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Bear, Esher

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user reviews of the Bear, Esher

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

IT was busy . Youngs (Wells) beers only available, 3 pumps on. Guest choice pump not on at all. And at £4.45 for a pint, I feel it is overly expensive. Not served with a full pint either which is a sign of a pub run by managers and staff that do not need to care. Shame, as in the absence of the Albert, there is precious little choice in the area, so make an effort to shine.
TonyMitch - 4 Oct 2017 20:33
Nicely refurbed although with a wine bar feel. 4 pumps on, on Thursday evening. 3 from Wells and Youngs and for some reason that I cannot understand, Sharps Doombar! Special was pleasant enough at £4.20 a pint, Esher prices and the result of almost no competition. The current scores are historic and do not reflect the pub and beer currently on offer.
TonyMitch - 8 Sep 2016 20:53
Now open again, after fine refurbishment.
wealdman - 7 Feb 2016 11:37
Closed - major refurb.
wealdman - 21 Sep 2015 11:15
Came here for a family meal as the brother in law lives in Esher. I had visited here years ago after a day at Sandown Races and it turned into a very lively night!

On this last visit, the atmosphere of the pub was nice, the beer was perfect and the staff were really good, BUT the food was not. A cold meal was served and then the replacement took forever to arrive while everyone elses meal were going cold waiting for her's to arrive.

The waitress was very sorry and we got this meal free but it did spoil the expierence for that diner and they have vowed not to return.

My meal on the other hand was good, hot and blinking tasty!
lezford - 12 Jul 2012 14:02
I'm always wary of a pub which has bouncers on the door on the assumption that, if it's the sort of pub which attracts the sort of people who need to be kept out by bouncers, then it's not the sort of pub which I'll be comfortable in. However, I was visiting The Bear with friends and had no option.

It is comforting to note that my misgivings were correct. As you enter The Bear, there are bare floors, no seats, just a few tall tables to put your drinks on while you stand drinking. Even worse, the beer was served in plastic disposable cups. I've not had beer in a plastic beaker since 1997, in Qoma's Tavern in Kwazulu-Natal, and that certainly wasn't Young's Ordinary I was drinking then. Young's Ordinary deserves better than plastic.

They have a small list of overpriced food (at least, I think 10-95 is overpriced for 'Bangers and mash' in a pub). I doubt if the chef is very busy, as there are some very nice restaurants nearby serving better food at a cheaper price. The beer was similarly overpriced - about 7% more than in another Young's pub which we visited earlier.

We did manage to find some seats in a remote corner of the pub, but my visit to The Bear was not one which I want to repeat. The only good thing about it was that the staff were very friendly, and the beer was fine, if you can ignore the edge of the plastic beaker moving when you drink.
Trequites - 23 Aug 2011 11:12
This pub smells. I mean, it smells bad.

I went to the Bear last night with a friend. We hadnt been in the place for about 8 years and wanted to see what it was like. The two main questions that we wanted answering were; has it been refurbished and does it still stink?

Well its been refurbished in a similar style to other large Youngs pubs in the area such as the Crown in Chertsey and the Hand and Spear in Weybridge. I can only assume that a relative/lover of a Youngs director claimed over dinner to have an eye for interior design.

But the smell has survived the refit. My word the smell! Im not sure where its emanating from. Its like a mixture of rotting wood, dampness, horse manure and farts.

We ordered two pints of ordinary but we were served two pints of sludge. The barman very apologetically took them back and said the barrel probably needed changing and scurried off. He was gone for a long time, when he came back he picked a half pint glass and pulled some beer. He inspected it, sniffed it, and held it up to the light like a sommelier. Then poured me a pint.

I looked at him and looked and the pint of sludge he had just handed over in disbelief. I tried to point out that this was beer from the old barrel and had just been sitting in the line, but it was pointless. Im afraid that this is all too common in pubs, but seems more prevalent in Youngs establishments; staff who are badly trained and do not know or have any interest the product theyre selling.

In truth I suppose the terrible beer probably explains the smell.

