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The Wenlock Arms

Not Rated.
The Wenlock ArmsThe Wenlock Arms

18 Ratings
Ratings: 18
Reviews: 17
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 6.15%
Taps: 0
Bottles: 0
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

26 Wenlock Road
United Kingdom (England)
phone: +44 20 7608 3406

view map and get directionsMap 

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(Place added by: TheLongBeachBum)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 18 | Reviews: 17 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by soulgrowl:
Photo of soulgrowl
4.16/5  rDev -5.2%

This place is a gem. Nine hand pumps, if memory serves, including at least one mild at any given time and also one or two real ciders/perries. Plus, they're always stocked with a majority of microbrews and/or seasonal beers. Expect to find some very pleasant surprises here, like real lagers, porters, and American-style pale ales. Last time I went I got a real lager and a mild brewed with chocolate and mandarin. And, I should add, the casks are kept very well; the beers tasted fresh and robust.

Service is not so friendly, although they do let you sample ales. The atmosphere is a bit odd; it's kind of a run-down shack of a place, although it's got a lot of charm with its dark wood furnishings, island-style bar covered in hundreds of pump displays, and big, sunny windows. The clientele is just a lot of older working-class dudes, not really a beard-and-sandal crowd, more of like an drunken-curmudgeon crowd. People are eccentric and chatty (sometimes a bit irritatingly so), and every now and then there is a dog here!

But basically, this place is all about the ale, and on that front it will not disappoint. It's kind of difficult to find, but if you get off the tube at Old Street, it will be easier to get to than if you alight at Angel.

soulgrowl, May 13, 2009
More User Reviews:
Photo of joelambic
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

joelambic, Jun 18, 2014
Photo of RobBeer
4.2/5  rDev -4.3%

This is not so much a review, more a heads up. A planning application has been filed with the local council by a property company (Wenlock LLP) to demolish the Wenlock Arms and replace the current two story pub with a five story building consisting of appartments and a retail ground floor.

If the application is passed the pub will be gone very soon. It is a shame that the two owners (both long time CAMRA members) are willing to sell out and see an historic, successful and popular local pub be demolished.

You might want to pay a visit soon, before it's too late.

RobBeer, Oct 11, 2011
Photo of ketwi
4.3/5  rDev -2.1%

Went there on a thursday evening for the Quizz.
Had a great time, with nice beers : E.L.B Foundation Ale, Haworth Steam Austerity, Hoggley's Mill Lane mild, Fox Kanook, Thatcher's cheddar valley cider, Banks's tetley bitter, Newby Wyke peterboro gold, Redemption Trinity were available for 3,3£/pint max

Bar tender was fun as she was trying to talk to me in French, and other customers were friendly as well ! The surroundings of the pub is nice, with the regent canal near. We almost ended up last on the quizz, but nevermind...

ketwi, Sep 28, 2011
Photo of ikats
4.43/5  rDev +0.9%

Let me start my review by saying that I would consider a trip to London just to visit this pub. And on my next visit I would definitely look into a hotel, or an inn, or a B&B in its vicinity. I think this puts my biases and impressions right up front. Loved this place!

I was at The Wenlock Arms during my overnight trip to London. Stopped by on Thursday at around 2:30 pm. I was one of two customers at the place at the time. Kind of hard to judge the atmosphere in those conditions. It was very inviting empty and has a great potential when filled up with locals and occasional visitors. If I had to describe my kind of neighborhood spot, The Wenlock Arms would be it. It's a lovely old, worn down pub (and I am saying this as a compliment). The focus here is on atmosphere, good ale and enjoyment of both.

The U shaped bar is at the center. The bar is decorated with knickknacks, old pictures, posters, a few Stone bottles. I even noticed an empty Shiner's bottle. There is a TV in the corner, but it's not a flat screen (which is nice). The place had about 10 cask ales. The quality of the three that I tried was excellent. I've had a pint of Dark Star HopHead (excellent ale) and half-pints of Mighty Oak Sand June (decent) and Magic Rock Dark Arts (very good).

