Old White Lion, East Finchley

Our rating: FAP Rating 3 - Click for an explanation of our ratings      User rating: Community Rating 2 - Click for an explanation of our ratings   (8 reviews)
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FancyaPint?'s review...
FAP Rating 3 - Click for an explanation of our ratings
Once a pub used primarily as a place for a quick drink before heading off into town, having slipped under the wheels of the M&B refurbishment juggernaut, the Old White Lion has pulled out all the stops to hold onto the upmarket drinkers of 'East Finchley Village'. Decked out in various styles of furniture, from faux Louis XVII chairs, through to art deco lamps and kitsch 60's sideboards, it's certainly very stylised; indeed, if the bar were removed, it would look like an antique furniture shop. There's a number of good real ales and continental lagers on tap, alongside the nicest beer garden in the area. Also added is a well-made menu at reasonable prices. With comedy nights, a pub quiz, Sunday roasts and special events, the Old White Lion's a popular place. A little too popular for us, unfortunately, with inordinately long queues at the bar quite a lot of the time. It's a jolly nice pub, with almost everything just right, but it only just scrapes in with a three-pint rating. We've mentioned this in previous reviews - service really needs to be speeded up, if the Old White Lion's going to become a firm favourite of ours.
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Reviews (1)
10 Mar 2014
Rating 1 - Click for an explanation of our ratings
I booked a table for 9 people last Sunday. The place was empty and yet the food took an hour. Sunday Roasts were the only thing on the menu, so why the long wait? It was only after we had paid did anyone tell us of the components that were missing from each dish that day too. After waiting an hour for our food (that came at different times) we were disappointed to find it was all overcooked. Is that what the hour long wait is for, to make sure it's overcooked? The squid was like fishy toenail clippings and the whitebait were like burnt matchsticks. Our mains came halfway through our starters, again at differing times. The manager then turned on the TV that was behind us for the Rugby. Why on earth did they stick us under the TV when they knew a match would be starting an hour later? We were told to move if we didn't like it, with no help from the staff. This is not easy, especially with two kids. Needless to say our meals were cold. Didn't matter anyway, the roast dinner put in front of me was the saddest plate of food I have ever seen. We complained to the Manager and he couldn't care less. We got refunds on our meal but no apology. The other staff were embarrassed to say the least, I don't blame them though, the manager must be a hard person to work for but you could tell that this sort of thing happens all the time. Ok, so some people don't go to pubs for food, I understand but if a pub does both they should do both competently. The ale selection is hit and miss a lot of the time, most of the time I find the ales are off which is always disappointing. This pub used to be great but now it just looks like its waiting to be shut down. I hate to see pubs close but I'll be celebrating when this one does. Avoid at all costs people!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Reviews (2)
21 Jun 2013
Rating 2 - Click for an explanation of our ratings
I have been coming here for 3 years now, as it's right next to the station, so pop in once or twice a week. It does a great range of ales, and the staff are nice and friendly, but the service here is appalling. It is so slow. It can easily take 5 minutes just to serve one person. Rather than ask the next person for their order while they are waiting for the card to be processed, they wait until they have finished. Put the card reader away, and then come over to the next person.

After work, you normally get 2 or 3 people waiting at the bar. Usually one (sometimes two) staff serving, but you still wait 5 to 10 minutes to get served. Even worse is the staff will serve someone, then wonder off somewhere while there are still people waiting. And when it is busy there will be staff wondering around seemingly not doing much. Have to blame poor management.
Reviews (27)
15 Jul 2012
Rating 2 - Click for an explanation of our ratings
15 July 2012.
I guess it depends what you are looking for in East Finchley. I you want a well kept pint in a characterful and friendly pub it has to be Gertie Browne's. If however you would prefer to stand around waiting to be served over priced and badly kept real ale while listening to men in suits talk loudly to guffawing middle class women named Sophie this is your place.
The last time I went in here the service was as usual pretty appalling. Despite the vastness of the pub it has a tiny bar which means that you always spend at least ten minutes waiting to get served. When you do get served you this is generally done in an at best reserved and at worst surly manner (one barman even wanted me to do his adding up for him!). The price of an ordinary glass of wine is just ridiculous.
You pay your money you take your choice I suppose and this pub is clearly thriving in a great part of London. But it is souless and characterless and if its a middle class gastropub with real ales you are looking for The Old White Lion is simply outgunned by the nearby Bald Faced Stag. Having said that it does have a nice beer garden in which to drink overpriced beer and the food is generally decent.
The Strange Torpor.
Reviews (20)
15 Sep 2011
Rating 4 - Click for an explanation of our ratings
Top dog (or rather, lion) in East Finchley. A selection of real ales which happily combines old favourites with more obscure beers from microbreweries; the range of other drinks available is similarly wide and high-quality. The quality of food is pretty high for a pub kitchen, and some of the dishes are very good value for money. Atmosphere is relaxed, sociable and female-friendly. My only complaint (like everyone else) is the speed of service, which can be variable at the best of times.
Reviews (2)
13 Feb 2010
Not rated yet! - Click for an explanation of our ratings
This is one of my favourite pubs! Chilled atmosphere, yummy bloody Mary ketchup and fun in the summer- chickens!!!
Reviews (2)
10 Jan 2010
Not rated yet! - Click for an explanation of our ratings
We have been coming to the OWL over Christmas holiday for years & have watched it's many transmutations but we love it anyway we can get it. Once the Bald Faced Stag went sports bar then restaurant we loved the OWL even more. Thier chips are the best ever & their othe gastropub dishes are tasty, too. It is right on the tube stop & within walking distance to the house where we stay. AAA+++
Reviews (2)
09 Jun 2008
Not rated yet! - Click for an explanation of our ratings
Just the rudest barman I have ever encountered in any London pub. To be fair he dealt out his unpleasantness to all who entered without fear or favour, but nevertheless I won't be coming back.

Contact details
121 Great North Road, East Finchley, London, N2 0NW
020 8365 4861

Quiz night - quiz night Tuesday


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