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The Nags Head, Covent Garden, WC2

10 James Street
Phone: 02078364678

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Tris C left this review about The Nags Head

Date of Visit: 2nd November 2021:

I’d not been in here since late 1993, to a grade II-listed pub which has existed in some form since the late 17th century, the current building dating from 1900, being built in the neo-Jacobean style by P. E. Pilditch, acquired by McMullen’s in 1927, where it would open at 5.00 am to cater for Covent Garden’s market porters.
It’s something of a minor gin palace inside, though how much is ‘original’ original, I don’t know. The floor is modern chunky herringbone and walls are smoky blue; how original; at least the Anaglypta ceiling is painted slate grey, which is a bit original, I suppose. The bar array is attractive, with a leaded stained glass bar front parapet. Furniture is mainly modern contemporary and tall, with some red studded banquettes, with standard height tables and chairs. Décor is thin on the ground, being mainly pot plants to the pot shelf, fronds cascading over it.
Ales of course are all from McMullen’s, but just the three: AK, Covent Garden Bitter and IPA at £2.65 and ok, though a bit cold.
This is probably one of the better pubs in the area, so worth visiting if you have to and certainly better than the White Lion, opposite.


A revisit yesterday, to be met by many men wearing regimental ties and medals, which isn't surprising given that this was Remembrance Sunday and Covent Garden is fairly close to the Cenotaph. What wasn't expected, was the three bottle blonde women and youngish lad - perhaps a young soldier accompanied by mother and two aunts - who was casually vomiting onto his table like Mr. Creosote; when table space ran out, the floor was next in the firing line, the women doing nothing to shepherd him outside; all utterly charming.

On 15th November 2021 - rating: 5
[User has posted 1532 recommendations about 1510 pubs]

Will Larter left this review about The Nags Head

ANother lovely pub building and this one with what my notes made at the time described as a "classy" bar (see photo, taken at a rare quiet moment). It was busy early afternoon, with many people eating, and I struggled to find a free table; the further I went into the pub the warmer and more airless it became. Returning to near the (open) front door I was lucky to find someone prepared to share part of his table - a young man whose clothes declared that he had just come from a job interview. He told me how well his interview had gone, and I told him about my Discovering London's Inns and Taverns pub crawl. My half of McMullens AK was in very good condition and probably my beer of the day.. I've not been to this part of London before, and though it's busy and touristy I found it quite pleasant and if I found myself back here I would certainly call in the Nags Head again.

On 2nd October 2021 - rating: 8
[User has posted 3141 recommendations about 2950 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Pub SignMan left this review about The Nags Head

Just across the road from Covent Garden tube station, this is a rather attractive traditional pub that I’m surprised I’ve never set foot in previously, having walked past it countless times. The pub has a reversed C-shape layout with carpeted floors throughout, except around the bar where an attractive decorative tile area follows the path of the servery. The bar is centrally positioned with a nice curved dark wood counter and matching gantry which has coloured checkerboard stained glass frontage and a brass pot shelf. The smart bar back boasts pleasantly styled corner posts and some top-quality panelling. The room follows the front, right and rear parts of the bar, with high table and stool seating closest to the bar and then a mix of button backed banquettes and standard chairs around the perimeter. Large windows down two sides of the building have etched glass panes bearing McMullen’s name and more stained-glass checkerboard upper sections. Floral wallpaper covers much of the wall space, especially in the rear left corner, whilst a floral pattern lincrusta ceiling can be seen through much of the room. The rear wall has been covered with a series of very large etched glass brewery mirrors whilst a few old black and white photos can be seen in the plainer rear left area. There was standing room only on my Saturday early evening visit, with pop tunes playing reasonably loudly and a constant stream of passers by entering the pub and fighting their way through the crowd to use the pub’s toilets.
The windows give away the fact that this is a McMullen’s house, so it came as no real surprise to find AK and IPA on handpull along with Rivertown Red from their subsidiary Rivertown brewery. The latter turned out to be a perfectly acceptable pint that went down well after a long walk here in the freezing cold, and I was served by the sort of cheery, friendly barmaid that you rarely find in this part of the city.
This isn’t the sort of place I’d immediately think of as being a good bet, what with the tourist trap location and uninspiring brewery, but I was pleasantly surprised with the smart, comfortable interior, good beer quality and friendly service. I’d never recommend Covent Garden as a destination for a pub crawl, but I’d definitely recommend this place for a quick stop-off when passing through.

On 30th March 2020 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2813 recommendations about 2813 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Brainy Pool left this review about The Nags Head

it’s a nice location but only an okay pub. Soap tasting pint of ale which wasn’t particularly pleasant. Or cheap. Ornate though open interior.

On 13th May 2019 - rating: 6
[User has posted 907 recommendations about 880 pubs]

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custodian 42 left this review about The Nags Head

Pleasant enough corner pub with decent strength own seasonal ale (5.2%). Not as busy as I had expected so got a seat easily enough. Worth a revisit.

On 18th January 2017 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1693 recommendations about 1691 pubs]

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hondo . left this review about The Nags Head

McMullen pub with quite a characterful part tiled interior. U shaped bar serves the in house beers.

On 25th October 2016 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2833 recommendations about 2774 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Just a quick pint, then I'm off left this review about The Nags Head

Can be very difficult to get a seat, as this traditional London pub with its attractive 'U'-shaped bar is just too close to Covent Garden for comfort. There are also no guest beers in this McMullen house, but if you like their beer then you will usually find the 'house' Nag's Head Bitter, AK and IPA plus a seasonal (Hop of the Mo, £4.25, on my latest visit) from the total of ten handpumps located in three banks on different parts of the counter.

On 27th December 2015 - rating: 7
[User has posted 7108 recommendations about 7108 pubs]

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Blackthorn _ left this review about The Nags Head

A street corner pub in the heart of Covent Garden, despite the crowds of tourists in the area it manages to maintain a traditional ambience and it surprisingly spacious once inside, although it can still be tricky to get a seat as it inevitably gets very busy.

It consists of a single U-shape bar with red patterned carpet on the floor and chequered tiles around the bar counter. There is more seating in here than most of the smaller pubs in the vicinity, and many of the seating areas are divided in to booths separated by wooden balustrade. There are windows on two sides with flock wallpaper elsewhere and there are a number of etched mirrors on the walls.

Beers on tap were primarily from the McMullen’s stable with their IPA, Country and AK along with the pub’s own Nag’s Head Bitter. Ciders meanwhile were Strongbow, Aspall’s Suffolk and Aspall’s Cyderkyn which is a new one on me and was surprisingly pleasant.

On 2nd December 2014 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1817 recommendations about 1741 pubs]

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Real Ale Ray left this review about The Nags Head

A very difficult pub to catch when quiet, unless you visit first knockings when it opens at 10 am. The pub is very inviting from the exterior and retains a good traditional interior also. This is a McMullens house and their beer is brewed in Hertfordshire. We went for the McMullen County and Original Bitter, which were good. Food is served here and on our visit there were quite a few diners.

On 13th January 2014 - rating: 7
[User has posted 3118 recommendations about 3118 pubs]

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E TA left this review about The Nags Head

A traditional boozer on the fringe of Covent Garden, relatively unspoilt by the tourist trade. Food is still reasonably British, and not too expensive. Four ales on – I had a pint of McMullens AK which was really rather good – tasted a lot better than some other ales I've had in here in the past. I would have no hesitation in including this pub on a crawl, and it's actually quite a good place to hide for an afternoon.

On 21st November 2013 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2908 recommendations about 2875 pubs]

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