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The Harp, Charing Cross, WC2

48 Chandos Place
WC2
WC2N 4HS
Phone: 02078360291

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 9 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines


Quinno _ left this review about The Harp

Things are ticking over fairly well since the acquisition by Fullers, who so far have stayed good to their word and made minimal alterations to the ale range and ethos of the pub. My pint of Dark Star Hophead was excellent (NBSS 4) but the taste proved to me that it’s being brewed in Chiswick – and is less good for it. As an aside it felt odd, and slightly dispiriting given the previous incumbent’s commitment to practical feminism, to see only males behind the bar. Still a Zone 1 winner.

April 2016
Usual good beer and service last week, Twickenham Harp was in decent shape. The gents toilets have now moved and are bigger and much less of a health hazard as they are not halfway up the stairs now! Rated 9

Jan 2015 First visit post-Fullers takeover and surprisingly (and thankfully) just a lone Pride pump as the Fullers cuckoo in the Harp’s nest. Service standards and beer quality/choice maintained - good pints of Dark Star Critical Mass and Triple FFF Can't Remember as well as numerous other interesting choices. Packed as usual. Top pub. Rated 9

May 2014
These days the Harp is a CAMRA National Pub of the Year award winner and has travelled a long way from its days as the Welsh Harp, then owned by Punch. Today it is a genuine freehouse run by the semi-legendary ‘Binnie’ Walsh (who bought the lease) and her team of mainly female staff. It seems right to start with the drinking aspect – there are eight ales on the go nowadays (up from six when I first went in way back in 2005). Usually you’ll find Harveys Sussex Best, Sambrooks Wandle and a Dark Star brew on the go alongside thoughtful and unusual guest ales. These days the quality of almost every pint is top-notch. There’s now also a really good range of proper ciders and perries behind the bar too. The service behind the bar is excellent – engaging, friendly and knowledgeable, even when the place is packed (as it often is after 5pm). Service is swift but not sloppy.

The pub is located in a (slightly) quieter area of Covent Garden, less than five minutes from Charing Cross and a few yards walk to Trafalgar Square. The pretty exterior features lots of leaded stained glass. The long and narrow interior is based over two floors. The lower, with a bare wooden floor, large mirrors and numerous portraits of long-dead gentry is where the bar is located. It’s pretty small and can get crowded very quick, with drinkers often spilling outside onto the pavement. The large front window (replete with Harp motif) can be fully folded back to allow al fresco drinking from within the pub, which draws in light but also quite often smoke from the ciggie addicts standing a couple of feet away. The upstairs room used to be very drab, functional and lifeless but has been overhauled, making it a comfy place to settle and take in the interesting view down Adelaide Street. Food is offered in the form of sausages. The atmosphere is often bustling with a varied clientèle mix, not just stereotypical CAMRA types. A trip to the toilets after a few is an experience due to the narrow ‘no passing’ winding staircase and distinct lack of turning circle when you get to the door. This small but homely pub should be on every pub enthusiast’s list and I’d rank it as being one of the Top 5 within Zone 1. Rated 9

On 27th September 2019 - rating: 9
[User has posted 3969 recommendations about 3957 pubs]


Brainy Pool left this review about The Harp

Proper pub full of proper pub people. Lively and busy on a Monday night. Obviously well worth a visit even if just for the top class mild (highly recommended by a regular at the bar, and he wasn’t wrong)

On 13th May 2019 - rating: 9
[User has posted 735 recommendations about 717 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Just a quick pint, then I'm off left this review about The Harp

Thankfully, the Harp has retained its reputation following the Fuller's takeover, so always very crowded after work (and generally busy at other times) but well worth venturing inside to get a first-class pint from the ten handpumps. On this visit, I found the usual excellent mix of regular ales such as Pride, Harvey's and Hophead and ever-changing guests in a variety of styles (e.g. Tankleys English Golden Ale - sensibly advised in advance to be naturally hazy and more expensive than usual at £4.60 due to 5.7% strength). The building has a narrow frontage with fully opening windows, and the bar itself is pretty compact (and a tight squeeze to get to the back). However, the staff are notably efficient, so once you make it to the counter you get served quickly. However, there is also an upstairs room with more seating which is usually much calmer (and also a back door to a rather dingy alleyway if all else fails). Justifiably a local and national Camra award winner, and thoroughly recommended (albeit with the caveat that it can be a victim of its own success insofar as getting often so busy as to be distinctly uncomfortable).

