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BITE user comments - Martinl

Comments by Martinl

The Fox and Goose, Droitwich

Yes, closed - the reason being a visit by Sam Smith's owner, Humphrey Smith, who heard someone swearing. This only seven weeks after the pub had reopened, having been extensively and expensively refurbished after years of closure. He has to be the biggest dickhead in Yorkshire, and there's no shortage of competition.

13 Jan 2020 21:03

The Cheshire Midland Hotel, Hale

Closed down over the summer, because of a visit by Sam Smith spies, or possibly even the owner Humphrey Smith himself, who heard swearing and/or saw mobiles being used.

Humphrey Smith: a roaring bellend.

13 Jan 2020 18:22

The Hope, Carshalton

A regular who's only ever posted critically about this pub, and whose anti stance was explained by management some time ago: quite simply, he won't leave when he's legally required to. He also told us himself some time ago that he believed he was barred. Some regular. If the pub wants to keep its parking for patrons only, who but a troll should disagree?

6 Sep 2016 20:34

The Case Is Altered, Eastcote

Blue Scrumpy has indeed got the wrong pub, but it's an understandable mistake: from his description he went to The Case Is Altered in Harrow Weald. Not far away, and how many pubs of this name are there?

4 Jun 2013 21:33

The Thomas Willingale, Chingford

Still keeping up good standards. Particularly appreciate the fact they keep the disabled toilet for use by disabled people: anyone else trying to use it gets banned.

This is a good contrast to other Chingford pubs, and in particular The Kings Ford and The Obelisk, in both of which disabled people have to wait for cokeheads and lazy bastards who can't be arsed to walk upstairs to use the facilities first.

23 Dec 2012 15:48

Parker Place, Holborn

Now no chance of reopening as a pub, as it's no longer derelict but is a "table dancing" joint.

23 Dec 2009 16:22

The Prince Albert, Chingford

Closed down, and has been for about six months now. Still available for rent as a pub, should anyone want to reopen Chingford Mount's watering hole for chavs, Spurs hooligans and failed karaoke singers. At least that would keep them out of the other locals.

30 Aug 2009 17:37

The Thomas Willingale, Chingford

Somewhat belatedly, I'd like to echo Bottlebag's comments. This place has come on in leaps and bounds since it changed the name to The Station House a couple of years ago. The fact that a change of clientele was needed along with the change of name is reflected in a dress code which is displayed prominently in the bar in an attempt to shed the chavs and the reputation the Thomas Willingale had.

What's now available, during the day at least, is a quiet and spacious place in which to enjoy a relaxed drink from a good range together with a decent food menu - well cooked, but at prices not much higher than those charged by others in the area for simply microwaving poor quality ready meals. The pub is wheelchair accessible via the side door and there is an accessible WC with a RADAR lock. Again in contrast to certain other Chingford pubs, the disabled WC is kept locked for use only by those who need it, rather than being used by lazy and unhygenic slobs who can't be bothered to walk upstairs.

Don't be put off by the fact that this was among the three pubs raided and temporarily closed by police last month. In all probability this was done on the pub's old reputation. In any event, it's now open again.

30 Aug 2009 17:28

The Wishing Well, Chingford

The new concept has arrived, along with a new name: now The Artisan.

So what's the new concept, I hear you ask? Cooking your own food at your table. Anyone remember The Mucky Pup in Islington? All overseen by the bloke who did the catering at Walthamstow dogs until it closed down.

Empty most nights.

24 Feb 2009 15:57

The Steam Passage, Islington

Visited on the afternoon of New Year's Eve. My first visit to this place since 1997, when I nipped in on a Saturday afternoon trying to avoid all the hysteria around Di's funeral: big mistake - one side of the pub consisted of an entire wall of TVs, all showing it.

Glad to report the TVs have almost all gone, in fact the interior is now completely changed. Tables towards the front are ideal for Upper Street people watching. Pretty standard menu and range of drinks: three handpumps for Pride, GK Abbot and, err, more Pride. Not a great deal on the cider front - Strongbow at 3.10.

Disabled access (via the right hand door) and WC with RADAR lock, although on the day I was there it had neither paper or a functioning wash basin.

20 Jan 2009 19:18

O'Neills, Angel, Islington

Visited on the afternoon of New Year's Eve. No entry charge at this time of day. Uninspiring range of drinks, standard menu and reasonably polite and efficient staff.

Disabled access (via passage at the side) and WC (key behind the bar).

20 Jan 2009 19:05

The Bull, Islington

Visited on the afternoon of New Year's Eve. My first visit to this place since it was the Finnock & Firkin, and prior to that Raleigh's and the Sir Walter Raleigh.

Recent posts refer to a good range of beers, I think this is from the perspective of people who go for expensive/premium/continental lagers, fruit beer etc. As regards real ale, the choice is less impressive: on the day Pride and GK IPA. There was a third handpump not in use. Choice of three keg ciders, but no real stuff.

Staff were reasonably polite and efficient. Some glasses were arranged on the bar with prominent invitations to insert tips. This might be offputting, but having seen some of the attitude merchants they had to put up with I ended up slinging the odd coin in myself. Unfortunately Upper Street has always had its fair share of these types - walking in and seeing there was only one member of staff, serving someone at the time, then ostentatiously walking out as though everything should stop for them.

Disabled acess (via side door in Theberton Street) and WC.

20 Jan 2009 19:01

The Wishing Well, Chingford

Went past today, closed down and being thoroughly done up: "New Concept Bar & Grill Coming Soon".

Let's hope it is a new concept, as opposed to a haven for those banned from every other pub in Chingford Mount.

1 Dec 2008 14:21

The Three Kings, Clerkenwell

A pub of many talents: it can even act. In the 1985 film Dance With a Stranger it played The Magdala in Hampstead.

