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BITE user comments - dpv

Comments by dpv

Ye Olde White Bear, Hampstead

Decent enough restaurant - very tasty well-prepared food. Starters in the 8 range, mains around 15. And a long wine list to go with it. The dirty little secret is that beer is also available, including a couple of unsurprising real ales. I say "dirty little secret" because their website/menus do not mention beer at all. If a pub is what you are looking for, or indeed a beer in the evening, this is not the place to go. However if you are looking for a nice sea bass and a glass of dessert wine to calm your screaming toddler (they do love the sweet wine, darling little things), by all means pay a visit.

6 Jul 2010 15:05

The Toll Gate, Hornsey

I have been a defender of the Toll Gate in the past, always found it an enjoyable place to drink, well representative of the local community (including some obnoxious drunks, but also plenty of friendly locals). But definitely seems to have had a change in management in the past few months - and things have slipped dramatically. A lot of new staff who don't seem to have a clue, frustrated customers waiting for a long time, few ales on draught despite pump clips that appear otherwise ("oh, it's just gone off"), short pints, etc. A couple of times lately I've walked in, waited at the bar for a bit, then gone elsewhere to satisfy my thirst. Sad really, I hope things improve soon... at the moment I actually prefer Spouter's Corner if I'm in the mood for a local-ish Wetherspoon

13 May 2010 16:00

The Queens Head, Harringay

It has been boarded up yet again

26 Jan 2010 15:06

The Lexington, Kings Cross

American themed bourbon bar with a very nice music venue upstairs. As mentioned by other reviewers they do have a very impressive range of bourbons (and a few other very interesting whiskeys). They have also made a significant effort in sourcing American beers. Starting with the more "typical" - Sierra Nevada on draught, and bottles like Anchor Steam, Brooklyn and Goose Island. But also some of the more "specialty" beers from Flying Dog, Rogue and Saranac. None of them cheap (mostly around 4/bottle, 4.50 for a pint of sierra nevada) but I appreciate the effort. A couple of token cask ales (Pride/Spitfire) as well.
Average food, mostly of an American/Mexican style (burgers + sweet potato chips; burritos; chili; wings).

The music venue upstairs is a good room - nicely proportioned for live music and in my experience they do a good job with the sound. Upstairs bar has a very limited selection vs. downstairs.

25 Jan 2010 15:04

The Tap and Spile, Bangor

A very pleasant pub near the pier, with an assortment of different seating areas on different levels. My best experience in Bangor out of the 9 pubs I visited (although the Bridge Inn in Menai was a very good restaurant experience). Good range of regional ales in addition to some more widely available choices, though I must admit I don't remember exactly what. The only real downside was that nothing especially dark was available, would have gone down a treat on such a blustery, rainy evening. Reasonably priced food is available, looked nice though I didn't eat.

11 Nov 2009 14:17

The Black Bull Inn, Bangor

I am usually a fan of JDWs, but this one was something else. Rammed with vertical drinkers, X-factor showing on the TV with volume on ear-splitting, and utter chaos behind the bar. A range of festival ales on, but Ugh. It could be better at other times, but given the limited range of alternatives on the high street, I suspect not.

11 Nov 2009 14:00

The Harp, Covent Garden

Fantastic range of ales, and I've always been served in a friendly and efficient manner, no matter how busy it is. And as many other reviewers have mentioned, it can get absolutely rammed, especially in the post-work, pre-theatre hours. The little upstairs lounge is nice but almost always occupied (or maybe I'm just unlucky).

19 Oct 2009 13:01

The Walnut Tree, Leytonstone

Visited on a quiet wednesday evening. Spacious and clean, staff were friendly and quick to serve. Four guest ales, all in good nick, including a very nice mild (ummm, extent of consumption has erased its exact identity from my mind). Would definitely go back if I'm in the area.

