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The Old White Bear, Hampstead, NW3

1 Well Road

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 6 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Bucking Fastard left this review about The Old White Bear

I warmed to this pub in a very attractive corner of Hampstead village.The exterior is traditional in brick and the two doors are marked Public Bar and Lounge,although the Lounge door is kept bolted. The bar is central with high tables opposite,there is parquet flooring throughout while to the right of the entrance is a relaxed area with some fitted bench seating and some comfy chairs around a fireplace.On the left side the traditional furniture has more dining style tables but also a flatscreen for terrestrial sport and lots of board games.
There is a community vibe with all real ale all day Monday at £4 per pint,Tuesday open mic,Wednesday quiz and occasional gentle live music.The food is from a short menu with mediam mains £18.
At the bar 4 handpumps offering on my trip Allsops Pale,Leeds Pale,Harvey Sussex Best and Five Points XPA (barman sampled it before serving,very good nick NBSS 4 and £2.65 the half).It fully deserves it's GBG 2024 listing on this evidence.There were also some interesting craft keg options besides mainstream kegs.
A friendly proper pub and if the ale range had a bit more variety with less focus on pales,this pub could easily be a real ale destination worthy of even higher marks.I would certainly use it if in the area again.

On 16th March 2024 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2748 recommendations about 2748 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Will Larter left this review about The Old White Bear

I picked up a copy of London Drinker, which had a half page article on the reopening of this pub in December 2021, so decided to call in. It had closed in 2014 and was looking likely to remain so, but a campaign by locals kept it from being converted to residential use, and it is now owned by Northern Union Pubs (in the same ownership as Leeds Brewery). It's looking good, with dark Wedgwood blue paint on the walls and traditional pub tables and chairs of the better sort, along with leather upholstered bench seating. Four hand pumps on the bar, with one Leeds beer (Midnight Bell - very good) alongside two from Fullers and the strangely named Wild Beer Bibble. The manager was welcoming and enthusiastic, and when I mentioned how good the pub was looking, he said that some locals had commented that it reminded them of how it was 40 years ago.

On 11th February 2022 - rating: 8
[User has posted 3795 recommendations about 3523 pubs]

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Tris C left this review about The Old White Bear

As Ye Olde White Bear I spent more time in this pub than just about any other from the mid-1980s onwards. Yes it was a bit ramshackle and tatty (nice fire) but it served an unpretentious purpose. Then the food (greasy food) arrived along with crusty sauce bottles at each table and the stench of the deep fat frier; time to leave.

Finally converted and all is forgiven. This is now a restaurant serving today's culinary fashion de nos jour - 'tapas'. Drinkers are marginalised to just one solitary table in the pub's centre (the left and right sides are dedicated to tapas-munchers). The bar has been dramatically shortened and beer choice is pretty much non-existent.

In my opinion this is a restaurant and not a pub and even if you can bag a seat at the aforementioned single table, it's not worth the bother.

Hasta la vista, baby.

On 20th March 2011 - rating: 3
[User has posted 2009 recommendations about 1975 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Steve C left this review about The Old White Bear

The Olde White Bear, as it was once known, has recently opened its doors again after a long refurbishment that I think started before Christmas. The transformation is hard to miss as the old pub with political quotes and old photos on the walls has been replaced by a restaurant and bar that has managed to create a bright modern feel with 19th century furnishings. The bar length has been reduced and only two ales are now available which were Pride and Abbot on my recent visit. The wooden bar has been replaced with a marble/tiled work top and the four draught options have been enclosed in a box to keep them out of sight.

The food is expensive for a pub, but not so much for a Hampstead restaurant which I think this place ultimately is. I was fine having a well poured pint of Pride at 16:30 on a Saturday afternoon, but I’m not so sure about sitting at the bar whilst the dinner service is in progress. There is still some seating out the front which is nice in the summer and I’ll certainly end up sitting there at some point over the next few months.

Although the bar has shortened the actual floor space has increased as the toilets have now been moved upstairs where a small dining room can now be found that can host up to fourteen people for private occasions.

As I mentioned before, this is not a pub in my opinion, but it is pleasant enough for a pint or two at the right time of day.

On 18th May 2010 - rating: 5
[User has posted 5303 recommendations about 5271 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Rex Rattus left this review about The Olde White Bear

Apparently it’s due to re-open this weekend, but the door was open as I passed this afternoon, so obviously in I went, and the friendly young lady behind the bar was happy to serve me a half of London Pride (at £1.75 - £3.50 a pint? not cheap). There were two handpumps on the bar, but neither had clips attached – yet. This is nothing like the pub it was. All the bric-a-brac has gone, the walls are painted a brownish grey colour, and the bar counter is a bit smaller on the right than it was. In fact it’s now very minimalist, although the parquet flooring looks original, and one of the large tables in the area on the right looks to be a solid antique. It seems it’s being re-branded as a Mediterranean restaurant. This review is based on only a 10-minute snapshot visit, but I think that I can safely say that it’s not the sort of place that someone who likes the traditional pub is going to want to sit in for a quiet pint, but it might be the sort of place where you could get some decent tapas. Maybe another visit to sample the food at some stage might be in order. The pub name outside still refers to it as “Ye Olde White Bear”, but judging by Alex Silver’s posting, that is likely to change.

