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New pub visits 2022 with Tris39 on the Pub Forum

The Edgar Wallace, Temple, WC2

40 Essex Street

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 8 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Tris C left this review about The Edgar Wallace

Dating back to at least 1777 and rebuilt in 1891, this renamed from the Essex Head to the Edgar Wallace in 1975, to commemorate the century since the author’s birth; his crime novels adorn shelves by way of décor.
Of great note here, is the vast collection of fags ‘n’ beer themed memorabilia; at last, a pub where the publican has got its priorities right. There are also old soap powder boxes, with thousands of beer maps to the ceiling; it’s like drinking in the Museum of Brands. There are also a great many pump clip faces too, hinting at the pubs main strength. Furniture is higgledy-piggledy, the floor is part grey lino or carpeted; customers are somewhat eccentric, certainly not barristers’ clerks, given the pub’s location and giving the place a good vibe, both floors packed out.
Sadly, this is no longer the ale mecca of yore, with four unused clips, the increasingly repetitive Landlord, but then Bath Gem, Southwark’s Bankside Blonde and Mayflower Session IPA, which was absolutely excellent and reasonable value – for the area – at £4.95 a pint, served by a fine old-school landlady.
This is an excellent pub, but needs to get more ales on to avoid its ‘destination ale house’ status slipping; four – including Landlord – just doesn’t really cut it, especially given the Harp’s full line-up, down the road. Nevertheless, it’s certainly worth a visit, even if it should really carry a government health warning.

On 26th November 2021 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1502 recommendations about 1481 pubs]

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hondo . left this review about The Edgar Wallace

Nice exterior with leaded square windows. The interior is quite small with the walls covered in adverts and the ceiling covered in beer mats. 7 real ales on during my visit.

On 25th November 2016 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2818 recommendations about 2760 pubs]

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Real Ale Ray left this review about The Edgar Wallace

An interesting traditional pub, with an array of memorabilia around all the walls and ceilings covered in pump clips and beer mats. Eight ales on chrome handpumps on our visit. We tried a couple of halves, which were Crouch Vale Brewers Gold and their Edgar Wallace. Both beers were in fine fettle, the downside was they cost £4.60. The pub is only open Mon - Fri.

On 29th July 2015 - rating: 8
[User has posted 3073 recommendations about 3073 pubs]

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Rex Rattus left this review about Edgar Wallace

I paid one of my regular visits to this pub on a Friday lunchtime recently. It remains a Mecca for real ale enthusiasts. It does have one downside though - they allow tables to be reserved at lunchtimes, and when I was in all but the two tables in the middle of the downstairs room were reserved, as well as about half in the small upstairs room. But we were in early enough to bag one of the unreserved tables upstairs, and as we planned to eat were not deterred by the fact that all the upstairs tables were laid for diners. I reckon it would have been standing room only by 12.30, which can be galling when you can see several unoccupied, but reserved tables. On the plus side however, there are signs on tables saying that they don't allow job interviews to be conducted here and that it is a pub and not to be used as an office.

The upstairs room had a similar sort of (tobacco-themed) decor as downstairs, but I did spot a first for me here - a coin operated Tampax dispenser behind the bar counter, which I can only assume to be a bizarre piece of decor. Even Antic pubs don't have them as decorative features! This remains a great pub but, at least on weekday lunchtimes, it seems to be more of a restaurant than a pub. Worth a visit nonetheless.

On 4th December 2013 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2596 recommendations about 2510 pubs]

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Just a quick pint, then I'm off left this review about The Edgar Wallace

Smallish main bar, and surprisingly dark despite the high ceiling and large windows on two sides. There is also a smaller bar up the chunky wooden staircase that takes up one corner. If looking for real ale, you might initially think that you've entered the wrong pub as the handpumps are strangely hidden away round the back of a large pillar. However, once found, you will see an excellent array of eight real ales from around the U.K. On my latest visit, I had an excellent pint of Titanic Plum Porter (£4.05) but noted the 'house' Edgars Pale Ale, TT Landlord, Woodforde's Wherry, Milestone American Pale Ale and Three B's Stoker's Slake on the other clips. Deservedly popular with local workers, this is slightly off the beaten track for most visitors to London but well worth a diversion.

On 13th September 2013 - rating: 8
[User has posted 6951 recommendations about 6951 pubs]

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john gray left this review about Edgar Wallace

I always pop in when in the area as they have a good selection of beers but for the last year or so they charge £4.00 for 2 halves rather than the price of 1 pint.Love the old advertising signs on the walls.Remindes me of better times.Beer is always in good condition but the staff seem helpful rather than friendly.Then again its the beer i come to this pub for so its a winner.

