:02
Went in for one and the Harvey's Sussex was so fine we stayed for 3 more and missed our table at a nearby restaurant! Great atmosphere, really busy but service was very efficient
dd1962 - 7 Dec 2008 00:59
They had Pride, Landlord, Harveys Bitter, Coach House Brewery Blueberry Classic Bitter, and Beartown Brewerys Bear Ass Bitter on when I dropped in earlier in the week. I had the Bear Ass Bitter, which was a new one on me - 2.90 a pint; 4% and fairly dark with a smooth rich taste. Excellent. The beer choice has certainly improved in recent times. When I arrived shortly after noon there was an unpleasant smell of bleach, but this was soon masked by the smell of food. Typical Nicholsons type menu I had beef and horseradish on ciabatta with a few chips, which was OK for 4.95.

This pub has a very high, beamed ceiling, tiled floor, attractive friezes and bar-back. I even rather like the bar gantries. I noticed that the leaded-light windows had the initials SLW intertwined in them. Does anyone know what they stand for? Something to do with Savoy perhaps? This is a very impressive pub, which I like very much.
RexRattus - 7 Nov 2008 16:51
It was very busy in here during my visit, but the eagle eyed barman spotted me right away and promptly served me. Doombar, Hobgoblin, Pride, Harveys Best and Landlord were all on offer along with various lagers. Behind the bar is almost as wide as the drinking area so it doesnt take a lot to make this pub feel busy. I spotted some seating upstairs, but I didnt check out the downstairs bar Maybe next time.

In my opinion this place is worth a visit.
Strongers - 27 Oct 2008 16:35
Just Fantastic
GayleRoss - 1 Oct 2008 10:09
Fairly typical Nicholsons. Ground floor bar had Pride, Harveys Best, Landlord, Thwaites Wainwright and Theakston Grouse Beater. Seating area upstairs and a downstairs bar, confusing as it is signposted as the Ladies. Only Landlord and Pride on downstairs.
GuideDogSaint - 19 Sep 2008 23:08
Very busy and noisy with the pre-theatre crowd. The pint of Snaithes Summer Sunshine was very good. Have eaten here a number of times and found the food always good. I think the Nicholsons chain does a good job in providing good pub grub and drinks in characterful surroundings. How many of these pubs would have disappeared or been refurbished and lost forever?
Mothroy - 27 Jul 2008 09:49
Always go to the Coal Hole before a matinee. Lovely food...great bar staff.
beppo1 - 25 Jul 2008 16:33
Visited pub last thursday evening (17-07-08). place was looking fantastic. very good selection of ales (had a pint of TTLandlord at 2.90) but they almost always have at least 5 different beers to choose from. quick, profesional and friendly service.
crocker_11 - 22 Jul 2008 22:26
Visited this pub again yesterday Afternoon as part of "THE THEATRELAND" Dick Whittington Beer Trail. Five cask Conditioned Ales on offer Landlord, Robins Ransom, Deuchars, London Pride, But I went for Harvey's Sussex, which was not really to my taste, should have had London Pride. Small area outside to sit and People watch. Very quie quick service. Beer was only 2.50 a pint. Well worth a visit, would go back.
Bitter_Man - 11 Jul 2008 12:19
Had a decent pint of Spitfire in here. A tad crowded but it was Saturday night.
threeravensmoor - 5 Jul 2008 13:07
Dating from the early 20th century, this pub has some outstanding features. Leaded lights, some fine relief work depicting grape gathering ladies and a fireplace which looks like the entrance to Audley End rail tunnel. The bar back is particularly fine. There is more downstairs - a further bar which oozes atmosphere and includes a snug just big enough for two can be found there. Its apparently this area which gave rise to its name and was originally the coal cellar for the adjacent Savoy Hotel. A short walk from Trafalgar Square, it stocks a range of real ales and reasonably priced food for the area.
Alerover - 20 Jun 2008 20:58
great pub....good pint of Fullers London Pride.....excellent Fish and Chips....Pies looked tasty as well quick service
lilscse - 3 Jun 2008 11:05
This is a really nice London pub. The pies are good but would be better if they served them a bit hotter!
countrydweller - 31 May 2008 00:04
weston - 19 May 2008 16:40
Really spectacular, quirky interior - please dont let it change! Can be hard to find a seat because of its location on the strand
mozzzzzz - 7 Apr 2008 12:04
Probably the most famous pub in the Strand, with a long and interesting history. Good traditional place for a drink, conveniently located.
Greshon - 25 Mar 2008 09:48
From the moment I saw Richard Harris holding court around a table in this pub it was one of my favourites in London. Alas he is no longer with us, but the place has lost none of its historic character. A fascinating interior and a decent range of ales.

The only down-side is that, due largely to its location, it is often crowded so seats are at a premium. Worth finding your way downstairs.
GreenwichRed - 29 Jan 2008 15:54
Great place to visit, nice tradional feel to it

Doesn't have alot of seating options, there is an upstairs area which suits the food options more than anything I would think

But as a pop in visit, or short stay, suits well
the_original_rawnsleys - 28 Jan 2008 12:36
Decent enough busy hostelry on the Strand near the Savoy.

4 good ales on. The Broadside was decent. Very busy but good service and a classic, historic feel to this hostelry.

terenced - 28 Jan 2008 08:37
Heard a lot about this infamous pub and it's long list of famous patrons. Nice old London pub with a beautiful exterior and had a very nice pint of Guest ale. I think they should lose the music, it doesn't strike me as a pub that needs it. I was also expecting to see some evidence of this pub's history on the walls, there has apparently been a long list of notorious regulars and I wanted to see them (Aleister Crowley, Dylan Thomas, Oscar Wilde)amongst others.
cluck - 15 Jan 2008 11:41
Really like this place. Have visited a few times when in the area and not been disappointed. Good selection of ales and good value food. Very relaxed atmosphere for a central London pub.
Mothroy - 16 Dec 2007 20:36
I luv drinking in this pub. I use to pop in most night after work and have a few pints with friends. the staff are friendly and on the ball. and if you become a regular they make time to say hello and ask howz it going

