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Zetland Arms, South Kensington

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user reviews of the Zetland Arms, South Kensington

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

Stumbled upon this pub with some friends on a Thursday evening, having just left the Science Museum. Left about 6 hours later, worse for wear, having had a great evening there. Lively atmosphere, and a nice mix of posh locals and tourists. And a good old-fashioned boozer that hasn't tried to turn itself into a restaurant like so many others.
Rogermant36 - 15 Oct 2016 13:24
Avoid this pub if you have a baby or young child and want to have their bottle or baby-food heated. Staff refused citing health and safety. Mercifully most sensible independent establishments in our part of south-west London don't bat an eyelid and immediately put your tupperware or baby food jar in the microwave for 30 secs. Not singling out Taylor Walker though, many chain pubs take this view, that's why I avoid them, didn't have another option on this occasion...
guy1973 - 26 Apr 2015 18:32
Pretty indifferent boozer in south ken. Decent pint of rev james but relatively surly barmaids. Not much else in the area though.
TommyRogers1979 - 9 Nov 2013 23:07
Used to be a good pub but the standards have dropped in the last few years.
perfect_spy - 17 Sep 2013 13:02
A Taylor Walker pub so you know what to expect. Quite often overrun by tourists. Does seem to have improved since the last lot of comments but at the end of the day its just another anonymous pub in the centre of London.
WaitorseBoyz - 15 Aug 2013 14:29
Bizarrely this poorly written staff notice was behind the bar on full display to customers in the Zetland last night:

"We are having a meeting on Tuesday morning due to your repeatedly (sic) failure with guest (sic) journey. I expect everyone to come including kitchen team as well. No excuses."

The current bar staff in the Zetland work very hard and are always polite to customers. Their "repeatedly failure" stems from a complete lack of leadership from the pub's management.

The General Manager is invisible during the evenings (probably because she works during the daytime and is involved behind the scenes on some evenings).

I work in the retail sector and during our intensive customer service training, we were taught that the Customer is King or Queen and that you must put the customer first and give them you undivided attention.

One very good example of the Zetland's "repeatedly failure" is the "prime time curfew" at 10pm. Just as the pub is usually getting busier two team members stop serving customers (no matter how busy it is) leaving just one or two bar staff struggling to serve the growing queues of thirsty customers, who have just arrived from the Albert Hall.

The absent team members are re-stocking and cleaning, which in other pubs is done during a quiet period or when the pub has closed. It's embarrassing to see customers snubbed and told "Sorry, I'm not serving" by staff who have been instructed to put cleaning and re-stocking before customers.

It is the only pub in London where the long beer mats/cloths and trays on the bar are removed two hours before the pub has closed, so that they can be washed alongside glasses in the machine. This leaves the bar in a complete mess, as drinks are spilt and it also gives the impression that the pub in not open for business.

The staff have great potential and warm personalities, but they desperately need strong leadership to inspire them and to stress the importance of excellent customer service. That will help avoid "repeatedly failure" in the future and ensure that the "guest journey" is a pleasant one.
Natasha_P - 16 Dec 2012 14:41
Pretentious customers on our visit. Kind of a throwback to the yuppy brigade era and ok ya types. Staff not exactly hospitable either. Won't be back soon at all.
ng10 - 24 Jun 2012 10:02
What a fiasco on Easter Saturday night! (7 April). At 10.30pm the atmosphere was great. The pub was about half full. Everyone was relaxing, enjoying the Easter weekend and looking forward to an unhurried, convivial last few drinks to round off an excellent evening until the Zetland would as usual at midnight.

As a steady flow of regulars and tourists started to arrive, so the lively and friendly ambience continued to grow. Then at 10.45pm, like a bolt out of the blue, with no warning, an agressive short East European barmaid started to slam the bell so hard we thought it was going to fall off the wall. What on earth was going on? Was there a fire? Had a nuclear bomb gone off? Was it free Easter drinks?

No, this was a call (although they never shout 'Last Orders') for Last Orders - but the call was exactly one hour and five minutes early, as this pub is the only one in London to call time at 15 minutes to the hour, instead of the normal 10 minutes to the hour. But why was this fantastic customer experience being killed off one hour early - with no advance warning - when the pub was populated with numerous customer and more were constantly arriving? There was no logical answer. And bar staff were not prepared to speculate or even offer a half-logical answer.

One regular customer asked the Duty Manager to tell him who had made the bizarre decision. The Duty Manager answered sarcastically that it was God who made the decision. A somewhat crass answer and potentially offensive to any Christians gathered to celebrate Easter, after participating in the Easter Vigil in nearby Brompton Oratory.

