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Radcliffe Arms, Hitchin

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user reviews of the Radcliffe Arms, Hitchin

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

Gone to pot since lockdown. Staff very rude finished a pleasant afternoon and basically got turfed out by the " manager" very rudely and abruptly for going five minutes past our booking. Place was empty anyway so why the panic.
Guvn'r just lost further takings and goodwill from the Avenue, Finches and Chiltern Rd Association.

Thought he was Robbie Williams which is fine by me, talentless twat..
Lindacfs44 - 6 Dec 2020 12:53
First visit since lockdown;- expected to have to pay by card, BUT, was greeted by "if you just want a beer you have to order online", I replied "I don't have a smartphone", followed by "sorry can't serve you!".
Wasn't aware it was a legal requirement to have a smartphone!!! Never liked the pub much anyway, just a handy stop back to the station!.
Aztecgoat - 29 Aug 2020 19:40
I hear it's closing down for resi development which I suppose is the norm these days...
Lindacfs44 - 30 Nov 2016 09:06
There is an advertising sign for Illy coffee on this place, which about sums it up - not a pub in the slightest.
Snarling_Mallard - 5 Apr 2015 20:02
2nd pub visited on Saturday evening on my way from town back to the station.

As this one also features in the 2014 Good Beer Guide I decided to stop in..having already been warned that’s it more of a restaurant than a pub.

Nice place, lacking slightly in atmosphere as the only people inside the pub were a group of 5 (3 men, 2 women) who were obviously locals and sat at the bar…there were others in the pub but they were sat outside smoking.

Again another pub where I didn’t sample the ale…there was only 1 beer on which surprised me.

I was too early for food so cannot comment on portion size, smell or taste.

I’m sure there’s better pubs than this one in Hitchin apart from the Half Moon that sell & keep good quality real ale…though I may be wrong as I’m not from Hitchin.
lezford - 15 Jan 2014 16:24
I posted a review here previously two years ago, but have been back a few times since. The quality of food and beer (usually from the Buntingford brewery) at the Radcliffe Arms has been consistently very high and the interior design makes it a pleasant place to eat. It is possible to go to the Radcliffe Arms to drink (and it holds occasional beer festivals), although the inside is mostly a dining area with a bar alongside. The food is what this place is really about. The atmosphere is good for a meal or early evening drink outside on a warm day, but it's not the sort of pub I would include on a pub crawl in winter.
hitchinsampler - 24 Jul 2011 00:28
My rating is a bit harsh but this is not really a pub. It might have been once but now it is more a restaurant who does beer at one end. Not eaten here so can't comment on the grub. Beer was OK but upper end of price band.
twangothan - 26 May 2011 19:52
Advertising those prices will save a lot of people the bother of entering the Radcliffe Arms.
shand83 - 15 Apr 2011 02:21
Hi Mr Edwards! You must be the guy sat at the end of the bar earlier in the week. I'm sorry you don't like the price of our beer, but I've had two price increases this year - the VAT and just last week, an 8% rise in the wholesale cost as well. Even with that, I still think we represent the best value for money for what you get compared to many of the other pubs locally - we have an excellent choice of rare beers, we clean the lines weekly, we clean our toilets daily. We also, between the hours of 3pm and 6pm, everyday, that includes Weekends and Bank Holidays, run 20% off the price of all Draught Beer, plus a few wines and spirits as well. Amstel 4(3.20@20%)Kirin Ichiban 4.25 (3.40@20%) Real Ale 3.80 (3.04@20%)


