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Halifax Crawl - 21 June 2024 with Tris39 on the Pub Forum

The Flying Horse, Fitzrovia, W1

6 Oxford 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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Bucking Fastard left this review about The Flying Horse

I remember this pub at the Tottenham,it's opposite the tube entrance and I was drawn by the CAMRA listing as a pub of Historic National Interest.It's operated by Nicholson's and is small with no food so wet led.The points of interest are the wall mounted etched mirrors and paintings on linen,together with good wood panelling.tiling,cornicing and a rear skylight with a chandelier hanging below.However the flatscreens showing the Six Nations,gaming machines and the initial rank of high tables bring a chain feel to the pub ,and given the location it's full of tourists and other travellers.
You can escape the throng in the St Giles cellar bar,but this is featureless with unplaned wood finishes and two more flatscreens.The bar here is non operational for real ale.
The handpumps were drawing Tiny Rebel Hawk,Fyne Jarl,Stewart Backing Blue (short pint pulled,NBSS 3),Nicholsons St Austell Pale,two pumps with ale "coming soon" and two real ciders.For a Nicholson's that not a bad range but the CAMRA national listing is diminshed by the lack of care and it's easy to just drift past the unassuming frontage.Could be a lot better.

On 19th March 2023 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2775 recommendations about 2775 pubs]

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Tris C left this review about The Flying Horse

I came here last about 10 years ago and then once before that around 20 years further back in time, so can't remember my first visit. In 2015 it reverted from its rebuild 1892/3 name to the earlier Flying Horse title which dates back to at least the late 18th century.
The spectacular interior is something of a must-see, especially given the central location but thereafter it's a bit of a slide downhill. There's a flashing games machine and two TVs were showing the football and at substantial volume, which of course translated into deafening adverts for McDonald's et al at half time making conversation difficult. It also seems that there was some thumping music playing in the basement as I could feel my stool vibrating to the rhythme. It's also not that homely, being patronised by office workers and tourists.
For the record, six pumps, one unused the remainder dishing out Pride, Gloom, Nicholson's Pale Ale, Sharp's Cornish Winter and Hooky Best at a relatively reasonable £4.70 and perfectly drinkable but a rather boring tipple.
This place is good for a quick half to admire the interior, but it's not a place I'd want to linger.

On 22nd January 2020 - rating: 3
[User has posted 2033 recommendations about 1998 pubs]

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Graham Coombs left this review about The Flying Horse

A smallish Nicholson's pub, once marketed as the 'only pub on Oxford Street'. There are some nicely historic bits to the interior, including glasswork, ceramics and woodwork, with a rather splendid picture. Usually seems pretty busy, although there is another bar downstairs, again not visited. A reasonable selection of beers seemed well-kept, including two from Siren, two from St Austell (one the house ale) and London Pride.

On 8th December 2018 - rating: 7
[User has posted 3353 recommendations about 3290 pubs]

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Blackthorn _ left this review about The Flying Horse

Located at the junction of Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road, this is a traditional, single room pub that doesn’t look especially large from the outside but extends back some way from the front entrance.

Décor wise it consists of a dark, wood strip floor and has quite a dark ambience overall with fairly low level lighting and further dark woodwork on the walls. The right hand wall was largely covered with large mirrors one of which had been decoratively painted. Where there weren’t mirrors there were large portraits, and each mirror or portrait was framed with carved woodwork and interspersed with colourful tiling. A large chandelier was hanging at the rear and there was elaborate cornice work on the ceiling. Seating was perhaps a little limited, and we perched up on one of the stools along the bar counter.

Beers on tap were Truman’s Fine and Dandy, Itchen Pride of the Valley, Oakham JHB, Thornbridge January Blues and Oakham Pale Ale. Three further pumps for Doom Bar, London Pride and Exmoor Gold had all run out, which might normally raise some concerns about their stock control, but we visited on a Sunday evening when they had no doubt not had the chance to replenish from the weekend. Ciders meanwhile were both from Mortimer’s Orchard, with both the regular and English Berry varieties.

On 2nd February 2018 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1966 recommendations about 1879 pubs]

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

Appears nothing special from the street, but step inside and you can spend ages looking around (and up) at the splendid tiling, mirrors and other original features (plus the curious metal cage...). A long counter and usually only a couple of staff meaning it can take ages to get served as the place is often crammed with tourists and Oxford Street shoppers. The number of handpumps has increased to eight since my previous visit four years ago, with a decent, varied selection this time, including an Indian Brown Ale from Harbour Brewing (£4.75). Further handpumps (usually offering duplicated beers) can be found downstairs in the St Giles cellar bar / dining room. Overall, worth a visit for the decor although no great shakes as a pub.

On 25th June 2017 - rating: 7
[User has posted 8164 recommendations about 8164 pubs]

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hondo . left this review about The Flying Horse

Now back to its previous name The Flying Horse. This Nicholson's pub is the only pub on Oxford street and as you would expect it has an old ornate interior(didn't visit downstairs). 8 real ale taps.

On 25th October 2016 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2897 recommendations about 2834 pubs]

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Roger Button left this review about The Tottenham

The Tottenham is now the only remaining pub out of 38 that used to line the length of the shopper’s hell commonly known as Oxford Street. The current pub dates from 1893 although there was a previous pub called the Flying Horse on the site dating back to 1790.

The main bar is a single room that appears to have once been divided into front and rear sections. The pub has been wonderfully preserved with many impressive and quite lavish features including mirrors, lamps, tiling, a quite delightful ceiling and 3 large murals that apparently represent the seasons so presumably one got lost somewhere along the way. At the rear is a spectacular coloured glass octagonal skylight that brings some much needed light. Stairs down lead to the less grandiose Astoria Bar that is designated mainly as a dining area. The walls here have several interesting pictures of the area.