i can't wait to pop in again for a few more pints....
roarus - 9 Dec 2007 06:12
I stubled into this pub after a long walk and was immediately pleased. Amazing decor! Very busy with a mixed crowd and as we had invalids with us we had to sit, but nobody had problems sharing their tables or giving up stools. The staff are efficient rather than friendly, but the gem was Timothy Taylor's landlord! I wouldn't leave until I'd had three pints and it was marvellous! I wanted to try London pride but it was off, though they hadn't turned the badge round.
Cibalia - 24 Nov 2007 07:13
Very nice little pub,very busy and clean.Only one small gripe as with a previous comment,the real ales were mostly off and the labels had not been turned round.Obviously I then had to call my friends back over to reselect their choice of ale.When we returned the next afternoon the situation was the same.Would still go back though.
anonymous - 28 Oct 2007 20:10
Very nice little pub,very busy and clean.Only one small gripe as with a previous comment,the real ales were mostly off and the labels had not been turned round.Obviously I then had to call my friends back over to reselect their choice of ale.When we returned the next afternoon the situation was the same.Would still go back though.
wurzel - 28 Oct 2007 20:10
I love this pub!!! such a chill out pint and wonderful surroundings!! Have Sharps Doombar!!!what a pint!! also, Timothy Taylor, London Pride. Will be heading back asap!!
robmarsh25 - 23 Aug 2007 15:09
Surprised this has got such poor reviews. Lovely little pub, good atmosphere and wasn't too busy when I went in at about 5pm. Had a nice pint of Adnams Explorer which was enjoyed. The food around me looked fantastic and generally a very pleasant experience.
Sharp - 1 Aug 2007 20:48
Good Well kept real ale
alewhale - 9 Jul 2007 20:47
A very nice pint of Taylor's Draught Landlord!
Sadly, bar staff seem to be numerically dyslexic as on each of my last three visits, asked for three pints and was given two!
Never mind, worth waiting for and we hope that Marek's mastery of English improves soon!
almost_an_old_git - 3 Jul 2007 08:57
Lovely atmosphere and great wine selection. A real shortage of bar staff though.
anonymous - 28 May 2007 23:10
Very good pint of Black Sheep on Tuesday afternoon. Had to stand in the alley though.
twatface - 24 May 2007 14:45
Good atmosphere and handy for pub hopping along the Strand and Covent Garden.Interesting endangered specied methinks.Definitely will be re visiting in the future.
ginner - 30 Apr 2007 20:50
stable pub not an all night location but always part of a crawl.
westyw9 - 8 Mar 2007 16:52
Beer was too cold to be enjoyable and the second pint I had (Pride) was really off and undrinkable. Walked out rather than got another one.
Rob_Atkinson - 24 Feb 2007 19:01
First pub I ever drank in in the capital over twenty years ago and wasn't let down on our return. Good beer and a great place to sit out side and 'people watch'. Ventured back a couple of times and will continue to. Nice one Coal Hole!!!
DirtyPanda - 10 Feb 2007 20:20
An outstanding pub. 5 cask ales in good condition, though served just a little cold. Stunning interior dating from 1904 of wooden beams, stone frieze above the lattice windows and a glorious stone fireplace and tapestry in the rear. Warm, relaxed atmosphere. Typical good value Nicholson's food.
SilkTork - 7 Jan 2007 14:39
A New Years Eve Pint Was Had, A Very Nice Pint At That,Decent Ale,Go , Visit!!! 8/10
fat_beer_badger - 1 Jan 2007 22:57
Not the best pub in London, but far from the worst either. Don't think I would want to spend an evening in here, but wouldn't miss it out on a pub crawl of the area - plus its location means that its a convenient place to meet people.

Has a fair range of beers on tap (I always like seeing Youngs and London Pride side by side) and a decent atmosphere. Music can be a bit too loud for conversation though. Gets very crowded in the evenings, don't hold out too much hope for a seat.
Crow_Valley - 27 Oct 2006 12:12
Used to frequent, when a DEFRA twonk in another life. Stopped going after some horrifc episodes of shite lager and even shiter staff.

Has anything changed?
PigPen_in_the_Fens - 6 Sep 2006 21:22
this pub is OK. when we went food and drink were all OK and service was good once the Polish girl behind the b ar understood what we wanted (same as 99% of London pubs). Biggest complaint was people smoking in the non-smoking area and staff just ignoring it. Other than that, spot on!
TrickyG - 1 Sep 2006 13:59
I used to pop in this pub with friends every now and again, but never really thought of it as anything other than one of those places you meet in, prior to heading off somewhere else shortly after. All, in all, the pub is fine for this purpose. It can get busy of course and as a result, getting a seat can sometimes be tough, but the staff have always seemed friendly enough and the service has always been fine on my visits. Its not the greatest pub Ive ever drunk in by any means, but neither is it the worst.
HTM69 - 8 Aug 2006 17:43
Beers good... only complaint myself and at least a dozen others asked fort he music to be turned down and the test match commentry turned on....but no....the tv is on but the musak stayed on loud.....
lilscse - 1 Aug 2006 16:42
Very quick service from an English speaking bar maid. A pint of Lancaster bitter for 2.55 which was not the cheapest they had. Sat out side were it was very busy noticed it was getting a bt chilly so moved on nothing to complain about however.
jkelly - 13 Jul 2006 20:08
If Timothy Taylor WERE the landlord then maybe things would be a bit better. As it is, the place has not improved since my last visit and I have to give it a big fat zero. Now how do you say that in Polish ?
Muffindamule - 14 Jun 2006 12:51
Nice traditional pub with good selection of real ales. Guest beer was Timothy Taylor Landlord when we went. Several free tables inside even though people were standing outside drinking. Toilets pretty scruffy. A good rendezvous place before going on somewhere else.
Trev - 9 Jun 2006 19:43
this pub is the worst ive been in ,beer was shit ,but must say food was good ,the staff could hardly understand any english , shouldnt be working with the public,when i complained about my beer i was told that there is nothing wrong with it by a big tall guy who said he was in charge,what a shame that the staff and manangment are crap ,as the pub has nice decor ,would be good with the right people working there ,in my opinion do not go there as the staff wouldnt have a clue what u wanted to order from the bar ,the worst pub i have visited in the west end
anonymous - 28 May 2006 23:02
Good beer every time we visited over a long good too after a mix up in the orders ..down to the mainly foreign barstaff with poor english,I`m afraid to say....
lilscse - 24 May 2006 11:42
This used to be Richard Harris's local before he departed for the big beer trough in the sky. Interestingly, he was a permanent resident in the Savoy round the corner for the last 20 odd years of his life.

Anyway, I digress. I have always liked this pub. Like a old pair of slippers, its worn and comfortable.

The actual 'Coalhole' itself is in the basement bar. And worth seeking out as a particularly cosy venue for a party of 4/6/8.
anonymous - 11 Apr 2006 10:58
I recently returned here for the first time in ages.
Around about 1997-2002 I used to go here a lot to meet friends as it was convienient for out of towners who live by the tube map.. Then it went seriously downhill, with mouldy flaking paint on the walls and truely dreadful beer.

I'm pleased to say that the decor must have been tarted up in the last few years, and it still has the pseudo-Greek freezes on the wall; and more importantly the beer is pretty good actually. Taylor's Landlord and Deuchers IPA were in good shape on my 2 recent visits.

The bar staff are potentially the problem for all the other negative comments - Eastern Europeans fresh off the back of a refrigerated truck I think. I was served a pint with almost an inch of froth (not even a proper head). It was topped up on my smiling request, but I shouldn't have had to ask.

