Nag's Head, Knightsbridge

Our rating: FAP Rating 5 - Click for an explanation of our ratings      User rating: Community Rating 2 - Click for an explanation of our ratings   (20 reviews)
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FancyaPint?'s review...
FAP Rating 5 - Click for an explanation of our ratings
Hidden away in a quiet Knightsbridge street, the Nag's Head is well worth searching out. Wood panelled, low ceilinged and full of old penny arcade games, this pub has a character all of its own and is ideal for a leisurely afternoon of drinking. Unsurprisingly, there's not a TV nor a jukebox in sight (but there is a "What the Butler Saw" machine in the corner). In such a carefully realised environment playing CDs can seem a tad incongruous, but the choices from the bar are usually spot on (Irish folk standards, easy listening when we last looked in). The pub's independent nature comes from its landlord who when not insisting that customers hang up their coats, is improvising quality pub food with whatever comes to hand. None of this old style quality comes cheap, however; even if we don't mind too much, be warned that the beer prices are a tad steep. We've also seen them kick out punters who persistently ignore the "no mobile phones" signs. Top bloke, top pub.
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Reviews (1)
16 Sep 2013
Rating 2 - Click for an explanation of our ratings
The staff can be quite rude. I was there as a woman on my own and I was being harrassed horribly by some drunk visitors (OK, this is not a common thing to happen in this pub) But the way the staff dealt with it was bad. They could see it happening but said nothing. Instead of that, they kept pooring the drunks pints and when I tried to stop them harrassing me the staff dissaproved of that (probibly because these men where putting more pounds in their pockets than me as a woman alone). I felt horrible, being harrassed twice. First by the drunk and then by the staff.

The pub looks, I must say to give an honest review, beautiful, very historical. I used to come there often, even though I found the staff a bit rude. But this last incident has stopped me from coming, that was the last straw.
Reviews (2)
16 Jun 2013
Rating 0 - Click for an explanation of our ratings
To be avoided at all costs. Verry rude staff.
Reviews (2)
16 Jun 2013
Rating 0 - Click for an explanation of our ratings
Firstly..caution..if you enter this pub, be prepared to ruin a perfectly good mood. If the lady behind the bar is the manager, I would like to say....you in the wrong game..hospitality is the last thing on your agenda. If you are working in this pub, shame on you for ruining someones lively hood. I have never quiet been treated with such contempt in my life. From the moment we walked in we felt like we had entered bootcamp. The hostilty of the womnen behind the bar was embrassing...from moaning about coats on chairs, to mobile phones to minimum spends we gave up after 5 minutes. Have never felt my blood pressure go from normally to dangerous levels so quickly. Lady you are destroying this pub! Wake Up!! Please do not waste your hard earned cash here!
Reviews (2)
20 May 2013
Rating 0 - Click for an explanation of our ratings
1. Hostile from entrance.
2. Suspicious of 12 week old baby fast asleep being nosey about him.
3. Abruptly told not to move furniture for health and safety reasons as the landlady jump onto the bar to reach the other side.
4. Any sign of laughter was met with a member of the bar standing over the bar arms folded monitoring us.

Do not go here if no. 1 you are not a local and 2. If you want to have a good time.

Reviews (2)
20 May 2013
Rating 0 - Click for an explanation of our ratings
Hostile, rude and tiresome staff.

1. Got abruptly told not to move furniture for health and safety reasons as the bar maid jumped onto the bar to get to the other side.

