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King William IV, Hampstead

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user reviews of the King William IV, Hampstead

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

Here Saturday evening. Its location up a quiet street must be keeping the local riff raff out. Not busy, plenty of seating, nice and neat and a good selection of ales. Not just corporate Fullers but a couple from the fine Gales stable and more besides. Courtyard out back nice and cozy. Worth a visit or two.
WeazelTimes - 28 Apr 2014 12:06
Very lively. A very mixed crowd of patrons. The beer was good and the food looked excellent and reasonably priced. Great atmosphere
mont62y - 22 Mar 2013 15:50
This place has no redeeming features. I would no longer classify it as gay, the sole bitter pump is usually off and when it's on it's off if you follow. Even the lager is badly kept and that should be almost impossible. Staff range from indifferent to rude and the place has zero atmosphere. I would recommend the Duke of Hamilton, which judging by the piano dedicated to a certain well known gay icon could be the new gay pub, it's also a lot better pub.
geraint17 - 12 Dec 2012 20:20
Change of hands hasnt exactly helped this gay venue in Hampstead, very racist and unproffesional meneber of staff( i wont mention any names)and certain locals, who have something against certain members of the Golders Green area, a bit rich coming from a gay pub. This bar is known to short change entertainers with excuse after excuse of "this is not what we asked for' so any performing here in the future beware..As far as decor and furniture no problems. a change of attitude needed big time..
ozzysteeve - 19 Mar 2012 16:19
Agree with the prevous reviews,went in last Saturday and as i ordered The Flying Scotsman they ran out,tried the Pride which promptly ran out ,so had to settle for the Directors which was nothing special.Staff were pleasant but embarassed to be running out of everything.
Will be back as it is a nice atmosphere,but please sort the beer out !!
Meltje - 22 Dec 2011 13:28
The best thing about this pub is the food, which was excellent by pub standards. However not sure what the pub wants to be. If a restaurant-pub, the service wasn't there (children lean over your plate to pick up empty glasses etc). If a pub, the three cask ales need more attention as they were all too warm for my liking and none good enough to have a second pint. They attempted to charge me £52 for a £41 bill before I queried it, which was corrected with no apology (why would a customer expect an apology for them attempting to overcharge me by £10?!) etc.

Needs to sort out its identity crisis then fix the details... could then be a really good pub!
alexw - 30 Jul 2011 10:13
Popped in last Sunday afternoon, and the only beer on was Directors. That lasted for 2 pints, and that was the end of the beer.
Lagers didn't fare much better, with 2 of those being off as well.
Either nobody here knows how to change a barrel, or delivery day is Monday, and the manager miscalculated the previous week's expected beer consumption.
Either way, pretty poor show chaps !
Perry - 5 Oct 2010 20:20
Great location, ok vibe, used to go there a lot more than I do now. Change of hands doesn't always help a place improve.
corxin - 1 Oct 2010 17:29
Called in here for a beer and some lunch and was quietly impressed, at least with the food which, although at the top end of what I'd be prepared to pay for in a boozer, was extremely tasty. Less encouraging was the beer which consisted of Courage Directors, London Pride and Deuchars IPA, the latter of which was adequate if not as good as it could have been. This place has been refurbished recently in typical London fashion but it is still a pleasant enough pub and as mentioned, the food was well above your average pub grub style fare.
ChrisP87 - 7 Mar 2010 09:04
Pleased to see that the King Willy has been bought over and that all the pretentious staff and management have changed. I used to tolerate the pub before but what a welcome change when i popped in with a mate to play the quiz. Really good food and three ales to choose from, it's really reasonalbly priced for Hampstead aswell i had the fish & chips £9 and a pint was only £3.20!!. I went along on the quiz night and found it reasonably busy for a wednesday, very comfortable, nice atmosphere and really friendly staff, which is why i'll definately be back!! Since the pubs changed hands it's still a gay bar but had a very mixed crowd, which is great, it's now definately worth a visit, one of my favourite bars in Hampstead.
frognal - 6 Oct 2009 06:47
Whats happend to this place?? Popped in again today, appeared to be all new staff who didn't seem to even smile, well overpriced food, bit of a refurb but certainly nothing spectacular. Shame won't be going back in a hurry,
Clivers - 3 May 2009 08:46
Currently closed for a refurb...
Clivers - 16 Mar 2009 21:12
I have to agree that if you donít spot the rainbow on the sign outside you wouldnít guess that this is a gay pub, hence the reason that a lot of people I know have started using it for a couple of pints during the weekly Hampstead mini crawl on a Friday afternoon.

