How have I never reviewed the Punch & Judy. Literally the first bar in London I have ever drank in. My first London pub experience feeling like a hundred years ago. Back when they sold Beemish Stout. Yum. No longer sold here sadly.
Recently coming back here on my last trip to London just reminded me of my first experiences of London when I would frequent here often.
I love the old feeling about this bar on the downstairs level and the upstairs balcony area overlooking Covent Garden.
I'll always be a fan of this pub!
We had our first meal here. A place that can't get even the fish and chip right. I guess we weren't so lucky when it comes to our first meal in London. The girl that took our order didn't really understand English (no offense). I asked for hot water and she thought I said wi-fi. Eh...ok lady. So I repeated, hot water. And she wasn't able to understand what that was. Never mind. She said they don't serve hot water or cold beer. My friend's beer was room temperature and no, it was not good.
Then she came back with the bill asking us to pay first. Ok...yea..that was kind of weird. So basically, we pay first before we get our food. Interesting.. btw, tips are included.
Anyway, this other lady passed by and I asked her for hot water. She immediately brought me water. O...kay...
If you are looking for good food and service, or perhaps a first decent meal in London, go to a difference place because there are a lot of other restaurants that actually deserve your visit.
Stopped by for fish and chips and not too bad. Crispy coating but fish itself was a bit boring but ok.
As I don't drink ale I can't comment on the bar selections.
Busy with tourists (like us!)
Only odd thing was you had to pay before you got the food!
I stumbled upon this place by chance. I didn't try the balcony view, but I did try the basement view. It had a distinctive look and feel to it. The candlelit tables gives an added romantice and cozy atmosphere to the whole experience.
I ordered the roast and it was delicious! The price might be a bit above average, but it's well worth it.
I recommend this place to anyone and specially to couples. I loved every bit of it.
I'm a very big fan of this place!
Spread across a few floors, this place always has an amazing atmosphere for a few drinks during the day or in the evening.
I've never eaten here but they serve a really nice selection of draft beers and bottled beers.
One of the big features is their balcony which has become quite famous as it gives you a front row seat to all the acts that frequently perform in front of the shoppers in Covent Garden.
A great spot in the summer...depending on the British sunshine!
My visit to Punch and Judy was short and sweet so we'll keep my review the same. I can't rate this place excellent or give it one star as my visit was brief and I've only ever been there once.
Before heading to Dishoom for dinner, both my husband and I were walking around Covent Garden people watching when we decided to hit a pub and have a drink before dinner. I have passed Punch and Judy a thousand times but have never gone in, but looking at the large group of people on the upstairs balcony enjoying the sunshine, I agreed to go upstairs at my husband's suggestion.
Punch and Judy is nothing special, but it's a nice place to get a drink, people watch, chat, and enjoy the view of Covent Garden performers. Grab a drink from the bar (we had a beer and a pimms) and step outside onto the balcony. Everybody minds their own business, people get rowdy and have a few laughs and call it a day. It's not the type of place I'd stay for a long period of time but one or two drinks before dinner under the sun is perfect. The upstairs area doesn't have a lot of seating but everybody is polite enough and you can enjoy your drink in a crowd. Decent place to grab a drink and in a pinch, I'd be back.
Stopped here while shopping, big surprise. Very friendly staff in this very popular place. Had the pulled pork nachos. It was weird that the chips that they used were dusted with flavoring like Doritos in the US. Not what I like or expect in a nacho. OK place to stop for a pint, but wouldn't be my first choice next time I'm in the area.
This place is super touristy, but if you're going to go near this part of town you have to expect that and embrace it.
If its a nice enough day out, get yourself a drink and the little balcony patio is a great place to gaze out across the square, maybe catch an entertaining street show (or the occasional desperate and everlasting, actionless sales pitch).
The bar service was quick, despite being busy, I didn't try the food, and I wouldn't make a night of it there, but Punch & Judy is definitely worth a daytime stopover if the weather is nice.
A tad pricey, but that comes with the turf.
The Punch & Judy has a nice beer garden downstairs (by the "Hola, Paella!" guys) that's a good hideaway for a relaxing pint amidst the chaos of Covent Garden.
Plus, there's solid tourist watching to be had above from those comfy cushions below.
The Punch & Judy is a two floor pub that undoubtedly got its name from the excellent viewing balcony that overlooks Covent Garden square which boasts many a Punch & Judy show in the summer. Actually, it's a good spot to watch the various magicians, comedians, and other buskers vying for the kindness of tourists to make their living.
Something to note: the top floor is 18+ and strictly enforced by the bar staff (yes they will ID you if in doubt) but on the plus side no crying children to worry about. The younger folk are welcome in the ground floor though which is set up more like a traditional pub/restaurant.
