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Carpenters Arms, Harpenden

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user reviews of the Carpenters Arms, Harpenden

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

wonderful display of hanging baskets and tubs and well maintained garden leads you to the friendly staff who serve you well kept if standard range of beers in a very clean and interesting pub.
THUNFAN007 - 3 Jul 2013 10:44
Beer range is not as inspiring as it used to be, Doom Bar, Adnams Best, Timothy Taylor Landlord and Courage Best, most drinkable but the flavours a bit on the bland side.
IMG1975 - 22 Dec 2012 19:38
One of only two places in Harpenden that serves well-kept ale every time. The other is the pub up the hill although they are often a little too cold.
StephenM123 - 5 Nov 2012 18:19
I haven't eaten at the Arms but have always found it a welcoming, relaxing, watering hole, especially on those walks home after a frazzling day at the office. Not a bad pint yet and nice beer patio garden and friendly folk to talk to. My favourite local for some years.
LesP - 30 Mar 2012 15:01
Ate in this pub yesterday lunchtime and had Homemade toad in the hole served with a carrot and turnip mash and vegetables, lovely and great value for £7.50. Also had a pint of Doom Bar which was really good and only £3.40 as a Guest Ale. Would definitely recommend this pub for its beer, food, friendly staff and locals!

Harpendenbitter - 21 Feb 2012 11:27
Tried this pub for the first time. Agree with other users, Beer was cloudy, not nice, and expensive. Had lunch pretty average - and was an effort for staff to serve us. Other pubs in Harpenden a better bet.

lesliespike - 13 Feb 2012 15:16
Tried this pub
lesliespike - 13 Feb 2012 15:12
DONT BOOK THIS place for any buffets as some very good friends of mine booked this place for an engagement party on the 30th but when they went in last week with buffet ideas was told by the manager that his holiday home has a leak and would have to travel out on the 30th to fix it the manager also said he was going to tell james my friend about this but he forgot so didnt tell him even though james only works down the road 2 mins away he didnt even offer another date for them the reason i am writing this is to warn you to think about where you book for your special occasions i wouldnt book this place. Luckily james managed to get another place down the road called the engineer the manager pete was sooo nice even got them a roof for the garden.
Drjohnrobson - 29 Jul 2011 15:42
Recently moved to suburbia and was made to feel extremely welcome. Bar staff efficient and chatty. Good of a summers evening in the garden and about average pricewise. Best pub in Southdown. It can get busy as it's not the biggest but they acknowledge your wait which is always polite.
happierhammer - 8 Jun 2011 17:00
What on earth has happened to the Carpenter's Arms? Made one of my occasional visits recently, tried three different ales, and they were all rank, cloudy and with bits of finings bobbing about. Eugh.
soodly - 1 May 2011 06:25
This is is a nice,pleasant pub in the southdown area of town with plenty of outdoor seating.

However, on my visit the other day i found it a very expensive pub...a pint of abbot and a pint of crouch vale...£6.65....

This is not the west is suburban hertfordshire..
RedRoosterRocker - 11 Oct 2010 03:43
I thought I was a little harsh on this place on my last visit.. after all I had drank some decent pints in the past there so should give it another go. Five ales on but all pretty much an insipide band - Abbot, Adnams, Courage Best, Deuchars and Hooky Dark as the stray. Tried a pint of the Hooky Dark (well you can get the others anywhere can't you) which was kind of okay but not a patch on the same brew served in the Reindeer in Banbury (which ain't in the "book"). It is a quaint kind of 'someone's front room' pub but the range and quality of beer on this visit didn't inspire me enough to up the rating.
anonymous - 31 Jul 2010 00:10
Just to clarify -"the place over the road" used to be a pub the - "George iv" which closed some years ago an is now a private house. The retention of the pub sign was part of the planning consent , if I remember correctly.
MartynG - 26 Apr 2010 12:27
i recall my first visit to this pub and ( like many ) mistaking the Place over the road where someone has a pub sign with respective illumination outside their house. Used to quite like this place, had a good choice of beers and a good toy car collection. Alas, another place gone downhill resting on it's laurels. To start with the service was inadequate for such a busy spell (it being St. George's Day) and then the beer the St George's day offering) was piss poor to be honest. Would have taken it back only didn't want to go through the hassle at the bar again. Wasn't impressed on my last visit here either. No longer worth the trek out from down town Harpenden ( stay in the Cross Keys )
anonymous - 23 Apr 2010 23:05
Having read the previous reviews I was rather disappointed. The ale was average - the Harvey's was particularly poor. My companion, who knows more about these things, suggested that the aroma/ smell was due to unclean pipes from barrel to bar. Rather dull sort of place.
alebarry - 1 Nov 2009 16:04
Quite an attractive pub with a small gated beer garden out front. Friendly staff and customers, willing to have a chat. Four pumps with some changing guests if the clips behind the bar are anything to go by. Probably wouldn’t make a special journey but I suspect it's one of the better pubs in the locality and it was a good place for a beer after missing my bus.

