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Elephant & Castle, Kensington, W8

40 Holland Street
W8
W8 4LT

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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 Elephant & Castle

A return visit and it would seem that the floor has had a makeover but what - thankfully - has changed is that the awful games machine has gone which adds more appeal. What has also changed is the décor, where once there were framed newspaper front pages from momentous events, there are now pictures of former resident Freddie Mercury cavorting with Samantha Fox which adds nothing. Allied to which, my pint tasted as though the lines hadn't been cleaned in quite a while and wasn't pleasant to drink. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, so the grade remains unchanged.

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17th June 2016:

Oddly for this part of the world, this is as mentioned, a Nicholson's pub. It dates from 1865 and is tucked away out of the sightline of tourists plodding around dreary Kensington High Street in one of the prettiest enclaves in Kensington. Out front there's an awning-covered patio and inside it's dark, very traditional and very basic with simple furniture, some settles and lots of dark atmospheric three-quarter height wood panelling. There's a pot shelf and behind, there's an old back lit Charrington's bar parapet - it reminded me a bit of The Windsor Castle up the road. How lovely (well almost). The pub was fairly quiet yet despite this, the barman took 10 minutes to serve me. The bloke standing next to me had been there even longer and it's not as if we weren't noticed, as the barman kept glancing over at us as he chatted with customers. Added to this there was a TV showing Euro '16 (for me, a capital offence in a historic pub) and worse, there was a flashing games machine.
Ales: one unused pump, Portobello Bronze Star, Sharp's Doom Bar, Nicholson's Pale Ale, Littlestone's Honey Porter and Glamorgan Brewing Co's Pales of the Unexpected at (for the area) a competitive £4.35 a pint and very nice it was too.
I'll definitely return as this is a very nice pub indeed. If it put the TV, games machine and useless barman in a skip I'd probably give it 8/10.

On 27th September 2019 - rating: 6
[User has posted 953 recommendations about 939 pubs]


Graham Coombs left this review about Elephant & Castle

A very smart Nicholson's pub in the back residential streets with a nice floral exterior. Inside is an immaculate traditional pub in a U-shape round the central bar, with some nice wood panelling, decorated with memorabilia from the old Barker's department store. There are a few pavement tables outside. A reasonable selection of beers seemed well kept: Hophead, London Pride, Proper Job, Hadley's Moonstone, Doom Bar and the St Austell house beer. Would happily return.

On 13th June 2019 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2194 recommendations about 2145 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Pub SignMan left this review about Elephant & Castle

This is a compact Nicholson’s pub on a street corner a short walk from High Street Kensington tube station. Arriving in the evening, the first thing I noticed was how dark the pub was, as you enter into a dimly lit room that combines with a great deal of dark wood panelling and floorboards, to create an atmospheric and rather cosy effect. A couple of long, padded, curved banquettes stand either side of the entrance with numerous low stools in support and two drinking ledge lined pillars opposite help to funnel people through the room, towards the bar area. The servery has a nice, U-shaped dark wood counter which arcs around the rear wall, beneath a smart canopy and pot shelf. Gleaming brass foot rails and an impressive back-lit Charringtons branded bar back add to the grand effect the servery produces, making it the main focal point of the room. Beyond the bar, there is a small space to the rear with limited seating and plenty more wood panels, but this seemed a bit cut-off from the rest ofg the pub and was proportionately quieter as a result. Decor throughout the pub includes various paintings, corporate-style blackboards and display cabinets full of random shiny things. There was also a framed front page of the Evening Standard from the day that John Lennon was shot, although this was partially lost beneath a load of tasteless Halloween decorations. There are a few pavement seats in a small front garden area and a door to the rear leads out to a rear patio, which I failed to explore.
On the bar, the usual decent selection of ales you’d associate with Nicholson’s pubs were available, with the full range comprising Siren Liquid Mistress and Sweet Dream, Fullers London Pride, Nicholson’s Pale Ale, Sharps Doom bar and Wychwood Hobgoblin. The Sweet Dream set me back a hefty £5.05 for a pint but it was absolutely divine – one of the best beers I had all year and therefore almost worth the annoyingly large pile of shrapnel I got back in change.
I thought this was a good Nicholson’s pub with a nice, atmospheric interior, friendly bar staff and some heavenly beer, albeit at hellish prices. A lot of the pubs in this part of town make me feel a bit out of place, but I was more than happy sat in here and will be making it my ‘go to’ pub whenever I find myself in the area.

