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Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, St Albans Central, St. Albans

16 Abbey Mill Lane
St. Albans

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

Danny O'Revey left this review about Ye Olde Fighting Cocks

Old pub, a little different in design and shape, very popular with outside spaces & near abbey. Good selection of beers

On 18th September 2019 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1248 recommendations about 1225 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Gill Smith left this review about Ye Olde Fighting Cocks

Called into this 2018 Good Beer Guide pub while on a CAMRA coach trip and found a decent selection of ales on the bar. There were 3 ales from Farr Brew so we tried all 3 of them, served n half pint jugs. The best bitter, Black listed and Prima Donna all good. Old pub with lots of nooks and crannies. We enjoyed sitting outside the front on the massive pews with matching long thin tables.

On 17th October 2017 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1296 recommendations about 1186 pubs]

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Alan Winfield left this review about Ye Olde Fighting Cocks

The Ye Olde Fighting Cocks is a really nice looking pub that i had problems finding,but the tourists did not have the same problem as i did.
Once inside the pub is described by better people than me,but there were a few different areas off the main bar area,some are carpeted and others not,the seating is mainly normal tables and chairs.
There was a good choice of real ales on the bar,i had a drink of Dark Star Hop Head,which went down very well,the other real ales noted were Harvistoune Bitter & Twisted,Hop Back Summer Lightening,Farr Brew Pale,Farr Brew Black Listedand one from Roosters.
The pub was very busy with drinkers and diners and children.
There was decent background playing.
I liked the pub but not seem to feel that comfortable in it,which was a shame.

Pub visited 24/6/2017

On 10th September 2017 - rating: 8
[User has posted 6113 recommendations about 6113 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Ian Mapp left this review about Ye Olde Fighting Cocks

Been three years since my last visit.

Beer wise, things have improved - 8 real ales on and a much broader selection. Enjoyed my Woodforde Wherry.

Food Wise, I was a little disappointed to see laminated chainy style menus. I remember when it was ever changing nightly printed out A4.

Everything else as I remember and a must visit pub. Just to say you've been to (one of) the oldest pubs in England.

Visit blogged at

On 6th July 2017 - rating: 9
[User has posted 276 recommendations about 275 pubs]

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Pub SignMan left this review about Ye Olde Fighting Cocks

One of the handful of pubs that likes to promote itself as Britain’s oldest surviving public house, this place is also on the long list of places which reputedly sheltered Oliver Cromwell for a night during his civil war pub crawl of the mid 1600’s. The pub is said to have tunnels leading from the cellars to the nearby Abbey and the building has a highly unusual octagonal shape which is apparently due to its original use as a medieval dovecote. Today you enter into a bare boarded lobby and bar area with a single table to the left under a TV screen showing promotional material, with a display cabinet opposite full of various interesting bits including a signed guitar, beer bottles, awards and the like. The bar is to the rear left and has a low dark wood counter with a nice old door to one side. Opposite the bar there is a quarry stone floored dining room with two rows of standard tables and chairs plus a few pews to the rear. The room has low wood panelling, plain mirrors, old pictures and maps on the walls and a dartboard to the rear. It looked like a fairly cold and relatively uninviting space compared to the rest of the pub and was mainly being used by those enjoying a bite to eat. A door to the left of the entrance takes you into the main part of the pub – a real tangle of a room which zigzags its way around the left hand portion of the building. The room is carpeted with an incredible old low beam ceiling and a lot of chair and pew seating along the various oddly positioned partitioning screens and walls. You eventually reach a nice angular servery to the rear, under an incredible large lintel beam with a somewhat incongruous modern bar back. An upright piano stands in one corner, there is a stuffed bird in a case near the entrance and a huge inglenook fireplace incorporating a bread oven can be found to the right. Some steps at the back of the room lead down to a small lounge-style area with sofas and warm shaded walls covered with mirrors and various old documents and pictures. Easy listening music played quietly in the background and I noticed a decent sized beer garden through a rear doorway.
There were four ales available in the first bar – Farr Brew Pale and Black Listed, Siren Half Mast and Three Brewers of St Albans IPA. More cask ale was available in the other bar, but the room was completely full and I couldn’t see past the bar blockers to figure out what else was available. I wasn’t too worried though, as my pint of the Half Mast was plenty good enough. The pub seems to have some sort of relationship with Farr Brew, whose bottles were being promoted throughout.
This is a lovely pub with a great location between the Cathedral and Verulamium Park, making it a perfect stop-off point for anyone checking out the main tourist spots. I enjoyed exploring this interesting old building and thought it had been able to stay the right side of the historic pub/tourist-trap divide. A decent beer range and some friendly service rounded out a good visit and this has to be a must-do for anyone visiting St Albans.

