So traditional - complete with ubiquitous ugly pub carpet – it’s almost contrived, the Barley Mow benefits from its location close to Victoria station.
Located between Victoria Station and the Houses of Parliament, Barley Mow is a nicely presented pub. Pretty foliage outside and a few large picnic tables make it appear inviting upon approach and the demure black and white frontage fits in well with the surrounding area. Upon entering, you’ll find a simple, traditional pub albeit a little try hard in a ‘look at me, I’m traditional I am’ way. A curved large bar satisfies the punters with plenty of draught pumps and gleaming glassware overhanging the bar on little shelf units. Otherwise, your usual mix of high stools and wooden tables and chairs are complemented by a couple of comfortable leather sofas. The space is airy and light with lots of windows and white walls and ceilings. A truly ugly ‘retro’ red carpet finishes off the look. Upstairs is a large function room available for hire.
Tourists, people travelling to and from Victoria Station and local suits make up the bulk of the clientele at the Barley Mow with a skew towards male customers. Lunchtimes and after work hours are the peak times although tourists trickle in and out throughout the day. Although not dull, the atmosphere here isn’t exactly upbeat - a fact that’s appreciated if you want to avoid the more raucous after work bars in favour of a quiet drink and a chat with friends or colleagues. Scrap that on match days when the big screen has a direct effect on the atmosphere. ‘Ref!’.
A popular lunchtime spot, Barley Mow does a good selection of sandwiches served on white or brown farmhouse loaf priced between £3.75 and £5, which is particularly good value for the area and covers a wide range of fillings from tuna and cucumber to grilled steak and onion. Alternatively, the main courses are exceptionally well priced with a sirloin steak costing just £10.95 or dishes like fish and chips or a leek quiche coming in between £7 and £8, making it one of the most cost effective lunchtime spots in Victoria.
The Barley Mow prides itself on its selection of constantly changing cask-conditioned ales, and they certainly have a lot of draught pumps. The lagers are pretty run of the mill, though. For a traditional pub the wine list is pretty good with a strong choice of new and old world wines covering a variety of grapes and regions all of which are well described on the menu to help aid your choice. And again, prices are more than reasonable with most bottles priced under £15. There are even a few sparkling bottles for those office workers not too hard hit by the recession.
The Last Word
A decently priced pub, the Barley Mow is trying too hard to be traditional and instead comes across as a little soulless.