Still a place to visit on a crawl or to meet friends, but not a place to linger, but why would you with so many other gems in the area (Nell Gwynne, Harp etc).
lipster - 11 Apr 2006 10:50
How this place got a cask marque I will never know.
TheBeerMonkey - 31 Mar 2006 15:13
Spitfire on tap. I think it was nice, was a bit wellied though. I quite like the design of the place. OK not great.
mitomighty - 10 Mar 2006 16:57
I must admit i used this pub quite alot for 5 or 6 years when i worked in the area and when i changed jobs was the time this landlady took over, i cannot say i ever met the lady so cannot really comment. i jumped to the conclusion she was still there as the previous poster to me mentioned a landlady.
I understand that an assistant manager runs the pub on Saturday and works 10am to midnight so has long lunch break, seems to be little cover in this mid afternoon period.
Still i recommend Nell Gwynn just up lane across road!
lincoln - 20 Feb 2006 14:58
Do all these people who are still whinging about the landlady realise she's been gone for nearly 2 years???! Anyone who's been in there more than once would realise that there is in fact a LANDLORD now! (Admittedly he doesn't seem to be there much, but you might catch him at lunchtimes...)

anonymous - 15 Feb 2006 14:17
Went to meet an old friend who works at Savoy Theatre at the Coal Hole had always been his local as the stage door funnels into the basement bar. Was amazed to find that him and all the other staff had been boycotting the bar for a number of months because of the ladladys attitude and the poor service. (The downstairs bar is frequently closed because they don't have enough staff in the evenings)
there was a group of 6 of us who came in to find a half dozen or so people waiting to be served with one rather stressed young girl frantically running about completely out of her depth behind the bar. She explained to a man ahead of us in the queue that all the lagers needed changing and her and her colleague didn't know how to change the barrels. Her friend was evidently downstairs trying to acquire the knowledge to do such a task. When the same customer asked who was in charge he was told the manager was on her lunch break and not expected back for an hour and a half. At this stage we decided to go across the road to the Nell Gwynn a fantastic little pub where however busy you get acknowledged promptly and served in good time. (note: you don't mind waiting if you are welcomed and told of any credible reasons that there may be delays.)

lincoln - 14 Feb 2006 15:49
My visit to this bar was eventful. Sadly not in a good way.

The toilets were disgusting. One of the ladies had blocked up on flooding, there was water all over the floor, no toilet roll or soap and the had dryer didn't work.

On attempting to have a quiet word with one of the staff and tell them about the flood, I was cornered by a woman I presume was the landlady and screamed at for "being rude to her staff". Given the fact she was the only rude one, I found that insulting. She then attempted to insinuate I hadn't bought a drink (I suspect this was because I had a rucksack) and was quite offensive.

I'm not the only customer she must have lost that day as a result of such behaviour. For the record, I had bought several drinks for myself and friends, and the beer tasted watery and was over-priced.

There are nicer pubs in London, by a long way. The Coal Hole is an appropriate name. Avoid if at all possible.
pint_sizedvix - 11 Feb 2006 17:12
Trad pub. Ale so-so. Full of tourists. Not best pub in area - ChrissG, try the Harp, you will not be disappointe.
Phucough - 10 Jan 2006 02:05
Things must have really improved since the terrible reviews further down the page. Popped in three times over xmas period and each time enjoyed a good pint and nice atmosphere. Youngs Bitter and London Pride were both on, and the place had a bustling feel but without being overcrowded. Has this monster landlady been kicked out or just improved her ways?
OldRogue - 3 Jan 2006 10:27
The old man is always going on about how he used to go here during the war so me and the missus popped in there before going to the theatre. Probably not the best time to go - week before Xmas, it was heaving. Had to stand. Seemed okay though but nothing there to make me go again. For the most part West End pubs are too much hassle for me. No sign of the Poles! Must say this thread was very entertaining.
Lyncroft - 22 Dec 2005 14:23
Fine pub. Beer is consistently good and the staff is simply outstanding.
mattmcb57 - 4 Dec 2005 17:30
Most pubs in Central London would turn the clips around. I think this is, and knowing when a beer is off, is down to training.
graley - 22 Nov 2005 13:47
As a scouser on business in London, I was more than happy to see the typical Nicholson beers when I walked in. Trouble was only the Landlord was actually available (not in great condition).Why can't London pubs (central ones) turn around the pump clips when a beer has finished?

Otherwise not that bad for a pub so much on the tourist route.

ChrissG - 21 Nov 2005 22:57
Working just round the corner, I have frequently used the Coal Hole to meet both friends, spouse and business people and have had no complaints from anyone I have ever taken thereand there lies the rub. It is a pub that it is difficult to say anything against as it appeals to a wide range of people. Set on the Strand amongst theatres etc it will attract tourists so why do people seem so surprised that this is the case! Reading other reports of how expensive the pub is rubbish! All Nicholsons pubs appear to have a set price and I have found that it is usually pitched a bit less than the average pub in the surrounding area. The beers I have had in the Coal Hole have been excellent and the food fine. The dcor is interesting and unusual and gives the place its own character. I have never had any problem with the staff or the service in my many visits over the past 18 months and usually manage to grab a seat (try the minstrel gallery if there are none downstairs) or at worst a bit of ledge to place my pint. The only downside that I have experienced is when there has been a convention or meeting in the adjoining Savoy Hotel and everyone piles in at the same time however this is not common. It should also be noted that there is a downstairs bar (more of a wine bar) that is worth checking out. They used to have a plasma TV but this has now gone (its not really a TV sort of pub and it did look a bit out of place anyway).
RogerB - 26 Oct 2005 14:40
Fine traditional pub - no complaints. Mr Monkfish is not wrong - this is the best pub in The Strand
JohnBonser - 26 Oct 2005 13:48
I like the Coal Hole a lot and always have. Nice building with a lot of atmosphere and character. Beer is always good and prices are par for the area. Good mixture of people in there normally and bar service is efficient. Best place to go for a drink on The Strand. If you can get one of the few seats on the upstairs bit, it's a very pleasant place to settle in for a drink with your nearest and dearest.
Mr.Monkfish - 8 Sep 2005 15:27
Revisited in August from my last trip to the UK in 97. Typical Nicholson's beers (London Pride, Green King IPA, Taylor Landord & Adnams Bitter). Had a fairly dear pint of Landlord that was in pretty good shape. Much better pubs in the area (The George, Edgar Wallace).
ale_brewer - 13 Aug 2005 21:56
Popped in here last night, for the first time in almost 25 years. The pub was no great shakes back in the early 80s and it's nothing particlarly special today. However, it is a lot better than much of the local competition. It's obviously been tarted up a few times over the years, but it still retains a traditional pub atmosphere. There was a reasonable crowd of people, the speed of service was perfectly satisfactory, the Timothy Taylor Landlord tasted fine and the price of drinks was not overly expensive (at least not by central London standards).
BinBagBob - 5 Aug 2005 08:36
I think you'll find its differing tastes. I've work near the 'Coaley' for 2 years so have seen it both at quiet and busy times. The beer is always excellent, the service is efficient but not overly friendly, the food is good although preprepared and the decor is authentic. If you don't like traditional pubs or don't appreciate good beer then don't come here.
graley - 17 Jun 2005 07:48
Thought I'd try this out after all the adverse comments it's had in the past - could a pub be really that bad...