On 24th April 2017 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2323 recommendations about 2323 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Steve of N21 left this review about Ye Olde Fighting Cocks

A return visit since a while to this fine old historic pub and good to find it functioning a bit less restaurant and a bit more traditional pub since my last visits a couple of years ago.
The food focus is still there but the focus on decent beers has certainly improved and a much better choice is now provided from double the number of pumps available before and the varied choice for this visit has been well reported below.
Also went for a very decent pint of Mad Squirrels Milk Stout, and as we were in late afternoon and most of the lunchtime diners had departed the main section I was able to enjoy it looking down at the original cock fighting pit area as I used to in my student days.
Very happy to find it in better form and be able to up the rating for the old girl.

On 23rd August 2015 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1673 recommendations about 1622 pubs]

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Quinno _ left this review about Ye Olde Fighting Cocks

Characterful rambling multi-level pub, wonderfully located by Verulamium Park and another ‘oldest pub in country’ self-nominees. Low dark wood beams and inglenook fireplace inside with maroon paintwork walls, though modernisation has crept in here and there. Apparently built around an octagonal pigeon house that was relocated here a few hundred years back. The low recess is purportedly the old cock fighting pit though as mentioned below, darts is its modern use. Eight ales split over two bars and a good selection too - Harbour APA, Purity UBU, Mad Squirrel Milk Stout (very good nick), Brains Rev James Gold, Woodfordes Norfolk Champion, Glamorgan Lemon Time, Hop Back Summer Lightning, Robinsons Trooper. Beware, it’s an expensive place.

On 1st August 2015 - rating: 8
[User has posted 3912 recommendations about 3900 pubs]

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Just a quick pint, then I'm off left this review about Ye Olde Fighting Cocks

Very characterful old pub, but whether it can really substantiate its claim to be "Britain's oldest pub according to the Guinness Book of Records" I somewhat doubt (given the pedigree of some of the other candidates for this accolade). Formed from several adjoining buildings, including the main octagonal structure at the front which was once a dovecot and contains a small seating area in what is supposed to be the original cock-fighting pit. A few patio tables out the front but a much larger beer garden to the rear. Eight real ales from a bank of four handpumps in each of the two bars, including a decent pint of Mad Squirrels Milk Stout (£4.10). Worth a visit if in the area.

On 27th July 2015 - rating: 7
[User has posted 5735 recommendations about 5735 pubs]

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Real Ale Ray left this review about Ye Olde Fighting Cocks

An interesting pub steeped in history and well worth a look in, if you're prepared to pay £4.20 for a pint for Hopback Summer Lightning. I enjoyed a quick visit here as a pub tourist and had a good look around, but wouldn't make this my local.

On 26th July 2015 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2859 recommendations about 2859 pubs]

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moby duck left this review about Ye Olde Fighting Cocks

A lovely old pub in a nice setting, I cant add anything to the descriptions below but found the range of beer available to be very good and my beer of choice on this leg of our extensive pub crawl was My Darling Lemontime from Glamorgan, and like Malden man found it to be top notch. Well worth a visit this one.

On 25th July 2015 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1284 recommendations about 1272 pubs]

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