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Picture of The Magdala
Image posted by paulof horsham
Submitted on Tuesday, 10th May 2022
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The Magdala, NW3

2A South Hill Park
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Reviews of The Magdala (Average Rating: 6 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Rex Rattus left this review about The Magdala

I paid my first visit to this pub since its relatively recent reopening following five years' or so closure. Now with a connection to Big Smoke Brewery which is a very good thing indeed. They had on seven ales, but the handpumps are in the modernised room on the left, which seems to be seen as the dining room, as all tables were laid for diners. The ales were Hamerton N1; Harvey's Best, Thornbridge Jaipur; Big Smoke Solaris; Siren Breakfast Stout (6.5%); Five Points Best; and Southwark Brewery Routemaster Red. I had a top notch pint of the latter ale, costing £4.18 after the 10% CAMRA discount was applied. That's actually quite a reasonable price for Hampstead. I was in at early doors so didn't see a menu.

The smaller room on the right is the better room in my opinion, not least because tables weren't laid for diners, but also because of the original features like the excellent wood panelled walls, and counter with stone footings. It's been extended at the rear of this room with the toilets having been relocated downstairs.

In my view the largely authentic interior retaining its pub like atmosphere following the restoration and excellent ale choice make this a destination pub.

On 23rd November 2021 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2599 recommendations about 2513 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Will Larter left this review about The Magdala Tavern

A report in the Camden New Journal states that the pub is due to reopen with the lifting of coronavirus restrictions, possibly as soon as 12 April, though initially only for takeaways, with indoor service to follow when it is allowed. The owner, who grew up locally, said: "I don’t want anyone thinking we’re building a restaurant, it’s going to be a pub with some decent food. You’ll be able to come in off the street and get a good pint."

On 8th March 2021 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 3141 recommendations about 2950 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Tris C left this review about The Magdala Tavern

This pub closed early last September but has been saved with the upper floors converted to residential use. It is owned by the team behind The Stag just down the road and The Mall (W8), both of which despite not being fault-free, are worthwhile operations.

First off, let's clear something thing up once and for all: the chipped tilework to the front was not caused by Ruth Ellis's bullets, but was applied at a later date for effect. Externally the pub is unchanged - the Charrington's stained and banded leaded lights remain and the name 'Tavern' has been reinstated. The once 'compact' beer patio has been decimated to make way for the apartments' entrance. It's now just three wall-mounted wooden slatted benches to sit about 9 as an emergency smokery.

Previously the pub had a two-bar format - retained - and the right-hand CAMRA heritage-listed bar with its wood panelling and alabaster fireplace has survived unmolested. The piano and TV have gone, a muted jazz track played on the stereo. Furniture is a conventional combination of low round tables with round stools, vinyl upholstered, burgundy velour banquettes, a high table with high chairs, and stools to the bar so that bar hogs can block out other drinkers. Paintwork is smokey blue with a white ceiling, the floor is bare boarded. The lighting now employed renders the space painfully gloomy, even in broad daylight. To the rear is a function annex called The Rigsby Room; perhaps it suffers from rising damp? The tiny central bar's only beer engines front onto this bar and above is a new square section tubular steel gantry, which seems to be a pub's fashion accessory de nos jours. A vapist sat in the corner practicing his dark, smelly art which isn't on.

The right- and left-hand bars have a shared but split entrance and at the mid-point both have access to the lavatories. These have been completely reordered and are a vast improvement. They are somewhat Art Deco and a little worn and chipped so must have been reclaimed; perhaps they are original Art Deco?

It is however the left-hand bar that has undergone the most dramatic change. Long stripped of its original décor, this was once a stark white room with a custard coloured wood floor, sturdy pale wood furniture and a coffee table and sofa to the rear and a rather unpleasant open kitchen to the side; no longer. The kitchen has gone and with the addition of a central partition with some etched glass, has been transformed into a kind of snug. The room appears to have been opened up quite a bit and is less formal than before. The floor has been painted pale grey and should wear well. Walls below window height are bare wood panelled, whilst above the picture rail are now clichéd bare brick. To the window wall are spherical opaque lanterns with such low wattage bulbs that this bar is about as dark and gloomy as the other. Tables are round and wooden with what look like old classroom chairs. To the windows are high stools painted pale grey which serve a perimeter beer shelf - under which are charging sockets - which also seems to have been constructed from reclaimed wood. This side of the bar features a new pale green and white tiled bar back - which looks like something from a 1950s' hospital - but there are no pumps. It seems more geared towards serving food and displays breads and cakes (not covered) in the manner of a branch of Gail's or Pain Quotidien. To the side is an office canteen-style glass compartment housing ready made salads and charcuterie. Towards the lavatories is a rather wonderful old Kelvinator.

Just three ales on offer which is a pity: Fuller's London Pride, Gipsy Hill Brewing Company's Beatnik (£2.15 a half) and Hammerton Brewery's N1 (£4.40 a pint). Both were on good form. To the bar's rear wall are twenty chrome taps dispensing who knows what as none is marked. Service was efficient and friendly. Food is served from a basic menu and prices are given in 'units' rather than £s, i.e. 4.5 rather than £4.50 which is pretentious, unoriginal and just plain naff.

I've been coming to this pub for over 40 years and it has changed a lot; it was once a rough builders' pub. In its last incarnation, the pub's best aspect was its great staff. Now though on the down side there are only three ales, and yapping dogs in the main bar - where food is served - lose the place at least two points but on balance vapists, style oddities and stygian lighting aside, it's a big improvement and hopefully its future will be secure.

On 31st August 2015 - rating: 5
[User has posted 1532 recommendations about 1510 pubs]

View more reviews of The Magdala (8)
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Pub location see interactive map of local area
Map location corrected by Steve C
Latest updates View all updates for The Magdala, NW3
10th May 2022, 17:29
Picture submitted by paulof horsham approved
10th May 2022, 17:29
Picture submitted by paulof horsham 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 08 November 2013 by Tris C
  • Bar Billiards : No last updated 22 July 2013 by Tris C
  • Beer Festivals : No last updated 22 July 2013 by Tris C
  • Beer Garden : No - Much reduced side 'micro patio'. - last updated 28 August 2015 by Tris C
  • Car Park : No last updated 22 July 2013 by Tris C
  • Darts : No last updated 22 July 2013 by Tris C
  • 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 22 July 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
  • Real Ale : Yes last updated 21 June 2021 by Tris C
  • Wheelchair Access : No - WCs downstairs. - last updated 28 August 2015 by Tris C
  • WiFi : Yes last updated 22 July 2013 by Tris C
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