Stuart Alder (Guv'nr)
stewybabe - 2 Apr 2011 00:34
Lovely bar but 4.15 for a lager in Hitchin!!!! I work in Chelsea where some of the bars are cheaper than this. Wake up Guv'nr.
Lindacfs44 - 30 Mar 2011 11:14
Fantastic refurbishment of a rundown pub, no expence spared, except on the staff who I found spoilled our experience. Good food & beer but will not go back.
thewelder - 1 Mar 2011 16:16
Christ, try and make it a little less transparent.
shand83 - 14 Feb 2011 19:26
There isn't really a pub similar to this that i have been in. It has amazing food and an amazing choice of beer and ale, very unique. Their beer festivals are always fun and lively, they are very accepting of large bookings. Kirin Ichiban is probably my favourite larger and its not all to common to see it on draught, i think this pub/restaurant pushes all the right buttons.
jhill45 - 6 Feb 2011 13:25
The Radcliffe Arms is a fun and relaxing pub that anyone would enjoy eating and drinking at. I live around this area and I was here before the Radcliffe was changed. The people who work there are lovely and welcoming as you go in to eat or even to relax at the bar. The food and drinks are excellent and always have something new to offer. Recently their has been a wonderfull 'January wine sale.' In the summer the radcliife is always hosting an event such as beer festivals etc. The Radcliffe Arms is defenatly my top choice for a resturant/bar.
a.dizzle - 30 Jan 2011 18:20
Scores very well, it's always a good choice on the way into Hitchin from the train station. Staff are always friendly and the beer is excellent, especially the Strawberry Fruli on Draught.
ewill - 29 Jan 2011 17:14
Brilliant modern pub, excellent atmosphere on a busy night, and really good coffee too. One to take the wife to.
timmtaylor - 29 Jan 2011 17:03
This is the best pub in Hitchin, yes, it's not going to appeal to the old fashioned beer brigade, but what do you want? Another closed-down pub turned into a block of flats, or a community asset that is going to be here for another fifty years or more. The real ale is excellent, always from the local Buntingford brewery, and the food is really fresh and exciting.
sojo - 29 Jan 2011 16:56
A pub with an identity crisis, I'm not sure if this is a pub or a posh bistro. In my eyes it's not a pub, I really think it's marketed towards Hitchin's pseudo middle class, it really needs to define itself as one or the other or even a Euro style cafe bar.
Not really my scene but I'm sure some will like it.
Old_School - 29 Aug 2010 21:06
The food here is actually rather good, some of the best in Hitchin in my opinion. The two ales, usually both from Buntingford, have always been tasty and in good condition when I've eaten here. However, I must echo the previous comments as far as the "this is not a pub" line goes. It certainly isn't a pub, come here if you like some good food with a decent ale - but don't put it on your pub crawl unless you're a very small and presentable group.

I applaud the existence of a good place to eat in Hitchin that also had great cask ale - this is a positive evolution in the restaurant realm. It's better than Mr Ramsay's "The Narrow" pub in London - which had only one bog-standard ale on when I was there (and it was some Green King shite) - food's actually better too, funny that.

