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County Arms, Wandsworth Common

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user reviews of the County Arms, Wandsworth Common

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

Youngs pub, well placed for Wandsworth Common.

Very busy on a warm day. Decent pint of Youngs Bitter (£4.50).

Food nice but expensive.
duchyjim - 7 May 2018 21:25
Real mixed emotions here. Looks like a Geronimo/Youngs affair so the beer choice is slightly better. About 10 of us with another 10 kids came on Fathers day quite early. The Doombar was ok the Ordinary better ( which was free to Dad's, thank you) so it would normally be disingenuous to criticise However my pals Fish was great but the chips were nearly scorched earth-looked re-cooked. The Steak special while reasonable had been sliced (which can hide the truth of the cut) and could only have been 4oz max. I wouldn't mind but at 22 I think that is a bit rich. In fairness they took my pals Fish n Chips off the bill. The place is very nice, service reasonable considering the day, and the kids had a great time with the childrens entertainer. The starters were great especially the potted crab.
huntsbeer - 29 Jun 2012 10:03
... though having said which, I dropped in again a week or so back for a couple of pints of Warmer, and found that since my last visit (some time ago), it seemed to have drifted back, slightly but perceptibly, to the more relaxed and 'publike' atmosphere it used to have in the good old days. Keep it up!
The Winter Warmer, by the way, was fine but expensive - still, worth it for one who can't find it close to home.
earlydrinker - 19 Jan 2012 22:27
Oh for the days when it was 'a bit of a dive'.
earlydrinker - 2 Oct 2011 19:26
Fantastic place, it used to be a bit of a dive, but someone new is deffinatly in charge and you can tell. The atmosphere is so welcoming now, and all the staff are lovely. They have a great selection of beers and wines, the barman recomended an adlestones cider to me, which blew me away. Dinner was great too, i had a perfectly cooked steak, which i wished would never end, and for reasonable a price aswell.
All in all it was a brilliant experiance and i will be bringing all of my friends and family back with me.
mickeyblueeyes - 13 Jun 2011 14:12
Busy pub for a lunchtime visit. It seemed to cater more for food than drinking.
A pint of Youngs Bitter was well presented. Only one of the bar staff was efficient, the others appeared to be much less so!
jbsjazzer - 11 Feb 2011 15:08
Despite it being the busy Christmas season the place was almost deserted. The staff looked like they didn't want to be there. I don't blame them, working in a large, soulless pub such as this would be bad enough at the best of times, let alone when its empty.
Superlative pints of Winter Warmer did little to raise my enjoyment of the place. A shame, because there is little else in the vicinity of Wandsworth Common.
Misk. - 29 Dec 2010 17:33
I am ashamed to say that I had never been in the County Arms pre-refurb despite having lived no more than a few miles away for nearly twenty five years.

The legend "Proud to be your Local" is painted on the outside wall. However, despite being just along the road from Wandsworth prison it is a million miles away.

Parking is limited and with no train or tube nearby it is a local by necessity rather than ambition.

This is a pub which has been opened up into a noisy barn by a refurb, obviously concentrating on food and aimed at the local well-to-do young trendies. The central island bar is big to allow being staffed at a minimum and service was slow as a result of that and the focus on food.

Three hand pumps all with clips to front advertising ale: Youngs Ordinary, Special and Twickenham "Naked Ladies". I asked for Special for old times sake as a regular Youngs drinker for a couple of decades but that was not available. I then asked for the Twickenham despite the daft name and that was almost pure vinegar. So I settled for Ordinary - and Ordinary it was. At least there was no argument about getting it replaced.

Atmosphere? No sport which may please some but piped music, no sport and the incessant reverberating yabbering of media types.
SimonM - 26 Oct 2010 22:22
Is my closest pub. Came for a roast a couple of months back on a Sunday evening. The meat was really tough as if it had been cooked at lunchtime and had just been warmed up for dinner. Wasn't impressed. Also beware that what they term 'chips' are actually potato wedges!

The Ale seems generally ok and the atmosphere is generally nice (although I think it's just had a refurb of some kind (didn't look like it really needded it tbh)).
ep1p - 31 May 2010 17:46
Agreed with comments below - this is a great pub spoilt by pretending to be a wine bar.

