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The Hand & Shears, EC1

1 Middle Street
Phone: 02076000257

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

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Ian Mapp left this review about The Hand & Shears

Exactly my sort of pub.... a real gem that I discovered when completing CAMRA's Pub Walk.

Totally traditional and unspoiled - you could be in any are in the C20th but for me, it had a kind of 1950's feel.

All wood panelling in three rooms around a central bar.

Two Timothy Taylor beers on and I was in heaven.

Instantly into my top 10 london pubs.

On 1st March 2020 - rating: 10
[User has posted 989 recommendations about 981 pubs]

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Bucking Fastard left this review about The Hand & Shears

Utterly charming interior,a real must visit and expertly described below by PSM.The island bar gives serving access to a nesting of rooms,there are few London pubs that retain this atmosphere today.It also helps that the serving staff are all charming young ladies ,efficient and engaging.There is a first floor space for hire ,and possibly lunch but around the bar no food is served in the evening.Punters were recommended the Old Red Cow for dining ,just through an archway opposite.There is however a glass dome on the bar with some artisan pork pies which could easily satisfy most boozers.
It seems that three real ales will be offered which meant on my trip TT Landlord,London Pride and guest Abbeydale Serenity (decent),so the ale choice may not overwhelm but you really must visit this pub for the listed interior and linger a while.

On 3rd March 2019 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2384 recommendations about 2384 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Pub SignMan left this review about The Hand & Shears

Hidden away down a narrow back street, just a short walk from Barbican tube station, this is a very pleasant, multiple roomed pub which has done well to retain its traditional layout and feel. The pub is centred around an island servery with a dark wood counter, simple gantry and obscured glass bar back. Some decorative, frosted windows run around two sides of the pub, some of which include a few fine examples of period glasswork, including a stylish ‘Public Bar’ pane to the front. The left side of the pub opens out into a reasonable sized seating area with full height wall panels, a dark varnished floor and lincrusta covered ceiling, much like the rest of the pub. The doorways connecting each of the four rooms around the servery each have interesting, openable windows above them, although I’m not entirely sure what practical purpose they were installed for. The left hand room offers chair and bench seating under a collection of Hogarth pictures and other such depictions of olde London life and a compact fireplace with large plain mirrors above. The rear room has hard benches along the rear wall and seemed to be the most popular spot, being pretty much packed out compared to the very quiet left hand room. This extends around to the right hand side of the pub, where the room narrows considerably, before bringing you back round to the front bar again. A dreadfully soppy soundtrack played throughout my stay, thankfully drowned out by the chatter from the group in the rear room for the most part.
There were three beers on handpull on this visit, with a choice of Taylor’s Landlord, Sharp’s Doom Bar and Thornbridge Jaipur. The latter was £4.50 for a pint and in great shape – a timely reminder of how good this beer can be in the right hands. The barmaids seemed very friendly and operated like a well-oiled machine – always seeming to know where the next order was coming from and getting the pints out in rapid fashion.
This is a great pub for anyone keen to visit a simple, unpretentious back street pub with a real time-warp feel to it. I enjoyed my well kept pint here and enjoyed a circuit of the pub’s various rooms, but found the cramped conditions combined with a healthy post-work crowd made it a little tricky to settle down and get comfortable. A great find for the traditionalist and worth a look for the sort of interior you rarely find in Central London.

On 22nd January 2019 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2826 recommendations about 2826 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Just a quick pint, then I'm off left this review about The Hand & Shears

A rather splendid little corner pub that has somehow retained four wood-panelled rooms around a central servery (of which the 'Private Room' is almost a snug, although it is also the most plainly decorated). The main Public Bar is quite small and plain too, but the slightly larger side room and Saloon Bar to the rear are decorated with a variety of prints and other traditional accoutrements. Four handpumps on the front counter and two more at the back, with Landlord, Absolute from Madness, Reunion Beardtongue ruby ale (£4.50) and Thornbridge Jaipur available when I visited (with a reversed Doom Bar clip also noted). Overall, if you are looking for a proper old-fashioned (in the best way) pub in central London but away from the tourists then this one is hard to beat.

On 10th November 2018 - rating: 9
[User has posted 7108 recommendations about 7108 pubs]

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hondo . left this review about The Hand & Shears

Proper pub with a nice old school exterior and interior. Central island bar serves the 4 “rooms” that circle the bar (didn’t visit upstairs). 5 real ales.

On 27th October 2018 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2833 recommendations about 2774 pubs]

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Tris C left this review about The Hand & Shears

With its curved corner entrance door and Courage lettering, this was rebuilt in the mid-19th century though has a history dating back to the early 12th, this has a Listed interior and is on CAMRA's inventory of historic pub interiors; all richly deserved and seemingly given a new lease of life since the first revue.
As described below with a black lacquered floor and lots of t 'n' g panelling, though one of the aforementioned coal fires is coal-effect; muted music played. The landlord, when he's in, is very friendly, welcoming us and chatting to his regulars who were an older more local crowd. The ale line-up, typically six on rotation, is displayed on a blackboard with price and ABV, but make sure to check both sides of the island bar as the choice is greater than you think. Timothy Taylor's Landlord is a mainstay here though is £4.50 a pint which is a fair bit.
We thought that this was the highlight of the EC1 area and is definitely worth several return visits, especially in light of some minor renovations taken to repair the bench upholstery.

On 15th May 2018 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1532 recommendations about 1510 pubs]

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Real Ale Ray left this review about Hand & Shears

This pub is in the Camra Guide of Historic Pub Interiors and is well worth a visit. We found this to be a very well run pub serving six hand pulled ales. There were two coal fires lit downstairs on our visit, I also checked out an upstairs wallpapered lounge, with a small bar which looked very comfortable. The manager was very friendly and welcoming, the pub also serves food, which was reasonably priced. We went for the Trumans Brewery Bold as Brass, which was superb.

On 5th January 2014 - rating: 9
[User has posted 3126 recommendations about 3126 pubs]

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Chris 87 left this review about Hand & Shears

I'd been meaning to go to this place for a while - its fine example of a centrally located backstreet pub, with a simple, effective two-bar arrangement and an old-fashioned ambience. Adnams Bitter (£3.30), GK IPA, Courage Best and Courage Directors were available - not an inspiring choice, admittedly, but well kept - and they also do a range of traditional meals at below average (i.e. non gastro) prices. Internally it is bright and comfy, not dissimilar in look or feel to the Rising Sun (Samuel Smiths pub) across the road. I liked it here and would return.

On 5th April 2011 - rating: 7
[User has posted 179 recommendations about 179 pubs]

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Danny O'Revey left this review about Hand & Shears

Fine old ale house with a central bar, with the room around it separated by various partitions to form different drinking spaces. Lots of wood panalling.

2 real ales, ok quality.

On 26th September 2010 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1353 recommendations about 1330 pubs]

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Rex Rattus left this review about Hand & Shears

Courage Best and Wadworth's 6X on handpump. The 6X was excellent. This is a hidden gem of a real pub, retaining the separate rooms that were so common until they started to be combined in the 70s. Excellent pub - the real deal – highly recommended.

On 30th August 2008 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2599 recommendations about 2513 pubs]

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