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Disappearing and 'in peril' breweries with london calling on the Pub Forum

Silver Cross, SW1

33 Whitehall
SW1
SW1A 2BX

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Pub Type

Taylor Walker (Spirit Pubs)

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


Will Larter left this review about Silver Cross

Following the route set out in my copy of London's Inns & Taverns, and trusting to WhatPub for opening times, I arrived here at just after 11am to find lights on but doors still locked, so the Clarence (just along the block) got the first chance to sell me a drink, and this one was open when I tried again at 11:30. I hadn't appreciated that this pub is an amalgamation of two buildings, and was looking everywhere for the famous barrel-vaulted ceiling mentioned in the book, only spotting it on my way out through the door on the right (labelled 'exit', otherwise I'd have seen it on my way in - see photos), in the narrower older building. The main pub on the left is a low-ceilinged modern development relying on steel pillars and girders to prevent the rest of the building tumbling down on unsuspecting drinkers. To be fair, my half of Greene King IPA was as good as it gets; other beers on the two sets of four hand pumps were Abbot, London Glory and a guest. The low ceiling was emphasised by the light from chandeliers, and the furniture was a mixture of some quite nice old-fashioned tables and chairs on the one hand, and some bench seating with ripped leatherette on the other. Not one to add to the list of pubs to come back to again and again.

On 2nd February 2022 - rating: 5
[User has posted 3141 recommendations about 2950 pubs]


Just a quick pint, then I'm off left this review about Silver Cross

Rather characterless 'olde London' Greene King (ex-Taylor Walker) pub aimed squarely at the Trafalgar Square tourist market (successfully I guess, given that it is usually pretty busy). The main bar area is quite large, but avoids a cavernous feel by being sub-divided into quite a few separate seating areas (with most being up a couple of steps from those sections nearer the two main doors). There is also a substantial downstairs bar accessed by steps at either end, although this is often closed for private parties. However, just IPA and 'London' Glory (£5.45) available from the two banks of four handpumps on the main bar on this visit.

On 20th November 2021 - rating: 6
[User has posted 7108 recommendations about 7108 pubs]


Tris C left this review about Silver Cross

This is an early 20th century pub on multiple levels, in the typical Greene King style, not that you could see much of it for all the Christmas decorations, mid-November.
Items to sap joy included games machines and sport TVs, which no one was watching. The ceiling is low, probably so that the aircon units can be flush fitted. There’s a part flagstone clad floor, to give the impression that this is an old pub; it’s not, as Rex points out, having been extended into further buildings. The end result looks like an upmarket Harvester or similar conversion by Wetherspoons. Music was quite loud, with customers a bit laddish, several outside on my arrival, being heavily intoxicated.
Ales offered were GK IPA and London Glory, so a half of Neck Oil it was, at a staggering £3.40 a half.
This is a very poor pub by most standards, which I never intend to revisit; the Old Shades next door is an altogether different experience; I can’t imagine what the tourists think.

On 20th November 2021 - rating: 3
[User has posted 1532 recommendations about 1510 pubs]


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Bucking Fastard left this review about Silver Cross

A real Tardis of a pub and despite it's ownership by the dead hand of Greene King,it is worth a squint inside.There are lots of nooks and crannies and an impressive staircase leading the a basement bar.To the right entrance side is a discrete leather bound snug area while beyond the bar there is a flagstone tiled area leading to a back section and another down staircase.Live sport is advertised but I couldn't readily see any screens.
I was shown to a table but no T&T details were taken.A slimmed down menu seemed expensive for corporate pub grub with a median price of £12.The four handpumps were always only going to offer GK IPA (indistinct and a rip off at £2.60 the half)
Tick it if in the area,but make it a swift half.

On 3rd September 2020 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2383 recommendations about 2383 pubs]


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Graham Coombs left this review about Silver Cross

Very large and historic pub serving a range of Greene King ales plus the occasional guest. The area by the main bar feels a little confined due to the low ceilings and pillars but it opens out more behind and there is also a large downstairs bar. To the side there is a slightly quieter stooled area with a nice room behind with a splendid vaulted ceiling, which can be reserved for private use. Lots of dark woodwork and traditional furnishings throughout.

On 13th March 2018 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2659 recommendations about 2602 pubs]


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Pub SignMan left this review about Silver Cross

