I don't always like drinking in Soho (too many crowds, not enough good pubs) but I do like the John Snow.
222 South Ealing Road, London W5 4RL
“Welcome to The Ealing Park Tavern, hidden away in the South Ealing suburbs. The wood, brick and whitewash exterior, reminiscent of something from a Harry Potter movie, holds many a tale and now we are looking to put our own stamp in the gastro pub...” more...
25 reviews of The John Snow in English
Sam Smiths pubs serve great beer, all of their own making, (Alpine Beer, with a Swiss stereotypical gentleman on the pump in front of The Matterhorn or somewhere, ‘brewed in Tadcaster’). And even a Guiness-like stout. There are a few in the west end. This one is small, quaint-looking, and an after work drinking venue really for those in nearby media industries. We stopped going though, because it seemed understaffed and too busy, so was very slow to be served. Our group had a credit card behind the bar, but it was still very slow going. Generally the management and staff are on the short tempered side of things here, and humourless, we moved elsewhere to enjoy a better atmoshere. It comes as no surprise then, to see that the landlord famously threw a young gay couple out for kissing! Given that this is almost slap, bang in the centre of the media industry and the gay centre of the capital, which has had a long history of tolerance and acceptance from all the restaurants and bars that capitalise greatly from the additional visitors both gay and otherwise, locally and from abroad, it seems the landlord is behind with the times, and given the recession somewhat foolish to place his personal bigotry and hate above the success of his business. He is after all running a small, average boozer, with it’s fair share of rowdiness, drunkeness and uncleanliness, not an extremist church.
To be honest? I love this pub. I've ducked in here with lovers before and had a lovely time without issue, holding hands, laughing, and yes, making out.
But man, John Snow pub. Homophobia? Really? For chrissakes, I've been by this place and seen people puking on the pavement. That's gross and offensive. Gay men making out? That's awesome. Plus, you're on the edge of Soho. Seriously, STFU.
Well this place has fallen mightily in my estimations! Won't drink here again.
A Sam Smith’s pub. Looks quite nice, the drinks are cheap but lack variety. The pub is quite spacious with an upstairs and downstairs area, but still manages to be packed, due to the aforementioned prices. There is not much else to say really.
I could mention John Snow. He was a teeototaller, but I won’t hold that against him because he did research the cholera epidemic, which was just about the only interesting thing we studied in GCSE history (when it comes to history I always found - industries grow….transport gets faster = boring…….people dying horribly=interesting)
John Snow is one of those great West End pubs where all the alcohol is locally sourced from a good old English brewery, the décor has stayed the same for the last 100 years and there is always a lively buzz of atmosphere – the only way to drink in West! The drinks are fairly cheap too (two pints and two shots for £12!) which makes staying longer and drinking freely a lot easier on the wallet.
Just off Carnaby Street, this place gets just as busy as you would expect and unless you can literally sprint down there on the dot of 5 I highly recommend you avoid this place for a leisurely Friday drink-up unless you don’t mind standing as close to people as you would at a crowded gig because it gets ridiculously busy. During the week isn’t quite so busy and usually you can get a table within 15 minutes which isn’t bad considering the location.
Comment 1 comment on this review
sarahdrinkwater, 10 March 2011:
A nice pub in Soho with very reasonably priced drink as it's a Sammy Smith's pub. It's gets really busy in the evening when all the meeeddjja community are finishing work, when it's near impossible to get a seat, but a great place none the less. When the weather is nice everyone piles out onto the street which creates a nice atmosphere.
Yes it's another Sammy Smiths! But one of my favourites, no hold on, it is my favourite. Where do I start? Well, it's got all the usual Sammy Smith's beverages at the normal cheap prices, it has such character too consequently attracting large numbers for what is a realtively small and cosy pub. Fortunately the crowding doesn't ruin the atmosphere, if anything it adds to it. There's always some corner to be found with drinks in hand or a space at the bar. Looking around the room it's evident that this is a pub to meet friends for catch ups and gossips. The crowd it attracts, although on the younger side of life, aren't the rowdy variety and therefore volume control isn't an issue, so these conversations are easily had without shouting or 'what'ing! On the other hand, with such a warm atmosphere, you wouldn't feel out of place nipping in for a drink by yourself or waiting for your punctually challenged friends whilst finishing a cross word (yes, I'm speaking from experience)! Recently learning it had come under new management I was naturally a bit concerned, but after popping in at the end of last week I was pleasantly surprised to find a very similar atmosphere. But it has changed. A young Australian responsible.
Best seat in the house? Has to be upstairs!