Still a great place for a Sunday lunch or as a function venue - it is not that busy so if you host a party everybody can get a drink and there is lots of space.
mrloftysson - 23 Oct 2009 16:44
A good Young;s house with excellent beer and goodish food. Like so many Youngs pubs though, the prices are unreasonably high. Youngs really do overcharge.
tate - 11 Oct 2009 15:33
Was in Last Sunday for a Beer and something to eat. 4 of us had the Roast was excellent, though a little Pricey.

They seem to have cut down on service here. Our Waitress was useless, had to wave out to get her attention to order, then after dinner had to go find her so I could pay for our meal.

Not Many people in for Sunday, I think this place might be feeling the credit crunch.
HENDO - 15 May 2009 11:09
We came in here last Monday. The more observant of you may have noticed that I've reviewed this hostelry before. No-one is pretending that the pub, pre-conversion, was a palace, but it felt more like a pub and less like the wine bar it tries to be now.

The Young's bottled beer that used to be 2.50 for a 500ml bottle about two or three years ago is now 3.50. We bought one of these and a Pimm's and lemonade - 7.20 in all. The young men serving seemed pleasant and eager to please, but they took ages to serve the drinks. I wonder if the hiked-up prices are because the staff's time is metered?!

We sat down to drink. My partner noticed that, unlike other times, we could see what we were doing. Oh dear. No sooner had ths been observed than the lights were turned down so low that (and this is no exaggeration) three folk about three yards away had to use a mobile 'phone as a torch!

As we were watching the jazz band set up, a smell emanated from the kitchens. We thought that they had taken to barbequeing tyres. It stank! It rolled through the pub, despite the air-conditioning.

Finally, the jazz! Blimey, I don't know about anyone else, but if I were to appear in public singing for free, never mind taking folding money, I'd make sure I was capable of the range required to hit the high notes!

All in all, another memorable night out in the "refurbished" County Arms.

Lastly, I've noticed other reviewers being critical about the fact that the prison officers used to drink there. What was wrong with prison officers drinking in a pub smack-bang in front of a prison? It's true that a group of them could be loud, but then again so was the irritating student on the next table to us (and yes, I was a student at one time). The only reason I can think of to mention it is snobbery.

You'd honestly think that, with the record number of pubs being shut in the worst depression in decades that they'd get their act a bit more together than this.

Sloshedferatu - 10 Apr 2009 19:54
A good pub, or restaurant with a bar. This was refurbed back in 2004 I think. Still looks good. The outside area is a pleasant place to be when there aren't any kids that haven't burnt off enough energy after being on the common.

It's a Youngs so you cannot buy three pints for under a tenner, but it is a good place to be. However, I often think in there that with Kronenbourg at 3.70 a pint, we punters would have paid for the refurb several times over by now!

The (over) friendly manager(?) is still there. This can be a refreshing change now, but not when he calls me his "bruver". I think perhaps he has been drinking the profits!
toomuchgastro - 2 Jun 2008 22:35
I'd not been to the County Arms for some years, and happened to be passing last week - so popped in for a bite to eat. Many changes since my last visit - all good!! No more like an extension of the Wandsworth Prision Social Club, and no more surly service from disinterested staff. Having visited other Youngs pubs, my experience of food has been sketchy, to say the very least. I arrived with a friend and ordered a pint of Special and a glass of Rioja at the bar - refreshing to be served by somebody who actually seemed to enjoy and know what he was doing! Made recommendations from the menu, which encouraged both of us to eat in the restaurant area. We had Venison Pie and mash, which was delicious (and obviously homemade), and Pidgeon and Beetroot salad - different, but very tasty. Not your usual pub grub. Maybe slightly on the expensive side, but i'd rather pay for quality than sit in piss-stained seats, eating boil-in-the-bag mixed grill in a JD Wetherspoon boozer! General mix of punters, all ages and a nice relaxed atmosphere too. The place is candlelit by evening and with roaring log fires; we stayed for Irish coffees and then left at closing time. Great night, thanks County Arms! - well-run pub, friendly staff, good food, top ale - best in the area by far. Other Youngs pubs - take note!!
ginsling - 14 Jan 2008 09:59
Pub seems lovely as a well decorated, presented establishment. The service was ok when I was there, and the ales on tap weren't bad.
However, location wise, is a bit of a hard one to get too, and would prob only be frequented by regulars.
Ideal if passing, not worth going out of your way for
the_original_rawnsleys - 2 Jan 2008 11:43