I spotted 3 ale pumps during my visit, two of which were unused and the other was for Theakston Mild which was off. There is also a selection of bog standard lager. The staff seem pleasant enough, but the actual pub is nothing to write home about. There is a small beer garden out the back which I think is the only one in the high street area so it is quite popular in the summer, but not as popular as the famous Hampstead crepe stand located outside the pub.

This pub is ok, but there are better pubs in the area.
Strongers - 9 Jan 2009 11:25
Up in London again this weekend, spent a good couple of hours here yesterday afternoon...great friendly service as always with more than enough choice of drinks on tap. Sadly though I heard that the pub has been sold and is changing hands in January...the last ever cabaret being held on 31 Jan. Sounds like its going straight?? Unconfirmed but I hope not as its an institution in Hampstead.
Clivers - 21 Dec 2008 09:29
In the area again almost a year since Ive been in the place; nice friendly atmosphere as I've always experienced in the past and suprisingly for London, the same cute brazilian barman from my last visit. Well mixed both in sexes, sexuality and ages..an example of how a cosmopolitan pub/bar should be.
Clivers - 18 Aug 2008 20:48
I wouldn't mind a beatiful Swedish girlfriend. Has she got any friends?
Greshon - 3 Mar 2008 12:35
This pub is thoroughly ok....I went in here with my beautiful Swedish girlfriend , didn't feel the slightest bit intimidated as open heterosexualists and had two lovely pints of beer.
TS77 - 29 Feb 2008 14:13
I have frequented the KW4 in Hampstead a number of times now and always felt really at home there. The staff are friendly and helpful. You go into a pub thinking you will only find draft beer and wine but this one breaks the mould. They make really good cocktails and jugs...well the KW4 iced tea certainly did it for me :-) I read some of the negative comments below and just donít get it. The pub is certainly still a gay pub but now itís more welcoming to everyone. I guess you could say its "Straight friendly". This time that I went I was there for a quiz night and had a blast with the "hostess" Sheila Bliege. Am going back this weekend with my boyfriend to catch one of their cabaret shows and itís nice to see a different venue from the norm doing this type of thing.
JoshRitz - 23 Nov 2007 01:36
We went to Hampstead to go to the Everyman Cinema (which by the way is fantastic!)so we went into the King William IV for a roast lunch. We found a lovely corner spot with club chairs and sat for a good few hours reading our papers, people watching and chatting. This pub had really friendly and helpful staff, decently priced wine on the menu but best of all the roast meal was great!There was a choice of four roasts including vego, the lamb was tender, cooked properly and miracles for London served hot!The music in the background was good but not too loud...we will definately be making this pub a regular for us and we don't live in the area
ozontour - 12 Nov 2007 10:56
Gave the KW4 another visit yesterday afternoon. Whilst Im no lover of the internal decor the service was very friendly and efficient. The food was good, albheit slightly pricey, but this is Hampstead. Its certainly very cosmopolitan and all the staff were definately gay.
One very cute young brazilian barman was very friendly, didnt get his name, but loved him calling his boss and regular customers "darling" reglarly. Made to feel very welcome; will return again when back up that way, maybe evenings are different to daytimes.
Maybe the supposed Gay Comunity should support the pub and be welcoming to anyone who uses the KW4. Its not exactly a secret that its a gay place afterall.The one thing obviously that does go against it is the lack of late night hours but thats the local licencing authority for you.
Clivers - 3 Sep 2007 13:43
Disappointing visit once again! After eventually being served, on trying the two ales that were on, neither were drinkable. Giving the old place the benefit of the doubt, I went back a week or so later, to find only one undrinkable ale on. I would have been happy on both occasions to have had a Gunness, if I could find one redeeming feature to warrant spending further time in there.
Fermental - 8 Aug 2007 18:01
We're new customers, and love this pub. Clearly some punters are unhappy with how it's changed which is fair enough. However, as far as pubs go, this is one of the better licensed premises in the area. Yes, so it may not have the old charm of the Holly Bush, but not many pubs do. What this place lacks in traditional atmosphere, it more than makes up for with it's friendly and efficient staff, well-priced food & drink, gorgeous garden and town-centre location. My girlfriend & I will definitely be having a Bulmers or two this summer in the KW4...
under_the_table - 8 Jun 2007 17:04
Dreadful. The management have deliberately thrown out the gay community and turned a great institution into the same old faux cosmopolitan, trendy rubbish. Shameful
amy_sarflondon - 8 Jun 2007 04:29
Absolutely dreadful refurb of this once great pub, what have the designers done, awful colours inside, not inkeeping at all with the building. Very strange atmosphere. Have the Faucet Inn company sold it?
Clivers - 10 Mar 2007 20:28
It was 10pm on a Saturday night (01.2007) quite busy .. bar service great ... but , oh dear, apart from the bar staff, most of the people there were straight couples !!! This did not feel like a gay pub at all. Have the gay clientele deserted KW ? Maybe its to do with the new decor and harsh lighting ... or to do with the music turned up so loud you can not have a conversation with your friend who is just two feet away. We drank up and left ...
rolly - 28 Jan 2007 13:45
Don't get me wrong, I don't mind paying £3 a pint if the beer is perfect, but unfortunately it was served too warm and didn't taste me (see my comment on the nearby Holly Bush where I ended up).
Ginger_Beard - 16 Dec 2006 22:18
This used to be a decent, friendly boozer where thankfully idiots like FrancisLong were in the minority as non gays and "fameles" were made more than welcome by the gay regulars who were obviously more comfortable with their sexuality than Francis is.

