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Halifax Crawl - 21 June 2024 with Gann on the Pub Forum

The Horniman at Hay's, SE1

Hays Galleria, Counter Street
Phone: 02074071991

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Pub Type

Nicholsons (Mitchells & Butlers)

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

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Tris C left this review about The Horniman at Hay's

Taking its name from a tea dealer, one Frederick Horniman, whose warehouse was situated on this site, this was redeveloped in the late 1980s as part of Hay's Galleria, which is when I made my only visit to what is still accurately described below - I'm assuming that the weird mural which wraps around part of a wall and seems to depict the evolution of man since the demise of the dinosaurs (or something) is still there?
This isn't my kind of place so I doubt I'll return.

On 16th November 2020 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2030 recommendations about 1995 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Steve C left this review about The Horniman at Hay's

The Horniman at Hay’s is an impressive Nicholson’s establishment with a grand replicated Victorian interior. Being located on the Thames opposite HMS Belfast makes it a tourist trap that is seemingly always busy. It is very popular with dining families and from a quick glance at the menu I learned that the food is traditional pub grub and the mains start at £10. The bar is stocked with premium draught and I counted ten hand pumps. During my recent Monday afternoon visit these were drawing Nicholson’s Pale Ale, Sharp’s Doom Bar, Fuller’s London Pride, Hardknott Brewery’s Lux Borealis, Long Man Brewery’s Long Blonde, Acorn’s Dead Good, Sambrook’s Junction and Castle Rock’s Harvest Pale alongside Brain’s Gold and 3 c’son. I opted for a pint of Gold which was well served by the polite barman.

Outside there is plenty of seating with views into and across the Thames.

This isn’t a pub that I would actively seek out again, but I would have no problem popping back in if passing.

On 5th June 2014 - rating: 7
[User has posted 5319 recommendations about 5287 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Quinno _ left this review about The Horniman at Hay's

A large Nicholsons along the Southern side of the Thames (opposite HMS Belfast) in a modern building though the interior has been faux-Victorianised in quite an impressive manner (chandeliers, dark cared wood, intricate plasterwork and wall friezes, imposing bar back). Every available inch of floor space was taken by furniture, so navigation can be tricky – not one for the infirm. Pitched firmly at the tourists, so don’t expect a pubby feel. Plenty of real ale available, though the quality of the two we tried wasn’t really up to much. Staffing issues have been mentioned elsewhere and we were the recipients of service that was at best the most useless ever and at worst possibly fraudulent [which I have since complained to M&B about and have had investigated, though I've not been informed of the outcome at the time of posting]. Let's hope it was a one-off.

Anyhow, this isn’t one I’d be interested in doing again.

On 7th August 2013 - rating: 5
[User has posted 5239 recommendations about 5222 pubs]

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Just a quick pint, then I'm off left this review about The Horniman at Hay's

Loud and crowded Nicholson's pub with a fake 'old' interior with chandeliers, etc. Multiple seating areas at different levels inside plus some outside terrace seating in a prime position on the Thames riverbank. There is also an upstairs dining area plus the Wharfside Cellar Bar. For the real ale lover, it has some 15 handpumps at various points along the bar counter which - even allowing for a few duplicates - means there is usually a pretty decent selection available (e.g. the Moor Raw, £3.95, on my latest visit). Not cheap, and the service suffers badly at busy times, but still a fair place to stop if in the area.

On 23rd June 2013 - rating: 7
[User has posted 8160 recommendations about 8160 pubs]

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Malden man left this review about The Horniman at Hay's

This large Nicholson's pub is situated right on the river, bang in front of HMS Belfast and with good views of Tower Bridge. L-shaped and with an upper dining gallery, most of the seating is to the side but there is a raised area right in front of the bar which returns to one side where there are high tables and stools which although not my favoured form of seating allow a good all round view of the pub. The bar area has an attractive tiled floor and the bar itself is worth a look with plenty of carved dark wood, mirrors and a globe themed clock. Above the bar there is a frieze depicting various world scenes, ships and spouting whales, a caravan of camels, a thunderstorm and so on. This frieze is extended around the gallery plinth.
Even by Nicholson's standards the beer range is good, there are numerous handpumps dotted about and my visit saw Great Heck Angel, St Austell Nicholson's Pale Ale, Pride, Wharfebank VPA, Thornbridge Jaipur, Brains SA, Moor Revival (£3.90), Caledonian Flying Scotsman, Sambrooks Junction and Downton Chocolate Orange. That's a decent line up in anyone's book.
I note some others' concerns regarding service but my experience was positive with tasters offered, in fact as I wandered around having a look I was asked if I could be helped by two different barstaff. My pint was however at that do I ask for a top up or not level being a little short but not worth making a fuss over.
Any pub in a location like this will see a transient customer base with a lot of tourist visitors but again I was pleased to see an American visitor being helped by the staff with the ales described and tasters given.
TVs were muted showing a news channel while quiet jazz and piano music played.
Based on today's visit I would certainly pop by again, I bet the outdoor seating is at a premium on a warmer day as well.

On 19th November 2012 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1708 recommendations about 1681 pubs]

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hondo . left this review about The Horniman at Hay's

Large multi-level Nicholson's pub located on the Thames walkway. Ornate interior as described below. Real ale and food served.

