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Betsey Trotwood, Clerkenwell

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user reviews of the Betsey Trotwood, Clerkenwell

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

Shepherd Neame 'flat iron' pub on a corner. Had Master Brew and Howling Wolf on handpump. The Howling Wolf was okay if a little bland. One of the few places in the vicinity that still resemble a proper pub. There was a band/musicians setting up that took up most of the bar area (and the tables etc) very little room left for punters (though I was the only one at that point)
Snarling_Mallard - 18 Nov 2019 00:10
Great little pub. The downstairs venue is tiny but the sound is absolutely superd. Lovely place.
Glasgowboy - 29 Nov 2014 02:21
After 1 pint in The Crown it was a short walk to pub number 3 and the first chain pub of the evening.

This Shepherd and Neame pub occupies a corner plot right on Farringdon Road.

5 pumps all serving Sheps ales, I had the Summer Sizzler, it was very good.

Quick service from the small bar area, it was very busy inside with tables outside also all taken.

Very interesting wallpaper and some odd portraits hanging above the bar as decoration.

As it was busy inside we took our pint and went outside were there are barrels to rest your beer on, attractive lanterns also hang outside.

Even though it’s right on a busy main road and close to a busy junction it’s a friendly homely feeling pub that’s worth a stop and a pint.
lezford - 14 Aug 2014 13:30
Well decorated bar on a busy main road. Full range of Shepherd Neame beers. Quiet on a Wednesday afternoon, so got served easily.Nice pint of Late Red.
covman45 - 27 Sep 2012 20:38
I had a party here about a month ago - the bar and staff were fantastic. They can sort food out for you but I didn't go with that as I didn't know how many people would turn up. Some friends bought food and loved it.
They can supply record decks, cd player or you can just plug in your ipod. They couldn't do enough to be honest. The party ended up really busy (as far as I remember....) and staff were unflappable. Only gripe upstairs lady's loo wasn't working so I had to stumble down 2 flights down the stairs in high heels!
Even with this it's a definite 10 out of 10
popjoy - 9 Mar 2012 12:45
Popped in last saturday when in London. Quiet in the afternoon. Barmaid very pleasant and nice drop of Bishops Finger
ng10 - 5 Dec 2011 19:58
Having only discovered this pub within the last year I have visited several times and make a point of going there when I am in the area. This a lovely pub - good beer; food & staff. Live entertainment is an added bonus. The only drawback is that it is a bit small to cater for its (deserved) popularity.
wumpus - 21 Oct 2010 13:54
It took a while for me to be served in here as it was very busy for a Monday night with a large student contingent. I noticed that there is an upstairs bar and a downstairs function room so maybe some event had just finished or was about to start or maybe there is a university nearby as I didnt think that much of the pub for it to deserve to be this rammed.

Its a Shepherd Neame house that had four ales off leaving only Bishops Finger along with the usual Neame draught. Thankfully the Guinness was ok even if the barman was a little preoccupied in talking to the clientele whilst making a half arsed attempt to serve me.

I would walk past this pub if I was passing again.
Strongers - 3 Jan 2010 22:36
Came across this pub for the first time last night and could not drink up and leave fast enough. Appears to be full of "trendy" city types pretending to be media types. Heaving with smarmy smug wannabe "scenesters".
krsone - 25 Oct 2009 11:53
I've walked past this place for years and years; it used to be a right old shit hole, full of Guardian journalists. Now thankfully they have all gone North to King's Cross and the charmless, modernized wasteland, leaving this pub to be taken over and improved by Sheperd Neames. Marvellous!
Princemonolulu - 28 Aug 2009 10:20
I have visited the Betsey on a couple of times and on both occasions; it has been a great experience. It is nice to see a good selection on ales but the real highlight for me is Asahi on tap. The atmosphere is very relaxed and the bar staff are always friendly. The live entertainment is always worth checking out and the cellar might be a little dingy, but it just adds to the atmosphere. The food is also excellent but get in quick because they do run out of the more popular choices. Looking forward to my next visit already.
LennyBanter - 23 Jul 2009 12:38
In here last Wednesday with a friend doing a recce for a function. Shepherd Neame, the Spitfire, Bishop's Finger and Whitstable Bay were on draught, Kent's Best was turned around. Didn't see what bottles they had. Street corner pub, one room bar although with function rooms upstairs and downstairs. It filled up with people waiting for the music. Wouldn't go out of my way for it but there's got to be a lot worse places to see bands.
GuideDogSaint - 31 Aug 2008 22:45
First off, the staff in here are NICE! And provide good and quick service.