Has now been destroyed by yet another horrendous refurbishment and has little to offer other than the pleasant beer garden which still remains. Very sad!
LagerLout - 16 Nov 2006 13:38
guess you will either love or hate the recent refurbishment, some things dont change - as previously who ever is in charge of the cellar needs to go on a training course (the theakstons and greene king very poor)A rather odd mix of local gay customers and "ladies" that lunch. Service is pleasant and prompt. The place is incredibly smokey, has terrible piped music. Not that great over all there are better places nearby - ie Hollybush
moclips2002 - 13 Nov 2006 20:17
Recently re-furbished, now looks better from the outside. The inside however shows old wallpaper and cabling generously overpainted and excessively illuminated. This used to be a fun pub some years ago, full of characters and attitude queens, sadly less character now but some evenings quite busy. The selection of ale here was rarely a good choice in my opinion and never kept well. The new-look comes with new ales, Theakston XB, Mild and Old Peculiar, although they are rarely all on, not great when they are on, and difficult to purchase through staff often too involved with chatting to eachother to serve customers. This pub always had potential and still holds potential. I would hate to see it become another restaurant or estate agent. A little more effort required please ...
Fermental - 8 Nov 2006 16:20
Perhaps Francis, like the bar man who demanded that I and my 8 day old baby leave the King William garden because the pub "is a gay pub", thinks that gay people do not have children and families.
alexholly - 17 Oct 2006 17:15
I totally agree with 'anonymous'. The pub is destroyed. Thank God they have kept the bar. Living in Hampstead I see the pubs disapearing like nothing else. A sad chapter in the village.
And Francis there are female gays as well AND its NOTHING special by being gay! Think you should spend more time in a spelling class than in the pub!
Maja - 8 Oct 2006 14:04
YIPPEE! finaly, the re-furb has happened. Unlike anonymous I was not horrified by the way the Willy turned out and I would suggest to her that if she doesn't like it, remember these few things. 1. It is a gay pub and some of us may not like the placwe filled with females. 2. Maybe it was dirty and smelly befor because it was littered with fameles and their husbands....
FrancisLong - 19 Sep 2006 15:37
I went to this pub back in April and my husband and I loved it. Although maybe a bit run down it was a beautiful old pub. We were in the area this weekend and went back for a visit and were horrified at what they have done to the place. I am talking about the refurbishment. Someone should do time for doing that to a pub. Terrible flock wallpaper with sickening lilac paint and all the old bar stalls gone. Just such a disapointment as a pub like that is a rare find!
anonymous - 19 Sep 2006 14:45
By all accounts the pub will be closing for a refurbishment some time in August. Not before time either! From what I hear it will still be a gay pub but without the dust & dirt but with working lights!
FrancisLong - 26 Jul 2006 16:48
From the outside this pub looks interesting and possibly upmarket on the inside. Instead when you get inside it feels rundown, tatty and smells like an old pub well due a massive refurbishment. It's one saving grace is a pleasant beer garden, but it isn't worth going out of your way for.
anonymous - 25 Jul 2006 20:36
I'm a gay man who used to frequent The King William IV in the mid 90s. It was a lovely, traditional pub in one of the most beautiful parts of London. Some of the regular clientele left a lot to be desired. The pub seemed to be permanently inhabited by a small coven of pernicious, spiteful, vacuous queens and one particularly poisonous fag-hag, who all thought they owned and ran the place. I'm sure the pub's a much brighter and friendlier place now. One good thing came out of it, I met the love of my life there, and I've never looked back.
ruddles - 7 May 2006 18:51
I tried this one for the first time in c. 25 years towards the end of March. I'm afraid it was a terrible pint of Bombardier ....
zorrodp - 2 May 2006 22:04
I was a keen King Willy goer and have fond memories of the days it was fun. The pantos, pram races, shows etc etc but over the years it has changed so much. Gone are the days when everyone knew everyone and it was a fun place.People who go there now will not remember those days and the landlords Peter sharpe, Colin, Bill and Sandra but to name a few.I wonder what happenend to the group that sat around the round table.Later landlords were not nice and the Willy lost its charm but memories of those times will stay as that was the best.
samadensam - 2 May 2006 12:37
The pub itself is really nice with original features. The bar is fine old dark wood (very heavy). I've been to this pub many times, and it's quite-very gay. But me being stright, i have never had a funny look even coming in with my husband. I was told that KW is the oldest gay pub in London. There are now rumours that its going to be demolished and made into a nice (stright) bar! What a horrible thought! They might as well close it down. It wont work!

