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Beer of the Week (w/e 15th May 2022) with Bucking Fastard on the Pub Forum

Old Fountain, Old Street, EC1

3 Baldwin Street
Phone: 02072532970

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

Graham Coombs left this review about Old Fountain

A lively pub just off the City Road with two connecting rooms at slightly different levels, with the bar down the side of both. Decor is fairly plain and uncluttered. Ales on pump were Lost & Grounded Autumn Protagonist, Tring Hound Dog, Oakham Citra and Anspach & Hobday Golden Best, with a selection of craft keg also. Not an exceptional pub but pleasant enough and some interesting beers which seemed well-kept.

On 1st December 2021 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2566 recommendations about 2511 pubs]

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Blackthorn _ left this review about Old Fountain

Tucked away down a side street but just a short stroll away from the Old Street roundabout, it looks like a rather rough and ready old boozer from the outside, and that, together with the high volume of noise emanating from within, meant we weren’t quite sure what to expect.

Inside though it’s something of a surprise being really quite contemporary, and populated largely with bearded hipster types as might perhaps be expected going on the locality. The first thing we noticed on entering was the semi-open kitchen and service counter, so were wondering if this was actually a pub or restaurant, but beyond this is a regular bar and a good choice of beers. The flooring was sanded wooden boards, whilst new back wood panelling had been fitted to the lower part of the walls, with cream plasterwork above. The pub stretches between two streets with an entrance at both ends, and the windows included lots of stained glass panels. A small black fireplace and wood burning stove was off to one side, and there was also a large fish tank. A sign pointed upstairs to an outside terrace, but we did not investigate this. Dark brown leather benches stretched around much of the perimeter, and there were several old black and white pictures of the locale dotted around the walls. A projector screen was rolled up, suggesting perhaps that major sporting events are screened.

There was a good choice of beers on tap, all displayed on a chalk board at the end of the bar, and on this occasion consisted of Tring Mansion Mild, Anspach & Hobday Tri-Stout, Summer Wine Oregon, Tring Drop Bar, Five Points Citrus Pale, Thornbridge Astryd, Oakham Citra and London Pride. There were also a dozen or so craft beer options on keg. Ciders meanwhile were Abrahalls AM and Crafty Apple, both of which were new ones on me. Overall, this is clearly a renowned pub for it’s beer, but it lacks the cosy ambience that I normally look for, and the harsh acoustics meant that it was very noisy and I was quite glad to leave for some peace and quiet.

On 8th May 2019 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1789 recommendations about 1713 pubs]

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Tris C left this review about Old Fountain

Established as the Old Fountain Knights in the mid-18th century, I came here around seven years ago and found it pleasant enough. A return a while ago and it has clearly had a little - very little - done to it. The most noticeable change is the bare boarded floor where once there was carpet. There's still some slightly scruffy paintwork to keep the traditionalists happy though. The aquarium and piano remain, but the firing range (or whatever you call it) for the darts is now occupied by tables and chairs - the board is still there in a cupboard, but I can't now see it being used - a case of Health & Safety gone mad? There's also a roof terrace which is spacious and a great place for an al fresco drink in warm weather.
Noticeable too is that, due to the area's ongoing gentrification, the clients are now a little more moneyed and international; this is no longer an almost exclusively locals’ pub and the more mixed client base lends the place a better vibe. The TV remains as does the projector screen, retracted, so sport will probably feature but doesn't appear to be the mainstay of entertainment.
There's now a very large array of cask, keg and bottled beers on offer, all listed on a board with one weighing in at a monstrous £9.00 a pint. With five pumps - two double clipped - this is an ale drinker’s Mecca, the dreaded London Pride seemingly having been shown the red card. My half of Five Points XPA the other night cost just £2.10 which is great value and was in perfect nick.
This is one of the best pubs in EC1 and is a no-brainer if in the area, a short walk from the Craft Beer Co and the Wenlock. The scotch eggs are top notch too.

On 3rd June 2018 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1500 recommendations about 1479 pubs]

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Quinno _ left this review about Old Fountain

It’s all gone a little upmarket here – new white & gold exterior signage, removal of carpet and slightly more eclectic grub. There’s also an upstairs roof terrace which I forgot to check out, having come in during a biblical downpour. However the range and quality of the ales remain. £4.10 for my Oakham Citra which, when served as well as this one was, is quite acceptable for London. Still one of Zone 1’s premier beer destinations.

