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Picture of The Nags Head
Image posted by Will Larter
Submitted on Saturday, 2nd October 2021
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The Nags Head, Covent Garden, WC2

10 James Street
Phone: 02078364678
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Reviews of The Nags Head (Average Rating: of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Tris C left this review about The Nags Head

Date of Visit: 2nd November 2021:

I’d not been in here since late 1993, to a grade II-listed pub which has existed in some form since the late 17th century, the current building dating from 1900, being built in the neo-Jacobean style by P. E. Pilditch, acquired by McMullen’s in 1927, where it would open at 5.00 am to cater for Covent Garden’s market porters.
It’s something of a minor gin palace inside, though how much is ‘original’ original, I don’t know. The floor is modern chunky herringbone and walls are smoky blue; how original; at least the Anaglypta ceiling is painted slate grey, which is a bit original, I suppose. The bar array is attractive, with a leaded stained glass bar front parapet. Furniture is mainly modern contemporary and tall, with some red studded banquettes, with standard height tables and chairs. Décor is thin on the ground, being mainly pot plants to the pot shelf, fronds cascading over it.
Ales of course are all from McMullen’s, but just the three: AK, Covent Garden Bitter and IPA at £2.65 and ok, though a bit cold.
This is probably one of the better pubs in the area, so worth visiting if you have to and certainly better than the White Lion, opposite.


A revisit yesterday, to be met by many men wearing regimental ties and medals, which isn't surprising given that this was Remembrance Sunday and Covent Garden is fairly close to the Cenotaph. What wasn't expected, was the three bottle blonde women and youngish lad - perhaps a young soldier accompanied by mother and two aunts - who was casually vomiting onto his table like Mr. Creosote; when table space ran out, the floor was next in the firing line, the women doing nothing to shepherd him outside; all utterly charming.

On 15th November 2021 - rating: 5
[User has posted 1515 recommendations about 1495 pubs]

Will Larter left this review about The Nags Head

ANother lovely pub building and this one with what my notes made at the time described as a "classy" bar (see photo, taken at a rare quiet moment). It was busy early afternoon, with many people eating, and I struggled to find a free table; the further I went into the pub the warmer and more airless it became. Returning to near the (open) front door I was lucky to find someone prepared to share part of his table - a young man whose clothes declared that he had just come from a job interview. He told me how well his interview had gone, and I told him about my Discovering London's Inns and Taverns pub crawl. My half of McMullens AK was in very good condition and probably my beer of the day.. I've not been to this part of London before, and though it's busy and touristy I found it quite pleasant and if I found myself back here I would certainly call in the Nags Head again.

On 2nd October 2021 - rating: 8
[User has posted 3046 recommendations about 2866 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Pub SignMan left this review about The Nags Head

Just across the road from Covent Garden tube station, this is a rather attractive traditional pub that I’m surprised I’ve never set foot in previously, having walked past it countless times. The pub has a reversed C-shape layout with carpeted floors throughout, except around the bar where an attractive decorative tile area follows the path of the servery. The bar is centrally positioned with a nice curved dark wood counter and matching gantry which has coloured checkerboard stained glass frontage and a brass pot shelf. The smart bar back boasts pleasantly styled corner posts and some top-quality panelling. The room follows the front, right and rear parts of the bar, with high table and stool seating closest to the bar and then a mix of button backed banquettes and standard chairs around the perimeter. Large windows down two sides of the building have etched glass panes bearing McMullen’s name and more stained-glass checkerboard upper sections. Floral wallpaper covers much of the wall space, especially in the rear left corner, whilst a floral pattern lincrusta ceiling can be seen through much of the room. The rear wall has been covered with a series of very large etched glass brewery mirrors whilst a few old black and white photos can be seen in the plainer rear left area. There was standing room only on my Saturday early evening visit, with pop tunes playing reasonably loudly and a constant stream of passers by entering the pub and fighting their way through the crowd to use the pub’s toilets.
The windows give away the fact that this is a McMullen’s house, so it came as no real surprise to find AK and IPA on handpull along with Rivertown Red from their subsidiary Rivertown brewery. The latter turned out to be a perfectly acceptable pint that went down well after a long walk here in the freezing cold, and I was served by the sort of cheery, friendly barmaid that you rarely find in this part of the city.
This isn’t the sort of place I’d immediately think of as being a good bet, what with the tourist trap location and uninspiring brewery, but I was pleasantly surprised with the smart, comfortable interior, good beer quality and friendly service. I’d never recommend Covent Garden as a destination for a pub crawl, but I’d definitely recommend this place for a quick stop-off when passing through.

On 30th March 2020 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2795 recommendations about 2795 pubs]

View more reviews of The Nags Head (17)
This pub features in the following crawls:
Let's All Go Down the Strand by Will Larter
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Pub location see interactive map of local area
Map location corrected by Rex Rattus
London Charing Cross, 0.5 miles, 9 min walk (show)
City Thameslink, 1.07 miles, 20 min walk (show)
London Waterloo, 1.19 miles, 22 min walk (show)
Latest updates View all updates for The Nags Head, WC2
15th Nov 2021, 18:32
Review submitted by Tris C amended by Tris C
15th Nov 2021, 18:31
Review submitted by Tris C amended by Tris C

Pub Details

Pub details supplied by members of this site to the best of their knowledge. Please check with pub directly before making a special trip.

  • Accommodation : No last updated 02 November 2021 by Tris C
  • Bar Billiards : No last updated 30 March 2020 by Pub SignMan
  • Beer Garden : No last updated 02 November 2021 by Tris C
  • Car Park : No last updated 02 November 2021 by Tris C
  • Child Friendly : Yes last updated 30 March 2020 by Pub SignMan
  • Darts : No last updated 30 March 2020 by Pub SignMan
  • Function Room : Yes last updated 02 November 2021 by Tris C
  • Hot Food : Yes last updated 25 October 2016 by hondo .
  • Jukebox : No last updated 30 March 2020 by Pub SignMan
  • Karaoke : No last updated 30 March 2020 by Pub SignMan
  • Live Music : No last updated 02 November 2021 by Tris C
  • Live TV Sports : Yes last updated 29 September 2013 by Quinno _
  • Micropub : No last updated 02 November 2021 by Tris C
  • Pinball : No last updated 30 March 2020 by Pub SignMan
  • Pool Table : No last updated 30 March 2020 by Pub SignMan
  • Quiz Night : No last updated 02 November 2021 by Tris C
  • Real Ale : Yes - McMullen's. - last updated 02 November 2021 by Tris C
  • Real Cider : No last updated 30 March 2020 by Pub SignMan
  • WiFi : Yes last updated 25 October 2016 by hondo .
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