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Old Red Cow, Smithfield, EC1

72 Long Lane

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

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Bucking Fastard left this review about Old Red Cow

Well known for carry a wide range of craft keg beers,the ground floor is quite small,square with few features and mainly high table seating options although bar stolls will get used and block bar access.The large staircase leads to a calmer dining room with another keg only bar,I expect you can escape up here to just drink but most folk will be eating from a menu long of pizze,pub grub and beer snacks.This will also be served in the bar and outside for vertical consumption.
There will always be 4 real ales,on my trip Redemption Pale,Twickenham Naked Ladies,Moor Raw and XT3 West Coast IPA (decent nick).The 12 keg taps offer produce from Kernel,Fourpure,Redchurch,Big Drop,Signature,Beavertown,Hackney and Five Points,so if you understand the London keg scene,this would be a good sampling target.
Lots of punters spill outside and there are drinking shelves to the front and in the archway,but the limited internal seating and short real ale menu may limit future trips to a swift one while passing.

On 2nd March 2019 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2118 recommendations about 2118 pubs]

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hondo . left this review about Old Red Cow

Small bar area on the ground floor(didn’t visit upstairs). 12 keg and 4 real ale taps. Worth including on a crawl but maybe not for a sesh.

On 26th October 2018 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2772 recommendations about 2712 pubs]

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Tris C left this review about Old Red Cow

A return visit and this place seems to have improved for the better. The too-cool-for-school barman wasn't in evidence and the pub was quieter than usual.
A very small bar with around three high tables and a further bar upstairs, unexplored. The place seems to be more functional than is usual, describing itself as "The 'Local Beer House' was born out of a love for 'nice pubs'"; ok, trumpet blown or kazoo? Little décor, with a crystal chandelier on high.
An aloof barman presiding over 12 keg taps, an unused pump, Oakham's Citra and Jeffrey Hudson Bitter and Gloucester Brewery's Cascade at £2.00 a half and nice.
Worth a look, but the Hand & Shears is just to the rear.

On 10th December 2017 - rating: 4
[User has posted 1019 recommendations about 1001 pubs]

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Malden man left this review about Old Red Cow

A small pub opposite the back of the market, the ground floor room has exclusively high tables and stools/ high bench, presumably to save space, there is a second room up some stairs which at the time contained a party so I stuck my nose in and left not before noting it had its own keg only servery.
There is no doubt that this is a hipster type of joint, the white barman had dreadlocks and a beanie hat, beards were in abundance. It is however a good pub with a very decent range. There are four handpumps and twelve keykeg taps on the back wall, the cask options were Cottage Mosquito Best Bitter, Bad Co Love Over Gold, Belleville Northcote Blonde and Dark Star Hophead. Beers are listed on a chalkboard over the bar but only the keg varieties which are as usual priced simply only for the carefree.
Background eclectic music via the barman's Ipad was actually pretty laid back and enjoyable. A few beer books on a shelf included the GBG, no signs of a TV.
The pub is part of the "Local Beer House" group including the Dean Swift and Hack and Hop. A loyalty card offers discounts across the range.
We enjoyed it in here despite a few pretensions, the beer was good and the atmosphere pleasant.

On 10th September 2016 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1688 recommendations about 1663 pubs]

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Danny O'Revey left this review about Old Red Cow

Small craft beer place near Smithfield Market and opposite part of the Crossrail development and on a busy street.

4 real ales as well as a number of craft, but the quality was poor.

On 2nd July 2015 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1287 recommendations about 1265 pubs]

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Quinno _ left this review about Old Red Cow

A craft beer bar that was converted from a pretty bog-standard boozer a few years ago. Two small rooms over two floors with a bar on each, cask is available only downstairs. As mentioned below, the available beers are displayed on a large numbered menu to the left of the bar. An upmarket take on basic alehouse chic inside. Some window seating upstairs gives you a decent place to watch the comings and goings in the street and Smithfield Market opposite. Only three cask on offer mid-Thursday afternoon; Dark Star Art of Darkness, Arbor Motueka and W&E Guardsman. The Motueka was in decent form. As mentioned elsewhere, key keg beers are outrageously priced – eg £7.40 for a pint of Windsor & Eton Conqueror (I can get this for £4 in Reading). Still, if you’re a fool and have money etc. In summary, it’s fair enough as an occasional look-in but is hardly one of London's premier league boozers.

On 21st April 2015 - rating: 7
[User has posted 4067 recommendations about 4055 pubs]

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Moby Duck left this review about The Old Red Cow

Well I lied, I did return here despite my rant from three years ago,cask beer offerings were Windsor and Eton Guardsman, Burning Sky Plateau, Caveman Paleothic and Wharfbank Tether Blonde which was good,£2.10 a half,I did spot a keg version of Darkstar Hophead, £5.20 a pint, ridiculous.I have lightened up a bit about this place and actually quite like it but will avoid the silly priced things.