27 Nov 2008 14:09

The Perseverance, Holborn

The last reviewer here spoke of potential and of how much better this place could be. I know how good it could be because I remember it when it was one of the best pubs in London for anyone wanting real ales and plenty of them. It was called The Sun in those days, more handpumps than you could shake a stick at around a central horseshoe bar. Drink one of each and you got some kind of prize, I seem to recall - although I never did.

18 Apr 2008 21:10

The Penderel's Oak, Holborn

There seems to have been quite a high turnover of staff recently, but happily the newcomers are as good as the predecessors. Thoroughly enjoyable night in there on Saturday last.

18 Apr 2008 21:01

The Shakespeare's Head, Holborn

I can only echo the last five postings. I check this place out every so often just to see if it's improved and I always regret it. No redeeming features whatsoever and not even the smoking ban has made the smell any better. Staff change but somehow always live down to the standards of their predecessors. The only useful function of the place is to syphon off the less appealing customers from the far superior Wetherspoons around the corner in High Holborn.

18 Apr 2008 20:58

Marquis of Cornwallis, Bloomsbury

From recent postings I'd got the impression this place was slipping so I checked it out last weekend. No problems at all: Landlord on fine form, and all five were full pints without having to drive the point home. Burt's crisps on sale - good but pricey. Decent crowd in there, in stark contrast to the old Goose days, and to make the whole experience even more pleasant the French(?)girl who served me was as fit as the proverbial butcher's dog.

18 Apr 2008 20:38

The Queens Head, Bloomsbury

Boarded up for the last few days, unclear whether this is a closure or just a refurb.

6 Apr 2008 18:32

The Engineer, Primrose Hill

I haven't personally been in here for quite some time, but I was interested to see in the current issue of Q magazine that they took James Blunt for a drink there: 3.20 for a Carling, 12.95 for an "organic cheeseburger with tomato relish and chips."

16.15 for a pint of cooking lager and a burger and chips? The Wetherspoons experience at more than three times the price. Just a shame the magazine paid rather than the whiney-voiced one himself.

10 Jan 2008 13:43

Ice Wharf, Camden

Popped into this place on New Year's Day and again a few days later. Reasonable ambience, at least during the afternoon during this holiday period when even Camden is almost deserted.

Basically a JDW with music. I was just about able to handle the Scissor Sisters at this time of day, but Joss Stone prompted me to explore further afield.

Disabled access and toilet.

8 Jan 2008 20:12

The Obelisk, Chingford

Eighteen months into its current incarnation it's only fair to allow this one a re-evaluation. As somebody noted elsewhere on this site, real ale and Sky live football is becoming an increasingly rare combination, but it can be found here. Ales on offer include a selection by Adnams plus others including, at various times, Youngs and Deuchars. All reasonably kept and served.

The crowd is fairly reasonable for this area, although that Chingford stalwart the cowboy builder on coke can be present in numbers. I've yet to eat here but the food looks and smells good, and unlike the JDW place across the road it might not have spent its entire existence in a deep freeze or microwave. The staff are friendly and usually efficient.

Disabled access and toilet.

8 Jan 2008 20:00

Prince Of Wales, Putney

Well, well, well it's that old coincidence thang yet again. Every good review for this place has come from a person who has posted on no other pubs at all. Staff? Management? You decide. Yowza.

8 Jan 2008 19:47

The Westport Inn, Kentish Town

Almost twenty years ago, when I lived in this area, this pub changed its name. It was previously known as The Gypsy Queen, but changed to The Westport after complaints that the travelling community were, somewhat ironically, barred.

26 Nov 2007 19:37

The Pembury Tavern, Hackney

I really can't add anything to what's already been said time and again on the excellence of the beer range, but here are a couple more points worth making;

The Pembury has disabled access, by a ramp in the main door, and a toilet accessible by wheelchair users.

The real clincher can be seen hanging on the wall behind the bar: an all too rare find these days, the holy trinity of Bacon Fries, Scampi Fries and Cheese Moments.

9 Oct 2007 22:21

The One Tun, Goodge Street

Can't see how this pub is listed as having disabled access. The comments made on this subject by an anonymous poster on May 11th 2006 during the refurbishment of The One Tun have proved incorrect, and having checked many times since then my experience has been that neither of the 2 doors are accessible by wheelchair users - nor is the open frontage when that has been opened in good weather.

9 Oct 2007 22:14

The Rising Sun, Tottenham Court Road

Recently put in disabled access, via a ramp up to the side door, and a disabled toilet. That said, it appears this has been done as an afterthought and not particularly well. The ramp is often inaccessible due to large plant pots being left in the way and the disabled toilet is in a corner where it can only be accessed by moving the table in the corner and anyone sitting at it.

29 Aug 2007 16:54

The Friend at Hand, Bloomsbury

Disabled access, by a slight ramp in the front entrance, but no disabled toilet.

22 Aug 2007 22:03

The Fitzrovia, Goodge Street

In point of fact, there have recently been difficulties with the equipment in the cellar: this is why there was no real ale available, as was explained in a notice on the bar. To me, it reflects well on the pub that they would not resume sales of real ale until its quality could be guaranteed: many pubs would not be so scrupulous, apart from the fact that there are plenty of pubs which have no real ale anyway.

Much improved since the refurbishment late last year, which included the provision of a disabled toilet.

22 Aug 2007 21:50

Printworks, Clerkenwell

Despite being in a basement, this pub is fully accessible for wheelchair users via a lift just inside the doorway. There is a disabled toilet.

Better than average Wetherspoons, plenty of room on my mid-afternoon visit and a relaxed atmosphere in which to watch a Test Match: a minor point here, but why do Spoons' pubs insist on showing those subtitles which are always comically inaccurate?

22 Aug 2007 21:43

The Butcher's Hook and Cleaver, Smithfield

I recently visited and, like the previous poster, saw no mice. In fact I thought the pub was one of the most immaculately clean I'd ever been in. Fullers beers in equally good condition and friendly staff.

