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The Bell, Cannon Street, EC4

29 Bush Lane

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 7 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

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

Small, and thus very crowded after work, but one of the best around Cannon Street station. As is customary in and around the Square Mile, many of the customers are usually to be found outside on the pavement (just as well, as there is precious little seating inside the irregularly-shaped bar). Apparently there is also an upstairs dining room (never visited). Regular beers are Harveys, Tribute (£4.50) and Courage Best, with two real ales from the Sharp's range - Doom Bar and Atlantic on this visit - also seeming to be fixtures on the five handpumps too these days. One some ways unremarkable, but as somewhere to get a reliable pint before catching the train home it remains one of my favourite City pubs.

On 30th July 2017 - rating: 7
[User has posted 6687 recommendations about 6687 pubs]

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Tris C left this review about The Bell

A small pub with a history in some form dating back to at least the mid-17th century; I don't know when the current building was erected but the beamed 'brewers' Tudor' interior probably dates from the 1920s/30s. Unfortunately the beams have been painted black when in fact they should be plain wood. They support great swags of hops as well as horse brasses and other knick-knacks such as bedpans. The overall effect is a slightly dated village pub, situated in the heart of the World's Financial Capital. Also of note is the Courage bar back with both the brewer's name and name of the pub back lit in orange lettering; there's also a Courage cockerel atop the hanging sign as well as one of the old square red illuminated Courage signs which some vandal will probably remove in the not too distant future.
Ales: Harvey's Sussex Best, Sharp's Doom Bar and Cornish Coaster which was fine.
This is probably the closest thing you'll get to a traditional boozer in the city and I'd be happy to come here again.

On 30th September 2016 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1351 recommendations about 1329 pubs]

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john gray left this review about The Bell

one room bar that was empty at 9.30 on a Friday night.Lots of prints and signs decorate the walls.The same five beers as on the previous review. Ceiling bedecked with hops but few were used in the beer I tried.

On 6th August 2016 - rating: 6
[User has posted 949 recommendations about 936 pubs]

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E TA left this review about The Bell

A proper pub adjacent to Cannon St Station, currently badged Courage. A Spartan, wood-floored, single-room boozer which only does food at lunchtime. The clientele are mainly sensible mature drinkers, a welcome contrast to the barrow-boy culture in other nearby pubs, while the staff, although not local, were decent, normal human beings. Five ales on draft: Courage Best, Harvey's Best, Doombar, Sharp's Cornish Coaster and St Austell Tribute. The beer was well kept and enjoyed in a pleasant atmosphere. I'd definitely be happy to while away a few hours here every now and again.

On 24th April 2016 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2768 recommendations about 2736 pubs]

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Pub SignMan left this review about The Bell

Tucked away down a side street next to Cannon Street station, the Bell is a classic, traditional city pub surrounded by modern developments. The pub is set up for those looking for a quick post-work pint rather than a lengthy session, so comfort has been forsaken to a degree, although the small, cramped interior is a limiting factor in itself. The pub has a single bare boarded room with some stained glass front windows, dark wood beams and hop lined walls which all adds to the traditional feel befitting such an old pub. Seating is restricted to three short pews which serve two small tables opposite the servery. There is a drinking ledge around the rest of the pub to encourage vertical drinking thereby making more efficient use of the available space. The bar back has a back-lit Courage sign and some stained glass panes depicting bells, which are a nice decorative touch. Old pictures, horse brasses, jugs and pots line the walls and hang from the beams, enhancing the traditional feel, although I'm not too sure of the significance of the photo of Sid James that hangs near the front door. A couple of TV screens at either end of the room were showing a muted 24 hour news channel, although no-one was paying attention, as most punters were stood outside.
There were five ales across the two banks of handpulls on the bar with the options on this visit being Sharps Doom Bar and Cornish Coaster, Harvey's Best, St Austell Tribute and Courage Best. The Tribute was £4.10 for a pint and served up by a grumpy Kiwi barman, although I can't say I blame him, having witnessed some of the boorish idiots he has to put up with, including one moron who threatened to empty the ice cubes in his cider onto the floor unless the barman disposed of them.
Arrogant city boys aside, this place has got a certain charm to it and is certainly worth seeking out if you want to experience a traditional pub in the city. In a way, it's a shame that it doesn't lend itself to a longer session, but I guess if it did it would lose much of what makes it great. A survivor, and one I'm sure I will return to.

On 23rd June 2014 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2687 recommendations about 2687 pubs]

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hondo . left this review about The Bell

A small pub located close to cannon street station. 5 real ales and food served(didn't visit upstairs dining area). A bit of a land that time forgot vibe but that isn't a negative.

On 19th November 2013 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2808 recommendations about 2750 pubs]

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Bucking Fastard left this review about The Bell

There aren't many tradition boozers left in The City,and this is one of the few.The Courage insignia still remains on the pub sign and above the bar,while the interior is small with bench seating around a V section above which is a Sky Sports flatscreen.A small drinking ledge and stools runs down one wall,but it wouldn't take many punters to fill up the inside.
On my trip the three handpumps were drawing Sharp's Doom Bar and Cornish Coaster with the third being St Austell Tribute in fair condition.There is a long wine list and free wifi.It was quiet a relief to find a real pub among the faceless bars that dominate the City drinking scene,well worth sampling and with a nod towards City tradition it closes at 10pm on a Friday evening.