For hanging out in sun, the balcony can't be beat as it is in full sunshine for most of the day. The drinks on offer are pretty standard with your usual set of draft beers and bottled ciders. I would highlight that they have Crabbies as well as a couple Meantime options which does put it a notch above your typical pub.
As far as I could tell, there was no food on offer on the top floor but when you have the whole market to choose from, I'm sure you can find a place to eat beforehand.
All in all, an excellent choice for whiling away some time in the sun and they have a few large screen TVs if you want to catch the game or the latest horse race.
What else is there to say. Yes it's touristy. Yes it's crowded. But if you want a pint on a sunny day with some mates, this is a great place to be.
Get upstairs on the balcony, grab a drink and enjoy the street shows and good people watching below.
I HATE THIS PUB!
there are 3 pubs with balconies overlooking the Piazza and this is my least favourite.
Always very busy, staff are never particularly friendly (although its no wonder they are stressed out!)
The clientelle also seem to be a mix of braying suits and tourists each of barging past people to get to where they need.
Been a few times- every time has been disapointing. Avoid like the plague!
Although fo all you culture buffs, it is where Samuel Pepys observed the show and documented it in his diary.
The Punch and Judy is split up into two, separate levels.. or perhaps separate dimensions! Below, a coal cellar style cavern of brick walls, wooden supports for the ceilings and cobblestone floors have a series of tables and chairs, complete with candles and ambience to create an intimate mood of being back in the 1900's, chugging pints of ale to forget about a hard day in the factories.
Or you can go upstairs and sit on the balcony overlooking the outer Garden plaza, take in a few drinks and have a chat with some friends. I can honestly say that I would prefer to be downstairs, roughing it. Especially with the onset of winter! But in the meantime, make sure you visit this place because it's worth a visit. Both downstairs and upstairs welcome people of all ages and genders so don't hesitate or be put off by my analogy of the pub in the basement.
I had been here back in 2003. It is the same as I remember it. If you get a chance, read the pub history opposite the bar on the left as you first walk in on the lower level. We have the pulled pork natchos, which we thought would be something interesting to try. They were very good. Prices are reasonable for the area. Good balcony views if you can find space. We will be back.
Punch and Judy, the pub, not the puppet show, has two faces. First of all, the place is so great to look at. Great location, architecture, it's clean and it doesn't look dodgy. It's a place where tourists will come by hoping to get that symbolic first pint in London. Nice, two floors, the drinks can be a little steep in price but the ambiance makes up for it. You're in Covent Garden, on a balcony, drinking a lager, watching some magic show while tourists and locals alike are littering and loitering on the street. Nice, quintessential London, consumer experience.
Yet some days, once the final work whistle goes off and everyone is trying to catch that final pint before going home, the place can be a madhouse. Especially on the balcony, where it resembles a smelly rave at 2am in the morning in Ibiza or in the Californian desert. God help everyone that if in June, in 30 degree C/100 degree F heat, you come to this place and you're head deep in people and some fat bloke in a too small Arsenal shirt exclaims, "Who's cheese is this?" Then you know my friends of what the smelliest moment in my young history has been. I'd let the guy off the hook if he supported Chelsea.
Anyways, you get a little of everything as far as people go here. You're not getting all limey locals, nor rowdy Aussie tourists, or happy Americans. You meet all types here. I met a couple of Swedish girls here and they provided me with many memories to remember. But alas, the crowded environment, the lack of servers and the prices kind of make go to other pubs nearby. But give this place a try at one of the good times, preferably before 5pm.
I have a bit of a beef with Punch & Judy. On paper it's a stellar place: right in the heart of Covent Garden, with balconies overlooking the square, a good range of ales on tap, wines and food. Sure, in the Summer it always seems to be packed, but it's with the wrong crowd. And that's where I have the beef.
Due to the fact that it's in a heavily-populated tourist area of London, it attracts a varied clientele, and in turn is a bit generic. If you want to pop in, do it during the week, as on Friday or Saturday nights the place gets rammed with groups of drunken lads.
A decent pub in the heart of a touristy area. I'd been by a million times, but ended up stopping in while waiting to meet up with friends. The upstairs bar is pretty, but quite small. Downstairs, there is much more space, and food is available. I had soup and a drink. It was pricier than I'd expect, even for this part of London. But not terrible. Part of the Taylor Walker pub group. Good food. Very nice service. It was, however, a bit draughty in the side area where I was seated. Not as nice as it might've been on a cold January day.
Definitely a good place to meet up with friends if you're not on the lookout for anything special. I bet the balcony is great for people watching in the warm months!
Of course this place is a tourist trap.... it's right in the centre of Covent Garden!! Like, right there! And if you're wandering around, doing a bit of shopping (or browsing when you can't afford it) and you fancy a pint and can't be arsed to walk a little more for an equally tourist filled pub, then there's nothing wrong with this place.
