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The Old Bell, EC4

95 Fleet Street
EC4
EC4Y 1DH

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Pub Type

Nicholsons (Mitchells & Butlers)
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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 7 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


hondo . left this review about The Old Bell

Nicholson’s pub with quite a dark interior and a central bar. As stated below the nicer features are at the front.

On 9th October 2019 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2833 recommendations about 2774 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Will Larter left this review about The Old Bell

The second stop on my brief tour of ancient Fleet Street pubs, the Old Bell has a lovely front window featuring the pub's name and a very nice entrance porch leading through a small seating area to the bar, an almost complete oval that separates the front and rear parts of the pub. There are four hand pumps on the bar facing upon entry, with the same number (and the same beers) repeated on the rear-facing part of the bar opposite. I went for the interestingly named Never Mind the Kent Hops from London Brewing Company (another Sex Pistols reference, perhaps, after Friggin in the riggin at the previous pub), which was a well flavoured strong bitter at 5.5%; the other offering was Firebird Parody, a session IPA. I enjoyed my half, which cost £2.35, and wished I'd had time for a pint before my train to Luton.

This is a Nicholsons pub, easily the smallest of theirs I've been in, and certainly very low key, with just one person serving and one cooking at the time of my visit, just after 5pm on a Tuesday. As with the Tipperary, this is one I'm glad to have been to though I'm not sure I'd be in any hurry to return. Especially if they're still playing that CD of 1980 hits.

On 30th January 2019 - rating: 6
[User has posted 3141 recommendations about 2950 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Bucking Fastard left this review about The Old Bell

A Nicholson's house,the entrance leads to a flagstoned front snug with a few tables beneath a good stained glass front bay window.Tables here can be reserved and all were on my visit but nobody had arrived leaving it void. Up a step leads to a wooden floored bar with lots of wood panelling , traditional features and furniture.The servery has two sides and the rear room contains an unused fireplace and more wooden features ,pleasing etched glass and doors to a rear passage where you can drink and this acts as a natural overflow given the modest size of the interior.There are two sets of four handpumps offering the same ales namely Doom Bar,Fullers Off Piste,Camerons A-Hop-Alypse Now and Firebird Parody (inoffensive),while the food offering was standard chain fare.
Worth a look if passing to inspect this old building,but a mundane ale selection would mean that I wouldn't base myself here all evening.

On 26th January 2019 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2383 recommendations about 2383 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Tris C left this review about The Old Bell

A small pub with front and rear entrance, one emerging out onto St. Bride's Church, the steeple of which was the inspiration for tiered wedding cakes the world over.
The pub was built by Christopher Wren to cater for his workers who were construction his aforementioned church and boasts a relatively simple interior with part flagstone floor and central bar dispensing the usual Nicholson's beverages and to their consistent standard.
A must-visit if crawling along Fleet Street.

On 31st August 2018 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1532 recommendations about 1510 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Danny O'Revey left this review about The Old Bell

Standard Nicholsons, its larger than it looks from the outside. Lots of dark wood, including the panelling around the central bar. Good staff.

On 21st November 2016 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1353 recommendations about 1330 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


John Bonser left this review about The Old Bell Tavern

Near the bottom end of Fleet Street is The Old Bell, a traditional old inn that dates back to 1670 and was built for builders working on St Brides Church opposite, which had been damaged a few years previously in The Great Fire of London.

It’s a low ceilinged interior with a frontage that has fine leaded coloured windows bearing the inscription “Ye Olde Bell Tavern Wines and Spirits”. The front part of the pub has stone flagged floors and leads through to a larger bare boarded area where the central bar servery is situated. There’s a separate entrance to the pub at the rear accessed through a narrow alleyway off St Brides Lane.

The Old Bell is a Nicholsons pub with the traditional style interior that we have come to expect – much shiny woodwork and a mixture of comfortable banquette seating and wooden tables and chairs.

Pleasingly, unlike a number of other Nicholsons pubs, there’s no dedicated area set aside for diners, with drinkers dominating, even on my recent visit in the middle of the lunchtime period.

There’s 2 banks of 4 pumps which were offering, amongst others, Orkney Dark Island, Liberation Rouge, Adnams Explorer, Doom Bar and Frosted Jack from Dorset Brewing Co. The Orkney Dark Island, at a very reasonable £ 3.45p, was in excellent form.

