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Ye Olde White Bear, Hampstead

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user reviews of Ye Olde White Bear, Hampstead

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

just read in tuesday's evering standard that it is closing down after being brought for £1.575 million and is gonna be changed in to a 6 bedroom family home
pubcrawler2010 - 12 Dec 2013 16:27
Been here twice now and both times felt very unwelcome. Thought the first time we may have caught them on an off night so gave benefit of the doubt but second time was exactly the same. Lovely location and building, maybe a bit too geared towards food inside but the staff seem very intrested in themselves and tend to only like serving "Hampstead" types
allwood67 - 15 Aug 2011 15:21
Still rubbish...
bombaysapphire - 18 Mar 2011 16:17
I spent many years visiting this pub enduring its painfully slow service from the mid-1980s up until its refurb in the late-2000s and was generally happy with it - nothing special, just a better-than-average (streets ahead of the miserable Duke of Hamilton up the road) sleepy back street boozer with a precocious (male) cat called Buffy and pre-fame local Ricky Gervaise for company along with a decent pub quiz.

It's now basically a restaurant. The eclectic interior has gone; the interior's left and right thirds are reserved exclusively for diners whilst the central third, half of which is dominated by the much shortened bar (with a dramatically reduced beer selection), is for drinkers, i.e. about enough space for four people huddled around a table.

In short, this is no longer a pub: avoid if you fancy a drink.
Oasthouse - 23 Dec 2010 08:04
There used to be a very nice local pub in this location. Not sure if it's current incarnation qualifies it for inclusion on this website - It's not a pub, bar or club - it's a restaurant. The night we were there it was full of self satisfied 'investment' types and up-their-own-orifice Americans in love with the sound of their own droning voices.
The Disneyfication of Hampstead seems pretty complete now, with only the surly Duke hanging on - but who knows for how long?
gallah - 18 Dec 2010 17:33
thanks for posting that. I was wondering how the cat was doing! give him a big hug next time you'll see him! keep spoiling him.
buffy - 12 Nov 2010 10:57
For those who were wondering...

Buffy the very friendly White Bear cat retired from public life when the pub changed hands. He is now enjoying a relaxed retirement where he demands certain foods (years of pub-food treats have spoilt him!) and still takes over all the furniture.

