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BITE user comments - foxski

Comments by foxski

The Central Bar, Shepherds Bush

Time for another update, and not a cheerful one. For the past few years, under the direction of a clever manager or two, this pub had settled into a local reputation as a good Wetherspoons pub. It had a superb range of beers and ciders, both draught and bottled, and was notable for its wide selection of real ales and traditional ciders.

Sadly, in the last few months, the management changed. Since then it's been a rapid slide into mediocrity. The bottled offerings are now all sugary, fake rubbish, and the dominant emphasis at the bar is on lager. Most of the real ale pumps are permanently turned off.

To be fair, on the upside, the new bar staff are just as pleasant as ever, but that does not appease me. Since I can't afford Holland Park pub prices, I'll be buying most of my drinks in the supermarket from now on.

Damn you, Wetherspoons, for letting me live beyond my means for several years, then dumping me into grim reality.

18 Mar 2013 22:17

The Bricklayers Arms, Putney

The Bricklayers Arms is a delightful pub, offering a great range of beautifully kept, high quality ales, and a uniquely relaxing traditional atmosphere. It is one of the best pubs in London.

If only pubs like this were not so extremely rare! Maybe the owner/manager would consider opening a second pub elsewhere in West London? Hint: there's nowhere in North Kensington or Shepherds Bush that holds a candle to the Bricklayers Arms.

26 Dec 2011 21:43

The Central Bar, Shepherds Bush

You could reasonably find fault with a few things about this pub. The atmosphere is noisy, it's usually over crowded, it's hard to find a table, and these days, the food is over-priced and unappealing. But to complain about the real ale selection, like the chap below, is totally ridiculous. This pub has an ever changing selection of real ales, always including guest ales, and sometimes quite a few of them. Occasionally they'll run out of guest ale, but it's very unusual. The ale festivals at JDW are second to none. The fact of the matter is that there is no better real ale pub within miles.

26 Dec 2011 21:10

The Castle, Notting Hill

The Castle has been popular for as long as I can remember, and it's always been worth a visit for the social buzz, but I used to steer clear of it because they used to charge take-the-piss prices and it was always extremely cluttered and hippified. You could hardly move for slightly odd furniture.

That's all changed now. These days they charge just under 3 for a pint of real ale, and what's more, the ale is well kept, the clutter has all gone, it's relaxed modern and unpretentious, and the atmosphere is fun and relaxed. As always, it's a young, noisy and cheerful crowd. 10/10

By the way, that picture is well out of date. It's just the Castle now, not the Warwick Castle.

20 Aug 2010 01:26

The Castle, Holland Park

This pub sells an impressive-looking range of ales but they've absolutely no idea how to keep them, and the staff are all half asleep. If you want to pay 3.40+ for a pint of vinegar, after waiting 15 minutes for service, drink here. Alternatively go to the wonderful Mitre further up Holland Park Avenue or visit their much classier namesake, The Castle in Portobello Road.

20 Aug 2010 01:05

The Mitre, Holland Park

After a bad experience here many years ago, I steered clear of The Mitre for a very long time. Now I wish that I hadn't. I visited The Mitre this month and I was pretty well blown away. Perfectly kept real ales, relaxed clean comfortable and spacious environment, pleasant staff, scrumptious food. It's a beautifully designed, well run modern pub. Also, the prices are appropriate. They're high, because it's Holland Park, but they're not ridiculous. 10/10.

20 Aug 2010 00:54

The Prince of Wales, Holland Park

Depressing news. This pub has been taken over by Shepherd Neame. Forget all about the Timothy Taylor's Landlord, the strawberry beer and other upmarket European lagers. Now you can only buy Shepherd Neame's mediocre ales at 3.40 a pint - not too well kept - or low end lager, also at rip off prices. On the upside, the toilets have been cleaned properly for the first time in 20 years. Amazing! They don't stink of filth or filthy chemicals.

The best pub for drinkers in the area now is, without a doubt, The Mitre on Holland Park Avenue. Excellent for real ale, other drinks, atmosphere and food, although their prices are no better. If you only want sensibly priced, well kept real ale and a lively atmosphere, go to The Castle on Portobello Road. If you want a delicious meal and a glass of wine, go to The Academy, a few yards down the road from here.

20 Aug 2010 00:34

The Scarsdale Tavern, Kensington

The Scarsdale Tavern isn't nearly as good as it thinks it is. The ale is never well kept. The food is nothing special. and is overpriced. The furniture is a bit uncomfortable. The staff are always slightly unfriendly. The whole place is just a bit soulless and crap.

17 Jun 2010 22:16

The Prince of Wales, Holland Park

Still the best pub for miles around. Comfortable, relaxed, cheerful and spacious with a beer garden, a big choice of beers and a consistently perfect pint of Landlord.

17 Jun 2010 20:03

The Central Bar, Shepherds Bush

What's important is the quality of customer service and on that issue, Journolady's comments were spot on. In early 2009 I also witnessed the manager at the time, a youngish bearded bloke, being extremely rude to a female customer. He really was a complete oik. Thankfully, that manager doesn't appear to work there any more. The staff there these days are fine.