June 2013
Recent revisits have found the Old Fountain to be thriving - an excellent array of ales on the go. The interior has had a little spruce-up. Good food is offered and I’ve sampled both the pork bap and pizzas which are really good and wallet-pleasingly cheap. The overhauled gents are a plus and there's now some interesting stuff on keg like Magic Rock (which happily also makes it regularly onto handpump). Its fame has spread and there’s often no spare tables after chucking out time from the nearby offices later in the week. It’s now also open Saturdays too. Beware that food starts after 5. Also a dart board but I've never seen it used. Rated 9

May 2009
Had walked past a couple of times thinking that this place was a classic rough Hoxton boozer, so was shocked when I finally went in to find a whole host of interesting and eight well-kept beers. These are mostly from microbreweries bar the London Pride, which I gather is the house beer. In my half-a-dozen visits I have thoroughly enjoyed my beers and the standards are very high. Paulaner and Bitburger lagers are also available, but it’s sadly lacking a decent cider. TARDIS-like inside, there are two carpeted bars on split levels and the pub has an entrance in the streets on each side. The interior decoration is a bit staid, bar the comedy fish tank…think the Wenlock with more space and a carpet that still retains the carpet element. There’s a food servery, with a selection of doorstep wedge sarnies, pizzas etc at reasonable prices (only available after 5 weeekdays, all-day Saturday). The clientèle are a good mixed bunch, though it can be a little quiet during the daytime before the nearby offices chuck out. It's well worth stopping for and highly recommended to ale fans. Beware that it’s only open 11-11 weekdays. Rated 9

On 7th October 2017 - rating: 9
[User has posted 4331 recommendations about 4317 pubs]

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hondo . left this review about Old Fountain

Old style pub with a split level interior and 2 entrances. 14 keg,6 real ale and 1 cider tap on during my visit.

On 22nd September 2017 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2818 recommendations about 2760 pubs]

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Ian Mapp left this review about Old Fountain

Pointed out to me by the Good Beer Guide - it the sort of place that you are not going to stumble upon, tucked down a little side street next to tower blocks.

But it is worth seeking out - excellent pint of Hackney Best, friendly bar staff, reasonable prices (for LDN).

A success and recommended.

Visit blogged at

On 19th January 2017 - rating: 10
[User has posted 277 recommendations about 276 pubs]

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Thuck Phat left this review about Old Fountain

Well known and well reviewed, as the City creeps northward the Old Fountain was beginning to feel slightly corporate when I visited.
The roof terrace is worth mentioning as it provided a comfortable and popular spot on an especially sultry September evening.
Beers on were: Fountain Brewhouse Amber and City Road Pale, London Pride, Siren Craft Undercurrent, Oakham Citra, Saltaire Long Day IPA, Charnwood White Fox and Roosters White Rose. That seems a decent selection but I was assured by my fellow, long experienced Old Fountain drinkers that it fell below previous standards. Some of our choices weren't in the best shapes either which didn't help.
There were also 14 keg beers available with breweries such as Kernel, Cloudwater, Moor, Five Points, Brew by Numbers, Northern Monk and Siren represented. Quality brewers and it seems that the Old Fountain's focus has broadened to include keg as well as their traditional cask offers.
Well worth a stop given the ale selection.

On 18th October 2016 - rating: 8
[User has posted 670 recommendations about 669 pubs]

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Real Ale Ray left this review about Old Fountain

This pub was on my radar, after seeing it on numerous occasions in the London Drinker. The pub had a good choice of eight ales on handpump, so I went for the Firebrand Cross Pacific and Yakima Valley, both were good session ales. The beer board also had a comprehensive choice of draught beers and lagers. Note the pub now opens at weekends. Well worth a visit!

On 11th February 2015 - rating: 9
[User has posted 3073 recommendations about 3073 pubs]

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Aqualung . left this review about Old Fountain

This was a Whitbread pub which I used to work literally next door to. I remember being dragged kicking and screaming here one lunchtime for a work drink and noted them selling just boring London Pride or some Flower's rubbish. It didn't happen again.
Today it is aiming itself squarely at the Real Ale / Craft market, although the boring London Pride remains!
Despite the "craft" aspirations there is no predictable Battleship Grey colours in use at all and the way the place is currently done out using a cream and brown colour scheme with the top bar carpetted gives the feel of a two bar traditional pub.
There were eight handpumps and ignoring one unused plus the London Pride, there was Dark Star Hophead And American Pale Ale, Mallinson's Small Straw and Amarillo, Burning Sky Plateau and Five Points Hook Island Red.
I went for the locally brewed Hook Island Red (£4.00) which was nothing short of superb. Four quid a pint seems a lot but this is Central London and it is a 6% ABV beer. I've been charged more for a run of the mill Pale Ale in grotty Clapton.
If I still worked next door I would gladly come in here a lot. It's now one of a small number of Central London pubs on my "visit again" list.

On 15th March 2014 - rating: 9
[User has posted 2143 recommendations about 2143 pubs]

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john gray left this review about Old Fountain

Although I have used this pub for the last 5 years I have never reviewed it.Well described by others.I have never felt it is a comfortable pub and a bit dated but the beer range is very good.The craft keg beers are well priced and imo the selection gets better every visit.Friendly landlord and his son always have time to chat if the pub is quiet but at night that's rare.Its nice see a pub get better and busier.

On 4th January 2014 - rating: 8
[User has posted 965 recommendations about 951 pubs]

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