When I went (approx 9:30pm) there were probably only about 10 people in the pub so it wasn't hard to get served. The beer (Landlord) tasted good and I didn't get robbed. Didn't try the food.

Overall the feel was relaxed and I would return. Has this pub turned the corner now?
GrahamA - 16 Jun 2005 11:19
Quite a relaxing place to go for a pint or two. Fake medieval tapestries in an attempt to appeal to the foreign tourist market. The Landlord was kept well and I think there is usually a guest. Overall much better than the competition on the Strand, particularly the Nicholson's across the road.
kyle473 - 12 Jun 2005 22:41
Small and very busy - not a combination that makes for a good night out, especially given that all the punters are local suits straight after work. Quite uninspiring.
rah - 2 Jun 2005 14:21
Plusses: Right in the centre of town.
Minuses: Very busy in the evenings, quite expensive, and pretty characterless despite its seeming age.
A Plus or Minus?: A quiet, nondescript clientele.
Gagriff - 12 Apr 2005 19:41
its what you'd call an "anytime of day" boozer this,...never packed but never empty and always hits the spot,..service is consequently timely and you invariably get a seat,.or at least a plot at the bar or side ledge,..stress free really in pleasant surroundings,...let the missus run round the shops and get tanked up here,.........then boot it elsewhere and turn your phone off before she comes back....
kmcs - 31 Mar 2005 15:58
nice little mid-town dump this. spent many a happy hour here. good for when you forgot the balaclava and you need one to steady you before you get on the tube back home.
tanderson7 - 31 Mar 2005 15:43
Went last Monday. Staff frendly and the Taylor's was first class. Was I lucky, or were others unlucky?
twatface - 28 Mar 2005 13:30
Coal Hole? More like Shite Hole ! Shockingly expensive with the most unfriendly bar staff you are likely to find anywhere this side of Warsaw. I don't know how they get away with it. If you do decide to have a drink here then I strongly advise steering clear of the beers. A glass of orange juice is safer and as for the food.........a bag of crisps perhaps ?
Muffindamule - 20 Jan 2005 21:19
The last pub I've visited in my last journey to London. Just nothing special...
ilfaccino - 20 Jan 2005 18:09
Some very mixed comments about this pub - but I was in there with my girlfriend last night and we were very pleasantly surprised. OK the bar staff were not British but were very friendly and helpful - despite the fact that we asked for one thing then changed our minds and went for something else the guy was patient and friendly. The Timothy Taylor's Landlord was damn fine, and the atmosphere was great. Given the location I would have expected it to be full of tourists but this was not the case, so they're clearly doing something right. The Roman frescos around the top of the walls add interest, and I now have an ambition to spend a day at the table at the back on the ground floor by the medieaval tapestry thing - a great session could be had there! Reading below it sounds like the pub has had a chequered history, and I can't comment on the food, but if you're on the Strand then I really would recommend giving this place a punt.
MrLash - 31 Dec 2004 10:32
This small busy pub on the strand, serves the usual pub fayre and real ales. Full of atmosphere partially because of its ornate architecture. Did I mention it was very old?
graley - 29 Dec 2004 14:27
I have been in this pub a number of times and I don't find it at all bad. I've had no trouble with the staff (except when the place has been very busy) and in all other respects it is no better or worse than any other pub in the immediate area.

It is best to sit in the upstairs section if you can get a seat.
alistaird55 - 6 Dec 2004 15:06
Visited this pub last Friday night. Ordered two pints of X and one pint of Y. Later ordered two pints of Y and one of X. At this, the barman poured me two pints of X and one of Y because (and I quote) "That's what you ordered last time." I politley asked him pour me the drinks I asked for, and he refused. It's a pity, because generally I enjoyed the busy atmosphere of the place and would have gone there again.
Mark Gillespie - 17 Nov 2004 12:20
Not as special perhaps as it once was pre-WWII. Food is hearty, beer is fine. Current barstaff dont speak much English, but that's somethigng we Londonders are going to have to get used to now.
Lawrence - 4 Nov 2004 13:11
Sadly all my work colleagues come in here odd lunchtimes and after work and i get roped along ocassionally- as a regular for over 25 years i find it extremely sad how the place has changed in last 2/3 years. As plastic and fake as the flowers on the bar!
Graeme Nugent - 27 Oct 2004 12:51
Very disappointed to hear comments about Coal Hole. My grandparents Frederick and Cissie Cole ran this pub during the 1920's/early 1930's - I still have the huge cut glass decanter that used to stand on the end of the bar. My grandmother was an excellent cook and her food was vastly appreciated in the pub. Unfortunately, I understand that my grandfather used to keep later hours than the licensing hours and thus lost his license as a Manager. Both my grandparents were later killed in 1940 in a direct hit on the Andersen shelter in the back garden of 125 Prince Regent Lane in Plaistow where they lived after they left the Coal Hole.
Chris - 26 Oct 2004 22:40
I have nothing but admiration for Graeme Nugent, and his determination to repeatedly re-visit The Coal Hole, and endure such a bad experience, just for the sake of telling us all how bad it is. Did you have an argument with someone there Graeme?
alan - 26 Oct 2004 20:24
Place is a building site at moment and will be until new year. Building having stonework cleaned - so scaffolding up. Very dusty and noisy. Not place if your in your suit!
Beer is shite anyway - go to the Coach and Horses up in Covent garden if you don't want to drink pissy warm lager
Graeme Nugent - 26 Oct 2004 19:44
Slightly surprised by all the negative feedback - possibly not the best pub in the world but a pleasant enough place for a beer or two in the evening. Certainly has more character than a lot of West End pubs and service has always seemed pretty good to me. Add in the convenient location and I would say it's worth the occasional visit.
Simon - 14 Sep 2004 14:31
I was in pub when Casque Mark people came in one lunch time and i hope it failed - barman was allowed to pour off 2 to 3 pints of beer from lines before giving half pint to CM taster to try (nb: all this beer deemed undesirable for him to try would have been sold to the customer) (tried temperature of one half and found it too cold/warm barman poured off another pint - temperature OK) of 3 halves tester tried none got full marks and he remarked that the London Pride was sour. As a customer looking over the testers shoulder i couldn't see in detail what he wrote but it didn't look good. I had a chat with the tester himself and he was unwilling to give me the result but said he would take on my criticisms (pointed out a concerns i and other regulars have on standard of beer)I have been told that The Hole failed and i feel this would be completely justified. As a real ale drinker in any other pub i begrudgingly drink the lager in here as the cellar has been completely neglected for over 2 years now. (it is my local drinking hole for work colleagues sadly)