I look clearly out of place, but the bartender, an older woman, was friendly and patiently answered my clumsy questions. Some of the ales I had were her recommendations. However, I am not the one to hold long conversations with strangers (bartenders including), so I care about friendly and prompt service and it was top notch at The Wenlock Arms.

I have not been to a lot of places in London, but this pub would definitely be on my must return list.

ikats, Sep 20, 2011
Photo of DaveHS
4.58/5  rDev +4.3%

A great old pub in the Old Street area, specializing in small production cask ales. Unfortunately, they seem to be in danger of closing, and they are no longer making their legendary salt beer sandwiches, which were the best drinking food around. The pub itself is very old and has a comfortable, worn-in feel. Patrons are mostly older guys in caps and woolen sweaters. Barstaff is friendly, and they have free Jazz on Saturday nights. I saw an empty bottle of Stone Double Bastard proudly displayed above the bar, suggesting I'm one of many Americans to have discovered this wonderful little pub, which has one of the best selections of cask ale in London. The beers they choose are esoteric, and tend not to be along the lines of the traditional English bitter. If you are in London and care about beer, you cannot afford to miss this place.

DaveHS, Jan 11, 2011
Photo of StJamesGate
4.64/5  rDev +5.7%

Buried down a residential side street near Wenlock Basin; Angel is the nearest tube stop.

Corner location that draws whatever sunlight there is to be had into U-shaped room, centered around the bar.

Upon entry, I was met with a strange sight - half full at lunchtime with 8 or a dozen solitary sippers taking up many of the nooks and snugs, yet utterly silent, nobody saying a word. Except for the music, which was blasting Led Zeppelin and the Clash. It was like being in a punk/metal library. You'll end up whispering, too, trust me.

The barman was taciturn but looked like he knew his stuff. Selection was stunning - 8 or so handles of uncommon brews, plus a cider. I had Lord Quench, a blonde by some brewers called Sherborne who are so under the radar I can barely find anything online about them - they seem to be two guys in the back of a chip shop, as far as I can tell. Says good things about this pub to make the effort to stock them.

Decor, such as it is, is newspaper clippings, plaques, personal photos, empty bottles, and pump clips. The beer paraphernalia screams "beer geek" - and not just British - if you know enough to read it as such. With all the personal touches, reminds me of the real neighborhood bars you might find in, say, Pittsburgh.

Can't speak about the evening, but this is a supremely mellow and genuine place for an afternoon pint, and the evident beer knowledge and passion is even a step above the other accomplished real ale/CAMRA spots around London. Worth the detour.

StJamesGate, Aug 24, 2010
Photo of Damian
4.56/5  rDev +3.9%

After trekking through approximately two kilometers of London's center city and another kilometer of desserted streets in a residential neighborhood northwest of central London, my father and I arrived at The Wenlock Arms late on a Thursday evening. After seeing many closed pubs along our journey, we expected the Wenlock to be closed as well. As we got closer to this seemingly mysterious destination, we heard the sweet sound of clinking of glasses and quiet banter. The weathered sign out front greeted us and we quickly made our way to the beautifully worn mahogany bar.

In a city filled with proper ale houses at nearly every corner, it seemed that The Wenlock Arms was truly heads and tails above the rest. Dark oak tables and wood trimmed, green velour chairs lined both side walls of the bar. Local patrons (all of whom were coincidentally men) sat and drank pints with such an air of comfort that one might think it was their own living room. Empty bottles (many of which were American craft beers) lined the moulding on the right wall. Apparently some Yanks had come to the Wenlock Arms bearing gifts.

On the night we visited, The Wenlock was pouring from nine hand pumps and four draughs. My Dark Star Summer Solstice was spot on - served in a proper pint glass at the correct temperature. It was exactly what I needed after our long journey.

Our waitress was incredibly friendly and gracious. We chatted about beers for a bit before offering my father and I three samples each. Talk about service. After we finished our beers, she also helped us find our way back to a bus station.

