The Harp

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The HarpThe Harp
BA SCORE
4.2/5
Exceptional
30 Ratings
The HarpThe Harp
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar, Eatery

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

+44 20 7836 0291 | map
harpcoventgarden.com

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Added by wl0307 on 01-06-2006

PLACE STATS
Reviews:
18
Ratings:
30
pDev:
9.05%
 
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Ratings: 30 |  Reviews: 18
Photo of JohnfromDublin
4/5  rDev -4.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

This is a brilliant little pub in the Covent Garden area, just around the corner from the Salisbury. In the door revealing a narrow room (corridor) with the bar running down the left. Good selection of casks, including Black Sheep (£2.80 a pint in April 2007) served by pleasent staff. No TV, just people having conversation and beer, maybe the pinnacle of civilisation! Plenty of portraits in the walls. Gents toilet halfway up narrow stairs, ladies upstairs as is a non smoking room. I could have stayed all day.

Footnote added Jan 2008: The Society for the Preservation of Beers from the Wood has just voted The Harp as its London pub of the year.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
4.16/5  rDev -1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

How do pubs this small, manage to survive in London? I asked myself as I found this bar (using no map and only a CAMRA Good Beer Guide).

On entering I realised. It was heaving with humanity, all talking and drinking (in between smoking) like men possesed. Most had been drinking for some time, you can tell can't you? There must have been 50 or so people in the place. They were all over each other, trying to let people pass or get to the bar, all good natured and obviously normal for The Harp.

On a quieter day, it is wide enough for two to pass each other along the bar area and past that it widens out a little, but it can't hold more than 20 people without it spilling into the street, which I have done on numerous occassions since I have discovered this place. That first visit however was great fun, as everyother one has also.

Beer choice and service are not an issue here, both top notch, this is a serious beer drinking pub which is well run and a joy to have in this part of tourist London.

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Photo of surfadelic23
4/5  rDev -4.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Hit this pub on a Friday afternoon and it was PACKED. They have a very good selection of real ales on. I started off with a pint of the Tim Taylor Landlord which was in great condition. For my second round, I went with the HomeWrecker but in requesting in called it the Wifebeater which had the friendly and very cool barmaid laughing and asking if I wanted either Magners cider or Stella! I then noticed the name was Homewrecker... oops. We ended up sitting upstairs with a bunch of BAs, very good time and cool to put names to faces! The stairs can be difficult to negotiate, especially with three full pints, but I managed it nicely. If in this area, by all means check out this pub.
revisited again Oct 2009... still a great spot... they also have pig snacks and good sausages apparently...

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.16/5  rDev -1%
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.

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Photo of wl0307
4.16/5  rDev -1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5

This is arguably the best real ale pub (freehouse) in the Covent Garden and Trafalgar Sq. area (at least for me). From the outside it's hard to pinpoint what kind of drinking place it is, as the semi-transparent glass windows obstruct one's probe, and the green-background font of "HARP" could even make one suspect if it's an Irish pub? (see the pix for yourself.)

Pushing open the door, one's in a cosy, lively, real ale heaven. The interior space is small, if not tiny, with a single-room layout, and the decor is "colourful" with plenty of authentic as well as ersatz portraits arranged very closely on the walls (as if connected to the nearby National Portrait Gallery?). Most punters sit on tall stools by the sides or stand by the bar, rather than half-lying on comfy chairs/sofas as the kind of luxury other pubs in the same area tend to focus on.

The bar is equipped with 5 handpumps, serving Black Sheep's Best Bitter, Harvey's Best Bitter, and Timothy Taylor's Landlord as regulars, plus two other real ales as guests. The quality is, dare I say, consistently high and simply unbeatable in that area... The Landlord tastes next to none in London and Harvey's Best at the same high level as Royal Oak. The service from the regular staff is friendly and professional; one of the regular barmaids always responds positively to one's doubt/opinion of the real ale quality, and would even change the barrel straight away if she's found out something dodgy about the ale (right before my eyes twice). For those peckish after a pint of great ale in the pub, a wide selection of sausages comes in handy and delicious, although most punters enjoy a quick pint here after work or before carrying on with fantastic night life in the same area.

All in all, a "local"-type of real ale gem it is, not so hard to find, but very easily overlooked. If you're a real ale fan, this is the sort of place for you right beside the Trafalgar Sq.

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The Harp in London, GB2, United Kingdom
Place rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 30 ratings