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Star & Garter, Soho, W1

62 Poland Street

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

Tris C left this review about Star & Garter

Dating from 1816 this is probably the only remaining real boozer in Soho; no gastropub leanings here, as all there is for food are hot snacks.
There are hanging flower baskets with some fine Courage branding in gold letters to the picture windows.
The interior is much more old-school: the floor’s modern bare boarded with linenfold-style wall panelling to three-quarter height, full-height in some places. The bar front and ceiling are some type of matchboard. Furniture is traditional with some banquettes. Décor features mirrors, brass knickknacks, framed prints, mirrors, hanging copper pans and willow pattern plates, balanced atop the picture rail. Lighting comes from Victorian-style brass and tulip lamps, with matching sconces. Period rock music played over the stereo and at least one TV was showing the football, with no one remotely interested. Customers were much older than most in the area and probably heterosexual.
On arrival, the barmaid was outside smokin’ a fag, but extinguished it to serve me. Two unused pumps, then one dispensing Harvey’s Sussex at a reasonable £4.90 (I actually asked for only a half) and ok.
This is a decent pub for what it is, but is let down by the all-dominating TV and one adequate ale; I agree with BF about the questionable GBG listing, which if improved – and assuming the TV were chucked in the builders’ skip outside – could be a destination pub.

On 16th October 2021 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1532 recommendations about 1510 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Bucking Fastard left this review about Star & Garter

A charming small Soho pub with lots of original features,it's open plan these days with a bar to the left side serving from three sides.There is lots of light leather bound bench seating,a wooden ceiling,traditional ephemera and well chosen light muzak giving a timeless feel to the interior.Worth a visit for that alone.
There are 3 handpumps offering on my trip London Pride,Wadworth (in tiny letters!) Horizon and St Austell Tribute (NBSS 1.5 ,flat).
Badly let down by poor ale and a poor selection,can't understand why it's in the 2020 GBG unless it's the old story of a CAMRA branch that knows nothing about beer.

On 6th October 2019 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2383 recommendations about 2383 pubs]

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Pub SignMan left this review about Star & Garter

Just when you think you've visited every pub worth knowing in Soho, you stumble across somewhere like this - a fine little traditional pub in the heart of the neighbourhood. The pub has a pretty impressive facade thanks in part to the excellent Courage livery including some excellent branded windows. There are two doors at the front, only one of which is still in action, but the compact interior does make you wonder how these could possibly have once led into different rooms. The room has scuffed bare boards which run around a U-shaped servery on the left hand side. The bar has an angular counter, mirrored bar back and a very smart wood and glass gantry plus an unusual rail hung from the ceiling from which all the spirit bottles are suspended. The gantry has a load of old radios, whisky boxes and other such accumulated bits on top. There is dark wood panelling throughout with a number of drinking ledges squeezed in between the various fixed benches and low stools that run around the perimeter of the room. The walls have been decorated with loads of old photos and paintings in military, seafaring and theatrical themed groups plus a huge Star and Garter mirror on the back wall, which is the real focal point for this part of the room. There are also a lot of old taps, beer engines and other items related to beer dispense, including one antique looking set of pumps that were apparently taken from the bar in the mid-1980's. Elsewhere, a high shelf displays a collection of plates, the ceiling beams are hung with tankards, pans, jugs and the like and there was a framed photo of a chap playing the spoons, with the spoons beside it in the same frame. I did notice a large TV screen in one corner, although I have to say it's hard to imagine it getting much use. Stairs lead up to a first floor bar, unexplored on this visit, which can be used for private functions.
A simple ale range comprised Fullers London Pride, Greene King IPA and Shepherd Neame Spitfire. I decided to try the Pride, which came in at £4.30 - about par for the course in Soho - and was in absolutely tip-top condition, so full marks to the cellarmanship of the owners, who have apparently been in-situ for over thirty years now.
The previous three reviewers have all used the term 'Old School' to define this place and I think that is probably a fitting summation of this fine old pub. With only one change of landlord in over fifty years, consistency and resisting the urge to overhaul has been key to allowing this place to develop plenty of character and charm. I really liked the atmosphere in here and was very pleased to enjoy an outstanding pint of a beer so often poorly presented. A good find in a part of London it is easy to feel a little jaded about and I'm sure I'll be back fairly soon.

