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Pub Of The Month - November 2021 with Thuck Phat on the Pub Forum

The Clarence, Mayfair, W1

4 Dover 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

Tris C left this review about The Clarence

Built on the site of the Coach & Horses (1724) but rebuilt in 1892 then again in 1953, possibly due to bombing.
Inside it has that modern fake ‘Victorian’ appearance; repetitive though not unpleasant, with the usual dark wood field panelling and brassy things, but now with white and obligatory smoky blue paint. Décor comes in the form of a glass fronted kitchen cabinet containing ‘things’, framed prints covered in fake cobwebs, then some pewter mugs hanging from a strange device, purpose unknown.
Being a Nicholson’s pub, the ale choice was going to be a blessing compared to the serried ranks of Greene King pubs in the area, but it still wasn’t great, with three unused pumps, then Pride, Doom, Landlord and Nicholson’s Pale Ale at a very steep £5.00 a pint and not bad.
This isn’t a great pub, but it’s what I’ve come to expect in Mayfair.

On 28th October 2021 - rating: 4
[User has posted 1316 recommendations about 1295 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Bucking Fastard left this review about The Clarence

With views across the street to The Ritz,this small frontage Nicholson's is in prime tourist territory but standards have not slipped and it's one of the better ones in this chain.
The entrance area has a drinking shelf to the left and a huddle of tables and chairs below the front window.Further back the bar runs down the left side,while more seating is avaiable,some high tables then a large rear banquette as the ceiling gets lower.There is a first floor restaurant with it's own serving bar.
There are 8 handpuumps offering on my trip a large St Austell selection namely Hicks,Flanders & Firkin,Nicholson's Pale and Mandarin Bavaria (NBSS 3) along with Wild Beer PoGO and Black Sheep Velo Free Wheeling,plus a real cider.Deserves it's 2020 GBG listing.
There aren't too many real ale pubs in this part of town,this is a decent stop for ale and I will return.

On 6th October 2019 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2202 recommendations about 2202 pubs]

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Quinno _ left this review about The Clarence

Long, narrow and anodyne Nicholsons in neutral tones with the standard corporate tick boxes, including the wide but safe range of ales. I could smell the Tribute coming, it was that bad. My replacement of Tim Taylor Landlord was fine, however my companion’s pint of Ghost Ship didn’t pass muster. Not much to recommend it on this showing which is a surprise as Nicholsons are usually safe bets in the capital.

On 13th June 2018 - rating: 4
[User has posted 4200 recommendations about 4187 pubs]

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Danny O'Revey left this review about The Clarence

Rather plain version of a Nicholsons, light neutral walls. Close to Picadilly & The Ritz. The beer is well kept but its a totally uninteresting building & bland offering.

On 25th July 2016 - rating: 5
[User has posted 1287 recommendations about 1265 pubs]

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Pub SignMan left this review about The Clarence

Just around the corner from the swanky Ritz and easily reached from Green Park tube station this is a decent sized Nicholson's pub in a building that lacks the charm of many of this chain's London based pubs. That's not to say the pub doesn't have an interesting history - it started life as the Coach and Horses as far back as the 1720's, before changing its name in reference to the Duke of Clarence. Sadly numerous refits over the years have left little of historical interest on show, with the interior having been badly butchered, to leave a disjointed and unusual layout. You enter either down a passageway along the right hand wall or through an opened out front section which looks out to a cordoned off section of pavement, jam packed with suits on my post-work mid-week visit. Some remarkably bland walls and bare boards characterise this space, mitigated slightly by comfy leather seating (banquettes, pouffes, high stools), serving small tables and a drinking ledge down the left hand wall. A few bits adorn the walls, such as plain mirrors and old photos, whilst an ancient looking telephone was also a notable addition to the décor, but there was no escaping the fact that this was an interminably dull space, so it was a relief to move through to the main bar area, shielded from the front room by a sizable section of partitioning wall. The servery is to the left and boasts a nice curved counter and modern mirrored bar back all done in dark wood. Some nice tiled flooring around the bar gives way to chunky modern floorboards, with standard eating available opposite the servery and high tables and stools beyond the end of the bar. Some decent wood panelling makes the rear part of the room the most pleasing part of the pub, once you pass the obligatory TV showing muted news coverage. To the right is a set of shelves labelled 'Beer Library', although books were in the minority, with bottles, photos, tap and spiles, jugs and other such breweriana on show under some hops and tankards that hung from above. The rest of the décor in this rear section was devoted to the poet Wordsworth, for reasons I wasn't fully able to figure out. Various pictures, quotes and samples of his poetry covered the end wall, but the effect was somewhat lost by the modern pop soundtrack that played in the background.
A typically good Nicholson's range prevailed at the bar, with options on this visit comprising Nicholson's Pale Ale, Goddard's Ale of Wight, Off the Wall Koma, Fullers Past Masters Oatmeal Porter, Adnams Broadside, Woodfordes Nelson's Revenge and Navigation Golden Anchor. A pleasant barman served me a pretty good pint of the Golden Anchor which I took to the back of the pub to sup in peace away from the boisterous suited masses.
I normally view Nicholson's pubs as a safe bet for a good pint in proper pub-like surrounds - something that can never be taken for granted in central London, but this place was a bit of a let-down, with only the far end of the pub offering any kind of comfort and refuge. It might be worth a look away from the peak post-work hours, but I was a little disappointed with this one.