Visit Aug 2012.
Came here for a first visit since its rebirth with great anticipation after up to this point a successful days pubbing,first impressions on walking through the door were quite good, the place looked alright,as did the beer/craft beer selection, one of our number bypassed this pub so just the two pints ordered, we both chose the Jaipur IPA (keg) as it turned out an excellent choice,it was very good,but and there is a very big but,when charged £11.00 for two pints I had to do a double take,had I actually ordered three pints in error,alas no,£5.50 a pint,outrageous,having a look at their price list we decided what we had would be all we had here,nice though the pub and beer was won't be back,won't be ripped off more than once.

On 1st April 2015 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1383 recommendations about 1369 pubs]

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

Traditional-looking pub, thoroughly revamped inside as a 'Local Beer House' by the small Pubs of Distinction chain. Retains the very compact bar, but now features fairly plain furniture and decor. Dining room upstairs (not visited), with a chalk board stating that it was fully booked. The ground floor was crowded too, with many more customers outside in the covered side alley. Four real ales on handpump, including Can't Stand the Rain from Wild Weather Ales (£4.20), plus 12 craft keg taps offering a wide variety of styles. So pretty good overall, but suffers slightly from not having larger premises to operate from.

On 4th December 2014 - rating: 7
[User has posted 6365 recommendations about 6365 pubs]

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Pub SignMan left this review about The Old Red Cow

Close to Barbican tube station and Smithfield Market, the Old Red Cow is a very small, two storey bar, positioning itself in the ‘craft beer’ market. The downstairs bar is tiny, with bare floorboards, neutral coloured walls and high tables making it fairly unmemorable as well. The servery is on the back wall and, as you might expect in a specialist beer bar, it is decorated with various pump clips. A few enamel beer signs provide a bit of visual distraction, as does a picture of a red cow and I also spotted a juke box on one wall. Stairs lead up to a lounge bar which is comparatively spacious and has a much better range of seating options. Again, the room is bare boarded with the servery on the back wall and windows give a view out to the streets below on both sides of the pub. A decent soundtrack played in the background throughout my stay and blackboards listed a few food options, with main meals around the £15 mark.
Four hand pumps were dispensing Oldershaw Heavenly Blonde, Flipside Sterling Pale, Alchemy Five Sisters and Hand Drawn Monkey Malpa. I enjoyed a decent pint of the Heavenly Blonde and whilst I didn’t note down the price, I don’t recall it being particularly expensive. A box of London Glider Cider sat on the bar counter, but the star attraction for beer buffs is likely to be the twelve keg taps which, thanks to a helpful blackboard next to the bar, you can study in great detail before choosing. As mentioned below, these beers are not cheap, ranging from £3.90 for a pint of the house lager to some stronger brews which cost over £4 for a half pint.
I timed my visit here fairly well, as the post-work crowds had cleared by the time I arrived, leaving enough space to explore and grab a seat, but I imagine it can very quickly become oppressively crowded. The interesting beer range makes it worth at least a quick look, but the pricing of the keg beers will put off all but the most devoted (or rich) beer enthusiasts.

On 6th June 2013 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2572 recommendations about 2572 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Steve of N21 left this review about The Old Red Cow

This small pub, close to Smithfield market was closed for a short time and renovated in early 2011 and turned into a “local beer house” concept. According to the pubs website the local beer house idea was developed as a means to promote and serve “great beer” in a similar way to the beer houses developed in England in the early 19th century as an alternative to the gin houses of the time.
It has remained a two room pub with a comfortable upstairs room complementing the small downstairs bar area. This still remains a small space but has been maximised by removing the previous tables and replacing with high tables and high, cushioned stools.
But the important bit is that the beer options have greatly changed for the positive. There are now four hand pumps, serving ales mainly from regional brewers (One of the Ascot Ales was on when I popped in, and was well kept) and definitely one or two from London brewers like Sambrookes and Redemption. And these are complemented by twelve numbered taps along the back of the bar dispensing keg and craft ales. The available beers are displayed on a large numbered menu to the left of the bar, and as well as the usual Guinness, lagers and Thatcher's cider, they included BrewDog punk IPA , Camden Pale Ale, and Maisel's Weissbier, on my visit, Then also there are several bottled beers available tucked into small compartments on the bar back. These included the usual Belgium Chimay and Duval offerings but also Brewdog beers and quite a few American IPA’s from what I could see.
I’ve never had the opportunity to eat here, as my visits have been for the one before moving off, but the bar food looks to be decent pub grub fare at reasonable prices.
So now a good place to look out for a beer when in the Barbican area, but still suffers from the thing they couldn’t fix in the refurb which was its overall size. But very pleasant if you can visit when it’s not overly busy and it does still have the advantage of being open on both Saturdays and Sundays.

On 12th April 2012 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1726 recommendations about 1673 pubs]

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