Fox & Anchor, Smithfield

Our rating: FAP Rating 2 - Click for an explanation of our ratings      User rating: Community Rating 4 - Click for an explanation of our ratings   (5 reviews)
image 1
FancyaPint?'s review...
FAP Rating 2 - Click for an explanation of our ratings
We've known this historic pub for more than two decades and, after a brief period of closure and uncertainty, it's with some relief that we can report the Fox and Anchor is finally back, although perhaps not quite in the form we would have hoped - at least it hasn't become an office or apartment conversion. Photos of Smithfield's meat market workers on the walls notwithstanding, this pub has made a move upmarket, definitely more pinstripe and far less bloodstained apron and it no longer has the all-are-welcome feel we loved about the old place. However, there's an interesting range of beers on the six hand-pumps, an pretty good wine list and, as is the norm nowadays, the menu's gone gastro (no longer the fry-ups and meat-and-two-veg of old) - naturally with an accompanying price hike. The owners, Malmaison, have kept the pub largely intact (the exterior is listed anyway) and inside the snugs of old are still there. The dark wood and tile work provide a classy and comfortable environment in which to enjoy the rather classy fare. And the staff work hard to keep you happy, perhaps too hard, in our opinion, when sometimes we feel you get asked a little too often if everything is OK. The real downside of this place is the lack of space. It's a narrow pub and if you don't get in early enough (or book) to get a seat, forget it. There's nowhere to stand and sip a pint, you will spend most of your time apologising to bar people and punters as they squeeze past you to get to and from the tables. In summary, the owners have made a pretty good effort with the reincarnated Fox and Anchor, especially if you're looking for another well-run gastropub and it's proving to be very popular. But for us, as we've said before, it's something of a disappointment. It's no longer really a pub, more of a hotel brasserie. Maybe that's what the owners want, but we feel it's a real loss in these parts, where similar brasseries are two-a-penny.
User reviews
Visited this pub and want to share your experience?
Add your own review...
Reviews (7)
14 Apr 2012
Rating 3 - Click for an explanation of our ratings
I've been to this pub quite a few times over the years and still like it as a place to meet up with friends and have a drink, though it is not as convivial as in the past. Like many pubs, it has changed and now focusses more on the gourmet food aspect of the business. Food was of a pretty good standard with pleasant table service and able to complete within lunch hour. Prices are reasonable for the type and standard of food. Seems to get busy with business diners so if intending to dine for lunch, it may be wise to arrive before standard lunch time to nab a table.
If you're intending to come here purely for a drink, its not a bad option, but nothing out of the ordinary. On sunny evenings its nice to drink outside on the pavement, but inside it is really only for standing as diners have the tables.
Reviews (15)
14 Jun 2011
Rating 4 - Click for an explanation of our ratings
I too have known this pub for a very very long time. I remember when it was a true Smithfields boozer in the 80s and you could get a breakfast and a pint of Guiness at about 4am long long before we had the other club inspired all night venues.

So, it was with some hesitation that we revisited it after it re-opened.

My fears were baseless! The beer and food is expensive, please do not get me wrong. However, there is an argument that you get what you pay for. The ale was excellent and served in pewter tankards which was a nice touch. The food - I went for the breakfast - was excellent - a full English breakfast with the works - VERY impressive.

So, yes expensive, yes long and narrow - although there is a back room. Is it worth it? Too bloody right it is!
Reviews (1)
26 Aug 2010
Not rated yet! - Click for an explanation of our ratings
This strikes me as a three-pint review, so why the two-pint rating? In any case, I think it's a better pub than the review suggests. Fair point about the narrow space, but there's not much they can do about it in a listed interior.
Reviews (2)
09 Apr 2010
Not rated yet! - Click for an explanation of our ratings
This is a great place. I visited in April 2010 and it was exactly what I was looking for. I wasn't looking for a pub-pub, i.e. a place to scoff beer with my mates, but somewhere a little upmarket that wasn't too loud (important), didn't have music blaring out of every corner (even more important) and offered a place to meet and talk.

The range of beers was small - seemed to be attached to a brewery of some sort, but the beer I had (a lager) was exceptionally nice. Fresh, zingy and excellent flavour.

And very reasonably priced, the same as I'd pay anywhere else but guaranteed quality. Each pint was as good as the last!

The food was admittedly a little bit pricey, but it reflected the quality and portion size which was very good. And it was served in a very unique way and above standard for the average gastro pub. Verging on restaurant quality.

I thought the service was excellent too. It could be construed as over the top, but how can you complain about that in London? Good service is quite rare and they were very attentive and not overly so. Also, as a former barman myself, I thoroughly appreciated the fact that the manager and staff remembered what drinks we were having. A small thing I know, but seems to be a bar service that has somehow gone out of fashion but I always endeavoured to do as its something that goes a long way towards making you feel welcome and well, 'served' basically.

I recommend this place. If you're looking for a nice quiet (yet busy) bar that has some of the old world about it, yet with an interesting and clean decor, then you've found it.

And trust me on the beer. I'd go back for that reason alone.

Contact details
115 Charterhouse Street, Smithfield, London, EC1M 6AA
0207 250 1300

How to get there
Is this your pub?
Claim this listing to add your pub's web site, more photos or other information about your pub.