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Disappointment of the week with hondo on the Pub Forum

The White Lion, Covent Garden, WC2

24 James Street
Phone: 02072401064

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Pub Type

Nicholsons (Mitchells & Butlers)
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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 6 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Jon B left this review about The White Lion

a very small and fairly dull Nicholsons pub in central London. this kind of pub is ten a penny around here and this does little to stand out. Doom Bar, London Pride and a few other pale dishwaters available tonight.

On 13th May 2019 - rating: 5
[User has posted 641 recommendations about 631 pubs]

Graham Coombs left this review about The White Lion

A traditional corner pub in Covent Garden, handy for the tube station, with the usual one room downstairs and dining room upstairs. Not a bad pub but can get stupidly busy. The draught beer range was Doom Bar, London Pride, Nicholson's house St Austell ale and two from Great Yorkshire Brewing

On 17th March 2019 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2052 recommendations about 2007 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Pub SignMan left this review about The White Lion

This pub must have one of the most prime locations in the whole of the UK, situated as it is between Covent Garden tube station and Market. The pub is a small Nicholson's outlet with a simple, compact ground floor bar and upstairs restaurant. The bar has exposed floorboards and walls painted in dark shades to match the room's various dark wood fittings. The servery runs along the rear wall and has a nice dark wood counter and a less impressive modern bar back which was mostly obscured by countless Six Nations flags. Seating is limited to to an L-shaped banquette under the front windows and down the left hand wall, supplemented by numerous low stools. The left hand wall has a lot of Punch and Judy themed imagery on display - a reference to Samuel Pepys' diary entry which mentions the first recorded performance of a Punch and Judy show in the UK in the nearby Covent Garden Piazza. Aside from this, there's not all that much room for visual distraction. I spotted a couple of plain mirrors and a TV screen that was turned off in favour of background music, although the Six Nations promotional material throughout the pub suggest that live sports might get an airing. Elsewhere, there is a nice decorative metalwork sign over the front entrance and some smart lighting fixtures that help keep up the pretence of this being an historic pub interior. The dining room is reached by a staircase at the far end of the room - it is called the Bedford Bar, but I didn't bother going up to have a look around.
A typical Nicholson's mix of national standards and obscure regional brews graced the long row of handpulls, with options on this visit comprising Sharps Doom Bar, Nicholson's Pale Ale, Hogs Back TEA, Knops Musselburgh Broke, Everards Sly Fox and Bad Co Whiter Shade of Pale. I tried a pint of the latter which clocked in at a wallet-emptying £4.90 for a 3.4% session beer. The pint was in acceptable condition but tasted very thin, with the flavour feeling a little diluted. The bar staff were very friendly, extending a genuinely warm welcome to all-comers which is very rare in Central London, especially in chain pubs such as this.
This is a pretty decent little pub with a surprisingly modest amount of customers on a midweek evening visit, although I can imagine there are times when it gets unbearably busy. The friendly welcome and decent ale range are definite plus points but the prohibitive prices mean that the place is probably better left to the passing tourists.

On 11th March 2017 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2347 recommendations about 2347 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

hondo . left this review about The White Lion

A small Nicholson's pub with a plain interior. 9 real ale taps some doubles.

On 25th October 2016 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2649 recommendations about 2592 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

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

Very small for a Nicholson's, but usually surprisingly under-crowded for a place close to the heart of Covent Garden. Otherwise a fairly standard-issue central London pub in terms of furniture and decor, with the usual upstairs dining room. Five of nine handpumps operational on this visit: the (St Austell) Pale Ale, 6X, Scottish Borders Foxy Blonde (£4.45), Rev James and Salopian Shropshire Gold.

On 8th March 2015 - rating: 7
[User has posted 5808 recommendations about 5808 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Blackthorn _ left this review about The White Lion

A fairly compact, street-corner pub just off of Covent Garden, it’s inevitably quite busy given it’s location but at least manages to maintain a traditional ambience with a decent selection of beers available. The pub is split in to two rooms with a downstairs bar and a restaurant on the upper level.

The restaurant had wooden boards on the floor and green paintwork, some it very dark and some pale along with dark wood panelling on the lower part of the walls. A number of pictures were dotted around, consisting primarily of old black and white photographs of the market and a selection of vehicles from the nearby London Transport museum. There is also a small bar counter here with a reduced range of drinks. They had squeezed in as may tables as possible so you did feel a bit squashed in and on top of your neighbours. Downstairs looked broadly similar décor wise, with some unusual lamp shades above the bar that looked like upside down trifle dishes.

The menu offered a good selection of pub grub dishes such as sausage & mash, scampi & chips, lamb bhuna, etc., as well as a number of burgers and these were mostly priced around the £10 mark which seemed not unreasonable given the location. Our Ocean Pie and Chicken & Mushroom Pie were both decent enough, although the accompanying green beans were somewhat rubbery.

There was a good choice of beers on tap with Nicholson’s Pale Ale, Nicholson’s Festivity Ale, Rev James, London Pride, Sambrook’s Powerhouse Porter, Jarrow Rivet Catcher, Truman’s Runner, Bass and Doom bar. The solitary cider was Mortimer Orchard. Overall I thought this was a decent pub considering the very touristy location, although it’s a shame that one of the waitresses had such a poor grasp of English which made ordering a drink somewhat difficult.

On 2nd December 2014 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1709 recommendations about 1645 pubs]

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Malden man left this review about The White Lion

A small, busy and loud Nicholson's establishment with music and conversation competing, right in Covent Garden. Wood flooring, small Britannia tables in three divided areas opposite the bar plus a few stools at polished wooden window ledges. The usual dark wood abounds with the carved bar back and centre clock being of note, this was embellished by a few plants of trailing ivy above. Décor includes a Royal Coat of Arms on an end wall, not sure of the connection if any, there are also various old market scenes.
The beer range was decent as it often is in a Nicholson's pub, Doom Bar, Pride, Nicholson's Pale Ale from St Austell, Butcombe Haka, and Great Heck Shankar IPA which was top notch.
There are two other levels, the toilets are downstairs via a really tricky steep staircase and upstairs is The Bedford Room, available for hire, not seen by me.
Pubs around here are not quiet reflective affairs but I'd hazard a guess this place is preferable to the Nags Head opposite.

On 25th May 2014 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1685 recommendations about 1662 pubs]

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Real Ale Ray left this review about The White Lion

Situated right opposite the Nags, so in my opinion worth a visit. The pub is small so expect some vertical drinking. There were 6 ales on our visit and the only one of interest was the Adnams Explorer, so a limited choice on this occasion.

On 13th January 2014 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2906 recommendations about 2906 pubs]

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E TA left this review about The White Lion

A Nicholson's pub just off Covent Garden, consisting of a small corner bar with a modern wooden floor, some snugs at the sides and soberly decorated in typical Nicholson's style. The staff were very pleasant, the nibbles were quite moorish and the wifi was free. There were 6 ales on, plus some exotic lagers and the usual keg stuff. Sadly the board of beers to come was bare. I had an excellent pint of Acorn Strongheart, although the delivery was a bit clumsy. A smile and a flirt from the cute barmaid, however, went a long way to mitigating that. Worth a visit or inclusion in a crawl.

On 18th November 2013 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2413 recommendations about 2391 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

john gray left this review about The White Lion

Nice pub.Always busy but with a reduced range of Nicolson guest ales.handy for Covent Gardens and the beer quality is always good.

On 5th October 2013 - rating: 6
[User has posted 913 recommendations about 901 pubs]

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