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The Coal Hole, Strand, WC2

92 Strand

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Pub Type

Nicholsons (Mitchells & Butlers)
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Reviews (Current Rating Average: of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Brainy Pool left this review about The Coal Hole

last pub we visited before heading off to the rugby league Challenge Cup final on 24th August. a classy Nicholsons place on the Strand serving several platters of small pies when we were here. We sat outside in the alley with a view of the Thames. Nice pub but very much a central London pub in price and atmosphere.

On 31st August 2019 - rating: 6
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custodian 42 left this review about The Coal Hole

Nicholson's pub with no real ale above 4.5% ABV. Very busy and expands out at the back and upstairs.

On 1st February 2017 - rating: 5
[User has posted 1672 recommendations about 1670 pubs]

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Just a quick pint, then I'm off left this review about The Coal Hole

A very good Nicholsons, with an interesting interior and nothing like as dull as the name suggests! Very busy, and difficult to find a seat (although it is usually worth investigating the small gallery in the rear corner because not everybody seems to notice this extra space). Also has the smaller Edmunds Bar downstairs, although the tables are generally set aside for those dining. Usually has a decent selection of well-kept beers from the bank of six handpumps on the front part of the main counter plus the additional six further back (and another four - usually duplicated - below). However, this was unusually restricted on my latest visit, with 'just' NPA, Pride, Truman's Zephyr, Rev James from Brains, Cotleigh Tawny Owl and Bays Pure Gold (£4.60) on offer.

On 8th January 2017 - rating: 8
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Bucking Fastard left this review about The Coal Hole

This Nicholson's house has a very interesting interior,well worth exploring.I really liked the mosaic tiled entrance,the leaded front windows and the plasterwork frieze below the high beamed ceiling.The many high tables didn't feel out of place and a small raised seating bench in red leather near the entrance was a comfortable place to sit.Further around the L shaped interior is a fine stone fireplace and wooden staircase up to a mezzanine level,away from the throng around the bar.Downstairs leads to Edmunds Bar and Dining,which follows the same traditional wooden theme and has it's own bar with 4 handpumps serving a subset of ales from upstairs.The street level entrance to Edmunds is also beautifully picked out by mosaic tiles.Most tables will be used by diners down here,but drinkers can also be accomodated here,again it's generally a quieter spot.
At the bar there are two ranks of six handpumps with the ale range doubled up.On my trip the options were Nicholsons Pale Ale,Exmoor Going for Gold,London Pride (reversed),Trumans Runner,Hadrian Border Brewery Tyneside Blonde,and a decent Salopian Hop Twister.A good range,which makes this a reliable and interesting place to drink in theatreland and worth including on any real ale crawl of the area.This revisit was after a long absence,and I had forgotten how enjoyable a visit can be.

On 6th August 2016 - rating: 8
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hondo . left this review about The Coal Hole

Nicholson's pub with an L shaped interior and a small area upstairs at the back. 12 real ale taps.

On 9th October 2015 - no rating submitted
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Real Ale Ray left this review about The Coal Hole

I can't believe this was my first visit to the Coal Hole, as when I worked next door in the Savoy, Richard Harris invited me for a pint in here on several occasions. A lost opportunity to have had a pint with a great character and his pal Peter O'Toole. I have to agree with Thuck Phat, the beer quality was excellent. Six ales on our visit, I went for the Whitstable Pale Ale and a very good pint of London Pride.

On 14th January 2014 - rating: 9
[User has posted 2975 recommendations about 2975 pubs]

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Thuck Phat left this review about The Coal Hole

The real point about the Coal Hole is that it is consistently busy and is therefore getting through a lot of real ale, which as a consequence tends to be of decent quality. I've never had a bad pint of TT Landlord, which always seems to be on, in there. A recent visit again saw the Landlord on top form and the Coal Hole is one of the best places in London to sample this great, but often badly treated, beer. MARCH 2010


There are some very good reviews of The Coal Hole below which I'll try not to repeat.
It can get very busy especially at 'cocktail hour' between 5 and 7 so worth noting that if you head to the back of the pub it can be calmer and there is a galleried area which often has space. Handy especially if you're indulging in one of their decent pies. The gents is also very cramped.
At the front is a bank of 5 handpumps with another 6, often with different beers on, further down the bar.
My recent visit found on: Brains Rev. James, Leeds Midnight Bell, Acorn Barnsley Bitter, Doom Bar, Tribute, Brentwood HoHoSoHo, Thornbridge Jaipur IPA and Itchen Valley St Nichs Tipple. The latter two were in good condition and whistled down. TT Landlord no longer appears after being a regular for many years. A victim of TT's premium pricing I'd guess. Something of a shame as it was a guaranteed, and rare in these parts, quality pint of Landlord but the selection above has something for everyone.
A quality boozer, well worth a visit for the range and quality of ale.