The pleasant ambiance had been killed, as soon as the bespectacled barmaid had slammed the bell. A group of regular customers who had just arrived were astounded and felt badly let down. The bunches of tourists who'd just entered for a couple of drinks after dinner or a show were equally perplexed. They didn't know what to do or where to go.

So what did the helpful Zetland crew advise them to do? Well they completely ignored the guests, as they were too busy cleaning, desperate to be out of the pub as quickly as possible. Instead it was several regular customers who apologised to the tourists for their unhappy experience and gave them directions to alternative pubs and bars in the area.

The final straw and dramatic finale came when the aggressive Eastern European bell slammer harrassed a middle-aged couple, who were tourists, forcing them to leave their drinks and get out of the pub. The couple understandably told her "You are so rude". Miss Europe surprinsingly retaliated "No, you're the ones who so rude!". The other barstaff hung their heads in shame and embarrassment.

It was just a normal night in the Zetland. Britain's rudest pub! And still no representative of the Zetland has been abe to offer any explanation for the early closing, which ruined Easter for so many peaceful, law-abiding, paying customers.


Natasha_P - 12 Apr 2012 17:34
Boring but tasteful decor and comfortable chesterfield corner seating marred by overpriced drinks even by the standards of the area. Decent real ales though but watch out for stingy measures poured by inexperienced barmaids. Average.
Richard_ReadingFC - 13 Feb 2012 14:04
Turned out this pub was a pleasant surprise. I remember it as a dirty little boozer where it took an age to get served but it is smarter and cleaner and the bar staff most of whom seemed to speak English as a first language were fast and efficient. The ales were good and the fish and chips were excellent. It is a couple of years since I worked in Sth Ken but the Zetland is 100% better than it was.
kfloyd - 12 Aug 2011 17:35
This is the kind of pub you wander into by accident. Awful staff who seem baffled by simple requests and you never recognise a face when you wander in.

So many better gaffs, why bother?
HRHMICKEY - 27 Feb 2011 15:24
I was in the South Ken area and fancied a pub lunch. Externally the Zetland Arms looked inviting and having put my head through the door I could see a wide mix of clientele, from builders to business suits to tourists. It was noisy, lively and bustling - this I mistakenly took for a good sign as why would all these people be in the pub if it wasn't good. I can only Imagine that the customers I saw were a transient bunch who like myself were just passing through South Ken as I discovered no-one would use the pub as a regular after my food experience.
I ordered a plain steak sandwich on white bread leaving out the tomato and chutney that came with it on the menu - the barman stared at the till looking to see how he might overcome the options printed on the computerised till to omit the chutney and toms. Eventually I ordered, paid and sat down with my pint of Guinness and awaited with expectation for the sandwich to arrive. Twenty minutes later the sandwich arrived - it had the tomato and chutney with it that I did not want. I pressed on removing the chutney and tomato but discovered when I opened the second half of the sandwich that it contained the smallest piece of steak you could imagine without it being just bread and butter. I politely complained at the bar and was ordered a replacement sandwich and was promised a steak sandwich with onions. Twenty minutes later after much harrying my sandwich arrived. It came with chutney and tomato but worse still it came on brown whole grain bread. It took me nearly an hour to reach this point at which I got a refund; of course this did not compensate for a ruined lunch and rubbish experience. There seemed to be plenty of focus on taking money at the bar but little care what happened after that. I can see from the ratings this pub has (if only I'd read them before using it) that this is a poor pub with poor management who don't seem to care about repeat business but rely on a passing trade of mostly one timers.
papaspec - 24 Dec 2010 18:48
Situated close to South Kensington Tube Station on a busy main road is The Zetland Arms, an attractive looking largish street corner pub.

An information board in one of the doorways tells us that the pub dates back to 1845 and is the oldest building left on the street. In 1880 it was run by Sid Chaplin, the brother of Charles Chaplin. The pub gains its name from the Danish influence of the population in the area at the time.

It's a former Greene King pub, but recently became part of the Punch Taverns empire. The pub retains a fine curved mahogany bar and some etched glass has been retained and repositioned on a wall in the large room at the side of the bar, hinting as a certain lost grandeur, but there's an inevitable chain pub feel to the place, as might be expected from a Punch Taverns outlet with a seemingly clear emphasis on feeding the passing hordes of tourists visiting the nearby museums. Inept black shirted foreign bar staff and a transient clientele contributed to what is, all too often unfortunately, a fairly typical London pub experience nowadays.

Of particular note was, from memory, my first 2010 sighting of a blackboard with the message urging me to "Book Now for Christmas". There's an upstairs function room.
Several relatively unobtrusive TV screens were showing the motor racing. Posters in the gents toilets advertised live football from both La Liga and Serie A, perhaps indicative of the customer base.