8 Oct 2009 11:35

Lamb Inn, Edmonton

Stopped by a few days back for a couple of pints. I understand why the locals are so eager to defend the place as it has a real community feel, and staff who made an effort. It does have a few real ales, nothing spectacular but far better than other pubs in the area. Worth a visit if you are in the area, but not outstanding (this pub visit was not especially memorable and I expect it will blur into many others over time).

It reminded me a lot of my local, which I visit regularly and enjoy, but only rate at 6/10.

22 May 2009 10:13

The King Charles I, Kings Cross

A great little pub - four Brodies ales on, and a sizable list of quality bottled beers. Friendly staff and an interesting jukebox (in my opinion, obviously differing from Disley's opinion stated below). Nice decor especially the wood panelling. Toilets are tiny and dire, and it can be a challenge getting to them if drinkers are congregated in that area (not hard at all, since the place is so small).

27 Apr 2009 10:56

Jan's, Stoke Newington

Note: review reflects a visit at the end of Jan 2009.
Formerly a trad style locals' pub, has now been refurbished into a Flemish style pub featuring mainly bottled beers. Particularly strong in Belgians (including some slightly unusual options), and a few unusual bottled beers from other locations (not "international" lagers brewed under license in the UK). I like the decor but may not suit traditionalists (more like a bar than a pub, perhaps). Very quiet - not many people there on a saturday night.
One handpump but I forget what was on - it was nothing unusual as I vaguely recall, and i was stuck into the bottled beers instead.

7 Apr 2009 11:39

The Assembly, Tower Hill

the most expensive bottle that appears on their website is *only* 200. So you are oh so wrong HTM69. But not by all that much....

6 Apr 2009 17:31

The Greyhound, Hendon

Nice multi-room pub in an attractive part of old Hendon. Serves the usual range of Young's ales, in good condition, and staff were friendly and quick to clear tables. Darts and bar billiards on one side of the pub (+ piped music), the other side distinctly quieter. A range of locals with some amusing silly banter going on during our visit.

6 Apr 2009 16:09

Ye Olde White Bear, Hampstead

A great, atmospheric neighbourhood pub. Wood paneling, decorated with signed photos (mostly stars of stage and screen, at least where I was seated). Rather pricey but this is no surprise given the area.

An interesting variety of guest ales, 6 available on our visit including Titanic White Star, Butcombe Brunel IPA, ummm, something by Hop Back or was it Hop Head? Clearly I need to pay better attention if I'm going to list guests, but the point is they serve things more interesting than your "standard" popular ales. Friendly bar staff as well.

8 Mar 2009 10:39

Spaniards Inn, Hampstead Heath

As many others have mentioned before, rather slow service with bar staff who make a point of mentioning that they have no idea whose turn it is to be served, as if having an idea of which customer is next is somehow beneath them. Nice location on the Heath though.

Decent though fairly standard range of ales (Landlord, Tribute, etc). Pub atmosphere is somewhat better on ground level (especially if you can get the little space by the street side entrance door) upstairs is a bit more "restauranty". Food is fine if not exciting, but be prepared to wait.

8 Mar 2009 10:19

Nags Head, Reading

I visited the Nags Head recently as the first stop on a Reading ale crawl. Turns out it was the last stop as well. We could not bear to move on, due to the great range of beer (different styles well represented as well), friendly atmosphere and so on. One of the best pubs I've had the pleasure of visiting.

19 Dec 2008 17:29

The Bree Louise, Euston

There was a pie and ale festival here in early november in previous years, perhaps holbornboy saw an advert from a previous year and thought it was current? I've run into this sort of problem before - especially online adverts which do not include the year.

7 Nov 2008 13:40

Spouter's Corner, Wood Green

Now called "Spouters Corner"
Has recently received a much needed refurb and looks much better as a result (including a bit of local history). On my recent visit there was also better attention to things like clearing empty tables than I saw on my previous visit. Still not great but not the truly miserable experience I had on my previous visit here.

