The Harp

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The HarpThe Harp
32 Ratings
The HarpThe Harp

Type: Bar, Eatery

47 Chandos Place
London, England, WC2N 4HS
United Kingdom

+44 20 7836 0291 | map

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Added by wl0307 on 01-06-2006

View: Place Reviews
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 32 |  Reviews: 19
Reviews by RobBeer:
Photo of RobBeer
4.58/5  rDev +9.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

This is my regular hangout in the West End, so you may call my review bias, but I drink there for a reason. There are certain things that make a pub great; the landlord/landlady, the service and the beer.

This pub ticks all the boxes. Binny, the landlady, is an excellent host. The bar staff are on the ball and you will never wait too long to be served, even when it's busy. And then there are the beers, 8 handpumps with rotating beers from Dark Star, Sambrooks and regional guests. I know when I go in for a beer I am either going to find something new or an old favourite. As well as the beer, there is also about half a dozen real ciders and a selection of single malt Scotch whiskies.

With the exception of a few packaged bar snacks, the only other food available is a selection of sauages from he O'Hagan Sausage Company during lunchtime.

Other pubs (and pubcos) could learn a lot from the Harp, this is what a pub should be; an honest gimmick free down to earth boozer with a good selection of beers. Winner of CAMRA London Pub of the Year 2010 and in the final four for National CAMRA Pub of the Year.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of TargaFlorio
3.6/5  rDev -13.9%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.5

Photo of captaincoffee
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25

I loved this place when I first came to London. However, it always tends to be crowded as soon as work lets out, and the atmosphere isn't that great. Mostly good beers, but it seems they have a mix of not-so-great beers in there as well lately. Vibe is that of a cheap boozer, although it isn't a cheap boozer of course. If you are in the area, I would still highly recommend a visit, but I think is just isn't as good as it used to be.

 440 characters

Photo of MI_beerdrinker
4.18/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25

Photo of MisledTitan
3.64/5  rDev -12.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3

Photo of BdM
3.85/5  rDev -7.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75

Photo of sd123
4.22/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Photo of CwrwAmByth
4.43/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25

Love this place. What you can imagine a traditional old boozer would be like - full of blokes drinking, basically no food served, quite a small layout with the traditional (to London) awkward staircase. Always a good selection of cask and a couple of kegs too. Mostly London stuff.

 281 characters

Photo of barleywin
4.73/5  rDev +13.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of Hayley_86
3.54/5  rDev -15.3%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.75

To be honest we were here on a friday late afternoon/ early evening. It was very very crowded, which makes it hard to give it a fair rating. At another time it might be a complete different experience.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.18/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25

Photo of jonb5
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of beer_bottle
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of Bobhoya
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of KevinRailton
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of Lare453
3/5  rDev -28.2%

Photo of Mark
4.73/5  rDev +13.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5

Small but tremendous pub just a short walk from Trafalgar Square. Street level room is long and narrow, a tight staircase leads to the uppr level and additional seating. Very well kept beer and friendly employee's. A tremendous real ale pub that should not be missed.

 267 characters

Photo of spointon
4.4/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75

Visited the Harp with my wife on a recent trip to London.

There are basically three spaces to this pub - main floor, upstairs, and out in the back alley. The main (street) level is a narrow and deep traditional pub room with the bar running about half the length of the room. Seating other than bar seating is clustered right in the front door and near the back. Upstairs, there is a room that feels like a Victorian era parlor, painted pink (!), with a scattered collection of seating and small tables. On the night of our visit, there were also a fair number of people standing outside in the alley drinking and smoking.

We initially sat downstairs on stools in the front window area, but we were somewhat cramped and uncomfortable. We then moved upstairs and found a couple of nice seats.

Beers were fresh and well poured and the selection was outstanding. I had some boundary pushing hoppy ales on cask that were amazing.

Prices were usual and normal for London. Service (at the bar only) was excellent and friendly.

Overall, I would recommend this place to anyone. Super pub atmosphere and super selection.

 1,119 characters

Photo of ICJ
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of withliterature
4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5

This is an excellent pub, especially for its very central location. It's very near to The Chandos, and a decidedly better choice.

The atmosphere is the best part. I came here twice on my most recent trip to London, and found two other foreigners on the first visit and none of the second. Conversations here were fun to eavesdrop on. Obviously popular with London suits, as well as with retirees and a few younger working people. A cozy, comfortable dark wood interior with a large open front window that encourages sitting at the window-ledge stools or standing on the sidewalk if the weather permits. There is an upstairs room, but it looks like a pink, frilly tearoom and was deserted on both of my visits. I would guess that it seats people on crowded evenings.

I found a nice selection of cask beers, most of which I don't think I encountered in any other pubs I visited. Two originals that I wrote down were an Elderflower Blonde Ale and Boggart Ray of Sunshine. Everything was poured nicely, and prices were average.

I didn't try any of the food here, but there are daily specials and the locals seemed to order the daily special sausage plates very consistently.

The service, in my experience, was average. Barkeeps talked amongst themselves, and while I did see the owner briefly, she didn't spend any time behind the bar. No complaints, but nothing particularly positive about the staff.

Highly recommended "boozer," as TimeOut London would call it (they seem to favor bars over pubs). I spent several very pleasant hours here.