On 1st September 2013 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2229 recommendations about 2229 pubs]

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Quinno _ left this review about The Bell

Paid an ad hoc revisit and caught it at rush time after work on a Friday evening so it was indeed a pretty claustrophobic experience inside, which well-attests to this little pub’s popularity. The only change to my last review was a disappointing reduction in ale choice, Just Sharp’s, St Austell and Courage with some double-clipping going on. The St Austell I had was in good nick and service was ruthlessly efficient as usual.

June 2011
A small pub down a side street that packs a lot in. Seems initially to be going for a ‘country pub in the city’ ambience – beams on the ceiling, hanging brasses, wooden flooring and hops pinned around. ‘London Cries’ Victorian illustrations hang on the walls, alongside a list of the pubs landlords and plans for internal alterations from 1899. There’s also a potted history of the building, claiming that the building predates the Great Fire of London in 1666…yellow tinted leaded windows at the front give the place a dark, subterranean feel (the massive offices over the way blocking out the light don’t help) and two small TVs turned to muted News 24 were unobtrusive. There’s a wooden red backlit Courage bar back reminiscent, of that in the Wenlock (apparently there also used to be a bar gantry that had sadly been removed). Pew seating (padded in the alcove) and high stools/benches is about as comfy as it gets. Five ales available and a really good selection – Wye Valley HPA, Sharps Cornish Coaster, Harveys Sussex, Courage Directors and St Austell Tribute on my visit. The quality of the three I tried were good though there was a kerfuffle about whether the HPA was off or not (yours truly settled the dispute by declaring it fine). Staff were friendly and clearly knew their regulars, who were almost exclusively male, many of whom congregated outside which I imagine may make for a slightly intimidating throng come 7pm on a Friday evening. This is a fairly oddball place but I certainly enjoyed my visit and will make a point of dropping in again. Rating: 8

On 6th May 2013 - rating: 7
[User has posted 4219 recommendations about 4206 pubs]

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Andy Ven left this review about The Bell

Basic ground floor bar room and first floor dining room. Wooden floor, beamed ceiling with hops around the outside, open fireplace and two TVs on silent showing BBC News but no noise apart on Friday afternoon from chat. The gents was especially compact. On handpull there was Take Courage, Otter Bitter, Cornish Tribute, Sharp’s Cornish Coaster and Harvey’s Best Bitter. For me, it lacked a bit of soul.

On 16th May 2012 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 244 recommendations about 240 pubs]

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Roger Button left this review about The Bell

The Bell claims to be a survivor from the Great Fire of London and whilst it is undoubtedly old, it has undergone several refurbishments over the centuries. If your first impressions are that of a small rather cramped interior, it is worth noting the old building plans on the wall dating from 1899 that show the pub divided into even smaller rooms.

Most of what can be seen probably dates from the sixties when the previous owner took over. Until her retirement in 2004 the pub had changed very little however a few subtle changes have brought the place a bit closer to the 21st Century. The 2 small TV’s would have been unthinkable in here until just a few years ago and the removal of the old bar frame may have made the place appear a little bigger but it took some of the charm away. The “clink, clink, kerching” till that once swallowed a large percentage of my wages is these days a faceless plastic bleepy thing.

There are several pictures and prints around the walls although they don’t seem to be particularly topical or relevant and there is a list of the Landlords going back to 1678. A few jugs and pots dangle from the beamed ceiling and the Hops around the edges and beams are a nice touch. There isn’t a great deal of seating, just a couple of small tables in a bay near the entrance. This is more of a vertical drinking establishment with a few stools and ledges around the edges.

One of the pubs greatest assets was always the long standing and quite charismatic bar staff. The 2004 changeover saw them all off although there has been a relatively stable collection of bar staff since. If you are a regular (as a few of my friends are) they will virtually have your pint poured before you walk through the door but as a non regular (which I now find myself) I find the them a bit surly until they realise that I am with people they know.

There are 5 hand pulls with (on my latest visit) Harveys, Courage Best, Landlord, Tribute and a quite abysmal Nethergate World Cup Brew called Jules Rimet IPA that appears to have been brewed especially for the Red Car group of pubs to which the Bell belongs. Prices that I once deemed quite expnsive now seem to be realistic for the area.

This is a place that mainly attracts suited office workers who tend to spill out into the street at the first opportunity (why do people prefer staring at an office block as opposed to a charming old interior?). The last trains leave the adjacent Cannon Street station around 8.00pm and after this, the pub starts to shuts down, not unlike most of the City. It’s not open at weekends but is worth making an effort to visit if you are looking for a genuine City pub among the numerous faceless bars and chains, but you will probably have to battle your way to the bar at peak times.

On 29th July 2010 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1239 recommendations about 1233 pubs]

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