30 Oct 2008 14:27

The Marquess Tavern, Canonbury

Good collection of bottled beers including Schenkerla Rauchbier, Fraoch, handful of Belgians and a few others I couldn't quite read from across the bar. cask offerings of a more ordinary nature, especially pricey as mentioned by previous reviewers. Although it's very much a restaurant (in the rear dining room especially), the front section still retains somewhat of a pub feel (vs similar places in the area like the Albion, the Barnsbury).
Food was decent but not exciting - I'll write a more detailed review of the food on a restaurant site, not here.

6 Oct 2008 15:41

The North Star, Leytonstone

Very nice back-street pub with separate public and saloon bar. well kept ales incl. broadside, landlord, pride, deuchar's. great back garden as well.

The place was rammed this weekend, combination of some kind of local festival and also an acoustic music event, which overwhelmed the staff and people were waiting for ages to be served. More an issue of popularity and the layout of the serving area, though - staff were serving flat-out and there was not room for any more of them.

I'll definitely come back to visit this pub on a quieter occasion - seems like a great place.

22 Sep 2008 11:33

The St Radegund, Cambridge

An atmospheric small pub with plenty of character (and characters). Very quiet on a rainy weekend afternoon, though. Ales on offer were Milton Sackcloth, Woodforde's Wherry and London Pride. All in good nick, but we decided to move on to the Elm Tree for a wider range after a couple of pints. Also contributing to this decision was a distinct aroma of sewage, which may well have come from outside the pub, but definitely did not enhance our experience.

8 Sep 2008 14:03

Elm Tree, Cambridge

Friendly, very pleasant pub with impressive range of ales and bottled beers. Selection seemed especially good, aimed both at quality and breadth across different styles. Tasting notes are provided for the 30 or so bottled beers (which include a variety of unusual ones, Belgians especially). Piped music but it was quiet enough to be unobtrusive.

Staff were making a real effort to make everyone happy, making very good suggestions to customers who were not quite sure where to start given the wide range of choices.

One of the best pubs I've visited.... well done!

8 Sep 2008 13:56

Smiths Of Smithfield, Smithfield

contrary to the previous reviewer, Smiths was not the first place I had a drink in London. But otherwise he has hit the nail on the head - a really awful place in so many ways. They do have a few interesting (but overpriced!) beers, and the bar does serve as a minimally passable holding pen if you're having dinner upstairs.

16 Jul 2008 14:25

The Sekforde Arms, Clerkenwell

Paid a visit after an area pub/history walk put on by the London Metropolitan Archive. After seeing any number of substandard drinking establishments in the immediate vicinity which were rammed full of post-work drinkers, it was amazing to end up in a quiet pub with a neighbourhood feel just a few minutes away. Decor is a bit old-fashioned but this only adds to its charm, this could also be said of some of the locals (not in a negative way IMO).

Young's ales in good shape (+ Deuchar's at least for a few minutes), and they also have a good looking range of whisky/whiskey. I'll be back.

16 Jul 2008 14:16

The Wenlock Arms, Hoxton

The state of the Wenlock's carpets and toilets is an incredibly important matter for that not insignificant fraction of the population who cannot strictly maintain an upright posture at all times but instead occasionally slump to fully horizontal.

15 Jul 2008 10:55

The Betjeman Arms, St Pancras International Station

Popped by on a weekend afternoon and I thought it was very nice although fairly empty. The platform-area seating area is much nicer than your average stationside pub, and the house ale by Sharps was very tasty especially considering its session strength (3.6 I think).
Confusing layout at present, worth wandering around because some seating areas are not at all nice (e.g. just by the front entrance which has a few tables with a view of construction hoardings).

8 Jul 2008 13:39

The Harringay Arms, Crouch End

A small pub occupied mainly by locals, a traditional pub atmosphere which is a real rarity in this area.

Wood panelling, decent ales as well (3 on draft including Deuchars, maybe not exciting but in good shape). The opposite of trendy and as such, a great place to drink.

16 Jun 2008 15:30

The Albion, Barnsbury

Albion has a very nice interior -- I like it more after the refurb than before. I don't agree with the comments that the decoration is soulless, by-committee, etc. To me it looks like someone has put some time into the decoration although it may not be to everyone's taste.