On 16th January 2019 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2446 recommendations about 2446 pubs]


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custodian 42 left this review about Elephant & Castle

Bit disappointed with the beers in here. Nothing over 4.5%. Pub is OK - must have caught it on a bad day.

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


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Moby Duck left this review about Elephant & Castle

A street corner pub situated in the pleasant back streets away from the busy high street,although technically a one room pub there are two distinct drinking areas. There were just four beers on whilst I was there,Doom Bar, Trumans Runner,Exmoor Gold and Nicholsons Pale, I tried the Trumans beer and found it to be served to warm with a slight musty taste about it. I was Impressed with the pub itself but question the beer Quality, I would give another go here.

On 12th August 2016 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1325 recommendations about 1311 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


E TA left this review about Elephant & Castle

Well described below, this backstreet boozer, currently owned by Nicholson’s, has a GBG entry which is well deserved. Six ales on this visit: Camerons Fridge Magnet, Robinson’s Wizard, Doombar, Kōma Off The Wall, Adnam’s Jester and Exmoor Beast, plus a menu of bottled beers including Brewdog, Williams, Siren and Hawkes. Staff were pleasant and the ambience was fine apart from the gaming machine. There was also a wine list, but this was uninspiring and dull, but then this is an ale pub, not a wine bar. Worth spending a few hours enjoying their beers.

On 23rd June 2016 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2532 recommendations about 2510 pubs]


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Just a quick pint, then I'm off left this review about Elephant & Castle

A bit off the beaten track for a Nicholson's, although it is not actually that far from High Street Kensington but effectively separated by several mews that do not provide an easy through route. The compact and traditional 'L'-shaped bar - with lots of dark wood about the place - doesn't provide a lot of space so good use is made of the outside seating at the front. Number of handpumps increased from four to six since my previous visit three years ago, offering NPA, Pride, Samuel Adams Blonde Ambition and Leeds Gathering Storm this time round.

On 29th September 2013 - rating: 7
[User has posted 6000 recommendations about 6000 pubs]


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Rex Rattus left this review about Elephant & Castle

This is a Nicholson’s house so you can expect a decent ale selection. This one had on Doom Bar, London Pride, Sharp’s Cornish Trawler, Red Squirrel Hopfest and Thornbridge Frank as Apollo. Some of the old Charrington signage remains on the bar back. A typical Nicholson’s pub grub menu is available, but in this upmarket area of Kensington it’s obviously not one of the cheapest that you’ll see – e.g. the fish and chips (sorry “premium line caught cod, chips, and mushy peas”) is £10.95.
The pub itself is attractive and reasonably comfortable, although it’s been considerably opened up over the years of course. It’s bare boarded, has mainly banquette seating with some some wooden seats and standard tables, and there’s also some seating on a terrace outside. The walls are wood panelled to three quarter height, and there is a small room around to the left and rear of the bar counter which would no doubt have been a private bar or snug in the past.
Set in a quiet street away from the hustle and bustle of the Kensington High St area, I found this pub to be a very pleasant retreat. It gets busy as these sort of places inevitably do, but it’s certainly worth a visit if you’re in the area looking for a decent pint or two in convivial surroundings.

On 30th May 2012 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2575 recommendations about 2493 pubs]


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Steve of N21 left this review about Elephant & Castle

As mentioned below, a small but picturesque pub tucked away behind High Street Ken.
Interior is well described by the reviewers below and had the benefit of not being as crowded as some of the other pubs on the main roads on this particular weekend afternoon.
Four hand pumps as mentioned, which included Pride, TT Landlord, Pedigree and one other I can’t remember. My pint of Landlord was spot on.
I liked this one and will search it out again when back in the area.

On 4th May 2010 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1699 recommendations about 1648 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Malden man left this review about Elephant & Castle

Lots of dark wood in the typical Nicholsons style, settles, stools and banquette seating. Wooden floor, old photos, several of the Indian Raj era, but more interestingly the small area to the rear of the bar has a number of framed copies probably facsimiles, of newspaper headlines from momentous days of times gone by, such as the 66 World Cup win. moon landings, D-day and more.
Hops entwined above the bar, friendly but perhaps I was slightly unlucky today beer wise, four pumps, two serving Pride, plus Pedigree and Caledonian Top Banana.
I am reliably informed that the late great Dave Allen used to drink here.

On 19th July 2009 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1686 recommendations about 1662 pubs]

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