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Submitted on Sunday, 15th August 2021
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The Harp, WC2

48 Chandos Place
Phone: 02078360291
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Reviews of The Harp (Average Rating: 9 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Blue Scrumpy left this review about The Harp

I used to rate the Harp as my favourite London pub. It's still a fabulous, but small old-fashioned boozer right in the middle of the capital. But I can't help but thinking that it has lost a little of its mojo since being taken over by Fuller's.

I'd originally planned a short session here on a Monday afternoon. But the fact that they don't have a license to accommodate my 9-year-old son, who was due to accompany me, the failure of a couple of friends to show, the poorer than expected beer selection and the behaviour of a group at the end of the bar, meant that I only stayed for a half.

The 4 regular beers are Fuller's London Pride, Dark Star Hophead & American Pale Ale & Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter. Guest beers were Rooster's London Thunder, Saltaire New World, Bristol Beer Factory Deception Peak, Redemption Big Chief & Ilkley Blonde.

Real ciders are kept in fridges behind the bar and are listed on a blackboard opposite. On this visit, they were Oliver's Dry, Turner's Dry & Elderflower, Nightingale Tenterden & BEARDspoon KC Tribute.

Bar staff were friendly, but English was clearly not their first language, which made communication a minor challenge. I now read that a CAMRA discount is offered, but it wasn't on my visit.

The elderly and well-heeled guys at the end of the bar were making it perfectly clear that they were against the idea of the royal family. Whilst I'm not a staunch royalist, I found some of their comments quite offensive. They'd clearly had a few too many and didn't really need to be so vociferous with their opinions.

Still a decent pub. But I always have high expectations when visiting the Harp and unfortunately these were not matched on this occasion.

On 11th March 2022 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1258 recommendations about 1258 pubs]

Tris C left this review about The Harp

The Welsh Harp until 1995, the only nod to Fuller’s here are two pumps dispensing Hophead and one Pride, the ‘London’ moniker attracting the tourists.
Customers were as expected, with one group of national crawlers tentatively assembling, introducing one another and stating their place of domicile, such as Belfast, Liverpool, Newcastle…Nothing odd here, but at 9.00 pm on a Friday night?
The sole barman had his job cut out, pulling pints for multiple customers simultaneously, frantically yanking the pumps like a dæmon possessed; it was actually quite frenetic and a bit unrestful. There was a fair crush at the bar, which I suspect is normal, except perhaps for Monday afternoons. Acoustics too are far from perfect and had I not been on my own, I would have had to shout at my mates as pretty much everyone else was doing.
All ten pumps were in operation, me opting for a half of Mallinson’s Hop Festival at £2.50 and very nice it was too.
This is obviously a top ale destination, the best in Westminster, but it’s really a bit crowded and unrestful; I’d be far more inclined to go to the Express, Southampton, or especially Tapping the Admiral, but it’s a no-brainer if in the area.

On 30th October 2021 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1500 recommendations about 1479 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Quinno _ left this review about The Harp

Things are ticking over fairly well since the acquisition by Fullers, who so far have stayed good to their word and made minimal alterations to the ale range and ethos of the pub. My pint of Dark Star Hophead was excellent (NBSS 4) but the taste proved to me that it’s being brewed in Chiswick – and is less good for it. As an aside it felt odd, and slightly dispiriting given the previous incumbent’s commitment to practical feminism, to see only males behind the bar. Still a Zone 1 winner.

April 2016
Usual good beer and service last week, Twickenham Harp was in decent shape. The gents toilets have now moved and are bigger and much less of a health hazard as they are not halfway up the stairs now! Rated 9

Jan 2015 First visit post-Fullers takeover and surprisingly (and thankfully) just a lone Pride pump as the Fullers cuckoo in the Harp’s nest. Service standards and beer quality/choice maintained - good pints of Dark Star Critical Mass and Triple FFF Can't Remember as well as numerous other interesting choices. Packed as usual. Top pub. Rated 9