This pub has improved generally over the last year. It is a lot cleaner than it used to be, the tables are usually cleared quickly, the food is always ok, and the real ales are being kept properly once again. The Central Bar is never going to win any prizes for atmosphere or decor but it's not hard to see why it's so popular.

28 Apr 2010 18:51

The Black Lion, Bayswater

I dropped into this very international pub a few weeks ago, and despite the fact that it was packed to the rafters with tourists, I enjoyed it. The landlord was really hospitable and friendly. There's only a small range of ale, but it's good stuff, and the food was simple, well-made and tasty. I'd go back there again.

3 Nov 2008 11:26

George IV, Holborn

It's studenty, spacious, cheap and unpretentious, all of which are good things, but the Old Hooky is absolute rubbish. They should learn how to keep ale. 4/10.

11 Oct 2008 16:21

Ye Olde White Horse, Aldwych

I dropped in last night and really liked this little pub. Relaxed atmosphere, Landlord, Harvey's and Wherry were all in excellent condition, the staff were smiley and I loved the music (Dylan, Stones, early Springsteen, etc). I wasn't quite so thrilled about their kitchen closing before 9pm, but oh well, you can't have it all. 9/10 for feel good vibes.

11 Oct 2008 16:15

The Castle, Holborn

I dropped into the Castle recently, attracted by the wide range of guest ales which I'd never seen before. Unfortunately the three I tried were all very flat, with a strangely uniform tang of vinegar. They were all badly kept, and I suspect probably not too well made in the first place. The pub was crammed to the rafters with loud, obnoxious people, so there was nowhere to sit. The only point in this pub's favour is that the bar staff are pleasant. I definitely won't be going back there, regardless of how many ales they offer. The Chancery Lane area is richly endowed with far better alternatives.

1 Oct 2008 02:33

The Crown Tavern, Clerkenwell

This is a great pub, when it's not packed to the rafters. Until recently, I'd always found the Crown too crowded and noisy for my taste. I'd only visited there on Friday evenings when customers spill out onto the street and engage in endless skirmishes with the staff who plead, threaten and cajole them not to stand on a certain section of the pavement (apparently it annoys their neighbours, who call the police). However I had lunch here recently with colleagues, and my perceptions were changed totally. Everyone agreed the food was delicious. What's more the ale was excellent, the atmosphere was sunny and relaxed, and the service was friendly. Really, you couldn't ask for more. I'll be back again for sure, but not on a Friday evening. 9/10

1 Oct 2008 02:19

The Dog and Duck, Soho

For me, despite its narrowness, frequent overcrowding and overspill onto the pavement, this is the best pub in Soho. Or maybe that's even a positive feature - it's a really convivial pub. I like the Victorian tiles and mirrors, and the old fashioned bar furniture. I like the generally friendly and relaxed manner of the bar staff - how on earth do they keep it up, with so many customers in such a small space? But most of all, I like the ales. They're always well kept and - for this area - reasonably priced. A reliable pub offering a great pint of Tim Taylor's Landlord every time, and very occasionally, a place to sit and drink it!

6 Sep 2008 19:11

The Edgar Wallace, Temple

This is a lovely pub with a very pleasant, clean and relaxed atmosphere, and a great range of exceptionally well kept ales. I've never had a better pint of Harveys, anywhere.

29 Nov 2007 13:00

The Central Bar, Shepherds Bush

I've been a long term defender of the Central Bar because despite the horrible decor, the staff are really great, and it's the only place for miles that sells a large range of ales - and until a few months ago, the ales were always very well kept. However, since Wetherspoons introduced the 'super-chilled' system for lagers, the ales have been super-chilled as well - which destroys them. (Ironically, the bottled European lagers are lukewarm!) JD Wetherspoons know about this problem, but they've done nothing to solve it. I've stopped visiting this pub altogether.

8 Jun 2007 12:48

The Clachan, Soho

I'm a bit surprised by the reviews below. I've visited this pub only the once, a couple of months ago, and it was memorable for two things: having great Wadworth 6X on tap and having excellent staff. Well, one person anyway. There was a very sweet Australian girl serving that night, who I noticed was nice to every single customer she served. She was making people laugh. Whoever she was, they were dead lucky to employ her.

9 May 2007 03:23

The Radnor Arms, Kensington

My opinion of this pub has changed massively since my first visit 3 years ago. I visit regularly these days and find the Radnor always feels friendly and welcoming, as well as having excellent ales.

The Radnor Arms is a unique, attractive and well-loved community pub. Losing it will be horrible. I wish there were some way to turn the decision around.

9 Feb 2007 19:09

The Academy, Holland Park

Doesn't anyone else on this site visit the Academy!? Well, two years on, it's time for a new review.

I love this place now. Superb food, friendly staff, modern art on the walls and a fantastic wine list. There's only ale on tap, but it's always in perfect condition. Lovely little bar. I just wish I could afford to eat here more often.

16 Jan 2007 22:42

The Prince of Wales, Holland Park

Time for another review of my ever-changing local pub. The decor is still gorgeous, they've got the ambiance just right, and these days I find the staff invariably to be very friendly. Their ales are irreproachably well kept, and the landlord occasionally buys terrific ones from microbreweries. I just wish they'd get another pump on the bar, and not run out so often.