Was just in here on Saturday night (hadn't been in about six or seven months).

Now... I for one do not like the "refurb". Yes the downstair is grungy - this place is known for it's indie band scene!

The refurb and new food on offer makes this place seem like it's trying to be "gastro pubish". Betsey, leave that to the Eagle and others around and stick to just being a good watering hole!!!!

they even took out the excellent juke box that was in here. :(

clientele was still a bit indie (which was GOOD!) but it seemed some people were in for the "gastro food" (BAD).
kenandrob - 21 Apr 2008 11:21
I hate the physical aspects of this pub - it's badly laid out, the downstairs is grubby, and the ground floor has little character. However, the barstaff are excellent and make the difference with this place.
topdog_andy - 30 Mar 2008 14:51
Checking out the bars in the area and walked into this one. The bar staff were very friendly. There was a good selection of whiskey but judging by the quality, I suspect some don't get ordered too often. Prices were bit high but the convivial atmosphere made up for that. Will definately return.
Rachel2 - 9 Mar 2008 14:37
met up with some friends here, wasnt feeling very well so had a blackcurrant and tap water which shockingly cost 2.70, guy behind the bar said it was their pricing policy. seemed a bit too expensive to me
stephenjamesj - 19 Feb 2008 12:14
This pub has been massively improved under new management. Not only have they revamped the upstairs bar and added great food to the menu, you know you are going to get a great friendly welcome from the staff.
I claim my free pint please!

hammerbird - 26 Jan 2008 14:21
How dare anyone say anything bad about this place under its current management? Whoever you are you are misguided idiot fools!
Much to my misfortune I discovered this pub about 6 months ago and frankly my liver is paying for it! I just can't go for one (a general problem of mine I must admit!) I have to go for at least 5 in this boozer. Absolutely lovely convivial atmosphere, a decent pint of guiness and THE best landlord in god's green earth! I forget his name, but he is literally what every pub in London needs! Christ the man actually popped out to get me a pack of fags, as they didn't have a machine! Frankly this pub ended up in me spending the night with someone rather inappropriate, however I shall be back to shake the hand of the landlord. He's a mad 'un, but a good 'un!
Helly_Wood - 21 Dec 2007 22:07
Was here for a party on Saturday and had a great time.

Friendly bar staff, good range of beers and spirits and a great sound system in the upstairs bar.
riddz - 18 Nov 2007 19:53
Having escaped from the Crown Clerkenwell Green ....... Apparently under new management, so the advertised olives not available - but do have a glass of salted pistachios for 1.70. Hmmmm.

But both the Spitifre and the Porter were in great form, although my buddy wasn't so keen on the Porter (not to his taste, altho' his lips visibly (audibly?) smacked after the first draught of Spitfire.
zorrodp - 1 Feb 2007 23:47
Only had one visit here and that was effectively a private party for a Get Cape Wear Cape Fly single release. As a pub I wasnt over impressed. The main bar is a rather basic and bland affair with wooden furnishings and not much that stood out other than a broken clock on the wall that is at least right twice a day. There was a limited range of Shepherd Neame beers but these were all off on my visit and the prices were higher than I would have expected. On the plus side, the staff were very friendly, chatty and efficient. Downstairs is the rather dingy Todds wine bar that is more reminiscent of a dungeon and it is here where they have live music and comedy acts. Be warned it is tiny. At best you can get an audience of 25 people squashed in beneath the brick arch and if you get to see a decent act in here as I did, it can be quite memorable. Otherwise, it is not a pub I would go out of my way for given that there are some superb pubs in the vicinity.
RogerB - 2 Jan 2007 16:37
It's a damn shame - I've seen this pub decline steeply over the last ten years. It was once rather quirkily decorated with mannequins in edwardian swimming costumes hanging from the ceilings, damn fine shepherd Neame ales, music much in the same vein as Bradleys Spanish bar, late night opening on weekends, frequented by boozy Guardian journalists with hot gossip, busy but not overly crowded... A place to go with friends, but also comfortable on your own to read the paper and have a pint before heading home.

Then there were 'improvements' - ie, all quirkiness eradicated - about five years ago, and slowly the process has continued to today's sorry state. In the last three times I visited over the last year or so, with vain hopes, twice there was no real ale, and once a badly kept Spitfire, along with loud 'new medja' music playing to a largely empty bar...