Millay - 4 Oct 2009 09:45
It's a great pub: the one nearest to where I live, but even apart from its nearness I prefer it to all the other pubs in Harpenden (and there is some good competition). It's small, so can get a bit crowded at times, as trainman has pointed out. You just have to put up with a round about walk to get to the bar. I would rather have it crowded than almost empty, like some pubs I have been in during the past few months. If having space to yourself is a problem, then go mid evening (6 to 8 is busy with commuters on the way home; 9 to 11 is busy with people popping out from home; 8 to 9 is often a bit of a lull). The beer is always, always in tip top condition, and the guest ale is usually interesting. Their usual beers are a bit under-hopped for my taste, but that is a personal matter, and the guest beer is usually nice and hoppy. Pay no attention to grilledsardines: I can't think why he had a bad experience, as everyone I know has always found the staff, customers and ambience fine. Our pub in the other direction from where we live, involving a nice country walk, was the Three Horseshoes, so we were dismayed when it closed. However it is now open ... sort of. It's really a restaurant, but will serve drinks in the garden without a meal (I'm not sure about whether you can just have a drink inside). You can have a drink at lunch time and (at weekends anyway) during the afternoon until 5pm, when they stop serving in the garden, because they are getting the restaurant ready for the evening. They don't advertise any of this, and really regard themselves as a restaurant with the pub bit as an afterthought, but for the time being at least, our summer weekend walks in that direction have been reinstated.

rh0000 - 12 May 2009 12:47
I pop in here with my brother-in-law for a pint (or as many as we can get away with) quite often whilst "popping to the shops" and have never had a duff one. Good range of beers and good staff. Price-wise not too bad either. Definitely the best pub in Harpenden in my opinion.
littledrummerboy - 6 May 2009 09:55
Thought I'd give this pub a look in after some of the mixed opinions aired. Beer range tonight was Crouch Vale Brewers Gold, Harveys Best, Greene King Abbot, Adnams Bitter, Courage Best. I had both the Harveys and the Brewers Gold. Both in excellent form. The food that was being served looked good too - a starter plus steak and chips and a starter for £9.95? Pub was busy not surprisingly. I liked it and the staff were friendly and efficient. Locals seemed like a good bunch too.
BeerManiac - 5 May 2009 21:37
Abbot, Youngs Special, courage, Adnams Bitter, oh dear, but thankfully also Harveys Best. Looks very inviting from the outside as you approach and, indeed, enter to a convivial local conversational humm, but WHAT a bad layout! Just 8 people between the door and the bar made it impossible to get near to even view the pumpclips, necessitating a circular approach around a pillar and between seated customers to the left. Admittedly, having finally ordered we did get a table & even upgraded to the larger table in the bay window when it became free (sorry locals, you’ve gotta be quicker than that!). Probably a nice pub when very quiet but, otherwise, rather cramped, and they need to wake up that beer selection. The suggested taxi service was very prompt (early), £4 back to stn.
trainman - 22 Mar 2009 10:27
Whilst nothing to do with the Carpenters, I understand that the "Shoes" has re-opened, but I have no details.

Glad to say that "The Carps" contiues to be an excellent venue
MartynG - 18 Mar 2009 12:54
Does anyone know if the 'Three Horseshoes' in East Common has reopened? Thanks.
IMG1975 - 8 Mar 2009 11:12
A lovely Local pub, which has a great lunch menu... Food on a tuesday evening is great and just wished they did it on other nights!!!!! Friendly people.
Clarey - 17 Nov 2008 15:50
Grilled Sardines - what are your objections? This is a gem of a place. Friendly team and great beer. Maybe you should stay away? Or join the fun. I wouldn't even be sure there were any Camra members there usually ...
Captain_Swing - 29 Sep 2008 12:44
Priceless. The risible frothing below is a reasonable indicator of what you can expect if you visit this pub. That my chutzpah in holding an opinion that differs from those of the landlord's mates has generated such impotent outrage is a joy. I did give this place another go a few days back and I found it as charmless as I had done previously. I would strongly recommend avoidance, there are four other pubs not five minutes walk from The Carpenters. Three are nothing to write home about but each one is preferable.
grilledsardines - 24 Sep 2008 14:09
This is a brilliant pub with great beer and food. Maria and Tony are excellent hosts and bar staff are efficient and friendly with everyone made feel very welcome - a clear customer focus from all concerned - well done Maria and Tony. As for the inane ramblings of "grilledsardines" - utter rubbish!
ght1uk - 13 Aug 2008 13:04
I am a regular user of The Carpenters Arms, and find it one of few left where you can enjoy a pint in friendly, traditional pub atomsphere. Staff are always smiling and happy to help, and the landlord is as welcoming as the smell the of freshly cooked pub food at lunchtimes. The era of Tibble has passed and the pub seems to be going from strength to strength under Tony and Maria. Not sure what grilledsardines is on about,and may have the wrong Carpenters?, but they could not be more wrong about this spectacular example of a proper british pub.

