The Holly Bush
The Holly Bush is located in Hampstead which has developed and grown to become one of the most fashionable areas in London. This building was originally a stable block and became a tavern in the early 1800s. It has managed to retain its old fashioned qualities, worn oak flooring, wood panelling and original gas lamps hanging from the ceiling. The poetry society meet here once a week. Private parties of up to 50 guests can be catered for upon request.
- Real Ale
Provided by The Local Data Company
Excellent homely local
03/10/2009 by oogywawa
My visit to Hampstead was one of extreme contrasts and luckily I ended it on a high in The Holly Bush. Having earlier visited The Flask, which was a massive disappointment (see review) I hoped that a slog up a steepish hill to what resembled the heart of picturesque country village would reward my toil. The Holly Bush turned out to be everything that I had hoped for. A review once said the front bars had "a carefully cultivated air in its front rooms of having been left untouched since the days of sawdust" but I sensed no disingenuity in what was in front of me. There was the gentle murmur of contented drinkers and diners and the purveying air of relaxation and enjoyment. The food was good without being spectacular and relatively good value for money. The beer was very well kept and several pints of Mad Goose by Purity Brewing surreptitiously found their way down the gullet. The wine choice was good as my work colleague found to his cost the next morning! All in all this delightful old establishment justified its reputation on all counts and long may it continue to keep the well heeled of Hampstead contented.Report this
Too much fuss!
24/09/2009 by AlexWoods
Thoroughly fussy, pretentious and all just too much! The Holly Bush is very symptomatic of the whole restaurant-masquerading-as-boozer nonsense that is the "gastro-pub" phenomenon. You know I don't like gastro-pubs and this typifies the whole thing. It is, however, a lovely, lovely building. Very cosy, very comfortably and atmospheric, a veritable rabbit warren of nooks, crannies, back rooms, upstairses and the like. The main bar room is obviously "where it's at". Busy, buzzy, vibrant and packed. There was a decent selection of beer (I mean Beer, Nancy Boy) though nothing particularly out of the ordinary, and I did spy a large jar of pretty scrummy looking pork scratchings and pickled onions tucked among the bird feed that seems to pervade every high end watering hole. The menu is, as suggested, pretty decent, and I’ll admit, you wouldn’t get away with serving a sandwich in a restaurant for lunch. But nor, I’d hope, would you get away with the prices which seemed, to me, a trifle on the steep side. The specials menu was also very impressive but again not want I want to see in a pub. I don't like reserved tables in pubs, it seems to me contrary to the whole ethos of pubs. Similarly I don't like restaurant menus in pubs. I DO like dogs in pubs! That seems thoroughly in tune with what a pub should be! I also like charming and pleasant staff. At the Holly Bush there appeared to be an abundance of the former and a dearth of the later. There was also an annoyingly large and annoyingly loud group of annoyingly American Americans. I know this is quite clearly xenophobic... well not xenophobic... I just didn't appreciate my quite, afternoon pint being interrupted by the epic story of Like, y’know, how Janey is just like, toadally, y’know, not like then and she, like, toadlly blew them oud and she’s just, like, waddever, aboud it… So. That put me off my beer, and may have coloured my judgement. But everything else I have said still stands. The thing that I dislike most about this pub is that, despite everything I’ve said, it’s actually very nice. It’s set back from the main road in Hampstead, it’s spacious but cosy, the beer was very nice, the clientele (our Colonial cousins accepted) generally more pleasant than others we’d encountered in Hampstead, and it’s a very cosy almost romantic building. So I shall be back. Against my principals, contrary to my opinions but with a length of 2x4 down the sleeve of my jacket, in case of interruptions…. And even if you can’t agree with my musings, I hope you’ve enjoyed them.Report this