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Picture of King William IV
Image posted by Blackthorn _
Submitted on Friday, 18th September 2015
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King William IV, Hampstead, NW3

77 Hampstead High Street
Phone: 02074355747
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Reviews of King William IV (Average Rating: of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Tris C left this review about King William IV

Despite living most of my life - from birth - under ten minutes' walk from here, the other night was precisely the fifth time I've ever visited. My first time was in October 1984, then Easter 1985, autumn 1987 with my last made around 2000 or a little earlier.
The King's Head coaching inn of some description has occupied this approximate site since at least the mid-17th century, the current establishment being renamed in 1835 after William IV and Queen Adelaide passed by on their way to Kenwood. Today, it's affectionately known as the Pink Willie due to it having been a noted gay pub since at least the 1930s and claims to be London's first though given that homosexuality was outlawed until recently, I doubt that such counterclaims were commonplace. This was certainly a much more obviously gay venue in the 1980s, however in recent times, intentionally or not, the pub seems to have become distanced from the gay scene, possibly to attract a wider customer base having recently been taken over by the people behind The Old Eagle in Camden (good) and North by Northwest in Islington (not so good). The usual accoutrements of rainbow flags and drag acts advertised are conspicuous by their absence though there’s a tiny rainbow insignia to the bottom of the hanging sign. The clientele certainly doesn’t look like extras from a Frankie Goes to Hollywood video - this isn’t the kind of gay pub that shoves its sexual orientation down your throat - Soho this isn’t. Suffice to say, you’d probably guess that this is a gay pub due to the friendly atmosphere generated by a mainly older male and now increasingly more mixed-gender crowd – a sports’ bar this isn’t. Food is served though it's a pot-pouri of world food more akin to posh school dinners - a gastro pub this isn't.
Internally it’s all quite traditional as mentioned, though is starting to look a bit shabby chic and most unlike a gentlemen’s club, more the last traditional boozer in NW3. There are still the sconce lights I remember, with their dated/charming orange glass shades – this is quite a gloomy pub. Furniture is highly conventional with some plain wood pews to the rear and Lincrusta ceiling. Also of note is the red upright piano, identical to the one on show in The Duke (of York) in Bloomsbury, though this is used for the occasional knees-up. One of the most striking additions is the more than 100 black and white portraits of famous residents past and present and being Hampsead [sic], the list is long including the likes of: John Keats, J. B. Priestley, D. H. Lawrence, Edith Sitwell, Dirk Bogarde, John Mortimer, Antonia Fraser, Harold Pinter, Jacqueline du Pré, Richard Wilson, Ridley Scott, Jamie Oliver, Ricky Gervais, Simon Amstell… Slash(!) and many more. There’s an attractive patio garden to the rear which is enjoyable in the summer and served up a barbecue on my last visit.
Now for the bad news – ales: Courage Directors’, Fuller’s London Pride and Theakston’s Grouse Beater at a pricey £2.30 a half and fine though not enough to compensate for the aforementioned.
With an abundance of charm, this is a very decent pub and should certainly constitute part of an NW3 crawl – I shall pay it more attention on my frequent returns to NW3, but it really needs to scrap the Directors/Pride and go for something better and if you’re reading Mr McGrath, Sharp’s Doom Bar is not preferable.

On 25th January 2018 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1515 recommendations about 1495 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Quinno _ left this review about King William IV

Hampstead pub that has retained a fair bit of internal character, with interconnected rooms surrounding an island bar which has two serving points. The road facing area is for boozing, the rear area is more for dining. Front area has original dark wood floorboards and bar, lincrusta ceiling, chandelier lighting, flock wallpaper, an attractive dark wood fireplace and a general vibe akin to a gentleman's club, almost. Read elsewhere that this a well-known gay pub but judging by what I saw, the only obvious signs were a few Hampstead ‘types’ of a similar sort to those you’d find at the French House in Soho. Three pumps but just one on, Courage Directors. What I was anticipating to be a fairly good visit was soured when, after being relieved of £2.40 for a half, the barman attempted to finish off the liquid with some leftovers from a glass underneath the bar. Cue me stating that if I've just paid a fair slab of good money I expect a fresh pint. After a half arsed attempt to justify it 'I poured it for someone else and they didn't want it' I was grudgingly poured a fresh one which was at least in good. Without that farrago I'd have probably dropped a 7 but unfortunately dubious bar practices are a massive no-no with this reviewer so 2 points off. Shame.