He still lives in Hampstead and can occasionally be spotted out for his evening constitutional.
nutkin - 9 Nov 2010 22:15
Stood at the bar waiting ages to be served whilst the lone barman mixed pretentious cocktails for the even more pretentious clientele posing at the bar. Having finished this he then decided to prioritise washing glasses before condescending to serve me a very average pint of Abbot Ale for a distinctly un-average price of £3.50. Fortunately, however, his mathematical skills matched his customer service ones and I received £2.50 change from my fiver! If you have a big ego and an even larger wallet, come here; if you are an ordinary bloke wanting a quicker, cheaper, better condition pint, go to the Duke of Hamilton instead!
ace1973 - 31 Aug 2010 15:15
Decent enough restaurant - very tasty well-prepared food. Starters in the £8 range, mains around 15. And a long wine list to go with it. The dirty little secret is that beer is also available, including a couple of unsurprising real ales. I say "dirty little secret" because their website/menus do not mention beer at all. If a pub is what you are looking for, or indeed a beer in the evening, this is not the place to go. However if you are looking for a nice sea bass and a glass of dessert wine to calm your screaming toddler (they do love the sweet wine, darling little things), by all means pay a visit.
dpv - 6 Jul 2010 15:05
It might not be a "traditional pub" anymore, but the food is fantastic. Been there a couple of times now and it has been consistently very good.
500goldstar - 4 Jul 2010 19:42
Alongside earlier posts I completely agree that the capitalist hell refurb is an utter disgrace alike the grim gastrofate of the Wells Tavern and some Highgate Village pubs I could mention. I feel this website should unequivocally withdraw pubs which have morphed into restaurants from these listings with immediate effect.
TS77 - 4 Jul 2010 12:01
After reading the earlier comments I went into the white bear on friday afternoon expecting the worst but got even more shocked.
What on earth were the new owners thinking??? They have ripped and destroyed a part of british "culture". The place looks like an exibithion space of Ikea. I know time moves on, things change but is it really that bad to keep bits and pieces the way they were and maybe "modernise" in a sensitive way?
I knew this place really well and I'm utterly sad to it that way.
And to the people who have been arguing in the last comments about money and whose fault it is: stop arguing! it's too late anyway- just have a look around your area and maybe try to support your hopefully still existing "local". Otherwise the british pub culture will soon be a boring wannabe stylish exibithion Ikea space all togehter!!
buffy - 20 Jun 2010 23:40
hi foghorn. the ham and high etc have absurd figures cos it makes a good story. ask any property developer in the area those numbers are rubbish as are your estimates of net profit. the white bear freehold could have been had for £1.1m to be turned into 2 houses. the current owners while they have changed it horribly at least kept it as a pub / restaurant. the duke site would be worth a little more but not much. actually i despise hillier as he has done more to close pubs in Hampstead than most. you may know about boozing but that's about it. my point about you is that you are all too little too late. when the wells changed then was the time to act. now its too late
georgesmiley - 20 Jun 2010 21:31
Well one of us is talking rubbish, that's for sure. My figures come from articles printed in The Camden New Journal, The Ham and High, and February's edition of The London Drinker, (where an upper-price figure of £12million was cited for the site, somewhat fancifully I agree). The implication was that these figures were quoted by the owners of the site, The Wellington Pub Co, as justification for their consideration of selling the property onto developers.
Such huge profits, whatever they may truly be, cannot possibly be attained by selling beer on a site of The Hamilton's size. In my estimation £200,000 a year nett profit would be the absolute maximum possible from a pub of this small size. And that would be going some! Half of that amount would be more realistic.
Incidentally, you have a soul-mate in Tony Hillier, erstwhile chairman of The Hampstead Society, whose view on the possible closure of The Hamilton was a verbal shrug of indifference "Well, that is simply supply and demand" which I think is what you too are getting at, in a roundabout way.
But, Mr Smiley, the crux of the matter then arises... the supply and demand of what, precisely? The supply and demand of BEER or the supply and demand of LAND.
Which outweighs the other? I know what I think.
foghorn - 10 Jun 2010 14:36
oh dear foghorn ...talking rubbish and on the wrong page. actually the 800k figure is rubbish as with the accommodation above and at the back its worth more than that even as a pub. the higher figure for the site is also rubbish. the bear was for sale ar 1.1m for the site with planning so i think you are misinformed. as for highgate that is also nonsense. there are no pubs of note in the area about to disappear.

the motto is use them or lose them. hampstead is losing them
georgesmiley - 10 Jun 2010 11:08
This is for the Duke of Hamilton site . Not for the Bear. Wrong site. Pardon.
foghorn - 8 Jun 2010 14:56
Reductio ad absurdum, eh smiley? If only life were that simple. The present owners of this site (who you seem to confuse with the current tenants) have publicly stated that as a freehold pub The Duke is probably worth some £800,000 in today's market, whereas as a site for property development it could be worth several millions. The entire drinking population of NW4 could cram the Duke for evermore and never generate those levels of instant return for a greedy cash-rich speculator.
This is nothing whatsoever to do with beer-drinking, and everything to do with unfettered asset-stripping. Wake-up smiley... things have moved on from the "good old days". And don't crow too soon about Highgate; its my guess that you'll be loosing at least two of your four prized "locals" in the near future. Watch this space.
foghorn - 8 Jun 2010 14:51
oh dear bombay.....its just simple economics. pubs in hampstead keep on closing or becoming food led because that is what local people seem to want. if they didnt the bear would still be with the previous owners. the message is use them or lose them. in highgate people get hampstead they dont
georgesmiley - 8 Jun 2010 13:34
I'd never been to this pub before yesterday. So I had no preconceptions. For all the criticisms, I didn't find it too bad a pub. Yes, you can tell that most of the interior has been gutted and replaced with questionable furnishings. But the place still has a little bit of character with its nice old wooden tables and parquet flooring. This is certainly a place aimed at local yuppies and is more geared up for foodies, as opposed to drinkers. However, there are a few tables set aside for drinkers, including some outside at the front. Only 2 real ales were available - Greene King Abbot Ale and Fullers London Pride. The cider was Westons Stowford Press.
blue_scrumpy - 6 Jun 2010 19:35
DISGRACEFUL! Not content with ruining the place, the new owners have taken it upon themselves to rename the place: it is now THE OLD WHITE BEAR. How can this have been allowed to happen? Even The Wells was prevented from dropping the 'Tavern' suffix when it changed to gastro status! Obviously the name that was good enough for the last hundred years or so is not good enough for the new kids on the block. Probably not trendy enough. Or maybe they just couldn't spell it! Another piece of Hampstead's history down the drain...