So for the time being, it's a lovely little pub which deserves support. But a word of caution: don't ever be tempted to eat here! I mean that very sincerely. If you want a fantastic meal, try the Academy a few yards down the road.

16 Jan 2007 22:35

The Scarsdale Tavern, Kensington

For me, this is the best pub in south Kensington, well hidden in a secluded back street. Authentic olde worlde French decor crossed with cosy traditional English pub, complete with open fire. Plenty of character and dark wood. Nicely kept real ales, appealing menu, and neither pretentious nor horribly over-priced. The bar staff are slightly taciturn as people have mentioned, probably because this pub is too popular for its own good. Best visited on a week night if you want to sit down.

16 Jan 2007 00:25

The Salisbury, Leicester Square

Visited this handsome pub two days before Christmas. Found the Young's Winter Warmer and Everards' Sleighbell in excellent condition, and the staff friendly. An amazingly pleasant and relaxed atmosphere, considering the location and Christmas crowds.

25 Dec 2006 12:27

The Crown And Two Chairmen, Soho

On my first visit last Sunday afternoon I found the ambience very pleasant and relaxing, with comfortable traditional surroundings, and a good selection of downtempo and folk music.

I liked the idea of the non-smoking bar upstairs, but the over-loud music and large screen video were intrusive, so I quickly retreated to the more traditional and laid back ground floor.

The barman was friendly enough, and the large menu of affordable snacks and meals looked promising, but unfortunately my highly recommended Sunday roast came doused in chemical gravy, accompanied by tasteless, half-raw vegetables smeared with some sort of bland, oily paste. I will not be eating here again in a Hurry.

Adnams Broadside and a couple of Youngs ales on tap, although the Adnams wasn't actually available. The Youngs Special was in reasonable nick.

This would-be gastropub has done fairly well with the deco and music (non-smoking area excepted) but needs to try a lot harder with the food.

1 Oct 2006 17:16

The Old Red Lion, Kennington

I bought a pint of ale in there last night. There was a drowned beetle - of the cockroach variety - in my glass.

And I actually had to ASK for my money back!

Dear Lord, I'm glad I live in West London.

7 Sep 2006 01:25

The Hillgate, Notting Hill Gate

On my last visit to the Hillgate, the place was hopping with lively, attractive people having a fantastic time. The ale was delicious, the bar staff were friendly and courteous... I simply don't see any basis for all the scathing comments below.

Give me the unpretentious, attitude-free Hillgate any day of the week over the hideously overcrowded and rudely staffed Churchill Arms and Windsor Castle - and occasionally, even over the excellent Uxbridge. Too many loud, over-privileged twits will always destroy a good atmosphere, no matter how hard the staff try.

5 Sep 2006 15:39

The Central Bar, Shepherds Bush

Re the previous comment: Anyone who boasts about drinking three 'sterile' pints of cheap lager in a pub which always offers 6 to 8 real ales, all extremely well kept, and a huge range of international bottled lagers, is saying a lot about themselves and nothing about the pub.

Not only does the Central Bar offer great real ales and pleasant service, the food is a cut above the usual Wetherspoons. Their salads are really nice.

Best of all, everybody is treated politely and made to feel welcome, not just the BBC employees who tend to clutter up the place a bit.

My one criticism : they really should replace the carpet, and the decor is tired to say the least.

23 Jul 2006 18:35

The Central Bar, Shepherds Bush

An exceptionally well-managed Wetherspoons, in fact I think it's the best Wetherspoons in London. Excellent bar staff. It's extremely busy though, and best avoided at weekends. On a week night it's a lot less frantic.

12 Jan 2006 02:38

The Doric Arch, Euston

The clientele here can be awful sometimes, but that's par for the course in a railway station! I find the staff here are always polite, and often friendly. But what really counts is the quality and the range of ales - and over several months I've never once been disappointed. If you want a reliably delicious pint of beautifully kept ale in Central London, then this is your pub. And thanks for the passcode: it has certainly raised standards downstairs. Rating increased to 9/10 (for ale quality).

5 Jul 2005 19:25

The Wenlock Arms, Hoxton

After initial euphoria I'm somewhat less keen on the Wenlock Arms. Over recent months I've often found relatively little choice in the medium strength range. On at least two occasions there were no guest ales on tap between 4.0 and 4.7 whereas I think there should always be at least two. And when trying out unfamiliar ales, I've had very inconsistent experiences at the Wenlock i.e. some ales not terribly well made in the first place. When the beer at the Wenlock is great, it's unbelievably great, but when it's not, well... I've even had to leave a near-full glass on the bar. I've reached the view that the far less atmospheric Head of Steam is a much safer bet for a delicious pint. Rating reduced to 8/10.

5 Jul 2005 19:05

The Academy, Holland Park

This bar now sells Bass. The price is a little higher than average but it's fairly well kept, and the staff are friendly enough.

28 May 2005 19:08

The Prince of Wales, Holland Park

Sadly I have to downgrade my earlier rating. Over a series of recent visits, standards have fallen badly in terms of both ale quality and general atmosphere. On my last visit the music was appalling and the beer prices had been hiked to an outrageous 3 per pint.

