The Thirsty Bear

62 Stamford Street, , London, SE1 9LX

  • the thirsty bear 2012
  • the thirsty bear 2012

SquareMeal Review of The Thirsty Bear

Long waits to order drinks might be a thing of the past if the concept behind The Thirsty Bear, London’s first self-service pub, takes off. The pub boasts beer taps on every table – all controlled by iPads. Customers set up a tab at the bar and are given a card to swipe at any of the tablets dotted around the pub. This activates the beer pumps on their table, as well as an on-screen display showing how much beer is being consumed. Drinkers can also use the iPad to order other drinks and food to their table, control the jukebox and surf the internet. The main bar is also staffed so that walk-ins who can’t get a table can still order a drink; in-the-know locals can escape the geekery in the downstairs snug.

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Nearby Tube/Rail Stations

Waterloo East Station 425m

Southwark Tube Station 434m


Address: 62 Stamford Street, , London SE1 9LX

Area: South Bank Borough etc

Opening times

Mon-Sat 12N-1am (Sun -12M)

Nearby Landmarks

OXO Tower 123m

National Theatre 410m


Telephone: 0207 928 5354


Cuisine: Pubs


Food & Drink: 6.9

Service: 7.3

Atmosphere: 5.3

Value: 6.4

Food & Drink: 0.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 1.0

Value: 0.0

Mark H. 18 October 2013

Every part of order was incorrect, but so hungry I ate it anyway. Burger was dry, overcooked and cold. No relish at all. Salad and bun were fine. Automated menu ordering system is a good idea but also makes it impossible to discuss menu options, so was forced to select something I didn't want. Very expensive meal for something I didn't order or want. Beer tap on table a very good idea. Would never go back.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 0.0

Value: 3.0

John M. 01 December 2012

It is a nice funky pub with good food, and the grizzly burger was really good. But I was dreadfully put off by a spat between the staff. Someone, presumably middle management was very rude to a member of his staff, and berated her about her service but she served us very well so I couldn't understand & found it very uncomfortable. I will not be returning.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Nick T. 22 October 2012

Have been to this pub twice now and have had such a great time. The food is unbelievable. They have the most amazing burger menu and if you can't choose from the menu then you can actually build your own burger with almost everythgin you can imagine. The have loads of different meats, chicken, veal, venison, beef, veggie etc… and hundreds of different toppings – my fave was the artichoke! The staff were very friendly, most of the time we just sat at our table and ordered drinks from the iPad in front of us. The drinks were with us in a couple of minutes. I am a person who loves a good cocktail.. they have 4 different types of mojitos! all delish and then there were pour your own pint things on each table! The place has a great atmosphere and is perfect for large parties! I would definitely go back! :)

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 1.0

Value: 1.0

Oishik B. 13 October 2012

I had a very disappointing experience at this place. I took 5 of my friends there for an evening. You can order music through an online jukebox through the ipad on the table, so I did order a few. The pub is so noisy that you can't hear any music at all other than the bases. At the end of the night I decided not to pay for the music that I ordered earlier. This apparently angered the manager hugely, and he started explaining that even though people say that customers are always right, he thinks they are never right (in other words, I am very wrong). I explained to him that I am not going to pay for a service (the music) that I didn't get. He ended up saying, then “I am not welcome here anymore”. Which means, he banned me from his pub, refusing to acknowledged the fact that he shouldn't have charged me for his ridiculous music speakers which no one can hear. He went ahead and asked me to write a complain or email to their place if I want to, but it will not help, because he is the General Manager! I brought to him a group of 6 people, and paid a total bill of over £200 and he failed to recognize that! Is this any way to do business?

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 3.0

BoatLady platinum reviewer 17 April 2012

Unfortunately The Thirsty Bear feels a bit in the middle of nowhere (it's a long, unattractive walk in a pair of heels from Waterloo!) and the atmosphere inside reflects this. There are large TV screens dotted around showing a football match and despite the fact that it's a Wednesday night, the only clientele seems to be a few old men who were probably coming here before all London pubs got gentrified or trendified and a couple of students who aren't going to be spending the bucks no doubt needed to recoup the set up costs of this innovative pub. The draw is the “pull your own pint” concept and modern techno gimmickery for ordering non-hop related items. But not every table has a working computer screen and even fewer tables have a beer pump so unless you are at one of those, you're just in a slightly random pub. Service (which you need for anything except the beer, and even the beer at the non-pump tables) is very friendly. We don't really get to sample the food because the kitchen shuts at 9pm (this is London, people!) although, as we beg, the chef kindly cooks up a couple of bowls of pub-worthy chips at 5 mins past the hour. Probably a great venue for groups of beer-drinking boys on a big night out (if you reserve a pump table) but that's it I'm afraid. It's a shame as the idea is fun and, in the same way places such as Yo Sushi opened our eyes to new food service concepts, had the potential to to add a new string to London's drinking bow. The owners should be lauded for trying something different but sadly I don't think this particular incarnation of the techno pub, thanks largely to the location, is going to be the one which heralds the future of the British pub. See the Fulham Wine Rooms for a really slick, professional version of the self-service concept.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

Nicola 20 February 2012

This place is brilliant fun! The only reason why I haven't given it full marks was because the kitchen closed at 8pm, on a Saturday. We were having such a good time we forgot about going somewhere for food. The novelty of pulling your own pint and watching the counter on the ipad going up in increments was worth it! It was very quiet (downstairs), I'm sure as it catches on the atmosphere will improve. Staff are friendly. Will definitely go back.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Michael M. 12 February 2012

The pub of the future! Where do I begin? Having heard great reviews, we decided to give it a go. It was fantactic! Great atmoshphere, funky technology and a new way to go to the pub without the hastle of standing at the bar, queuing or waiting to be served. You order your food and drinks on an iPad and they are brought over to you. There are 2 pumps on the table, lager and cider, where you help yourself and it is automatically added to your tab The burger simply has to be tried. Made from fillet and Sirloin steak and served perfectly pink. It was the best burger I've ever had! It was very well priced and served quickly. Couldnt recommend this place highyly enough!