3 beers were on - St Austell Tribute, Pride and Youngs London Gold. A 4th pump had a TT Landlord pump clip reversed. On my recent Sunday lunchtime visit, my pint of Tribute was served a good inch short, even after the frothy head had subsided and, despite giving the young barmaid ( Spanish, I suspect ) more than ample opportunity to rectify the short measure, I had to specifically request a top up. This elicited a rather suspicious look in response. I told her that the Weights and Measures people might decide to call in sometime, but I don't think she understood where I was coming from. My conversational Spanish isn't what it used to be, so I had to make do with giving her my best sourpuss look..

I've written to Punch Taverns about my experience suggesting that they might want to provide some training pretty pronto - let's see what they say. Ironically, the Tribute - £ 3.32p - tasted really good, although being served short measure always leaves a nasty taste in the mouth as far as I'm concerned.

Previous reviews here are not exactly glowing and I'm not putting this one down for a revisit.


JohnBonser - 21 Jul 2010 14:14
Last night (Friday) at 10.15pm, just one guy was serving behind the bar, as a queue of thirsty customers steadily built up around the bar. The barman worked very quickly, but he was on his own. Where were the other team members? Two other barmen on duty were either on their break or in the cellar. The fourth team member, a Spanish barmaid, was behind the bar - but when customers politely asked her if she was serving, she sharply rebuked that putting clean glasses back on the shelf took priority over serving customers! Some customers walked out! Others shrugged their shoulders as they are regular customers and stoically accept the rude attitude of most barstaff in the Zetland. Eventually, like a convoy of buses, the two absent barmen returned and the Spanish girl was suddenly available to serve - and where were all the customers? It's a shame that the duty manager was too busy cashing up in the office to see this performance.

The Zetland is becoming as notorious as the Coach and Horses in Soho once was, when Jeffrey Barnard drank there and Norman was the rude landlord. Customers would go there for the novelty of being insulted. There is a high turnover of staff in the Zetland, compared with neighbouring pubs in the same company. The staff don't appear to be happy and clearly don't enjoy their work - they often speak to each other in the own languages or stand in a huddle behind the bar preferring an impromtu team meeting to serving customers. In neighbouring pubs, there is a low turnover of staff, customers are treated like royalty, staff build up good relationships/friendships with regular customers - and there is a great atmosphere.

I can't work out what's going wrong at the Zetland, it's a good sized pub, it's in a fantastic location, it has TV screens showing the sport, it plays good background music, the beer is OK - why are the staff so poor? It may have something to do with leadership. Are they inspired and enthused by their manager? Are they trained in customer service and communication? Are they encouraged to achieve targets and work hard as a team? Perhaps I should change career go into pub management. Punch Taverns, do you have any vacancies? I suspect you may be recruiting a new manager at the Zetland very soon!

I won't give an appraisal of all team members at the Zetland, but special mention must go to the Spanish "clown", who loves to juggle with glasses and bottles. It inevitably leads to lots of breakages, as if he was a juggler he would be in a circus.
andrew2006 - 26 Jun 2010 18:12
Heavily average Greene King pub (I think) a stone's throw from South Kensington tube. Tribute, London Pride and GK Suffok Ale (?) on cask and Tribute was in ok condition. Nothing really to raise this pub above the average; it filled up when the football started and lots of people including my mate and I were eating. I recovered a Spanish bloke's phone halfway through the evening when he left it on our table and, somewhat disappointingly, he didn't buy me a pint. South Ken is not an area I know well but there are probably better pubs in the vicinity
ChrisP87 - 25 Mar 2010 08:59
Sad to report I had my HANDBAG STOLEN from this pub last night at 7pm. BEWARE of thieves operating brazenly in this brightly lit but crowded pub mid week.
rsw28 - 18 Feb 2010 05:37
Very disappointed. A pub bearing the cask marque, and all its ales were off apart from the London Pride which was duly ordered. It arrived very cloudy and clearly the bottom of the barrel; was offered something else (no apology though) and then asked for the price difference which although they're entitled to do, seems poor customer service. Reading other comments it seems that it's not the first time that all their ales are off. Service overall was not great, but the food was ok.