Also has an extra-large beer garden out back. Expensive GK IPA and Black Sheep on draught in addition to the usual continental lagers. Wine list looks much better than the beer options, though.

Most of the outdoor tables seem to be reserved for diners, are there any pubs in this part of N1 that are not actually restaurants? We did not eat there, only had a couple of pints, and once again (cf. Barnsbury on the same day) felt that we were drinking in a restaurant rather than a pub.

I appreciate this may be the only way to keep a pub in business in this area, but it's disappointing when all you want is a nice drink or few in a pub....

16 Jun 2008 14:07

The Hop and Berry, Islington

Attractive looking, but I can only echo the comments of others who describe this as a restaurant rather than a pub. In the last few months I've found myself in quite a few of Islington's gastro-pubs which put the emphasis more on food than on drinking (e.g. the Crown), but at least those places still offer at least a bit of pub ambience. The Barnsbury is not just a gastro-pub, but is totally a restaurant which happens to have a pub-style bar in the middle.

We had a nice pint of Landlord (I think Pride was the other option) and a Paulaner on draught, sadly at more like restaurant prices (near 8 for the two I think). But as we were not eating we wandered off very quickly.

16 Jun 2008 12:41

The Hop and Berry, Islington

Attractive looking, but I can only echo the comments of others who describe this as a restaurant rather than a pub. In the last few months I've found myself in quite a few of Islington's gastro-pubs which put the emphasis more on food than on drinking (e.g. the Crown), but at least those places still offer at least a bit of pub ambience. The Barnsbury is not just a gastro-pub, but is totally a restaurant which happens to have a pub-style bar in the middle.

We had a nice pint of Landlord (I think Pride was the other option) and a Paulaner on draught, sadly at more like restaurant prices (near 8 for the two I think). But as we were not eating we wandered off very quickly.

16 Jun 2008 12:41

The Navigation, Ponders End

Very large Harvester restaurant/pub with a nice riverside location. If you're walking the River Lea from the north, it's the first sign of life after a fairly long, desolate industrial stretch. But it's rather hard to reach on foot (need to cross the river and wander through the industrial estate). It's far more of a family restaurant than a pub, although it very much resembles a nice riverside inn of times past, at least from the river side. Service is abysmal but the punters didn't seem to mind (maybe they've been lobotomized?)... Drinks are totally ordinary and uninspired, but it's an OK place to sit outside with a cold one, especially considering the alternatives in the vicinity.

3 Jun 2008 15:58

The Crown, Islington

It would be a very nice pub, extensive Fuller's range, a bit of preserved glass here and there (e.g. a couple of remaining snob screens) around the large island bar, and situated on a quiet residential corner. But it's one of those places where you feel like you are drinking at a restaurant, not a pub. And best to avoid it if you're offended by a bit of braying (being a brayer myself I cannot complain all that much).

2 Jun 2008 14:02

93 Feet East, Shoreditch

High quality for live music (although widely mixed in style, best to check the schedule first). But much more of a nightspot than a watering hole - drinks serve primarily as a pathway to drunkenness rather than any sort of gustatory pleasure. 5/10 for overall experience but markedly lower if you're considering the drinking experience alone.

31 May 2008 15:04

The Cock Tavern, Euston

Neighbourhood pub, home to the London Celtic Supporters Club which meets there regularly (& Celtic matches are shown, of course). Also has occasional live music: folk/traditional. Uninteresting beer choices, and sometimes the regulars can give an unwelcoming impression.

29 May 2008 17:48

The Jolly Gardeners, Vauxhall

Very large, German themed pub with a lot of different German beers and German food menu. It takes some nerve to be so thoroughly themed; if you're looking for a beer that's not German your choices are very few. On the other hand despite the large number of bottled and draught beers (maybe 20 bottled beers, and a dozen on draught) the choices are very heavily skewed towards Pilseners and Weissbiers. Perhaps because it's nearly summertime......