It'll most likely by busy, but from my experiences I got served pretty sharpish, there's some good choice behind the bar and I got my pint.
The trick is, where ever you want to sit, try and find a table who will make eye contact with you and ask if you can sit with them! Make friends, get a good spot and enjoy your drink. Sorted!
I came here at the suggestion of a friend who lived here for a while.
Well, I didn't know that you don't get seated at a pub. Instead, you just grab a table yourself. So I waited like a dumbass for someone to notice and seat me. That never happened, so I ordered a beer and asked a waitress. Nice lady; she explained how stuff works over there...
Ambience: The atmosphere was chatty, dim, and ... homey. Loved the dark woodsy, bricky, candlelit, feel to this pub. I suppose some may think it's like others, but frankly the decor made an impression on me. Sturdy. Cozy.
I really loved the steak pie I had here; it was quite tender and hearty. My friend enjoyed the fish and chips. We both enjoyed the beer. The prices were average.
I suppose this pub a touristy one, considering that it's located in Covent Garden, but I enjoyed it and really it wasn't infested with tourists like myself.
Service was a bit elusive, but it got busy so it was understandable.
I have made a visit to this pub almost every time I've been to London, which is quite a few... I'm certain I'll be back.
PS - Eat downstairs, party it up, upstairs. Quite a view from the balcony. Give it a go.
PPS - if you hang out outside on the patio, you can catch a show in the piazza. Especially ones involving a man, saran wrap, and chains. You know, if you like that kinda thing.
A busy pub/bar every night of the week. Consisting of two levels - ground level being the traditional English pub with an array of ales with an outdoor courtyard - ideal for a quiet after work or weekend drink. Upstairs is a busy and often very packed bar with a delightful view over Covent Garden square often showcasing a magician or busker to entertain the crowds! Very popular destination for after work with popular music and the added option of a large balcony where people can enjoy the view and exciting buzz of energy.
Fantastic location for transport, clubs and restaurants and a great focal point when meeting with friends. Highly recommended for those who enjoy busy bars and don't mind queuing for a drink occasionally.
This is one of my favorite pubs in Covent Garden for the view from the terrace. Jed has covered the atmosphere of the place succinctly, so I can only comment that the sun and magic shows in the piazza make for an excellent weekend drink! Its pretty tough to get place upstairs in good weather, but if so, you won't be disappointed by the old fashioned traditional pub feel downstairs, which is a great contrast to the open and airy market.
This is a great place to head to after work as well, but can get pretty busy as its a popular destination. Its not that great for groups, as you could be waiting for quite a while to find a place to sit! The people are pretty friendly and welcoming, a diverse and entertaining crowd typical of London.
I went for lunch and wasn't exactly impressed. The food is underwhelming, the atmosphere isn't anything to write home about and the service is meh.
I was a tourist and this place felt touristy to me.
This was one of the first pubs I visited after landing in London. A friend brought me out here as one of the nice pubs near our hotel. Had a blast walking round Covent Garden trying to find it. Yeah it's a pub... yes it's in a popular tourist area... what would you expect from such a place.
I didn't get any food, so cannot comment on that, but the bartender was quick enough to serve me up a beer and a cider for my friend. The upstairs area did get a little crowded, but not tight enough to where you'd be spillin drinks on people as you pass by. As one of my first stops in town, it was a fun experience. I can imagine if the weather's nice, the outside area on top would get incredibly packed.
A great pub that's always full up on the weekends, with people spreading through the underground bar and spilling out to the balcony above. I had a Sunday roast there one early evening and it was just nice. Good service, friendly atmosphere, and a cool place to hang out.
The meal prices were decent, as with the drinks, but I can't wait to go one evening in summer when it warms up again and you can watch the street entertainers from your safe perch upstairs on the balcony.
This is in a super location but this also makes it quite busy, especially with tourists. The upstairs bar and balcony tend to be packed on the weekend with people looking over at the street performers.
I went here this weekend for a drink and have to say the music they were playing was probably some of the worst I have ever heard! We sat downstairs as there is more space, but it's nicer to get a table in the central basement space which is lighter and more airy.
£7 for two drinks so could be worse but wouldn't say it's that cheap either. Head for the nearby side roads and you'll find something just as nice but with a bit more space to move.
The Punch and Judy is the perfect pub to have a nice Drink and Rest from walking around Covent garden. In the summer I can think of nowhere better than the balcony over looking the street entertainers with I cold drink in hand.
This used to be my Pub of chose for having lunch in London with its simple but nice menu, sadly the food is not as good as it was a few years ago.
The staff are always friendly and are quick to serve despite how busy the pub gets ( which is very in the weekend).