In summary if you're after a pint of decent beer, probably not this place.
MrSniff - 23 Jan 2010 20:46
Not the best pub. The ale was in an acceptable condition but that's the only thing I can say in its favour, and I've had far better anyway. Poor service from a rude barman as soon as we entered didn't help and things didn't get any better. Had to stay for a few drinks as I was meeting someone there but I'd avoid going there again.
t_y - 17 Sep 2009 12:49
Well my visit was like a comedy show. I ordered and paid for a salmon sandwich. Two mins later was told no salmon, I change it to chicken and bacon, I wasn't offereed a refund on the 80p difference. A ham sandwich arrived, I complained, 5 mins later another ham sandwich arrived. I complained, but said I would eat this as I was in a hurry. 5 mins later a sandwich arrived. I took this thinking it was the chicken and bacon, but no it was ham again. By this time the cook and 2 members of staff were having a right ding dong by the bar and were looking at me all the time. I felt so uncomfortable. Then guess what, another sandwich arrived, I don't jknow what it was I just said take it away from me. I quickly finish my sandwich and left. Never again.
wendylittlecot - 16 Sep 2009 19:50
Framescourer: "Hello - are you showing the cricket?"
Landlady: "That's it, isn't it?" [points at football manager giving press conference]
F: "Er, no, that's the news."
L: [fiddles with the channels until the cricket's showing] "Now, what can I get you?"
F: Cranberry & soda please [... I'm going on to work. Sees Landlady pouring pomegranate juice into glass]. Um... is that cranberry juice?
L: Oh. [Puts the glass aside. Finds a carton of cranberry juice and carries on]. Is that all?
F: Yes, thanks. [hands over a fiver, receives £1.40 change] Mmm, how much was that drink?
L: £3.60.
F: *gawp*

So, there you have it.
Don't care what's on TV, despite what they advertise to get you in the door.
Don't care what's in a drink, as long as it's roughly the right colour.
Conspicuously pricey, even for this part of London.

And all because the Hoop & Toy was shut. South Ken pub FAIL.
Framescourer - 21 Aug 2009 18:57
I'm puzzled by some of the comments about the Zetland, as I think it's a cracking pub. Great friendly and hard-working bar staff, and some eccentric regulars, who add to the charm of the place. Is little Spencer really the owner? Or just a reject from Diff'rent Strokes?

It's just a good, local pub, with no frills. Excellent music and 2 TV screens always showing sport.

Many of the staff are Italian, with a few French and Colombians. Claire is one of the best barmaids, but she lets herself down by constantly chewing gum when on duty. Emanuela's understanding and speaking of English seems to be improving. Cynthia is always full of energy and enthusiam with a smile on her face. Ethel is cheerful and efficient. The other tiny Colombian girl needs a little training to learn how to pour a pint that isn't always flat.

Keep up the good work!
andrew2006 - 14 Jun 2009 22:36
I have never been compelled to write a review of a pub before, but then I had never been to the zetlands arms before either.
Relatively standard pub in terms of atmosphere, quality of beer etc; however I cannot remember being having such a poor or insulting ‘cook’ inflicted on me in a pub before.
I ordered a rare steak, half an hour later a steak so well done it was grey was served; a cut into it and realized it was very well done and then cut it in half to see if it was over cooked throughout, it was. I took the steak back and explained the situation, staff agreed to sort it out; about half an hour later the exact same steak was brought back –still cut in half and now cooked even more with the same now very soggy chips and condiments on the side. By this point I was quite hungry and angry, got a refund straight away and asked to speak to the manager, he made a half arsed attempt to blame me for the steak being over done before eventually apologising. I cannot understand how whoever was managing the kitchen thought that re-serving and further cooking of a steak that was already over cooked could possibly resolve the situation; I assume they must have hated me.
There is really good charcoal pit kebab shop 100 yards down the road.....

toby2009 - 11 Jun 2009 12:53
Possibly the worst pub I have ever been to, me and my Husband went there for Sunday Lunch and what turned up was an absolute insult. 2 miniscule bits of deep fried potato, carrots that looked like they had come out of the bin and gravy that was basically jusy congealed skin. Horrific. Thankfully we didn't have to kick up too much of a stink to get a refund, the poor bar staff looked embarrassed serving it up. AVOID AT ALL COSTS!
cherubkin - 2 Jun 2009 11:10
Went in here the other day in search of something to eat before heading to the Albert Hall. First impressions were relatively clean but noisy with both music and televisions blaring away. I ordered a pint of Adnams East Green and got something resembling a muddy puddle which gradually 'half' settled to reveal around an inch of sediment at the bottom of the glass... Had the 'large' fish and chips which turned out to be anything but, would hate to see what their 'regular' portions are like!!! My mate ordered a chicken burger with bacon and cheese and got a beefburger instead, and all this for rather inflated prices... don't think I'll be going back in a hurry... walk a little further and visit the Anglesea Arms instead.
amosbriz - 9 May 2009 14:42
Don't really understand why the rating (currently 4.2) is as low as it is. A traditional, if unspectacular, pub with a nice old island bar and some features of interest such as the engraved mirrors at the back. Four real ales on: London Pride, Bombardier, Old Speckled Hen and an OK pint of Adnams East Green (well-enough kept, but I've never had one that has tasted anything more interesting than inoffensively bland).
rpadam - 6 May 2009 22:20
We love this place. Right next to the tube and some Great Hotels.
TeamCanadaGoalie - 17 Mar 2009 03:41
Went there on a sunday afternoon. Only a beer and crisps.
Beer choice was not very good. Local itself a strange mixture of traditional style and more modern furniture and fixtures (TV set with sports going on).