And as for George Smiler, what planet are you on?!? How can the decline of Hampstead's pubs be down to us? We're the ones who patronise the places! We don't want them to change into yet another gastropub. We don't want less and less places to go for a pint. Just because we don't have the odd £100k lying around to buy every lease that gets sold doesn't mean that we're to blame for yet another pub biting the dust. Indeed, fault may lie at someone's door but it certainly does not lie at the door of the the many regulars who frequent Hampstead's remaining hostelries on a near daily basis. Wake up and smell the hops!
bombaysapphire - 3 Jun 2010 18:23
Oh for the White Bear of Olde.

Sadly, i have to agree with all the posts made since the debacle that is the refurbishment.

Whoever is responsible has ruined one of the best pubs in Hampstead.

It's now a bland gastropub that people who live in the area sincerely hope will fold soon.
siriain - 3 Jun 2010 16:46
I popped into the pub for the first time since the refurb and was shocked. I knew they would trash it but not that much. I then was doubly shocked when I saw they only had Abbot and Pride on, how boring! I stood at the bar for two minutes, there was no-one else waiting to be served and the barman ignored me, I left. I will never drink in this place again and as far as I could tell there were fewer people in there on this occasion in comparison to the last time I was in there. So so much for the refurb!
I hope this place fails! Homogenous kack!
nonecker - 18 Apr 2010 21:58
Sorry Smiley, it's not my fault. I drank at the White Bear regularly, but even on a good day I could only down about 7 or 8 pints - probably not enough to keep the place open on my own, I'm afraid.

I agree with you on one point though, the new owners do have some balls Ė in taking a great pub like this and utterly screwing it up in one go. Brains might be on the small sideÖ

There is an argument to be had here about the changing demographic of Hampstead, but my original point stands: pubs like this have been part of the community for a long time and there should be some form of protection Ė either through local pressure groups, or contained within the lease. The White Bear is no longer a pub, it's a restaurant; I don't give a toss what the owners have or haven't got in Notting Hill, they've screwed this place up, and I hope it brings them crashing down.

Interesting that South End Green seems to be on the up as the village goes into decline. Maybe cos all the rather dull foreign bankers are piling into the village and letting the pubs go to seed.

Keep smiling Smiley.
adelondon - 12 Apr 2010 17:57
dont think you have read the post. there is no side to be on. i dont like what they have done either but the reason it changed is because it wasnt used enough by all the people who are now moaning ! its simple economics. the fact that nearly all hampstead pubs are like this tells you this is what people are demanding. highgate is not like this so it says something about the people who live in hampstead. unless pubs are going to fall into public ownership this is what happens if local people neglect their great pubs. stop whining....its your fault !

georgesmiley - 12 Apr 2010 15:14
I'm personally on the side of davecamden and adelondon. The refurb is quite disasterous, the food is overpriced and quite frankly, this is now a restaurant so shouldn't even be on Hampstead is slowly loosing it's charm. Even the Holly Bush has a bouncer!!!!!
spiggytopes - 11 Apr 2010 23:47
another idiotic rant. these are free market business's. if you are so appalled adelondon why didn't you put your money where your mouth is and run it yourself and enjoy losing that money. times change and all the ranters should remember they are responsible for this not the new owners. it was for sale for 15 months...where were you lot then ! it is you lot who should hang your heads in shame.

incidently you are also woefully ill informed. the new owners are London based and run the oak in Notting hill. i don't like it either they unlike you have spent a lot of money and unlike you have the balls yo back their decisions.
georgesmiley - 10 Apr 2010 17:43
Smiley has a point, but just because a traditional old pub isn't rammed to the gunnels every night is no reason to desecrate it. And this is what's happened - it's nothing short of cultural vandalism.

