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The White Swan, Covent Garden, WC2

14 New Row
Covent Garden
Phone: 02030771129

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Pub Type

Nicholsons (Mitchells & Butlers)

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

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Bucking Fastard left this review about The White Swan

A Nicholson's house,quite small with the usual dining room on the first floor.A traditional curved frontage,the open plan tap room is modest with a few tables by the front window,drinking shelves around the bar area and a square rear seating area,with a large round table with stools in the centre,bench seating to the side.There is wood panelling,a low ceiling and some period charm,but when busy it's hectic.The muzak was very loud but at least the BT Sport/Sky screen were off.
There are 8 handpumps but some were reversed,other unclipped leaving a choice of London Pride,Doom Bar,Old Rosie cider,Bedlam Turtle Recall and Sadlers Peaky Blinders Black IPA (NBSS 3 ) which saved my visit.
I assume the local CAMRA branch saw 8 handpumps are so awarded this pub 2020 GBG entry.With just 2 guest beers this is hardly a real ale destination,keep going to The Harp nearby if that's what you want.Little reason to revisit.

On 9th November 2019 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2089 recommendations about 2089 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Ian Mapp left this review about The White Swan

Now a Nicholsons....

An unexpected pint of Orkney Dark Island. Decent too.

Not many in as we got close to the ungodly hour of 10:50.

A typical LDN pub experience that didnt stand out in any way, despite being a GBG entry.

Visit blogged at

On 2nd February 2017 - rating: 5
[User has posted 277 recommendations about 276 pubs]

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Blackthorn _ left this review about The White Swan

A traditional and attractive looking pub, it is perhaps slightly less appealing inside than might be suggested from the outside appearance. It has an old wood strip floor and a black painted ceiling, along with some dark wood panelling on the walls at the front of the pub, but other than that there was little of any note. The door at the front of the pub had Saloon Bar etched in to the glass. A plasma screen was showing a sports channel whilst the music was playing perhaps just a tad too loudly for easy conversation.

First impressions on the beer front looked promising with plenty of beer mats tacked on to the wall behind the bar and a bank of eight hand pumps. However, closer inspection revealed that no less than five of these had either run out or were coming soon, leaving just Truman’s Runner, London Pride and Pedigree. The solitary cider was a rather disappointing Aspall’s Suffolk, although there was also a hot mulled option.

On 26th January 2016 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1749 recommendations about 1684 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

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

Fairly narrow and tapering bar with further seating beyond a partial screen at the back. Traditional-style furniture and decor, as you would expect from a Nicholsons. Upstairs dining room (never visited). Row of eight handpumps, usually dispensing a reasonable selection of real ales, with seven in operation on this visit and NPA, Pride, Bombardier, Ghost Ship, Hobgoblin, Truman's Runner and Windsor & Eton Conqueror (£4.30) on offer.

On 21st November 2015 - rating: 7
[User has posted 6214 recommendations about 6214 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Danny O'Revey left this review about The White Swan

Small Nicholsons pub near market. Dark & moody on the inside with a room to the street that thins to the back as it passes the bar. Dark & light wood panels, its a smart Nicholsons offering with usual menu & 7 real ales.

On 25th November 2014 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1281 recommendations about 1258 pubs]

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Moby Duck left this review about The White Swan

Nice enough but typical Nicholsons pub,the beer range on my visit was a little ordinary, and my Nicholsons (St Austell) Pale was very average,had a taster of the only beer I wasn't familiar with, Peerless Dark Matter, a zero hopped beer, unfortunately it was sharp and sour, totally off, told the barman but didnt see the clip removed. I would say the pubs worth a look but wasn't over impressed.

On 3rd August 2014 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1357 recommendations about 1343 pubs]

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Real Ale Ray left this review about The White Swan

A decent pub this one and have to say we enjoyed our visit here. I was surprised to see Fullers London Pride on handpump in here, what with the Roundhouse a Fullers pub across the way. There were 9 ales to choose from on our visit, so still enough variety. I went for the Brewsters Decadence, a very good golden ale.

On 13th January 2014 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2976 recommendations about 2976 pubs]

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Pub SignMan left this review about The White Swan

This is a relatively new Nicholson’s pub, having converted from an O’Neills a year or so back, with a prime location between Leicester Square and Covent Garden. The pub has a straightforward single room layout with the servery down the right hand side. There’s loads of dark wood, on the floor, walls and servery, which works well in the dimly lit interior to create a warm, cosy environment. There is a small, open area at the front with a few standard tables and chairs, before the pub narrows as it passes the servery, allowing just enough room for some small tables and drinking ledges. The nicest area is to the rear, past some semi partitioning where high tables and stools can be found with a padded banquette along the right hand wall serving a couple of tables. A couple of TV screens were on during our visit, both showing muted rolling news whilst music played quite loudly over the sound system, although it was late on a Friday night, so perhaps that is to be expected and it certainly wasn’t as loud as in the Roundhouse over the road. There is a dining room upstairs, strictly for those wanting food only, so I didn’t bother to explore.
A long bank of hand pumps offered Daleside Old Leg Over, Adnams Lighthouse, Great Heck American Classic, Harviestoun Bitter and Twisted and Fullers London Pride. Three more pumps had clips that were turned 90 degrees and looked like they might still be available, but when I ordered one of them, I was told they were all off, although no attempt was made to turn them fully around. The barman helpfully offered us tasters of a couple of the available options without prompting, and as a result we came away with an outstanding pint of the American Classic, so credit to him for that.
I imagine this place gets packed out at times, thanks to its location as much as anything else, but judging by this visit, it deserves to be popular in its own right. For my money, it is one of the better pubs in the Covent Garden area and I’m sure return visits will be forthcoming.

On 6th October 2013 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2546 recommendations about 2546 pubs]

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Rex Rattus left this review about The White Swan

This pub was for many years an O’Neill’s bar, but with its recent rebranding as a Nicholson’s pub it has reverted to its original name of The White Swan. The interior is somewhat different to the pub that I knew in the 70s. It used to have a small separate bar in the front as you enter, with a larger room reached by going round to the back of the central server. Now it’s essentially one room. At the front you have a few normal tables and chairs plus the inevitable tall tables/stools. The bar counter is still on the right, and past it is what I reckon is a more comfortable area, with some bench seating and more standard tables and chairs, a large rug on the floor, and some interesting large framed prints on the walls.
Now to the important bit. There are eight handpumps on the counter, all in use, and although there were a couple of the usual suspects (Pride, Doom Bar) there were some less regularly seen offerings. But it’s not particularly cheap – the half of Moorhouse Black Cat I had was £1.85. Sandwiches ranged from £6.45 to £6.95, and the usual pub grub was available. Again it’s not cheap – but we are a stone’s throw from the tourist trap that is Covent Garden – with, for example, the shepherd’s pie coming in at £9.95.
It does have the West End cachet and feel (as well as the prices) about it, but as far as I’m concerned it represents a valuable addition to the real ale outlets in this part of the world, and is a considerable improvement on its previous incarnation. I would visit again.

On 21st May 2012 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2577 recommendations about 2495 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Steve C left this review about O'Neill's

This is the usual O'Neill's affair with Cold, Extra Cold and Red Guinness along with standard/premium lagers available. I found the barman that served me to be very friendly, although my pint of Guinness was very short. It was pretty relaxed, but I did go in on a week night.

This is an above average O'Neill's, but there are better pubs a stones throw away.

On 29th April 2009 - rating: 6
[User has posted 3587 recommendations about 3566 pubs]