Better off around the corner at The City Pride for a pint of ESB; the Three Kings for a cosy atmosphere; Sekforde Arms (Youngs) for a proper boozer; or the trendy Jerusalum Tavern for a extensive range of St. Peters ales on tap or bottled - altho' it's usually pretty busy in the evening (closed on weekends too).

RIP The Betsey Trotwood
rachaelov - 16 Dec 2006 16:11
first time there this evening. dreadful. no bitter working - no reason given - staff blase. can't really see - as someone who lives locally - why I ahould ever return.
xajones - 25 Nov 2006 00:46
You're correct, Stonch. It is still a Shep's pub.
5thearlofwimbourne - 13 Nov 2006 15:45
Can't see how the ownership could have changed hands - still appears to be part of Shepherd Neame's tied estate. The manager/tenant manager may have changed however.

Can't imagine it will do much for this rather joyless pub anyway.
anonymous - 13 Nov 2006 15:04
I think it changed hands around September 2006. Don't know who the new owner is though.
anonymous - 13 Nov 2006 12:30
Don't be so sure darloexile - was here on a recent Saturday night and far from being "rammed" the place was seriously underpopulated. However, we were here to see a band, speculatively, and our group formed the majority in a total audience of seven people. Two of whom, it transpired, were the parents of the singer. How sweet. By the end of the evening we were all friends and as a result I will plug them shamelessly - The Jack Stafford Foundation. Will certainly be going back for "live music in an intimate setting", if not for the pub itself, which isn't especially remarkable.
iceinthecider - 16 Oct 2006 17:17
Is it true that the owner of the Pakenham has taken this over is that complete shite?
anonymous - 18 Sep 2006 22:25
this is a friendly place and a great place to see live bands including french drummer who are playing there on saturday night
anonymous - 10 Aug 2006 21:57
A surreal hour spent here on a bank holiday weekend, with just a mate and the bar manager for company, and and a couple of stragglers later on. Shepherd Neame beers, with only the so-so Spitfire available on my visit, encouraged me to take the drastic action of ordering one of their dutch lagers : infact, a relief, especially after their bitter. Though, has excellent juke-box and I imagine on a fri/sat evening is rammed full of music types-so is worth a visit again in the near future.
darloexile - 31 May 2006 14:19
Good for bands, less so for booze.
Albert_Campion - 13 May 2006 01:41
The Franks are playing here on Friday 10th March, if you can make it do, they are the best way to start your weekend! Will post after and let you know if the beer has got any better.
ARD - 28 Feb 2006 15:58
Was here with a one time girlfriend for our first drink together - not the most romantic of places but! Small, odd shaped boozer squashed between the junction of farringdon road and farringdon lane that gets the guardian crowd form across the road at lunchtimes. Serious, silent looking roadie type bartender. Good atmosphere after hours though a touch hard to move or get a seat when the crowd's up.
M_Evans - 14 Feb 2006 03:48
Had two fairly decent pints of Bishop's Finger here over the last week so have revised my opinion a bit. Still not a pub of choice but if for some reason the Shepherd Neame stable of beers is your bag you'll probably love it.
anonymous - 12 Feb 2006 18:24
Bad beer. Not a nice feel to this place, although it looks good from the outside I'd steer clear. Lots of gigs and comedy nights on upstairs and downstairs.
anonymous - 15 Dec 2005 11:06
Nice pub they filmed 'Its a casual Life' outside it.
anonymous - 17 Apr 2005 21:31
Decent pub with tiny cellar room for music gigs. Clientelle is split between local office workers and people turning up to see bands. Quality not quantity is very much order of the day regarding their range of ales!
coder_joe - 9 Dec 2004 21:19
Very nice little pub, opposite the Guardian newspaper office. Barman has an aversion to all music post-1973, he even turned off one of our tunes mid way through! Apart from that, it gets a thumbs up.
danielsan128 - 19 Nov 2004 12:32
Named after the character in Dickens' "David Copperfield", this small, atmospheric pub is quiet at the weekends (closed Sundays) and busy on weekday evenings, being opposite the Guardian Newspapers building. The food is superior pub nosh, upon which the newer Wetherspoons pub across the road has not a patch, and the friendly staff are always laid back. You will also find an excellent live music calendar which takes place in the tiny cellar below the pub, and the upper room is for hire too. All in all, one of my favourite London pubs.
A Larter - 20 Jun 2004 16:01

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