2. Suspicious of a 12 week old baby fast asleep, being very intrusive.

3. Any noise of laughter was met by bar maid hovering over the bar with arms folded monitoring us.

Please avoid going here if you are not a local and you want to have a good time.
Reviews (11)
09 Feb 2012
Rating 5 - Click for an explanation of our ratings
There are two ways to view this pub as a first-time visitor. You might hope for a homogenized and globalized kind of retail/social interface experience serving up plastic food and standardized drinks by clones in uniforms with static smiles that don't extend all the way up their face, in which case you are going to be disappointed, or you might glory in the uniqueness, the eccentricity, and the bloody fabulously well-kept Adnams.
If you want a latte while you network on your iThingys and generally participate in the consumerist pap that passes for real life these days (which you can get any time on your local High Street assuming it's not boarded up already), then DO NOT COME HERE. If you respect the fact this place is a Freehouse, not a democracy, and that things are deliberately different here, then give it a whirl. All the reviews I've read on this place (and Kevin the Landlord) are arguably true, depending on what your attitude is to the above. At the end of the day this is my favourite pub in London, it may or may not be yours. That's up to you. By the way, the food is not standard pub menu, but the sandwiches are properly made to order with proper ingredients, and the hot courses while not 'Cordon Bleu' are again decent, honest food cooked on the premises. So on a cold day today I had chilli con carne + Adnams + nice hot fire to sit beside. Marvellous!
Reviews (16)
15 Nov 2011
Rating 5 - Click for an explanation of our ratings
Yes the beer prices might be 20p more than you'd expect but I'd say this one is worth visiting for the atmosphere. The staff have always been friendly to me and the Landlord seemed perfectly likeable and 'full of beans' rather than angry. I'll always try and pay a visit for the good Adnams beer if in the area. Oh and I've never seen a bar at knee height before...
Reviews (1)
28 Oct 2011
Rating 3 - Click for an explanation of our ratings
Excellent beer. But the food is microwaved rubbish! I woudn't say this place has a restaurant.
Reviews (6)
15 Jun 2011
Rating 5 - Click for an explanation of our ratings
Fantastic pub, run by a true landlord. Only downside is the Adnams which is always well kept but not top of my list of brews however was pleasantly suprised that they re-released Mild after a prolonged absence. Love this place so if you 1)are a celeb 2)can't leave home without electronic gadgets 3)worry about short tempered landlords 4)American or French - stay away. Great boozer.
Reviews (4)
21 Nov 2010
Not rated yet! - Click for an explanation of our ratings
Thanks for the all our yesterdays interlude Farfaraway but I thought this was a review site rather than a place for nostalgic tear-jerkers.
Reviews (1)
21 Oct 2010
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Ah Mattwood, some things never change. I was a hapless antipodean bar maid at The Nag's Head in the 80's and Kevin Moran was as "colourful" then as he appears to be now. I was told at the time that he was trying to live up to the reputation of the former publican - whether he's succeeded or not who would know. It was a hair raising place to work. However, the man paid 20£ more than any other pub in London paid its bar staff at that time, he never monitored what I ate - some pubs expected staff to buy their own food out of the stunning £80 a week they were paid and if my back had been at the wall - I know the man would have been there to rescue me. Afterwards he would have yelled sworn abused and

ridiculed me if he was in the mood but if I'd needed help again - he would've been there.I told stories to friends that had the tears rolling down their faces about the antics of this man. I remember nights when I didn't stop laughing and Kevin's kindness at Christmastime. Prices were steep then and I still harbour a little lingering resentment about the time some Hooray called me on the collective price of a round of 9 or 10 drinks I'd calculated in my head and Kevin caved and gave the tosser money back. My sums were right.

Mattwood, there are thousands of brewery backed yes sir no sir three bags full sir pubs in London for you to drink at.

