Notting Hill Pubs

Posted on 14 December 2003 in Pubs (No comments)

Finding a spot for a mid-week pint with Jacko is not always easy. Whilst Jacko works in the city, and I work in the West End, so are relatively close, Catherine is out in Kew and it's an hours tube ride to get out into the centre of London. And then we all have to go back our seperate ways to Ealing and Colliers Wood at the end of the night.

We've tried a half way house of Hammersmith which yielded few good pubs, but on Friday I thought about Notting Hill - being half way between the two locations, it seemed good, and offered us all easy access to appropiate tube stations. And what a choice it proved to be.

Uxbridge Arms.

First pub of the night - tucked in the backstreets behind Notting Hill Gate station.

The Uxbridge Arms was a well presented old fashioned pub with two rooms and two proper fires. It was busy, but friendly and the pints of Brakspear, well recieved. Although we were standing for a while, we got a table in the end.

It was a cosy, friendly little pub with a pleasent atmosphere and well worth a visit. It's back street location meant it looked like a good locals pub, rather than the high street mayhem going on nearby.

Service was friendly and welcoming, although the bar staff did seem to spend a lot of time collecting glasses as they were running out!

Address:

Uxbridge Arms: 13 Uxbridge Street, Notting Hill, W8 7TQ.

Beers on handpull during visit:

Brakspear Best Bitter, Fullers London Pride.

The Hillgate.

A few backstreets away was the Hillgate and our second stop. A largish pub, with some nice old fashioned decor, although the bar looked like it had had some misguided 'enhancements'.

It had a rather raucous atmosphere - perhaps due to the Christmas party going on in a side room and because it was a Friday night, but the whole place seemed to have a very laddish feel with few women. Of the few women, three were the bar staff, who were (oddly) all similar looking short, female women with blonde hair.

It was propping room only but the beer was reasonable - abliet a rather dull selection, but the place didn't seem to be particularly impress atmospherewise.

Address:

24 Hillgate Street, Notting Hill, W8 7SR.

Beers on handpull during visit:

Courage Best, Fullers London Price. A third handpull had a pump clip that we did not recognise, but was turned round so we didn't get to see. A fourth handpull was unused.

Churchill Arms.

Through the expensive looking streets of Notting Hill we walked. Perhaps a good summary of the area was the number of chandalier and mirror shops, but we eventually found the large Churchill Arms.

Large pubs can often be hit and miss, but Fancy A Pint gave it a five pint rating and promised us thai food so that was our plan.

When we got there, we were hit with a dark looking pub, with a very odd, but intriguing looking decor that said "Explore me!" Unfortunatly lots of people had - the place was heaving and we could barely get to the bar, yet alone find a table for some food, so we left before sampling the Fullers ales on offer.

Next time we're in the area, I'm sure we'll pop in - it looks like it could be a cracker, but perhaps a mid-week visit is in order!

Address:

119 Kensington Church Street, Notting Hill, W8 7LN.

Beers on handpull during visit:

Pass - we couldn't see the bar! But it's a Fullers pub so expect the ubiqutous London Pride, ESB and probably Chiswick or the seasonal ale as well.

Windsor Castle.

Our thirsts building up, and our hunger abaiting, we arrived at the Windsor Castle. And boy, we saved the best till last cos this was worth the visit.

Funnily enough, we'd picked up a copy of the CAMRA London magazine, London Drinker in the Uxbridge Arms (a sign of a good pub often is the presence of London Drinker!) which mentioned The Windsor Castle.

The reason was for its mention was the historic interior. Apparently refitted in 1933, this is a wonderful place, split into three small bars by woodern screens which were about 6ft high, complete with low doors for staff and customers to squeeze through.

The dark wood, the dark lighting and the dark night suited this pub wonderfully - when we finally got a table, most of the light was coming from a small night-light candle! We sat in the Private Bar - the smallest of the three divided rooms - sandwiched in the corner of the building between the Sherry Bar and the larger Campden Bar, which itself was split into smaller areas by walls. All three bars were marked on their respective street entrances by nice glass wondows.

We being hungry, we took the oppertunity to sample the rather nice food. The menu was simple dishes, but effectively done. Catherine had pasta, Jacko, Wild Boar sausages, and I had some lovely lamb chops (the mashed potato was a little dry though.)

The atmosphere was plesent and jovial. Service was a little slow, but this was mainly due to the fact it was a busy night. What was not slow was glass collection - put down an even close to empty glass and it would be gone in a flash.

Sadly there were only two handpulls and the choice of beers was a little unimaginative - Adnams or Pride. When you have only two pumps, filling them both with beers that you can get everywhere in London seems a bit of a waste, and it would have been nice to see one of the pumps used a little more creatively. I say that especially as man who isn't a big fan of Adnams Best!

All in all, this was one hell of a pub and we certainly will be back. Apparently the beer garden is lovely (although we couldn't see how you got to it.) Take my advice and sit in the Private Bar if you can - it's the smallest of the three and has a nice snuggy feel that is really relaxing, even if you are sitting on a bolt-upright, woodern pew-like seat with no padding!

Address:

114 Campden Hill Road, Notting Hill, W8 7AR.

Beers on handpull during visit:

Adnams Best, Fullers London Pride.

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