I’ve been revisiting the last five surviving pubs in every edition of the Beer Guide, and wrote positively about the Buckingham Arms and Queen’s Head last year. On Saturday I took the chance to test standards in the Star Tavern in Belgravia.
The Star has a head start already as it’s such a beautiful approach to it through the mews, one of London’s finest. The sense of being a little bit lost is always a bonus.
Externally the pub is as attractive as ever, and at least one refurb in the 20 years since my first visit hasn’t changed the inside much either. It seems remarkably unfussy, comparing with other Fullers pubs (see Kew).
There is plenty to see in the pub, particularly in the upstairs room, but it never feels like a museum piece.
An immaculate bar sticks to the core range (I liked Chiswick but it was often average), a good thing. I enjoyed a Pride that started off a bit too butterscotch flavoured but settled down into a good suddy pint (NBSS 3). Not a patch on the ESB once decanted into the same glass (NBSS 4) though.
I’m sure a foreign visitor (Italian group on my visit) would write on Trip Advisor about foaming pints, and about the barmaid who was as friendly as you could hope, greeting on entry and departure. This is a side of London I rarely see.
Its a very relaxing atmosphere, with proper pubby seating and fresh flowers. There’s a bloke at the bar eating his sandwich and chips, which I like. Drinkers and diners mix, and the food is from a short, interesting menu.
On my visit the pub was nicely busy; I can’t imagine it packed with a standing crowd. Compared with my last visit ten years ago, the custom was a good deal younger, and with more females.
Like Youngs with the Buckingham, Fullers have done a superb job in maintaining all round standards here, particularly in making this feel so welcoming to drinkers.
Dorset’s Square & Compasses awaits at Easter, and the Roscoe Head, probably my favourite of the five, will get a visit on my trip to Liverpool later this month.