I dont think well bother going back to the Bear for at least another 8 years. Hopefully in 2018 there will have been another refurb, and a change of management and staff. But I bet itll still stink.

huntface - 17 Oct 2010 10:18
Nice large pub, the food is really good, had standard fish and chips first time here, but what a fish! And the chips were amazingly well cooked!
Drinks are a bit pricey, but I think someone else has mentioned that if you're living in Esher you should kind of expect that and shouldn't really be in a position to complain.
Its 15 minute drive to get to from where I live, but its worth it every time.
Drinks are standard, nothing too different, but service is good and staff are friendly and helpful.
daveo1707 - 13 Nov 2009 11:22
A reasonable spot. Sometimes plain and dull with a retail sort of feel but when it gets a little busy then you wont look back.
Serivce is good, and if you are drinking in Esher then you have got no right to get snooty about an extra 5p on the price of beer.
mrloftysson - 23 Oct 2009 16:50
I agree with what's been said about the pleasant dcor and ample places to sit in different corners. The beer is expensive as it is throughout the area, but tastes good. The food is realistically priced considering how much you get. Standards are high for drink, food and service. Only one word of warning to customers: one of our party asked for a glass of red wine without specifying which one, so was automatically given the most expensive one - at 6.20 a glass!! So: do consult the wine list and clearly state which one you want.
Trev - 6 Oct 2009 14:43
I've always found the Bear to be reasonable.

Yes - the drinks are expensive & no doubt the food is as well, but this is one of the most expensive areas in Surrey .
They do have a very good range of beers on tap & if you're meeting friends it's about the only palce in Esher where you have a chance of geeting a table.
Mike_L - 5 Oct 2009 11:14
A pub in an an upmarket area with priced to match. Extremely expensive food for very average quality. The beer is OK.We would advise you avoid on days when horse racing is taking place at nearby Sandown Park.Yo need deep pockets to eat here.
MagicMoments - 1 Oct 2009 10:15
Visited on 17 September. Ordinary, Special and Kew Gold were on. Separate areas for eating and a couple of odd rooms off the main area. Beer was fine and place seemed ok to me.
GuideDogSaint - 27 Sep 2009 10:50
Note to self: never return to the scene of the crime, even if the crime was drinking and the return is 25 years later. Another traditional place gutted by a refurb and trying to turn into a food parlour. At 5pm on a Sunday the place was almost empty - Youngs Ordinary and Special on pull - the Special was rather iffy. The only benefit in comparison with the Albert is the patio area - when I looked in there it was as empty.
SimonM - 29 Jun 2009 00:58
We tried out The Bear for a pub lunch today, with our 2 and 3 year old children - food was very good value (9 for a large roast chicken lunch), but the main thing was the brilliant service. The staff were very considerate especially with our children's odd dietary requirements (dairy intolerant) - in fact the chef himself came for a chat, and then made sure no margarine was used on the vegetables. Beer garden was very nice, especially considering it was near a main road - they've got a glass fence and lots of plants keeping the noise out. And anything we needed like high chairs and small cutlery were carried out by the staff with a smile. We'll happily go back!
philwhitehouse - 26 Apr 2009 13:48
Impressed that even on a Friday night there were a few tables, partly because the heavy drinkers just stand around the bar! Excellent food quality, selection and service until 10pm. Three beers: Young Ordinary & Special plus a guest.
Trev - 4 Oct 2008 19:06
This pub is a bit on the expensive side, I ordered around of drinks last night which came to 16.00 quid - Dont think we will be in any hurry to go back.
Hicup - 4 Oct 2008 13:36
Had a nice drink in this pub in very comfortable surroundings, several real ales available, friendly bar staff, very busy but service was excellent, found the prices no more expensive than any other pub at the moment (apart from spoons obviously)
real_ale_ade - 2 Sep 2008 19:58
way too overpriced need a second mortgage if you fancy buying a round 18.50 for four drinks.Wont be returning in a hurry.
cheekypigeon - 24 Jul 2008 11:54
Popped in before the cinema for a quick sandwich and found The Bear a pretty good place for a quick drink. The sandwiches were simple and not overpriced, the staff were friendly but nearly mad from listening to same Christmas album for the last 2 weeks.
mistral1969 - 1 Jan 2008 18:09
Had an awful experience a couple of Sundays ago; went in for a late Sunday lunch and a pint - the prices were rediculous (food and drink) and our food took an hour to arrive despite the dining area being quiet and our order being very simple; once it did arrive I'd sooner have found a Weatherspoons and paid less than half the price for better food !
Chuck80 - 4 Dec 2007 17:31
slow service,plastic glasses,surley staff not geared up to handle race day crowd
mcswiggan - 4 Jul 2007 13:19
Couldn't work out who they can justify the prices of beer and larger for a bog average pub in the communter belt - then realised it's a Youngs Pub - 'nugh said!.
anonymous - 17 Jan 2007 17:16
"Eat - Drink - Sleep" (thats what the inscription says above the door as you enter this pub)!
I only did one of the above, and a very pleasant lunchtime drink it was too.
For the lager buffs out there, who dare, the Bear has Stella, Star', Fosters, Hoegaarden and Peroni on tap. (The latter Italian beer was 4.30 a pint)! So we only had 6 of those..! (i jest)!
A walkaround bar, with smaller comfy areas off it. A restaurant area at the back, and a small (6 tables) 'no-smoking' area on right hand side (not as 'comfy' as the smoking room next to it though..! Roll on July'07..) All in all a nice pub. I don't get to Esher that often, but now I know where the 'Bear' is, thanks to 'Laid back Ron', I shall certainly revisit. Even Mrs TJ gave it the thumbs up (and she's a very choosey lady..!!) First impressions: 7/10. TJ
TeeJay - 14 Jan 2007 23:50
We had high expectations after the recent complete renovation, but were disappointed to find is was still a smokers paradise and attracting the younger element who can't hold their drink (we witnessed one 'lady' who threw up in the pub). Nice. - 2 Dec 2006 09:57
Oh dear Sunday luch for 6 of us and it cost just short of 200 now it was nice but not that nice.....when will the catering guys get the right balance? Esher is a very rich area but the place was half empty. When i spoke to the staff they said the catering bosses set the prices and change the menus as often as a bus changes destination!! I fear for when the beer comes from bedford as ell it can only mean more price rises.
oxforddon - 16 Sep 2006 09:30

