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Barfly Club, Chalk Farm

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user reviews of the Barfly Club, Chalk Farm

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

Now the Camden Assembly and was originally The Monarch back in the early 90s - this was where I first heard 'Little Fluffy Clouds' by the Orb. Still a music venue upstairs, the craft beer selection is decent including a dark porter but there isn't any real ale (it would have been dire back in the day if I remember correctly). With the Enterprise, never a great pub, now managing to be even worse and the Lock Tavern having all 4 ale pumps turned back to front, we had no option but to come here and were reasonably satisfied.
BoehmBawerk - 25 May 2018 11:16
As a pub 4/10, as a music venue 8/10.

I would never go here just to drink, when there are so many other decent pubs nearby, but often go to see the bands.

For the audience size it is one of the best band rooms in London, with great sight lines and (usually) great sound. Their booking policy/quality is above average as well.
Loki - 8 Feb 2012 15:31
Typically of britain you are treated with contempt and like a 3 year old in this grottfest- tried to palm us off with plastic glasses and started to fill them with beer- we said no way and walked out- poor selection of beer and rude and miserable staff that we couldn't understand- good summary of Camden by ChrisP87
alezilla - 14 Jan 2012 17:10
More of an evening venue than a daytime drinking place. 5/10
fat_beer_badger - 12 Aug 2011 17:06
Despite being a born-and-bred Londoner, I can't stand Camden - an area that manages to be both self-consciously grotty and pretentious at the same time - and this place does nothing to alter that view. Mainly a gig venue apparently, but only the regulation set of lagers available and no ale. As they say in Eurovision....nul points
ChrisP87 - 26 Nov 2009 22:12
Granted this is more of a music venue than a pub but jesus. Toilets are disgusting. Staff were quite rude and those horrible fruit fly type things which congregate in toilets were EVERYWHERE on the bar(s). (and indeed the toilets). The place needs properly cleaning. Disgusting.
Oldsod - 2 Apr 2008 10:30
this place rocks
MrKennedy - 3 Dec 2007 10:51
Great place to go, bar staff great, easy to talk to and has the one and only Mr Glen.
sidman23 - 8 Oct 2007 16:28
Went there last night for the first time in years, to see the Scanners. Great gig. Just wanted to post here because I got tip-top service in the upstairs (venue) bar - the band were due on in a matter of minutes, the place was heaving and everyone was trying to get a drink. The (very young) girl took my order while pouring the previous person's drink, and then did the sums in her head, so I was served in seconds. I thought that was a lost art, especially among the young 'uns who inevitably prefer to make umpteen trips to the cash register. Nice one.
fat_freddys_cat - 20 Feb 2007 13:54
Proof than in a crap place a good time can be had.
I remember when they had a 'big beat' night here (who remembers big beat, eh?) but the electro/rock nights aren't too bad either.
Planner_21 - 5 Feb 2007 21:29
What a terrible bar! However, as a music venue, this is one of the better ones, a great sound system. Heard The Cavaliers and Gambling Hearts here recently, two bands that are taking London by storm.
nigelrowe - 22 Jan 2007 10:32
The bar itself is a right dive and the selection pretty poor but I've given this a good mark on the basis that the music was ace, the poeple a laugh and the bands playing up stairs brilliant.

Well worth a visit for some new music and a bit banter.
Donalia - 21 Jan 2007 13:18
Can get heaving in peak times but cool little place and good music.
atsoutar - 20 Dec 2006 16:12
I love this bar.... frequent it often with the buddies in my band Voodoo Head....
MrKennedy - 13 Dec 2006 10:15
excellent little joint for watching tomorrows rock millionaires, pub is crap, but your right, this place is legendary
dougster - 16 Nov 2006 14:02
The home of so many classic gigs. It's not the best pub, but I can't be mean, this place is legendary.
patrickjsm - 6 Sep 2006 04:40
We had a brilliant gig in here on Sunday afternoon - the staff were extremely friendly, we had a great sound, the overall standard of all the acts was very high and there was a fantastic atmosphere. I hope we get to play here again soon.
tim_eyles - 21 Aug 2006 14:18
Perfect for Sunday drinking. Good music and the place itself makes perfect sense. Knackered wooden benches and chairs around. There are some good looking people there as well.
Maja - 6 Aug 2006 18:45
expensive and dirty and you can't see bands upstairs when it is overcrowded.
raziqrauf - 27 Jun 2006 14:19
If it weren't for the cost of beer this place would be verging on a 10.