All in all a pleasant atmosphere, though.

Toilets were clean, but not really nice.

I would come back there, particularly to check on the food.
ebenezerscrooge - 27 Jan 2009 23:06
Been here a couple of times for post-proms beer before getting on the tube. It should be a great pub in a great location, but the interior's looking tired and the beers are uninspiring.

Last occasion this summer I waited for a while to get served but the staff didn't seem to care about anything much, especially not serving quickly or noting who'd been waiting a while. Gave up and walked out and I don't think I'll bother going back any more.

Avoid.
jonnymusic - 2 Jan 2009 17:43
One of the few traditional style pubs left in the area. Dating from 1845, the sign outside claims that Charlie Chapin’s brother was once the landlord here but I’m not sure he would find much to laugh about here these days. A rather busy, bustling, noisy pub with faceless, impersonal staff and an uninspiring range of beers; Green King IPA, London Pride, Abbott and one redundant pump that was supposed to have had a guest beer. The interior does hint that once it may have been a typically grand Victorian pub with etched windows and fancy mirrors but little survives. The area around the island bar can get quite packed but it does open up to the rear. 2 plasma screens but not much in the way of general décor and to be honest, only the fact that there is little decent competition makes it worth a visit.
RogerB - 27 Nov 2008 12:54
For a pub in South Kensington I can't believe this place is still in business. It must rely on non returning trade, as everything about this place was sub standard.

Firstly fix the front door as its now November and a 1 foot gap when the door won't close makes a cold and draughty pub!! Secondly we made the mistake of ordering food, 2 of us ordered and were told it would take 30 mins ans 45 mins for food respectively. We were watching the football so not too worried. Well they got the orders wrong, the staff didn't much care even though it was only bread and butter we needed, the time ti took to rectify meant the chips were near cold so the hoped for chip buttie, almost impossible to muck up you'd think!, was not so enjoyable. Then after 45 mins a burger arrived and a jacket potato. Both pretty limp and apologetic. Then 1/2 hr later the last order...another jacket potato arrived. So it took 1hr 15 mins to get 4 meals and a bowl of soup out, we all pretty much ate separately and the food was pretty depressing. Finally, 2 of our group got bored waiting and wandered off to use the IT Box quix machine, which had a broken touch screen that failed to allow you to press the right answer...it still accepted the money before hand though. Leaving you feeling a little cheated and all the poorer for it. Which pretty much sums up the whole place. And for heavens sake can the staff please cheer up, it might not be there fault the foods rubbish, the door won't shut and the quiz machine steals your money but they could at least be nice nice and try, or at least point you down the road to a better pub!!!
acton01 - 24 Nov 2008 21:13
I like this pub.
Been here on several occassions.
On this one occassion (Friday 3rd October 2008) I decided to have the Fish and Chips. I got food poisoning.

3 hours later I couldn't walk. Now 3 days later I have not been able to eat a thing and have lost 10kgs of body weight since eatting the fish and chips.

Hopefully I'll be better for work tomorrow.

Still like this pub though but probably stick to the beer from now on.
k1w1brad - 5 Oct 2008 13:42
This potentially could be an excellent pub. Good range of European beers on tap, but the staff are just going through the motions and the loos! My God! They should give you a complimentary cholera vaccination with every visit.
Hammer6 - 11 Aug 2008 17:50
This should be a brilliant pub. it looks fantastic. It's very comfortable. The drinks are very good, London Pride lovely on my visit. But completely let down by staff who just do not want to be there. Rude, slow inefficient service, would be so easy to sort out. 6 I think.
gchadwick - 31 Jul 2008 13:24
Thanks extraordinary for your amazing insight! I have been to Belgium several times to enjoy the beer there, but as far as I am concerned there is nothing stopping landlords here serving the same product up to the same quality. Lots of pubs can manage it, why can't this one?

Do you need to go to Ireland to get a decent pint of Guinness? Or to China to get decent roast duck?
gatomalo - 24 Jul 2008 10:22
A good pint of Guinness but rather spoiled by two things; Gentlemen's lavatories which smell like a public convenience. (Sympathies with the landlord as it must be an almost impossible task to maintain a decent standard considering the amount of 'filtered' ale that passes through there!)
Secondly, the volume of the 'background' music.Is it really for the staff or the customers? Played at such a level that conversation within is nigh on impossible; believe me we, and most other customers resort to terse shouted conversations just to gain acknowledgement from friends less than a yard away.
Requests to 'turn the gramaphone lower' are met with comments like, "I'm not sure if I'll be allowed to". Is there some deep feeling amonng licencees which links sound volume with speed and quanity of drink consumed?
Anyway, rant completed, not an unpleasant visit.
almost_an_old_git - 11 Jun 2008 15:24
I've been to this pub several times since working aroubnd the area. Why is it so impossible to try and use the toilets here without having to put on waders and take your own loo paper? Other than this, it's just a typical old boozer, don't expect too.
chuppachup - 1 Apr 2008 21:13
Don't try and eat here. You wont get your food. (This is my experience anyway).

