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White Lion, Redhill

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user reviews of the White Lion, Redhill

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

wealdman - 17 Sep 2018 12:32
While not perhaps ticking everyone's boxes - which pub ever can realistically - I would say The White Lion is getting back to potential form, under the pleasant and seemingly more dynamic management of Al and Sophie. Besides their welcoming temperaments, they have maintained the core character of the venue, whilst being innovative enough to introduce some new elements - most obviously the monthly street food wagon appearing in the car park offering a different style of cuisine for hungry punters, at least in the interim as a valid alternative to operating their own kitchen. This seems to be popular and it's a great example of how a pub that struggles - often through no real fault in itself - to cut a dash and make a point of difference to customers that might keep them returning regularly.

The interior and exterior condition is decent and facilities are much-improved on what they were a few years back.

Drinks-wise, a similar range of beers, wines, spirits and non-alcoholics appears to be available, which is fine as it caters for many mainstream tastes. Being tied to Greene King makes the cask ale situation limited and although only the 'White Lion' bitter and guest St Austell 'Tribute' tend to appear frequently, they are at least served well and one can only hope if more interest were shown locally, that more diversity would be seen in this regard (or at least as much as GK will ever allow). Even prices seem to be stable; they've never been 'cheap' at the WL for a long while, but every other surviving pub is now catching up and so their tags don't look so cheeky.

Best of luck folks; the place seems to get busier each time I've dropped in, and some of the old hands are making a comeback, especially on themed evenings. Keep moving in that direction and in theory you shouldn't go far-wrong.
Gamboozler - 10 May 2017 15:00
Was closed, but reopened last week - with new management.

Redhill's oldest pub.
tradervic - 9 Nov 2016 10:10
Trouble is, no manager since John Connolly's sudden departure last November seems to have stuck it here, leading to a confused present and uncertain future. It seems the Lion has again changed hands, with a rumoured focus away from elements that were popular here: broad cask beer range (reduced to only four and mostly Greene King), regular karaoke nights (live music on Fridays is being mooted), and Thai food (the Siam lot seem to have skidaddled, and a boring by-numbers pub grub menu installed in their place!).

Get someone in who's settled, agree on a strategy that suits locals, and STICK WITH IT!
Gamboozler - 9 May 2014 12:57
This is a excellent example of local boozer. I moved to the area in the last year and having a decent local was a deal breaker for me. This pub is spot on. Five Ales on usually. When we first moved here they were hit and miss but i've noticed that recently that the beer is more consistently tasty. Friendly staff and locals make this a nice place to pop in for a pint or have a proper session. I've eaten in their Thai Restaurant and i can recommend that as well. One criticism is the music policy. Sometimes there's an awful commercial radio station playing rubbish music. The last time i was in they had a Rave album on. I'm actually a fan of music in pubs but this was making me want to leave. This sounds like a real moan but this is a great pub.
Mrsausages - 4 Jan 2014 10:22
This is a great local pub. The staff are always welcoming and the atmosphere fun and friendly. We have enjoyed many a good pint in the White Lion. There has been the odd occasion of an iffy barrel, but on the whole the beer is kept really well and there is always a good variety on tap. It’s great to see this pub well used by the locals, especially over Christmas where we squeezed in an enjoyed a festive pre-turkey drink. The pub also has the added bonus of the Thai food, which is excellent. Our recent meal was spot on in all aspects – except for one thing – the music! There aren’t many places where 90’s rave music is an option – and this certainly isn’t one of them. Sort out your music policy and this place will be 10 out of 10!
caztart - 2 Jan 2014 17:43
Need to keep a better check on the quality of the ales as beers can be a bit iffy. Recently this has been very noticeable with some regulars going to the Garland in search of a reliable pint. Don't let standards slip or the pub will go downhill rapidly once again.
addlened - 25 Sep 2013 10:00
Perhaps I had a bad experience here but found the total opposite. All the landlord seemed interested in was drinking his profits and chatting to an exclusive group of 'regulars.' Pub was on 3 levels so very little atmosphere a bit dreary and dark as well. Wont be rushing back............................
howzat - 7 Aug 2013 11:28
Great pub, great beer - Derek the Manager is a true gent and is welcoming and courteous to all. A delight after bad experiences in The Red Lion.
Shakyshrek - 27 May 2013 22:08
Found this pub by mistake, first time visit. What a fantastic place this is!! By far the best pub in the area! Made us feel really welcome. The staff and manager were fun, friendly, bubbly and talked to us, had a laugh and made us feel really welcome. The owner knows his stuff when it comes to beer - and my god - you can tell - the quality of the ales are amazing! It was pretty busy during the day too - with nice regulars and good conversation and banter. This place is a must to check out!
whereswally - 17 May 2013 17:20
all the manager does it eye up the girls behind the is nice but a little small...
redjohn - 16 May 2012 13:06
Made my first visit on Saturday and have to say was impressed.

Plenty of ales on offer although I can't comment on them as I was on Stowford Press. Landlord and bar staff very friendly and efficient. Didn't try the Thai food but will certainly put that right in a future visit.

