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Builders Arms, Kensington, W8

1 Kensington Court Place
W8 5BJ
Phone: 02079376213

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Pub Type

Castle (Mitchells & Butlers)

Reviews (Current Rating Average: 6 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Graham Coombs left this review about Builders Arms

Good-looking pub from the outside but the interior is decidedly gastro, with the usual dark shades of grey colour scheme and rows of plain tables bearing menus on clipboards. They do seem to have kept an interest in ales though, with a new barrel properly pulled through for us. A row of outdoor tables is fenced off from the pavement. Draught beers were Landlord, Skinner's Betty Stogs, and Doom Bar with a Purity beer waiting to go on.

On 12th June 2019 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2271 recommendations about 2218 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Pub SignMan left this review about Builders Arms

This is a spacious, open-plan back street, corner pub with a classic working class name and a decidedly more upmarket clientele. The front part of the pub comprises a large open space with large windows down two sides and two entrances. One porch, liberally draped with all sorts of greenery, leads out to a small front pavement seating area. The room is bare boarded and has lots of standard tables and chairs throughout, with a few plush armchairs and sofas over to the right hand side. The servery spans the rear wall and has a basic dark wood counter and an interesting bar back with a bright mosaic tile design depicting palm trees, for no apparent reason. Decor is fairly limited and what has been added is fairly uninspiring, with blackboards, plain mirrors and a very limited number of framed pictures providing the only forms of visual distraction. To the right of the bar, a lit fireplace was a nice focal point for those who’d just arrived on this chilly Autumn evening, whilst to the left, the room extends a way to the rear, where you’ll find a small space with a drinking ledge down one side and a couple of booths along the other – it’s a fairly dark and unwelcoming spot, but seemed popular enough on a busy midweek evening. The pub appeared to be packed with poseur types but a few students and tourists appeared over time and I ended up chatting endlessly to an American couple who were super-enthusiastic about all the pubs they’d been to in London – apart from this one!!
Four ales must qualify as an unexpectedly decent return for a pub like this, with customers given a choice of Black Sheep Holy Grail, Sharps Doom Bar, Taylor Landlord and Rudgate Hop For Heroes. I tried a pint of the latter and thought it was rather nice, which was a relief, as upon ordering, the barmaid somehow managed to smash a half pint glass that was trapped inside a pint glass, which she then used to serve my pint!
This place felt a bit like it was trying to be a refined, high-end pub suited to the locals, but fell a fair way short of achieving this, leaving us with a slightly pretentious feeling pub with nothing particularly marking it out from other such places in the area. I was happy enough here, chatting to my new American friends over a decent pint, but nothing here really grabbed me and made me want to rush back.

On 16th January 2019 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2546 recommendations about 2546 pubs]

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custodian 42 left this review about Builders Arms

Again, nothing special beer wise. All below 4.5%. I went for Caple Road cider at 5.2%. Another pub not to be returned to.

On 12th October 2016 - rating: 5
[User has posted 1673 recommendations about 1671 pubs]

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Tris C left this review about Builders Arms

Yes, this is a pub with a contemporary modern blue/grey though restrained interior but I wouldn't call it a gastropub as the mainstay of fayre is 'posh' burgers, fish 'n' chips and sandwiches with unsightly condiment bottles on tables and we didn't see any tables laid for diners - not exactly Masterchef then. Furniture is fairly conventional with some leatherette sofas and high stool/table combos and there's at least one real fire. The crowd in here is affluent, young and professional which is no surprise.
However, Euro '16 was on and the sound was channelled through the pub's stereo system and it was *deafening*, so much so that one barman asked another to turn it down; it wasn't. Football at real-life volume in a pub is bad enough, but it was half time so all the adverts were blasted at us at full volume - I don't want to be told to do The Shake 'n' Vac (or whatever) at a volume which would have made Lemmy run for cover.
Ales: Sharp's Doom Bar, Timothy Taylor's Landlord, Adnam's Southwold and Salopian Hop Twister at a very steep £4.45 (this is W8), though very nice it was too.
We left The Tinnitus Arms and doubt we'll return.

On 17th June 2016 - rating: 3
[User has posted 1001 recommendations about 986 pubs]

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Rex Rattus left this review about Builders Arms

Almost all the tables in the main room were laid for diners, but I had the feeling that it would be alright to just have a drink. But I sat at the tables that didn't have cutlery, etc, on it so didn't test that premise. Like everywhere in this part of the world it's got an upmarket feel. The wall decor consists entirely of chalkboard menus, but the wall behind the glass and steel bar back comprises a large mosaic mural, but all the stuff in front of it prevented me from identifying its subject. They obviously do food, and though I didn't get to scrutinise a menu, I noticed the specials chalkboard advertising three main course, including chicken supreme at £12.50. There was however a drinks menu on the tables. All the usual sort of stuff was there, but they did list their regular ales of Doom Bar (£3.45), Purity UBU (£3.95), and Windsor & Eton Knight of the Garter (£3.60). All these ales were on, plus Red Squirrel London Black IPA. £3.60 for a delicious ale like Knight of the Garter is not unreasonable for this area.