Great venue for music and always good bandss playing. Chances are you can come once a week and see one of the bands of the future.

Excellent!
lukemarson - 16 Feb 2006 15:01
Yuk! horrible pub with gloomy and dark interior! Good for music but nothing else!
simonbard - 31 Dec 2005 15:32
My favourite club in town, great music and good atmosphere. The range of beers/lagers isn't great, but you wouldn't go here if you were a beer coniseur. Has two floors, with different music on each floor.

Only grumble is the fact you normally have to queue to get to the upper floor on busy nights.

Haven't been for awhile as i've crossed into my 30s, and it's mostly stoodents and 20 somethings.
mystery_guerilla - 13 Dec 2005 14:39
Part of music's toilet venue circuit. As a pub it is pretty awful, with bland and overpriced beers, gloomy decor, uncomfortable seating. Only the weirdest member of the Camden weird brigade would find it appealing. The fact of the matter is that no-one goes here just for a drink (except the Camden weird brigade) but for the bands, who play in a tiny room upstairs with a bar serving an equally expensive and uninspiring choice of beers. The Barfly is today what the Marquee Club was in the 60's and 70's - a starting point on the road to riches for many a great band and a graveyard for several others. Many a great band has passed through, some on their way up, others on their way down. For a packed gig you won't see a thing but it is fine for the preverbial 2 people and a dog gig. The Barfly, like the old Marquee that I used to frequent regularly, is a dump. I love it.
RogerB - 4 Nov 2005 18:48
Great for both playing in a band and seeing other bands, albeit the comments about overpriced and mediocre beverages in plastic glasses are spot on. Don't venture in here after 11pm unless you are a sardine.
tim_eyles - 4 Nov 2005 18:10
Probably the best small pub/club/venue in london. I would agree with many of the comments below however - that it could still be better.
BobbyPeru - 21 Oct 2005 21:26
I agree with everyone. Great little club. About as Camden as it gets , However, not a pub except for the building itself. Once called the Monarch.
atlas - 9 Aug 2005 10:21
Terrific as a venue, lousy as a pub. Plastic glasses, NO GUINNESS and only crappy Worthington E bitter.

Plastic glasses for the watery lager and 3 a pint. The Barfly people need to get it into their heads that it is not OK to treat an audience like a heard of sheep and that seeing a band and enjoying a decent pint and good service don't have to be mutually exclusive.
realalesnob - 15 Jun 2005 15:25
The people on the door for gigs are very rude and it's quite difficult to get a drink. I think I would only go here if I really wanted to see a particular band.
maxy - 27 May 2005 13:58
Saw Chas & Dave there. Luvely jubbely..
ganger - 11 Mar 2005 15:11
Used to be my favourite club until I got thrown out (unfairly, as of course everyone claims when they get thrown out from a club) and I barred myself. Now I only go back for gigs.

I can't think why anyone would want to treat it as a pub, even allowing for the cracking jukebox. It really is only for a club night or gigs. Beer is expensive and feels like it's watered down - or at least that would explain why it seems so much harder to get drunk in here than other clubs.
travis - 31 Aug 2004 15:31
Really good dukebox I seem to recall. Not bad if you fancy something a bit differant.
Good for: Post gig drinks
thenationofjames - 3 Dec 2003 10:15
I call it the Monarch because that's the name of the pub. The Barfly can get stuffed!

Good place to see bands although the beer is expensive.
Chris - 24 Oct 2003 13:03
We call it The Barfly, because we work for the company that owns it and we get in trouble if we don't, even though it still says The Monarch above the door. Go there for the bands and the clubs, rather than a quiet beer with your chums. I've seen Electric Six, Coldplay, Badly Drawn Boy, The Vines, The Darkness and loads more big name acts there, though it only holds about 200 people.
Pauly - 20 Sep 2003 11:53
We call it the Monarch because that's its original name. A good old-fashioned Camden gig toilet, can get frighteningly busy at times.
Darryl - 11 Aug 2003 13:50
We call it the Monarch because we are fools. This place is pretty damn good. I wish it was in Harrow. Though I am sure Harrow's townie poulation would soon drain it of all known life and turn it into hell on earth.
Meister - 4 Aug 2003 17:22
Unpretentious place with unpretentious people. Live bands upstairs, which becomes standard mosh pit playng Nirvana and Electric 6. Lagers, bottled beers, strange shots in tubes. No credit cards taken, annoyingly.
My mates also call this place 'the Monarch', but I'm not sure why.
Ruby - ruby@beerintheevening.com - 21 Jul 2003 10:43

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