The Nags Head is Covent Garden tube station's very own waiting room and, depending on how you like your pubs, that may be all it's good for.
Standing adjacent to Covent Garden tube, at first glance the Nags Head seems like the perfect place to wait for a friend or pop into to make plans for the night ahead. It gets the thumbs up as its glowing orange bulbs, red carpet and sheltered booths make it seem like a very warm and welcoming place to be. On closer inspection, however, the seats are hardly nailed to the wooden booths that support them, the carpet has a veil of grey over its original red and the orange lights sicken the mind after a while, with the consumption of more drinks the only way to blot the glare.
If you can disregard this then you'll see that the layout isn't all bad - you can escape from the McMillan branded mirrors that are everywhere by slipping into the secluded booths that run around the back of the bar or head for the socially arranged seats by the windows to treat your eyes to a little premium sunlight. The size is large enough to accommodate large groups but not too big that there are ever gaping spaces to deaden the ever so strange atmosphere.
The crowd is a strange one at The Nags Head. Students sit and discuss priorities of finding cash rich jobs and joining them are the generations of day-trippers from seaside towns who are comfortably nestling into the first place that tempted them in. At the same time, local Covent Garden workers confront the scene with bemusement at the characters that the pub draws in, before letting go and ordering a pint of whatever. Its location means there is always a good amount of people fussing in and out but it is mostly the uncultured - those who know are sat happily drinking in one of Covent Garden's better pubs.
In such a popular tourist trap it would be wrong for the pub to attempt to be an ambassador for our cuisine and instead it goes for something different - dull. The prices are fairly high for a pub, although not considering the area. Fish and chips, burger and chips and lasagne are all £7.95. Maybe people will be more impressed with the light bites side of things where you can sample such snacks as potato skins for quite a steep £4.95, but then the skins are the best bit.
When it comes to the drinks on offer the anomaly of The Nags Head swells into view - there is a very good range. After serving potato skins and making a killing from selling the scooped out potato inner on a quaint little mash stall on Covent Garden Market, the proprietors have afforded the luxury of having a large number of beers behind the bar. The gold pumps pour Guinness, Strongbow, Stella, Kronenbourg, Heineken, Becks Vier and Munich's Franziskaner Weissbier. The spirits are the norm but seem to be dominated by the three bottle strong army of Bombay Sapphires sparkling down. While a wine list is extremely hard to find, the drink itself can be purchased by the glass or by the bottle. The pub also pumps McMillan ales, and there's even Fosters.
The Last Word
If you tried all of the different beers and ales on tap then you probably wouldn't remember the Nags Head in the morning. Unfortunately, there’s not much worth remembering, anyway.