London – The Harp

 

This pub in Covent Garden is sufficiently notable to have its own Wikipedia page, primarily as it is one of the few pubs which has won national CAMRA pub of the year. Formerly the Welsh Harp, the premises have been licensed since at least the late eighteenth century, but became particularly well known when Binnie Walsh owned the premises. Fuller’s purchased the pub in 2014, but have sensibly stayed out of the way to ensure that the premises can be run in the style of a freehouse.

The beer choice was extensive and well balanced, with a range of beer styles available. The service was prompt, efficient and unusually friendly for such a central and busy location. The pub was busy, but this seems to be a common issue, although such a well run pub charging reasonable prices is inevitably going to be a crowded one in a city such as this.

Pump clips showing the range of beers which have previously been sold here.

The interior decoration, where it can be seen through the hub of people, is quirky and different.

There are nearly no negative TripAdvisor reviews, other than the usual ridiculous ones. This is a favourite:

“Does not allow even one small sleeping infant. Didn’t want to forfeit space to paying clients even though the place was empty. Disappointing”

It’s almost as though a busy pub with highly limited amounts of space is an ideal place for a small sleeping infant…..

Another review seems more justified when complaining about a manager, with the pub’s reply being:

“I’m sorry to hear this news but very interested by your comments and I believe I might know of whom out of the management team you are referring to. If I’m correct in my assumption, then you will be pleased to know that he is moving on to pastures new at the end of this week.”

Certainly honest.

And just to show how bloody useless TripAdvisor is as any sort of useful resource, here’s another of the few negative reviews for the pub:

“Went with the family stopping by the harp on our way to Niagara Falls. The idea was to experience some Irish foods since this is our heritage. We were very disappointed with the food. Our group ordered fish & chips (very very greasy), meatloaf, Shepard pie- both of which had a very bland yet strange taste to them, a cheeseburger( completely bland and dried out”

This review was meant to be for the Irish Harp pub at 245 King Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake in Canada. Easy mistake to make…..

All in all, absolutely lovely, something entirely unexpected in the heart of Covent Garden. It is still winning awards, not just from the CAMRA, winning the 2019 Evening Standard London pub of the year. Inevitably given all of this, the pub is deservedly in the Good Beer Guide.