Anyway: this is a restaurant, not a pub.
yvanseth - 10 Jan 2010 21:25
This pub is definately not for pub-goers. I was there when the glorious railway dumped me at Hitchin instead of taking me home. While waiting for rescue I went to the Radcliffe. The single table apparently reserved for drinkers is small, literally in the doorway and behind the espresso machine, a monster of modern standards. The table is so tight you can't get in the seats. It's a bit like visiting a chinese restaurant to collect a take-away. Once I'd moved into the pub proper with my DELICIOUS, I should add, Buntingford ale, I was tolerated siting quietly alone, tidy in executive suit and briefcase. Apart from a noisy family disturbing the peace the pub was empty and 45 chairs empty. On returning to the bar for my second pint and next investment I was told "You're ok there right now but if anyone else comes in you'll have to move". CLASSIC WELCOME eh? Needless to say after an exchange of views I left the place n'er to return. Beats me why these places boast of their pub heritage. PErhaps they shoudl post an apology about bringing that pub heritage to a close instead. ITS NO LONGER A PUB, if you want one, GO ELSEWHERE.
chrisb99 - 4 Dec 2009 16:43
The sort of people who shop at John Lewis may go here for a spot of middle brow pretentiously served but disjointed food and the usual over priced wines etc. The rest of us can only mourn the loss of another local boozer.
zoomy - 18 Sep 2009 13:57
I have to agree with those below who say it is a restaurant and not a pub (even if there are two pumps). On trying to enter for a quick pint with some friends, we were not permitted entry (we were all sober) as we were not eating (cant say i like the security). Bit of a shame to be honest and I doubt I will be returning.
beerchampion - 7 Aug 2009 13:09
At last, someone has done somthing with the filthy old Radcliffe. The place is excellent now, with brilliant food - some dishes even are made with local ingredients - I had an excellent West Indian Curried Goat which was a special dish, made with goats from a local farm only about a mile away! They do need some covered outside space for the smokers amongst us, but aside from that, it is a brilliant effort. Excellent local real ale - choice of two from Buntingford Brewery, decent sized wine list, and the toilets are clean, unlike the privvy that was there before! Excellent place.
walsworth - 30 Jul 2009 19:51
How disappointing to be confronted by yet another restuarant for Hitchin. This is neither a pub nor a bar and certainly not a 'local' in the conventional sense of a local boozer. Not worth leaving the town centre for if you're after a couple of decent pints and the food choice is so much wider in the town anyhow.
Sandman1 - 28 Jul 2009 17:21
Impressive outside drinking area- great for pre-dinner drinks with friends in the summer. I found the staff very knowledgeable on the food and drink being served- a real plus! Service was polished and food well-presented. A wondeful evening.
Briteboy23 - 28 Jul 2009 11:59
The ratcliffe arms has not place on here as its a restaurant not a pub. Did manage to get in for a pint but what a big let down this place is!
47458sf - 24 Jul 2009 13:15
Went with a group of friends with high expectations after seeing the amount of time and effort obviously spent on the place. Shame about the roadworks and the overly pushy 'security' on the door. Wine was on the expensive side and I don't think they were allowing people to just come in for a drink. Food ok but could have been warmer and quicker to our table.
pinehill - 23 Jul 2009 18:47
What an atmosphere! What a transformation! Exquisite food and impeccable service. I have been twice already and i will definately be returning.
ilovefood38 - 22 Jul 2009 14:50
Keen as I am to support new life being injected to pubs, I was very disappointed to be turned away by a door "person" on the second day of opening. We were informed that the Radcliffe was purely a restaurant and we were not welcome to go in for a pint. As we were neither drunk nor rowdy (we are three 30 something professionals) I found that a bit puzzling. As things stand I cannot think of a single reason to go back there nor relate my experience to anyone who asks.
jim_price - 21 Jul 2009 16:25
Don't be fooled by the rating given to this pub on this website. The pub used to be truly awful under its old ownership. Many of the user ratings will be refer to its previous life and be out of date. Since then the pub was closed down, taken over, and fully refurbished. It is now a restaurant / free house and has two pumps serving real ale. I recently popped in and enjoyed the beer on offer from the Buntingford brewery - very good to see the landlord supporting local breweries. I haven't tried the food yet, but a friend went for a meal and told me he thought it was very good.
hitchinsampler - 17 Jul 2009 00:29
So nice to have a really smart place right on the door step, Been in for lunch and dinner and food great. Staff really friendly and lovely to my 6month old when I pop in for an afternoon coffee with friends the other day. Keep up the good work. No sign of the door person anymore must have been for the opening? or the UFOs haha, see local paper for story. Heard the road works will be going on til October!,but moving down the road.
simmondc - 13 Jul 2009 17:51
good, smart revamp and nice to see decent pub on this side of town. will be even better when the roadworks have been completed outside
watbags - 9 Jul 2009 13:41
Oh, remember I'm the Landlord by the way.......

All comments gratefully recieved
stewybabe - 26 Jun 2009 17:02
Ok then lads!

We've been open a week now.