The Nag's Head - when it is good it is very very good and when it is bad it is awful - kind of like humankind really
Reviews (4)
15 Sep 2010
Not rated yet! - Click for an explanation of our ratings
Maybe Burlington Bertie thinks drinkers should pay an entrance fee as well? It's a pub for heaven's sake, not Hampton Court Palace! If it's rude, uninterested service and abuse from the locals you want, try it out. If you believe paying customers have the right to polite service and to be left alone by the local drunks, there are plenty of alternatives nearby.
Reviews (1)
13 Sep 2010
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The Nags Head is a famous London institution that very much reflects the larger than life character and idiosyncrasies of mine host and owner, the redoubtable Kevin Moran. Kevin is an old school professional landlord from a bygone age and the last of the breed (they certainly broke the mould after they made him); he is extremely well connected with showbiz and this is reflected in the Nags Head’s distinguished clientele. The Nags Head is unique as it is decorated top to bottom with an amazing collection of eccentric memorabilia. That Kevin has amassed a loyal following of regular customers, including showbiz VIPs who are themselves are great characters, during his 25 plus years tenure adds to the feeling of entering a private members club. A big plus is the pub’s easy listening background music, a real treat, which you are unlikely to hear anywhere else. Like any good private members club, the Nags Head has its rules and these are firmly policed by the landlord. The use of mobile telephones, laptop computers and other electronic trappings of the modern age are prohibited, and there is strong encouragement for coats to be hung up and staff will be exceedingly grateful if you don’t bring bags and backpacks into pub. Fair play then to Kevin. You will indeed win Brownie points with the staff if, when the pub is busy, you vacate your table as soon as you have finished your drinks. Remember, there are other paying customers waiting to be served and seated. Just obey the rules and ensure you are polite, respectful and friendly to the staff and everything will be tickety-boo. just can’t understand the whingers who have posted outspoken criticisms on other websites, about the Nags Head, or those who have made preposterous rebukes of landlord’s behaviour. I shall refute these knockers. What is wrong with a Landlord who dislikes serving "fizzy wizzies" and makes that perfectly clear to his customers? Or, come to that, whose staff tells a customer that "You can't order tap water in here. Tap water doesn't pay the rent. If you want tap water you can get it at home." That is absolutely correct, right and proper for staff to do that as a pub has to make a profit to stay in business. Complaints about closing the downstairs bar for a private function and efficiently removing the tables from underneath customers reluctant to move; or, in shutting the downstairs bar "for cleaning" so that staff equipped with cloths and cleaning agents could get to work by 11pm; or, calling last orders prematurely and time, say, 5 minutes before 11pm on a Friday night; or, in making it apparent that customers have to leave NOW just don’t wash as the pub has to be run efficiently and profitably and the hard working bar staff do have a home to go to. It is well worth the premium on the price of a pint to visit this extraordinary pub and you may indeed be most fortunate to find “Pongo Patterson”, the former star of the famous children’s TV soap opera Grange Hill, behind the bar. Do buy the guv'nor and his son a drink; that will please them both greatly; and do make sure you buy old Les a pint of Guinness too. Finally: and why shouldn’t mine host name his hostelry “The Kevin Moran” if he so wishes? He owns it and he can do exactly what he likes with it and in it! Pip! Pip!
Reviews (4)
12 Jul 2010
Not rated yet! - Click for an explanation of our ratings
I'd be interested to know, Chasepaige, what "alternative motives" you think I might have and will leave readers of this site to make their own minds up as to which is the more likely scenario: that I felt compelled to write an account of what was quite an upsetting incident having enjoyed previous visits to the pub, or that it is all part of some sinister campaign! Also, you could hardly describe what I wrote as a "rant" and the reference to Guinness was the least of Les's offences. No-one should be subjected to the unwarranted obscenity we were subjected to that day and I'm thankful to you, Chasepaige, for letting me know that Les still drinks there, as I shall certainly stay away.
Reviews (1)
22 Jun 2010
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this pub is a great pub and very well run, but i agree will not be to everyones taste.i have always found the staff and landlord to be very welcoming to my family but appreciate that fools are not tolerated.with respect to MATTWOOD and his rant on the customer called Les, i feel there is alternative motives here, as i have met Les on various occasions and always found him to be a gentleman,and always passionate in his discussions. MATTWOOD states that Les has said why are you drinking Guinness in an English pub? Now that is an odd comment from a man of Irish descent with whom i have sunk many a pint of Guinness!! i think the comment has been taken the wrong way or MATTWOOD your a man with a dodgy motive!treat your first visit to this pub like meeting your girlfriends parents for the first time and i can assure you will be welcomed back time and time again.its just a case of some good manners on the side of the customer sometimes.
Reviews (1)
06 Jun 2010
Not rated yet! - Click for an explanation of our ratings
Avoid this pub at all costs! My wife and I actually sought this pub out for a quiet pint after reading about it on this website. However, we were utterly appalled at the behaviour of the rude and arrogant landlord who actually went out of his way to mock us and then laugh about it with some of the equally obnoxious locals. After this disgraceful reflection of the landlords attitude to his paying customers, we returned our half-full pints (our first of the day) and left in disgust as he continued to mock us with his friends.