UPDATE December 2013

The Coal Hole remains reassuringly unchanged with this visit seeing Nicholson's in full Christmas swing on the ale front with a couple of these exclusive to Nicholson's apparently.
On tap were: Nicholson's Pale Ale (brewed by Tribute), Pride, Purity Saddle Black - excellent and very well kept, Brains I see Santa, Sam Adams Blonde Ambition, Truman's US PPale, Adnams Rudolf Nose Best and Harviestoun Sleigh Driver. A decent and festive selection with everything that we tried in good nick.
As ever, well worth a visit.

On 6th December 2013 - rating: 9
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E TA left this review about The Coal Hole

Well described below, this convenient and convivial watering hole run by Nicholsons had 8 ales on, 2 from Belgium during this latest. Of historical interest, it reputedly hosted ad hoc performances by Gilbert and Sullivan and was supposed ot have been the coal cellar for the Savoy Hotel. This time I had Foxy Blonde, which was OK but maybe a bit over the hill, and two other beers which were in much better condition. Decent music on the jukebox, pleasant atmosphere, staff were a bit supercilious, clientele mostly post-performance theatre goers. Overall a good pub with historic associations.

On 14th November 2013 - rating: 7
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Blackthorn _ left this review about The Coal Hole

A good sized pub immediately adjacent to The Savoy which of course makes for a handy pit stop if you’re staying at the hotel and don’t want to pay £15 for a cocktail in their American bar (or up to £5,000 incidentally if you opt for one made with very rare vintage spirits...). The windows at the front of the pub are etched with “SWL” and according to a London Pubs book I have this is rumoured to stand for Savoy Wine Lodge hinting at a history more closely associated with the hotel than is the case today. However, that contradicts other learned posters below, so it may not be accurate!

It’s essentially an upside down L-shape bar with a high ceiling and the addition of a further mezzanine floor at the rear. Chequered tiling is on the floor and there are plenty of beams on the ceiling, although these look reasonably modern. The windows at the front are leaded glass, and an interesting feature was a plaster frieze running around the top of the room that looked to be Roman influenced with maiden’s eating bunches of grapes. There is some wood panelling on the walls, and a plasma was stuck slightly incongruously in one corner although this was not in use. An old stone fireplace was at the back. The music was slightly louder than would be my personal preference, but then it was a Friday evening so I suppose that’s excusable.

Some unusual beers on tap which were Harviestoun Old Engine Oil, World Top Bitter, London Pride, Nicholson’s Pale Ale and Brain’s Captain Cat. The solitary cider was Aspall’s Suffolk, unless you count the mulled one that was available.

On 12th February 2013 - rating: 7
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John Bonser left this review about The Coal Hole

Update – January 2013

Several recent visits have led me to conclude that this is one of Nicholsons better outlets, both in terms of beer quality and range, together with its traditional atmosphere. It’s listed in the 2013 CAMRA Good Beer Guide.

Last Saturday, beers on included Wold Top Bitter, Lancaster Bomber, Thorbridge Jaipur IPA, Bristol Beer Factory Californian, Halfpenny London Stone, Harviestoun Old Engine Oil, plus London Pride and Nicholsons ( St Austells )

One niggle – not sure if the heating had broken down, but it was distinctly nippy inside on my visit, with most people keeping their coats and scarves on. Let’s hope it’s warmer next time.

Original Review – February 2010

Well known Nicholsons pub situated half way down The Strand in the midst of theatreland – indeed it’s next door to The Savoy Theatre.

It’s a longish L shaped bar with a high beamed ceiling and fine plasterwork friezes high up around the walls featuring nubile young ladies picking grapes. Of note also are the unusual circular leaded windows where the letters SWL can be seen in places – this denotes the establishment’s former name of Strand Wine Lodge in days long gone.

At the far end of the pub – by the atmospheric and cosy Wolf Parlour – are some stairs to an upstairs mezzanine area, from where you can often sit in a bit more comfort watching the throng down below. Downstairs from the main bar is the Edmunds Ale and Wine Bar with a typical wine bar ambience, rather different from the main pub upstairs at ground level.

A former In Coope pub, it was absorbed into the Nicholsons chain a good many years ago. On my recent Saturday lunchtime visit, the usual Nicholsons suspects were on the pumps – TT Landlord, Pride, GK IPA and Thwaites Nutty Black. Also on was a beer called Organic Cragg Vale Bitter from the Little Valley Brewery in West Yorkshire, which I didn’t get to sample.

The pub is often busy with theatregoers or people from The Savoy next door and is a popular meeting up place, but it’s worth calling in if you get the chance

On 21st January 2013 - rating: 8
[User has posted 560 recommendations about 560 pubs]

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