Two star - A pub interior of outstanding national historic interest
Listed Status: II22 Holly Mount
Tel: (020) 7435 2892
Real Ale: Yes
Lunchtime Meals: Yes
Evening Meals: Yes
Nearby Station: West Hampstead Thameslink
Station Distance: 1400m
Public Transport: Near Railway Station (West Hampstead Thameslink) and Bus Stop
View on: Whatpub
The Holly Bush is an historic and popular Hampstead pub with many original features.
This appealing and secluded hilltop Victorian pub evolved from the former stables of Romney’s House, which still stands to the north. They were adapted in 1807 to provide catering facilities for the Hampstead Assembly Rooms, based at the house. In the mid-19th century, this became the pub as we know it today. There has been a good deal of alteration over the years with major extensions at the back and repositioning of old features such as etched glass panels, but the character of the front parts is a delight.
A distinctive canopy hood with a wooden pelmet runs along the front of the pub and shelters the main entrance. From the small lobby within, a door marked “ Bar” on the right is now defunct; entry is now via the larger central lobby, which was opened up many years ago. Prior to this work, a hatch to the servery was in use, situated in a passageway to the rear. This is still visible but long disused.
The right hand room was formerly divided by a fairly rudimentary partition but only the fragment attached to the counter is left (the remainder was relocated to a rear dining room in 2014). A contiguous glazed counter top baffle has been moved to the far end of the counter. On the right is a tiny snug with full height matchboard panelling; it’s unclear from when this dates. The glorious oval glass Benskins Brewery advertisement is a prominent feature. The simply panelled bar counter and the bar-back with its decorative coving are survivors from Victorian days. The bar-back has embossed glazing and four wooden Corinthian columns with delicately chased patterning. Unusually, the lower shelving still remains.
On the left side of the pub is a wonderfully atmospheric room announced in the window glass as a Coffee Room, which no doubt harks back to the days of the Assembly Rooms. This is entered via two doorways (one a later addition) leading off the central lobby. The room has baffles to the seats and an ornate iron fire surround.
The Holly Bush is a well known and popular Hampstead pub. There has been a good deal of alteration over the years with major extensions at the back and repositioning of old features such as etched glass but the character of the front parts is a delight. The simply panelled bar counter and the coved bar-back are survivors from Victorian days. The two outside front doors are clear evidence of separate drinking areas inside and until 2014 there was a run of low screenwork and a baffle attached to the counter which had already seen removal of the doors. Now there is only a tiny snug on the right-hand part which has full-height matchboard panelling. However, the low screen, with its tiny doorway for cleaners, has been retained and can be found in the rear dining room. The short glazed screen originally on top of the bar counter towards the centre of the room has been moved to the right hand end. On the left is a room described in the window glass as a coffee room which is entered by two doorways (one modern) leading off the main bar. This was no doubt for more refined customers who did not want to consume alcohol. This room has baffles to the seats which have recently been re-upholstered and an ornate iron fire surround inserted