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Grey Horse, Kingston Upon Thames

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user reviews of the Grey Horse, Kingston Upon Thames

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

Just reopened. The refurb has not done it too much of a disservice - subdued decor, three ales on and another one coming shortly, the atmosphere of a street-corner local. That would be all well and good if you didn't know it was once a classic music pub attracting audiences from far afield. The back room which used to be the main space for bands to play in is now a 'restaurant' (the side area looks like it's going to be the kitchen eventually) and at the end a huge picture of Jimi Hendrix gazes forlornly down as if in memory of what this used to be. I do not know what has happened to the Ram Jam Club that used to be out the back past that big back room. KIngston needs pubs - heaven knows there are fewer of them than there ought to be and fewer than there were just a few years ago (literally half the pubs around the Fairfield area have been lost since the early 2000s). And so I hope this thrives. But it isn't what it was.
rainlight - 14 Nov 2015 19:46
I heard The Grey Horse was closing down, not sure how true this is. I have great affection for this pub as it became my local when I moved to the area in 1993. Had some great times and great music. Newt was the barman back then, he was a music encyclopedia. Sadly the Kingston pub and music scene is gone into the history books.Empty pubs charging over 4 quid a pint. I don't get it.
Puppydog - 21 Oct 2014 15:47
Decent very unpretentious old fashioned just how I like them. Went there last Thurs to see my mates band and catch up with some people that I hadnt seen in a few months of Sundays! ! !

I would recommend this place. The only thing was I must admit the Youngs Special was not on particularly good form. I think that this is not so much a criticism of the pub except the beer was bit warm but more due to the fact that I really am not a big fan of Youngs Beer (except special london ale). Give me Fullers anyday of the week! ! !
BeerGutt - 13 Jul 2011 16:21
First time there, with friends who live local. Don't go to music pubs now, as although I like the music, it is usually played way too loudly for my ageing ears. Would go in again though, when there was no band on, as I felt there was a good atmosphere in the place.
Fullerspubcollector - 1 Jan 2011 12:14
A friendly pub with music going on ALL evening EVERY evening. some great band nights and acoustic jams.

The front bar is relaxing and has a good old fashioned feel to it.

One wonders why it wasn't busier. Mind you I was in there when it opened at 11.30
richierich0672 - 5 Jan 2010 20:20
Unpretentious boozer, in fact you wouldn't really know it was a music pub if you were a casual visitor. Wish there were more music venues like this. Worth going to two or three times a year. Only a very strange person would go here just for drinking though.
Timyellow - 11 Aug 2009 18:24
Please Disregard Previous Comment, Got my pub's mixed up, SORRY :(
fat_beer_badger - 17 Jun 2009 13:30
Very nice pub with a great roof top terrace.The pint of Young's Special was top notch. Only thing to let it down was the miserable foreign barman and the price (6.85 for a red stripe and a youngs special). 6/10
fat_beer_badger - 17 Jun 2009 12:53
I like it. I like the beer - a proper pub in my view. Great music - saw a soul band called Annie-Grace and The Mosos on saturday and they were top notch - worth going just for that; I think she plays again in March. I like music pubs - you kind of know what you are going to get - other people with a mutual interest and in a place that knows what it is.
smudgerclub - 24 Feb 2009 20:16
A cosy Youngs pub with a friendly and lively atmosphere. Not that special but well worth popping in if you are passing by.
Matthew_of_Ham - 19 Feb 2009 15:09
Nothing special really. A bit too left wing for me.
nickthefish - 28 Nov 2008 11:00
Nobody comes here for the beer, to be honest, and in that it's a relief that it does have Young's Ordinary and Special on. A music-driven venue like this would very often have just lager, though I suppose as there is often folk or country music ale might go down better. The music can be excellent however and I have spent many a good night here listening to all kinds of bands. Regular folk / blues slots on Sundays are a piece of the community I would feel hard done by without.
rainlight - 12 Sep 2008 13:43
I must say I was mighty impressed with the selection of youngs on offer, however a cask of speckled hen wouldn't go amiss. The barmen and women were incredibly welcoming, even giving us some outside worthy glasses in which to carry our winter warmers, very hospitable indeed. Shall be returning soon, especially is harry and the hendersons play again. highly recommeneded, but maybe bring your own sound man if you do intend to play.
hughbertesq - 18 Feb 2008 19:14
great music last night, especially from harry and the hendersons, who are the next big thing. good pub, friendly staff, who kindly went beyond beyond the call of duty to provide plastic cups, when we left, to allow us to finish our winter warmers after closing time. maybe you should rebook harry and the hendersons soon! a pleasant selection of ales, although the guiness was a little iffy.
chubtank - 15 Feb 2008 10:10
Is your dad Bob Marley? Or perhaps the cartoon pissed student? We really can't be arsed to guess, perhaps because we don't care.
anonymous - 18 Nov 2007 11:07
A rather austere pub near the station. There are bare wooden floorboards and basic seating.It is a regular venue for live music but not while I was there. It is doesn't appear to sell food of any kind but it had several cask ales on the bar. I drank their Youngs Special bitter. The pub was very quiet when I was in there, mid Friday afternoon and the solitary bar person looked very bored. Apart from the music, I would only recommend it for a quick pint.
boozers_knows - 7 Jul 2007 16:35
Probably the best music pub in S/W London, top beer, excellent managers/staff, brilliant bands, nuff said
Chinners - 13 Mar 2007 12:33
This is what pubs should be like. I'm not a regular by a long chalk (perhaps once a year) but each time I go here I am made to feel welcome by the staff and the locals.