On 3rd June 2017 - rating: 9
[User has posted 6000 recommendations about 6000 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Ian Mapp left this review about The Harp

Now a Fullers house but still has a wide range of ales on, not from Fullers.

A real must visit pub but pick your time to visit carefully. I last came on a Saturday afternoon and it was too busy to be comfortable. 10pm on a Monday night and I got a seat.

Fleet Street Pub Crawl at http://bit.ly/2etkXjQ

On 19th October 2016 - rating: 10
[User has posted 276 recommendations about 275 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Moby Duck left this review about The Harp

Still an excellent range of real ale and now offers a discount for card carrying CAMRA members.

On 31st December 2015 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 1322 recommendations about 1308 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


hondo . left this review about The Harp

Fuller's pub with a narrow traditional interior. 10 real ale taps 9 guests during my visit.

On 25th April 2015 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2692 recommendations about 2636 pubs]


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John Bonser left this review about The Harp

Update - November 2014

First visit by me yesterday since the Fullers takeover and pleasingly, as others have commented, nothing really has changed. There's no Fullers branding - after all, you don't need to be Alan Sugar to realise that you don't want to discourage customers before they've even got to the bar.

Regular beers appear unchanged - ie - Harveys Best, Dark Star Hophead and Sambrooks Junction - supplemented by a number of guests that, on my visit yesterday, included Butcombe Haka, Great Heck Voodoo Mild and beers from Tickety Brew and Burning Sky. Both the Hophead and the Harveys were in excellent shape and, at £ 3.60p and £ 3.50p respectively, still good value. There was one pump selling London Pride, which the friendly barmaid told me was £ 3.75p, cheaper than in many Fullers managed houses nowadays.

Also nice that most of the staff from Binnie's days are still behind the bar, including Sarah.

This is a classic example where the phrase "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" couldn't be more appropriate.

Still highly recommended - and my rating remains unchanged

Update - January 2013

It hardly needs saying, but The Harp has gone from strength to strength in recent years, culminating in winning the CAMRA National Pub of the Year Award in 2010.

There’s now 10 handpumps, with all of them generally in use, apart from when a barrel is being changed. Recent visits have generally found 3 Dark Star beers, 2 from Sambrooks plus Harveys as the regulars, supplemented by 4 guests, usually from smaller micros. Last Saturday ( 19/1/13), these were from Saltaire, Red Squirrel, Sunny Republic and the new kids on the block, Clarence and Fredericks ( the intriguingly named Redcurrant Stout) The bar gantry is now virtually invisible under the plethora of pump clips acquired over the years.

The pub is clearly now a destination meeting up point for visitors to London from other parts of the country, particularly the more mature and discerning football and rugby supporters. I got chatting to a friendly group of 50 something appropriately discreet Burnley supporters keeping a low profile on their way to the game at Millwall.

As well as the real ales, the speciality sausages were disappearing at a fair rate of knots, particularly the Wild Boar with Apples and Calvados.

Impossibly crowded at times, but still definitely one to make for.

Original Review – August 2009

Formerly a Charrington's pub called The Welsh Harp - a long time ago mind - it's now just The Harp. It's situated little more than a stone's throw from Trafalgar Square.

It's a long narrow bar with the walls covered in fine paintings and mirrors.

It's also a multi award winning CAMRA favourite and a CAMRA GBG regular in recent years. The pub now proudly displays the certificate recording it as SPBW Greater London Pub of the Year 2008.

It seems to be inevitably always crowded, given its beer range and location and its narrowness in front of the bar makes it a bit of a squeeze sometimes. There is however an upstairs sitting room ( no separate bar ) to where you can retreat to avoid the crush.

Pleasingly, it's a drinkers pub first and foremost, although speciality sausages are served.

Even though I only come here about every 3 months, there's invariably someone serving who I recognise - always a good sign.