This is a beer review website, any thoughts about the actual beer?

stewybabe - 26 Jun 2009 17:00
as Sandman says, I'm sure the owners are 'real nice people'. Ho Ho Ho!
simplysimon - 19 Jun 2009 08:34
your naiviety is wonderful to behold!!!

ho ho! as you seems your bitterness and judgement on the owner is getting in the way of the morals of this site..i suggest we judge it on service, drinks and food like any pub deserves.not on who owns it!
hitchinboy1 - 18 Jun 2009 22:44
Ho Ho! Good one hitchinboy, your naiviety is wonderful to behold. You do make me chuckle. Not another block of flats was built?! what like those that were almost built on the Avenue if a certain party did not get planning permission for his new house. There were no qualms then about selling out to a developer for flats.!!!!!


if i wanted to know about planning permision about the avenue i will log onto the nhdc website thankyou!!

hitchinboy1 - 18 Jun 2009 22:37
Ho Ho! Good one hitchinboy, your naiviety is wonderful to behold. You do make me chuckle. Not another block of flats was built?! what like those that were almost built on the Avenue if a certain party did not get planning permission for his new house. There were no qualms then about selling out to a developer for flats.
simplysimon - 17 Jun 2009 23:32
Furthermore, the 'delving' into the whys and wherefores of the owners was started by alcaholic who initially told us of their investment plans and tells us that the owners 'are real nice people'. So we should have nothing to worry about then, should we?
Sandman1 - 12 Jun 2009 08:55
Agree on judging on service and standards, Hitchinboy1 and agree that some investors can provide a service. You yourself have made a subjective comment on certain multinationals, which I happen to agree with. I think we both agree that investment into the Radcliffe is also welcome, be it from a local, multinational, or even international investor. I would argue that the pub is also there to provide a service to the community, as the Radcliffe's own website suggests that it will. How does this square with the position vis a vis the Avenue neighbourhood? There has been a lot of local interest in this place and it has not been possible to comment on service and standards as the place has taken so long to open. I do hope that the neighbourhood benefits. Most of the information discussed here regarding investment relates to the NHDC website. This contains plenty of detail about the plans/layout of the pub, dining area, which I think gives an insight as to how it will look and feel. Of course you are right that the proof is in the pudding and the place does finally open next week, when comments can at last revert to service, standards etc rather than investment.
Sandman1 - 12 Jun 2009 08:43
i agree fully with all your points sandman about new flats meen more customers etc.i stand corrected. i just find it strange to delve so deep into planning/owners address when this is a pub guide forum,when i sit in a bar,gastro or club i judge it on service and standards, not investors!...even a multinational chain can deliver a good pint! most of the time not though!! how about when it opens sandman!
hitchinboy1 - 12 Jun 2009 01:41
I'm all in favour of the establishment of a 'community' pub but think it odd that some of the 'community' is already estranged! I'm also keen that while investment is welcome, the look of the town is also preserved and am glad that more flats haven't been built. However, at least the occupants of these flats may provide the pub with some business. It is certainly more tasteful than recent developments elsewhere in the town or even modern buildings on the Avenue. From the outside it looks a massive improvement, as already mentioned and hope that it doesn't fall foul of planning regulations. As for the owner's personal life: Benslow said in his post that he had not seen any planning applications and I merely responded that North Herts District Council's website contained an application that set out the details of the Radcliffe's intended development. This publicly available information mentions that he lives locally on the Avenue and agree that local investment is vastly preferable to Punch, Enterprise, Regent Inns etc. Poster Pinehill googled the owner's name and mentioned his profession. I happened to remember his name and mentioned that the owner had posted on the Facebook site Friends of the Radcliffe Arms (as invited to look by the Landlord), which gave an indication of the opening date. Thought that locals might welcome this information.
Sandman1 - 10 Jun 2009 08:36
mr sandman you say that you have no judgement on this establishment but all you have commented on is the owners personal life and his feud with neighbours!!.we should be grateful that someone is willing to invest in our town,not another multi national ie.punch group..enterprise..wetherspoons etc. or even another block of flats was built!!! i feel they might need to push their advertising as a bit out of town...look at the well!!
hitchinboy1 - 10 Jun 2009 03:24
No judgment made hitchinboy, just stating facts. I've lived in the area for over 40 years and thought it worthwhile to see if our conservation area and lovely town is in safe hands. Nothing against Americans or people who haven't been 'lifelong residents of the town'. Agree that the pub looks a great improvement on its previous appearance. It did seem odd however, that he has already fallen out with his neighbours from the Avenue before even opening, so he has already judged them.
Sandman1 - 9 Jun 2009 10:46
this new gastro pub is nothing but a breath of fresh air to a lifelong resident of the town i just want to say thankyou for bringing a part of the town back to life,i find mr sandmans negative posts a bit of a shame to see why it is so important to delve so deep into the investment of this new venture?who ever the chap is please let him bring a plate to the table and a drink to the bar before you have a judgement on his efforts..good luck to you all
hitchinboy1 - 9 Jun 2009 06:04
Opening date is now 12th June and looks like alot of work has been put into it!Support your local
47458sf - 20 May 2009 20:28
The owner, Sam Isaly, who lives in New York says that he hears (hope his information is correct seeing he is the owner!) on the Facebook site 'Fiends of The Radcliffe Arms that the pub will re-open on 15th May.
Sandman1 - 9 Apr 2009 23:34
That sounds great! I googled the owner's name from the NHDC planning application and apparently he is some New York based investor. Not another Madoff I hope as the community don't want to lose the pub again! Glad that some money is being spent on the place and a gastro-pub might just work.
pinehill - 13 Mar 2009 09:24
HI there, My name is Stuart Alder, and I am the Landlord of The Radcliffe Arms. We should be open for business at the end of May/beginning of June. As a freehouse, we will have an excellent selection of real ales, from the Local brewers at Buntingford, and Red Squirrel in Hertford.