Closed at the weekend as the area is dead, but can be hired then for free.

Wheelchair access possible by a rather steep ramp in one door, but no accessible toilets as far as I could see. The Bishop's Finger over the square is fully accessible.

22 Aug 2007 21:37

The Bishop's Finger, Barbican

The "laptop area" might sound a bit discouraging, but in reality it's only really one high stool and a bit of a ledge on the wall. In fact, the whole pub is a little cramped and somehow not as roomy as it looks from the outside. Sausage menu looks interesting but on the day of my visit the staff who were on duty didn't seem to know much about it so I left the eating for another time. Shepherd Neame beers average, I've had distinctly better elsewhere. On the plus side this pub is fully accessible, including disabled toilet.

22 Aug 2007 21:27

Marquis of Cornwallis, Bloomsbury

The most improved pub in London? A big claim, yes, but justified.

Thoroughly cleaned up, in every sense, in comparison to The Goose. No longer in the habit of selling beer past its sell-by date to lowlife morons who wouldn't even notice. Beer range now focused primarily on upmarket lagers, although on the day of my visit 3 handpumps were in use: Spitfire, the increasingly ubiquitous Landlord and something called Butcombe Blond. I had Old Rosie, in decent condition. One might say it should be at 3.00 per pint, but if a slight premium on the prices discourages the dross that used to frequent this place I'm not complaining.

Fully accessible, including disabled toilet.

22 Aug 2007 21:19

The Grape and Grain, Crystal Palace

So for those of us north of the river who are confused, is this the same pub called Crystal Palace that has a rep for good real ales worth travelling for?

18 Jul 2007 20:45

The Toll Gate, Hornsey

Still a better than average Spoons, but could do with a bit of a clean out.

26 Mar 2007 19:13

The Kings Ford, Chingford

That's right, the new managers have got this place heading in the right direction. The enlargement of the non-smoking area has also helped and it's now not so often that the Gpsy Kings of Liz Duke Bling serenade the entire pub with top tunes by Fiddy on the tiny, tinny speakers of their stolen mobile phones.

26 Mar 2007 19:08

The Angel, Angel, Islington

I visited this place on Saturday lunchtime. I had not intended to, having tried to go somewhere else nearby (see my posting for The Crown, London N1) but ended up here and decided to try the place as it has disabled access.

Let me start by saying I do not object on principle to Wetherspoons pubs: there are in fact some in Central London that are perfectly acceptable. This one is not. Disabled access does not extend to the non-smoking area. There may or may not be a toilet accessible to wheelchair users - I didn't stick around long enough to find out. My one drink was a pint of Weston's Organic Vintage which they have on Draught here, although given the clientele that's a case of casting pearls before swine. Yes, the place was full of people who looked well gone even though it was just after 12.00 noon.

By the way, this is not the pub that gave the area its name: the original Angel is a few doors down on the corner and is now a Cooperative Bank. As for this place, I wonder what the future holds for it come July when the type of customers I saw will probably decide the smoking ban means they confine their drinking to a few cans of wifebeater from Poundstretcher in front of the TV at home.

29 Jan 2007 21:29

The Crown, Islington

I had read on a rival site to this one that there was disabled access here and so I visited on Saturday lunchtime. I did not find the doors accessible and so could not get in. A shame as I remember this pub from my pre-disabled days and used to like it: a good Fullers pub which I was keen to finally see during the day as for some reason I only ever used to end up there late on Saturday nights, worse for wear.

29 Jan 2007 21:10

Pitcher and Piano, Strand

Neither as smoky or as noisy as it used to be, for some reason. Also has disabled access. Busy at lunchtime then empties until about six. I was there on Friday (for a work do, yes) and found the Staropramen perfectly acceptable. The two ale drinkers in our group, however, were less impressed with the Pedigree and quickly moved on to Guiness. But then they are used to The Harp next door or the Cove down the road: that's Covent Garden's appeal - something for all tastes if you know where to look.

15 Jan 2007 23:34

The Paternoster, City Of London

I had been intending to visit this place for some time after reading in the profile above that it had full disabled access. I finally got there on Saturday and I wasn't disappointed. It's open at the weekend but closes early so I was limited to two pints of Special: both were superb, and if the merger/takeover of Youngs by Charles Wells is having a detrimental effect on the quality of ale supplied to some places this is not one of them.

This is not so much a refurbishment as a total rebuild of a previous Youngs pub which stood on this site. From outside it can appear rather modernist, with big windows facing directly onto the main road or the alleyway leading to Paternoster Square. But venture inside and it's a welcoming place, helped by friendly and competent staff. In fact, the section away from the windows is nicely furnished with old-style leather settees. Others have mentioned the food: I didn't think it looked like gastro fare, but maybe it is a little pricier than normal. I was interested to note they do a baguette full of hot roast beef.

I was there on a quiet Saturday afternoon. I can't say what it would be like during the week, but it would be a shame if the atmosphere then is spoiled by too many loud suits. As it was, I really enjoyed the beer and the music - good stuff, just loud enough to hear and recognise - and was grateful for a fully accessible pub that is not a Wetherspoons. In the troubled times we live in there are few certainties: but I reckon I'll be spending a lot more time in here and trying that beef baguette pretty soon.

15 Jan 2007 23:25

The Masons Arms, Kensal Green

Heard something interesting about this place recently on the excellent "Notes & Queries" Robert Elms show on BBC Radio London. Apparantly the wood and glass structure in the middle of the pub, referred to in a previous posting as the office, was actually built to accomodate coffins for those requiring a drink before hitting the nearby Kensal Green Cemetery. This was common practice in Victorian pubs with passing funerals.

6 Jan 2007 16:22

The Penderel's Oak, Holborn

"The worst run pub in London" because it doesn't show the particular football match you want to see?