On 25th October 2016 - rating: 5
[User has posted 4401 recommendations about 4387 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Blackthorn _ left this review about King William IV

An imposing brick built pub on a corner plot in the centre of Hampstead’s High Street, it consists of a single room wrapped around a central bar counter and a pleasant courtyard garden at the rear. Service at the bar was somewhat chaotic with the landlady running around all over the place without actually seeming to achieve very much and other staff members needing constant instruction on what to do.

Décor wise it’s quite traditional with dark wooden boards on the floor and fairly dark paint tones such as maroon and deep blue, as well as some flock wallpaper. A couple of fire-places housed wood burning stoves and there were a few pictures of old Hampstead dotted around the walls. A plasma was mounted up in one corner, although this was not in use on our visit.

The menu consisted of an extensive selection of “pub grub” dishes such as chilli con carne, fish & chips, burgers, salads and platters, although these were priced a bit above your normal pub prices with most dishes, even the salads, coming in at £11 or more and a burger costing as much as £21 (although this also included a sausage and chicken). A dish of linguine with meatballs at £11 was well over-priced with the meat balls on the verge of being incinerated and the ragu sauce tasting as though it had come out of a tin. It’s the sort of thing I’d expect to get in a Hungry Horse and pay about a fiver for. A goat’s cheese salad was perhaps marginally better, although it was not especially tasty and somewhat on the salty side.

Beers on this occasion were Flying Scotsman, London Pride and Directors. The solitary cider was Strongbow, unfortunately. Overall this isn’t a bad pub, but I certainly wouldn’t eat there again when there are far better places just a stone’s throw away. In fact going on the queues, I would suggest the creperie right outside would be a far better bet.

On 15th September 2015 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1802 recommendations about 1726 pubs]

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Pub location see interactive map of local area
Map location corrected by Steve C
Finchley Road & Frognal, 0.59 miles, 11 min walk (show)
Hampstead Heath, 0.65 miles, 12 min walk (show)
West Hampstead Thameslink, 1.01 miles, 19 min walk (show)
Latest updates View all updates for King William IV, NW3
25th Jan 2018, 13:25
Web Link submitted by Tris C approved
25th Jan 2018, 02:39
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 : Yes - 4-room King's Boutique Hotel. - last updated 25 January 2018 by Tris C
  • Bar Billiards : No last updated 26 December 2016 by Quinno _
  • Beer Festivals : No last updated 26 December 2016 by Quinno _
  • Beer Garden : Yes last updated 26 December 2016 by Quinno _
  • CAMRA Discount : No last updated 26 December 2016 by Quinno _
  • Car Park : No last updated 26 December 2016 by Quinno _
  • Child Friendly : No last updated 26 December 2016 by Quinno _
  • Darts : No last updated 26 December 2016 by Quinno _
  • Dog Friendly : Yes last updated 26 December 2016 by Quinno _
  • Function Room : No last updated 26 December 2016 by Quinno _
  • Hot Food : Yes last updated 26 December 2016 by Quinno _
  • Jukebox : No last updated 26 December 2016 by Quinno _
  • Karaoke : No last updated 26 December 2016 by Quinno _
  • Live Music : Yes last updated 26 December 2016 by Quinno _
  • Live TV Sports : No last updated 26 December 2016 by Quinno _
  • Micropub : No last updated 26 December 2016 by Quinno _
  • Pinball : No last updated 26 December 2016 by Quinno _
  • Pool Table : No last updated 26 December 2016 by Quinno _
  • Quiz Night : Yes - Wednesdays. - last updated 04 February 2015 by Tris C
  • Real Ale : Yes last updated 26 December 2016 by Quinno _
  • Real Cider : No last updated 26 December 2016 by Quinno _
  • Wheelchair Access : No last updated 25 January 2018 by Tris C
  • WiFi : Yes last updated 26 December 2016 by Quinno _
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