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De Hems, W1

11 Macclesfield Street

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Pub Type

Nicholsons (Mitchells & Butlers)
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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 6 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

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custodian 42 left this review about De Hems

Belgian bar with a good selection of beers. I had Leffe which was on form. Would have got a seven but for an annoyingly loud woman sitting near me. I moved as far away as possible but could still hear her!

On 22nd February 2017 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1388 recommendations about 1387 pubs]

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Just a quick pint, then I'm off left this review about De Hems

Fine-looking building on the northern edge of Chinatown, but not a lot of original features visible inside. At one time, its selection of Dutch and Belgian draught beers was unusual but most now seem fairly common place. However, on this visit, I found several interesting - if hideously expensive - craft beers on tap, including the La Rulles Estivale saison and the Jopen Hoppenbier (both £6.10). Also has a selection of interesting bottled Continental offerings. Can get packed solid and very noisy, but the upstairs bar is usually a bit less hectic (when open) and you can sometimes get real ale there.

On 16th July 2016 - rating: 6
[User has posted 5144 recommendations about 5144 pubs]

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john gray left this review about De Hems

One of the must visit pubs when i first started drinking foreign beer.Sadly the beer range hasn,t changed much but nice feel to this bar.They now have 2 handpumps with beer from the Nicholson range.

On 4th May 2013 - rating: 7
[User has posted 859 recommendations about 848 pubs]

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Chris 87 left this review about De Hems

A high-ceilinged, attractive pub just off Shaftesbury Avenue that, as mentioned, has a Dutch theme (despite being owned by Nicholson's). There is no real ale and a couple of continental lagers on draft such as Lindeboom but otherwise there's little to distinguish it from any other pub in truth. The unused space at the front of the pub, with high tables skirting around the outside, seems like a bit of a waste although there is more comfortable seating further in. I enjoyed a bottle of Chimay Blue (£4) but I couldn't stay long. Gradually during my visit it filled up with tourists, no doubt enticed by the prospect of the Dutch food - although looking at a menu apart from a few small plates it seemed regulation English fare. A curious place and I couldn't help thinking, something of a missed opportunity.

On 19th February 2011 - rating: 4
[User has posted 179 recommendations about 179 pubs]

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Quinno _ left this review about De Hems

A novelty visit, this (unbranded) Nicholson’s pub is marketed as a Dutch bar, selling Dutch lagers, alongside Dutch and Belgian bottled beers and Dutch food. The exterior is certainly and attractive one, with gold paint flourishes. The interior is a dim, high-ceilinged affair, with plenty of dark brown in attendance - from the floorboards and wood wall panelling to the furniture, with a bit of colour coming from a number of paintings up on the walls. The range on my visit was certainly impressive (around ten keg and numerous bottles in the fridge) but there was no beer menu, so where does a punter, with little knowledge of this sort of stuff start? That’s a major flaw. Prices, as expected, were pretty steep - I’m not sure quite how justified this is but I suppose you’re not likely to find a large chunk of this stuff in too many other places. Seating is relatively minimal and uncomfortable on the ground floor bar and a lot of people simply end up standing. There’s an upstairs bar that I failed to explore, perhaps it wasn’t advertised as open.

Whilst it’s worth a visit for the novelty factor, I didn’t find it a particularly enjoyable place to drink so I doubt I’ll be back under my own initiative any time soon which is a shame as I always like to try something of the unusual.

[EDIT – since visiting, I have been told that a number of the beers and food offerings have been cut. If true, sink my mark down to a 5…]

On 28th December 2010 - rating: 6
[User has posted 3757 recommendations about 3745 pubs]

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John Bonser left this review about De Hems

Just outside the entrance to Chinatown stands The De Hems, a so called Dutch café bar which describes itself as "Stylishly Dutch delivered with real personality".

Outside the pub, an information board tells us that a public house has been on this site since 1688 and that it was a meeting place for the Dutch Resistance in the Second World War.