There are many who think the biggest mistake Wetherspoons ever made was to start having TVs and, in particular, show football on them. If any neutral observer wants to find out why, check out the difference in the type of crowd and consequent atmosphere in this place when a match is being shown and at any other time. There are plenty of other pubs, in this and any other area, which are happy to show live football at the expense of an acceptable drinking environment for other customers: go there, not here.

To repeat the gist of my previous posts on the Penderel's Oak, this has all the Wetherspoon positives (a good range of drinks at very good prices, OK service, unspectacular but reliable food in a spacious and clean environment) but avoids the unfortunate Wetherspoon negatives, and in particular drunken loudmouthed chavs bellowing about football.

29 Nov 2006 20:48

The Angel, Soho

Can I launch a late bid for the Pedant of the Year title by pointing out that Sam Smith pubs have no music but there is no ban on fruit machines: should you desire them they can be found round the corner in the Princess Louise.

29 Nov 2006 20:30

The Salisbury, Harringay

Old school London pub indeed. Has often been used for filming for its period feel, in particular in "Chaplin". It was also the "Belfast" pub seen in the opening scenes of "The Long Good Friday".

26 Nov 2006 22:44

The Square Tavern, Euston

Against my better judgement I was recently dragged back for a drink outside this place. I normally love Youngs Special and Youngs Ordinary, but it has always struck me that both taste below standard here. My recent visit confirmed my long-standing antipathy to the quality of ale in this place. Before anyone gets on line saying this is because of the Charles Wells merger/takeover I have to say this is a problem that goes back much, much further.

And another thing. Immediately below this posting are positive comments from two individuals, one from August this year and one from a month earlier in July. Neither person has ever made any comment on this site about any other pub, before or since. I could be charitable and say they need to get out more and realise how bad this place is in comparison. Or I could be more realistic and say they are two people who don't actually exist and have been invented to big up this dump.

You decide.

17 Nov 2006 00:57

Queens Larder, Bloomsbury

No. I paid 4.60 for a pint in Belgo Bierodrome in Kingsway 3 years ago, so I hesitate to think how much they would charge now. On top of that, this is a nice place: Bierodrome is full of tossers in suits.

10 Oct 2006 15:34

The Queen Boadicea, Clerkenwell

Thanks Stonch, sounds promising. If it's in two separate parts I figure at least one will be for drinking rather than eating, so at least it looks like it'll be a pub rather than a restaurant.

20 Sep 2006 17:35

The Queen Boadicea, Clerkenwell

Actually, Stonch, if you're now in the habit of walking the streets of London's Fahionable Clerkenwell (TM) peering through the windows of pubs while they get refurbished, any idea what's occurring in the place on the corner of Goswell Road and Old Street? I've only ever seen the place derelict, going back years, but whenever I pass now there are people inside working on it.

19 Sep 2006 15:32

The Chandos, Trafalgar Square

Good for lunchtimes, rather too busy most evenings. The recent closure for refurb seems to have resulted in little noticeable change apart from the fact that the place no longer smells as bad. Disabled access by side entrance in King William IV Street, but no accessible toilets. Old Brewery Bitter still dispensed by handpump. Cider Reserve on draught better than in most Sams' pubs.

12 Sep 2006 15:30

The Doric Arch, Euston

Spoke to someone who works here yesterday and they confirmed they will be closing for a couple of weeks next month (October) for the long-anticipated change to the Doric Arch.

11 Sep 2006 16:47

The Shakespeare's Head, Holborn

Service certainly is "hit and miss", in particular further drinks are sold to people who are quite obviously pissed already. Visited this place on Saturday to see if any improvement had taken place in the last year: I need not have bothered. Spacious, and with good disabled access by the side door or the back door, but the clientele remain the main problem - what the Americans call a bridge and tunnel crowd.

11 Sep 2006 16:41

Parker Place, Holborn

It definitely is shut down, and seems to have been derelict for over a year now. In such a prime location, I can only assume the whole area is scheduled for demolition and development. A shame, because although I never knew Parker Place I remember it as the Fulmar and Firkin, great for free comedy on Saturday nights.

28 Aug 2006 15:19

The Rugby Tavern, Clerkenwell

I'd say Holborn: it's in a side street off Theobalds Road, wherein lie Holborn Police Station and Holborn Library. Bloomsbury is further west. But not Clerkenwell, no.

Can't understand why anyone would eat fish and chips in here when it's only a stone's throw from London's best fish and chip shop, Fryer's Delight in the aforementioned Theobalds Road. They still fry in beef dripping rather than cooking oil. Unhealthy? Possibly. Delicious? Certainly.

I too find the Rugby Tavern somewhat uninspiring these days, but these unremarkable places Shepherd Neame are buying up obviously have some appeal that's lost on me and other recent posters, as evidenced by the recent award of North London CAMRA Pub of the Year to the nearby Mabel's Tavern. I'm with Stonch on the lack of a nearby Fullers, but to work up a thirst you could head down Red Lion Street to the Melton Mowbray near Holborn Circus, or cut through Lambs Conduit Street and up Marchmont Street to Euston Road for the Euston Flyer or The Head of Steam.

16 Aug 2006 22:49

The Cambridge Arms, Fitzrovia


Made a point of going past this place on Saturday, in just the same way that warring Mafiosi go to each others' funerals just to be sure the enemy really is dead. And it is.

Just hope its closure doesn't have a knock-on effect by displacing the dross that used to drink in there to The One Tun over the road.

8 Aug 2006 18:30

Fitzroy Tavern, Fitzrovia

Too right. If Sam's won't even stock decent lagers, apart from their own, why expect them to stock bad ones?

The Fitzroy has had its ups and downs over the years, but continues to do what it says on the tin, provided the tin reads cheap but basic pub that isn't a JD Wetherspoon and therefore is not frequented by the socially and intellectually inadequate in alarming numbers.

