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The Shakespeare's Head (JD Wetherspoon), Holborn, WC2

64 Kingsway
Phone: 02074048846

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Pub Type

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

Bucking Fastard left this review about The Shakespeare's Head (JD Wetherspoon)

A vast and long 'spoons with doormen both at the entrance and within the pub to keep an eye on a Friday afterwork scrum.
Situated on a street corner,the bar is on the left mid building with lots of high tables opposite for vertical drinking,and more normal style tables right at the Kingsway frontage.Beyond the bar there are a series of impressive large semi circular banquettes before a final raised seating area.
When popular it's noisy but the serving crew try hard to reduce bar waiting times and clear empty glasses.Eating in these conditions wouldn't be too relaxing even if you can find a free table.
There are two ranks of 6 handpumps serving on my trip London Pride,GK IPA,Doom Bar,Abbott,Exmoor Gold,Adnams Ghost Ship,a real cider,Redemption Urban Dusk,Windsor & Eton Guardsman and Canberra,Notting Hill Best and Oakham JHB (NBSS 3).At least there was no "available soon" malarky,so the line up justifies it's 2020 GBG listing.
However a long list of real ales does not make a fine pub.It's functional at best.

On 9th November 2019 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2054 recommendations about 2054 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Brainy Pool left this review about The Shakespeare's Head (JD Wetherspoon)

This is a long, thin Wetherspoons which is reasonable enough for a quick drink or a cheap meal. It’s nothing special in any sense but it’s okay and i was happy to find a table. London Pride in okay form.

On 13th May 2019 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 735 recommendations about 717 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Nick Davies left this review about The Shakespeare's Head (JD Wetherspoon)

Now reopened after a refurbishment. Well they called it a refurbishment, all they've done is wiped its arse: it still matches PSM's description below perfectly. It being half term it was busy late afternoon with families from out of town using it as a canteen, along with the usual JDW daytime suspects. They clearly weren't there for the beer. Half the clips were turned and most of the rest doubled up for the trio of doom. I forgot to note what murky unpleasantness I had a pint of, but a lack of the emotional energy required to deal with the unfortunates behind the bar coupled with a desire to vacate the premises as soon as possible prevented me from returning it.

There are many, many far better pubs within five minutes walk.

On 2nd June 2017 - rating: 4
[User has posted 488 recommendations about 480 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Danny O'Revey left this review about The Shakespeare's Head (JD Wetherspoon)

Large, standard Wetherspoons, some booth seating towards the rear, or usual tables/chairs

On 25th November 2015 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1276 recommendations about 1253 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Just a quick pint, then I'm off left this review about The Shakespeare's Head (JD Wetherspoon)

Despite its size, this is one of the more dingy Wetherspoons. Beer quality is usually good, but it had a fairly pedestrian selection of nine different beers available from the 12 handpumps on this visit; mostly usual suspects, with Twickenham Naked Ladies and two from Windsor & Eton (Knight of the Garter and Windsor Knot) being the only things of local interest noted.

On 21st November 2015 - rating: 6
[User has posted 6000 recommendations about 6000 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Pub SignMan left this review about The Shakespeare's Head (JD Wetherspoon)

