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Pub Of The Month - November 2021 with rpadam on the Pub Forum

The Kings Head, Mayfair, W1

10 Stafford Street
Phone: 02074930337

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Pub Type

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

Tris C left this review about The Kings Head

Dating from 1710 but rebuilt 160 years later as ‘Shelley’s’, the current name was reinstated in 2006.
There are predictable smoky blue textured walls to the dado, then white up to a chocolate brown Anaglypta ceiling. The bar array looks modern ‘old’, the floor is modern boarded and there are wide drinking ledges to the windows. Victorian glass and brassware provides the illumination, with modern wire and filament bulb sconces. A TV was showing the boxing with the sound off, so I could be treated to dull, repetitive background music. Furniture is tall, with décor taking the shape of Nicholson’s gin bottles in a glass cabinet. Customers were probably transient and loud; the barman seemed to be having a little trouble with a group of overindulgent tourists.
There were four ales: Pride, Nicholson’s Pale Ale, Landlord and Ghost Ship, price forgotten and no complaints written in my notes.
This place is so-so; fine for a drink. But it’s not a place I’d go out of my way to revisit.

Rated 4.5.

On 17th October 2021 - rating: 5
[User has posted 1316 recommendations about 1295 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Bucking Fastard left this review about The Kings Head

Street corner Nicholson's house split into two rooms ,each with their own servery.The larger is square and has fully opening window frames along one wall,wood panelled throughout and with two display cabinets inset at one end.All very traditional with red leather bench seating .The smaller room carries on with the same theme,with a series of prints on the far wall.There is also an upstairs dining room and a cellar bar,both unvisited by me.
Covid regulations were strictly applied,T&T QR code details,shown to your table,less furniture than usual and pleasingly the half pricing on food was still in operation despite the ending of Eat Out to Help Out on my Wednesday lunchtime visit.
There are 5 handpumps but the selection has been dumbed down to London Pride,Doom Bar and Nicholsons (St Austell) Pale (decent enough but £5.40 ).The flatscreens were on mute and the service was efficient and friendly.
With a better ale range ,this would have been a very decent visit and good to see it open while the GK Goat Tavern over the road remained resolutely closed.

On 3rd September 2020 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2202 recommendations about 2202 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

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

Not a bad size for a Nicholson's pub, with two, partly opened-out main rooms at ground floor level plus a cellar bar and the Shelley dining room upstairs. Given how close it is to Piccadilly and the large number of people usually to be found outside on the pavement, it never seems too crowded inside even at busy times of day (e.g. early weekday evening). Five duplicated handpumps on each counter in the main bar offering NPA, Doom Bar, Pride, Rev James Gold (£4.60) and Summer Lightning on this visit. The smaller bars downstairs and on the first floor each usually have a couple of the same beers.

On 3rd August 2018 - rating: 7
[User has posted 6620 recommendations about 6620 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Nick Davies left this review about The Kings Head

Routine West End boozer which does M&B's Nicholson's brand no credit. Very noisy even when it's not too busy. And service is disorganised, too much nattering and ignoring the right hand bar, and in four rounds we never got a full pint without asking. Nicholson's (ie St Austell) Pale the best bet of a mundane range.

On 4th June 2016 - rating: 5
[User has posted 540 recommendations about 532 pubs]

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hondo . left this review about The Kings Head

Nicholson's pub that has a split bar each side having 5 taps. Upstairs and downstairs areas not visited.

On 16th October 2015 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2802 recommendations about 2744 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

john gray left this review about The Kings Head

Another good Nicolsons pub.Busy but cosy.Good selection of beers.Knops -pale ale was very good.

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

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Rex Rattus left this review about The Kings Head

This is another Nicholson’s pub in this area – this one had on six ales, with the intriguingly named Frank as Apollo being a decent drop at £1.85 a half. The usual Nicholson’s pub grub menu was available of course.
The pub is now largely opened up but has a few interesting features such as the wrought iron screenwork separating a couple of drinking areas; some delightful carved woodwork above the bar counter in the “back” bar; and a tudor style arch separating the main bar from the back bar. Furnishings are comfortable enough with just a couple of tall tables/tall stools. The windows are capable of being of opened widely, which was a big plus on a very warm evening recently as this palce has no outside seating.
This pub has more character than the typically characterless Nicholson pub, and coupled with a decent ale selection, is somewhere worth stopping off for a pint.