They do good German food, of a definitely heavy nature (don't blame the pub though!).

Ambience was quite lacking.. a small number of people, bad blaring pop music (not of a German nature, just generally bad), and lots of hard surfaces so the noise from the punters and the music was much more than you'd expect from such a quiet night (as far as numbers go).

I wish I had liked this pub much more than I actually did - perhaps I should have visited during their recent beer festival!!

27 May 2008 14:04

Zero Degrees, Bristol

Some fairly awful "novelty" beers (mango? passionfruit?), and those of typical varieties were dull. Staff seemed very easily confused.

20 May 2008 15:54

The Alehouse, Reading

Excellent range of ales and a very nice collection of snugs, ideal in a slow period (we were there on a sunday afternoon) but it must get incredibly crowded in normal circumstances. Not quite sure of the prog/metal soundtrack but to each his own (my own personal choices would be equally undesirable to most punters, I'm sure).

19 May 2008 11:03

The Hop Leaf, Reading

Good range of beer (especially Hop Back but also interesting guests), friendly staff, and a good mix of locals as well. Sadly we had already over-indulged at the Nag's Head before visiting, so our stay was brief. Will definitely pay another visit.

19 May 2008 10:56

Nags Head, Reading

Astounding ale pub just off the Oxford Road. Well kept and diverse choice of real ales, also offering take aways. Worth a trip to Reading just to visit this pub.

19 May 2008 10:54

Yates's Wine Lodge, Wood Green

elsiepop, I agree that the Oakdale is a fantastic pub. But hardly walking distance from Wood Green!

12 May 2008 17:13

The Victoria, Holkham

Not as bad as the previous reviewer states, provided you don't mind service ranging from indifferent to downright surly. It also helps if you have relatively old-fashioned views on class and an individual's place in society.

12 May 2008 16:40

The Jolly Sailors, Brancaster Staithe

Fantastic village pub with attached brewery. Brancaster ales (IPA at three point something percent, and Old Les at 5%) are well kept and very tasty indeed. Lest one forget the ales are brewed on site the occasional shift of the wind offers a reminder now and then. The local seafood menu is a real treat as well.

I didn't see any of the mwah mwah air kissing "Chelsea tractor brigade" mentioned in Brancastrian's review below, but I think we must have just been very lucky - uncrowded on our Saturday visit despite perfect weather.

12 May 2008 16:23

The Queens Head, Harringay

This awful pub is now closed for refurb. Anything would be better than its previous state.

6 May 2008 13:55

The William IV, Islington

Nice enough- interesting interior with assorted taxidermic specimens and so on.

Having heard about the good beer choices I was disappointed by the beer selection (London Pride & TT Landlord, and nothing interesting in bottles). But then again the Wenlock is just around the corner and much more suited for that.

Food was very nice if a tad pricey & of a very gastro sort. Clientele, well I wouldn't say "alarming" but definitely biased toward the gentrification brigade.

6 May 2008 13:51

Quinn's, Camden

It seems to me that the beer menus posted above the bar hardly ever bear any resemblance to the bottled beers that are actually available. It's easy enough to see what's available from the Lowlands as they're in a case to the side of the bar, but it's terrible trying to squint through the people at the bar to see which Germans are available (and usually there are lots).

It's very much worth it, though. One of the few places I'm more likely to order something in a bottle vs. draught.

12 Apr 2008 16:25

The Bree Louise, Euston

A very tasty pint of Landlord on gravity yesterday, and the usual assortment of other interesting real ales. But sadly I didn't have the time to drink more of them this time around.

Apparently they offer a CAMRA discount on food as well. When we were ordering drinks, staff asked if perchance we were CAMRA members, in order to offer us a discount if so. I chose to take this as a compliment....

10 Apr 2008 13:02

The Old China Hand, Clerkenwell

Noooo! Called in earlier this week and learned that the dim sum chef will be retiring at the end of April. The food was a real reason for visiting there. Signs posted around the pub say that they'll be introducing a new menu in the near future, but it will be hard to match their current standard.