On 27th March 2013 - rating: 7
[User has posted 965 recommendations about 951 pubs]

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Bucking Fastard left this review about Edgar Wallace

Having heard that the pub had changed hands,decided to pop in and check out the new regime.Glad to report that The Edgar Wallace is even better than before ,with 8 handpumps serving mainly a changing array of microbrewery ales and fully deserving it's GBG listing.The beer mats around the walls attest to the variety of ales supped here and we went through five of the eight and found every ale in absolutely top form.Naylors Equinox,1648 Oak Ale,Bateman's Autumn Fall,Cottage Brewing Hurrican Ale,Howard Town Glotts Hop,Crouch Vale Brewers Gold,Nethergate Edgar Pale Ale and Loddon Russet featured on my trip.There is now no sign of food in the evening and the focus is very much on real ale which starts at £3.20 for the lower ABV beers and up to £3.55 for the 5% Glotts Hop but I didnt mind paying these prices given the outstanding quality.The bar service is also excellent,swift and accurate ,so no long wait at the bar even at peak times like Friday 6pm.There is a very helpful chalk board listing the ales above the bar by the Essex Street entrance ,so you dont need to squeeze around the pillars to see the pump clips where the handpumps are located.As others have mentioned the interior is unremarkable,but the upstairs seating area is comfortable and has it's own small bar,non operational and no handpumps.The clientele is mixed,some suits afterwork but a CAMRA bias as the evening wears on.Closed at the weekend ,this is a fine alehouse and in my opinion in the same league as The Harp which is praise indeed.

This pub is still expertly run by an old school guv'nor who ensures swift service from behind the bar even during the afterwork Friday swill.The number of artifacts on the walls seems to have increased,it's like a small museum of old cigarette adverts together with lots of Watneys paraphernalia ,including a Party Four tin.The Long Life revolving lantern and a box of OMO rekindled childhood memories.
The ale quality was again top drawer and it seems Crouch Vale Brewers Gold and Nethergate brewed Edgar Pale Ale are regular beers ,with up to six rotating guests normally including at least one dark ale.Being closed at the weekend may mean that the range diminishes as the Friday evening session wears on.Prices are on the high side,my Otley 01 was £3.80 but in fine nick.
Until around 7pm many of the customers are drawn from the Royal Courts of Justice so you can earwig a lot of legal chat,but the throng quickly subsides and getting a seat has never been a problem.I always use this pub when in the area,it has never let me down.

On 29th September 2012 - rating: 9
[User has posted 2309 recommendations about 2309 pubs]

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Nick Davies left this review about Edgar Wallace

Still the best in the area, and recommended of course for the every changing array of delicious ales. Two went off in the couple of hours I was there the other night to be replaced by two new choices, there's really no point trying to list them. The collection of memorabilia is fascinating. Off the main tourists routes it is well worth seeking out, and you can usually get a seat if you avoid the six o'clock swill.

On 17th September 2011 - rating: 8
[User has posted 552 recommendations about 544 pubs]

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Roger Button left this review about Edgar Wallace

This 18th Century pub was formerly the Essex Head but renamed in the 1970’s after the prominent crime writer and journalist who worked in nearby Fleet Street and whose story can be found on a plaque outside. The pub once had a somewhat pretentious sign outside stating “Congratulations, you have just found the best pub in London” but these days one is greeted instead by a brace of model guardsmen standing to attention.

Despite once working nearby, I had only used the pub sparingly as the place used to be rather nondescript apart from the ales for which the pub has a glowing reputation. Since I last visited, the games machines and TV’s have gone and the interior that always felt like a bit of a shoebox has now been decorated with multiple posters and old adverts with assorted collectable bits of junk dotted about giving it a bit more attention span. Retro beer fans will probably notice the Double Diamond lampshade hanging from the ceiling! There is an upstairs bar accesed by the corner staircase but it appears to only be open at selected times and I have not ventured this far.

With regard to the ales, there are generally 8 available mostly from microbreweries with the choice on my recent visit being Edgars Pale Ale (Nethergate IPA rebadged for the pub), Bank Top Sweeny, White Boar Bitter, Black Hole Titan, Goddards Fuggle De Dum, Lees Liberty and Crouch Vale Brewers Gold. The eighth pump wasn’t clipped at the time.There are also occasional beer festivals. Prices were not unexpected at around £3.50 a pint and meals were also about par for the area at around £7-£10 for main courses.

One downside is that the bar is quite awkwardly positioned and truncated by a large dumb waiter pillar making access a bit of an It’s A Knockout experience when busy. It doesn’t help that all the ale pumps are crammed onto one side of the bar and, as far as I could see, there is no separate list on display so you may have to glance through a wad of bodies to get an idea of what’s available.

That aside, I’d like to think I would use this place a bit more often than I have done in the past and it is certainly recommended if it is a wide choice of ales that you are looking for.

On 3rd August 2011 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1239 recommendations about 1233 pubs]

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Quinno _ left this review about Edgar Wallace

A nifty ale pub, tucked away just off the Strand. There's a really good selection of unusual ales (six one cider - Goddards) served well. There is a house beer – Edgars Pale Ale – brewed by Nethergate. Prices are normal for the area eg £3.50 and there’s a ‘coming soon’ chalk board for beer. There's two floors; comfortable drinking on the bottom floor whilst the upper area is more set for diners. There's no music or TV in here so it can be a bit quiet outside of peak times. A lot of old retro advertising paraphernalia for cigarettes and alcohol are dotted around the walls and a number of retro keg fonts in full working order are at the bar, though I assume they were not dispensing! Talking of the bar, it’s an odd layout with a large pillar in the middle, which divides servings – the ale is to the left and lager to the right; if there’s only one person behind the bar it can be hard to get their attention if you’re standing in the wrong place. Food is offered, with a couple of unusual choices and my eye was caught by the Halloumi. Good practice behind the bar, with Olga knowing to clean the lines between each beer going off; proves it can be done.

All-in-all it’s well-worth seeking out if you like your ale but you might need to bring your own atmosphere at certain times.

On 8th July 2011 - rating: 8
[User has posted 4361 recommendations about 4347 pubs]

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