Like other long-term Sam's devotees, I was alarmed when the Old Brewery Bitter went from draft to keg in here, and for a good few years now the cider has been more or less undrinkable, but there is now Pure Brewed Lager on draft as well as the former Heffe Weiss (aka the poor man's Hoegarden) which is now sold as just Wheat Beer. So all that remains is the perenniel Sam's problem of being there with a work crowd who may want wines or spirits but will find only obscure brands that other pubs wouldn't even stock to sell as cheap house doubles.

8 Aug 2006 18:24

The Fitzrovia, Goodge Street

Well, well, well: what have we here? I recall this as the Valiant Trouper, and then a fake Irish gaff, Finnegan's Wake I think. Tried it a couple of years ago when it first became The Fitzrovia and found it lacking in atmosphere apart from in the literal sense of heavy hanging cooking smells. I happened to be passing on Saturday and noticed there was a wheelchair access ramp so tried it and was pleasantly surprised. Couldn't stay long as there is no disabled toilet but the fug of fat smoke has at least been cleared. In fact the menu, concentrating on a selection of pies, looks promising. One or two real ales on offer, I had four pints of London Pride and after the first being borderline "take it back" stuff the other three were fine. I could well have got the first pint of the day, as anyone after real ale in this part of the world could well have headed straight for The One Tun.

It being a Saturday afternoon, had one eye on Sky Sports News: could have sworn the people on screen looked a bit distorted though......

8 Aug 2006 18:07

The Penderel's Oak, Holborn

Back on form now the World Cup is over - wasn't one of the ideas behind the Wetherspoon concept an absence of TV? - and therefore once again the place to be for a civilized Saturday night in the centre of town. To answer the previous poster: some of the previous comments were absolute rubbish, in particular those making snide comments about some of the customers, and yes I did make a point of checking that the advertised real ales were actually on offer.

26 Jul 2006 00:14

The Cittie of Yorke, Holborn

The main bar (the one whose architecture everyone is struck by) is accessible for wheelchair users, although the gents are not. Consequently, I used this place quite a lot in the early summer when the Penderel's Oak was full of football crowds. Pure Brewed Lager is a delight, but like other Sam's pubs there is the traditional problem with the wines and in particular spirits, the latter consisting of the kind of obscure brands you won't even see being sold off as cheap house doubles anywhere else.

26 Jul 2006 00:00

The Princess Louise, Holborn

Popped in here on Saturday afternoon: temperature well over 30 but four pints of Pure Brewed Lager went down well and soon I felt better. This is one of the recent changes in the Sam's range: Heffe Weiss (the poor man's Hoegarden) seems to have bitten the dust though. Atmosphere fine and relaxed until a big group of slackers turned up at about five: seemed to be on some kind of organised crawl. As this place is on neither the Circle Line or the Monopoly board, what could this be? Surely not a visit to every Sam's pub?

24 Jul 2006 14:24

The Albany, Great Portland Street

From about 1994 to 2000. Never really took off and it was not surprising to see it revert to being The Albany. Incidentally, for fans of psycho ciders, The Albany sometimes has Addlestone's. Good stuff.

Other ex-Firkins in the area include The Court in Tottenham Court Road, which was the Flintlock and Firkin, and The Rocket in Euston Road, which was the Friar and Firkin. Both of these, as keen Fitzrovians will know, are part of the Scream chain: but fortunately not all Firkins went that way.

6 Jul 2006 20:36

The Obelisk, Chingford

Closed down for refurbishment and has now reopened as The Obelisk, although the signage could well give the impression it's called Smith and Jones. That's the name of the bar chain, who also have The Garden in Islington. This is nowhere near as good. Prominent signs also announce that those under 21 are not allowed. Since the Prince Albert opposite doesn't allow under 25s, the end esult is that those trying to have a quiet drink in Wetherspoon's face even more noisy, drunken chavs who are 21, 20, 19, 18 or probably less. Great.

3 Jul 2006 19:41

The Lyceum, Strand

This place was indeed closed for a few weeks for refurbishment and, since I work nearby, I kept an eye on how it was changing, externally at least. A side entrance has been added, which is reached via a covered passage between the pub and the coffee shop nextdoor. This passageway is ramped, which may lead people to assume that by using it they will arrive at the back of the pub and find disabled access there. As I found to my cost today, this is not the case. Both entrances to this pub are inaccessible for wheelchair users. Given that extensive work has been done on this place in the past couple of months, I question the legality of this.

23 Jun 2006 14:01

The Bishop's Finger, Barbican

Having just read the comments by Ale King, I'm tempted to try this place as I wasn't previously aware it had disabled facilities. So, apparantly, does the Fullers pub on the other side of the little park outside. Interested too to hear of good bangers and mash, but then if you can't put on a decent bit of snap of a luchtime when you're bang outside the world's most famous meat market (in the real sense of the phrase rather than the Yates's/Edward's/Walkabout meaning) when can you? I shall try both places and report back on my Smithfield shindig.

17 Jun 2006 00:12

All Bar One, Tower Hill

This used to be Tower Hill tube station before it moved to its current location. Go far down enough into the cellars and you'll find yourself on the platform. Not the most interesting fact, granted: but more interesting than the average All Bar One.

14 Jun 2006 23:50

The Old China Hand, Clerkenwell

Interestingly enough, one of the two muppets who made racist comments about this place on 5/6/06 and 6/6/06 had the nerve to accuse others of being racist for use of the phrase "plastic paddy" in relation to a fake Irish bar in the West End. As it happens they seem to be from the Midlands rather than the North. Whatever, they can stick their "search for mild".

