The Clarence has always walked the line between 'cosy' and 'dingy', so when it became the latest pub to be refurbished by Geronimo Inns, we wondered how it would fare. A lot of the faux Victorian detailing has gone, to be replaced by the more sober and simple lines preferred by the chain. Walls have been washed in a pastel green, as have the old wooden beams which help divide the main bar. It looks almost nautical in its choice of colours and works well in a place without a lot of natural light. Butchers block tables fill the middle, while the edges are filled with the usual selection of chairs and tables. Food prices have been hiked up with pub favourites like Fish and Chips coming in at an uncompetitive £9.50. The home made scotch egg - a staple of every upmarket pub nowadays - also makes an appearance. You'll find two or three ales on offer and not necessarily the usual suspects. All these changes haven't changed the clientele however, so expect a mix of tourists and civil servants. Sadly the two pint rating comes from the fact that after waiting to be served at the bar for 10 minutes, we gave up and went to the pub next door, where we were served immediately, paying less for the privilege. The two staff were working flat out, but it was clear this wasn't sufficient to cope with what was only an averagely busy central London pub. A reassessment by the manager is needed here.
Reviewed by redcat
30 Oct 2009