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Reviewing milestone with Wittenden on the Pub Forum

The Bell of Hampstead, NW3

156 Fleet Road

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 5 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Steve of N21 left this review about Cork & Bottle

Well clearly there wasn’t enough working class type in the South End Green area to sustain a sports focussed boozer and the previous reviewers question has been answered with a No, the White Horse has gone for good.
What is in its place should be no surprise to anyone, a shiny clean wine bar bistro type place, a spin off from the institution of the same name in Leicester Square. All very smart , as its only been open for about seven months this is probably now best described as a restaurant, but I guess should remain here as you can come in for just a drink. In that respect wine is clearly the focus, with an extensive list available. But there is also a decent G&T and cocktail list as well. There is also a small tiled beer wall with six taps to the far side of the shiny new bar, but before you get too excited these were only dispensing the likes or Amstel, Moretti and Heineken.
I might consider bringing the good lady to this one for an expensive artisan G&T now, but for a CAMRA card carrying geezer this is now a place of pretentious nonsense. However, when looking at Trip Advisor, the locals seem to prefer it that way.

On 24th June 2019 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2171 recommendations about 2043 pubs]

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Tris C left this review about The White Horse

This Edwardian pub dates from 1721 but was rebuilt in 1904. I've been coming here on rare occasions for the last 30 years but hadn't been in for 3 years after experiencing one two many eyebrow-raising events (this pub has always had a bit of a reputation) and had become the estate locals' pub of choice following The Stag's gentrification 9 years ago; the pub has just changed hands and has had yet another makeover, hence my visit.

The place was never the most popular of pubs and at peak times was empty when compared with neighbours, The Stag, Roebuck, Garden Gate and Magdala Tavern, which ensured you could always get a seat. Thankfully the fine interior details remain but otherwise this is the worst incarnation I can remember: the walls have been painted charcoal grey and the windows are shaded with perforated mesh fabric blinds. Furniture is now black very modern high tables and chairs. The food is now Lebanese, which seems to comprise combinations of yoghurt, tomatoes, cucumber, mint and perhaps a bit of minced lamb; essentially variations on the kebab and ones which top £15.50! Worst however is the bar: the overhang has, along its length, been underlit with blue lighting, which recalls a lap dancing club. There's also a plethora of illuminated chrome lager founts. To the walls, there are still two TVs; Match of the Day was playing with the sound off. Service was hardly competent; the barmaid didn't seem familiar with the draught beer I'd ordered which as it happens was Caledonian Brewery's Golden XPA. It was unexciting and cost £4.10 which is a lot for South End Green. Also on offer was Courage Director's. There was a third pump, clip reversed.

Despite being after 10.00 pm on a Saturday, the pub was virtually empty with just 4 other drinkers, two sitting alone. The other pubs mentioned above were partying like it's 1999. This place is really rather depressing and I wonder if it will survive, but I for one will not be contributing to its profits (or reducing its losses).

On 29th October 2015 - rating: 2
[User has posted 2032 recommendations about 1997 pubs]

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Steve of N21 left this review about The White Horse

The White Horse is not a great pub by any stretch of the imagination. But there is one thing that makes it different from all the surrounding gentrified, food led Hampstead hostelries and that is it has several screens for showing the sport, which believe me, is a rarity in the Hampstead area.
So we utilised the White Horse when desperate to catch the England v Wales Six Nations game, and for this it hit the spot perfectly, with a mixed lively friendly rugby watching crowd in situ. The only downside was the relatively weak beer choice of only Pride or OSH available on the row of largely unused ale pumps. Fortunately the service was efficient and the Pride was a decent pint, so did not detract from watching England give Wales a tonking with the oval ball. And the enjoyment was complete when ordering a post match pint to overhear some red rose wearing wag turn round to his Welsh mate and commiserate by saying, “Don’t worry, there is always all those other team sports you boyo’s excel at".
Not a pub I would go out of my way to visit, but totally fit for purpose to catch a live game.

On 20th March 2014 - rating: 5
[User has posted 2171 recommendations about 2043 pubs]

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Rex Rattus left this review about The White Horse

This pub has a rather uninspiring ale selection, with Adnam’s Southwold Bitter, Spitfire and Deuchars IPA on. The Deuchars (£2 a half) turned out to be rank, but readily exchanged for something drinkable. The tables all had single page menus on them, held down by little tea lights. They do an express lunch during the week for a fiver a go, including such things as the sandwich of the day, or Cajun chicken wrap, all with chips. The standard burger and chips on the main menu is £10.95.

