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Mc & Sons, Southwark, SE1

160 Union Street
SE1
SE1 0LH
Phone: 02074013744

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 7 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines


Tris C left this review about Mc & Sons

This started life in 1818 as the Red Lion, but must have been rebuilt later in the 19th century, for Truman Hanbury & Buxton and renamed the Charles Dickens I know not when, the current name turning up in 2017, Irish themed as a homage to ‘…the memories and lives of the Mc Elhinney’s with their heritage adorning the walls with pictures of the family through the generations’, founders of Windmill Taverns, of which this is a branch.
Modern boarded, the pub does seem to have been opened out, as the left wall is clad with wood panelling and etched glass, rather than mirrors, indicating that these may have been divisions, retained as décor. There’s a comfy little snug to the left, with quite long bar beyond, with a room of sorts to the rear, where live Irish music was playing. Further décor comes in the form of a vast number of framed black and white prints, with knickknacks galore; you can tell this is an Irish pub, as there are prints to the wall of Pope John Paul, the Virgin Mary and Jesus. The ceiling is modern, so as to accommodate the flush aircon unit. Furniture is traditional, with customers from across the spectrum. There’s food, but being an Irish pub, obviously it’s Thai. Lighting here is very gloomy indeed, vision is genuinely impaired by it, making navigation difficult, me almost treading on an all but invisible dog.
Although there were four pumps, just one was in operation, dispensing Bath Gem at a very reasonable £2.45 a half and good, served by a very friendly barmaid, doing an admirable job given the queue at the bar and demand for the Black Stuff.
I quite liked this place, but would only really visit at quieter times, but the ale choice and range would need to be upped, as would the score.

On 28th November 2021 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1517 recommendations about 1496 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Rex Rattus left this review about Mc & Sons

They had four ales on in here - Doom Bar; Truman's Lazarus; a stout from West Berkshire Brewery; and Hamerton No 7 (5.2% and £4.60 a pint). Food is Thai only. You queue at the food counter towards the back and a young lady takes your money as you queue (all meals are £6 - eat in or takeaway) and you choose from the six dishes on display at the food counter. A bit retro - at one time food in almost all pubs was on display. Your selection is then shoveled into a cardboard box irrespective of whether you're eating in or taking it away. Personally, I would prefer the plate option, but I guess youngsters (and the majority of the clientele on the weekday lunchtime I visited were young) like eating out of bento box fast food containers.

This was my first visit since its Charles Dickens days, and I think I might prefer it now. The walls are covered with black and white photographs and prints - I recognised some of the subjects, such as the King of Thailand (although he would have subects rather than be a subject), JFK, and General Slim of WWII fame, but loads of others I didn't. I quite like that sort of thing. It's bare-boarded with only normal tables and chairs, and having a 10-seater table in the middle of the room being used as a communal dining table during the lunchtime peak. There's a little snug area on the right by the window at the front, which you can apparently hire for private use. I don't recall it being there when I've visited previously, so I guess it's a recent addition.

It was doing a very good trade in food on the Wednesday lunchtime I was in, so obviously they've hit on a winning formula. I paid for and received my pint; and paid for and received my Thai Panang curry in about five minutes, which is a boon if you're pushed for time. I would certainly visit this pub again, and would recommend it to anyone who is not put off by the smell of Thai currys and stir fries.

On 12th May 2018 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2599 recommendations about 2513 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Just a quick pint, then I'm off left this review about Mc & Sons

The former Charles Dickens has been given a vigorous makeover, albeit still in an alehouse style. The bar and rear room form one long rectangular space, although a small area just inside the door has been made into a modern-day snug. Fairly sparsely furnished in the drinking area opposite the counter, with more tables in the dining area further back. Hammerton N7, Moor Raw (£4.50) and Titanic Plum Porter available from three of four handpumps, with the other one being pulled through while I was there. Reasonable selection of craft keg beers and ciders too. Overall, not really the sort of place you would find by chance, despite being on a direct line between London Bridge and Waterloo, but well worth seeking out.