I ordered a pint of bitter and a pint of lager. I got £13 change from a £20 note. I thought it was strange and returned to my table to discuss the exchange with my friends. We concluded that I must have been short changed. I went back (granted this was 20 minutes after I ordered but I would like to think someone would recognise someone they saw within the last 20 minutes) to ask the barmaid very politely about what happened. She got very defensive and quite rude and said that she didn't remember me and seemed surprised that I couldn't remember what I had ordered. I told her that I could remember but that I had merely asked for a bitter and lager and that she had snatched my note without even telling me what the price was. To this she actually said the following with a straight face: "If someone orders a 'bitter' or 'lager' without saying which one, we just serve them the premium (i.e. more expensive) because it tastes nicer".
I'd never been further into this place than the two steps between the side door and the little bit of the bar nearest it until last Friday night. The John Snow is seemingly purveyor of the finest beer jackets this side of Newcastle - every time I go past there are vast swathes of people spilling onto the kerb, road and opposite pavements - regardless of the time of day, night or year.
I've spent many a happy day doing just this in times gone by but never really gone far enough inside to properly appreciate the strange little half-walls and fenced off bits. It doesn't do much for standing room; deffo wouldn't pass the TfL Maximising Passenger Numbers test. Never mind though - there's loads more room upstairs. If you turn up after 5.30 though, you're going to need to exercise your Space Generating Elbows technique alongside your Being Friendly In Order To Take The Spare Space On That Table Over There trick. Once you're comfortable in here though, you're all set - convival atmos, cheap drinks, plenty of people to meet.
A very agreeable little Sam Smith’s pub. Went in here on friday night with some work people and had a blast. Word of warning - Alpine Lager give you massive hangovers. Ok, it’s cheap (about £1.60 a pint) but don’t say i didn’t warn you! I like it how you have to duck and weave around this bar. Lots of low ceilings and wooden tables. A proper, cheap english boozer right in the middle of town.
Much as the other reviewers have noted The John Snow is a strange affair of a pub.
Internally it’s layout is almost unworkable. Little space to manageably stand, a dividing screen stuck half way across the bar (that means trips to the loo involve leaving and reentering through the back or a two foot squat under the barrier), and other such awkwardness mean this should be a very lame beast of a pub and yet there is something quite charming about the place.
The beer is from the Samuel Smith’s brewery meaning a decent cheap pint is always on hand. I’m a big fan of the Alpine lager (it used to be called Ayingerbrau) which is a pretty crisp tasting lager.
You can have a good drink to start an evening, but if you want a seat get here early or you’ll be forced to kerb cling for most of the night.
The John Snow is a Samual Smiths pub which means you know you are going to find inexpensive, excellent quality pints. This pub can be very busy with office workers at lunchtime and after work for the above reasons, but it’s not normally difficult to find a nice corner for you and your mates at other times such as the weekend. I love the little nooks and crannies in this place, it’s quite easy to hide away from people you don’t really want to see!
If you ask nicely and want to drink outside during the summer, the bar staff will give you a plastic glass and you can puff away on your cancer sticks to your heart’s discontent!
Come here to enjoy incredibly cheap Sam Smiths booze in a cosy little boozer positioned between Carnaby Street and Wardour Street. The Sam Smiths stout is really smooth and creamy, it just beats Guinness in my book, and the Alpine ale is really refreshing and crisp. This place is always totally packed when I’ve been which testifies to it’s greatness, drinking from skiffs on the pavement is the order of the day unless you get there before the masses. A Wagamamas is a short trot down Lexington Street which is another reason to drink here. Reports of the chalk line drawn on the footpath to keep drinkers off the road are not exaggerated, however, simply skip across the road from John Snows and enjoy unlimited pavement space! Problem solved.
Sam Smith’s pub = reasonably priced drinks in central London in a beautiful building.
One of my favourite pubs in this area because the architecture is so old and eccentric and quirky. I love having to duck under posts and through little doorways to get into another drinking snug.
It’s pretty well located too.
Comment 2 comments on this review
Randolph, 29 October 2008:
Any information about the name of this pub? None of the reviews tells us about its origin.
Phil N, 22 February 2011:
John Snow was physician who lived in the Soho area during the 19th Century and is credited as the first person to discover that Cholera (a common and incurable disease at the time) was a water-borne illness. He worked this out by plotting cases onto a local map during the Broad Street epidemic of 1854 and noticed that they were all clustered around the water pump on what is now Broadwick Street. The pump is still there - just a few paces away from the pub, in fact.
Apparently, the many folks who drank the beer brewed locally with water drawn from the same pump did not get cholera - another example of its amazing curative properties ;)
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