 1,544 characters

Photo of jgasparine
4.36/5  rDev +4.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

I tight and cozy pub-- it was packed with local patrons when we were there, so tightly that we could barely squeeze past the bar to the stairwell in the back. Regardless, the crowd was friendly-- and many of them were there for the great beer and cider. The worn wood throughout the pub told of a long beer history, and it felt good to be a part of it.

All cask ales I had were served at perfect temperatures and poured without a sparkler. All tasted as fresh as can be, and were served in proper (and clean) glassware. Top notch.

In general, the speed of service was decent considering the size of the crowd... and despite the crowd, the bartendress was willing to help explain about each beer and guide our selections.

A free house, this pub had a nice selection (8 beer engines IIRC) of session ales ranging from light to dark and from mild to hoppy. At the time there were no stouts or porters available, and certainly nothing over 5% abv. They did, however, also have a nice cider selection. I had two of their ciders, which both exhibited a substantial brett note. Overall, this was one of the better selections of real ale I found on this trip to London.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
4.64/5  rDev +11%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

With all of the excellent pubs throughout London, this is one of the gems to visit many times over on your trip to London without feeling you're missing out some other potentially great pub.
Owner and manager, Binnie Walsh knows her cask ales and was willing (enthusiastic) to explain her excellent offerings, although she was shy about having her picture taken.
Harp has a narrow, yet comfortable bar area downstairs with leather seating and a wide shelf to rest your ale and food upon. Stained glass windows and mirrors lend the illusion of a bigger space.
Up the round staircase is a small, but well-spaced lounge area with an eclectic mix of antique chairs sofas and tables.
Try to land the window seats if possible.
Speaking of eclectic mix, the crowd was from all walks, and all friendly and warm.
The Men’s room is oddly placed half-way up the stairs. Fortunately the door opens inward. Unfortunately, you may find yourself waving hello to passerby’s with your free hand.
This pub gathers its share of CAMRA and Cask Marquis awards and gets high marks from the local London Guides.
Eight handpumps serve a delicious range of cask-conditioned ales. The Sambrook’s Wandle, Twickenham Original and The Dark Star Winter Meltdown were all perfect! Sadly, it was early in the day and my wife had a schedule for us to keep for the rest of the day and evening. The rest of the day, by the way, seemed to float merrily along.
Just a very solid pub!

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Photo of bosox941827
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3

Had this place targeted based on reviews here and the fact that it had just been named CAMRA's pub of the year in January of '11. The happy realization that my hotel at Trafalgar Square was a 5 minute walk away didn't hurt either. Checked into my hotel at 9pm after flying out of Boston that morning, freshened up and was at the Harp by 9:30; best Tube stop is Charing Cross for those coming from other parts of London.

Was a bit crowded when I arrived but manageable and quickly snagged a spot by the bar so I could survey the tap handles. Unless you get an actual spot at the bar, however, the front or back of the room is best for standing as the path past the bar is quite narrow. At the far left and right of the bar are your standard-issue taps; Guinness, Guinness Extra Cold (!) and maybe a Smithwick's or something along those lines. It's the middle 8 taps where the action happens. These prized spots are occupied on a rotating basis by greater-London breweries, including Harvey's, Sambrook and DarkStar.

Clientele (at ~10pm) seemed to be a mix of dyed-in-the-wool regulars, and after-work young crowd. I suspect this Yankee stood out a bit, but no one seemed to care. Atmosphere is homey and welcoming, overall.

There are pub towels scattered over every flat surface in the place, as the imperial pints are poured right to the rim by the expert bar staff. There are a few sausages available here and there, updated daily on the blackboard, but don't come here expecting much in the food department, as this place is all about beer.

I was so impressed with this visit, that I decided to come back the following evening, which was unfortunately St Patrick's Day, as I had a few hours before dinner. It was absolutely packed, but I counted no fewer than 7 staff behind the bar pulling pints. And the great thing about London pubs is the option to take your pint outside upon obtaining it, which I did - along with literally ~100 others - after battling my way to the bar.

All in all, I can't recommend this place highly enough for a "real" London pub experience and great selection of cask ales.

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Photo of thepeter
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Every time I am in the area I make it a point, excuse or outright lie to get myself over for at least a half pint (but usually more). The place is a bit small and almost always pretty crowded as it is no secret as to how good it is. The beers are all top notch with 8 handpumps that range from local Sambrooks to almost always having a couple darkStar's amd many other regional brews as well. Service has always been amazing in my experience I have never had to wait more than a couple minutes, and am always greeted with a smile. I have only tasted the cheese plate but hear the sausages are fantastic. Prices are really good for the area, it is an absolute GEM!

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Photo of alfrantzell
4/5  rDev -4.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Not bad for what is essentially a felt lined corridor. The bar boasts a number of handpumps, from which I tried the Dark Star Old Chestnut, Saison, and Hophead. They all tasted good after trekking through throngs of tourists in Covent Garden. A wide open window allowed us to watch the passersby through the bottoms of our pint glasses.

It does have its idiosyncrasies, like a wall saturated with centuries old portraiture. Less dignified is the restroom, which is less a room than a cranny. Using it when someone else is there is an exercise in male bonding.

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The Harp in London, GB2, United Kingdom
Place rating: 4.18 out of 5 with 32 ratings