To explain further... I went to the Zetland Arms on Sunday to eat before going to the Albert Hall and the food didn't arrive. Not altogether unusual, you might think, but what is unusual is what came next...

After an hour I complained (calmly) and the waitress said that she would find out what where my food had gone. She dissapeared. I then asked someone else, again, calmly, who said simply that they had "forgotton". I said I was going and as we left.

I thought I'd inform the manager of the experience. The Femail manager said that it was not their fault; they don't speak very good English. She offered no apology, and her manner was very rude. I have to admit, I lost my rag a little at this point. I explained to her that her customer service was very poor and they should employ people (who had to converse with the public) who could speak English ! At this point she looked at me like I was mad, so I gave up and left.

So, the moral of the story. If you go to this pub wanting food and if the staff forget your order or don't understand you, then it's your own fault. Learn Polish !
Matt2 - 17 Mar 2008 11:35
The Zetland is the good old regular of Sth Ken - many's the time I've popped in at the end of a hot summer day, or to watch some sport. Rather use the 'back' gloomier area of the bar than the brighter front part which gets busy with food orders.
Usually busy, pretty good staff as a rule and you can stand outside and use the ledge for your pint and watch the South Ken' life go by.
Not exceptional, just thorough. And in a good spot amid all the French shops and cafes of Bute St., the Post Office and Land Rover dealer opposite, and the hustle of Old Brompton Rd of an early evening. London life.
gonetolunch - 4 Mar 2008 18:39
Oh, just read the Hoegarden comment and laughed. Want decent foreign lager? Go to Belgium.
extraordinary - 25 Jan 2008 13:00
A schizophrenic selection of reviews so far...

I visit this pub regularly so all my comments are from are number of nights. The fact they show the football is probably the main reason i come here, so many pubs round this area don't.

Ales on tap - i'd say these are working 70% of the time - i've got a dodgy pint on a single occasion but the bar staff happily replaced it.

I haven't noticed any dodgy smells apart from my own although i wouldn't say it's the prettiest interior, all the furnishing are 'well used' to say the least.

I've never had food here so can't comment. Bar staff sometimes encounter difficulty pouring Guinness so i can imagine food may be a skill step too far.

Meet someone for a quick pint out of the tube but if you fancy a sparkling evening in South Ken there are better (posher) pubs such as the Admiral Codrington.
extraordinary - 25 Jan 2008 12:58
Correction: Friday 7th December, not November (see below)
gatomalo - 11 Dec 2007 14:54
I visited The Zetland Arms on the evening of Friday 7th November.

The pub was busy with standing room only at the bar. They stock four ales, three of which unfortunately were off - only the Young's was on. I eventually ordered a Hoegaarden, and the bemused face of the barlady indicated the horrors to come. At first she had absolutely no idea what I was asking for, and I had to say the word "Hoegaarden" three times and then point to the tap.

I then turned to speak to my friend and some twenty seconds later I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the barlady was pouring my Hoegaarden into a standard English pint glass. "Noooooo!!" I yelped, "...that's not the right glass!"

She looked confused and told me there were no other glasses. I therefore pointed to the Hoedaargen glasses piled high on the side, and she then poured my Hoegaarden clumsily from the English pint glass into the Hoegaarden glass.

Then another barlady who oversaw the whole episode (and who I presumed to be the licensee or manageress) asked if it really made the pint any worse if it was in the wrong glass. I laughed somewhat sarcastically as her comment merely showed her ignorance towards the products she was selling.

The bottom line landlords and landladies, is that if you stock speciality beers (and let's face it, Hoegaarden is hardly rare in London nowadays), please make sure you teach your staff about how to serve them correctly.