Maja - 25 Mar 2006 20:49
Not a bad pub especially in Summer, has excellent garden at the back. Was fun a few years back. Unfortuntely the pub is being taken over by straight clientelle so don't expect things to improve and the atmosphere will probably go down hill. Worth a drink if passing but don't bother with the food!
anonymous - 25 Feb 2006 16:13
if you think about how much ka-ching walks by the king's door every day [hampstead high street, darling] it is surprising how unspoilt this pub still is - not a fusiony nibble, sauteed prawn or chocolate souffle in sight. instead the atmosphere is relaxed, and it sometimes gets a bit noisy with the many different nights they host [hula party in february - genius] great place to drink & not be rushed.
proxy - 1 Feb 2006 16:46
Looks very inviting...
Went in on a freezing cold night for a beer. Nice and welcoming, friendly staff.
Then I realized it was a gay pub....
I enjoyed my pint and left.
Recommended. If you like that sort of thing.
easyco - 27 Dec 2005 21:03
Used to be one of the few nice gay "proper pubs" left in London, but apparently it's being boycotted at the moment because the manager was exceptionally rude to some of the regular clientele. Good selection of beers though, and the staff I've dealt with have all been great. If you get peckish you can pop outside to the crepe wagon which does the most gorgeous crepes. They're refurbishing the place soonish (it's brewery owned) so I'm a little nervous it's going to become another generic bar-type affair.
anonymous - 5 Sep 2005 14:32
I would agree with the comments about the toilets- half an hour after requesting toilet roll there was still none there and they were really dirty. Had to request for top up on my beer every time and still wasn't given a full pint!
anonymous - 31 Aug 2005 20:58
overly camp. if you like that sort of thing, its a dream. good caberet. dave roze
britneybaby - 1 Jul 2005 09:22
big refurb coming up soon for the KW4, going one step up from the friendly but slightly dusty local it is now to a more modern, stylish - but still glam gastropub. keep your eyes peeled for this one.
Jet - 13 May 2005 17:10
reallygone down hill over the last few years with not much going on and a poor atmosphere. the toilets really stink and are among the worst i've experienced.
neil t - 28 Aug 2004 00:58
We like it because they're dog-friendly. Always a water bowl at hand and a gentle stroke from all staff and clientele.
Wolsey & Henry - 22 May 2004 11:09
needs abit of money put into it by the owners for a change rather than taken out it, lovly building ,great staff
and loyal patrons deserve it
thanks colin
colin thomson - colininedin@aol.com - 20 Feb 2004 16:18
friendly atmosphere - great staff, the building is falling apart unfortunately; but apparently is being done up soon
Peter - 14 Dec 2003 19:25
Went there for the first time in years a couple of months ago.

What aaa change. Great place now. Graham and Marsha, two of the staff are heaven on earth. Such lovely people. Worth going in just to spend a while chatting to them.

Monday night is now a jazz night great music.

I would highly recommend it to anyone.


Martin - remy@ic24.net - 1 Sep 2003 15:21
Freindly great staff worth a visit
Natalie - 22 Aug 2003 20:05
Nice gay pub, but last time I visited there was no real-ale. Hope there is some there now!However this pub's a more chilled-out alternative to the Black Cap in Camden. Visitors to the Black Cap who read this will know what I mean!
lad_newton - 27 Feb 2003 16:58
Got the best Creperie in London just outside.
Clad - 27 Feb 2003 11:56
Clientele exclusively "musical" gentlemen.

Nigel - 29 Nov 2002 11:36
rubbish, over priced
gil - 3 Nov 2002 21:36
100% gay pub in the heart of gay ole Hampstead
Phil - 7 Jul 2002 23:54

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