This used to be a wonderful old pub - cosy, idiosyncratic, charming. A proper pub. The people who have taken it over and "renovated" it should be ashamed of themselves. I popped in there last weekend, and walked straight back out. It has all the ambience of a funeral parlour. Even from outside, you could hear people walking across the shiny floor - loud, slow, single footsteps. Kids screaming. No atmosphere. Awful.

Who in their right mind took this new venture on? This new gastropub is not on the high street and will not pick up passing trade, from tourists. Locals who are disgusted with the place will boycott it in large numbers. Hopefully it will fold within a year or two, but given that the Wells is still with us (another dire gastropub), they may hang on.

To the people who ruined this pub: feck off back to the Home Counties.

adelondon - 8 Apr 2010 16:12
oh dear all this ranting. it is an awful shame that the pub has changed but you and other punters only have yourself to blame. whatever you say hampstead has changed and so has its population make up. pubs such as the bear and the duke were / are not well supported enough to stand on there own. you only have yourselves to blame. perhaps if you had gone more often in the past this wouldn't have happened. take some responsibility and stop moaning. incidently camra's lack of support for the bear over the years showed how spineless that organisation is.
georgesmiley - 28 Mar 2010 11:01
There should, somewhere, be a law against doing this to a pub. I was there on Sunday and could not believe what they have done to the place. Every scrap of charm had been ripped out of the place and replaced with a cold, characterless IKEA-nightmare. What they were thinking is utterly beyond me and it completely ruined my day (yeah, I'm oversensitive about these things). Yet another example of food-orientated idiots destroying a key part of English heritage. They'll probably make a fortune from the place, but the new owners should be ashamed. If you have a heart, avoid this place on principle, and not just because they serve the bitter chilled.
davecamden - 22 Mar 2010 07:07
Since the refurbishment this pub is more of a restaurant than a pub. The set tables, table service and Łber cool chill out lounge music are a stark contrast to what used to be a welcoming homely pub. I felt quite uneasy coming in just for a drink. The staff were polite but hovered, adding to the somewhat weird atmosphere. The food menu looked nice and simple but rather quite pricey. I don't think it is the type of place you can pop in for a drink ...not unless you are planning to eat. Hampstead has lost one of its best pubs...
lush78 - 15 Mar 2010 16:08
Oh dear! The fact that the tables are already laid out to remind you that the Bear is now a place for eating rather than drinking says it all. Might be worth giving them another chance once the new owners have settled in but it's no longer a cosy place. I'm afraid that Mr Smiley has a point, I always loved the Bear as it was never too busy during the week (apart from quiz night) but then that's not a great way of making money is it! Menu looks quite nice but if I wanted to eat I'd go to restaurant.
boozer75 - 15 Mar 2010 14:32
The new look White Bear has now re-opened. If you liked the charm and traditional quaility of the old place, don't go here. Remember the palce as it used to be. Totally and utterly ruined.