28 May 2005 18:58

The Angelic, Islington

Attractive, spacious, modern pub with a pleasant friendly, welcoming atmosphere. During my brief visit, both staff and customers were exceptionally nice. I'll certainly go back there again some time, but unfortunately as others have noted, the drinks are very expensive - 3 for a pint of Bombardier is just too steep.

30 Apr 2005 18:58

Metropolitan Bar, Baker Street

Vast JD Wetherspoons beer hall, right next to Baker Street Station. Quite unusual architecture, upstairs and down. Excellent range of well-kept ales at ultra-low prices. Very popular with youngish, cheerful crowd - always full of huge groups of work colleagues. Takes forever to get served, and usually hard to find a table. I quite like this place, strangely.

30 Apr 2005 18:44

The Angel, Angel, Islington

The creepiest and most depressing JD Wetherspoon I've ever been in, which is saying something. In fact, this place has got to be one of the gateways to Hell. Cheap and nasty, in the cheapest and nastiest sense of the phrase! And full of disgusting, unhygienic and socially uninhibited old men.

30 Apr 2005 18:27

The Bank of Friendship, Highbury

Popular traditional local pub with friendly staff and clientele, selling Courage Best, Directors and London Pride. Pleasant, cheerful atmosphere and a nice sense of community. By far the best pub in the area.

30 Apr 2005 18:11

The Barrowboy and Banker, London Bridge

Lavish spacious upmarket Fullers pub, right on London Bridge. If you're in the area, worth a visit for the architecture alone. Well kept ales, expensive but not outrageously so - seasonal ales at 2.60, ESB at 2.70. A range of pies at 7-8. When I visited in the late afternoon, the atmosphere was quiet and pleasant.

30 Apr 2005 17:58

The White Cross, Richmond

I don't understand the complaints about prices. I paid about 2.50 for a pint here - that's standard across London. Also, apologies to the Triple Crown Inn - it's the White Swan I was thinking of.

30 Apr 2005 17:38

The Central Bar, Shepherds Bush

People love to slag the Central Bar off because it's downmarket, but it's the only place anywhere near Shepherds Bush Green that sells well-kept real ale. In fact, they offer a selection of about twelve real ales at under 2 a pint, which you can drink in a private booth whilst leafing through a book of short stories (or whatever) thoughtfully provided by the management. The social atmosphere is dire, but as the trendier pubs around Shepherds Bush have no idea how to keep cask ales, this pub has almost no competition.

29 Mar 2005 01:33

The Seven Stars, Shepherds Bush

No real ales on view from the street. The horrible, highly priced menu was so unappealing that I bought fish and chips over the road, and went elsewhere for a drink.

29 Mar 2005 01:10

The Andover Arms, Hammersmith

Very attractive, beautifully decorated traditional pub boasting a lovely cat called Thomas and very friendly bar staff. Unfortunately though, on my first visit the Fullers ales - both ESB and Pride - were so badly kept as to be unrecognisable.

29 Mar 2005 01:05

The Goldhawk, Shepherds Bush

Intensely irritating. One of those spacious, well decorated modern pubs with a reasonably priced menu which only sells expensive lager, wine at over 4 a glass, and one obscure, watery and badly kept ale.

29 Mar 2005 00:59

The Glass Works, Angel, Islington

This is a good place to avoid. Terrible music, creepy customers and a hyperactive barman with an attention deficit disorder. I paid for a beer, and then had to ask for it several minutes later after he'd served another half dozen customers. Great toilets though - I'll give them 1/10 instead of 0/10 just for the toilets.

28 Mar 2005 18:19

The Camden Head, Islington

Absolutely beautiful, traditional pub, which is definitely worth a visit for the architecture alone. Unfortunately though, the management seems to be dodgy. They're letting the place run down a bit, and they seem to have a policy of deliberately selling a short pint.

28 Mar 2005 18:04

The King Edward VI (EDVI), Islington

Forget Doctor Who - you can travel back in time to the gay culture of the early 1980s by simply visiting the King Edward VI, where you will experience tacky disco music at top volume, lager and 100% male clientele. In my case, the experience lasted all of 10 seconds.

28 Mar 2005 17:57

The Prince Albert, Angel, Islington

Beautiful, comfortable, traditional pub with a friendly manager. Extremely relaxing place to spend the evening - sofas, leather armchairs and a good selection of board games and books. Unfortunately, the ale had a slightly mouldy taste on my first visit, but I'll definitely give this pub a second chance.

28 Mar 2005 17:50

The Social, Islington

Expensive, crammed to the rafters, unfriendly-to-rude bar staff. Deafening, upbeat music played by an in-house DJ. Very popular with an extremely young crowd.

28 Mar 2005 17:44

The North Star, Hoxton

Spacious, friendly, comfortable and extremely attractive pub - which is unfortunately all completely wasted unless you're interested in drinking cheap cocktails, overpriced and appalling wine, Guinness or lager.

28 Mar 2005 17:40

The Baring, Hoxton

Lively attractive place but a warning to real ale drinkers - this is a strictly wine-and-lager bar.