There will also be an excellent wine list, and cocktails available as an aperitif before the restaurant. The kitchen is currently under construction, and a new conservatory at the rear will be a dedicated dining room. The menu will be made up of simple, decent food, all freshly cooked on the premises. There will also be some outside space, for an alfresco pint, or cigar!

We will be open early in the morning for quick breakfasts and excellent coffee for commuters, and there is a large function room upstairs for groups to use for community events, or clubs, as well as parties.

Keep up to date with developments at "Friends of The Radcliffe Arms" on Facebook. Or contact me at

stewybabe - 11 Mar 2009 16:57
apparently many of the owner's neighbours on the Avenue are already barred from the place and it's not even open yet! What's all that about?!
Sandman1 - 6 Mar 2009 15:00
Apologies, that post code should read SG4 9ST
Sandman1 - 20 Dec 2008 00:10
North Herts District Council website details plans of a rear extension/conservatory to the Radcliffe. Planning application number 08/02789/1. Put in post code SG$ 9ST. Owner, who is stated on the application form as living in the Avenue, plans to take it up-market, catering for diners, with first floor function room.
Sandman1 - 20 Dec 2008 00:09
Someone is still spending money on the pub with the roof redone and looks like all the windows will be replaced.

They were working inside yesterday although I've still to see any planning application signs posted, so hopefully this indicates no change of use ?

Pub/Gastro pub would be ace.

Any further updates ?

Benslow - 16 Nov 2008 09:13
Will be interested to see how this turns out. Rumours are anything from a lap-dancing joint to a gasto-pub! Odd location for either in this run-down part of town.
Sandman1 - 5 Oct 2008 09:15
Here is the latest:

The pub was "owned" by a lowlife pub co. It was almost a done deal where it was going to be sold off for development. And yes, the scumbag pub co had put in a clause whereby the purchaser couldn't use the land as a licenced premsis once it had been sold.

However, I can confirm that the contracts were never finalised. There was an 11th hour bidder who has tabled an offer where the pub co have decided to remove this clause.

This place isn't dead yet, it's just in a coma. I haven't asked the people involved their grand plan, but what i do know is that they are planning to reopen. It will be free of tie, and may be food led. I know that the new owners would like to incorporate the exisiting name some how when they reopen but that is all i know.

Apart from the fact the new owners are real nice people.

What that space
alcaholic - 15 Jul 2008 00:15
Update - it's been sold to a developer with a clause that it never re-opens as a pub.
makinpost - 28 Apr 2008 13:28
Its DEAD and Buried
OldGrowler - 11 Feb 2008 14:37
Pub has shut down.
makinpost - 14 Dec 2007 15:51

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