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The Railway Bell (JD Wetherspoon), Barnet

13 East Barnet Road

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Pub Type

J D Wetherspoon

Reviews (Current Rating Average: 6 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Pub SignMan left this review about The Railway Bell (JD Wetherspoon)

Just over the road form New Barnet station, this is a Wetherspoons pub that makes good use of an existing pub premises, giving it more of a 'pubby' feel than many of their outlets. It's quite a novelty to walk straight into a 'Spoons and be immediately confronted by the servery, as is the case here, where the bar runs along the right hand wall almost from the point you enter the room. Just before the bar, there is a slightly raised lounge where a few sofas and padded chairs are squeezed in beneath the front windows. The servery is predominantly a modern pine affair, split halfway along by a large pillar and with a pub mirror as the centrepiece of the bar back. The usual high tables and stools fill the limited space opposite the bar, whilst tub chairs appear further to the left, screened behind several sections of wall that suggest a probable two bar layout prior to Wetherspoons arrival. A TV on the side wall was showing muted rolling news coverage and there were some fancy light fittings made from twined pieces of wood, which looked pretty good. Beyond the bar, you emerge into a large, bright conservatory-style area which is rammed full with standard tables and chairs, reminiscent of the way some 'Spoons airport bars are furnished. Big windows run in a semi-circle around the back of the room, providing plenty of natural light and looking out to the garden area beyond, whilst an open kitchen can be viewed to the rear right. The usual 'Spoons info boards were present, but in general I felt there was a lot less on show around the pub compared to the average Wetherspoons.
The ten handpulls were clipped with four 'Spoons regulars and six guest ales - five of which were from London-based micro breweries. Several boxes of cider, as part of the ongoing Cider Festival, were available in the fridges. I had a pint of Redemption Urban Dusk (£2.60) which poured very flat and lifeless but retained a good deal of flavour until about two-thirds of the way down. Staff were very efficient and pleasant - not always a given in this particular chain.
I wasn't really expecting anything special from this place but I warmed to it pretty quickly, thanks in part to the friendly staff, good local beer range and comparatively comfortable, pub-like surroundings (something that admittedly wears off the further back into the pub you go). A shame that my pint wasn't in the bet of shape, but overall this left a positive impression and has to be considered a good bet for this part of town.

On 24th July 2016 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2446 recommendations about 2446 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Aqualung . left this review about The Railway Bell (JD Wetherspoon)

Update 07/03/2014

I have to say that the refurbishment here has removed any sort of pub atmosphere. It's now more like a restaurant or a travel lounge. Having said that, it does look different to most Spoons. The furniture is a mix of the usual sort of tables and chairs but with a pine finish, and more informal armchairs surrounding non-dining tables. The large conservatory at the back brings in lots of natural light. The customer base varied from small groups of women drinking coffee, a few older couples in for food, a pair of builders, a few daytime Spoons types and a shambolic PUG correspondent.

As far as the beer goes all ten handpumps were going with no duplicates and no Available Soon. There were the two GK beers, London Pride, Doom Bore, Conwy Infusion, Quantock Will's Neck, Adnam's / Sixpoint Make It Rain, Loddon Hullabaloo, Adnam's Lighthouse and Tring Colley Dog.
I went for the Will's Neck (£2.25) plus the Make It Rain and Colley Dog (£2.40). All three were in superb condition. I have to say that I enjoyed the three pints tried here more than the following three in other Barnet pubs, all of which cost over £1 a pint more.
The beer quality has improved since my visit as the old Railway Bell and it is actually slightly cheaper.
Unfortunately Wetherspoons currently have a promotion on for Doom Bore, London Pride and Adnam's Broadside where they guarantee that at least one of these boring beers will always be available. Sadly in this case there were two both being sold at 30p a pint more than the standard guest ales. There were no Locale beers on offer. My rating remains at 8 based on the excellent beer quality.