28 Mar 2005 17:36

The Rosemary Branch, Islington

I love this very attractive theatre pub. The ales are great, the decor is full of character and the service is extremely friendly. (However, avoid this pub on Thursday nights unless you're oblivious to deafening noise. The bloke who runs the pub quiz insists on shouting into his microphone - ouch!)

28 Mar 2005 17:32

The White Cross, Richmond

Excellent range of well-kept Youngs, good traditional food, fantastic location right on the river bank, and (in answer to TheGP) not as expensive as the Triple Crown Inn. Having said all that, I don't like their policy of making customers in the beer garden use flimsy plastic tumblers - there's something very disconcerting about drinking beer from a wobbly glass!

28 Mar 2005 17:21

The White Swan, Richmond

Civilised, attractive modern pub tucked away in a quiet back street near the Green. Comfortable and unsmoky. Upmarket crowd, good (though expensive) food and ale, well chosen rock music at a volume that encourages conversation. Definitely worth a visit for the atmosphere alone.

28 Mar 2005 17:07

The Watermans Arms, Richmond

Small, friendly, traditional pub offering well kept Youngs. Popular, and deservedly so.

28 Mar 2005 17:00

The Prince's Head, Richmond

Spacious, traditional pub overlooking the Green offering well priced London Pride. Relaxed atmosphere. Pleasantly free of smoke, even near the bar area.

28 Mar 2005 16:54

The Triple Crown Inn, Richmond

Small, friendly pub, with excellent range of unusual, well kept ales. Not particularly quiet - it's right next door to a rugby club and on my visit, it was full of players arguing about the game they'd just lost.

28 Mar 2005 16:47

The York, Islington

Very popular football/rugby pub, right near the Angel tube station. Ultra-crowded but astonishingly free of smoke. Well-kept Bombardier. An OK place if all you want is a reliable pint and some breathable air.

12 Mar 2005 11:05

The Wenlock Arms, Hoxton

For me, this is the best pub in London. The real ales here are a revelation - if you love ale, this pub is worth a pilgrimage. The atmosphere is fun, warm and lively. The customers are a right bunch of characters, and the staff even more so. The pub itself is tiny, crowded and very old-fashioned. On Friday nights there's live jazz played by charming elderly gents. Absolutely brilliant.

12 Mar 2005 10:39

The Royal Star, Hoxton

Extremely popular, down at heel family-run local pub with a huge sense of community. The beer is rubbish, but the atmosphere is friendly. Pool table. Football on TV. Theme nights often include free food. If you don't want to go home on the night bus, keep your own eye on the clock.

12 Mar 2005 10:12

The Kings Head, Islington

The King's Head is NOT the only decent pub on Upper Street. The Jorene Celeste sells excellent Abbot Ale and IPA and the staff there are 5 million times friendlier and more genuine. When I visited there was indifferently kept Adnams on tap, and the staff were astonishingly rude. I bought a pub, sat down at the bar, at the only free seat available in the pub, where there happened to be an unstarted game of backgammon and a huge pile of dirty glasses on the bar. I moved a few of the backgammon pieces whereupon one of the staff walked up, said "Sorry, do you mind!" and whipped the game just out of my reach - leaving the dirty glasses where they were. Then another one walked up, shoved his dinner right under my nose and started shovelling it into his mouth. Since he was literally inches away from me I asked him how much it cost, and he scowled and grunted "It's not for sale". Another customer then kindly explained that they only serve food as 3-course pre-theatre meals at 15 a throw. Reading the reviews here I realise now the staff behave this way because they think they're "legends". Pathetic.

7 Mar 2005 08:12

The Prince of Wales, Holland Park

The Prince of Wales just keeps on getting better. The atmosphere is brilliant, the decor is lovely, the music is excellent, the management and staff are great, the ever-changing real ale is always superb... I could go and on! It's a little bit too crowded for me on a Friday night, but any other evening, it's delightfully laid back. My favourite local. May it long flourish! 10/10

20 Feb 2005 22:26

The Spanish Galleon, Greenwich

The staff here are friendly and fun, but on my visit today, the Shepherd Neame ale was atrociously kept. How does real ale acquire a harsh flat taste, a slight fizz and a thick creamy head? What on earth do they do to it? More like keg beer than real ale.

20 Feb 2005 21:52

The Cutty Sark Tavern, Greenwich

Attractive traditional riverside pub with lots of character, friendly service, and a cheerful atmosphere. A great, warm place to spend a cold February afternoon. There's a big range of well kept ales, and the Sunday dinners look inviting. I'll definitely visit again on my next trip to Greenwich.

20 Feb 2005 21:04

The Yacht, Greenwich

Good looking pub with outstanding views of the river. However, it's very smoky, full of loud boring people and dining parties, and the bar staff are just plain rude. I got a snotty look for ordering a half pint, and the ale was only so-so. The Cutty Sark just up the road leaves this place in the dust for atmosphere, friendliness and quality.