Classy place now it has decided to become more restaurant that the first bar people go to when released from Wandsworth Prison which is more-or-less next door. Nice little garden at the back too.
asnootyfox - 25 Aug 2007 08:53
I have recently been back to the pub after working there 3 years ago, I was pleasantly suprised by how it has changed. It does however feel more like a restuarant than a pub but the same regulars from when i was there, were sitting at their same table.... when it came to ordering food, I was however very disappointed. The waitress rolled her eyes and tutted when we asked if we could order, I waited about 15minuted for a hot chocolate, when we wanted to pay, the same girl completely ignored us while she re did her hair style!!!! it was 14:45, so Im sure she was about to go on her break, but still!!! While we were there, the bar lady came out from behind the bar and started making a phone call on her mobile, then started eating food from a friends shopping, leaving the bar un attended and customers waiting. We wanted to order wraps but they had run out. we ordered when the kitchen opened for FRIDAY LUNCH!!!
I was So disappointed by my experience and as a YOUNGS employee, IMAGINE if I was a mystery customer,(excuse the pun!!!) The food was great but the service let them down BIG TIME!!
wow - 4 Aug 2007 22:06
I experienced this pub both before and after the refurb as I used to live just round the corner during 2004.
Much as I used to like the abandoned, pub-to-yourself feel, I have to say that it's better now in almost all respects. Food is very good indeed (but chaotically delivered) and the new garden area is excellent.
...but, it's just soooo expensive! Kronenburg (which I don't drink personally - smelly lager!) was at least 3.50, which I think is outrageous. Never went back permanently after the refurb - especially as I'd discovered The Nightingale in the meantime...
jonnyt - 29 Jun 2007 14:20
Pretty average in most respects - a great location near to Wandsworth Common is spoilt by a thundering highway twixt the pub and the grass. The beer garden is pleasant enough and is complemented by a Buddha-decorated conservatory at the back.
BoehmBawerk - 12 Jun 2007 17:22
It was never a great pub, but at least it WAS a pub, and felt like a pub, and I've enjoyed many a pint of decent mixed in what used to be a rather cosy little section between the big front bar and what used to be the 'food' section at the back.
But why reminisce? It's all changed now, and as the last 2 contributors have pointed out, the emphasis is on food now, and the atmosphere's gone (for better or worse).
earlydrinker - 30 Jan 2007 18:15
Not at all how I remembered it. It's been done up. By far the largest part of this pub is given up to diners. It seems more of a restaurant now with a smaller front bar. It probably looks nice if you don't like pubby pubs but I do. I'm not sure i'd come here to drink, maybe if i was eating.
mitomighty - 3 Oct 2006 17:26
What a pub!!!! Service was top notch, food was lovely, lovely decor. Will definately be returning soon. Saw some of the Eastenders cast too which was a bonus!!!!
CobhamBoy - 20 Sep 2006 18:45
A great gastro pub, this is just the sort of place we need in Wandsworth. A great atmosphere, good selection of beers, efficient and friendly service, good food (I had one of the best steaks I've ever tasted). All this and live jazz music on Monday nights too.
ZygoBlue - 26 Aug 2006 22:34
Went to the County on Sat night for the new Lounge music night. What a fantastic addition to the great nights out available around Wandsworth and Clapham. Also cool cocktails made a change to the old Special. Thanks god for an up to date Youngs pub in my area.
Julian - 27 Jul 2006 18:31
This is my closest boozer (4 mins walk). I watched with disbeleief when it was gutted (I was gutted, too). Yes I know that it badly needed something but this cynical and deliberate engineering to appeal to the nearby middle-class Toastrack estate (it's called that because of the shape when you look at it from above) takes my breath away, even now. The two good things about it are the air-conditioning and the bottled beer - the best value in the place by far.

What can I say? It doesn't feel like a pub any more. And why have they painted the walls the colours of various internal organs?
Comedy_Trev - 20 Jul 2006 16:03
Characterless suburban boozer full of kids.
badger74 - 27 May 2006 13:19
Unfortunately, it's all good looks and no substance. The service was poor, and our food arrived burnt to a crisp. Deeply disappointing after looking so promising.
familygal - 12 Mar 2006 22:26
Hmm... I seem to recall one of the ladies. Best time to go to this place is in the summer and go all the way round the terrace and find a corner table out the little ankle-biters' path...

The BBQ kitchen does a burger that needed structural support to get it to my mouth without chunks falling out. (That's a compliment). One of the largest burgers I've ever had. Awesome.