On 12th March 2010 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2606 recommendations about 2520 pubs]

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Steve C left this review about The Olde White Bear

From reading below the rumours of this place becoming a tapas bar were unfounded. I look forward to trying a few of these guest ales mentioned on a fact finding mission in the next couple of weeks.

02/02/10: This once good pub is closed and when it reopens it will be a tapas bar for the Hampstead tourists!
[admin note: Reported as reopened via the forums 10/03/10]

On 12th March 2010 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 5303 recommendations about 5271 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

alex silver left this review about Ye Olde White Bear

Out with ye olde and in with the new…….

Tucked away in the village backstreets of Hampstead, The Old White Bear (formerly Ye Olde White Bear) will open its doors again on Friday March 12th, following a much deserved renovation. This second venture from restaurateur Jasper Gorst, proprietor of The Oak in Notting Hill, is a welcoming retreat throughout the day for local residents and beyond.

The inside interior has been replaced with 19th century handmade English pine dressers, tables and fireplaces. Sections of the floor and tables are covered in vibrant rustic tiles imported from northern France and the whole look reflects a warm rustic European/English feel eluding any signs of snobbery.

Using only the finest and freshest local ingredients, the smart yet relaxed dining area offers imaginative French, Spanish and Italian classics with an eclectic twist to bring the wonderful flavours of Europe to Hampstead.

The lunch menu is varied and colourful and offers back to basics fare including seasonal soup of the day and venison ravioli, pecorino and thyme. There is a good selection of vegetarian treats too, such as vegetable antipasti with grilled marinated aubergine, courgette, peppers and globe artichoke.

The evening à la carte menu covers dishes such as roasted seabass and pepper stew, char-grilled tuna with mixed leaves as well as appetising vegetarian choices. Puddings include the ever popular crème brulée, a selection of cheeses and classics such as chocolate brownie.

All the usual drinks are served as well as a choice of guest ales on tap and a wine list to suit all budgets and palettes which can be enjoyed at cosy bay windows, the bar, or at tables outside (in the summer). The drinks menu is also a reflection of the classic European inspiration with a range of French, Spanish and Italian to complement the lunch and dinner menu.

The Old White Bear serve food seven days a week and offer traditional roasts on Sundays and for special occasions there is a private dining area upstairs for hire that seat up to 14 guests.

The Old White Bear sits just a brisk 5 minute stroll from Hampstead tube and offers a warm welcome to local businesses, singletons, couples, families and pub-goers.

Set to be as popular as its outpost in Notting Hill, The Old White Bear is a welcome addition to Hampstead’s dining scene and plans not to disappoint.

On 12th March 2010 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 1 recommendations about 1 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Malden man left this review about The Old White Bear

A characterful old place, central bar with seperate areas winding around either side. The bar itself follows around providing serving areas to all parts, the bar back is nicely carved too. Traditional seating plus bar stools, parquet wooden floor, wood panelled walls, lots of signed photos of film stars, old clocks, mirrors etc. Two sets of what look like antelope antlers displayed in the left side area above the fireplace.
Six handpumps, four on today, Mordue Workie Ticket, York Brewery Constantine, Daleside Pride of England and Ind Coope(?) Burton Ale. Although it appears that a Northern beer festival has just been on it transpires that the selection are sourced from the "Finest Cask" range. A brewery map and tasting notes are pinned up adjoining the bar. A pleasant spot.

On 1st August 2009 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1708 recommendations about 1681 pubs]

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ROB Camra left this review about The Old White Bear

This is a pleasant old pub just down the road from the Duke and another of ny regular stop offs in Hampstead. The bar serves several distinct areas, with lots of wood panelling and a parquet floor. Add in a clock or two and lots of photo's of old film stars and this is a characterful pub. It's usually pretty quiet when I visit which is usually Tuesday or Wednesday night but may well be busier later in the week. Usually has 4 beers available with Youngs Ordinary seeming to be a standard with the rest being guests. I have been in when only the Youngs has been available though. It's always a good pint and has been in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide every so often. Long may it continue in its current guise.

On 11th June 2009 - rating: 7
[User has posted 3225 recommendations about 3136 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

train man left this review about The Old White Bear

Well presented and laid-out pub with aesthetic woody interior and… six changing handpumps with none of the usual suspects, also Addlestones cider in addition to strongbow. So impressed was I on Sunday that I trundled north and staggered up the hill again on Tuesday, when it was explained that the policy was to no longer stock ‘standard' ales (Pride, Youngs, Courage, etc) in favour of a changing rota of less usual beers from around the country! The five that I tried over my 2 visits were all in good shape. Super pub with a few tables out front in good weather. Cannot understand its relatively low BITE rating; nearer a 9 in my book, and I look forward to sampling more beers here in future.

On 31st August 2007 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 412 recommendations about 411 pubs]