20 Feb 2005 20:35

The Greenwich Union, Greenwich

Brilliant, heavingly popular pub offering free samples of their unique range of beers, which makes it easy to choose the right pint. The staff are very friendly, whether you're a local or not. I went in for a quick half and stayed for an hour, relaxing with the Sunday papers. The red beer is fruity, cloudy and sharp - interesting, but not to my taste. The chocolate beer is very delicious, and not as heavy as a stout. I'll be back to try the rest and sample the delicious-looking food.

20 Feb 2005 20:04

The George and Vulture, Hoxton

An authentic, unique, beautifully kept local pub with a warm friendly atmosphere, offering plenty of entertainment while still allowing quiet folk to relax with a well-kept pint of ESB or Pride. So much thought and care - just check out the shelves of music behind the bar. This is a pub in a million.

20 Feb 2005 19:43

The Crown, Covent Garden

Small but full of character. Lovely friendly civilised place with good beer and comfortable furnishings. The staff are really nice people.

20 Feb 2005 19:28

The Academy, Holland Park

The Academy is the kind of trendy upmarket bar that only sells highly priced lager and coffee. Looks pleasant enough, if that's what you're looking for. If on the other hand you want a real pub with ales and atmosphere, go to the Prince of Wales, on the corner of Princedale and Queensdale Roads.

23 Jan 2005 23:09

The Earl of Lonsdale, Notting Hill

Beautiful spacious traditional pub, criminally wasted. Nothing but cheap nasty nitrokeg beers and expensive lagers on offer. Someone at Sam Smiths deserves to be shot for deciding to rip out all the hand pumps. No wonder the place is almost deserted. Ye Gods, this is Portobello Road! Whatever were they thinking of?

23 Jan 2005 22:57

The Old Swan, Notting Hill

Pleasant attractive pub, friendly staff, good range of food. However, when I visited this evening, the real ales were very poorly kept. There were only two on offer. One was cloudy and undrinkable, and although it was replaced without quibble, the alternative was only just barely drinkable. It's a shame, because this pub has improved immeasurably since its old "Rat and Parrot" days.

23 Jan 2005 22:22

The Hillgate, Notting Hill Gate

Interesting, attractive and traditional pub. A little run down, but that's part of its charm. Friendly staff, well kept Bombardier, music at a level that encourages conversation, total lack of pretention.

23 Jan 2005 22:08

The Mitre, Holland Park

Well, I wandered past this evening and it's been renamed and renovated. It's now called The Mitre, and describes itself as a "pub and dining room". It's basically a large, trendy wine bar that does Sunday roasts. No beer, just one or two lagers.

23 Jan 2005 22:00

The Castle, Holland Park

Comfortable, attractive, relaxed and popular pub. Only one real ale available - Bass.

23 Jan 2005 21:53

The Blackfriar, Blackfriars

A very beautiful pub, round the corner from St Paul's Cathedral - worth visiting for the architecture alone. As they say in the menu, it's an "art nouveau Grade II listed masterpiece". Incredible marble, alabaster, brass carvings, mirrors, murals, various objets d'art and a truly wonderful arched room. They do a delicious pint of Timothy Taylor's Landlord (London Pride and other ales were off when I visited on a Sunday afternoon). Friendly, cosy atmosphere, inexpensive tasty meals and a friendly barman. It's also a non-smoking pub, which is a lovely change you're a non-smoker.

16 Jan 2005 22:54

The Mitre, Holland Park

I've lived in this area for 16 years and visited this pub just the once, long ago. Went in with a girlfriend and they demanded that we both produce proof of age, then asked us to leave because we couldn't. We were both over 30. I've always looked young for my age, but this was ridiculous and blatant homophobia. Still, I guess 15 years later I could go back for a second visit. Maybe. Sometime.

15 Jan 2005 18:45

The Ladbroke Arms, Notting Hill

A good range of ales, and comfortable enough if you can find a chair. Personally, I have difficulty enjoying a beer surrounded by extremely wealthy people scoffing huge plates of rich French cuisine. It's right opposite Ladgrove Grove police station, so they probably feel safe coming here.

15 Jan 2005 18:25

The Windsor Castle, Kensington

A lot of the comments below are spot on. The Windsor Castle is well worth a visit for its traditional dark wood and curious low ceilings, but it disappoints in other ways. The staff are unfriendly and inept. The customers are loud and overprivileged, even by Kensington standards. The small range of ales is not well kept, and the food is overpriced. I'm with Gerry on the beer garden that everyone keeps mentioning: Where is the entrance? I've visited this pub half a dozen times, and never seen it.

15 Jan 2005 17:28

The Eagle, Hoxton

Lively, attractive, well-kept pub with modern art on the walls. Young, trendy, noisy crowd. Pleasant and relaxed. They sell a good pint of Wadworth 6X. Haven't tried the food but the menu looks good, and meals are around 7.

15 Jan 2005 15:47

First Out Cafe Bar, Soho

A long-established gay/lesbian cafe-bar with a split personality. Upstairs in the cafe it's pleasant and friendly, with nice veggie food and a good atmosphere. A great place to meet friends in Central London before moving on elsewhere. The bar downstairs however is horrendous. Expensive drinks, wobbly furniture, overcrowded and ultra-harsh acoustics. The noise level makes my ears bleed.

