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Beer of the Week (w/e 7th August 2022) with Bucking Fastard on the Pub Forum

Roses Free House, Woolwich, SE18

47-49 Hare Street
SE18 6NE

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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.

Malden man left this review about Roses Free House

This is a much celebrated Woolwich venue with a reputation for a solid selection of ales, my visit on Saturday afternoon found Caledonian Kick-Off (what's it got to do with them I wondered), Young's Blonde, Westerham British Bulldog, Hog's Back Three Hops and two pumps unclipped. My Bulldog was a bit tired and became flat by the time I was half way down it. A single room which narrows towards the rear, the bar is on a side wall towards the front. Carpeted, wood panelling and some retained lower etched glazing, mainly with rose motifs but also "Private Bar" and "Fine Old Bottled Port" as well as the pub name. The ceiling is panelled in white with black surrounds, there is a working dartboard to the front adjoining the bar and towards the rear a board lists the most recent cribbage league results. The vivarium remains with the two lizards Ronnie and Reggie on display.
Behind the bar a glass case contains a football boot signed by Steven Gerrard.
Seating is traditional at blue banquettes while decor includes a Fullers brewery mirror and some Guinness ads. A TV showed the cricket while some rather depressing crooning style music played.
I confess to being mildly disappointed by this pub which is much vaunted, it is slightly shabby, my pint was very lacklustre and a couple of blokes at the bar were rather boorish and irritating and in need of being told to behave by the barman. I may have hit on a less than good day but I found the pub to be average at best.

On 3rd July 2016 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1695 recommendations about 1669 pubs]

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Pub SignMan left this review about Roses Free House

Just off the main retail strip, this is a warm, traditional local's pub with a reputation for serving well kept interesting ales. The pub has a single room layout, albeit with two distinct areas within. The front part of the pub is predominantly an open space with the servery down the left hand side and some wide U-shaped banquettes along the opposite wall. The room is part carpeted and part vinyl floored and has obscured front windows bearing the pub's name and a repeating rose motif. The servery has a pleasant enough counter and a decidedly shaky looking, boxy canopy replete with lots of decorative ironwork. A dartboard can be found next to a disused doorway with a pane inscribed 'Public Bar' and I noticed a lot of CAMRA magazines from around the country in the window sills behind the banquettes, with a collection of books on a shelf further along, next to the juke box. Beyond the bar is a notably different area with dark wood panelling on the walls and a great mural above depicting the Thames and nearby docks. Tub chairs and long benches serve a number of small round tables and a good collection of vintage breweriana covers much of the remaining wall space. A tank in the rear left corner apparently contains (or once contained) two lizards named after the Kray twins, but I had a peek and couldn't spot them. A TV on the bar canopy remained off in favour of tunes from the juke box played at a sensible volume. The pub was notably much quieter than any other visited on my Friday evening crawl around Woolwich, which struck me as rather ominous for the pub's future.
There were three ales available on this visit - Caledonian Over the Bar, Westerham Single Hop Archer and Hop Stuff Fusilier from the local Woolwich based brewery. I tried a pint of the latter which I thought was in good shape. The landlady seemed a bit distant at first, offering a rather muted welcome, but overall I found the place friendly enough and was happy settled down on one of the comfy banquettes.
This is a very pleasant old-school freehouse which makes a pleasing contrast from the areas other decent pubs which are mostly modern chain affairs from the likes of Wetherspoons, Antic and Youngs. I hope a pub like this can continue to flourish in an area that seems to be gentrifying rapidly and would recommend it to anyone who values a good old-fashioned community local.

On 5th April 2016 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2813 recommendations about 2813 pubs]

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Rex Rattus left this review about Roses Free House

There were four ales on here - Cambrinus Deliverance, Sambrook Wandle, Doom Bar, and Westerham Grasshopper (£1.65 a half). Another handpump had a clip reversed, and a sixth was unclipped. There were no menus so I guess food is not generally available, but I did see some rolls on a tray behind the counter, and a sign that they were £1.30 a pop. Looked a good bet to me.

This struck me as a traditional old pub. It's carpeted, and furnished with normal tables and chairs; the fielded paneling on the walls looks typically inter war, and the ceiling was panelled with what looked like traditional Truman's vitrolite, but not shiny enough. Other features include the wrought iron bar gantry that looks as if it's been lifted straight out of the 70s; a dartboard; a small Fuller's Smith and Turner brewery mirror; a large mural at the back featuring a river scene; and the tank at the back which I hope still houses those famous lizards Ronnie and Reggie. Sky Sports are advertised.

This is a locals' drinking pub I would say, judging by the handful of punters in when I visited on Wednesday afternoon. But of course it could be a different place in the evening. This is a comfortable old traditional pub that does a decent ale selection. I would say that it's one of the better Woolwich pubs.