Never having been to Holland, I have to confess that I'm not exactly sure what a Dutch café bar should look or feel like, but, in the main, this feels very much like an archetypal London pub to me. Yes, there's a framed orange Holland shirt, some Dutch specialities on the menu, a "Gezundheit" mirror and an array of foreign lagers such as Kreik, Amstel, Grolsch and Fruli, but the bare floorboards, high wooden tables and chairs and general echoey and uncomfortable feel are reminiscent of many a London pub nowadays, as indeed is the array of non - British lagers.

The interior also features a high ceiling, some polished wood panelling and some framed paintings ( Van Gogh ?).

A notice by the bar tells us that, in Holland, all good beers are served with a large head, but that top ups are given on request. I suppose that, in this respect, it's different from many London pubs where the staff serve you short measure without having the courtesy to forewarn you, and then look at you in an odd way if you have the temerity to request a full pint !

It's a Nicholson's pub, but not branded as such and there's no real ale - despite the website clearly indicating to the contrary. The pub picture clearly shows handpumps offering TT Landlord and Youngs Ordinary, but it would appear that real ale has been off the drinks menu for some time now.

I'm not marking this one down for a return visit.

On 7th October 2010 - rating: 5
[User has posted 560 recommendations about 560 pubs]

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Roger Button left this review about De Hems

There has been a pub heer since 1688 but the current building dates from 1890 when it was known as the Macclesfield, owned by De Hem, a Dutch sea captain after whom the pub was renamed in 1959. In its heyday it was as famous for its oysters as it was for its beers with the pub walls once covered with the used shells. These have now all gone leaving a far more mundane interior but its Dutch connections are still celebrated. During the war, this was a regular meeting place for for the Dutch Resistance whereas now you will more likely find tourists and office workers mulling over the football results or having pre-theatre drinks.

The pub is spread over 2 floors, the main bar on the ground floor being one extended room with bare floors, plain walls and a few fake Dutch masterpieces hanging on the walls. Upstairs is a separate bar with more of a loungy feel and generally a bit quieter. The beers arenaturally Dutch influenced apart from the Guinness seemingly a bit out of place. Unusually for a Nicholsons pub, although in keeping with the pubs theme, they do not have any Real Ales which is part of the reason I couldn’t really use the place on a more regular basis despite its interesting history and handy position in the heart of Soho.

On 25th May 2010 - rating: 5
[User has posted 1238 recommendations about 1232 pubs]

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Pub SignMan left this review about Dehems

This Dutch themed bar is a great meeting place for London's Dutch ex-pat community and a joy for fans of continental beers.
There are about 8-10 draught lagers, including all the Dutch/Belgian staples such a Leffe, Amstel, Heineken and Oranjeboom. The fridges are packed with a huge selection of bottled curiosities, but without a beer menu, it's hard to know where to make a start.
There's a food menu though, which is worth exploring for a chance to sample some of Holland's classic bar snacks. I'd recommend the Patatje Oorlog and Bitterballen.
There are two floors, each with an equally well stocked bar, but both areas can become packed in the evenings, so go early if you want a seat.

On 28th May 2009 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2220 recommendations about 2220 pubs]

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Rex Rattus left this review about De Hems

There were no bitters on, but numerous good quality lagers on offer. De Hems has very much a feel of an Amsterdam brown bar, which is undoubtedly intentional. The chap behind the bar was fairly helpful in providing advice to a bitter drinker mesmerized by the forest of lager taps on the counter.
I'm sure that the last time that I was in here they had a central island bar. But it was some time ago, and I would have been drinking Double Diamond, so what do I know about anything! Anyway, this is a great place for those who like good quality lagers, but bitter drinkers should give it a miss.

On 2nd December 2008 - rating: 5
[User has posted 2424 recommendations about 2347 pubs]

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john mcgraw left this review about Dehems

This pic was taken at the beginning of the Chinese New Year Festival which was right outside of the pub a must to see in February

On 10th February 2008 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2043 recommendations about 2023 pubs]

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