Not an outstanding pub at all, but it’s one to include in any crawl of Fleet Street pubs.

On 28th February 2014 - rating: 7
[User has posted 560 recommendations about 560 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Real Ale Ray left this review about The Old Bell Tavern

A decent pub this one and well worth a visit to soak up its 300 year history. Even on a dull January afternoon the light illuminating the stained glass frontage is a sight to marvel at. There was eight ales to choose from and the majority of the hand pumps were busy on our visit. I went for the Vale Brewery Longitude, which was good and so was the price.

On 8th January 2014 - rating: 7
[User has posted 3121 recommendations about 3121 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


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

One of the smaller Nicholsons, with a side seating area inside the front door then a few steps up to a compact 'U'-shaped bar. Traditional dark wood interior. Not many seats, mostly space for vertical drinking by the Fleet Street office workers during the busy periods. Eight handpumps in total, with a pint of the 'house' (St Austell) Porter coming in at a reasonable £3.45.

On 6th November 2013 - rating: 7
[User has posted 7108 recommendations about 7108 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Quinno _ left this review about The Old Bell Tavern

A Nicholsons house that claims a lot of history revolving around Christopher Wren. However beyond the striking coloured glass work in the leaded front window there isn’t a huge amount of obvious historic interest left in the interior (or the upper part of the exterior) and indeed you could be drinking in any one of London’s olde worlde pubbes as it has the standard bare boards, tidy fireplace and dark wood fittings. It’s quite cramped inside (already fairly full at 2.15 on a Friday afternoon) with a large, attractively curved horseshoe bar dominating proceedings and squeezing punters in around its perimeter. The best place to grab a seat is the small flagstone-floored room at the front, which according to a learned reviewer below was previously the off-sales room. Seven ales were on over two banks of four, with a decent guest selection as you’d expect from a Nicholsons. My half of Red Squirrel Black was in decent shape and was a wallet-pleasing (for the area) £1.70. Staff were fairly friendly and a few of the punters propping up the bar appeared to be regulars judging by the interactions. Apparently there is an atmospheric drinking alleyway to the rear that faces St Brides churchyard (and which used to be the front entrance) which was unexplored by me. A reprint of a wartime newspaper front page showing St Paul's standing proud amidst the smoke of the Blitz helped pass a few minutes. An interesting way of displaying old guest ale pumps was shown above the bar, with them clipped to old brown beer bottles. A nice touch was the umbrella share system located by the door, not seen that before. It’s a decent enough pub but I wouldn’t recommend it quite as enthusiastically as some others might.

On 4th July 2013 - rating: 6
[User has posted 4423 recommendations about 4408 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Pub SignMan left this review about The Old Bell Tavern

The Old Bell is a Nicholson’s pub at the Blackfriars end of Fleet Street. As you enter, you pass a small flagstone floor room to the left which has a few seats and some excellent coloured glass in the front window. The room was once used for off sales and now acts as a pleasant snug in which you can escape the often cramped bar area beyond. The main room is U shaped, with the servery extending through the middle of the room from the right hand side. In fact, it extends so far into the room, that there is very little space left for seating and customers invariably end up packed in around the bar counter making it very difficult to reach the rear of the room. There is plenty of dark wood, including the servery itself, and the exposed floorboards and etched glass in the windows and doors give it a nice traditional feel. There are a couple of large fireplaces and various old paintings on the walls and my eye was caught by the row of empty beer bottles running along the top of the servery; each bottle decorated with an old pump clip. The pub was originally built to house workers rebuilding the nearby St Brides Church after the Great Fire and framed plans of the church, which was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, can be found towards the rear of the pub. However, to better appreciate their work, step out through the back door into the narrow alleyway which affords a fine view of the church itself.
There were a great many turned pump clips in evidence on my recent visit, including Tribute, Doom Bar, Adnams Bitter and an Adnams Jubilee beer. Four remained on though, but the crowds at the front of the pub meant that I was unable to see what two of them were, leaving me a choice of Fullers London Pride and St Austell Nicholson’s Pale Ale (£3.30). I gave the latter a try and thought it was in pretty good shape.
Despite its location, this place still feels like a proper pub (it even has an umbrella share system for regulars) and although it can get very busy it’s worth persevering, especially if you can bag a seat in the snug at the front.

On 18th June 2012 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2813 recommendations about 2813 pubs]

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