10 Jun 2006 23:14

The Rising Sun, Tottenham Court Road

Now now. Certainly not the most exciting of pubs, but to put it in context it's massiveley improved on how it used to be: does anybody else remember its previous incarnation as Presley's, the Elvis theme pub? I kid you not. Not just the worst pub in Tottenham Court Road, or even the worst pub in Fitzrovia. It was the worst dive I've ever set foot in - and my standards are not all that high.

10 Jun 2006 22:52

The Horseshoe, Hampstead

This used to be a Wetherspoons. Perhaps, Lad, when you visit and update us all you could be kind enough to check if the usual Wetherspoon disabled access has been retained in the transition? Many thanks.

23 May 2006 15:50

The One Tun, Goodge Street

Yes, the big dog speaks the truth: just checked with my 1997 Evening Standard pub guide, and the Spreadeagle it is. However, there is worrying news for us Youngs fans. Have just this minute heard on Radio London that the Wandsworth brewery is to close, with the loss of 90 jobs, and that Youngs has merged with Charles Wells.

What will this mean? I have to say that Charles Wells is one real ale I for one have never quite taken to. Years ago I used to work in Lisson Grove, Marylebone, and behind the office was a Charles Wells pub called the Marquis of Anglesea, although the locals had several other names for it. Bomberdier, Eagle, could never get into either and tended to stick to Red Stripe Crucial - now there was a drink!

Just hope this has no effect on our beloved Special and Ordinary.

23 May 2006 13:37

The One Tun, Goodge Street

Cheers Stonch: trying to remember the name of the place in Wandsworth is driving me mad. Not the Alma though, that is a Youngs' pub but then they all are in Wandsworth! The big old place I mean is a good walk from there in the High Street; there must be Youngs fans reading this, as we're supposed to be discussing the One Tun, and I'm sure someone will know it.

12 May 2006 01:37

Old Nick, Holborn

Took a day off work to check this place out as I'd heard it was closed at weekends, and was very glad I did so. Apparantly used to be a Youngs pub but if so it was one of the few I'd not discovered. Delighted to confirm reports I'd heard that there is disabled access and a disabled persons'WC.

I was there from mid-afternoon onwards on a warm early summer day: the inside was pleasantly comfortable rather than crowded - as noted by others below, the clientele consists largely of suits but they seem to prefer standing outside on the wide pavement. As suits go they seemed a reasonably tolerable bunch but then this is still west enough to be Holborn rather than The City.

There's a good range of drinks too. A previous comment referred to Sussex Bitter, and initially I was disappointed to find this wasn't what I was expecting: I thought this would be from Harvey's in Lewes. It isn't, it's from King and Barnes, in Dorset, but after all the confusion it's still a damn good pint, reminding me of well-kept Fuller's London Pride.

To cap it all, the staff are both efficient and friendly. Recommended highly.

11 May 2006 00:25

The Porterhouse, Covent Garden

Tremendously busy and popular pub which has nevertheless taken the trouble to ensure disabled access, by a side door in the pedestrian alley next to the pub and by a lift between the different floors inside, and a disabled persons' WC.

11 May 2006 00:02

The One Tun, Goodge Street

This latest posting by Stonch is good, good news if his comments on the refurbishment are correct. Why is that, I hear you ask? Please indulge me......

Just over a year I became wheelchair-dependent: this has tended to restrict my pubgoing largely to JD Wetherspoon places, on which I'm sure we all have our reservations but which at least provide disabled access and facilities wherever possible. Prior to that, if you'd asked me for a top three London pubs, The One Tun would always be in it. However, I was resigned to the fact that like so many other former favourites I would never get in there again: thinking of the size and shape of the place and the way it's laid out I could not think of any way it could be made accessible. To say I'm pleased to hear this has now been done is a massive understatement, but I'm also looking forward to getting there ASAP out of genuine curiosity to see how they've managed it.

Personally, one of the things that's always appealed to me about Youngs - and this goes against Stonch's experiences, it would seem - is the way they keep their pubs as they are rather than changing them for change's sake. Their London estate includes several gems that look very much as they did when I arrived in London 20+ years ago. I'm thinking here of places like The Lamb in Holborn, The Spreadeagle in Camden Town and the massive Victorian gin palace in Wandsworth High Street whose name unfortunately escapes me right now.

The One Tun has always had an intersting mix of punters as well as a superb range of drinks, and the refurb would have to be pretty damn radical to make it any different.

10 May 2006 23:54

The Jack Horner, Tottenham Court Road

I'd heard that this place now had disabled access and facilities, so I visited yesterday to check and sure enough it does. Nice one, Fullers.

5 May 2006 21:01

The Penderel's Oak, Holborn

I can't help pointing out that a few of the comments posted about this place are absolute rubbish. I may perhaps be somewhat biased in their favour because of the fact that they have complete disabled access and facilities, a necessity for me personally, and the allegedly erratic availability of real ales is not a primary concern for me as I drink bottles of Magners when in there. However, on the last couple of visits I made a point of checking this: on each occasion, in the ground floor bar at least, there were six ales advertised and all six were available, all evening.

Although Wetherspoon's food tends to be pretty generic, I tried a chicken tikka masala last night and it was actually pretty good. What's more, being a Thursday, it only cost about a fiver with a free drink thrown in. The crowd are also pretty decent for a Wetherspoon - don't be put off by Lonegroover (yeah, too right) and his comments about "Traceys".

5 May 2006 20:32

Mabel's Tavern, Euston

Has just been voted Pub of the Year 2006 by CAMRA's North London Branch. That I find surprising, given some of the well-established real ale places their members drink in, like the Wenlock, the Head of Steam, the Packenham and the Oakdale. But all credit to the Mabel: it really has turned things around since being taken over by Shepherd Neame a few years ago. This success goes against the oft-expressed sentiment that the bigger SN have got, in terms of pub acquisitions, the worse their ale quality has become.