Drink prices are indeed extortionate as comment below states, bought a pint and a gin (single) and tonic and it came to over 8. The refurb was not to our liking wither, quite cheaply done, with the typical m trying to look like an interior designer by getting a vase and dumping some metal twigs in it and tad a- what a great design- not! It has no warmth or real character and we couldnt wait to leave. If drink prices came down- fine- but with drink prices as high as a top London cocktail bar in these surroundings- someones having a laugh.

jemima1 - 8 Sep 2006 16:07
Yes but ... given the previous review is pretty much one of a restaurant, what happened to this being a pub? The beer is ok, no more than that - but then it now comes from Bedford, not Wandsworth.
beeronaut - 7 Sep 2006 23:57
What a transformation! I went there for dinner a couple of weeks ago and WOW! The food was great, the service excellent and very reasonable priced I think. The girlfriend and family all enjoyed themselves too. Well done Youngs for transforming this pub in to some thing extrordinary & truly wonderful.
anonymous - 5 Aug 2006 14:45
came here about 10 times on lunchbreaks while working a the cinema opposite, really pretentious, full of typical Esher snobs and this reflects on the prices, i think i payed about 3.40 for a pint of Stella. Food was really nice tho and the pints top quality. i think a few Chelsea players are regulars here. 7/10
pisshead99 - 21 May 2006 01:53
I must just have struck lucky. It seemed to me like a typical Young's-style pub before they started 'cafe-bar'modernisations - large, rather imposing, slightly impersonal. I was there twice last year, and both times the bar staff were competent and civil, and the beer excellent (Young's Ordinary, no double vodkas,so I can't comment on them). Beautifully cool inside on an oppressively hot day,pleasant outside on a slightly cooler one. Music can be loud, but it's easily avoided. P.S. I was wearing jeans and T-shirt.
earlydrinker - 25 Apr 2006 14:16
Worst Young's house I have ever been used.