The customer base is the usual West End mix of office workers, shoppers and tourists and it is generally quite a bubbly place although the downside is that tables are at a premium so you generally have to hog some bar space or use the drinking shelf beyond.

As part of the Nicholsons chain I generally expect a good ale selection however the Tottenham has regularly been a disappointment with just 2 ales (Proper Job & London Pride) and a cider (Old Rosie) available on my latest sojourn. 2 others (Doom Bar and Nicholsons own Pale Ale) were both “Coming Soon” (but never soon enough) and a 6th pump was unused.

Probably the worst element of the pub for me has always been the staffing and hardly a visit from me ever goes by without experiencing some form of incompetence, usually short measures or unavailable beers with the clips still displayed. I had a double n my latest visit whammy whereby a round that cost £9.35 suddenly became £10.15 half an hour later for the same drinks followed by the foody people mistaking land and aquatic animals after ordering a shared seafood platter.

The Tottenham seems to treat it’s customers knowing that a large majority will never come back anyway so can provide shoddy service and as hard as I try to like the place, it seems to constantly shoot itself in the foot in one way or another.

On 15th May 2013 - rating: 5
[User has posted 1239 recommendations about 1233 pubs]

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John Bonser left this review about The Tottenham

Update – January 2013

Several recent visits to this Nicholsons pub found only 2 of the 6 handpumps in use, with 3 of the others displaying pump clips with “coming soon” labels attached.
The pub is as described below and is worth looking in if passing but, the beer range may well disappoint, if my visits were anything to go by.

Original review – January 2010

Best known for being the only pub on Oxford Street, the Tottenham is a Nicholsons pub at the Tottenham Court Road end of Oxford Street, a stone's throw away from Tottenham Court Road and Centre Point.

A rather uninspiring looking frontage leads into a long narrowish single bar with some impressive tiling and paintings being the principal features of note of a typically impressive and traditional Nicholsons interior. The pub is listed in CAMRA's National Inventory of Unspoilt Interiors.

Perhaps not surprisingly given the location, the pub has a very transient feel to it - even by Central London standards - and my early Saturday morning visit, just after 11.15 am, found the pub quite full with shoppers and tourists having breakfast and/or coffee.

5 of the 6 handpumps were in use -serving Pride, Landlord, Doom Bar, Nethergate Azzaparrot and Batemans XXB. The Landlord - was reasonable.

The highlight of my visit was undoubtedly witnessing a classic Fawlty - esque exchange at the bar between a German couple complaining about their breakfast and the Eastern European barmaid who was less than sympathetic ( as was the Duty Manager ) to the couple demanding their money back on the basis that they had been served with an egg and bacon sandwich, instead of the full English Breakfast which they claimed to have ordered. I was sorely tempted to join in, by asking the German couple why they hadn't complained at the time and also, why they had proceeded to eat the sandwich if indeed it was the "wrong" order, but I decided against it on the spur of the moment. Eventually the Duty Manager gave them a couple of quid back, just to shut them up and get rid of them.

This is not a must visit pub, and I can't guarantee that there will always be impromptu entertainment, but it's worth calling in if you're passing by.

On 21st January 2013 - rating: 6
[User has posted 560 recommendations about 560 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Pub SignMan left this review about The Tottenham

This fine Nicholson’s establishment first opened as a pub back in 1826, when it was known as the Flying Horse before being rebuilt in 1892, and now has the somewhat sad distinction of being the only remaining pub on Oxford Street. The main part of the pub is made up of a single narrow room which has the bar running along the front half of the left hand wall. The servery is fairly impressive, with lots of dark wood and what seems to be a comparatively recent mirrored bar back. There are some high stools at the front of the room, near the bar, which give you an opportunity to do a bit of people watching out onto the busy street outside. Wooden floorboards lead you into the mid section of the pub where there is a mix of high tables and stools and some nice leather banquettes. Perhaps the most striking feature of the pub is the large coloured mirror set into an elaborately carved wooden frame and flanked by several other mirrors. The look is completed by a series of large paintings depicting three of the four seasons on the mahogany paneled walls, as well as a number of circular pictures on the ceiling. There are a couple of ceramic tile rails running around the room, with some skirting around an impressive skylight. Music was playing quite loudly, but this wasn’t too irritating as the general hubbub of the customers dampened the sound enough. The traditional look is spoilt somewhat by a slot machine opposite the bar, although I didn’t spot any TV screens. There is a restaurant downstairs called the Astoria, which looked closed on my visit, but had a good number of formally arranged tables.
Disappointingly, there were just three ales available on my visit – Fullers London Pride, St Austell Nicholson’s Pale Ale and Windsor and Eton Knight of the Garter (3.70) – although there were two ‘coming soon’ clips and a sixth pump unused. My Knight of the Garter was in good condition as went down very well.
This pub is well worth taking a look and not just because it’s a handy bolt hole from an afternoon of shopping. The pleasing interior is undoubtedly the main attraction and with a slightly broader ale selection, this would be somewhere well worth spending some time.

On 11th October 2012 - rating: 7
[User has posted 3150 recommendations about 3150 pubs]

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BobOs . left this review about The Tottenham

The only remaining Oxford Street pub boasts a superb brick and stone front elevation above the ground floor dating to the 1892 rebuild. Inside the well-preserved Victorian interior enjoys a wealth of carved wood, tiles, mirrors and murals as well as a lantern to the rear with post-WW2 glass. The welcome was warm but the pub was almost empty (mid-afternoon on a Thursday). Five ales on - London Pride for me at this stop, delicious and well kept without being too cold.

On 23rd March 2012 - rating: 7
[User has posted 370 recommendations about 355 pubs]

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