The pub itself is far enough away from the centre of Redhill to avoid the chavvy excess of the town and is all the better for it. Nice old building that I will certainly be coming back to.
kevmac - 15 Apr 2012 10:13
Fortunately, in the last 2 years or so since I last reviewed this local pub, things have continued to improve and the licensees have shown that they know how to take a pub on and tap into improving exactly the right sort of aspects to ensure an overall appreciation by the regular and occasional punters, and, therefore, begin to properly-realise its potential that has always been obvious.

I'm a committed Garland-goer and it almost doesn't matter what the White Lion does to exponentially enhance its experience, because I'll always default to my own 'local' first and foremost (come on, it's at the bottom of a very steep hill whereas the WL is at the top!). Nevertheless, we all need variety in our lives and I frequently find myself popping in here nowadays as a welcome alternative to the G, because it is just as respectable a venue but offers a slightly distinct atmosphere and environment.

The Garland is an excellent community pub, and one which majors on proper conversation, fine ale, sit-down meals, and select music behind the bar. It is a touch more refined perhaps and while its appeal is plainly broadening, it is arguably orientated more towards the over-40s. The White Lion, by contrast, now offers a little more for those who favour a more 'party-time' atmos at least on a Saturday night; live acts can now be found here reasonably frequently, and the dual guilty-pleasures of both themed party evenings and karaoke are also offered (neither will ever be witnessed at the G which is to its credit, but for those who do prefer that kind of entertainment, the Lion is the one for you). I hasten to add that such events are always attended by a mix of level-headed locals who just enjoy themselves very naturally and without pretense; there is never any nastiness or Redhillian chavery. One or two punters can even sing!

In addition to the ents side of things, one does also have cask ale from more than just one brewer as the pub is now free-of-tie, although the accent remains on more Northerly beers and arguably they're never quite as well-conditioned as down the road (I do find many of them taste rather too similar and prices are at the higher-end, starting now at 3.40). Not quite 'GBG' material yet but things are steadily moving in the right direction and such recognition may not be far off.

There is also a Thai restaurant element ('Bai Pho') which I had doubts over but seems to gel very readily into the scene without dominating - the premises are sufficiently large to accommodate eaters quite separately from the bar area, so the Lion remains very much a pub first. Apparently the grub is highly-recommended although so far I remain a Bai Pho virgin so can't comment.

Those still reading this ramble may also wish to note the service is second-to-none here: John and his wife are always convivial and smartly-turned-out if they're in, and the two young barmaids they employ cope admirably even at the busiest sessions. Teri's earthy good humour in particular is clearly well-appreciated by punters.

Add to this the ongoing traditional charms of its interior and the often-overlooked spacious rear garden, and surely you'll agree that this pub has earned the accolade of most-improved in Redhill 2010-'12. Rumour has it that J & S are keen to work the same magic in a pub down in Lewes (while retaining the WL of course), so we may be looking at two good boozers for the price of 1?!

TWG - 11 Apr 2012 13:04
Previous reviewer has got it spot on. Best pub I've been to in a long time (didn't think Redhill could provide another quality establishment after The Garland). Excellent layout, nice garden, good range of real ales + others and very friendly staff.
filf - 9 Apr 2012 13:09
Excellent beer choice for a GK pub, and all ales very well kept. Thai food comes highly recommended too, and the regulars, staff and management are all exceptionally friendly. Baffled as to why this pub doesn't make it into the Good Beer Guide, but as a result it remains Redhill's best kept secret!
ScotchMissed - 19 Feb 2012 17:16
I like the WL it has a buzz about it and the management team are doing a good job. The beer is excellent and although I am an occasional visitor I still get a very good welcome.
addlened - 22 Sep 2011 15:16
GK pub with various derivatives including Morland Original but also real guests in the form of Otter Ale and a Hydes beer. Sat outside but interior looked interesting. Worth a diversion from the Garland.
GuideDogSaint - 27 Jun 2011 23:28
Thank goodness the White Lion has got management that know how to run a pub. As a local resident for over 20 years until i moved to reigate it was sad to see the pub destroyed in recent years. Now it has a chance to get back to what it should be a proper pub with good beer.
addlened - 7 May 2010 09:37
Not only new management, but new ownership too! Happened to meet the new incumbents, John & Sharon, at the Garland last week, and I found them most agreeable. They seemed to have the right kind of approach to making the most of the Lion's potential, especially now the ties to GK have been relaxed, and up to 3 guests can be sourced, from suppliers of their choice.
My initial impression emboldened me to make the schlep up the hill (sorts the men from the boys!) to sample it for myself. It wasn't busy for a Saturday night, but time is needed for them to spread the word that things should be on the up. And in fairness more folks gradually appeared as the evening wore on. I found 2 unusual guest ales, both hailing from the Midlands; and both were served and conditioned well, despite not being my personal favourites (maybe consider the LocAle initiative John - get those Southern beers in!). Pleasant hum of classic 1960s tunes on the stereogram, which suited the atmos well. An unobtrusive TV was keeping tabs on the (disappointing) England v France rugby match, which one could take as much or as little notice of as one liked.
J & S were in the bar and were very friendly to all, as was the pleasant and pretty barmaid. Unlike my visit last Summer, this pub now has the grassroots feel of an emergent sound local about it, and I hope they manage to build on this, as surely residential trade is the key here. I was further impressed by the provision of a cheese platter at 10PM - 3 types plus numerous grapes, biccies and oodles of salad! Not bad for under a fiver really.
It is somehow comforting to know that there is now a decent ale pit-stop at BOTH ends of Grove Hill Road, and I will be intrigued to monitor the progress from here onwards. Best of luck to you folks.
TWG - 24 Mar 2010 15:36
New management. A vast improvement. Good beer, good food, nice people and the heating is back on so it's cozy too!!
gdm - 22 Mar 2010 20:01
I find it peculiar that having been moderately familiar with this establishment for over 15 years, I haven't sought to review it previously. Actually, I thought I had, but BITE records reliably(?) inform me that I have not. Here goes then.