This large Taylor Walker pub at the Trafalgar Square end of Whitehall stands on the site of a former brothel that was reputedly favoured by members of the Royal Family, although the current building only dates back to the early 1900's. The layout is somewhat haphazard, perhaps reflecting previous extensions into adjacent properties. The servery is located fairly centrally, with a room to the right that is effectively behind the bar and very much feels like an afterthought. Entering into the lower level front seating area, you find the usual dark floorboards and high tables and stools in a dimly lit space with a smattering of black and white photos to enliven the otherwise plain walls. The servery appears a little further back in a similarly bare boarded space with an angular dark wood bar counter, above which hang some nice lamps, and a bar back with decorative pub mirrors. Opposite is a reasonably tidy carpeted area, perhaps the cosiest spot in the pub, where you can find a curved padded banquette in the rear corner under an elaborate mirror and modern wallpaper. The room opens out significantly beyond the bar, where lots of standard tables and chairs can be found and where the smell of food was prevalent. The pub's location means it's a magnet for tourist groups and right on cue a large group of Chinese tourists piled in just as I was leaving.
There were four ales available on this visit, but the handpulls are sited at opposite ends of the bar, so you'll have to walk the full length to make sure you don't miss out on something exciting. Options on this visit were Hamerton N1, Greene King London Glory, Truman Runner and West Berkshire Mr Chubbs. Three real ciders were also available as part of a festival that happened to be taking place across the Taylor Walker estate. I gave the N1 a try and thought it was pretty average, which is also a good description of the service.
This pub clearly has a fairly interesting history but remains remarkably devoid of character and charm. The beer range was something of a saving grace but this really isn't the sort of place you're likely to want to spend long in, especially when you start to consider the superior options within a short walking distance.

On 17th September 2015 - rating: 5
[User has posted 2813 recommendations about 2813 pubs]


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Rex Rattus left this review about Silver Cross

This is now a truly enormous pub, both upstairs and downstairs, which has been given the look of a “traditional” pub. It’s nothing of the sort of course, having been mightily extended into adjoining buildings some years ago. I sat in the very narrow original part of the pub on the right, which still has a nice fireplace on the right, but it was decorated with Halloween tat when I was in.

This is now a Taylor Walker pub so expect the usual pub grub menu. There were four ales on, but nothing very special. The London Pride was off par, but the Broadside was good. I had to ask for a top up for my short measure pint. As stated by others, this is inevitably a tourist pub given its location just a stone’s throw from both Trafalgar Square and Horseguards, but you can usually find a seat in one of the darker recesses. I’ll probably end up in here again because it’s handy for meeting people, but it’s not one that I would go out of my way to visit.

On 20th October 2012 - rating: 5
[User has posted 2599 recommendations about 2513 pubs]


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Roger Button left this review about Silver Cross

The Cross of the title refers to a medal (actually called the Memorial Cross) that was inaugurated in 1919 by the Canadian government to honour its country’s mothers and widows following the First World War, later extended to take in subsequent conflicts.

My initial flirtations with the pub were when it was a cosy, narrow single room bar similar, but not as extended, as the Old Shades a few doors down. The original pub is still there (the tall narrow building to the right as you enter from Whitehall) but a 1990’s renovation saw the place spread across the 3 adjoining buildings and down into the basement creating a disjointed, rambling and cavernous pub with a very plastic and contrived feel about it. Despite the abundant floorspace, someone has still decided it is a good idea to push a table up against the bar counter right by a bank of hand pumps creating an unnecessary obstacle. Aside from a few old photos of local buildings and a genuine Silver Cross medal (by the door of the “original” pub), there isn’t a great deal of interest. The original pub is probably the only part that has anything by way of any character with a slightly raised section containing an old fireplace and some old portraits. The basement is largely for functions and group bookings, has its own bar and, from what I could see, the pub’s only TV.

The beers are for the most part predictable as per the normal Taylor Walker choices although the Golden Hen, Pride and Broadside were joined by Solebay Brewdolph on my recent visit. The quality was better than I have had in the past and service was adequate although I should mention that I probably haven’t been here for the best part of 5 years due to previous horrendous experiences with both beer quality and service. Foodwise, it’s a typical pub chain menu to suit the majority with prices around £9-£14 for main courses

Being 50 yards from Trafalgar Square you can expect the customer base to be largely tourists and the pub plays right into their hands. I have witnessed 50 strong coach parties marching through the pub, filling the reserved seats down in the basement, eat their fish and chips, sample a ½ pint of “beer” and then disappear for the “London at Night Tour” as per the itinery, t-shirt in hand having experienced the “traditional London pub experience”.

Given that there are several more pubs of much better quality in the area I don’t find myself using the place on too many occasions but on this occasion the service and beers were at least better than I have encountered before.

On 1st December 2011 - rating: 5
[User has posted 1239 recommendations about 1233 pubs]


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Philip Carter left this review about Silver Cross

A very nice pub, very comfortable and smart looking.Real ale on sale, though I forgot to make a note of which ones. Food served all day. Forgot to mention, has wheelchair access, use the right hand door, they have a lift.

On 11th January 2009 - rating: 8
[User has posted 757 recommendations about 720 pubs]


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Steve C left this review about Silver Cross

This pub was full to the brim with tourists on my visit, which isn't really surprising considering the location.

Greene King IPA, Pride, Bombardier, Old Speckled Hen and a lot of standard lagers were up for grabs from a friendly enough barmaid. There are two bars and the downstairs bar was hired out for a private function whilst I was there.

I'd pop in again if passing.

On 24th June 2008 - rating: 6
[User has posted 3948 recommendations about 3925 pubs]