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32 Downshire Hill
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”.
32 Downshire Hill
Hampstead Heath Station 453m
Hampstead Tube Station 612m
Screen on the Hill 632m
New End Theatre 668m
Mon-Sat 11am-11pm (Sat -10.30pm) Sun 12N-10.30pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 2
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
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
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.
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