A couple of interesting real ales, although the bottled beer selection is not as extensive as I remember from previous visits.

10 Apr 2008 12:58

Wilmington Arms, Exmouth Market

Has been nicely remodelled, two real ales incl GK IPA and a guest. Decent small music venue around the back, I certainly approve of having the music in a separate room. As I was mainly there for a gig I can't evaluate the pub itself but it looks worth a try.

10 Apr 2008 12:56

Spouter's Corner, Wood Green

Visited on a sunday afternoon, mainly just out of curiosity after seeing so many bad reviews. Pub is shabby and understaffed: long waits at the bar, stacks of dirty dishes and empties everywhere, and the stench of the toilets was shocking. Ale seemed to be fine, however (JDW beer festival ongoing), and we did get friendly enough service when it was finally our turn.

Young clientele (atypical for Wetherspoons) many of whom looked and acted like they were itching for a fight. Smokers lighting up in the middle of the pub before slowly meandering to the outdoor smoking area.

Overall it gives the impression of a large hospital waiting room pub, if such a thing existed.

2/10 (beer was fine and my expectations were rock-bottom).

7 Apr 2008 10:32

Leyton Orient Supporter's Club, Leyton

A very good range of ales, and they also hold occasional beer festivals which are definitely worth visiting. I can hardly complain about all the football memorabilia as it is a football supporters' club!

26 Mar 2008 15:03

The Orange Tree, Winchmore Hill

Very good pub, friendly local atmosphere. A good assortment of well-kept ales even if they are not the most exciting choices in the world.

2 Mar 2008 10:56

The Blue Blazer, Edinburgh

A very nice pub with a good range of ales & warm fire.

26 Feb 2008 14:59

The Westbury, Wood Green

Back open, closure was only temporary. Still no good beer, though I am sure it's a great place if you're a regular.

30 Jan 2008 14:04

The Westbury, Wood Green

Hasn't been open for a few days now, it seems. Not sure whether this is temporary or not.

24 Jan 2008 15:38

Carpenters Arms, Stepney

Looks like an ordinary estate pub from the outside, but quite a bit of effort has been made on the interior. Drinks selection is nothing special, but it feels like a real community pub.
Live music on some evenings.

20 Nov 2007 16:50

The Sutton Arms, Clerkenwell

Great little boozer.

15 Nov 2007 16:59

The Toll Gate, Hornsey

The last couple of times I have visited the Tollgate they seem to have solved their pump clip problem (see my complaint of 8-May). Or maybe I have just been lucky.

7 Nov 2007 13:16

The Bree Louise, Euston

Fantastic range of ales, several on gravity. It's very easy to pop in for a quick pint and forget to move on.

7 Nov 2007 12:54

The Oakdale Arms, Harringay

Great to see all the handpumps back in action, and some interesting new choices from Milton.

26 Sep 2007 20:25

The Bricklayers Arms, Putney

My first visit was yesterday, for the Lancashire beer festival (I love the idea of having such a beer festival with a clear regional focus). Some 30 different ales, not only with a programme of tasting notes but also information about the brewers.

Staff were very friendly and helpful.

15 Sep 2007 12:37

The Wonder, Enfield

A brilliant little neighbourhood pub, nice to see it still has separate lounge bar and public bar. Very nice well kept ales from McMullen (Country Bitter, AK, Midsummer Madness). Occupied mainly by locals but who can blame them?

20 Aug 2007 12:23

The Pembury Tavern, Hackney

They're having another beer festival next month:
18-22 July

22 Jun 2007 18:42

The Great Northern Railway Tavern, Hornsey

Great interior... Very much a locals' pub but plenty of space for locals & non-locals alike. Run-of-the-mill range of lagers & Guinness; if you're looking for real ale this is not the place for you.