Hampstead has changed so much in 15 years, I don't enjoy going there anymore.
Planner_21 - 9 Mar 2010 11:12
the prob for you ron is that what you call the wannabees make up the majority now hence the reason your pubs are dying out. unpalatable but fact. when the woodersons eventually sell the duke that will become a food led place too. you can rant all you like but the tide is against you
georgesmiley - 23 Dec 2009 14:02
I think that Mr Smiley must still be stuck in East Berlin since it is the Hampstead residents, in the main, who do NOT frequent the Wells, Horseshoe and Freemasons. These 'restaurants' are kept in business by the NW3 Wannabees who clog up the village with their Bugaboos and Uggs paying £4.00 for a lager or a Pellegrino. Trebles all round !
L_RonH - 17 Nov 2009 11:16
now closed for refurbishment and despite the moans the punters of hampstead only have themselves to blame. it is you who want the wells, freemasons, horseshoe etc and you who patronise them. if you wanted trad pubs you have left it too late.
georgesmiley - 18 Oct 2009 15:26
Last good pub in hampstead to go. Where to drink now as i find food gets in the way in all the others.
kilkenny1cat - 9 Oct 2009 05:57
Official! Last quiz is in two weeks before the pub closes for a few months. When it re-opens it will be a tapas style bar with possibly a couple of fancy beers on sale. Hampstead loses another pub, only the Duke (for now) and the Flask left.
thehappydrunkard - 2 Oct 2009 08:04
This pub has now been sold!
thehappydrunkard - 1 Oct 2009 13:52
This is a quiet pub off Hampsteadís main drags. Or at least it was quiet on a weekday lunchtime; perhaps it gets busier in the evening. Itís comfortably furnished, and pretty will every inch of the walls is adorned with photographs or prints. I didnít recognise many of the subjects, but one looked suspiciously like Keir Hardie Ė but was probably a founding father of some brewery. The copy of the ancient London print featuring London Bridge above one of the arches made an interesting counterpoint. I have to say that I like these pubs that use every inch of space for some decoration. Not for me the modernist, minimalist, pub that thinks that dull colours are some sort of art form.

They had a few decent ales on as well Ė Meantime LPA; Maxim Brewery Samson; and OíHanlonís Yellow Hammer. I went for the Yellow Hammer, which was superb, and at £3.20 a pint much the Hampstead norm. This is my type of pub. Definitely worth a visit by anyone going for a Hampstead crawl.
RexRattus - 28 Sep 2009 11:01
lovely pub sadly underused : ales usually decent , staff friendly . Food is lowest common denominator stuff . There's fast food in the high street and nice restaurants all around so they have to work out what to do with their kitchen . Can backstreet pubs like this survive without being outstandingly good at everything they do ? Squeezed by the Hamilton and the Wells : would you walk past either of those to get to the Bear ?
shakedown1979 - 15 Sep 2009 09:48
@ georgesmiley:

I tend to comment when I am particularly frustrated by something, which would explain why my comments are mainly negative.
I reiterate my point, bad food, good staff and beer. Bad food is not a reason to avoid a pub, just not to eat there. I like the Bear, and will be in tonight.

AshB333 - 14 Sep 2009 19:45
On the market again!
Yours for £130k (leasehold).
foghorn - 26 Aug 2009 08:57
A characterful old place, central bar with seperate areas winding around either side. The bar itself follows around providing serving areas to all parts, the bar back is nicely carved too. Traditional seating plus bar stools, parquet wooden floor, wood panelled walls, lots of signed photos of film stars, old clocks, mirrors etc. Two sets of what look like antelope antlers displayed in the left side area above the fireplace.
Six handpumps, four on today, Mordue Workie Ticket, York Brewery Constantine, Daleside Pride of England and Ind Coope(?) Burton Ale. Although it appears that a Northern beer festival has just been on it transpires that the selection are sourced from the "Finest Cask" range. A brewery map and tasting notes are pinned up adjoining the bar. A pleasant spot.
Maldenman - 1 Aug 2009 18:15
thats such a load of balls mr ash. had the pie many times usually on quiz night. always hits the spot ! read some of your other reviews and they are mainly nasty....get a life !
georgesmiley - 29 Jun 2009 17:50
Bad food. The meat in the pie was very chewy and undercooked, and the pie had no sides.

Barmaid happy to refund, methinks they get a lot of complaints as she wasnt suprised.

Reasonable selection of ales at normal hampstead prices, (£2.70-£3.10)
AshB333 - 20 Jun 2009 18:01
A great, atmospheric neighbourhood pub. Wood paneling, decorated with signed photos (mostly stars of stage and screen, at least where I was seated). Rather pricey but this is no surprise given the area.