Not a fan of the main dining room which used to be a big fireplace bar. Because of the terrace and the bar area on the otherside, it has become more of a thoroughfare, which is a bit of a shame.
Dr_Will - 23 Feb 2006 16:43
I've been in here a few times since it was refurbed, and although it's certainly and improvement from what was essentially the Wandsworth Prison wardens' canteen, it still upsets me but for very different reasons. Firstly, the children. I'm convinced the inhabitants of Wandsworth are very closely related to rabbits - what else could explain the outrageous number of kids in the place? Second, service seems a bit slow considering the amount of staff they have on. Lastly, the beer selection is a bit poor, and I wasn't impressed with the ale which is a bit of a shame considering the history of the pub.

There is one good (ok, very good) aspect of the place: there are currently two waitresses who are very easy on the eye. Almost worth the food prices alone. And the new 'outside area' is nicely done.
womble54321 - 17 Jan 2006 15:27
Recomended by a friend in Wandsworth, what a nice suprise. Very nice modern yet full of charecter. The wine list was very good and the food was fantastic. I had a rib eye which came with big fat chips and the wife had cod with safron mash which I thought would be a bit boring but very nice and well cooked. The service was also worth mentioning as they all seemed down to earth yet efficient. Very good
Julian - 17 Nov 2005 23:01
More of a restaurant than a pub now.
Might suit some people, but not me
JohnBonser - 1 Nov 2005 12:16
A bit crap. Feels like drinking in a pseudo-smart airport hotel if that's not an oxymoron. Food is overly ambitious and over priced. Beer nondescript, service laughable. I wouldn't bother.
MrLash - 14 Oct 2005 10:43
What a great pub! Bit on the expensive side but a really nice place and I'm sure the barmaid who looks like Gail Porter fancies me.
lwk198 - 25 Sep 2005 22:13
A mixed bag of reviews beneath this one. The food is sometimes excellent (particularly in the summer when the barbecue kitchen is serving), but sometimes slow and incorrect orders!

Lots of kids on weekends during the day. If you want peace and quiet, find somewhere a little further from nappy valley.

Dr_Will - 17 Jun 2005 10:54
I'm one of those rare sorts that actually like both the tradition local pub and the poncy foody pub. Much as I understand the views of the people who now feel ostricised, I have to say that I love this pub as it is now.

We went on a Tuesday evening, had great food and service. The atmosphere was positively buzzing and was a good mix of people- from those who'd come in from the playing sport on the common to locals to diners. The live blues music was great - in fact any live music in a pub should be praised.

The garden is very pretty and heated in the evening.

Sorry former locals, this place is great.
anonymous - 15 Jun 2005 17:43
Not impressed by this place. Far to many kids in there when visited [a sunday night] and the bar staff seemed on another planet. It also has a feel of a Harvester and Airport Departure Lounge.
The only good thing to of come out of the makeover is that it now seems to be free of Chavs and grumpy old men.
TheWizard - 15 Apr 2005 17:25
This place is pure fur coat and no knickers. We went on a Wednesday and the service was dreadful. Ordered our starters, only to be informed 10 minutes later that one of them was off. Oh and this and this and this was also off the menu.

Which was one thing, but the food never arrived. And every round of drinks had to be re-ordered as they kept forgetting to put the order through. One main was lukewarm and my other guest's steak was boiled rather than grilled. My pie was nice, mind you. The coffee never arrived, so I went up to complain to the waiter. "Right away Sir" came the reply, but still no coffee came. By this stage we're laughing out of the sheer madness of the thing, I could go on...

But to top it off, it it's not the first time it's happened at the County, I signed for my bill and they then put a 13 gratuity on top! I only noticed when I got home. I won't be returning.
anonymous - 14 Jan 2005 23:00
Yes, it's gone down hill since the reopening, but still one of the better pubs in the area. Still very much attempting to gain a different class of clientele than before, with a Jazz night and the price of a pint of Young's being a full 10p more on every variety than the Halway House down the hill. However the new Beer Garden is a very nice addition for the summer.
I wouldn't order any food though. I've heard some accounts from friends of having to wait over an hour to be served.
anonymous - 12 Jan 2005 02:07
The previous comments from "too close to Youngs" sums up the new pub perfectly.
The yuppies have moved in - so I have moved out
John - 14 Oct 2004 13:45
This pub is an example of social engineering. Youngs hired marketing consultants to assist with the creation of a 'theme'. The refurbishment (designed in house) reflected the advice received as did/does the policy of deterring 'working class' customers. The concept has suceeded. As the alternative was likely closure this can only be a good thing. Do not be fooled though. If you like this creation you are being manipulated as surely as a football fan being sold yet another expensive shirt. Customers are pawns here. The house is a cynical example of stripping money from a selected (well-heeled) market. It's very clever. Youngs are to be congratulated. But.... as a potential customer.... do you want to be used?
Too close to Youngs - 9 Oct 2004 02:10
Went for dinner at the County Arms last week. Great decor, food was stunning and the service was incredibly friendly. Would definitely recommend. Ainsley Harriet (BBC celeb chef) was there so the food also gets a TV endorsement!