5 May 2006 20:09

The Market Porter, Borough

A polite note for Stonch, in response to his posting of 31 March. It's easier for some pubs to have disabled access than others, granted. But to write off somebody's quite justified comments on the matter with smug remarks about "big ugly ramps" demonstrates nothing but ignorance. How about keeping your "big ugly" bigotry to yourself in future.

9 Apr 2006 02:02

O'Neills, Euston Road

Visited this place earlier today, after an enjoyable afternoon at the London Drinker beer festival held in Camden Town Hall in the street behind. Or at least I tried to. Pub details above refer to disabled access and disabled toilet: there may for all I know be a disabled toilet but if there is it's a waste of space because there is no disabled access. There are 3 entrances, each of which has at least 2 steps up to it. So the news from this disabled correspondent is that Mr O'Neill can keep his overpriced drinks and fake Oirish tat and, for good measure, drop dead. In this branch, at least.

25 Mar 2006 01:18

The Euston Flyer, Euston

Disabled access (as referred to in pub details above) somewhat limited. The doors have no steps up or down from the pavement but are very heavy to push or pull from wheelchair level. The main part of the bar is at the same level, but the (very small) non-smoking area is accessible only by a flight of six stairs. Didn't see the toilets, but asked and was told they are wheelchair accessible: doors to them looked wide enough but the layout of the bar is such that a lot of people on chairs at tables would need to move to allow a wheelchair through.

As for the pub itself, it's still pretty much as I recall it from my pre-disability days, although looking slightly more tatty and now very smokey. Good range of drinks, Fullers bitters present and correct, but personally a bit nonplussed at 3.00 for a mediocre pint of Strongbow. Customers mostly office types or the odd tourist, although I noticed a couple of rat-faced, inbred looking little urchins in baseball caps near the door eyeing everybody's belongings, ideally placed for a quick getaway.

It's always been a good idea to avoid the Flyer on Saturdays during the football season, as its proximity to three mainline rail terminals means it gets infested with travelling scum and has been known to kick off more than once. In fact, the joke in other local pubs has always been that the Flyer doesn't bother with window cleaners but just waits until the next time the glaziers are needed.

25 Mar 2006 01:07

The Dolphin, Kings Cross

A few words of advice for pgazz (hey! Crazy name, crazy guy, eh!)
1. At least have the manners to get my name right before attempting to criticise me.
2. Learn how to use apostrophes before attempting to belittle other people's prose.
3. Don't attribute me with comments I did not actually make in my assessment of The Dolphin.

I stand by my negative rating of this place. I am at a loss as to understanding how someone can enjoy drinking, and even eating, in a place which by their own admission smells of stale vomit. But, pgazz, I bow to your superior powers of judgement. My contempt for this place is quite obviously my loss and your gain. While in the area, try another place just behind The Dolphin called The Boot: it has everything The Dolphin has going for it, only even more so. Enjoy.

6 Mar 2006 01:00

The Rocket, Euston

Vast, cavernous and noisy. Big student discount if you have the yellow "it's a scream" card, like The Court in Tottenham Court Road. Much better when it was the Friar & Firkin. Absolutely nothing worth drinking on tap. If this bunch really are from UCL then I fear for the future of this country.

3 Mar 2006 15:29

The Exmouth Arms, Euston

Abusive men? The odd eccentric? You should have seen the place a few years ago when the legendary Con was in charge. On either count, he'd make the present incumbents look like lightweights.

3 Mar 2006 15:19

The Bree Louise, Euston

Just as a leopard cannot change its spots, and you cannot teach an old dog new tricks, the Jolly Gardeners (warning: it's not jolly and there are no gardeners) will always be the Jolly Gardeners, whatever new name they give it.

3 Mar 2006 15:13

The Whittington Stone, Highgate

This is not Highgate, it's Archway. And this is an establishment frequented exclusively by those of the very lowest intellectual calibre.

3 Mar 2006 14:41

The Prince of Wales Feathers, Warren Street

I have news for Mr Silk Tork (see below). This is not a home converted into a pub: rather, it is a decent and much-missed pub converted into a dull and soulless bar. A great favourite on the 1990s Fitzrovia drinking scene, but alas no more. I would go so far as to say this is the worst pub refurbishment ever apart from the absolute desecration which turned Ye Olde Surgeon in Tottenham Court Road just round the corner into the Pint Pot.

3 Mar 2006 13:40

The Dolphin, Kings Cross

I'm finding it difficult to take in some of these positive comments about what is, was and shall forever remain an unmittigated shithole. As for the regulars: I once visited this place as a member of a team representing The Head of Steam at Euston in the Evening Standard pub quiz. Let's just say we won, very comfortably.

3 Mar 2006 13:31

The Toll Gate, Hornsey

There are far worse pubs than this in the JD Wetherspoon chain. The thing to do here is to go right to the back, past all the usual JDW lowlife who congregate at the front: do this and you'll find the place is actually fairly quiet and, for a JDW, clean.

3 Mar 2006 13:14

The Camden Head, Islington

To Madcap (below) I would say the poor service was not a one off. I have never had any other kind of service here. Coupled with the fact that the regulars tend to have a touch of the inbred about them, one to avoid.

3 Mar 2006 12:51

The Sawyers Arms, Paddington

To the person below, asking the name of the pub when it had live music, I think it was The Western Counties.

22 Feb 2006 16:47

Goose, Bloomsbury

Ever wondered what happens to people so far down the food chain that they'd stand out as losers and lowlife even in a Wetherspoons? Here they are. Yep, welcome to London's only Care in the Community theme pub.

27 Sep 2005 00:34

The Marlborough Arms, Tottenham Court Road

The comment immediately below simply cannot go unchallenged. To imply that the many previous comments on the appaling state of the ales in here are unfair because the Kronenburg is drinkable is to miss the point completeley. The point being that if it wasn't for the existence of the Goose in Marchmont Street this would be the worst pub in London WC1 by some distance. Avoid.