There is more seating in a very small room on the left, plus an upstairs room which I didn't visit. There are no fruit machines or others of their ilk here. I wasn't expecting much in the way of a pub experience around here, but the service was friendly and welcoming and the pub was much better than I expected. Notwithstanding the inevitable gastropub nature of the place, I quite enjoyed my visit here.

On 17th August 2013 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2577 recommendations about 2495 pubs]

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Malden man left this review about Builders Arms

You know what sort of pub this is going to be as you approach, the high stool seating under the awning and the light green exterior are a dead giveaway. Internally the theme continues with gastro grey and dark green walls, individually upholstered benches and a mosaic behind the bar. Naturally there is a wooden floor and plenty of pot plants and ferns. It is a small single room which returns slightly to one side and then again the extend into an alcove behind the bar. Upstairs is "The Builders Loft Gallery" where resident photographer Matthew Butterfield displays his collection for viewing and sale.
Despite the obvious foody leanings the menu didn't look bad at all, and not unreasonably priced, eg Saturday breakfast at ('spoons fans look away now) £7.50 and Glos Old Spot sausages, mash, kale and wine gravy at £9.
It's not bad at all beerwise either with four handpumps on the go, Doom Bar, Purity Pure old and Ubu plus Windsor and Eton Knight of the Garter (£3.70). Forthcoming guest ales are listed on a chalkboard and looked to have some decent and less usually seen options. Not too sure which are the regular beers but I expect Doom Bar is one of them. Seasonally, there was mulled wine and cider on the bar.
This pub won't be to the taste of the traditionalist but to be fair I didn't mind the place and there is clearly no issue with popping in for drinks, plenty were.

On 13th November 2012 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1687 recommendations about 1663 pubs]

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Real Ale Ray left this review about Builders Arms

Bit of a shock since my last visit here, as now it's one of those gastro joints. Still glad to see four real ales on, the Sambrooks Brewery Junction was well worth my visit.

On 7th October 2011 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2976 recommendations about 2976 pubs]

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Just a quick pint, then I'm off left this review about Builders Arms

Refurbished in gastro-pub style, and the only place I've ever been where a staff member solemnly went round at exactly six o'clock and placed a small cactus on each table! Lime green exterior, dark green inside. High ceilings in the main bar, with a small seating area behind and a very curiously-decorated and furnished room upstairs. Small terrace at the front under awnings. TVs for sport. Three of the four handpumps working, offering Doom Bar, TT Landlord and Hadley's Blonde (£3.60). Overall, not a bad spot if you happen to be in the area.

On 21st July 2011 - rating: 7
[User has posted 6222 recommendations about 6222 pubs]

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Nick Davies left this review about Builders Arms

Middling M&B unbranded outlet that remains much as Roger has described below though they've taken the hint on the sofas, now reduced in number and the beer range isn't bad, Harvey's Best, Tribute, Pride and something else the other day and in good condition too. If you're looking for a lunchtime or afternoon pint it's pleasant enough but not worth fighting for in the evenings.

On 16th August 2010 - rating: 6
[User has posted 524 recommendations about 516 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Roger Button left this review about Builders Arms

Another traditional old Victorian corner pub given a trendy makeover to attract the more upmarket clientele but won't appeal to traditionalists. Not my sort of place but it certainly does have a few merits. Aside from the 3 Ales available (Pride Broadside & Tribute) there was a surprisingly good selection of lagers and draught beers (Sierra Nevada, Kiri Ichibvar, Fruili, Peroni etc). Prices are not particularly cheap as one would expect. The main bar is a single, high ceiling room with a sofa area in the middle and rather stripped back furnishings, large plants and plain picture windows. Overall it is a bit featureless and certainly not particularly cosy or intimate. There is a small 2 table anti room to one side of the bar away from the masses and a further bar upstairs (closed for a private function). There is also seating outside with patio heaters. A glance at the menu revealed that the food was not as expensive as one would expect in such a place with main dishes in the £7-9 price range. The Sunday evening movie nights are an unusual idea. Not a place I would make a specific journey to but that is more a matter of personal taste than anything particularly untoward about the pub and the place was packed to the rafters during my visit so it certainly does have its admirers. Not exactly a place you would stumble across by accident either.

On 29th October 2008 - rating: 5
[User has posted 1238 recommendations about 1232 pubs]