On a different subject, Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn was drinking in the bar with a group of friends. He is a very tall man and was enjoying a few pints of Staropramen, in case you're interested.
gatomalo - 11 Dec 2007 14:52
Went to the Zetland Arms about 2 years ago to watch a England football game. The atmosphere was good and I had a great time. I was in the area last Sunday and popped in along with some friends hoping to enjoy some nice home cooked food and a pint.
Food was terrible. Service was terrible. The staff were terrible. When we finally got our meals half of them were cold & practically uneatable. Plus one of the meals didn't turn up at all. On informing a member of staff she pratically accussed us of lying. When there are 10 of us eating why would we want to steal a meal! Pub has big potantial but is one to avoid at teh moment.
hedgehog77 - 4 Dec 2007 17:09
Undoubtedly the worst food we've ever been served up in a pub. Diabolical 'micro waved' re-heated beef roast. Liberty takers. Avoid at all costs.
FrankWhisky - 21 Nov 2007 06:46
Had a very different experience from many of the other reviewers. All real ales were available, the pub had no bad smells, and the service was quick. Did I hit it on a good night or have they been listening to this group?
Mr.Matt - 19 Nov 2007 02:43
well i haven't been there for some time and i dont intend to as well, it's been interesting reading some of the reviews on this pub i must say none of the post's suprise me at all..the pub sucks the people who frequent this place on regular basis suck as well (and they know who i'm refering to)
dutchblast - 3 Oct 2007 14:28
Really gone downhill recently. If it was managed properly it would be top. Beer always running out and now that the smoking ban has come in, it totally stinks of stale beer and urine.
Coopy - 13 Jul 2007 16:52
I agree with ojd's comments dated 22nd March 2007.

This pub boasts 4 real ales, yet when I visited last night ALL of them were off.

No problem finding the Gents though, just follow your nose!

There is a dearth of decent pubs in this area, so the Zetland gets more crowded than it would if it had to compete with pubs which sell at least one decent ale and aren't permeated by a pungent, lavatorial odour.

It appears whoever manages this pub is more interested in profit than running an establishment which is a pleasure to drink in.

I certainly won't be drinking in this dump again.


johnnyboy14 - 29 Mar 2007 13:39
Unquestionably the worst pub I have ever been to. Its just the smell. I like a good dive bar or pub, but this boozer is a veritable cesspit. It was my brother's birthday last night and I was filled with dread when he said we would all assemble in the Zetland. Yes, the pub still smells of silage and the beer is flat and grim. Should be a helath warning on this pub. Avoid.
ojd - 22 Mar 2007 11:34
I lived in South Kensington for three years in the mid 90s - problem with the Zetland then (and it sounds like its the same now) is that it was completely out of step with the inhabitants

I used to drink in Kavanaghs (under the Jurys Hotel on the corner of Queensgate and Old Brompton Rd) and would recommend the extra three minutes it takes to walk past the Zetland and go in there instead