The beer is good but the fact that the pub has always good live music makes it extra special for me.
BongoJoe - 13 Jan 2007 17:22
Any pub in the area that keeps the candle burning for Blues and live music should have a preservation order slapped on it.
In a world-order dominated by the synthetic pap of the Simon Cowell industry, thank Christ for Grey Horse regulars like Stevie Simpson, Willy Finlayson, Robin Bibi.
For old gits like me who cherish the heady days of the London pub-band scene, pubs like the Grey are a national treasure. Oh, and the beer is pretty decent too!
norbitonpaul - 28 Dec 2006 10:29
I think that the Jam nights are always good fun, granted it can be hit and miss, but if you socialise at the same time you are likely to meet some of the most fun, interesting and knowledgable people. Just because a person isn't too hot as a musician, their knowledge and passion of the music that they play is far superior than most people I know
bluesboy - 7 Dec 2006 13:53
Remember keep music live. Good Guinness as well.
Ziggy66 - 2 Aug 2006 21:52
had one of my bands (hobo exile hotel) play at this venue and was plesently supprised. ok the sound guy turned up late as we were asked to be there for 6:30 and he showed at around 7pm but it was a good evening. Never had they played before to a crowd sitting down at tables but thought it was awesome. A good venue. I only had a 1 bottle as I was driving so cant really comment on the beer etc but the place was friendly and will be back ;-)
woodster66 - 8 Apr 2006 01:26
The pub itself is good with pleasent and good beer. As the pub prides itself as being a live music venue I was shocked to see their jam night, described perfectly below by DJjohn and an anonymous entry. The live acts I have seen here have also been a let down, being cleched and unoriginal. They should try and improve things by looking at other venues in the area such as the Peel and the Fighting Cocks and try to get more original artists such as Dointime, Ste (AMS) and John Ozric. If you are not after original music and just want a nice beer with some well played background music this is the place for you.
twinky - 24 Feb 2006 13:49
I came on specifically to add a comment about the jam but I can hardly add anything to what Dr John said below. Totally spot on.

I wrote a long diatribe here but have decided to scrub it. If you want to listen to an incredibly varied bunch of people playing exactly the same thing in turn for 3 hours, most of them not very well, come here. The objective is get to the the solos as quickly as possible then go as long as you can get away with. If you can possibly look as un-rock'n'roll as possible that will help. Unless you're over 45 in which case try to look rock'n'roll circa 1974. Sadly I had to leave early - BBC News 24 was coming on.

Have fun.