Graeme Nugent - 14 Sep 2004 14:03
Regarding the Cask Marque thing: it looks like they do still have it, check the Cask Marque's own website. If the beer is that bad, why not contact the CM people to let them know?
anne - 12 Sep 2004 11:42
I must it's a very entertaining read of user comments, and I can only confirm all the critical ones. Went here first in 2000 and it was good enough that when I was next in the area in April 2003, I took a bunch of workmates here and it had completely changed. The ale was literally undrinkable. I only happened to be looking at this page because this website still has it noted as having a cask marque - something that I find a very untrustable award as it is, but at least (according to the post below) they've seen the light with this shithole.
travis - 11 Sep 2004 18:45
Whether Charles Dickens or Samuel Pepys drank in here or not i don't give a f**k.
this place is a dive - not called the Shit Hole for nothing.
Very expensive very poor service Priced up for the tourists and bankers (with capital W) that fill the place- (note: this attracts lots of pick pockets and gypsies - be carefull with bags) Downstairs bar worst for bag snatches very dark 3 exits staff unable/unwilling to combat theiving.
Used to be flagship CAMRA pub now even lost its Casgue Mark (though sign still on door)Real Ale is piss poor
Graeme Nugent - 10 Sep 2004 15:36
Look in the picture of the pub
it is a Nicholsons pub.
it sells Carlsberg Tetley beers.
Therefore not Kronenburg!!!!

You pay 3.10 for warm pissy Carlsberg - FACT!

Pub was built after Savoy Theatre (around 1890) and Savoy Hotel (1895ish) - so approx 100 years old. Most of tudor beams and Coat of arms are obviously fake - FACT!!!

Much of the invented history of this place is stolen from the "Fountain Inn" that stood in present entrance of Savoy Hotel - such as the legendary "Wolf Parlour". And the Savoy Hotel never needed a coal supply (or a Coal hole)as it had a completed Electricity supply from the day it was built, state of the art at the turn of the century.

I think Neil Durrant is very much mistaken if that is her name (Christine???)
Edward Tatham - 16 Aug 2004 18:28
To comment on the prices - recently paid 8 for a pint of lager and a glass of red wine. For its location and age, should be one of the top pubs in London but isn't. Shame.
Wullie - 28 Jul 2004 15:37
Just wanted to say that the comment regarding the prices and availability of beer are false. I had a pint of Kronenbourg at 2.70 (20p cheaper than all pubs in the vicinity - I work nearby) and enjoyed brilliant service in the victorian surroundings, that appear to be genuine. What were the previous contributors thinking?
Neil Durrant - 7 Jul 2004 15:54
This pub is on strand next door to the Savoy....famous for regulars (usually staying at savoy) such as Richard Harris,Aleister Crowley and Rupert Brooke plus actors from nearby theatres recently Kathy Burke Jason Flemyng(Lock Stock) and Jasper Carrot.... Sadly none of this class rubs off on the decor crappy fake victorian shite. Fake flowers on the bar sheilds and coats of arms on the walls that bear no significance to anything in the pub. At present geared around upwardly mobile who will pay upwards of 3.50/4 per drink....
This is probably most expensive pub in 5 mile radius and this is central London
For lively cheapish pubs try Walkabout or Mappleleaf just across the road or if you want a quieter pint try the Rose&Crown or Cross Keys in Covent Garden.....
This pub stands for all that is wrong in London pubs - excellent venue has made propretier lazy they have the cash coming in whatever service they provide
Tom Williams - 23 Jun 2004 17:20
Had Pint of stella and it was in region of 3.20

must have missed Kronenburg too and 70p cheaper too??????
Leon McKenzie - 18 May 2004 13:08
They don't sell Kronenburg
this is a Six Continents "Nicholsons" Pub
they sell Stella and Carlsberg

I don't recall Bombadier in this pub - last 2 to 3 years have stuck with LPride Tetley and occasionally Speck Hen - did wonce have Tim Taylor for month or so as guest beer but don't believe had guest beers since

they do not sell any lager at 2.50

They do not have chips on menu - mostly salads and sandwiches (light snacks)

Nothing on menu below 5 i think toasted sandwiches start in region of 5.95

I think "drinker" below had a few too many drinks, must have been drinking in another pub
John Mills - 14 May 2004 13:14
Dark and smoky like a pint of Guiness.
Aaron - 14 May 2004 04:25
Why all the poor comments? At 4.95 for a generous portion of Cajun Chicken with plenty of chips the food is very reasonable for the quality you'd expect in a pub. If you don't like it, the Savoy is virtually next door...Oh yes, and the Bombadier was well kept and 2.50 for a pint of Kronenbourg in central London ISN'T expensive. I'll definitely be returning, if none of the other blah-arses who've commented on this site are there it'll be even better!
drinker - 4 Apr 2004 15:26
Bought round of drinks in here cost=16
bought same round 30mins later 21
Queried price barstaff said correct
asked for receipt bar staff said couldn't give me one had cashed up drinks.
asked to see manager - 10 mins later
When manger showed up couldn't find record of either of my transactions 3 pints of beer an orange juice and 2 spirits+mixers
No apology
wasn't busy and barmaid in question had only rung in 2 transactions in last hour
Manager ran in drinks and they came to around 19
When i refused to pay this and asked for explanation was asked to leave.
Wouldn't mind if i had been out of order or was making a scene and swearing but i was with my parents and granparents on way to theatre....
If the lady in charge won't give me an explanation i must conclude that the barstaff are dodgy and she defends their stealing
anonymous - 25 Mar 2004 16:29
In defence of the Coal Hole, it has a good quiz machine.
Matt - 12 Jan 2004 13:02
had our staff Xmas party in wine bar - lack of staff usually just 1 poor girl trying to serve 10/15 waiting customers. when other staff did come down generally on breaks and didn't help - just helped themselves to our buffet and to free drinks behind the bar - this included landlady who seemed unfazed by the state of the room ie no glasses cleared for over an hour all tables piled high with empty glasses
Place was disgusting and overpriced - buffet 8 a head for very poor finger foods drinks too very expensive
service despicable
Ryan Handiman - 6 Jan 2004 14:33
My girlfriend had her handbag stolen a couple of weeks ago at this pub as well. Spoke to the girl at the bar who had more interest in chatting up a couple of Italian men! When she finally came over, she just shrugged her shoulders and promptly disappeared. What a disgrace!!!! Spoke to the police and they told me that incidents of theft happen all the time at this public house. I think if this establishment cannot do more to safeguard the public (ie. get CCTV, hire people who will take more responsibility etc.) -- it should just shut down as it simply sends out the wrong image of London! By the way, beer was piss poor and food was awful!
James Best - 31 Dec 2003 11:26
Yeah, what can you say. Seems to be a familiar trend. I order food and it turnd up 24 minutes later (I timed it... new watch you see) and it was cold. never again. And as for the handbag stealing thing I think they should be ashamed of themselves.
Davey Boy - 11 Dec 2003 21:53
Had my handbag stollen in here on Monday night, been told by other people and Charing Cross Police that the "Hole" has a bit of a reputation. Has so many exits little gypsy kids can be in the front entrance and out the back alley and down the Embankment before anyone knows anything.
I like the idea management not at fault, they refused me access to their phone, wouldn't phone police for me, i was told to use public phone but had no money as my purse had been stollen. They couldn't (or wouldn't) even tell me where the nearest Police station was (Charing Cross)just didn't give a shit - my responsibility i was informed. It was a quiet night and i think the apathetic staff/management have a duty to their customers, if it had been a Friday and they had been busy OK but they just stood around chatting while i asked strangers to phone the Police for me. "It's not company policy..." to help a single woman who has had her bag stolen!
This place is getting a reputation a lady told she had had her bag stolen 3 times from the Wine Bar and each time the bar staff did nothing (why does she come back because i won't)
I understand Covent Garden has a problem with pick pockets but it seems that while other all pubs have a zero tolerance attitude this place welcomes in stray children and vagrants, i've heard stories that tramps are allowed to sit in the wine bar drinking cans of Special Brew unhindered and then walk around begging. The female manager and female assistant are too afraid to do their jobs and leave it to the male members of staff being paid minimum wage if there are any on duty. It seems if certain key members of staff are missing there is no one stop any thing happening and the place falls apart. Understand one day they ran out of lager because none of the 5 women on duty could change the couplings on the barrels. Being a woman myself i find it quite sad that this person gives equal oportunitys a bad name, every bad stereotype of a woman manager this person has. It seems if she doesn't have a man about the place the whole thing falls apart!!!