There's usually 5-6 real ales on. On my recent Saturday afternoon visit, these were Harveys, Sambrooks, Greene King Sundance, Dark Star Hophead, Timothy Taylors Golden Best ( unusual to find a TT beer other than Landlord ) and a beer from South Wales Newmans Brewery called Last Lion of Britain. On previous visits, Black Sheep has usually been on.

I usually go for the Harveys in here, but went for the Dark Star Hophead on Saturday which was in typically hoppy form.

The pub is well worth a visit, but try to visit when it's relatively quiet if you can

On 16th November 2014 - rating: 9
[User has posted 560 recommendations about 560 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Moby Duck left this review about The Harp

06/09/14
First visit to the pub since the Fullers takeover and happily not much has changed,there are now two Fullers beers permanently on ,these were Pride and ESB,Darkstar, Harveys and Sambrookes still maintain a presence allowing room for another another 3 or 4 guest beers,pretty much the same old Harp which is good news.
02/08/14
Final visit today for me before the change of regime , and as good as ever,Red Squirrel Hopfest, Darkstar Expresso and APA along with a couple more I cant recall the names of but very good,lets hope the changeover is seamless and the Harp continues on as before, we shall see.

27/06/12
Rarely in London without visiting the Harp at least once in the day,beer,service and atmosphere are always spot on,yesterdays visit saw me try Darkstar American Pale Ale and Saltaire Cascade,both as you would expect were in excellent shape,busy as always but its never a problem. I make no apologies for rating the Harp 10/10, the only pub I do.

On 8th September 2014 - rating: 10
[User has posted 1322 recommendations about 1308 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Aqualung . left this review about The Harp

Visit 26/07/2014

I popped in early doors again on the way to Charing Cross Station. Despite the impending takeover (it will be a Fuller's pub as of 05/08/2014 with two Fuller's beers but other beers the same or similar) everything seemed the same as lasr Autumn. There was a cleaner doing the rounds and the one staff memnber getting everything ready for the thirsty hordes. I had a Hawkshead Drystone Stout (£3.75) which was an outstanding Dry Stout, everything Guinness should be but isn't. Only time will tell what happens to the beer / cider selection and prices under the Fuller's regime but for the next week it's as good as ever.



Visit 27/09/2013

On this occasion I arrived in the morning at around 10:30 and it was a much more enjoyable experience than a Saturday evening in mid summer. I tried the Dark Star American Pale (£3.45) which was in excellent condition.
This time I noticed a blackboard listing an extensive cider choice with only a few names that I recognised.


Visit 11/08/2013

I finally made it to this legendary pub on a Saturday evening, and it came as no surprise to see it packed with people spilling out onto the surrounding pavements. Inside it rather reminded me of the long and narrow Southampton Arms at Gospel Oak, but without the tiling and ciders.

As it was so busy, I didn't get to see the whole selection of ales apart from Dark Star, Harvey's, Sambrook's and Crouch Vale, but the Windsor And Eton Conqueror Black IPA seemed a good option. It was in really good nick making it an outstanding pint. It was £3.60 which to put prices in perspective is only 45p dearer than the Spoons across Trafalgar Square but £1.15 dearer than the same beer in a NW London Spoons earlier in the year. I'm guessing that it is good value for Central London.

I hope to give it another go some time but on a weekday and before midday.

The only minor criticism I might make is that for a pub of this type the beer selection seemed a bit mainstream, but there again not everyone goes for pale hop bombs or chilli flavoured dark wheat beers.

On 27th July 2014 - rating: 9
[User has posted 2145 recommendations about 2143 pubs]


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Real Ale Ray left this review about The Harp

We were lucky to visit the Harp before it got too busy. This gave us a good opportunity to have a good look around. I did take a look at the upstairs room, which was carpeted, with comfortable seating and small tables, there was also a gilt framed mirror. The only drawback if seated upstairs, would be the to-ing and fro-ing to the downstairs bar and carrying drinks up the narrow stairwell. The pub had a good atmosphere and the service was excellent. There were nine ales on hand pump so we tried the Harveys Sussex Best, Whitstable Ruby Mild and Clarence and Fredericks Best Bitter.

On 14th January 2014 - rating: 9
[User has posted 2975 recommendations about 2975 pubs]

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