On 7th March 2017 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2813 recommendations about 2813 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

hondo . left this review about Star & Garter

Proper old school pub with a bare boarded interior. 3 real ales served. Characterful interior that's a little rough round the edges.

On 1st November 2016 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2833 recommendations about 2774 pubs]

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Ian Mapp left this review about Star & Garter

Old school - in a beautiful way.

Everything about this pub is perfect.

Photos at my blog -

On 30th September 2016 - rating: 10
[User has posted 277 recommendations about 276 pubs]

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Quinno _ left this review about Star & Garter

Old skool, family-run pub (30 years, apparently) with plenty of character and a homely feel. Relatively unspoilt interior, L-shaped with dark varnish tongue and groove wood panelling on walls and ceiling plus glass inlay upper bar gantry. Of note is the large Star & Garter mirror to the rear, as well as a collection of hanging jugs. Apparently an upstairs bar but I failed to spot it on a busy Friday evening. Three ales on; Spitfire (very good nick), GK IPA and Pride. A dull selection which was a shame but at least it was a choice. I liked this place a lot, it felt like a nice authentic pub and had the ale selection been more adventurous, it’d be destination venue. 7.5

On 22nd March 2016 - rating: 8
[User has posted 4423 recommendations about 4408 pubs]

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Just a quick pint, then I'm off left this review about Star & Garter

A right old-fashioned (in a good way) pub retaining two entrance doors just one seat-width apart. Compact rectangular bar with the counter set against one wall and a smattering of furniture on the other three sides. Benefits from just the sort of traditional decor that you would expect having seen the attractive baskets of hanging flowers on the façade. Three real ales on handpump: the never-changing Greene King IPA, Pride and Spitfire (£4.10, but in fine form).

On 23rd August 2015 - rating: 7
[User has posted 7108 recommendations about 7108 pubs]

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John Bonser left this review about Star & Garter

Update – January 2013

Beers on were unchanged from my December 2009 visit – GK IPA, London Pride and Spitfire, the latter being in good form. I didn’t see anything to indicate that this range ever changes.

If they brought the carpet back and improved ( or even varied ) the beer range, this would easily be one of my favourite Soho pubs.

Original review – December 2009

Pleasant, small, but reasonably characterful Soho pub that still retains something of a slightly old fashioned community feel to it.

It's a wood panelled pub decorated with old photos, plates, jugs etc. Seating consists of comfortable banquettes and chairs. I seem to recollect that the pub was carpeted on my previous visit several years ago, but, disappointingly, it's now got the ubiquitous trademark pine flooring that one associates with pub chains and which, I feel bound to say, does feel at odds with what is otherwise a cosy and comfortable pub.

Externally, it still retains evidence of its earlier days as a Courage pub, but the most striking external feature is the bright green painted exterior.

The beer range on my recent visit was unexciting - normal for Soho pubs so it seems - consisting of GK IPA, Pride and Spitfire. The London Pride - £3.20p - was on reasonable form, but was slightly too cold.

As a pub, I quite like this one and I'd recommend including it in any Soho crawl, but I do hope they've brought the carpet back by the next time I drop in.

On 21st January 2013 - rating: 6
[User has posted 560 recommendations about 560 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Rex Rattus left this review about Star & Garter

I didn’t think that there were any real, unspoilt, pubs in this part of London, but my visit to this pub has me delighted to be proved wrong. This pub is named after the insignia of the Order of the Garter, the most senior order of chivalry in this country. It has an attractive pub mirror at the back, bearing said insignia. It’s now a small one-room pub, but the several doors to the street indicate that it once had two bars (I noticed that one of the doors was signed Saloon Bar) and probably also a jug and bottle bar. Furnishings are banquettes around the sides, small round tables and small stools. Shelving high on the walls display numerous china plates, and copper utensils and assorted jugs hang from the beams.
They did have three ales on, even if none of them were terribly exciting – GKIPA, Spitfire and London Pride (£3.50 a pint). The picture of a traditional pub is completed by the tray of rolls encased in clingfilm sitting behind the bar. I’m astonished, but delighted, that an unspoilt traditional pub can be found just a skip and a jump from Oxford Circus. This is certainly one that will require a return visit.

On 17th August 2011 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2599 recommendations about 2513 pubs]