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Shakespeare's Head, Soho, W1

29 Great Marlborough Street
W1
W1F 7HZ

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Pub Type

Taylor Walker (Spirit Pubs)

Reviews (Current Rating Average: 5 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines


Tris C left this review about Shakespeare's Head

Situated in a tourist hotspot, this is a corner pub first recorded in the early 18th century, but rebuilt in 1927 with a smattering of brewers’ Tudor to the interior and unsurprisingly, operated by Greene King.
There’s a chequered bar apron and worn wood floor, a burgundy Anaglypta ceiling, fake mediæval chandeliers with filament bulbs, an ugly electric advertising board which looks like a smaller version of something you see at a bus stop and American football played on multiple TVs, which no one was watching, with sound turned down so as not to interfere with the banal music. Customers were a bit weird, some overly sauced.
Ales: GK IPA, London Glory, some own-brand beer I dared not try and the ubiquitous Landlord, neither price nor tasting notes recorded.
The first reviewer sums this place up perfectly: ‘If this pub was down a back street they would have to get their act together, but they can do whatever they like and still make a profit due to the fantastic location.’ Yup. This is one of the worst pubs in Soho.

On 19th October 2021 - rating: 3
[User has posted 1303 recommendations about 1282 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Graham Coombs left this review about Shakespeare's Head

Located next to the iconic Carnaby Street sign this is not a bad pub although some of the prices are clearly designed to punish the tourists. A traditional bar with leaded windows and some spurious woodwork and half-timbering. Greene King beers with guests.

On 21st August 2019 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2465 recommendations about 2410 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Just a quick pint, then I'm off left this review about Shakespeare's Head

Located in a pedestrianised area off the main part of Great Marlborough Street, this Greene King outlet can be quite hard to track down if using the address alone as it actually appears to be in Carnaby Street. However, once found, you find a rectangular bar with just the sort of traditional furniture and decor that the crowds of tourists no doubt hope to find. Limited seating space supplemented by an upstairs room (not visited) and patio tables out front. Four handpumps, three of which were operational on this visit - IPA and two from Wimbledon: Copper Leaf and the XXK winter ale (£4.95).

On 20th January 2018 - rating: 6
[User has posted 6612 recommendations about 6612 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Moby Duck left this review about Shakespeare's Head

A square roomed pub on the end of Carnaby Street,several beers ranging from the ordinary to the slightly more interesting but being such a tourist magnet it can be a bit of a mission getting served, personally I would bypass this and carry on down into Soho.

On 6th March 2016 - rating: 5
[User has posted 1436 recommendations about 1420 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Peter Rydings left this review about Shakespeare's Head

Another of our pubs we always call in well worth a look

On 6th August 2014 - rating: 10
[User has posted 948 recommendations about 917 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Rex Rattus left this review about Shakespeare's Head

This is a Taylor Walker branded pubco pub, smack bang in the middle of the tourist hell surrounding Carnaby St. They did have some real ale on – Bombardier, Young’s Special and London Gold. There was also a Woodforde Wherry clip reversed. I didn’t bother looking at the menu but feel confident that it would be the usual TW pubco fare.
Furnishings are mainly normal tables and chairs, but the centre of the single room pub is dominated by two large tall tables with accompanying tall stools. There’s also a restaurant upstairs, appropriately named “Macbeth’s”. This would be a reasonable enough pub just about anywhere else, but in the nightmare that is Carnaby St it really can’t be. It serves a purpose though, in catering for the tourist masses at this time of year.

On 17th August 2011 - rating: 4
[User has posted 2590 recommendations about 2504 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


BobOs . left this review about Shakespeare's Head

Unlike the last reviewer, I always find this place swamped with tourists. If you do manage to get to the bar the beers are average and the service is dire - all the staff appear to struggle with English. Well below average and one for the tourists I'm afraid.

On 13th July 2011 - rating: 3
[User has posted 370 recommendations about 355 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Steve of N21 left this review about Shakespeare's Head

A pub with a fantastic location at the top of Carnaby Street. Internally it is one bar downstairs and a dining room upstairs. The down stairs bar is mock Elizabethan (sic !) with plenty of dark wood, beamed walls, a fireplace containing a church pew, and limited internal seating with bench window seats and wooden seating around beer barrels in the middle of the bar area.
But the biggest problem internally is the actual bar, which is a small affair tucked away in the corner almost as an after thought. This means it can really only accommodate three people before you have to start queuing back into the pub.
Outside it has large lead lined windows on the two sides with canopy’s that cover the outside seating. The pub sign used to be a reproduction of Martin Droeshouts' portrait of Shakespeare before it was replaced by the 3-D cartoon nonsense that hangs there now. Fortunately the original life size bust of Shakespeare staring down on the punters below still survives. One of the poet's hands is missing and this fell off during World War II when a bomb dropped nearby.
Surprisingly given its location, it doesn’t seem to get swamped with tourists, although it obviously goes out of its way to attract them. And as it does usually provide a few real ales, its usually a decent place to catch a quick pint whilst the wife is off shopping, but not the type of place I would make an evening of.
The small bar supports four hand pumps, two of which had Youngs Ordinary and the others were Pride and Spitfire on my last visit.

On 25th May 2010 - rating: 5
[User has posted 1770 recommendations about 1714 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Steve C left this review about Shakespeare's Head

This place is OK for a quick pint after a leg stretch around the shops, but I certainly wouldn't stay for any length of time.

Bombardier, Greene King IPA, Pride, Leffe, Staropramen and an assortment of standard lagers were all available during my visit. The service was woeful even though there were more staff than customers. Maybe it was just my bad luck that I walked in after some twirlies that all ordered tea and coffee.

There is a plasma screen, but I didn't spot any advertisements for sport that would be shown. The background music is fairly unobtrusive unlike the stench and pools of urine in the toilet.

If this pub was down a back street they would have to get their act together, but they can do whatever they like and still make a profit due to the fantastic location.

On 16th December 2008 - rating: 4
[User has posted 3599 recommendations about 3579 pubs]