Oh - and in case you are wondering I locked myself out of the flat one night and had to stay in the Jurys - it's completely overpriced for the quality of accommodation.
murgatroyd - 29 Oct 2006 00:12
Popped in this pub Friday lunch time, relaxed atmosphere and an all round decent place!
Wineo - 16 Oct 2006 14:39
I had a dodgy pint of Young's in here, which put me off.
anonymous - 20 Sep 2006 17:22
YES I HAVE, the pub is a dive, the lavtory is smelly, there was great big turd floating around the urinal, we approached the management and they just laughed at us,
as for the algerian chief KAMEL i think is name is, he never seems to wash is hands whilst preparing the food he's very rude as well (check out his hands next time you visit this pub have a good look at his nails....also during the football season things get out of hand once some of the crowd have had a few drinks...I certainly wont be going back there again, it smells the service is poor, and the tiolet is a major health
risk
anonymous - 21 Aug 2006 23:06
Went in the Zetland early Saturday evening. Average range of beers, service OK, fairly pleasant atmosphere except for the guy who came into the gents and offered to sell me crack. Not what I want to see.
andrew1961 - 20 Aug 2006 09:01
Nice pub with a few real ales on and a mix of clientele. Sport on TV and a recommended meeting place for anyone in the South Ken area. They also do food but I've no idea what it's like.
thehonesttruth - 6 Jun 2006 17:06
Been popping in here on my way home from elsewhere for a while now and it's just nice. People aren't annoying, staff are ok and the beer is always in good nick. A solid one
mitomighty - 7 Mar 2006 13:15
Saturday lunchtime visit was good. 3 Real Ales on the go and were in good nick when we tried them. Nice mixed crowd in there enjoying the food and the footie. As you'd expect, the crowd is well-heeled, as reflected by the polite applause that greeted goals rather than the more customary cheers and catcalls! Still, all very pleasant though.
junior_idiot - 11 Dec 2005 21:41
More and mre i think this place is a good good pub. ale - great decor - very good - atmosphere - nice - crowd - A SURPRSING MIX FOR SOUTH 'KEN' ! They show the sport too. Good place.
anonymous - 9 Dec 2005 21:50
great pub, friendly, good service, great food. we managed to get a table on a thursday night and it was just quiet enough to have a chat. will be visiting again soon.
bonsai - 3 Dec 2005 13:38
nice pub, nice mirrors nice ale. Slow service but never had a bad ale in there.
mitomighty - 29 Nov 2005 15:55
Nice pub conveniently located with a wide variety of beers. Unfortunately the music is VERY loud.
jmp - 8 Aug 2005 07:24
This pub seems to have a bit of a reputation for short-changing customers! This happened to me a few weeks ago and I won't be going back. A shame because it's quite a decent pub otherwise and was very handy for after work.
gitsurfer - 24 May 2005 17:48
i used to go in this pub when bunking off a secretarial course nearby (that the job centre vindictively sent me on),...not what you'd expect in south ken,..its quite nice and down to earth in here.
kmcs - 17 May 2005 17:55
I quite like this pub, I had been working closeby and there are not many pubs in the area, work colleages said it was good so I went along but was being refurbished (in Mar2005, it said to visit their sister pub The Hoop and Toy nearby).
I have been back a few times since for a swifty after work, and they have made a nice job of the refurb, lots of nice wood panels and furniture, and a nice selection of well kept ales, Bombardier/Pride/Abbott etc, which I think they rotate, so may change, also Widescreen TV round the back and non-smoking upstairs. Quite busy when I have been in, I would recommend it.
Ginja - 17 May 2005 17:52
Not that bad of a pub, good food. I think its a big pub for Chelsea supporters. Well, thats what I noticed the few times i was there. I like it there...
theslag - 15 Apr 2005 17:47
Have visited this pub twice in the last month and the variance in service is shocking! First time was served by young Albanian man, Bee? Polite, friendly and professional. The second time I visited I encountered a rather less helpful member of staff. She was quite a large girl with tattoos whose behaviour was immature and embarrassing. This was highlighted by a play fight with another girl, using glitter spray. Customers were also sprayed and people were eating nearby. If trading standards had been there I'm sure a hefty fine would have been incurred! I will not be visiting again since a pub a short distance away provides far better service, namely The Hoop and Toy.
MaryOshey - 29 Nov 2004 16:53
Working nearby for the past four years, I enjoy a jar in here from time to time. I can appreciate that it's not to everyones taste but if you want a traditional pub with a indie/rock jukebox you'll be more than satisfied. The atmosphere is generally 20-30 somethings in the evening although it's punters are across the board. Well worth giving it a go if you're out and about in South Ken. Conveniently near the tube for stumbling home too!
Best of luck to the new manager, not that you should need it.
Seb - 25 Nov 2004 19:53
My friend is due to become the new manager of this pub so do not take any notice of the messages up here and go and try the pub again. I am sure you will find it an enjoyable expreience.
anonymous - 18 Nov 2004 08:56
I found this place so typically english (I'm french!), just an Old fashion pub, full of young and nice staff, I loved it!
M - 18 Sep 2004 23:03
very nice bar, staff are SUPERB!!!
TERRY S - 8 Jul 2004 08:08
This pub is over-priced with and miserable. Avoid!
Grenadelobber - 29 Mar 2004 12:48
I once complained that my half-full glass had been removed and was promptly barred by the 'manager'. watch your bags!
Mike - 6 Feb 2004 13:56
Appallingly slow service last night and a rude, confrontational and threatening attitude from the staff when I dared to complain. I was refused access to a manager. We left and went to the Hoop and Toy around the corner where the experience was totally different. Fast service and friendly staff. I am sending a written complaint.
ianfreeman - 13 Dec 2003 13:58
I liked this place, spending
several hours & and drinking a
couple of pints. And yes, it still
has French female students, like
charming Noelle :)(in May,2003).
The personnel was fast and kind, especially Jamie. I'd definetaly
go back.
Tompi - 3 Dec 2003 15:18
I was there 1999, I was on a vacation away from America. I got there late and found the croud unapproachable and it was very loud. The ale selection was good, didn't try the food. I'm sure it's a very cozy place on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

There was terrific Italian resturant on the same side of Bute.

Is it still there? Does any one know the name of it?
Brian - 28 Jul 2003 23:17
Re - being short changed in this pub. I had exactly the same experience about a month ago. I paid with a £20 note (which I am certain of because I'd just withdrawn it from the cash till), and received change from a £10 note. The owner flatly refused to discuss the matter.
anonymous - 22 Jul 2003 10:07
The owner short changed me and then just about threw me out. I paid with a £20 note and the owner gave change as if had been a £10 note. In this place the rule seems to be the customer is always wrong!
Anon - 21 Jul 2003 09:40
still have those female students from the language school?
anonymous - 4 May 2003 10:25
It's about time we had some real, old fashioned english pubs left in britain! not modern, trendy wine bars full of suits.

Wicked pub!
Kristin - 25 Apr 2003 15:39
The beer is alright, but the food's pretty awful
James Pollard - 31 Jan 2003 18:44
Loved it.
M. Keys - 9 Oct 2002 14:56

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