Visit 17th May 2012

This is an original pub as opposed to a shop/office/bank/dairy/cinema conversion and is all the better for it. There is plenty of daylight and it actually feels like a pub. The service was quick and the Old Growler (£2.59) was in reasonably good condition. As it was before 11:00am I suspect it may have been sitting in the pipes, but it was perfectly drinkable.
The prices are dearer than I am generally used to, but each Spoons seems to have its own pricing policy nowadays.

This is the only Spoons I have visited that has an almost functional dart board, I say almost because there is no mat or metal bar showing where to stand.

I would quite like to visit tbis area again as there is a GBG listed Greene King pub within a very short walk and tied McMullens and Charles Wells houses only a few minutes walk away.

On 9th March 2014 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2143 recommendations about 2143 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Alesonly . left this review about The Railway Bell (JD Wetherspoon)

This Pub seems to be getting better since refurbish and extended. The front part is OK and still has a bit of a modern pub feel that is where the bank of 10 hand pumps are now. But the back part now resembles sitting in an Ikea canteen complete with stainless steel food serving counter at rear & low down soft seating that's not conducive to drinking. This Spoons seems to be deliberately set up to be food led and judging by the number of people just eating its working. Gone are the dart board and every other traditional pub feature except a few large screens which are set up to continually advertise cheap grub when not showing sport. Now onto the Ales glad to say this seems to have improved vastly in the last few weeks there were six guest Ales on tap Duchards Old Empire London Pride ESB Hobgoblin Hophead plus Ruddles and Abbots nothing outstanding but a good selection. Its not a bad pub for a few quick pints but there are much better drinking Pubs nearby such as The Builders Arms The Railway Tavern or the Lord Kitchener all much better real pubs.

On 9th January 2014 - rating: 5
[User has posted 132 recommendations about 105 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Rex Rattus left this review about The Railway Bell (JD Wetherspoon)

This is a ‘spoons, so obviously you get the usual cheap beer and food. When you enter, the bar counter’s on the right and you have to walk past the pillar to see a second bank of pumpsdown at he far end of the counter. The first bank has the Ruddles Best and the like, so it’s definitely necessary to see what the second bank has to offer.

This ‘spoons is a bit unusual in that it’s not a high street conversion, but is housed in an original pub. But the furnishings are typical ‘spoons. There are a couple of interesting features however. This one has a functioning dartboard, and among the usual decor featuring matters of local interest there is a framed diagram of the Barnet railway junction switching arrangements. It’s not every day that you see one of those in a pub! As you might expect, there’s a pub garden at the back.

This is a perfectly decent ‘spoons, and certainly better than many that I’ve been in.

On 19th May 2013 - rating: 5
[User has posted 2575 recommendations about 2493 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Alesonly . left this review about The Railway Bell (JD Wetherspoon)

I liked this Pub & its not too bad for a Wetherspoons looks like a Traditional Pub. They had some good Real Ales on Tap when I went in including Black & Tan & Jalpur. I found the Staff were very polite and helpful. I went out to the back conservatory part as it was crowded in the front part. I Sat out at the back in conservatory That was Big mistake as it was freezing and this was not helped by nicotine addicts going In & Out the back door every few minuets. But all in all it was a nice Pub and I will return if passing.

On 15th October 2010 - rating: 8
[User has posted 132 recommendations about 105 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

john mcgraw left this review about The Railway Bell

For a Wetherspoon's this is a very good pub which is more in the way of a traditional pub. A medium sized single bar with a conservatory and an outside drinking area. Even the staff seem to be on the ball. A good selection of guest ales. 5 minutes walk from New Barnet Railway station.

On 25th January 2009 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2043 recommendations about 2024 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Steve C left this review about The Railway Bell (JD Wetherspoon)

Typical Spoons pub, nothing much else to say, except that they have had a Christmas tree and decorations up for a week already.

On 30th November 2007 - rating: 5
[User has posted 3586 recommendations about 3565 pubs]