An interesting variety of guest ales, 6 available on our visit including Titanic White Star, Butcombe Brunel IPA, ummm, something by Hop Back or was it Hop Head? Clearly I need to pay better attention if I'm going to list guests, but the point is they serve things more interesting than your "standard" popular ales. Friendly bar staff as well.
dpv - 8 Mar 2009 10:39
I notice the complaints about overpriced food but the beer isn't cheap either. No other complaints though as good choice of well kept ales. Lively and warm.
lout_from_the_lane_ - 4 Feb 2009 11:40
Iím not one to go into a pub and eat, but I was under instruction to sober up so I popped in, during the Christmas break, for the first time in ages for a quick bite. I wish that I hadnít bothered as it was overpriced Iceland crap cooked to an illegal street vendorís standard.

This is still a good pub for a beer and I would still recommend it; just donít bother with the food.
Strongers - 6 Jan 2009 15:02
One of my favourite pubs in London. It's got a great atmosphere, good food and great beer. Everything a Bear could want! In addition, it's very handy for the local ammenties and the Heath
AndyHolmes74 - 24 Sep 2008 11:12
This is my favourite pub in London. I reguialrly go here with friends who also live a distance away. The beer is excellent and unusual and the food is reasonably priced pub grub fayre.
woofhound - 9 Sep 2008 18:31
Pretty much everything you'd hope for from a traditional local. Hopefully the new owners won't change a thing.
gorky - 28 Jul 2008 23:09
Nice enough pub for a drink outside but food is very poor and overpriced.
TS77 - 28 Jul 2008 12:39
Another pub in Hampstead up for sale, hope it stays as a drinking establishment although the food side already seems to be taking over especially at weekends.Get there early on Sundays as most of the tables are reserved for eaters, guess thats where the money is these days.
thehappydrunkard - 26 Jun 2008 13:43
What a Gem of a place!
lebovitz - 25 Jun 2008 16:27
well again and again I keep walking past that place and glad to read that most of the customers are still enjoying it.
anyone seen a black cat there recently? and what's with another german barmaid there, thought that didn't exist anymore?
buffy - 20 May 2008 10:39
Went there for the first time this year on Tuesday, had Saltaire Amarillo Gold and Coach house Cheshire Gold , was impressed by the quality and the service . The young German barmaid was ace . I will be going there again in June .
mr.toes.5_ - 1 May 2008 17:16
in answer to johns comment, we are glad you liked the selection. we actually sell 2 extra nines of ale since we stopped selling pride, youngs etc. in fact it is because we don't have a house ale that we actually get through the ales we have. we go down to 4 during the week and stpe it up to 6 at the weekend. haven't come across requests for lager instead as yet.we have tasting notes for all the beers on offer.
kaiser - 19 Apr 2008 18:47
Good pub. food is hit and miss but beer and company is good
Jamie100 - 22 Mar 2008 20:48
Another nice traditional welcoming Hampstead pub in a side street, not too far from The Duke of Hamilton.

Surprisingly, on my Saturday lunchtime visit, they had 6 real ales on - but not one of them was what I would call "mainstream" such as Pride or GK IPA.

My pint of Titanic Stout was very distinctive, but I'd be surprised if they had the beer trade to keep so many different beers in good nick consistently.

(The pub is to be commended on its ales, but I do wonder how many customers will switch to lager when there isn't a real ale that they recognise).

Not spoilt by musak or chavs ( they probably don't exist in Hampstead ?), this pub is well worth seeking out

JohnBonser - 3 Mar 2008 13:29
This pub is so small and simple, with nothing seemingly outstanding about it, and yet it is just so perfect!
Greshon - 8 Feb 2008 17:48
this is a great pub with a welcome feel and friendly staff. have popped in on and off for years and it feels like it's happily stuck in a time-warp. it aint broke so they're not fixing it.
ritaz - 20 Jan 2008 00:48
A lovely pub, one of the best places to sit outside in the summer, inside in winter in front of the fire (the cat may come and join you), when it feels like you're sipping a beer in some country house hotel - but with atmosphere.