On 30th October 2012 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2897 recommendations about 2834 pubs]

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Pub SignMan left this review about The Horniman at Hay's

This is a large Nicholson's pub located on the Thames path, next to the Hay's Gallery. The split level interior sees the servery located on the lower level at the back of the room with a very limited selection of seating. The higher level runs in a strip around the front of the room and provides some additional seating looking out towards the river. To the left hand side of the bar the room opens out a bit more and it is here that the majority of the seating can be found. There is also further seating upstairs in what appeared to be more of a dining area, although people were eating throughout the pub. The servery is perhaps the pub's standout feature, with a fine bar back which includes a globe shaped clock and a frieze. There is quite a bit of riverside seating outside, which comes in handy on a sunny day, but for which there is always keen competition.
For me, the pub's finest asset - its riverside location - creates its biggest flaws. The place is very tourist orientated and as such, there tends to be no real focus on providing a decent service. On my recent visit I waited far longer than I would normally be prepared to, whilst the barman took forever to process a food order and then served someone out of turn before finally getting around to me. I persevered as I was keen to try a pint of Moor North Star, which I spotted on one of the many hand pumps, but my patience was not rewarded as I was informed that it was in fact off and they just hadn't bothered to turn the pump clip. I made do with a pint of St Peter's IPA instead, which wasn't really in great condition. The other pumps offered Ringwood Boondoggle, Fullers London Pride, Sharp's Doom Bar, St Austell Tribute, Thornbridge Jaipur, Jennings Cumberland, Nethergate Umbel Ale and Hopdaemon Incubus - a tidy line up even by Nicholson's standards.
The pub also failed to endear itself to me by having my number one pub annoyance - the aggressive toilet attendant. Quite why any self respecting establishment provides this bizarre 'service' is beyond me, but it ensured that I left after just the one pint, rather than settling down for a few as planned.
Despite the shortcomings, this is a fairly pleasant place to stop off and I'm sure they will continue to do well regardless of how many people they put off with poor service, flat beer and pushy perfumers.

On 16th September 2011 - rating: 6
[User has posted 3140 recommendations about 3140 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Blackthorn _ left this review about The Horniman at Hay's

A large and expansive Nicholson’s pub alongside the Thames. There is limited seating around the perimeter at entrance level with the main bar area down a few steps, although this is a pleasant elevated position to sit and watch the rest of the pub. There are four large pillars at the front of the pub which makes negotiating the seating here slightly tricky.

This main bar area is a large open space with four big chandeliers, an ornate plastered ceiling and an impressive wood panelled back drop to the bar with an integral clock built in to the top. There is a strip painting on the wall above the bar, and this continues around the side. The floor of the bar is tiled, with a couple of large inlaid brass plaques bearing an “HH” motif. I only spotted one plasma which was turned off, and discretely disguised with a brown leather surround to it!

At the left hand end is an upper area with a good view of the bar, and below this another bar area that was crammed full of small square tables and chairs. There is also a good amount of outside seating adjacent to the river.

Food offering seems to be a standard Nicholson’s affair, which nonetheless offers a good selection of “pub grub” at reasonable prices, although here the prices seemed to be a pound or so higher than some of their other outlets. I guess that’s the price you pay for a riverside setting. A queuing system seemed to have developed at the bar, with all punters waiting patiently to order at one of the two till points at the end. I’m not sure if this is always the case as I didn’t see any signs to this effect, but it worked well enough.

There was an excellent choice of beers on tap as follows – Doom Bar, London Pride, Jaipur, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Butcombe Old Vic, Brain’s Milkwood, Coach House Gunpowder Mild, Caledonian Flying Dutchman, St. Austell Proper Job, Adnams Lighthouse and finally Honey Blond which is apparently brewed exclusively for them by Thornbridge. After this, the choice of ciders was slightly disappointing with just Aspall’s Suffolk.

On 28th March 2011 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1964 recommendations about 1877 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Alesonly . left this review about The Horniman at Hay's

This is a nice large One room modern Pub thats been built to look Old and its been done very well It has several seating areas but all were busy when we went in. I had a nice Pint that was in good condition and service was good Plus unusual for a very busy Pub the Toilets were Clean and spotless. I will have too return again and have a better look next time I'm in the area.

On 29th January 2011 - rating: 8
[User has posted 132 recommendations about 105 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Bucking Fastard left this review about The Horniman at Hay's

A faithful reproduction of a Victorian interior,I really enjoyed my visit to this Nicholson's house.You step down into the main body of the pub,and the sizeable bar extends along the far wall.The high ceiling has chandeliers hanging down,the bar has pleasing curves and there are internal seating galleries reached by short staircases.It is many years since my last visit,and Nicholsons have completely removed the modern bar fitments of it's first incarnation and introduced marble features and a traditional wooden bar back.Most seats were taken,but there is a lot of room for vertical drinking close to the bar.
There was a wide selection of real ale ,and the Saltaire Triple Chocaholic I chose was in good order.The bar service was swift and efficient,and food service was equally quick.
I will definately return for a closer inspection,and a more thorough pop at their ale range.

On 28th January 2011 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2773 recommendations about 2773 pubs]