On 6th July 2016 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2630 recommendations about 2630 pubs]

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hondo . left this review about The Clarence

Long narrow pub that for me was quite plain and characterless by Nicholson's standards. Up to 8 real ales and food served. 2 roomed dining area upstairs with its own bar.

On 16th October 2015 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2803 recommendations about 2745 pubs]

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john gray left this review about The Clarence

Usual Nicolson style pub but I quite liked it.long and narrow but busy.Nice feature at the rear is the beer library with books and old drinking vessels.Good selection of beers and Harviestoun -tasman bullet was good.West end prices though.

On 12th May 2015 - rating: 7
[User has posted 940 recommendations about 927 pubs]

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

Odd-shaped Nicholson's pub, with the usual traditional furniture and decor but no particular features of interest. A fair selection of real ale was available on my latest visit from seven of eight handpumps, including Roosters Yankee at £4.00. Also has a two-part dining room upstairs with another small bar featuring three (duplicated) handpumps.

On 8th October 2014 - rating: 6
[User has posted 6620 recommendations about 6620 pubs]

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Rex Rattus left this review about The Clarence

This is a Nicholson’s pub, with eight ales on offer and as is usually the case with this chain a mix of the usual suspects and less regularly seen ales is available. The Windsor & Eton Knight of the Garter was in good nick, and at a typical price for the area of £1.80 a half. The usual Nicholson’s pub grub menu was available of course.
The pub itself is typical of the Mayfair area. A single, long room forms the pub, with a standard mix of tall tables/stools and normal tables and chairs and a few miscellaneous prints on the walls. The clientele looked to be a transient lot – it might have been someone’s local once, but it’s anything but a locals’ pub now. However, it does do a range of decent ales, and although it’s a bit characterless there are many worse places to stop off for a swift one.

On 3rd June 2012 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2592 recommendations about 2506 pubs]

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Malden man left this review about The Clarence

A long and fairly narrow Nicholsons with the bar along one side. Wood panelled walls with inlaid mirrors which help to give an illusion of more space, decorative ceiling, carved bar back, but clearly not of any historical interest. Decor includes a few portraits, possibly of the Duke of Clarence (William IV) after whom the pub is named, and a display case of Champagne bottles...well it is Mayfair. Very busy on Saturday afternoon, I had to hover for a table but succeeded eventually. Seating is mixed with a few high tables as well as the standard stuff. There were eight handpumps on the bar with seven on, nearly all more unusual stuff. Cairngorm Black Gold, Brentwood Blonde, Acorn Barnsley Bitter, Itchen Valley St Nich's Tipple, Mordue Newcastle Coffee Porter, Inveralmond Lia Fail and St Austell Tribute. A pretty good line up in anyone's book. Forthcoming beers are listed on a board behind the bar.
As a pub it is pretty ordinary but the choice of beers on here lift the place to well above average.
There is another area upstairs described as dining rooms but I didn't bother to check the area out.

On 11th December 2011 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1690 recommendations about 1664 pubs]

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