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Hole in the Wall

Address: 5 Mepham St, London, SE1 8SQ
Telephone: 20 7928 6196

Hole in the Wall, Waterloo

Hole in the Wall, Waterloo

Famous, perhaps legendary, free house under the railway arches at Waterloo Station. There is no way that you’d ever consider this an attractive pub, but it serves its function as a station bar better than some – and certainly better than the Wellesley on the concourse at Waterloo station.

In through the front door of the Hole in the Wall and to the left is the cosy front bar. The seats are upholstered – not something you get in the larger and more spartan back bar. The domed ceiling vibrates and roars with every train that passes overhead on its way into or out of Charing Cross.

Back bar of the Hole in the Wall, Waterloo - note the arched ceiling, you're under the railway

Back bar of the Hole in the Wall, Waterloo – note the arched ceiling, you’re under the railway

There are 8 handpumps on the bar with a mainly mainstream selection of real ales and 1 real cider. The list on my last visit was:

  • Grene King – Abbot
  • Grene King – Speckled Hen
  • Ringwood – Best
  • Young’s – Best (Ordinary)
  • Hog’s Back – T.E.A.
  • Sharp’s – Doom Bar
  • Adnams – Bitter
  • Bounds – Scrumpy Cider
Old Young's marketing at the Hole in the Wall, Waterloo

Old Young’s marketing at the Hole in the Wall, Waterloo

Unfortunately, the delicious Pure Gold from Purity seems to have disappeaed for good now. The beer quality was average in my view, but the pub is in the Good Beer Guide so someone thinks they’re getting it right. The Hole in the Wall had some history as one of the ‘must visit’ real ale pubs in the 1980s. Unlike some others at that time the beer quality at the Hole was always good.

Food is available but I’ve not eaten here for many years. The meals look good though.

Some might think the music a bit intrusive, but I always like a britpop soundtrack.


Last visited: July 2010

Good Beer, Good Pubs rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

Other Pubs in the Waterloo Area

3 Responses to “Hole in the Wall”

  1. Bryan says:

    I have been drinking in the Hole in the Wall since long before the smoking ban.
    Always good atmosphere. Great drinking pub

  2. Girl About Town says:

    Sunday night seems to be the night to visit this speak-easy style pub. Great musicians warming the spirits of the friendly crowd with guitar, violin and banjo music. Feels like stepping into a totally undiscovered little piece of London.

  3. Steve says:

    I used to be the bar/cellarman at hitw. Ale quality seems to have gone down according to the reviews. Always a friendly busy pub. Live in bristol now but always visit when im in town.

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