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Submitted on Saturday, 18th May 2019
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The Black Friar, Blackfriars, EC4

174 Queen Victoria Street
EC4
EC4V 4EG
Phone: 02072365474
Correct details

Pub Type

Nicholsons (Mitchells & Butlers)

Served areas

Reviews of The Black Friar (Average Rating: 8 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Quinno _ left this review about The Black Friar

No real changes here, though the staff on this visit were somewhat perfunctory compared to previous and my half of the Moncana was pedestrian (NBSS 2). Still, it’s a must-visit for the location. 8.5

May 2013
Built in 1875 on the site of a former monastery (the Friars apparently had ‘black habits’!) the pub acquired its splendid Art Nouveau interior in 1906. Threatened with demolition in the 1960s, (and you can see that decade’s appalling legacy as you stand outside and look over to the southern side of the Thames) this is now happily owned by the Nicholsons chain who curate a number of other architecturally significant pubs in the capital. The exterior is striking enough and the interior décor is something that would take too many words to describe here – take a look at the uploaded photos. Suffice to say that, once you have entered through one of the side doors and follow the bar round, your jaw should quite literally drop at what awaits – Italian marble cladding, brass pictures of monks, wooden ceiling, alabaster walls. Carry on forth to the ‘grotto’, which is a small room, separated from the rest of the pub by marble pillars and (if you’re able) take a seat and marvel at the craftsmanship as well as the rumble of passing trains. The front section of the pub is quite light due to the large leaded windows whilst the rear is a dimmer affair. The modern pop music on the speakers somewhat spoils the ambience of the place (why have it on at all??) and also that the fire in the fireplace is not a real one. A potted history of the pub is available in leaflet form at the bar. There’s also a large outside area in which to enjoy your drinks on a sunny day, shaded by a large tree. Being a Nicholsons house, there is plenty of ale in abundance (eight in total) and I’ve yet to have a duff one. My last visit threw up a marvellous Titanic Cappuccino. Due to its prominence and location the pub gets rammed after office chuck-out time, so it’s best sampled on a quiet weekday when you can take in the full splendour. Rated 9

On 1st November 2019 - rating: 8
[User has posted 3960 recommendations about 3948 pubs]


Brainy Pool left this review about The Black Friar

a landmark pub and the beautiful interior remains unspoiled. Sadly I can’t really say the same for the pub which feels half arsed and definitely not somewhere that you want to stay for long. The continental style seating outside is far more popular than inside with the local yuppies. Should be so much more.

On 15th May 2019 - rating: 5
[User has posted 672 recommendations about 660 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Tris C left this review about The Black Friar

Remodelled in the Art Nouveau style in several stages from 1903 to 1925 by the architect Herbert Fuller-Clark with exterior stonework grotesques and interior woodwork by sculptor Nathaniel Hitch, interior copper reliefs by Frederick Callcott and relief work to the small saloon bar by Henry Poole; the modern exterior statue of the Black Friar dates from the early/mid-1980s; saved from demolition by Sir John Betjemen and now Grade II Listed.
Phew - I haven't been in here since my second visit in the spring of 1994 and not surprisingly, nothing has changed as it remains the same as described below - my first visit was back in 1991 when this rather dull area of the City had yet to be enlivened and back then the pub shut at just 9.00 pm. This is still a rather depressing, isolated City backwater with commuters dashing for trains at the newly renovated Blackfriars station.
Externally, there are four probably unique copper Worthington's plaques and inside it's a riot of marble, alabaster and metal; beautiful. In the main, the pub is modern bare boarded with some carpeting to the rear dining area; music played and it was a bit loud, loud enough in fact that it intruded into our conversation outside the pub.
As a party of four, we sampled their wares. This pub boasts a collection of 'eclectic ales' and a 'cask master'. Hmmm...it must have been his day off as this is a by-the-numbers Fuller's London Pride, Harvey's Sussex Best, Sharp's Doom Bar and Brain's Rev. James sort of place with a couple of other ales such as Vocation Brewery's Bread & Butter ale and some generic Nicholson's beer (St. Austell). All pretty much tasted the same: flat and a little warm and my pint of Sussex had a soapy twang to it, meaning that the lines hadn't been fully rinsed; I didn't clock the individual prices as we were buying rounds.
Unprepossessing location aside, this is an architectural gem and worth a visit to tick it off. However, along with the loud music, this is not a great place for real ale and hence the seemingly meagre rating. I agree with Mr. Mapp below: pop your head in the door and drink elsewhere!

On 23rd September 2016 - rating: 6
[User has posted 942 recommendations about 928 pubs]


View more reviews of The Black Friar (21)
This pub features in the following crawls:
Thames Clipper Pub Crawl by Andy Ven
EC3 by Roy Collins
Circle line Clockwise by Nick Davies
External web links for The Black Friar

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Pub location see interactive map of local area
Map location corrected by Rex Rattus
City Thameslink, 0.31 miles, 5 min walk (show)
London Cannon Street, 0.67 miles, 13 min walk (show)
London Blackfriars, 2.52 miles, 48 min walk (show)
Latest updates View all updates for The Black Friar, EC4
1st Nov 2019, 09:59
Review submitted by Quinno _ amended by Quinno _
 
24th Oct 2019, 17:03
Picture submitted by Will Larter approved

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 10 July 2014 by Malden man
  • Bar Billiards : No last updated 10 July 2014 by Malden man
  • Beer Festivals : Yes - April - last updated 29 July 2013 by Dave McNally
  • Beer Garden : Yes last updated 16 November 2013 by Gill Smith
  • Car Park : No last updated 10 July 2014 by Malden man
  • Child Friendly : No last updated 10 July 2014 by Malden man
  • Darts : No last updated 10 July 2014 by Malden man
  • Hot Food : Yes last updated 20 March 2014 by hondo .
  • Jukebox : No last updated 10 July 2014 by Malden man
  • Karaoke : No last updated 10 July 2014 by Malden man
  • Live Music : No last updated 10 July 2014 by Malden man
  • Pinball : No last updated 10 July 2014 by Malden man
  • Pool Table : No last updated 10 July 2014 by Malden man
  • Real Ale : Yes last updated 20 March 2014 by hondo .
  • WiFi : Yes last updated 20 March 2014 by hondo .
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