Nov 09

THE FT TOP 25 PUBS OF THE 00s No 21: The Newton Arms

FT + Pumpkin Publog///9 comments • 1,024 views

newton armsHaving worked around Covent Garden from the middle of 2002 I’d walked past the Newton Arms loads of times (not least on the way to Parker Place where the original Club FreakyTrigger was held) , but always thought it looked a bit, y’know, Local. It looks like an Estate Pub without being attached to an Estate (although there are a surprisingly large number of people who live round there) and the cheap beer deals and garish posters in the window put me off.

The thing that finally got me through the door was horse-racing.

Having lived in Cheltenham for seven years the excitement of the Gold Cup meeting in March had stayed with me, but I’d never found a pub in London that was that bothered about it. I think it must have been 2007 that I realised that the Newton was a racing pub (and with proper RacingUK pictures at that), and had my lunch late on the Tuesday to catch the Champion Hurdle and scope the pub out. What I found was a very friendly and courteous welcome from immaculately dressed barmen (white shirt and tie at all times) and Really Quite A Lot Of Freemasons which, given the area, is hardly surprising (and I wouldn’t be surprised if they had a stake in the place to be honest). I resolved to return on the Friday, and have now spent the last three Gold Cup days there.

It really is a cracking afternoon pub though, even when I’ve been sat on my own watching the racing, it doesn’t feel like you’re being looked at as some kind of weirdo. The fact that the last of their lunchtime punters don’t leave ’til about half two and the first of the knocking-off-early ones arrive at three helps I think. The lunchtime food is top notch too, Chris and I shared an awesome plate of bacon and chips (i know this shuold be boiled potatoes, but we fancied chips) and parsley sauce last year and they keep a decent pint of Adnams.

It does seem to be slightly obsessed with high stools and ledges rather than proper tables, but it’s a long way from being a Vertical Drinking Establishment. I know it’s an awful cliché, but you do get a real mix of people in over the course of an (afternoon and) evening (we have spent some evenings there as well!). Anyway, if anyone’s looking for me on Gold Cup afternoon (19th March next year), you know where to find me.

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  1. 1

    IMPORTANT: there is a portrait on the wall of a steeplechase jockey which as you gaze at it SUDDENLY REVEALS THE FACE OF THE FOX-PEOPLE who run our world gazing back out at you

    all shall see it and despair

  2. 2
    Matt DC on 30 Nov 2009 #

    Also U&K is that this pub has a very large number of tellies and is therefore ideal for watching football in.

  3. 3
    Pete Baran on 30 Nov 2009 #

    I think we are overplaying its sports credentials here. It made this list because it is a remarkably social pub. Despite its ridiculous interior layout (though bespoke furniture is always a plus), and the constant presence of sport, there is something really, really friendly about the Newton. Perhaps it is the wonderfully professional bar staff, but it wins the rough looking vs good times ratio by a country mile, in an area we drink in often but with very few entries in this list.

  4. 4
    wichita lineman on 30 Nov 2009 #

    Good memories of watching the Horsham vs Swansea cup replay here a few years back – Horsham (my home town, by birth at least) taking the lead twice before getting swamped 6-2. Good estate pubs, relatively untouched, are so thin on the ground. This, the Shakespeare’s Head, anyone know any others?

  5. 5
    Pete on 30 Nov 2009 #

    Always had a very soft spot for the Lord Nelson near Southwark tube:
    This Fancyapint review does it no favours at all.


  6. 6
    Kat but logged out innit on 30 Nov 2009 #

    Must second the excellent staff here – efficient and polite.

  7. 7
    Ewan on 1 Dec 2009 #

    #5 It was refitted a few years back (and rather nicely, though I haven’t been for ages, so perhaps a return visit would be warranted? hint), so it’s not really untouched as per Mr lineman’s comment. However, the Newton is lovely so I can’t even get sniffy about the relatively limited range of ale (Courage Directors and Adnam’s right?); it has so much else right and those ales are actually pretty decent.

  8. 8
    porkypie on 16 Dec 2009 #

    that day watching the Gold cup this year was one of my favourite all-day drinks in a long time, love this pub.

    (why yes, I am going through all the pub reviews to date in no particular order)

  9. 9
    carsmilesteve on 21 Nov 2014 #


    The Newton is now boarded up and, apparently, sold for flats! a crying shame…

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