19 Jun 2007 13:38

Marquis of Cornwallis, Bloomsbury

It seems nice enough, but bar staff were pouring the shortest pints I've ever seen outside of Northumberland. Sure, they were happy to top them up, but one should not have to ask.

18 Jun 2007 14:11

The Wenlock Arms, Hoxton

I give this pub a very high rating, mainly because I really enjoy the interesting range of very well-kept ales, and just find it a very enjoyable place to spend an evening in the company of others who also seem to be drawn in by the drink selection.

At the same time I find myself mostly agreeing with TheHorsesMouth -- it's a dive. If the Wenlock had an ordinary range of ales I don't think I'd ever visit.

12 Jun 2007 11:28

The Toll Gate, Hornsey

Seems like quite a decent place (perhaps in contrast to other Wetherspoons I've visited in recent memory), when we visited it was quite clean, and the drinks were in good shape.

However, it's inexcusable to leave pump clips on display when the ales are not actually available. We tried to order two of the ales on offer; the barman knew they were off, yet left the clips on display. How hard can it be to remove a clip?

8 May 2007 17:36

The Dog and Bell, Deptford

Great atmosphere, an excellent selection of beers, good quality pub food too.

8 May 2007 14:38

Mabel's Tavern, Euston

I've only visited once so far & cannot see what the hype is about (if you can call CAMRA North London's recent award "hype". Some would say not). Perhaps my expectations were too high, because I came away a bit disappointed. Shepherd Neame beers are nice enough, the interior is fine but nothing out of the ordinary. Staff seemed a little on the surly side.

Not bad, but not especially good either.

31 Jan 2007 17:12

The Oakdale Arms, Harringay

I may be a bit more of an alcoholic than jamie.nakin as I'm not particularly concerned about the presence or absence of session beers. But I completely agree with his comment: it's very disappointing to see only two or three ales available when the Oakdale's website shows many more as "Beers currently in the cellar or on sale" (I'm not enough of an alcoholic to try and sneak down the cellar, so only those beers "on sale" are available to me).

26 Jan 2007 12:37

Bierodrome, Angel, Islington

Terrible service and an impressively reduced list of beers (especially considering the beers that are on the list but not available) from the glory days. Belgian beers are a lot easier to find these days, so why bother?

20 Dec 2006 17:18

The Temperance, Putney Bridge

Now the Temperance: a surprisingly good range of beers on draught, ales including Timothy Taylors Golden Best & Black Sheep (and an Old Ale, maybe Adnams). Smoking is permitted (for now) contrary to the suggestion in the previous review.

This pub was a really good example of how a quite pleasant drinking experience can be spoiled by a single instance of terrible customer service: There were an awful lot of staff on hand, and their purpose was made clear when closing time came around: clearing the bar as quickly and rudely as possible. They were much more enthusiastic in this effort than they were in serving drinks, that's for sure. I understand that it can be irritating and obnoxious when punters refuse to leave at closing time, but this is why a reasonable amount of drinking-up time should be allowed. Here, barely ten minutes passed between last orders and the demand to leave immediately. A real shame: I had a good night until then, but look how little I've written about that.

4 Dec 2006 11:35

The Pembury Tavern, Hackney

I can't stop raving about this pub, and now their first beer festival has started, featuring a seriously good selection of beers (not even counting the extended Milton range). I was particularly fond of Milton's Gargantua (5.6%, extremely hoppy), and the aforementioned Old Ale was quite a fine one as well: smoky yet subtle.

16 Nov 2006 17:34

The Oakdale Arms, Harringay

I was quite surprised to come into the Oakdale on a quiet monday and find it pleasantly candle-lit (rather than the oppressively bright lights which have always irritated me a bit). Even more surprised when bar staff brought around free snacks (spicy mixed nuts).

I'm a big fan of the Milton beers, this time it was Colossus that caught my fancy. Can't go wrong with Jericho either.

7 Nov 2006 14:40

The Oakdale Arms, Harringay

West Indian beer festival is running this week (now until Saturday 28 Oct) celebrating Black History Month.