The pub is spared over several levels which might pose difficulties to people with disabilities or for meeting people. There is also not much sitting inside, coupled with the flagstone flooring is not gentle on the feet.
Overall this is a nice pub to go to for a quick drink, but not for making a night of it.
Prime location, great balcony views of street artists.
I had to order food in the basement bar and eat it there also, they wouldn't deliver or even let me take the meal back upstairs.
The bar is rather busy even on a weekday, goodness knows what it is like on a weekend.
Location, location, location. That's what the Punch and Judy has got. And location, and location and ........ errrrr ........ that's it.
If you stuck this place in a council estate it would be getting two star reviews. The booze is average, the staff average and the menu average. Add to that the fact that street artists from the piaza opposite come upstairs and mug the drinkers for "donations" and that's about it.
It's somewhere to drink if you find yourself thirsty in Covent Garden, but there is no reason I can think of to make a bee-line there if you are any where else.
Good little place to visit if your passing.
Great to people watch from the 1st floor in summer and nice basement to retreat to in the winter.
Not too cheap but not that pricey either!
Came here at the suggestion of a co-worker, who is from London.
Great location in Covent Garden, granted, it's smack in the middle of a very touristy place.
This place has two floors - a balconied area up top and a patio area downstairs. My friend and I opted for the downstairs patio area, as it was quite busy upstairs (surprise).
Ordered a sampler of meat pies and pasties. Yummy! Typical London pub food for a pretty fair price, in my opinion.
All in all, a lovely place to stop by (when it's not TOO crowded).
Great pub for the summer - it does get really busy. Has a balcony upstairs which looks over covent garden square - we stood there watching the street performer and having a drink which was really nice.
There is a indoor space upstairs and downstairs - both of which have seating area's again and peak times it does get busy.
You can walk here from Covent Garden Station, walk down towards the square - take a right then its at the end above the cornish pasty shop.
Its a must for the experience of Covent Garden.
This pub is one of many in the exciting Covent Garden area. It has a great location over looking the performance area of the market where you can watch the street acts carry out all of their weird and wonderful stunts. However the balcony is probably the only positive of this pub which offers a beautiful location to enjoy the atmosphere of Covent Garden but If I were you I would head back down stairs, walk 30 yards and go upstairs to The Cove just next door above the pasty shop.
This bar has a frat party feel to it, as it should. Large balcony plus warm sunny day plus beer always make the boys come running. Combine that with tourists and you have yourself a potential disaster. I recommend getting a beer in hand as fast as possible, squeeze your way to the front of the balcony, and focus all of your attention to the street artists below. Follow that recipe and you should be able to enjoy yourself while avoiding drink spillage and oversized egos.
I love this place! Go upstairs! It is like a little island in the middle of this very touristy place. Standing on the balcony and looking down on all the bustle in and around Covent Garden is magic. I always come here and I use this place as meeting point as well.
Pass. This is a tourist trap. The food is mediocre, about what you would think food in the UK tastes like, which by the way is a rumor. London has some great places to eat. So don't settle for this restaurant. In fact, when I was there (Covent Garden) right outside the pub was a street vendor selling Spanish Paella, which was amazing. Hopefully they are still there if you visit. We had an aweful experience with a waitress and the manager was somewhat helpful, but I have a feeling that's just Londoners for ya. FYI many pubs are owned by large companies (i.e. Brinker or Darden here in the states), so the pub might look different but the menu is the same. This particular pub is owned by Taylor Walker aka Spirit Pub Company. Keep an eye out for the Taylor Walker logo so you don't keep eating the same crappy cuisine all over London.
Don't eat here. I had the mature cheddar sarny with branny pickle. A six year old could have done a better job. Grated cheese? The bread was stale. Awful
A great place to go for after work drinks, it being right in the heart of Covent Garden. It has a nice balcony too, so if it's not pouring with rain you can sip your drinks while looking out over the square and watch the street performers. The drink prices are what you'd expect to pay in the centre of london, and there's always a good crowd in there.
A bog standard pub, with your usual array of beers. As others have said, you're paying for the location, which, in fairness, is good. The balcony is a great place to stand and watch the street performers and soak up the atmosphere. Watch out in the men's toilets if it's busy. They're absolutely tiny!
What can you say about this place? Drinks aren't too expensive and it enjoys one of the best spots for people who want to watch the world go by and if they get bored with that then hopefully they can catch the street performers below which is always good for a laugh. It's not the most well decorated place and always looks a little shabby and it's not the sort of place i have ever been in bad weather as the only real reason to go there is to stand on the terrace outside. If you are looking for a good central bar without getting too ripped off and don't mind a bit of a squeeze when it gets busy then it's well worth a visit.
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