Clueless staff offering appalling service, expensive poorly kept beer only slightly redeemed by the fact that the food was a little better then expected.
superowl - 14 Feb 2006 14:02
John Terry of Chelsea and Engerlund infamy was mentioned in recent media dispatches in the same breath as this pub. That in itself is a good enough reason to never come here. This smarmy pub is all about the posturing and futility of overcashed muppet life in Esher. The pub is bland, the beer is not so good, the seating areas seem to be a mix of living rooms, as though some DIY geezer went mad, and the atmosphere is shoking, unless you are a Nokia coming to look for another tweedy Nokia to mate with. The pub gets even worse when Sandown Park racing is in operation, when it feels like it is trying to be a country type pub, and fails dismally. This part of the country is poorly served by quality boozers and you would be best advised to continue in London
City_Womble - 16 Nov 2005 14:29
You go in here if you have to!

You have to re-morgage to buy a drink, and the bar staff are well kinda rude...

to be fair i went in recently and it was better...but i still cant justify those prices!
Nicky_B - 17 Sep 2005 23:34
The Bear, pretty much where someone would go if theyre not quite wealthy enough to buy a round at the Albert Arms. Or are dressed "inappropriately". Not that this means its cheap... 6.80 for a double vodka and coke? I could buy a cheap shirt and get into the Albert for that!!!
Chapman - 17 Sep 2005 23:27
Just bought a copy of the good beer guide 2005 and this pub is in it. How ?? The beer wasn't that good and at the prices it charges you are better of going else where.
Womble - 14 Oct 2004 22:07
I quite like this place - if I feel like a change from the Wheatsheaf and can't be bothered to fight off the Yuppies in the Albert, this is where I come. Its no great shakes but its warm, friendly and in no way pretentious.
Ciarn - 26 Aug 2004 15:57
Far from good. Its quite expensive and the food menu is very limited. Poor atmsophere in general. Best avoided.
Bob - 20 May 2004 12:37
its dull, lifeless, boring and the bar staff are complete idiots who couldnt pour a pint if their life depended on it!!
sarah - 27 Jan 2004 18:46
Bar staff are rude and i got id for a coke and i was drinking coke because i was driving. Aww that made me angry.
Sean - 20 Jan 2004 16:01
I have to agree with many of the other contributors here. I was full of hope when I saw the pub from the outside but couldn't believe they really charge three quid for a Stella. I don't mind paying a little extra when drinking in London - but this is Esher for goodness sake!! The landlord is clearly taking the piss out of the locals and they are fools for putting up with it. Drank up, left and vowed not to return. They are not taking the piss out of me.
Chris - 3 Jan 2004 00:39
I feel violated every time i buy a round, shockingly expensive. combine it with no music, a second rate atmosphere and lots of aussie barmen/women, and there really is no reason to go there.
Scotty Boy - 24 Dec 2003 13:35
This Pub has definately gone down hill. No atmosphere, expensive drinks and a strange Ozzy lad who juggles bottles of beer to show off and complains that its not his turn to get ice!
Steve - 20 Sep 2003 17:06
The comments and the ratings seem to speak for themselves. There are much nicer Young's pubs throughout Southwest London - give them a try for a breath of fresh air. For those of you who have registered complaints about this pub:

write to:

John Young
Wandsworth High Street
SW18 4JD

or telephone
020 8875 7000
lad_newton - 11 Sep 2003 13:25
Not a lovely place. Found nicer on my UK pub tour.
Phil - 16 Jul 2003 15:19
Extremly average. Has a wierd but at the back that looks like a train carriage though. The car park is crap as well. Go to the Albert!!
Mike - 19 Mar 2003 14:53

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