Jon - 17 Sep 2004 11:38
Rumour has it the previous locals to the establishment - the prison officers - Walked in after the refurb, took one look and walked out saying 'bunch of ponces'. That sold it for me, and absolutely love the place. Great paved area outside, and amazing staff. A good change in my mind.
Andrew Lea - 3 Sep 2004 11:51
what is going on with the chefs new, old...? Don't understand anything. I was there 3 months ago and I like the pub and would definitively recommend it.
Anna - 21 Aug 2004 15:22
Has the food change with the new chef? Is it better now?
Peter - 12 Aug 2004 16:11
What an incredible place . recently had our wedding reception there and it was absolutely perfect, amazing food ( post chef change) , staff friendly and so helpful and a beautiful setting. All our guests have vowed to return there so that is at least 120 new customers. Oh and must also say what value for money it was.
lucy - 9 Aug 2004 23:10
Still do not know they let the Chef - Xavier Bernues go. Incredible - It is not clear to me why will they invest so much money in advertisement and after & month he is not longer there.
Sarah - 9 Aug 2004 20:04
Since the refurbishment prison officers, who in the past made up the majority of the clients, have been effectively banned, |(no uniforms, generally made to feel unwelcome). Hard to know if new cliemts will be attracted, as the place had a reputation as a "screws" pub.
david - 31 Jul 2004 16:20
Why have the change the Chef? is not a good sign they are changing the personal so quickly
Odoruke - 29 Jun 2004 08:09
Excellent refurbishment and the garden is perfect for the summer months. Food and drinks although not cheap, I think are good value for money. Definitely worth a visit.
Sooze - 8 Jun 2004 11:18
I love the food...finally something different. I recommend it...although I agree the drinks are a bit expensive
Odoruke - 24 May 2004 08:31
Just moved in to the area and this would be my 'local'. Decor is impressive and food that we had was very good and of average price. The beers however were extortinate. Pint of Fosters 2.95, Stella 3.20. Lets not forget though that despite the trimmings, fancy menu, and impressive decor this is still a Youngs Pub. The beer and wine is simply prohibitvely priced. This re-direction has missed the boat I am afraid. It is possible to have an up-market menu without drinks prices that insuly anyone who is looking for a pub to drink in on a regular basis. Won't be making this my local
Guy - 5 May 2004 12:47
Re-opened 29/4/2004. Something of a transformation! Quite possibly the finest refurbishment of any Youngs house in recent years.
A word of warning though. Do not wear 'working' clothes, uniforms, or sports colours. Definately 'smart - casual' at the least. Otherwise you will not be served - and it's a long way to the next pub. Utterly dedicated to building an up-market trade.
The 'working class' will not be served here.
Paul Riche - 3 May 2004 00:46
Closed for "10 -12 weeks" from 19th January 2004 for refurbishment.
Ian - 18 Jan 2004 20:05
New management from 22/9/03. (Nice couple - ex Finchs Fulham Rd). Louder background music since has driven out some of the few remaining regulars. Youngs plan to re-vamp the place as a gastro pub in spring 2004 on the lines of the St. Margarets Tavern. It had better work as this wonderful but, sometimes empty, pub is very much in the last chance saloon.
Ian - 7 Nov 2003 21:28
An well impressive building. Its a huge pub with two massive bars and two beer patios right on Wandsworth Common. Its a Youngs pub with the usual beers and has on imposing interior. The problem with this place is that its out on a limb location wise and last Saturday night there were about a dozen punters in there so the apmosphere, despite the friendly staff and regulars, was somewhat lacking. If its like this all the time I can't see this place being a goldmine. This is an absolute shame as you can see this building being converted into luxury flats with another good decent boozer lost forever. Residents of Wandsworth Common support your local whilst you can!!
Gary - 24 Jun 2003 17:05

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