anonymous - 3 Dec 2003 12:09
I will never return here in my lifetime!!!
8 of us went there on a Sunday lunchtime and ordered food. One of us ordered a ham dish which the bar staff raved about. 20 mins later the food turned up....except for the ham dish. We asked where it was and the staff member went to find out. He came back saying that they actually weren't doing the dish that day, and that he hadn't found out until after we had ordered.
When asked why he hadn't come and told us he didn't have an answer. Our friend had to go without food and wasn't offered any compensation by a rude manager.
The food was pretty crappy too and the coke was flat!!
It is a shame as this pub has the potential to be a real gem.
Matt - 30 Nov 2003 22:01
i had my purse with mobile and i-pod stolen from this pub, so watch your bag in here.

it was no fault of the management.
Disco Mimi - 6 Nov 2003 15:48
I agree with you Jon - someone has forgotten to tell these idiots that the purpose of a pub is enjoyment, and an arrogant flippant attitude doesnt work - this is the worst pub in london in my experience - save your soul go somewhere else!
andy - 3 Nov 2003 13:56
Quite possibly the worst pub experience I have had in London in many years. What a shame for a pub that looks great and has so much history. Bad, bad, service and a very unwelcoming attitude. We were sold drinks at 6 olclock on a Sunday night and then rudely told to drink them up by 6.20 shortly after having sat down to enjoy them. I would never go here again unless the management completely changed
Jon - 3 Nov 2003 13:21
I stumbled accross this one day on the strand and thought it was pretty good, nice to be in a pub with a few years behind it.
Tom - 10 Oct 2003 16:02
I think most of the regulars have gone because Richard Harris died and they can't ponce pints anymore.

Don't go in myself very often as it has gone towards attracting a younger louder clientele in last year or so.

Always laughed at the fake fixtures and fittings Coats of arms etc.. new landlady has put even more up plus fake flowers and potted plants all over the place. Like a jungle going down to the Wine Bar.

I think this place has always had diverse staff nationality wise and indeed in last 2 to 3 years alot of Polish but some of the best staff have been Poles (OK so have the worst too remember Tomasz with baseball cap and Przemick)

Kieran McKeaver (Interbrand - next door) - 7 Oct 2003 17:42
Difference between pub now and last year is:
a) You've got a Manager who is a company yes man(woman) who keeps staff levels down who adheres to all new policy without question.(always had a cellarman now not cost effective!)
b) Harris died so all the hangers on have gone and much of the soul of the place.(Add this the Manager effectively banning Savoy staff)
c) As a result no Regulars has much more reliance on Tourists Suits and Weekend crowds - A location that cannot fail but management doing their best
d) Staffing has been cut considerably (it was too high but then you got excellent service)
There was never any rush to clear pub, John previous manager was a publican through and through and knew how to treat and keep regulars (odd lock in etc..). Christine Young could be managing any small business - and she probably isn't doing a great deal wrong, but she just hasn't got the instincts and the customer service skills to be a great landlord (and the last 2 before her were great)

Comments maybe a bit harsh below but new manager came in and upset alot of people. (She started a few weeks or so before Richard Harris died) Asking Regulars to pay up their bar tabs the day after his death was a little harsh - timing is everything

Also getting rid of all the previous staff and informing customers why - stealing in one case (barman was drunk on duty)when this was not true, also upset customers. sack a barman (2 years service) if he is drunk on duty no problem why tell lies? the bloke was a pillock but he had alot of freinds.

Coal Hole is no longer the place it was but then the company that owns it has made a consious desicion to break away by hiring Christine Young
anonymous - 26 Sep 2003 09:45
Some harsh comments posted here previously! Found the pub to be pretty good - beer cold, staff fairly attentive. It was busy on a wednesday evening, while other pubs in the area looked quiet. I've used this pub on-and-off for a few years and can't say that I've seen much of a change - always fairly busy, always decent beer... 'Nuff said!
John - 26 Sep 2003 00:53
Greg actually left before Christmas last year but worked in Cole Hole for 18 months or so. Using his and Phils communication as an example (when they started together). Philipp worked on and off in the Coal hole for over 2 years and left last month (i believe he was still working in August though). Both Greg and Phil became part of the furniture in that most barstaff tend to move on after a few months. Most of the previous comments seem to be about long running staff problems not just specific days.
If you had seen this pub in the past over the years you would have seen how far it has fallen, but i think whole issue is not Polish barstaff but of terrible management.
Mark Seagram - 22 Sep 2003 10:09
Did I miss something????????????

As I've stated previously, I'd been visiting The Coal Hole (to be more precise ->91-92 Strand - just in case we are commenting on different pubs) a lot during my stay in London, throughout the whole month of August... Being a frank person enabled me to get to know the WHOLE staff of the pub. Believe it or not - there was no Phillip or Greg behind the bar - literally no one was speaking German... I don't think much has changed since the time i left. maybe the 6foot russian monster -phillip was on his summer holidays? i assume he must have worked there on sept 16th, when you've written your commentary and before (as he had his with greg)... i still miss something...being a solicitor doesn't make me feel ashamed though...
john - 18 Sep 2003 21:45
damn good looking male bar staff and a great sound system and Stella - seemed fine to me!
amy - 18 Sep 2003 17:49
I have personnaly been in this pub so many times that I can't honestly remember how many, and not all what has been said above it's true.
I had always had wonderful times there and the staff are really friendly.
Majority of staff are Polish, yes, but what the f***, this is London, if you don't like it get out of here.
David - 12 Sep 2003 04:22
I've drank in this pub for last 18 years after work and can honestly say i've never seen or spoken to this landlady whose been in charge since last October.
Presume she does work a 9-5 working week.
Doesn't seem to be any supervision as staff drink and smoke at and behind bar.
Seem to be endless supply of East European staff mainly polish who have little expertise or care for the job.
Mark Seagram - 9 Sep 2003 15:56
Allowed to really go down hill absolute dump. How can a company leave such a woman in charge for nearly a year now.
Been here since October last year and don't think she's worked a Friday or Saturday night yet.
Staff allowed to do as they like with no supervision, speak and treat customers as they wish
monty - 28 Aug 2003 19:01
Wow! Know this place has gone to the dogs recently.........but not this bad.

