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The Old White Lion, East Finchley, N2

121 Great North Road
N2
N2 0NW
Phone: 02088836459

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Pub Type

Castle (Mitchells & Butlers)

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


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Will Larter left this review about The Old White Lion

Handily placed for the tube, and a not unpleasant walk from the Five Bells on East End Road, where I had been attending a post-funeral party. So I called in for a contemplative pint before getting a train elsewhere. It was the pre-dinner lull, with fewer than 10 people in the pub. I neglected to make a note of the beers on offer - I think there were four, with one more having a "settling in our cellar" tag attached to the hand pump. I decided on St Austell Proper Job, which was in fine condition. It's not my first visit here, though on the previous occasion I was in company and didn't write a review. The pub is interesting, being fairly well preserved and retaining original windows and wood panelling. I would be happy to return, while bearing in mind the previous reviewer's hints about busy periods in summer with the kitchen going full blast.

On 15th January 2020 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2659 recommendations about 2506 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Tris C left this review about The Old White Lion

This pub would seem to have changed little since the reviews below, save that you'd never get Hoorays in here as they specifically live in Chelsea and its environs. This pub has been here in some form for at least 300 years with the current 'brewers' Tudor' incarnation dating from 1938, possibly designed by John T. Quilter. The pub's close proximity to East Finchley station doesn't bode well but it's far more upmarket than you'd expect and not necessarily in a good way with the two side rooms primarily made over for dining though some drinkers were seated, unmolested by the rather amateurish bar staff (some things haven't changed then). It's certainly more appealing than some so-called 'upmarket' pubs like the Freemasons and Old Bull & Bush, both NW3. In all it's quite attractive inside with two impressive brick fireplaces in the side rooms (probably unused), a good boarded floor which may be original and 'heraldic' stained glass windows with some fake rafters painted white along with the ceiling. The walls are part bare brick otherwise clad in either field panelling or t 'n' g and are painted a pale mushroom colour; on balance the interior and furniture is fairly conventional aside from the square section tubular steel bar back. There's also an open kitchen which I don't like as they add to the noise and generate a lot of heat in summer and speaking of heat, I wouldn't want to go in their lavs on a hot day given the smell on a chilly November afternoon. Out back, there's a large attractive half-covered garden/patio with some cabinas.
Ales: Sharp's Doom Bar, St. Austell's Proper Job, Timothy Taylor's Landlord, Oakham's Citra and Purity's UBU which was decent enough though I didn't clock the price as we were in rounds.
This pub is much better than expected and the late licence is a bonus though apart from The Bald Faced Stag, to say that there's not much around here is an understatement. I wouldn't make an effort to return but would be happy to visit if in the area. Better staff would up the rating too.

On 4th November 2017 - rating: 5
[User has posted 1001 recommendations about 986 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Alesonly . left this review about The Old White Lion

I went in here late on Monday night on the way home from a CAMRA drink up in town and just got off the train and thought Id have a few pints and give this place a try to see if its improved instead of walking up to the Bald Faced Stag. Tried several ales all of which seemed to be in excellent condition including UBU. The pub itself has been wreaked over the years by modernisation loosing its three separate Bars now having just one large rather dark soulless room with just a small Bar in the centre making it feel cold and empty. Pub was very quiet only around 5 other customers in. There were two woman just talking over empty cups one guy non stop gassing on his mobile with his feet on the table and just two customers drinking but staff attitude was absolute terrible no manners or please & thank you and Twice getting short changed once can be a mistake but twice in the same visit.? Overall a good Pub but its still badly let down by untrained staff that don’t seen to have any customer skills or give a monkeys maybe I was just unlucky as it was a late Monday night.

On 15th January 2013 - rating: 3
[User has posted 132 recommendations about 105 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Malden man left this review about The Old White Lion

The exterior looks appealing with black timbers and attractive floral displays, but the modern minimalist style pub sign gives a strong hint as to what may lie inside. The interior is yet another of those stripped out, bare boarded floor places with an emphasis on food. The wood panelling is painted white but the upper walls and ceiling are a dark purple colour which together with the subdued lighting from the Habitat inspired lampshades makes for a pretty gloomy interior. There is also some exposed brickwork.
The pub is essentially one long and fairly narrow space running left to right. The bar is directly opposite the main entrance where there are a few tables served by sofas, pouffes and some stools at the high version. A food servery is behind the bar and to the left. To the left, a separate area seemingly purely for those eating as all the tables were set. To the right of the bar is a carpeted area with another range of mixed seating and for some reason a statement over the fireplace saying TUMBLEWEED CO-ED-. Whether some form of the TV show Countdown had been disturbed and abruptly abandoned I have no idea.
French doors off the dining area lead to a large well appointed garden area.
As stated food is of importance, there were Saturday brunch menus on every table, with the traditional breakfast sounding good at £7. Several mains were advertised, it's not bangers and mash here, it's Gloucester Old Spot sausages with pea mash and red onion gravy (£8.75). Sunday roasts come in between £10-£12.75 including a veggie option.
Despite all the above, the beer range was pretty good. There are six handpumps, one was reverse clipped and the London Pride was "returning soon" but there was a choice of Harvey's Sussex Best, Doom Bar, Adnams Bitter and Freeminer Speculation which was a decent drop (£3.75).
They have a quiz, board games are available to borrow but a £10 deposit is required.
Certainly not my idea of a traditional pub and sadly to me anyway, lots of places seem to be taking this route, but I've been in many downmarket pubs near to stations and at least it isn't one of those. Probably good for a meal but just ok for a quick pint.

On 26th June 2011 - rating: 5
[User has posted 1687 recommendations about 1663 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Alesonly . left this review about The Old White Lion

I remember this Pub years ago in the 70s when it had three Bars A Large Saloon Bar on the Left A Large Public Bar on the Right & A Snug in the Middle which we called Platform Five.
This Pub tends too suffer the same problems that most these food orientated Pubs suffer from & that is the Bar serving area is Far too small for the size of the Pub and the number of customers using it plus a lack of good experienced bar staff so there's always a queue three deep waiting at busy times.
There was at least four good Ales on when I went in I tried two both were in good condition and well served but due too the wait at the Bar I decided against a third after waiting around 15 Minuets too get served the First & Second times.
I Went Back during a weekday afternoon too see if it was much better and it was nice quiet without all the foodies in so had a good few beers and the service was good.

On 25th May 2010 - rating: 6
[User has posted 132 recommendations about 105 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


john mcgraw left this review about The Old White Lion

Haven't been in this pub since the 60's and it has definitely changed since then. A large pub with one main bar and two seperate side eating/drinking areas. Although the emphasis is on food they do sell a range of real ales with the Taylor "Landlord" in good form. Next to East Finchley Tube Station.

On 6th April 2009 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2044 recommendations about 2025 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Steve C left this review about The Old White Lion

I can see why some people would like this pub, but I'm afraid it did not take my fancy. It may have had something to do with the 20 year old hooray henrys sitting next to me that were bellowing so loudly that I couldn't hear myself think.
Maybe I'm being a little harsh on the pub as they cannot help this particular gripe, but I did find it sterile even if the Amstell and Star were very good.

I did like the weekly Roasting Times printed on the back of the food menu which listed all the current guest ales and times/entry fee/rules of the quiz and some other general info about the pub – great idea.

I would probably only go back if I was going to eat something as everyone else around me seemed to have gone for that reason.

On 2nd April 2007 - rating: 5
[User has posted 3587 recommendations about 3566 pubs]