This is an old wedge shaped corner site Victorian pub. As you enter through the corner door you face the sharp end of the wedge shaped central servery, splitting the room in two. The bar back cum stillion looks original, and at the back end of each side of the room the floor has some attractive tiling. But the most unusual feature is the ceiling, decorated as it is with what looks like glazed green panels surrounded by wooden frames. I’ve never seen the like of it before. At the back of each spur of the room is a marble and tiled fireplace, and the wallpaper here is most unusual being parrot-themed. There’s a small garden at the back on the left.

Leaving aside the unusual features, I found the pub a little too impersonal and barn-like for my taste, but that could be a product of the trademark high Victorian ceilings. The furnishings are comfortable enough, and it is a very bright room. It’s certainly good enough for a swift one or two, but is not really the sort of place I would choose to spend any length of time.

On 29th July 2013 - rating: 5
[User has posted 2606 recommendations about 2520 pubs]

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John Bonser left this review about The White Horse

Occupying a prominent position at a sharp road junction near Hampstead’s Royal Free Hospital is The White Horse, a large wedge shaped Victorian pub with the trademark tall arched windows running down the building’s exterior on each street.

Inside is a fairly typical, spacious, opened out former Victorian pub with a central island bar which retains original glass inserts in the gantry. The architectural highlight is undoubtedly the splendid and unusual enamel panelled decorative ceiling which covers the entire ceiling area throughout the pub. Suspended from the ceiling are some of the large retro lampshades that seem to be very de rigeur in pubs like this. On a wall down one end of the room is a fine collection of ornate gilded mirrors.

Furniture is fairly basic wooden tables and chairs with several long butchers block style tables clearly designed for large groups. A number of TV’s dotted round the pub were showing live football at a quiet sound level – this is certainly no sports bar – some tuned to Cardiff v West Ham on terrestrial TV, with others showing Newcastle v Sunderland on Sky. By choosing carefully where to position your bar stool, should you so choose, it was possible to keep an eye on both games simultaneously.

Notably, although food appears to be a significant part of the offering, there’s no dedicated areas set aside and, on my visit, there was an unusual sprinkling of customers throughout the pub, with some clearly here for the football sharing space with family groups and the usual crowd of professional thirty somethings enjoying Sunday lunch. Except on Sunday, it seems that a Thai menu dominates – presumably a separate subcontracted operation, as is often the case.

Real ales on were Doom Bar, Black Sheep, Spitfire and Caledonian 2.8% ( is that the ABV of the beer?). I didn’t detect much real ale trade or interest and the Doom Bar – at a pricey £ 3.85p – wasn’t brilliant.

I found it difficult to conclude as to where this pub is trying to position itself – it seems to be trying to be all things to all men – and it appears to be a classic example of how an old style public and saloon bar format would be preferable. Door positioning would suggest that this was previously the case.

I may pop in again if passing by, but it’s not worth going out of your way to get to

On 14th March 2012 - rating: 5
[User has posted 560 recommendations about 560 pubs]

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Strongers . left this review about The White Horse

I used to live just down the road from this pub so I’ve used it quite a bit in my time, but Saturday evening just gone was my first visit for over three and a half years after I moved out of the area. The layout is basically the same with large central bar and various types of seating that sweep around the exterior large windowed walls. The area to the far left of the pub used to be a dining area and it was hardly used meaning that the rest of the pub was quite busy and if a match was on the right hand side of the pub was packed as the solitary plasma screen could only be seen from limited areas. Well, the dining area is now a normal seating area and two more plasma screens have been added so the customer distribution is much better. The girls working the bar were always very friendly in here and thankfully there is no change now and they’re certainly easy on the eye.

I think that there are five hand pumps in all, but I only saw two of them that were drawing Doom Bar and Old Hooky. There is a selection of premium and standard draught products and Thai food is still served and it is worth the money if the quality is anything like it used to be.

I used to find this pub a little bland at times as there is a transient crowd made up of people catching one of the buses that pass South End Green and people using the hospital over the road, but there was a good atmosphere during my visit and next time I’m up in Hampstead, where none of the pubs have Sky Sports, I will walk down to this pub rather than using the inferior George in Belsize Park.

On 20th October 2010 - rating: 7
[User has posted 5329 recommendations about 5297 pubs]