On 15th May 2015 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2599 recommendations about 2513 pubs]

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Alan Winfield left this review about Roses Free House

Roses Free House is a corner pub that is situated in the shopping area of Woolwich.
Once inside there is a single oblong shaped room with the bar facing,the room is carpeted and has comfy bench seating,there is a darts board to the left and a TV above the bar was showing sky sports football updates.
There was a decent choice of real ales on the bar,i had a drink of Hop Stuff Session IPA whic was a very nice drink,the other beers i noted were Hop Stuff Renegade IPA,Cottage Street Porter and Doom Bar.
The pub was quite busy with a mixed bunch on my Saturday dinner visit.
I was quite happy having a drink in this pub.

Pub visited 2/5/2015

On 2nd May 2015 - rating: 7
[User has posted 6113 recommendations about 6113 pubs]

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Roger Button left this review about Roses Free House

Historically the pub is known as the Prince Albert and dates back to at least 1858 however it is commonly known as Rose’s although my archive digging has not managed to find a cheery buxom wench by that name as I was hoping but a more officious business title of E J Rose & Co who are on the Post Office records for the address for much of the early part of the 20th Century.

For as long as I can remember, Rose’s has been the flagship ale pub in Woolwich and despite a closing down scare a couple of years ago, continues in that vain although the Great Harry ‘Spoons and the new Dial Arch have finally given it a bit of competition. Unlike its more corporate neighbours, Rose’s comes across as a traditional small time family run establishment aimed primarily at the old boys market.

The interior has had a bit of a tidy up in the last year or so and looks a bit fresher and more airy than it used to be although it is still a generally traditional no thrills kind of place. To the left of the bar is a decent darts area and you will also find a jukebox and a couple of flat screen TV's one over the bar and one at the rear. There did once used to be a pinball machine but disappeared some time ago. Pride of the décor is probably the large mural depicting the nearby Woolwich Ferries and there are also some coloured glass rose motifs in the windows. A tank contains a couple of reptiles (I’m not David Attenborough so I’ll pass on the species identification front) and the friendly pub dog also has its own spot.

There are usually 3 rotating ales available (Westerham Matrimoniale, Cottage Windsor Castle and Thwaites Wainwright Ale - all at £3 - on my latest visit) although there is capacity for more with 3 further pumps and they hold regular beer festivals where another dozen or so are racked up where the dartboard is. The pub has won multiple CAMRA awards and appears in the Good Beer Guide.

As Woolwich goes, Rose’s is still one of the more friendly, hassle free and accommodating pubs and with the nearby Dial Arch, Elephant & Castle & 'Spoons all offering a choice of ales, things are looking a little more rosey (pun intened!) for real beer drinkers in the area than in the past.

On 17th May 2011 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1239 recommendations about 1233 pubs]

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John Bonser left this review about Roses Free House

Located near the central shopping area of Woolwich and the River Thames is the Prince Albert – a basic old style free house known as Rose’s.
It doesn’t look desperately inviting from the outside – and being situated in a street with more than its fair share of fast food outlets and several boarded up shop fronts doesn’t do anything to change this initial impression.
My recent Saturday lunchtime visit – in the area for Wednesday’s match at Charlton – commenced with me being thoroughly vetted and sniffed all over by the pub dog, admittedly not large or fierce, but which is a discouraging start in my book.
The pub is a basic, but comfortable, unpretentious single bar with carpets, comfortable seating and much wood panelling. Frosted windows bearing a red rose motif are a reminder that the pub was once owned by E J Rose & Co, a small group of London free houses. It appears to be very much a locals pub, favoured by the more mature drinkers. In one corner is a dartboard. Music from an earlier era was playing on the jukebox, contributing to the rather time warp feel of the place.
Décor wise, of particular note, are several murals depicting local river scenes, including one featuring the nearby Woolwich Ferry. In the same corner of the room, most notably, may be found a largish glass tank, housing not fish, but a pair of salamanders who I learnt are called Ronnie and Reggie – after those splendid former East End role models, undoubtedly.
Reinforcing the basic, old fashioned style, food consists of crusty rolls behind the bar, wrapped in clingfilm and served on paper plates.
There’s 6 handpumps with 3 beers on ( this seems to be normal ) when I visited – Hobgoblin, Cock of The Walk from Williams Alloa Brewery and Flash Flood from Phoenix Brewery. The Flash Flood – a pale citrusy bitter – was really good, but the Cock of the Walk was slightly uninspiring. Both beers were priced at £ 2.90p. The pub is listed in CAMRA’s 2011 Good Beer Guide.
This is the type of good honest unpretentious community local that I like ( minus the dog ) and whilst I don’t think it’s a pub worth going any distance to visit, I’d probably call in again if I was in the area.

On 5th November 2010 - rating: 6
[User has posted 560 recommendations about 560 pubs]

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john mcgraw left this review about Roses Free House

Medium size corner pub with a back room that houses a very fine mural of the river crossing.Had 3 real ales on when I visited and by the looks of the pump clips on the wall they do have quite a variety of real ales. A real basic local.

On 7th October 2008 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2044 recommendations about 2025 pubs]