Bang on about the PolishRussian bar staff. Shame really, as it couldshould one of London's best pubs, given the location, etc, etc.

Not sure why the Immigration people haven't raided this place, with all the obvious illegal's working behind the bar.

Although, i've yet to see someone brave enough to try and snatch a full pint or otherwise of me. Maybe i should pay it another visit.

Rob - 16 Aug 2003 17:56
If you enjoyed The Coal Hole back in the days when Richard Harris was alive and drinking in there then you might want to check out The Blackfriar at Blackfriars bridge as some of the Coal Hole's previous staff now work there.
Boozehound - 14 Aug 2003 23:04
is it that easy for non-EU people to get work permits?
Drink in here after work and there is a steady flow of Polish/Russians etc.. What happened to all the aussies and Kiwis, atleast they speak the language (usually) and tend to be more freindly and customer service orientated.
Be in this pub at 11.10pm and see the reaction from the barstaff, they swear grab pints out of your hand and make you feel extremely threatened.
Sign of the times for this pub is that all surrounding pubs are so busy that to get a quiet drink (even on Friday night) you come here, it can be like a morgue when nearby Mapleleaf or Wellington are cramed full.
Service is bitterly slow though.
Gordon Robinson (Coutts bank Employee) - 13 Aug 2003 13:45
i don't think it's a question of racism just stating facts. Landlady employs East Europeans at present 3 Poles a Slovakian and a Russian and they all speak behind bar in either German,Russian or Polish depending on mood. If this was a Polish bar no problem but it isn't.

The landlady has obviously made a concious decision to lose all her trade from the Savoy/Simpsons etc and go for the Youth, with loud house music blarring away at all times.

The East Europeans who are employed are on minimum wage and atleast one person has been deported this year while employed here.
Bazz - 5 Aug 2003 11:03
Please don't be racist about Poles, the examples here are atypical, we are as good as bad as anyone else.
Stanislav - 2 Aug 2003 10:31
I used to go to the coal hole quite often a few years ago and it was ok, even though it did have mice upstairs. It seems to be under new management since it was done up though so maybe it's changed.
anonymous - 23 Jul 2003 14:14
This is one of the WORST pubs in London for staff rudeness. At 11:05 the Eastern European staff would shout at us that we must go now, we are breaking the law now, and trying to prise the drinks out of our hands! Myself and my 20+ work colleagues have vowed never to return again.
Tristn - 21 Jul 2003 11:23
Well, I have to say that my experience of the Coal Hole, 7pm on Tues 15th July, was actually quite good compared to the large volume of comments the pub has drawn on this site. I had half a pint of Adnams bitter which was in good condition - a pleasant surprise, and although I agree with people's description of the place as soulless. The staff were not directly rude but smiles were rare. I did not try the food so can't comment personally on it. It was no means my favourite pub, but I have been in much worse places. I have given it a "5".
lad_newton - 16 Jul 2003 09:33
Went here last night to meet a few mates for the first time in years. Richard Harris (R.I.P) was not there and I wasn't served by a Pole (he was a Londoner). I must say the place could do with a lick of paint and in yesterday's heat the place was as stuffy as a sauna.
Gary - 11 Jul 2003 11:46
Er.. I liked it; but only cos could drink outside. Oh well, one man's meat etc
Darren in the City - 10 Jul 2003 08:49
I took a friend there and it was ok, not as bad as I had imagined so in many ways I was disappointed! The friend did say it looked tatty though so I guess the place cannot win!
Matt Le Ross - 7 Jul 2003 12:29
I work at 80 the strand and the Hole is legendary, used to be venue for office parties every year with Old man Harris always talking point. With his death all the interesting characters and hangers-on have left and the place is soul-less. Venue now for people on way somewhere better West End/Theatre etc.. no local trade anymore better cheaper bars up around Covent Garden - try NELL GWYNN or THE COVE small hideaways that give good service at reasonable prices.
Martin Cooper - 4 Jul 2003 16:23
It has to be at least two years since I visited this pub. It is a fairly large pub, but I found the interior pretty soulless and populated with cheerless Charing Cross commuters. According to recent reviews, this pub has found additional ways to add to an impersonal environment. But the reviews are lively and almost farcical to the point that they may invite the curious to witness the different happenings that take place in this pub! The reviews might be a source for inclusion in a version of Ripley's Believe It or Not.
Bob F. - 3 Jul 2003 19:58
This pub has a great interior - ok beer/service wise its average but I have been in mch worse bars
Baz - 2 Jul 2003 17:32
Know now 1.2 is Bad! Visited 8 :00pm Tuesday 1st July (last night) 3 other people in there but still place very messy, my arm was wet from bar, not clean. 4 Staff behind counter but had to wait for drink all chatting in east European language, rude and aggressive. Never saw any one collect dirty glasses in 35/40 mins in bar so not very efficient workers. When left only 8 or 9 people maybe because of loud rave music, OK for Tuesday night? Went to 2 other pubs in area Mappleleaf and Punch and Judy both very busy but good service and nice places. Coal Hole is very bad.
Andre Boucald - 2 Jul 2003 13:42
Is Rating 1.2 Out of 10 Good?

Am Algerian coming to London for first time would like to have pint in English pub, this one was recommended to me by friend who visited 5 years ago.

Best Rated/Worst pub so far found in Covent Garden area so going in tonight will tell you about my adventures tomorrow!