On 5th June 2012 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2592 recommendations about 2506 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Malden man left this review about The Kings Head

The pub has an attractive if fairly dark interior, with lots of dark carved woodwork, a marble/stone topped bar counter and a wooden floor with large rugs. Two main areas on the ground floor are separated by an opening with a depressed arch and a wooden and glazed screen with ornamental metalwork at the top. Wood panelled walls and a dark brown moulded ceiling. Seating is mixed and includes a few high tables as well as drinking shelves at the windows where you can watch the Rollers and Range Rovers drive by.
There are ten handpumps here in two banks, four and six, with a variant on double clipping being used whereby alternatives are clipped onto beer bottles in front of the pumps. Saturday afternoon had a decent choice, Pride, Tribute and Doom Bar being the staples, plus Itchen Valley St Nich's Tipple, Wooden Hand Pirate's Gold, Acorn Barnsley Bitter and Peerless Triple Blond. The standard beers were doubled up. The usual Nicholson's menu is offered and there are dining rooms upstairs and a cellar bar downstairs. The cellar bar has vaulted brickwork and a few sofas and its own servery with a few handpumps.

On 11th December 2011 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1690 recommendations about 1664 pubs]

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Roger Button left this review about The Kings Head

Situated just off the northern side of Piccadilly near Green Park Station, the Kings Head is a traditional style Nicholsons pub dating back to 1710 although I would hazard a large guess that the current building is a more recent version of a previous pub. The history blurb informs us that it was called the King Johns Head in 1845, an egotistical move by the landlord of the time to honour himself in the pub name. It was called Shelleys until Nicholsons took it over in 2006 and it reverted back to its original name. Confusingly, there are actually 2 Kings Heads on the pub sign – George II and Charles II.

The interior consists of 2 bars knocked through although there is still a degree of separation between them. The front bar (which I label as such simply because it’s the one I always seem to enter into) has a screen with some elaborate metalwork that divides the bar into 2 areas. Note the small snug seat opposite the end of bar behind the entrance proch. To be honest there isn’t really much to look at in the way features, the moulded ceilings in the back bar and a couple of patterned Nicholsons mirrors. It does have a bit of a dingy feel to it and lacks the usual character of a Nicholsons (I would probably pass it off as a Taylor Walker if I didn’t know otherwise).

Downstairs is a cellar lounge bar with soft furnishings and some brick arches that lead under the street. It was empty and unstaffed on my recent visit but did have the full selection of pumped hand pumps that were available in the main bar.

Beer wise there were 5 ales available, 3 mainstream offerings by way of Pride, Doom Bar and Tribute plus a couple of decent guests Roosters Wild Mule and Itchen Valle Godfather. Service was very good and friendly (a non-prompted top up received). Prices were average for the area although the days of Nicholsons slightly undercutting the opposition now seem to have disappeared along with their tasting note hand pump clips. A “Today’s Ales” board at the end of the bar also seems to have fallen out of usage.

Food was from the set Nicholsons pub grub menu with main pub grub courses around £8-£12 with top end meat and fish dishes up to £20. A lunchtime selection was available for around £7-£9.

It isn’t the most interesting of Nicholsons pubs but it covers the basics and it has a better beer variety than mostb of its neighbours. Whilst I wouldn’t go out of the way for it, there isn’t really much else in the immediate vicinity that offers anything better so for that alone, I do tend to use it for the occasional visit when in the area.

On 22nd November 2011 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1238 recommendations about 1232 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Chris 87 left this review about The Kings Head

Solid Nicholson's in a 'bling' area, dominated by rich American tourists and toff office workers. As usual, a good selection of guests and Lancaster Red was in good form although at £3.50 I'd expect it to be good! Pride, Landlord, Doombar, Thornbridge Wild Holly and Sharps Cornish Stout were also available. Along with the modern patterned wallpaper (which is normally not the sort of thing you see in Nicholson's pubs, its more of a Youngs thing) there are some nice original hanging lights and dark wood furnishings. Worth a shout if in the area.

On 12th December 2010 - rating: 6
[User has posted 179 recommendations about 179 pubs]

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