PS I would say too that beer is great and so are staff. x
anonymous - 30 Nov 2005 01:10
Not sure about the new barman Ross ;)

....great pub if you like your music...entertainment every night...and the bar area is nice for some banter with your mates!
Nicky_B - 17 Sep 2005 23:47
I went to the Tuesday night jam session for the first time last night to check it out. There are indeed some talented people there, but my 2 hours with them were a misery. The way it works is the resident 3 piece band play 3 introduction numbers. People wishing to play must put their name on list with their instrument, then musicians are selected from the list roughly in order they were added. First of all, its only guitarists (including bass guitarists) and drummers. I am sure they do get other instuments, but from what I heard, this seems a rarity. The guitarists may or may not add a vocal. One member of the randomised band then seems to take "control", which mostly means just bashing out non-stop blues scales as fast as possible over a blues chord sequence held up by the bass player. Don't get me wrong, there were some very good musicians there, but there was no depth or finesse to anything I heard. I'd rather have heard a beginner attempting something original. It may be the format that is to blame, because sure as hell, as an intermediate saxophonist, I don't have the skill to play just anything that happens to be good for a guitarist. I just got the impression that most (not all) of them were there to prove something rather than enjoy the session and play something original. There were one or two less fatiguing tunes, but basically, after 2 hours, I gave in and came home. Its good that the Grey Horse hosts this regular event, and I don't dispute it is popular with the audience. I just found it superficial, a bit intimidating and a wasted opportunity for some creative improvisation. Sorry.
DrJohn - 6 Jul 2005 16:09
If you're not into live music, I wouldn't bother with this pub.
JohnBonser - 23 May 2005 16:44
Only been on a Tuesday night which is generally a jam session. It's very good entertainment with some very talented people, and it's free on a Tuesday night!
Tends to be a lack of seats and I ended up standing next to a very hot radiator and nearly fainting!
Elaine - 5 Mar 2004 15:39
Interesting pub. Quite frank, but mainly its full of young ones. Unlike myself. I've found the best night to get beer without fuss and shouting is a tuesday.

If only Auther knew...
Marvin. - 15 Jan 2004 18:53
35ml measures, daily live music, good comedy club, pretty much got it all. Not the sort of place i'd go all the time, but definitely worth a random stop in on a Friday or Saturday for the bands.
Scotty Boy - 14 Jan 2004 09:29
Awesome venue for live music
Tom - 7 Nov 2003 17:34
Great live music venue. Especially enjoyed last weekends gig with the Button Mushrooms. What a fab band
Kylie - 13 Oct 2003 15:52
This pub is great every day of the week. I've been there every night, and they are all as good as each other!! Thursdays are my fav, new bands that want to play for the music, not everything else that comes with it ;-)
Dani - 11 Sep 2003 14:42
A refreshingly entertaining pub - with perhaps the most exsquisite bar staff south of the river and music to watch people to.
Babs - 18 Aug 2003 16:22
Great Place!
Go see the Poppy Seeds on the 5th of June!

P. Seed - richard@thepoppyseeds.com - 22 May 2003 15:35
Really enjoy the genral atmosphere in this place. Checked out Six days till sunday there last night. They're going places
James - ilovesparrowfarm@hotmail.com - 9 May 2003 18:11
Great venue, worth going on the 5th of June to see The Wild Bears play live!
Richard Sagman - 8 Apr 2003 17:59
The music is great. With a a good selection of Pub bands. The pub itself is not great though.
Mike - 19 Mar 2003 13:31
Love the live music, especially that new band SEED.Great venue,great atmosphere...
Phil Marcombe - philsearch@hotmail.com - 21 Feb 2003 12:12
Great live music venue & best Guinness in Kingston!!!
P Bullen - 3 Sep 2002 17:53
A great pub for music although the live room is quite small. Acoustic nights on Wednesdays are excellent, but there is usually a variety of live music played there. The beer is also cheap on Wedsnesdays.
Z - 27 Jul 2002 20:58
Great for live bands and music. As a pub its not much, only go there for the music, in particular the fantastic Jimi Hendrix tribute band!
Thurstan - 18 Apr 2002 15:31

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