Just down the road from Holborn station, this is a huge Wetherspoons pub set in a former bank, although notably lacking the splendour and finery of some of the chain’s other bank conversions. The pub takes its name from a revered pub of the same name which stood on the site of the modern day Africa House and attracted many literary minds. Today it is mainly tourists and businessmen who find their way here, making for a bit of a flat atmosphere, not helped by the vast, soulless interior. Essentially comprising one huge, single room, extending a remarkable distance from front to back, the pub presents several seating areas and a servery midway down the left hand side. The front section is carpeted and has loads of seating under relatively small front windows and the usual ‘Spoons information boards. The mid section has checkerboard tile flooring opposite the bar, lots of high tables and stools and some reasonably attractive modern glass partitioning screens. A large rear section is also carpeted and has some long, curved banquettes under large bay windows with semi educational Shakespeare themed boards suspended above each table. Further on is a split level seating area with handwriting wallpaper, some large potted plants and a few old pictures on the walls. The Shakespeare theme is remarkably vague, although I did notice a few quotes and images inlaid into the bar back.
There are twelve handpulls on the bar and these were dispensing five ‘Spoons regulars and seven guest ales on my visit. I tried a very drinkable pint of Mauldons Silver Adder, whilst another punter was raving about the quality of one of the Adnams beers available. I also noticed some ‘craft’ beers were being dispensed from barrels racked up on the bar back, although I couldn’t make out if they were genuine or not.
I couldn’t quite get my head around whether this was a reasonable ‘Spoons or a really dreadful one. There were certainly aspects which leant towards the latter, most notably the customer mix and the cavernous interior, but on balance I think it has enough redeeming features to make it worth a second look, most notably the prospect of some reliable beer.

On 10th July 2014 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2446 recommendations about 2446 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Real Ale Ray left this review about The Shakespeare's Head (JD Wetherspoon)

Lots of dark oak stained timber in here and low lighting gave a historical theme to this pub, even though I was in a Spoons. This pub is handy for the tube and after roaming around the West End, we found it a bit of a haven for a relaxing drink. Ale wise, we went for the Youngs Special and Moorhouses Elves Bells.

On 3rd February 2014 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2976 recommendations about 2976 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Roger Button left this review about The Shakespeare's Head (JD Wetherspoon)

Named after a former pub that stood nearby, the Shakespeare’s Head is a Wetherspoons housed within the confines of Africa House. Despite the elegant exterior with its columns, Lion statues and impressive ornamental feature high over the entrance, the pub itself is a fairly drab and souless place.

The interior stretches quite a way back and narrows towards the rear wth a lengthy bar down the left hand side. There is some fancy chessboard tiling around the bar area but on the whole it’s an anonymous kind of place that feels a bit claustrophobic despite being quite spacious. There are a few screened off sections and a series of 3 divided semi-circular banquettes at the rear but it still feels very open and lacking any intimacy.

On the plus side I have never failed to grab a table and it ticks all the usual ‘Spoons boxes in the value for money department. Service has never been an issue on my visits and there have always been a decent selection of guest beers so despite the dinginess, it does still provide enough of a draw to pop in if I am passing by with time to kill.

On 13th September 2013 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1238 recommendations about 1232 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Aqualung . left this review about The Shakespeare's Head (JD Wetherspoon)

The scaffolding as mentioned below has gone, so this place didn't seem unusually dark to me. It is a typical Spoons barn which on my midday visit seemed to be taken up by mostly tourists.

The most annoying thing for me was an extremely irritating little man jabbering into a mobile phone while randomly walking around right in front of the bank of pumps which I was trying to inspect.

I ordered a pint of Portobello Market Porter at £3.05 and sat at one of the small tables. The beer was pretty ropey and when the Mobile Phone Moron's meandering path took him close to my table I was tempted to empty it over his head and leave.

This is one Spoons I wouldn't bother with again given the short distance to the GBG listed one in Holborn, but I felt no compulsion to visit the GBG listed Ship a few minutes walk away selling bog-standard beers at over 4 quid a pint.

On 29th June 2013 - rating: 3
[User has posted 2143 recommendations about 2143 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

paulof horsham left this review about The Shakespeare's Head (JD Wetherspoon)

The overwhelming recollection of this bog-standard Spoons is the darkness of the interior the further you get from the main entrance. After purchasing a festival ale, I decided that I really didn't want to venture any further back as, not only was it clear that I'd struggle to read my Standard, I wasn't entirely certain I'd be able make out my pint in the Stygian gloom.

In future, I think I'll leave this one to the budget-conscious tourists who seemed to comprise the majority of the clientele.

On 14th April 2013 - rating: 4
[User has posted 286 recommendations about 276 pubs]

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