15 Jan 2005 14:39

The Doric Arch, Euston

Straaange... the first floor of an office building converted into something approximating a pub. Scruffy, cheerful and very crowded with CAMRA types on a Friday night. Decorated with phoney railway platform signs and homemade posters offering discount deals on take-home ales. Obviously run on a shoestring, with no budget for toilet paper (or toilet doors for that matter). Upside: a good range of well-kept real ales at reasonable prices.

15 Jan 2005 13:15

The Brook Green Hotel, Hammersmith

A perfect London pub. Gorgeous Victorian architecture, attractive fresh decor, comfortable furniture, lovely high ceilings, lots of space. Well-chosen soul music played at low volume. Welcoming, relaxed atmosphere. And a full range of Youngs beer, well kept.

15 Jan 2005 11:41

The Cittie of Yorke, Holborn

Fantastic pub with unique, magnificent architecture. Ornately carved booths along the side. Interesting tangy malty Sam Smiths beer, great music (acoustic, folk, singer-songwriters). Easy to find - look out for the big black and gold clock.

8 Jan 2005 18:40

The Market Porter, Borough

Amazing, excellent, unusual real ales. Definitely worth finding your way through the crowds to the bar.

8 Jan 2005 17:33

The Wheatsheaf, Borough

Very run down, cramped and smoky. However good the beers, too unappealing to face staying for a drink.

8 Jan 2005 17:30

The Havelock Tavern, Kensington

Dreadful atmosphere. Packed with braying hoorays, deafeningly noisy, very harsh acoustics, charmless modern decor, grindingly slow service. Not even particularly clean! Ten minutes to get served a beer! I didn't bother to wait to find out how good the food was.

8 Jan 2005 16:02

The Melton Mowbray, Holborn

Excellent spacious comfortable pub right near Chancery Lane tube. Great traditional architecture, artistic and interesting modern touches. Check out the wooden horse on the top floor. Pleasant atmosphere even when crowded - it has that City buzz in a good way. Well kept Fullers beers. Not just for suits - quite a few construction workers as well. Definitely worth a visit when you're in the area.

8 Jan 2005 15:27

The Churchill Arms, Kensington

Everytime I've visited with the intention of trying the much-praised Thai food, I've been driven away by the atmosphere. It's always packed to the point where it's difficult to move. There's football on TV. The customers are very noisy, including braying public schoolboys trying their hardest to be offensive. The staff look dazed and stressed out. Obviously it's a very popular place but from my point of view it's just loud, chaotic and scruffy. Horrible.

8 Jan 2005 14:27

The Uxbridge Arms, Notting Hill

I visited here on Christmas Eve and it was lovely. Comfortable, well cared for, with an open fire and friendly staff who make you feel welcome. The customers were a very mixed and cheerful bunch of locals, with a couple of nice dogs wandering around. Brilliant.

8 Jan 2005 14:07

The Laurie Arms, Hammersmith

Great Thai food at excellent prices, lively atmosphere, good music, pleasant sunny decor. Downsides: two very badly kept ales, football on two large screen TVs, 99% male clientele, deafening noise, and extra charge for paying by credit card.

22 Apr 2004 12:41

The Crown and Sceptre, Shepherds Bush

Lovely decor, great atmosphere, nice crowd and pleasant terrace outside. Delicious food at good prices, very good wine, and the staff are friendly and efficient.

My only complaint - when I visited last night they had a ventilation problem of health-endangering proportions, with a cloud of smoke from the kitchen hanging over the whole pub.

22 Apr 2004 12:21

The Anglesea Arms, Hammersmith

Godd, lively atmosphere, pleasantly decorated, and an impressive-looking menu. However the only ale on offer is Adnams, and my glass of wine at 4 was distinctly poor quality. The best pub in this area is the Crown and Sceptre, north of Goldhawk Road.

22 Apr 2004 12:02

Thatched House, Hammersmith

Dropped in for a drink yesterday, having previously visited once a few years ago. I had a very good memory of the place, particularly the outstanding food and atmosphere. However it seems to have changed for the worse. There's a strange atmosphere now, faintly reminiscent of a deconsecrated church, possibly due to all the large candles. The heavy accent on yellow and the fake electric "open fire" with its large wood pile are slightly depressing. Worst of all, though, was the price of wine - 5-7 per glass, with equally steep prices by the bottle! Had a poorly kept Youngs instead - not a good experience.

22 Apr 2004 11:51

Astons, Kensal Green

Tried this pub out last night. Plus points: excellent Sardinian wine by the glass, and the staff serving tables were very pleasant. Other than that I have nothing good to report. The barman was curt, rude and incompetent. He served the wine with crud floating all over the top and replaced it without apology. The food was ok, nothing special. The music was horrendous - a bizarre mixture of the worst 80s pop, rap and some other cacaphonous crap. Coupled with harsh acoustics, the overall ambience was horrible. No wonder neighbouring pubs are heaving on a Friday night while this poorly furnished, sloppily decorated place remains three quarters empty.