Andre Boucauld - 1 Jul 2003 14:56
went in pub at weekend to see if it was as bad as all comments suggest, it was worse. Staff have no signs of any training, pint of real ale took about 5 minutes to pour with no head but about 2 pints wastage. Prices very high, place busy but surfaces very dirty and sticky and empty glasses everywhere along with full ashtrays. Bar staff seem to congregate in back room rather than serve leaving generally one out of four members of staff to serve 5/6 waiting customers at a time. General laziness of Staff probably reflects that of management. Give this Hole a miss!
Leon Thatcher (manager The Plough,Northfields) - 24 Jun 2003 14:15
Landlady has 'decorated' bar inside and out without hundreds of handwritten blackboards very amatuerish and ugly. Supposidly do food till 9, serve 5 real ales and food is home made. All 3 are lies as kitchen staff leave at 5 food only served if manager on sight which is no more than twice a week. Lucky to find 2 Real ales on tap - Cellar completely gone to pot in last 6 months.
No food cooked on site only have Microwave and sandwich toaster - no primary cooking allowed on site in lease (re:offices upstairs) If tempted to have Sunday Roast 8 remember it was cooked Saturday lunchtime and has been reheated in microwave 24 hours later!
Fat Frank - Regulars will know me! - 18 Jun 2003 16:24
Came in on Stag do with Mark.
We are not criminals why did staff call Police? If Pub doesn't want large parties in its premises people should be told, we booked the upstairs 'mezzanine' section through the manager from 6:00pm so were out of way in a seperate reserved section. Our spend in the pub was well over 500.

If there are supposidly rowdy trouble makers in pub should duty manager go home leaving keys with Polish barmaid (who has no work permit i have been informed)

We have written to Six Continents and Police with our complaints so will keep you posted.
John Glover - 13 Jun 2003 12:31
Came in here on stag do 26 of us had about 6 rounds (do the maths 400-500+ Spent). Admittedly Were very pissed and very loud but never told to quieten by manager, Calls Police.
Never broke anything never upset anyone to our knowledge just a stag do spending alot of money. Assistant Manager Martina finished work at 8pm so no one left in charge. Regular says management never there staff told to phone Police if any problems, which happens quite often i'm told. Police quite apoligetic but should our evening be ruined in this way?
Mark Simpson - 12 Jun 2003 15:08
I used to drink in here regulary up until last summer and came in for first time in 6 months this Monday. I drink Real Ale and this used to be the best place in a 5 mile radius to sample between 4 and 8 Real Ales of Perfect Quality. It always used to have an excellent Range with 2 or more guest Ales and an Excellent Cellar and Excellent Well Trained Staff.
Now I find they only have Tetley on draught with the other (London Pride) off. The Tetley was very warm and watery. I would have liked to taste the London Pride as I work at their brewery in Chiswick.
Speaking to the few regulars that remain I understand the new manager is hardly ever there and seldom works weekends or evenings. Both the Manager and assistant Manager are female and combined they run the cellar (very badly in my opinion). The manager is trying to do away with all the Real Ales as there is too much waste and the cellar is too time consuming.
Does this woman know anything about the business or atall care, she certainly doesnt train her staff in quality service. Pouring drip-trays back into glasses to resale is illegal and shows inability of staff to pour beer properly in first place.

Fred Taylor - 21 May 2003 15:10
Went on this Pub Crawl Too (12th May) and that landlady is crazy she lost out on 6 US tourists who were going to eat plus half of the 30-40 people didn't drink in protest some didn't even enter the premises. The woman was just rude and unprofessional, she works long hours so she is aloud to tell her customers to F*** Off!!! Avoid at any costs
Paul Connelly - 15 May 2003 09:52
Meeting friends for Monopoly pub Crawl in here at 12. Pub didnt open till 12:18 even though there were a dozen of us outside at 12 ( plus 6 tourists who had been recommended the pub but left after waiting 10/15 mins), by time opened there were 28 of us Manager said could only open when staff turned up even though she and the assistant manager were sat there whole time drinking coffee. She said it was none of our business how she staffs her pub and that there were other pubs if we didnt like her pub, that she is there from 9am till midnight blah blah blah. If she doesnt like the hours and dealing with customers she is probably in the wrong businesss. Avoid this pub at all costs we only came in here because we were meeting people here, never again!
Mary Deane - 14 May 2003 12:22
Staff all seem to be German/East European absolutely no sense of humour or character. Inhospitality Very Expensive Bar never cleaned down or glasses cleared from tables.
Paul Healey - 13 May 2003 16:50
try the wellington on the opposite side of strand instead, where the staff are friendly, the beer is good quality and the service in the upstairs restaurant worth tipping for!
saddam - 8 May 2003 18:29
"This pub has some very nice real ales, good food and friendly staff" is what I would have said a few years ago when I worked in the area.
However, now, the complete reverse is true and I have never been in such an inhospitable flea ridden hell hole.
Jonathan M (London) - 29 Apr 2003 16:32
Last post refering to Monday Bank Holiday 21st April. Customers less important than the staff getting away - Staff seemed to de allowed to drink(alot)on duty tall tatooed foreign barman very drunk at 6 and very offensive and aggressive.
Seamus Devanney - 23 Apr 2003 15:07
Landlady closed at 6 while told over phone Sunday opening ie till 10:30. Meeting 25-30 friends at 6/6.30 not allowed to wait inside told to F off by barman. Bar cleared by 6.10 no drinking up time allowed as barstaff had " a party to go to".
Seamus Devanney - 23 Apr 2003 15:04
Bags always going missing and beggars allowed to ask for money unhindered. Manager never on site and bar staff all foreign and only come to life at chucking out time (literally- very agressive!)
Scott MacArthur - 8 Apr 2003 17:33
Went to watch England v Turkey match here - landlady turned TV off at half-time saying not a football pub. 20-30 people left to find new pub ended up at Old Shades whitehall cheap 6 drinks 1.99 (inc Dbl Vodka, Carlsberg, Sm Ice)Landlady Scouser so would have thought with Rooney playing she would have been happy. Coal Hole dump full of beggars we were hassled by tramps staff never asked them to leave
Alan White - 3 Apr 2003 13:49
i was overcharged in here too but rather than an apology got told it was my fault they had overcharged me. If in pub after 11.00pm you get sworn at and abused by staff. after 11.10 they use physical force. Landlady always has a couple of East European Neanderthals behind bar
greg katanic - 24 Mar 2003 11:39
Worst pub in whole of london awfull service by Polish malcontents. Food expensive terrible service awfull quality. Beer badly poured quality awfull. Real ale once its forte now the most disappointing never any good
arturo_morales - 18 Mar 2003 14:46
had reputation as the real ale pub in central london now lucky to find 2 bitters usually Tetley and London Pride - Quality not as good as it was. No more Harris has lost alot of its atmosphere.
Rodger lodger - 18 Mar 2003 10:54
Drink don't eat!Food expensive very poor quality (ploughmans 7?) a drinking "mans" pub establishing on the gay scene. The pink revolution is taking over the strand.Check downstairs cosy cubby holes!
l mowbray - 17 Mar 2003 10:38
great character good real ales but unhelpfull rude polish/east european staff, don't ever try the food. good platform to meet and move on to West End/Covent Garden
Molly MacGuire - 17 Mar 2003 10:33
Really nice basement pub - normally seats available and good atmosphere. A gem.
Cyberwitch - 10 Dec 2002 10:42
Nice pub. Saw Richard Harris here.
Corin - 8 Oct 2002 12:57
Smallish pub, often has large over-spill of suits onto the nearby steps on a hot day. Gorgeous leather sofas on the small upstairs section.
Paul - 9 Jul 2002 15:48

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