Greek_Man3000 - 11 Aug 2008 19:17
A CAMRA pub! Suddenly everything is as clear as an unmuddied stream. How the air of dissatisfied pomposity didn't flag this to me as the habitat of the ale dullard I'll never know.
grilledsardines - 22 Jun 2008 23:55
Ordering lager in this CAMRA bolthole would almost certainly induce a frosty reception. Quite right too.
Full of ageing ale coinnesseurs, all seem very pleased with the pub & themselves. And good luck to 'em, it's a great little place.
Also good as, pushing 40 myself, this is one of the last places where my girlfriend and I can still go and feel young.
Clive_Pendleton - 19 Jun 2008 13:01
The lager is cold and so is the welcome. Why a misanthrope chooses a career in service industry mystifies me.
grilledsardines - 25 May 2008 00:03
Continues to evolve since the departure of Tibble and now feels even more cosy. The beer remains of good quality and the atmosphere friendly. still well worth a visit.
MartynG - 28 Mar 2008 13:36
Great little pub, great beers, even makes Moe smile occasionally
londonrefugee - 26 Mar 2008 14:58
Couldn't get past the door yesterday lunchtime! The place was CRAMMED with OAPs. So I'll try again some other time.
historyloony - 4 Apr 2007 08:47
if you like going for a beer in a place that smaller than your bathroom then this is the place! ps if you have not been there before expect people to look at you as though they have just found you under there toilet seat. very oldmanish
anonymous - 27 Feb 2007 13:56
This is the best pub in the area. Tibble, previous landlord, was a publican's publican. He won a huge number of awards - and not just for the quality of his beer. Tony has, if anything, enhanced the place. The Welsh and the Scots are very welcome and only paranoid when conversation turns to Rugby or politics. BRAINS and Felinfoel has been seen in the bar. Does Scotland have any real ales south of the border? One problem is that as with all small locals it can get very clicky and we want Andy and Roma to come back.
bobbievee - 11 Oct 2006 22:05
Fantastic... simple as that.
anonymous - 3 Oct 2006 16:36
Just to add my four pennyworth ... I've found the staff in the Carpenters always particularly welcoming and friendly - indeed, exceptionally so. This is a large part of what makes this such a gem of a pub, and a pleasant place to visit.
Captain_Swing - 29 Aug 2006 13:07
Fnntastic pub with great ales and a cracking atmosphere. No music, jukebox, arcade macjines or fruit machines - just an open fire and great conversation. The new landlords Tony & Maria have given this place a real lift and have introduced new outdoor seating and stylish parasols and gazebos. Also during the summer (weather permitting) they are doing a barbecue on a Friday evening - me and my wife had it a few weeks ago and it was superb!. The Carpenters emcompasses everything you could want from a pub and I highly recommend it. Well worth a visit both in the summer and during the winter as they have a lovely open fire.
Reddmist - 18 Jul 2006 11:42
This is a great pub - cosy, welcoming and good beer. The new publican is settled in, and doing a great job, ensuring that this pub continues to be just as good as always. Keep up the good work!
Captain_Swing - 13 Jun 2006 17:51
This is an excellent low-ceilinged intimate country pub affording the visitor from afar a welcome and friendliness second to none. I was very pleasantly surprised when I visited last Friday (14/04/06) with a friend.

Conversation rules here and locals of all ages created a convivial warm atmosphere.

The best-kept beer on Friday was the Archers Dark Mild. Also on H/P were Archers Golden Arrow (4.5%) Adnams and Courage Best.

It is worth the journey out of town to visit.

lad_newton - 18 Apr 2006 11:57
Great little pub, tucked away (a good) 10 minutes walk from the station/the main Harpenden drag - in an area which, though I came to this pub, seems like it may well be good for a pub crawl in its own right.
Very pleasant garden, and a fine pint of Abbot (which is so very easy to get badly wrong).

TPFitzayre - 19 Jul 2005 13:24

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