Special events (as listed on Haringey council's website):
Tuesday 24: Special rum evening
Wednesday 25: Black History Month pub quiz
Friday 27: Caribbean Curry Day

24 Oct 2006 13:03

The Dogstar, Brixton

Kitchen serves the best Mexican food in London (El Panzon, previously at the Hobgoblin). Otherwise quite ordinary, and the beer selection is uninteresting and fizzy, extending only about as far as Staropramen, Leffe and so on.

23 Aug 2006 17:35

De Hems, Soho

Quite nice selection of Dutch/Belgian bottled beers. It's very much worth going upstairs, especially if it's busy downstairs. I never had any problems with the service here. Food is ordinary at best, a few Dutch snacks but mostly run-of-the-mill pub fare.

28 Jul 2006 12:33

The Pembury Tavern, Hackney

Great comment, scissorkicks.

I too visited yesterday, albeit at dinnertime rather than lunchtime. We'd heard the kitchen had opened and this was our trip to test it out. I guess we're bad "restaurant reviewers" as we both had the same thing (tilapia with lime & coriander, on rice with salad). It was quite tasty and nicely done. There were perhaps a dozen or so punters around, but this still qualifies as "empty" in my book.

A large number of handpumps were indeed off, but that means "only" seven were in service (five from Milton including the always dependable Minotaur and Sparta). Given the sparse attendance at this stage it's probably wise to keep the range somewhat limited to ensure a good pint. They also had the fabulous Schlenkerla Rauchbier (in bottles) plus a variety of other German and Belgian beers.

I too would really like to see this place succeed. In my (admittedly ignorant) view more publicity might help. Word of mouth only gets so far (at least in the short term), and it is already quite a gamble to launch a place like this that doesn't offer any of your mass-market standards (the original Budweiser is available on draught, but none of your brewed-under-license this-or-that).

24 Jul 2006 17:14

Ship, Monument

Quite a nice place to have a drink in the City. It's hard to go wrong with well kept choices like Landlord, Deuchars IPA, Adnams Broadside (i think there were a total of 8 real ales on). I was there along with the after-work crowds, and still felt welcome even though I dress like a ragamuffin. Service was quite efficient as well.

14 Jul 2006 14:20

Bagabon, Stoke Newington

Appears to be shut now. Not a surprise in the slightest.

26 Apr 2006 13:08

The Oakdale Arms, Harringay

Easter beer fest is going on from 12-18 April.
Check out the beer list etc on the oakdale's website (link above). Wish I could make it.

11 Apr 2006 16:11

The Hobgoblin, Tulse Hill

No longer serving the tasty Mexican food that we were willing to travel across London for (apparently it's now available at the Dogstar).

7 Apr 2006 12:14

The Pembury Tavern, Hackney

I agree that it'd be really nice if the Pembury could be made "bike friendly" as other recent comments have suggested. I'd go out of my way to drink somewhere that allows cycles inside (even if I'm not riding).

Are there many London pubs that are bike-friendly? The only one I know of is the Pembury's sister pub the Oakdale Arms.

27 Mar 2006 12:49

The Nags Head, Islington

A very ordinary pub for a half-hearted pint or two. I can't put my finger on anything specifically wrong with it, and we weren't treated rudely, but I felt like leaving anyway.

20 Mar 2006 16:26

The Pembury Tavern, Hackney

I too was there on Saturday, quite a good event and it would be nice to see the Pembury this full on a regular basis (it really adds to the ambience).

There are quite a few interesting games behind the bar, Settlers of Catan and Carcassone among them. The giant tables are quite good for games.

20 Feb 2006 11:49

The Front Room, Wandsworth

Horrible, horrible, horrible. The only positive thing I can say is that I was out of the rain. Next time I'll drink on the street under an umbrella.

14 Feb 2006 12:28

The Hobgoblin, Tulse Hill

The food is fantastic. The best Mexican food in London by far, and a nice pint of Hobgoblin too.

31 Jan 2006 13:50

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