The Harp

The HarpThe Harp
The HarpThe Harp
Bar, Eatery

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

+44 20 7836 0291 | map
harpcoventgarden.com

Notes:
PLACE STATS
Average:
4.17
Reviews:
22
Ratings:
36
pDev:
8.63%
View: Place Reviews
Reviews: 22 | Ratings: 36 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by TheLongBeachBum:
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TheLongBeachBum from California

4.16/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5

Stop #8 on a lively Saturday pub-crawl of London was a real find, and a bigger surprise! By now RichLightWeight was working overtime to keep us (me!) on track, for I could have stopped in every single one of the last seven pubs for more than the one Pint that we had, and the ‘The Harp’ was no exception either.

Now I could have happily wandered right past The Harp and I would have been penalized for my prejudice in thinking that this was “just another faux Irish pub”. Far from it, though the exterior hints little at the fine selection of Ales inside.

The frontage does have a classic Irish Pub appearance to it, the sign that spreads across the ~15ft width of the Pub is a painted glass one, the words ‘The Harp” are in gold and black text set against a dark green background. Carved black painted wooden fittings outline the ground floor frontage. The door sits to the right of what appears to be one large window above a wooden lower frontage - these in turn all sit below a row of small windows just below the Pub sign. All the windows are leaded ones comprised of colored glass rectangles, and the main window to the left of the door folds away to open up the frontage above the lower wooden portion. Against this lower wood paneled frontage two chalkboards advertise the Real Ales on sale. When I visited the main door was wedged open and the main window folded back to reveal a serving like hatch frontage. A pair of large antique street lights and pink and yellow flowers in five large hanging baskets complete the presentation. The overall appearance is one of great pride and personal stake holding, this is definitely not a chain pub.

The inside is not very big, a single main room has the bar area down the left hand side. Décor is traditional, dark woods and thick carpets lend a very homely and comfortable feel. Lots of pictures adorn the walls, I’m not sure that there is much room left on the walls for any more.

A warm welcome awaits anyone who steps foot in here. Immediately we entered I recall the woman behind the bar catching our eye and was ready to serve us, sadly we were unsure which of the many beers to order so we paused for a while, not often that happens! Service was genuinely friendly and always with a smile.

Others mention 5 beers, but I counted Six (6) Handpumps serving; Smiles Zing Ale (4.3%), Caledonian Nectar (4.3%), Mordue Workie Ticket (4.5%), Black Sheep Best Bitter (3.8%), Timothy Taylor’s Landlord (4.3%) and Harvey’s Sussex Best Bitter (4.0%). Also had a real Cider, Malvern Magic Cider from Herefordshire. The usual keg taps make up the rest of the bar fittings. I don’t recall balking at the prices so they seemed to be reasonable. Quality of the beers was excellent and the Landlord was some of the best I tried down South.

Deep in the Covent Garden area, this is a nice change of pace from the usual faceless high end bars and soulless corporate chains. This is a real pub run by real people serving a fine range of well kept real ales.

A small place that you could oh so easily not give a second glance to when walking past, but do not make that mistake, this is a superb locals bar serving high quality Real Ales that you really should not miss when in WC2!

Last Visit: Saturday 24th June, 2006.

Jul 05, 2006
More User Reviews:
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Sigmund from Norway

4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Central location, easy to find. Fairly small pub with an ever-changing selection of real ales. Quiet in the morning, reported to be very busy at other times.

Feb 23, 2020
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cratez from Canada

4.19/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

Came here with my wife during our honeymoon in London and Paris.

Tried the following beers over the course of three visits:
Crouch Vale Posh Bitter (cask)
Thornbridge Pollards Coffee Milk Stout (cask)
Dark Star Hophead (cask)
Weird Beard Little Things That Kill (sample)
Windsor & Eton Guardsman Fresh Green Hop (cask)
Oakham Scarlet Macaw (cask)
The Kernel India Pale Ale Mosaic (draft)

Beers ranged from very good to outstanding. Loved the quaint pub atmosphere. Service wasn't particularly friendly, but you never had to wait long to order. Our overall experience was awesome, and we would definitely come back.

Feb 14, 2020
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metter98 from New York

4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

Vibe: I stopped by this place on a Monday afternoon. It is a small venue and has a wall that is completely plastered with coasters and cask labels located above the bar.

Quality: Beers were served in glassware at the proper temperature.

Service: There was only one bartender working when I arrived but I didn't have to wait more than a minute to get served.

Selection: Eight beers were available on cask and another eight were available on-tap. These were available in pint or half-pint pours.

Oct 28, 2019
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HopBelT from Belgium

3.78/5  rDev -9.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75

Oct 28, 2018
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TargaFlorio from Indiana

3.6/5  rDev -13.7%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.5

Sep 22, 2018
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captaincoffee from Virginia

4.12/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

Apr 28, 2018
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MI_beerdrinker from Texas

4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25

Dec 12, 2017
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MisledTitan from England

3.64/5  rDev -12.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3

Dec 03, 2016
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BdM from Netherlands

3.85/5  rDev -7.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75

Jun 23, 2016
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sd123 from Texas

4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Apr 08, 2016
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CwrwAmByth from England

4.43/5  rDev +6.2%
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.

Feb 20, 2016
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barleywin from Missouri

4.73/5  rDev +13.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Oct 10, 2015
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Hayley_86 from Netherlands

3.54/5  rDev -15.1%
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.

Jul 31, 2015
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Georgiabeer from Georgia

4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25

Jun 21, 2015
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jonb5 from England

4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Aug 19, 2014
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beer_bottle from Colorado

4/5  rDev -4.1%

Aug 17, 2014
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Bobhoya from Arizona

4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Aug 14, 2014
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KevinRailton from England

4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

Jun 30, 2014
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Lare453 from Florida

3/5  rDev -28.1%

Apr 27, 2014
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Mark from California

4.73/5  rDev +13.4%
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.

Apr 10, 2014
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spointon from Illinois

4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

Nov 15, 2013
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ICJ from England

4.75/5  rDev +13.9%

Oct 16, 2013
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withliterature from Texas

4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Jul 13, 2012
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jgasparine from Maryland

4.36/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Atmosphere-
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.

Quality-
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.

Service-
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.

Selection-
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.

Jan 10, 2012
The Harp in London, GB2, United Kingdom
Place rating: 4.17 out of 5 with 36 ratings