On 30th March 2018 - rating: 8
[User has posted 7039 recommendations about 7039 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Moby Duck left this review about Mc & Sons

Nicely refurbed using old authentic pub furniture and fittings, the interior is opened out, the walls full of black and white photos.
Four handpumps were serving Sharps Atlantic,Hogs Back TEA, Hammerton Pentonville and Thornbridge Jaipur IPA which as John mentions below was excellent. It's been a long time coming but its much better now than as the Old Charles Dickens.

On 1st January 2018 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1567 recommendations about 1548 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


john gray left this review about MC & Sons

Now re-opened with a nicer interior and nicer bar staff.5 cask and some good Irish keg beers. Lovely Jaipur not cheap but worth the price.

On 26th December 2017 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 965 recommendations about 951 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


john gray left this review about The Charles Dickens

A rather dull basic pub with a few cheap Dickens prints.Great beer selection.Beers from Twickenham,Milestone,W+ Eton and Adnams.Also Mighty Oak-hoppily ever after which was good.Worth a visit for the beers.

On 6th March 2014 - rating: 6
[User has posted 965 recommendations about 951 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Danny O'Revey left this review about The Charles Dickens

Larger than it looks south London pub, nicely laid out, boarded floor, half panalled walls and pictures/quotes of various Dickens characters on the walls.

The area around the bar as you walk in has some high tables and stools, and other trad rectangular tables & wooden chairs. It feels quite spacey. The pub goes deeper from the road and there is a beer garden.

Menus on every table with meals starting at £6.50 which seems good for London.

6 real ales, some local, some further a field, good choice and quality & extra mark for this.

On 25th September 2012 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1347 recommendations about 1324 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


david buckle left this review about The Charles Dickens

Used to frequent this place often for good food food and good beer. Hadn't been for a while untill last nite. Oh dear what a change in 6 monts. The positives. The beer is still very good and priced well. The 2 people behind the bar were welcoming polite amusing and also very knowledgeable about the real ales which is a great plus. The young lady in particular was very helpful in finding me a suitable ale. The negatives. Used to enjoy eating here but won't make that same mistake again. Food is sloppy swimming in grease cold ( they were quiet) no presentation and over priced for what it was. We had four meals and they were all the same. I would visit again if in the area for the beer and bar staff. Just never eat here again. (The white herart around the corner does fine food) its a ahame as this is a nice little pub. Also toilets were filthy.

On 31st August 2012 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 1 recommendations about 1 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Bucking Fastard left this review about The Charles Dickens

The interior is open plan,with a wooden floor and an L shaped bar to the right.On the shorter side there are six handpumps,while down the longer side are an array of keg dispensers.There is wooden seating throughout,with a slightly larger rear section leading to a walled courtyard with an awning.There are flat screens dotted about showing terrestrial TV soccer but with the sound turned down,a good compromise.There are prints on the wall of Dickensian characters but that's about the only reference to the pub name that I saw.
All ales priced at £3.40 with Hogs Back Spring Ale,Truman Swallow and Swifts,Westerham Finchcocks Original,Mighty Oak Oscar Wilde,Cottage We'll Get it Right and Elgoods Double Swan,which was the pick on the night.There is a kitchen churning out pub grub staples until 9pm at what looked like very reasonable prices for the area (mains £7 -£10).Although the pub was busy,it never became overcrowded and seats were available throughout a Friday evening session.The staff were on the whole friendly and efficient,apart from one guy who was reluctant to change an end of barrel pint,until his colleagues pointed out the error of his ways.
A decent selection of well kept ale (it's now in the 2012 GBG)means this place is on the list for a revisit.Slightly off the beaten track,good to find a pub not crammed to the rafters on a Friday night.

On 23rd June 2012 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2355 recommendations about 2355 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Nick Johnstone left this review about The Charles Dickens

Not bad but has a somewhat continental feel to it. Hardly Dickensian.

On 29th April 2011 - rating: 6
[User has posted 98 recommendations about 98 pubs]

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