17 Apr 2004 11:23

The William IV, Kensal Green

Great, lively, buzzing atmosphere. Heaving on a Friday night, but very pleasant with it, even for someone not much into crowded pubs. The staff are lovely, and the customers are fun to watch. Huge place with large and small rooms, nooks and crannies, and large beer garden. Wine by the glass is very good, but expensive.

17 Apr 2004 10:56

The Crown and Sceptre, Kensington

What a lovely pub!! Really well designed and beautifully decorated in warm colours, so you feel cheerful the moment you walk in. The customers are a great, mixed crowd - there's a lively, fun, upbeat atmosphere. Well kept real ales including some unusual ones. Good range of wines by the glass or the bottle, at excellent prices. I tried the Mexican food on a Thursday evening - it wasn't recognisably Mexican, but it was an generous serving of tasty, fresh and healthy food - delicious! The service is outstanding - the staff simply couldn't be any nicer. Absolutely brilliant on every count.

9 Apr 2004 01:22

The Hand and Flower, Kensington

I really like this well-appointed pub. Large, airy, high ceilings, comfortable furnishings, big tables - and plenty of space. The bar staff are friendly, laid back, with a sense of humour. Great music too - rock, blues, indie, and pop - played at just the right volume. Altogether a good experience.

9 Apr 2004 01:06

The Radnor Arms, Kensington

Old fashioned, no-frills pub with an almost spartan feel and a distinctive atmosphere. The Everards Tiger is OK and the staff are fine. The modest TV in the corner of the back room plays ye olde classic pop music at just the right volume. However, the saddo customers are off-putting and intrusive, and the atmosphere is a bit depressing. Best pubs to visit near here are the Cumberland Arms, the Crown and Sceptre, or the Hand and Flower.

9 Apr 2004 00:35

The Britannia Tap, West Kensington

Tiny, cosy and very attractive pub which is well looked after. The female bar staff are welcoming and the Youngs beer is well priced. Unfortunately the customers give off a strong vibe of "this is a local pub for local people" - and given how crowded it is, that makes it hard to relax. Other negative points are the gigantic TV screen showing football, and loud disco-style music. It's obviously wildly popular with regulars but I can't recommend it to solo visitors. The best pubs in this area are the Cumberland Arms (superb food and atmosphere), the Crown and Sceptre (lively warm fun atmosphere, good food, great prices), and (in a quiet, airy, laid back sort of way) the Hand and Flower.

9 Apr 2004 00:13

The Albion, West Kensington

This well-kept smallish pub looks ok, has a good range of real ales and wines, and the bar staff are fine. Unfortunately it's impossible to spend any time there enjoyably because they play godawful pop music at an intrusive volume, and the place seems to attract lots of noisy drunks - which ruins the atmosphere completely.

8 Apr 2004 23:46

Richard I, Greenwich

Spent one very happy afternoon here, drinking Youngs beer, having a leisurely lunch, relaxing and reading the papers. Lovely old pub with patio garden and very attractive, sunny bar with a tall curved window giving a "conservatory" feel. Quiet, pleasant and civilised.

4 Apr 2004 23:18

The Lamb and Flag, Covent Garden

Great pub with Directors and guest ale. Live trad jazz band on Sunday evenings. Only drawback is their strange habit of reserving all the empty tables near the stage for hours before the band arives, while customers stand.

4 Jan 2004 20:28

The Queens Head, Hammersmith

A sadly deteriorated, shabby pub which used to be one of the best in West London. Reeks so badly of stale smoke that I can't bear to go inside.

What a waste of a lovely beer garden. If only a decent management team would take it over...

9 Aug 2003 15:47

The Bell and Crown, Chiswick

A great pub on Strand on the Green, with lovely river views and fantastic food. Perfect venue for a slap-up Sunday lunch.

9 Aug 2003 14:28

The Dove Inn, Hammersmith

My favourite Hammersmith pub. Lovely old place with balcony seats and well-kept beers. Fantastic views on summer evenings at high tide.

9 Aug 2003 14:17

The Station, North Kensington

Well I went in at last, and I've got to admit that the drinks, staff and beer garden are great. Love those ferns and fairy lights.

However, the prices are quite high, the acoustics in the bar are ear-jarring, and the very loud bass-heavy music is horrible.

Outdoors - great. Indoors - like All Bar One in EC1 but with extra noise, if that's imaginable.

9 Aug 2003 14:00

The Station, North Kensington

I'm amazed to read Steph's comments - it's as though we're thinking of different pubs.

I've lived near this pub for 20 years and used to drop in quite often for the music when it was known as Bob's Goodtime Blues Bar. It was famous for live music and had lots of character and a great atmosphere, though it was very down at heel and smoky. A few years ago it was refurbished, which was kind of exciting at the time, because I thought AT LAST there'd be a really good pub in the area. No such luck. Admittedly it looks ok-ish, but all the original character has gone. I've tried going in many times but every time I was stopped in my tracks at the door by a wall of foul-smelling odour -exactly like an unwashed ashtray.

So I've never had a chance to sample the good food and drink, meet the friendly staff or visit the beer garden. I didn't even know they'd created a beer garden! I guess I'll have to give it another try because presumably that can't smell as bad as the rest of the place does.

29 Jun 2003 19:26

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