At only £3.25 a piece, pints were quite a bargain. If only beers in the states could be so reasonable.

Getting to The Wenlock Arms can be quite a feat. However, for those wanting to experience a taste of true British ale house culture, there is no better place to visit.

Damian, Jul 05, 2010
Photo of alfrantzell
3.86/5  rDev -12.1%

At first I wondered why bring recommended me a bar full of fogies, then I remembered he's a fogey himself.

Dusty premises, mean age of 45, dour bartenders.. a four piece jazz band had somehow ensconced themselves in the already cramped establishment, but their music was worth the odd misplaced elbow and trampled foot.

Nine casks of quality, four taps of crap, walls adorned with cobwebbed bottles including such far flung selections as Stone 12th, and Lost Abbey Red Barn. Most of the décor dates to the 70s.

You have to march through fifteen minutes worth of suburbs to get there from the Old Road Tube Station, but if it's crustiness you're after then this is the place for it.

alfrantzell, Apr 21, 2010
Photo of corby112
4.72/5  rDev +7.5%

This bar had high ratings, especially on the site, so I decided to stop by on a recent trip to London.

I visited The Wenlock on my first day ever spent in London. I bought a London A to Z and decided to map out how to get here on the tube. I found the closest stop ans set off on my journey. I wandered around the area and through some random residential neighborhoods until I found it. This place is off the beaten path but well worth the trip)adventure in my case).

I walked in there during the early evening probably around six o'clock and it as like stepping back in time. Very dark and dank with a large bar in the center of the building, surrounded by a seating area that wrapped around the building with booths and high top tables. On the top of the bar and on a shelf wrapping around the building there were very old vintage bottles of different beers from around the world. These bottles were covered in dust and cobwebs adding to the romanticized surreal atmosphere of this place.

There is a large chalkboard of the real ales available and in the front of the bar there is a line of handles for the casks, probably ten different real ales. There was a live band but unlike any live band I've seen in a pub/bar. It was three old men playing sea shanties and old folk songs. One was playing a piano, barrel-house style, one on washboard and one playing a trumpet. This music just added to amazing atmosphere of this odd neighborhood pub.

Another characteristic that adds to the atmosphere of this place were the local patrons. I pulled up to the bar and soon was surrounded by the oddest assortment of people I've ever been around. Lots of crusty blue collar neighborhood people, fishermen, a schizophrenic babbling Irishman who would blurt something out and then start cackling and a dwarf. As soon as I sat down some tall toothless blonde haired man looked at me and exclaimed, "I'm fuckin' pissed" in a cockney accent. Later on in the evening I watched him waltz with the dwarf who I met earlier. This place had so many colorful characters that it almost seemed like a dream to me. It was like something Bunuel and Dali would put in one of their early films.

The service at this place was excellent. All of the bartenders were very young but very attentive and knowledgeable. The one bartender was very friendly and asked me a lot of questions about the American craft beer scene and if real ale was served in a lot of places. We talked for a good while and he didn't seem phased at all by the insanity ensuing around him.

I don't know if they serve food but I did sample a bunch of the real ales. They had a very good variety of bitters, milds, stouts, esbs, etc. They had at least ten beers on cask as well as the standard Kronenbourg, Guinness, Fosters and the dreaded Guinness Cold. The variety was good but I didn't check to see if they sold bottles. The only problem if you could call it that was that it mainly focused on domestic beers and not much from outside of the UK.

I absolutely loved this place and if I knew my way around the city I would have stayed all night. I was staying near the London Bridge which is pretty far away so I left somewhat early. This was definitely the best pub I visited in London and possibly my favorite drinking establishment in the world. I wish I could go back there tonight. Anytime I'm anywhere near London again I will make it a mission to revisit this place. I could not recommend this place any higher!

corby112, Oct 12, 2009
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The Wenlock Arms in London, United Kingdom (England)
95 out of 100 based on 18 ratings.