May 2014
These days the Harp is a CAMRA National Pub of the Year award winner and has travelled a long way from its days as the Welsh Harp, then owned by Punch. Today it is a genuine freehouse run by the semi-legendary ‘Binnie’ Walsh (who bought the lease) and her team of mainly female staff. It seems right to start with the drinking aspect – there are eight ales on the go nowadays (up from six when I first went in way back in 2005). Usually you’ll find Harveys Sussex Best, Sambrooks Wandle and a Dark Star brew on the go alongside thoughtful and unusual guest ales. These days the quality of almost every pint is top-notch. There’s now also a really good range of proper ciders and perries behind the bar too. The service behind the bar is excellent – engaging, friendly and knowledgeable, even when the place is packed (as it often is after 5pm). Service is swift but not sloppy.

The pub is located in a (slightly) quieter area of Covent Garden, less than five minutes from Charing Cross and a few yards walk to Trafalgar Square. The pretty exterior features lots of leaded stained glass. The long and narrow interior is based over two floors. The lower, with a bare wooden floor, large mirrors and numerous portraits of long-dead gentry is where the bar is located. It’s pretty small and can get crowded very quick, with drinkers often spilling outside onto the pavement. The large front window (replete with Harp motif) can be fully folded back to allow al fresco drinking from within the pub, which draws in light but also quite often smoke from the ciggie addicts standing a couple of feet away. The upstairs room used to be very drab, functional and lifeless but has been overhauled, making it a comfy place to settle and take in the interesting view down Adelaide Street. Food is offered in the form of sausages. The atmosphere is often bustling with a varied clientèle mix, not just stereotypical CAMRA types. A trip to the toilets after a few is an experience due to the narrow ‘no passing’ winding staircase and distinct lack of turning circle when you get to the door. This small but homely pub should be on every pub enthusiast’s list and I’d rank it as being one of the Top 5 within Zone 1. Rated 9

On 27th September 2019 - rating: 9
[User has posted 4361 recommendations about 4347 pubs]

View more reviews of The Harp (27)
This pub features in the following crawls:
Gillhalfpint by train man
WC1 & 2 Good Beer Guide pubs by Roy Collins
External web links for The Harp

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Pub location see interactive map of local area
Map location corrected by Rex Rattus
London Charing Cross, 0.2 miles, 3 min walk (show)
London Waterloo, 0.99 miles, 19 min walk (show)
London Blackfriars, 1.86 miles, 35 min walk (show)
Latest updates View all updates for The Harp, WC2
11th Mar 2022, 15:36
Review submitted by Blue Scrumpy
31st Jan 2022, 14:20
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 27 September 2019 by Quinno _
  • Bar Billiards : No last updated 27 September 2019 by Quinno _
  • Beer Festivals : No last updated 27 September 2019 by Quinno _
  • Beer Garden : No last updated 27 September 2019 by Quinno _
  • CAMRA Discount : Yes - 10% - last updated 27 September 2019 by Quinno _
  • Car Park : No last updated 27 September 2019 by Quinno _
  • Child Friendly : No last updated 27 September 2019 by Quinno _
  • Darts : No last updated 27 September 2019 by Quinno _
  • Dog Friendly : No last updated 27 September 2019 by Quinno _
  • Function Room : No last updated 27 September 2019 by Quinno _
  • Hot Food : Yes - Lunchtime only - last updated 27 September 2019 by Quinno _
  • Jukebox : No last updated 27 September 2019 by Quinno _
  • Karaoke : No last updated 27 September 2019 by Quinno _
  • Live Music : No last updated 27 September 2019 by Quinno _
  • Live TV Sports : No last updated 27 September 2019 by Quinno _
  • Micropub : No last updated 27 September 2019 by Quinno _
  • Pinball : No last updated 27 September 2019 by Quinno _
  • Pool Table : No last updated 27 September 2019 by Quinno _
  • Quiz Night : No last updated 27 September 2019 by Quinno _
  • Real Ale : Yes last updated 27 September 2019 by Quinno _
  • Real Cider : Yes last updated 27 September 2019 by Quinno _
  • Wheelchair Access : No last updated 27 September 2019 by Quinno _
  • WiFi : Yes - O2 by Fullers - last updated 26 February 2018 by paulof horsham
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