The Freemasons Arms 1

32 Downshire Hill , London, NW3 1NT

  • Freemason s Arms
  • Freemason s Arms
  • Freemason s Arms
  • Freemason s Arms
  • Freemason s Arms
  • Freemasons 2007 - Freemasons interior French doors   dining
  • Freemason s Arms

SquareMeal Review of The Freemasons Arms

The Freemasons Arms’ “rare outside space” is surely a contender for the best beer garden north of the river – “especially in August when Hampstead is quiet”. Thankfully, the pub doesn’t rest on its alfresco laurels: indoors it’s stylishly urbane and the bar has a fine line-up of artisan libations. Cocktails are made with Black Cow vodka and Silent Pool gin, beers include Innis & Gunn Original, Siren Undercurrent and Leifmans Fruitesse, and there’s 25 per cent off sparkling wine and Champagne on Thursdays and Fridays. The kitchen keeps pace, delivering a creditable gastro menu ranging from mezze platters or tuna carpaccio with pickled ginger and soy dressing to crispy duck salad, lobster brioche rolls or ‘piccante pizzas’. Spit-roast chicken and plates of fish and chips also “go down well”, while baked New York cheesecake is a typical dessert. The only bugbear seems to be “variable service”.

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5.5

Food & Drink: 5.5

Service: 4.5

Atmosphere: 7.3

Value: 5.8

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

Lynn W. platinum reviewer 15 August 2015

In August when Hampstead is quiet, and its a sunny warm evening, there is nothing to beat a table at the front of this pub and having a drink and a bite to eat. Other times of the spring and summer it gets so packed it's just frustrating. We've been quite a few times, both by ourselves and with family and friends, eaten indoors and out, and service is still variable. Staff seem to change quite frequently - we don't recognise many when we return - and it can take an age for the food to arrive. The food is OK once it is there, the sharing plates seem a bit on the small side to actually share, while spit roast chicken, various salads, and the fish and chips go down well. There are some new dishes we haven't tried yet which look interesting, so we'll be back to check them out.

Food & Drink: 0.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 0.0

matthew m. 11 June 2012

Fantastically placed by The Heath – great garden , good range of beers …But ! The Freemasons has been plagued by awful management , rude staff and mediocre food for years – and remarkably seems to have gone downhill ! Foolishly we return every couple of years as it's the only place to go for a large family gathering in Hampstead and every time it simply gets worse ! The Restaurant remains packed at weekends but spectacularly fails to live up to its potential . Staff are rushed off their feet , chasing the kitchen for missing orders , returning inedible food and dealing with a constant flow of complaints. Everybody I know who lives in the area seems to be of the same opinion – drink here don't eat – having a cold beer in the garden when it's sunny is as good as it gets ( if you can get served ! )

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 5.0

Angela D. 27 February 2010

Autumn last I went to the Freemasons Arms for lunch . I had an excellent pasta dish, linguine with seafood and a creamy sauce. It was a lovely time. So for my birthday my partner took me there as he remembered that I liked their food. When I saw the menu, this dish was no longer available. I spoke to one of the (very busy!) staff and explained I'd been so looking forward to having it again. He said he would see what he could do. About 5 minutes later the chef (Michael) appeared and sat down and asked me what exactly it was I wanted, and he would russle it up for me. Believe me the pub was absolutely busy. There was a large private party in the back, the restaurant was full, and the bar was buzzing with people having lunch. They still found the time to give individual attention. The service was impeccable with a lovely friendly girl. The pasta when it came was terrific and just what I wanted, and I had the most fantastic lunch. These guys took a lot of trouble to look after not only me, but all the people round me who were having a great time. The atmosphere was terrific and all in all it was quite memorable. Really, really worth a trip to this pub/restaurant, if you want a happy relaxed atmosphere, a great meal and at a very reasonable price. The guys are so nice.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Sophie D. 20 September 2009

We first stumbled across this pub after walking on Hampstead Heath. The beer garden is lovely on a summer's day. We went back a few weeks later with a group of friends for lunch. Unfortuneately the weather was not kind and we retreated indoors. The dining area has a lovely open feel with the glass conservatory-style ceiling, however due to the size of our group (14) we could only find room in the Hampstead Room, which is colder and darker. We had a range of meals and everyone enjoyed theirs with the exception of myself and a friend who had ordered the mexican chicken salad. We didn't feel like this meal had as much thought or care as the other meals served at the table and ingredients seemed to be skimped on. Service was ok, though our dishes weren't cleared from the table – so we ended up changing tables. The bar-staff were lacking,with one staff member breaking a glass while polishing it and then proceeding to use the same teatowel to polish the next glass. Another refused to admit that there was dust in the glass we'd received some of our wine in, insisting it was sediment. I'll go here again to take advantage of the beer garden, but not for meals with such a large group.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 2.0

Coz K. 22 May 2009

This is a great pub in a superb location, with an excellent terrace & beer garden – but ruined by awful service. We went on a sunny saturday with friends. The beer garden & terrace were nicely buzzing, but the (very) few bar staff were completely overwhelmed, and didn't seem to care. One server was excellent, obviously working as a mixologist at night. The others couldn't run a tap. Due to the slow, lackadaisical service, the bar was 2 deep forcing a 20 minute wait. When I went back for a second round, many of the same people were still waiting. There was a blitz spirit with several strangers running jokes about growing beards, the beer going off before it could be poured and so-on. Later the next week I related the experience to friends in my local. They remembered being at the Feemasons several years ago and related the same story. So the management clearly haven't learned anything yet. Had this pub not been in leafy hampstead, where the clientelle are too polite to cause a scene, it would have failed long ago. Very poor.

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

charlotte s. bronze reviewer 29 September 2008

I've eaten lunch here a few times over the last few years and have never been disppointed. However, I had dinner here on saturday night with some friends and my main course of beer battered cod was absolutely appauling. Prepare to gag… Beneath the batter was hardly any cod, it was just soggy on the inside and I had a mouth full of fish scales!! My starter of pear & cheese tart was nice; usual gastro pub dish heavy in balsamic, but nice nonetheless. We shared a pud, a crumble, which was lovely. Service, although friendly, wasn't up to standard, as we had to remind them of our drinks order (the restaurant wasn't full at this stage either) and our plates were left in front of us for far too long. The waiter paid us most attention when he came begging for business cards for a prize draw as the staff compete with each other to collect the most. I won't visit there again if I can help it, purely because if the terrible fish dish!

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