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Picture of The Holly Bush
Image posted by Blackthorn _
Submitted on Friday, 18th September 2015
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The Holly Bush, Hampstead, NW3

22 Holly Mount
NW3
NW3 6SG
Phone: 02074352892
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Reviews of The Holly Bush (Average Rating: of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Tris C left this review about The Holly Bush

Tucked away in one of the most beautiful Queen Anne and Georgian enclaves and serving the community since 1643, is one of London's most famous and historic pubs: The Holly Bush. As a former local, born and bred, this has been one of my all-time favourite pubs which I've been visiting for the best part of 35 years, over which time I've seen changes major and minor.
The room to the rear wasn't originally part of the pub. In the '80s it was curtained off and used for poetry reading. It had t 'n' g panelling and an upright piano. Now it's pretty much used solely as a dining room which reduces much-needed drinking space. An anteroom is now home to an ancillary till for the dining area. A second and central anteroom now houses a stainless-steel sink with cleaning products; visible to all, it's a terrible eye sore.
The snug still has a real fire but it, along with the rest of the pub, has been painted magnolia. Where once there were original gas lights until around 1990 (which hissed!), there were hideous Japanned lamps which looked like they came from a dungeon, though at least the ugly wicker colonial-style ceiling fans have gone. Happily, the lamps have gone, replaced with ones which are altogether more fitting, looking like blown glass. The floor is new, untreated and bare boarded but is aging well. Furniture is fairly conventional, the pretentious oxblood armchairs which looked like the property of Sherlock Holmes have gone, as have most of the fake Victorian sitting room décor. As an added plus, the log fire in the main bar is now active for the first time in my memory, though the pub doesn’t benefit from the stupid names now applied to the various rooms: ‘Whitestone Room’?
Clients are a mix of locals, celebrities and many tourists/incomers. The bar staff seem to change on a weekly basis which doesn't make for good continuity and can be a bit clueless but they seem decent enough, though they are hardly burdened by working in a challenging environment.
Ales: the standard Fuller's line-up with a few guests (more likely Fuller's acquisitions such as Gale’s) with a pint of the hilariously named Castle Rock’s Crafty Flanker Pale Ale weighing in at a hefty £4.80 for a beer that’s around the 4.0% ABV mark.
I haven't painted a brilliant picture of the pub, but nothing's perfect - it can get rammed at peak times too. This place though is probably about as good as an urban pub is ever going to get, hence the high mark.

On 12th February 2018 - rating: 8
[User has posted 817 recommendations about 804 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Ian Mapp left this review about Holly Bush

One of my favourites in London.

This visit was the first time I have eaten here.

£25 for a steak. To be fair, it was delicious.
£12.50 for the cheesboard - but alas, my expense policy was blown on the steak.

ESB served in the proper chalice.

Love the feel of this pub. Photos at my blog - http://bit.ly/2cRaZHD

On 15th September 2016 - rating: 8
[User has posted 276 recommendations about 275 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Blackthorn _ left this review about Holly Bush

A pleasant and attractive looking pub located slightly off the beaten track but only a short stroll from Hampstead’s High Street, it’s worth taking the trouble to track down as it’s one of the more traditional pubs in the area and seems to cater for drinkers just as much as diners based on a recent Saturday evening visit, although it was getting a little late when we visited so may perhaps be different earlier in the evening.

It’s a multi-roomed layout, probably four in total although we only investigated the front two. The right hand bar at the front is where the bar counter is. There was much wood panelling on the walls and a small snug off of here with just a couple of seats. The left hand bar is given over to seating with red button back banquettes around much of the perimeter and small tables and chairs elsewhere. The colour scheme was a mixture of brown and pale yellow and there were dark wooden boards on the floor and etched glass windows to the front. An old fire-place was off to one side with a couple of shelves of old books up above.

The menu looked to be a step or two up from your usual “pub grub” with most of the dishes being priced at £15 or more, and even fish & chips coming in at £14.50. Other options included beef pie, roast partridge, grouse leg, cod with squid & tapenade or a sea trout salad. We didn’t eat ourselves, so can’t say whether these prices are justified.

Beers on this occasion were Oliver’s Island, Lancaster Red, ESB, London Pride and Butcombe. The solitary cider was a rather pleasant Mortimer’s Orchard, which makes a pleasant change from the usual dross around these parts.

On 16th September 2015 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1559 recommendations about 1505 pubs]


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Pub location see interactive map of local area
Map location corrected by Steve C
Pub location
Latest updates View all updates for The Holly Bush, NW3
12th Feb 2018, 21:10
Review submitted by Tris C
 
12th Feb 2018, 21:07
Review submitted by Tris C deleted 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 08 November 2013 by Tris C
  • Bar Billiards : No last updated 22 July 2013 by Tris C
  • Beer Festivals : No last updated 13 June 2015 by Tris C
  • Beer Garden : No last updated 22 July 2013 by Tris C
  • Car Park : No last updated 22 July 2013 by Tris C
  • Child Friendly : Yes - Crying babies at all hours - last updated 27 November 2013 by Tris C
  • Darts : No last updated 22 July 2013 by Tris C
  • Dog Friendly : No - Guide dogs only. - last updated 12 February 2018 by Tris C
  • Function Room : Yes - x2. - last updated 12 March 2016 by Tris C
  • Hot Food : Yes last updated 04 June 2014 by hondo .
  • Jukebox : No last updated 22 July 2013 by Tris C
  • Karaoke : No last updated 22 July 2013 by Tris C
  • Live Music : No last updated 22 July 2013 by Tris C
  • Live TV Sports : No last updated 08 November 2013 by Tris C
  • Micropub : No last updated 13 June 2015 by Tris C
  • Pinball : No last updated 22 July 2013 by Tris C
  • Pool Table : No last updated 22 July 2013 by Tris C
  • Quiz Night : No last updated 29 September 2017 by Tris C
  • Real Ale : Yes - Fuller's - last updated 04 June 2014 by hondo .
  • Real Cider : No last updated 16 September 2015 by Blackthorn _
  • Wheelchair Access : No last updated 08 November 2013 by Tris C
  • WiFi : Yes last updated 22 July 2013 by Tris C
Food Hygiene Rating


Last inspected: February 21st 2018
Local pubs

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