27 Sep 2005 00:27

The Cambridge Arms, Fitzrovia

I once intended to have a drink over the Easter holiday in The One Tun over the road but found it closed and so came in here. While I was deciding where to go I noticed 40 under my table, which I swiftly trousered - the 40, not the table. Not even this has ever tempted me to return.

27 Sep 2005 00:05

The One Tun, Goodge Street

A lovely place, and it always was. Youngs bitters up to the normal high standard, and even Strongbow is cold and liveley. Management and staff have always seemed to change regularly but are always efficient and polite.

26 Sep 2005 23:58

The Museum Tavern, Bloomsbury

I found the Theakstons Old Peculiar well up to standard, but this place soon fills up with tourists, inevitably given its location.

According to my 1997 London Evening Standard pub guide, one of the Museum Tavern's decorative mirrors was vandalised by Karl Marx. All London's pubs like to have some claim to fame, real or imagined, but how many can say they once had the founding father of communism trashing the joint?

26 Sep 2005 23:30

The Shakespeare's Head, Holborn

We all know not to expect too much from a Wetherspoons, but even so ......

Chavs, trash and pikeys are bad enough under any circumstances: but chavs, trash and pikeys drinking themselves blind before falling onto the last bus to their South London hovels? Thanks but no thanks.

All the more avoidable when you consider that the Penderel's Oak, by far the best Wetherspoons in Central London, is in walking distance just around the corner.

16 Sep 2005 23:31

The Mortimer Arms, Bloomsbury

Not bad, all things considered. Usually has some good cheap drink offers, and once the rush hour crowd has dispersed it's a decent enough place for a relaxed conversation or a half-interested glance at the Sky game. Really came into its own a few years ago, when those who knew how to enjoy themselves to the full would use it as a halfway refuelling stop between Ye Olde Surgeon and The Head Of Steam. Alas, now the former is dead and gone this can no longer be so.

Just one irritation: can they please make up their minds whether they are open at weekends or not?

16 Sep 2005 23:19

The Jeremy Bentham, Bloomsbury

Pretty so-so place when all's said and done, and expensive even by Fitzrovia/Bloomsbury standards. There used to be a really good psycho cider on tap, but that seems to have disappeared. In summer at least, can be so crowded that your only option is to stand outside: opens at the weekend, but often almost empty apart from old gits smoking exceptionally malodorous cigars.

16 Sep 2005 23:10

The Plough, Bloomsbury

A pub which seems to reinforce the old rule that the nicer a place looks from the outside the more disappointing it will be to step inside. In this respect the Plough is almost as bad as the Newman Arms in Fitzrovia. Similarities include grumpy and ignorant management, staff and customers and a lack of anything worthwhile to drink or eat.

10 Sep 2005 22:48

The Nell Gwynne, Covent Garden

If it wasn't for the fact that I can't currently get in there due to "issues" around disability access, I would be in the Nell every lunchtime. Great atmosphere, great cider, almost edible sandwiches but the other bar snacks are fine. Some great staff over the years as well: Laura, Emma 1 and Emma 2 amongst many others, and let's not forget West Ham Gareth. Plus, of course, the multi-tasking Rob. As a pub manager, he makes a great stand-up comedian but even more so as a stand-up comedian he makes a great pub manager. No, I'm too cruel to be kind!

6 Sep 2005 00:50

The Square Tavern, Euston

Disagree with all positive comments about this place, agree with all those who rightly point out the many, many failings of this dive. I simply cannot believe that the normally excellent brewer Youngs of Wandsworth can be aware of the harm that is being done to their good name by the continued existence of this cr*phole. Avoid.

6 Sep 2005 00:20

The Newman Arms, Fitzrovia

I was always tremendously curious about this place when I went past it but found it closed. It looked like a place with an intersting history, and sure enough I've since found out that it's always been a popular location for photographers and film makers, both internally and externally.

Perhaps, somehow, it was inevitable that when I finally found it open one day it was a tremendous disappointment, and I would wholeheartedly endorse comments made in previous postings to the effect that the management(or at least those in place at the time)were disagreeable racist scum. If anything, the customers were even more obnoxious. All a shame, but then again not that much of a shame since there was nothing worth drinking in there either.

5 Sep 2005 23:43

The Kings Ford, Chingford

To be fair, add to the list of facilities available the disabled access and disabled toilet. Beyond that, there is quite a lot to like about this place, if you can forget about some of the less appealing customers. Let's face it, there's not much the staff or management can do if the local tattoed trash and chainsmoking chavs get to hear about the cheap JDW prices and infest the place at times. I for one really like the people who somehow put up with them by continuing to work here despite the ignorance which they get from some of the clientele.

The Kings Ford knows how to pour a decent bottle of Magners, and although the food menu is the same as every other JDW it's always fresh and well cooked and served here - and look out for their EVERY DAY cheap curries, at about half the price I pay at the central London Wetherspoon's I sometimes use. Can't knock that.

5 Sep 2005 22:50

Mabel's Tavern, Euston

Previous postings refer to excessive smokiness: I can vouch for this, as I have known the individuals responsible for fifteen and twenty years respectively. The situation would be easily resolved if they started buying genuine fags rather than the fakes sold by dubious pikeys.

Other than that, the Mabel is a fine place although like the Head of Steam down the road it can at times suffer from sudden shortages of real ale. Not an ideal situation for the Mabel when their only choice is Shepherd Neame anyway!

1 Sep 2005 18:00

The Doric Arch, Euston

Very worrying news about the rumoured sale of the Head, as there is surely no way Fullers would retain the unique character of the place. I also agree with the comments about the recent improvement (or rather return to form) brought about by new management and staff - Tanya summed this up very succinctly in her posting. But then again, it's always a good idea to agree with her if you want to be served in this place!

27 Jul 2005 18:35

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