Sadly I can't put my apparent memory lapse down to having had endless indulgent sessions on the ale at this pub, as although it is served in reasonable nick by the seemingly diligent and friendly folk who currently run it (watch this space though as the pub has seen innumerable changes at the helm since the untimely death of long-standing landlord Oliver O'Boyle a few years back - much missed by all accounts), it is Greene King and affiliated bastardised brews only at the pumps (all 5 of 'em), and try as I might, I just can't learn to love them. I "tolerated" a well-kept pint of Ye Olde Trip before taking just that back to the trusty Garland at the other end of the same road (incidentally, never do these pubs the other way round, if only to ensure the walk is all downhill!).

Needless to say, this is not the fault of the licensees, or the pub. We ale enthusiasts have other outlets both tied and free in the area which will serve our needs better, but the White Lion has enough other positive qualities to render it a worthy component on a local Redhill crawl. A well-kept and traditional interior will greet you (some faux additions but it isn't hard to believe this has been licensed since 1900) and very capacious when one chivvies out all the various alcoves and nooks; just the place for comfort on a cold winter day.

I do fear though that it is struggling to drum up the custom it enjoyed in its '90s heyday when it boasted a loyal local following; my last visit was on a Saturday night (on my own - god what is happening to me?!) yet I found no more than 4 other customers in situ. Four. GK beer aside, it deserves better than that. Perhaps it was a one-off? I do hope so.

TWG - 17 Sep 2009 17:05
The White Lion has changed hands again but retains its relaxed, friendly atmosphere. The beer is good and the Sunday roast is very good and very good value. If I were to look for a criticism it would be that the landlord needs to press his vacuum cleaner into service a bit more often.
gdm - 23 Apr 2008 14:28
Lovely place. Its a quirky and fasinating old building with lots of different levels and original features. Simple English pub food is served for a good price (around 6 a dish) and the drinks selection is simple but spot on. There is occasionally live music and always a Quiz Night every Tuesday (you can win a free round or a bottle of wine for the runners up!). A pool table and pretty friendly barmaids should also attract the younger men. This pub is worth walking 5 minutes out of town for.
Cherry_Ghost - 6 Apr 2008 23:38
Nice old pub - thankfully after redecoration it looks exactly the same as before, just cleaner. The man who used to look at me as if he wanted to kill me doesn't seem to drink there any more.
Bugbear - 4 Feb 2008 14:01
I'll agree with Spitfire. Quite liked it before, like it a lot now. Five well kept ales at the last count and an unprentious, good value menu. Child friendly too.
gdm - 20 Nov 2007 13:14
It's all change in this pub. Just been taken over by Wayne and Julia - redecorated - clean - good ales (at least 3 maybe 4). Hasn't lost it's local charm - very friendly pub. they have also started doing food in the afternoon and evenings. Worth a visit if you went before and didn't like it.
spitfire - 1 Nov 2007 11:21
Nice interesting pub. Always very friendly. The beer selection is not extensive but does a good pint of Guinness.
gdm - 20 Dec 2006 14:15
I like this pub. It gained a *very* brief notoriety for under-agers last year but they soon clamped down on that. I like to go there anyway, staff always very friendly and polite.
strangeone - 29 Jun 2005 01:14
Builds up a notoriously heavy high tar smoke cloud. A swift drink & your eyes are watering & your jacket unwearable the next day. It's local, so we visit occasionaly to see if they have it sorted, but it's always the same. Shame, it's a good looking pub. Strangly they have a bar area that would make a fine non-smoking area but instead of using it, on quiet nights they shut the area. It gets harder to fill a smokers pub, so quiet nights are quiet often
geofff - 15 Apr 2005 15:47
I don't visit The White Lion often enough as I live in Reigate however whenever I do I have a nice time. This Irish familiy owned pub has about 6 drinking areas on several levels and also a garden. I'm always met with a friendly smile and good beer. Sure it's not the cleanest pub in town but it's certainly not grubby and has plenty of character. I don't like immaculate pubs anyway!
Ferg - 22 Aug 2004 19:18
For the oldest pub in Redhill this place really lacks character and atmosphere. It's in need of redecorating and some new furniture. Tatty and very disappointing. The only redeeming point is that fact that it's a Greene King pub and sells Abbot.
smuj83 - 8 Jun 2004 12:43

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