Lively staff, decent beer selection, and a lovely weatherbeaten feel to it. Throw in the location and this is one of the best pubs in north London. But give it a 5 rating and we can keep it to those in the know, eh?
adelondon - 30 Nov 2007 17:49
I was a bit dissapointed with this pub after such impressive reviews. There was a large selection but all were similar types of ales and the first one I had was undrinkable. The next was passable. I was made to feel unwelcome as it was the night of the quiz and I was not a participent.
pookio - 8 Nov 2007 15:22
Well presented and laid-out pub with aesthetic woody interior andÖ six changing handpumps with none of the usual suspects, also Addlestones cider in addition to strongbow. So impressed was I on Sunday that I trundled north and staggered up the hill again on Tuesday, when it was explained that the policy was to no longer stock Ďstandardí ales (Pride, Youngs, Courage, etc) in favour of a changing rota of less usual beers from around the country! The five that I tried over my 2 visits were all in good shape. Super pub with a few tables out front in good weather. Cannot understand its relatively low BITE rating; nearer a 9 in my book, and I look forward to sampling more beers here in future.
trainman - 31 Aug 2007 11:32
Been here twice now and each of the six pumps have had different ales on each time. This is exactly what kind of selection most places should have. The beer is well kept and the atmosphere is relaxing. Definitely worthy of repeated visits.
The_Greene_King - 23 Aug 2007 12:14
A pub that seems to be steadily improving. A better range of ales on now than in recent times, served by congenial staff that make an effort. Very busy on quiz night (Weds/Thurs?) and open a little later than some of the pubs locally Thursday-Sunday. Well woth a visit.
Fermental - 8 Aug 2007 18:15
Not sure why this pub's rating is so low. Old fashioned without being twee, decent pub quiz, friendly staff, decent range of ale and a lovely pub cat. Sounds alright to me. Food wasn't spectacular but wasn't too expensive so I don't mind that.
anonymous - 20 Jul 2007 15:41
Visited this pub recently and was disapointed with it. The beer that I had was undrinkable, although at first glance there is a good selection, it would seem that not enough iss sold so it goes off in the pipe. Also the special offer gin was of the cheapest available. Not impressed
Hampsteadlad - 19 Jul 2007 15:26
well again I Could see it's all still there after walking past from distance. lovely plants growing outside! I hope they are still doing well in there. keep it up!
buffy - 11 Jul 2007 17:38
Just to add to my post on 28 Feb 2007 - I have checked with the staff and the half hour extention is only for Thursday thru Sunday.
Strongers - 15 Mar 2007 15:11
Visited last night and was delighted to note that they have revamped the ale selection here. Whereas they used to have a rather tedious selection of three well known ales (Young's IPA, Pride etc.), which I always found surprising in such a good pub, last night there were six ales on tap, including four unusual guest ales: my pints of Sharp's Doom Bar and Titanic White Star were both well-served. The food was as good as ever and with one of the best pub quizzes in North London, this really is a top-dollar place. If they keep it up on the ales front I expect to see this in the beer guides before long.

grecian - 9 Mar 2007 10:41
I used to avoid this place as I thought it was very cliquey but it is a good pub now. It is true that the bar staff make or break a pub and Mel, Rob and Borak are very friendly and are a good laugh.

They have a quiz every thursday night which after all these years is still very popular.

The Stella and Strongbow are excellent and the pub food is pretty good. They definitely have a half hour extension on their license Thursday thru Sunday and this may also be for the rest of the week, but Iím not a 100% sure. Thankfully when it is not busy they no longer close the menís toilet 15 minutes before time and make everyone use the Womanís.

The pub is split down the middle for smoking and non-smoking which can be a little annoying as the menís toilet is in the non-smoking part.

If youíre in Hampstead I would recommend popping in for a visit.

Strongers - 28 Feb 2007 10:16
well it all still seems to be i could convince myself on a walking/passing by the place when visiting london a few weeks ago. i miss the place but i made the choice a few years ago i suppose.
hope everyone there is still well. take good care and someone ( whoever) keep me updated about latest developments.
buffy - 8 Sep 2006 12:40
What a wicked little pub! An excellent range of well kept real ales, friendly staff and clientele and a cosy traditional atmosphere. I had a lovely few pints in here on Sunday night, sipping my beer and playing Connect 4. I didn't get to eat, but having seen the massive pile of nachos the people on the next table had, I would say the food is probably value for money too!

