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The Red Lion, SW1

48 Parliament Street

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

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

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

Suffers from having very cramped bar which makes it difficult to get served even if there are only a few people in the place (which there rarely is). Also has a compact upstairs 'English' dining room upstairs, the Cellar Bar below (never visited), a few patio tables at the front and several wooden bench seats along the side. Very traditional furniture and decor, refurbished earlier in 2014. However, it has always served excellent beer. Three handpumps on each half of the bar, offering - on my latest visit - Pride, Seafarers and the Old Winter's Ale (£4.80, but - as expected - in exemplary form).

On 28th January 2018 - rating: 7
[User has posted 6199 recommendations about 6199 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Ian Mapp left this review about The Red Lion

Needed food and had looked at the menu on-line before popping in on my walk. I knew they were big on pies.

There's a nice little restaurant upstairs with great service.

My ESB was served in the ceremonial handled jug, which was a nice touch. Damn fine.

Pie was good as well.

All in all - a good experience in a busy part of town.

On 9th July 2015 - rating: 7
[User has posted 697 recommendations about 691 pubs]

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Real Ale Ray left this review about The Red Lion

This pub has several attractive features. Firstly I noticed the elaborate decorative ceiling work and also the impressive looking dark oak timber partition which separates the main lounge. The large brass chandeliers were also an added feature, which gave the pub a feeling of opulent grandeur. Prices here were at £4.10 for a pint of Pride, their other two ales on handpump were Seafarers and ESB.

On 6th February 2015 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2976 recommendations about 2976 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Pub SignMan left this review about The Red Lion

There has apparently been a pub on this prominent site since 1434, originally trading under the name ‘Hopping Hall’. The present building dates back to 1900 and had the distinction of serving every British Prime Minister who was in office from that year up to, and including, Ted Heath in the early 1970’s, presumably as a result of it being the closest pub to the Prime Minister’s Downing Street residence. Today we find a fairly small corner pub with a single long room on the ground floor which shows signs of previous partitioning. The room has wooden flooring, an impressively decorated ceiling design and a fine dark wood servery running down the left hand side. A drinking ledge is sited opposite with a few high stools under some etched glass windows, with just a few tables squeezed in at the front and back extremities of the room. The servery displays some interesting features including some arches with etched glass inserts and a bar back dating back to the rebuild which boasts further examples of fine glasswork and an integral clock. I noticed some signs for a cellar bar, although this appeared to be closed on my Sunday evening visit, but there were a few people eating in the upstairs dining room. Perhaps unsurprisingly there are lots of images of various parliamentarians and royals on the walls, especially lining the walls of the staircase. Maybe they are all former customers.
The pub is operated by Fullers and six of their beers were available from the eight hand pumps – London Pride, Bengal Lancer, Seafarers, Chiswick, Traitor’s Gate and a rare sighting of London Porter which I felt I couldn’t turn down, although I very nearly regretted it upon being told it would set me back £4.25. Thankfully, this excellent beer was on top form, so I wasn’t quite as begrudging as I might have been as my hard earned cash made the short journey down the road to the Treasury.
This place is well worth a look for the fine interior and is preferable to the nearby St Stephen’s Tavern in terms of beer choice (funds permitting, of course). Just don’t expect Dave to turn up for a swift half – those days are over.

On 15th January 2013 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2545 recommendations about 2545 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

E TA left this review about The Red Lion

I found the cellar bar rather ordinary this week; the carpets were a bit damp and there was an odour of decay about the place. Upstairs was a little less morbid, but the staff were quite apathetic. There were 3 ales on - I had a pint of Fullers Chiswick which was OK but nothing special. Given its location and reputation it was disappointing. I'll come back, of course, but there are better pubs within 5 minutes' walk.

On 28th May 2012 - rating: 5
[User has posted 2602 recommendations about 2573 pubs]

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Roger Button left this review about The Red Lion

Dubbed the Prime Minister's Local due to its close proximity to Downing Street, the Red Lion naturally has a Parliamentray flavour with many politicians present, either in person or adorning the walls in picture form. The classic Victorian exterior is bedecked with flower baskets and is quite an enticing sight. The interior is one long, narrow room but divided into two distict areas by a wooden screen. There are planty of ornate traditional features, notably the burgundy moulded ceiling, dark wood paneling, bar frame and patterned windows but overall it seems quite basic with bare floors and none of the soft furnishings that blight such places. There is actually little in the way of tables, just a couple of high tables at the very front and rear with the rest of the pub being stools along a ledge or standing at the bar. At one end is a small food bar above which are several shields. There is a further dining room upstairs and also a cellar bar but I have so far never ventured into either. If the weather is OK, there are some seats outside under pull down blinds but it is a busy and noisy road so don't expect peace and quiet. Naturally, being in a tourist hot spot, it can get busy, especially lunctimes, but I have always been served promptly. My recent visit was the first since the pub has changed hands to Fullers and the beer selection has definately suffered. Originally there were 6 ales with some decent guest beers but my recent experience saw just 4 Fullers ales (Chiswick, Pride, Bengal Lancer and Gales Seafarers). Given that there is a Fullers pub 300 yards away (the Sanctuary) with a more extensive range, their takeover of the Red Lion means less choice for the consumer which doesn't sit well with me. The prices here are quite high but certainly not as bad as some of its neighbours. There is a small TV and piped music but it is generally a pub for the babble of conversation and MP spotting although it is a place that does get uncomfortably busy.

On 4th March 2010 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1238 recommendations about 1232 pubs]

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Chris 87 left this review about The Red Lion

As usual rpadam has done a good summary of this pub - This is a rather unremarkable, small pub but keeps its beers well (a couple of pints of Chiswick in good nick during my visit) although at a pretty steep price. Staff were fairly attentive and it was busy with the after work crowd, but either I'm not as clued up or I used to be or I geniunely didn't see any MPs during my couple of hours there.

On 26th November 2009 - rating: 7
[User has posted 179 recommendations about 179 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Philip Carter left this review about The Red Lion

Not much to say about this pub. Ok if you like crowds, mostly tourists or men in suits. Prices reflect the area, a pint of London Pride £3.05. Has a dining room upstairs and a cellar bar, guess where, downstairs. Update. Ale on sale Polar Beer (£3.20 pint), Deuchars, & GK IPA + 2 others. Bought a pint of England Glory, £3.50.

On 26th April 2009 - rating: 2
[User has posted 753 recommendations about 716 pubs]

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Rex Rattus left this review about The Red Lion

A CAMRA Heritage Pub, which most certainly looks the part, with numerous original late Victorian features having survived for more than a century. But it is always crowded, being where it is in Whitehall almost opposite Downing Street. Expensive – of course – Pride at £3.25 a pint (tasted OK), and a pretty naff coffee (she said!) at £1.80 is expensive even by London standards. Worth dropping in for a good look at the place, but probably not worth a repeat visit.

On 10th September 2008 - rating: 5
[User has posted 2577 recommendations about 2495 pubs]