I'm not quite sure where the 4 pint rating comes from, but based on Fancyapint's system, this is a 1 pint pub at best! The fact the landlord's attitude (and bad smell of the pub) has come up in other reviews should raise a red flag to others that this pub is to be avoided in favour of the many other friendly establishments in the area.
Reviews (43)
27 Feb 2010
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If you like your Pub to be standard sized, standard shaped and standard managed, then the Nags Head is not for you. Instead, the Nags Head gives you individuality at every turn. Put it all together and you have a great environment for either a quiet solo pint, or a more sociable one. The drinks are a little expensive, the food is not gastro (who really needs sour cream?), but the Nags Head is not dirty or grubby, as suggested earlier. It is a great old Pub and the ideal antidote for all the madness in the shops in Knightsbridge. Do, however, remember to hang up your coat and switch off your mobile. It will please the Landlord, and me.
Reviews (4)
24 Oct 2008
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I used to like this place a great deal. A real fire, no music, Adnams and Aspalls Cider on tap and lovely surroundings more than made up for the slight premium you pay at the bar.



But after my most recent visit I won't be going back. I'm sure I can't be the only fancyapint user who's encountered Les, possibly the most outrageously obnoxious "local" I've ever met in a boozer. And I come from Suffolk... When I arrived at 6pm or so one Sunday with the remnants of the supplements for an hour of solo drinking and rumination before my friends arrived, he was just a bit drunk and loud. Fair enough: he's a regular, it was the weekend. I could have done without hearing, from the other side of the room, that Les was 67 and had been cleaning windows at the Savoy for 40 years - he repeated this three times to his equally inebriated, but mercifully silent, companion.



Clearly another local, who came in but drained his pint and went to the pub down the road (I saw him there half an hour later after my own premature exit - more on that in a moment) when Les approached him for a chat, or rather a monologue, found him equally vexatious.



Upon this chap's departure, Les spotted me, sitting in the corner near the fire. His charming opening gambit was to ask why I was drinking Guinness in an English pub. When I observed that he was enjoying a Scotch he sat down, uninvited, at my table, shook his head and said, "you fucking people." A rant ensued, too obscene and stupid to repeat, but - thankfully - it was interrupted by the arrival of my friend and his girlfriend.



Alas, they'd made the mistake of coming from Arab and North African extraction, to which Les of course took great exception. My friend bought a round at the bar, and when he politely asked Les to tuck his legs in so he could reach the chair nearest his girlfriend and me, Les told him to sit at the next table.



The bar staff, a surly and uninterested twenty-something barmaid, watched this spectacle, and our departure, without interest. We could still hear him swearing at us as we walked down the mews to the Wilton arms, where we saw the elderly Nag's Head regular who'd beaten such a swift retreat after suffering Les's attentions earlier. It says a lot about a pub that this sort of behaviour is tolerated, and clearly Les is known to the licensee as he wouldn't have held court so offensively were he not confident that he could get away with it.



I won't be back and urge anyone who values good service or who doesn't like to be abused by strangers simply for choosing the wrong drink or having friends with the wrong pigmentation to give this place a wide berth. At least until the end of Les's retirement, which I for one hope is a short one.
Reviews (6)
14 Oct 2008
Not rated yet! - Click for an explanation of our ratings
I have been to the Nags Head on a few occasions, and I must say I love it there.



It is a bit expensive, even for the area, and while I have never eaten there, I would say that dining is not really the main part of it's attraction. But the very notion of the landlord/staff producing a meal from what they have in, and having no set menu is one of the things that immediately sets it apart from the all-too prevailant chain pubs and a 1000 gastro pubs.



It probably does needs a few quid spent on it, but this would immediately detract from it's character, and I think it has genuine character, almost unique in London. There certainly weren't posers in there when I have been, just a nice eclectic mix of locals and people passing through. It had the feel of a genuine, local pub, with an ambience that you immediately fel at ease in, quite like Mulligans in Dublin, Poolbed Street. I have been in the Wilton Arms too, a decent pub, but more identikit Olde Worlde really, I know it certainly has air-conditioning which, unless I am very much mistaken, I never heard Dickens commenting on being very thankful for on the hot summer days when he was in Grapes, Limehouse.



I would thoroughly recommend this pub.

Contact details
53 Kinnerton Street, Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 8ED
020 7235 1135
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