vic_of_india - 31 Aug 2006 17:03
Tried the Thursday night quiz. Should have gone earlier as it was packed. Had to sit in the none smoking room when loads of non smokers were in the smoking side. why?.However the quiz was of a good standard with 50 questions and 4 cash prizes.I missed out by one point!.Friendly black cat, sloppy dog and even on or two of the locals were quite chatty. Decent beer and the staff were efficient dipite the crowd.Can see why this pub is rated
tinsoldier - 19 May 2006 23:30
ok.. I'm getting a bit bored here now no one has been writing about the white bear for ages...can someone tell me how it is going there?
how is the place doing? still good staff? and what kind of cider do they serve these days?
is the quiz still thursday nights and is it still packed? and how is it on friday nights? still busy? wonder how they'll do with the world cup showing on tv whithout any german barmaids around to annoy too
:-) anyone with gossip please get back to me, as I can't really go there anymore for different reasons..
( long story..) but I hope they still do really well there!!!
buffy - 5 May 2006 16:47
I'm striking the medal for you now buffy - it just needs a place to be sent. A 2 year working visa spent living above a pub, lol.
M_Evans - 14 Feb 2006 03:26
to buffy...yes dave the chef still comes in, chris the owner does the quiz ( over 80 people 3 times this year),julia (the german) went back to germany in 2003, the dentist and moose are loved up and go to the hill in belsize, buffy the cat is still around. chris the owner married fiona in september. place is doing well but like most hampstead pubs has had a slower year than last.
kaiser - 13 Oct 2005 11:48
I do miss the white bear as i lived above it for 2 years. interesting locals (is dave the chef still coming in? is the dentist and his crew still coming in on fridays?) who is doing the quiz on thursday nights nowadays??does anyone miss the german girl and funny accent?brilliant pub to chill out and cosy fire place with lovely black cat around.can anyone get back to me and let me know how its all going...hows the landlord doing? anyone local might know who i am.:-)
buffy - 30 Sep 2005 11:44
Fantastic little pub for an ale or 6 before or after a walk in the Heath! Fireplace and warm cosy atmosphere, one of the things I truly miss about London. Worth a drink just to visit it.
anonymous - 17 Sep 2005 13:04
Visited last night for the quiz. A very nice pub; cosy and welcoming interior, good food, good service, decent (tho' fairly standard) range of real ales. Also, the quiz is well above average. I think it also has a beer garden out the back.
grecian - 9 Sep 2005 10:33
Top pub...have had many a 'I'll leave the measure up to you'..evenings...flaming sambuka and talking complete cobblers...marvellous..
grumpster - 20 Aug 2005 12:22
Quiz night is on Thursday, 9pm. Has been for years! 50-question format, with rollover jackpot.
rbakker - 16 Aug 2005 14:39
Like the Holly Bush, Pilsner Urquell is no longer on draught.
Lyncroft - 17 Jul 2005 20:42
My favourite pub in London - very friendly local. The only pub in London I've ever given 10/10. Bustling, with great beer, great atmosphere, and usually the odd friendly dog. Good food, especially snacks like the Nachos topped with everything.
rah - 2 Jun 2005 13:36
Young's Bitter 3.7%
Green King Abbot Ale 5% Fuller's London Pride 4.2%

Traditional workmen's pub. Quite pleasant, expecially for the Green King

anonymous - 4 Feb 2005 23:10
Always seems to have been run by antipodeans [on a strange rotation basis] - that said, they've succeeding in making this pub one of north londons best kept secrets.

Infinately better than the irritating Holybush - the food's OK and the beer's good but if you go for a walk on the Heath in the Autumn, Winter or Spring, it's the only place to go and warm yourself up in afterwards

A gem of a place [and a good local if you're lucky enough to live in the vicinity]
logomomo - 21 Jan 2005 15:05
Cosy and relatively quiet, enough room for a few of you. Good beers too, winner
c_unsworth - 5 Jan 2005 18:07
Good boozer - both ale and fizz - not bad food either - no massive telly, so a good place to come and hide from the football if you just want a quiet pint.
a local - 24 Oct 2004 12:54
Pilsner Urquell on tap. Always a positive.
anonymous - 15 Jun 2004 19:06
Amazing location near the heath, very cosy and friendly
cp - 14 Jun 2004 09:32

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