The Wells Tavern

Truly a wonderful Hampstead pub. It couldn't be in a more beautiful setting. All the staff are terrific, and Stuart is a fabulous "mine host". The Wells has lovely food, and there is a choice of eating informally in the pub, or upstairs in the traditional dining room.   It's always very welcoming and supportive of the community, and besides being a place for quiet relaxation, it's a hub for socialising, playing chess and board games, holding parties, and nearby locals regard it as a home from home.  It's a total delight in the summer when the outdoor seats are packed.  We are so lucky.

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  • John Graham
    commented 2015-06-08 15:49:58 +0100
    Vivienne Ivry requested Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum to post the following note of appreciation on its pub comments page:

    “I would like to add a word of praise to all at The Wells for their unfailing kindness and consideration to my very elderly and disabled mother. Until her recent death at almost a hundred, I frequently took her there for lunch – in fact we went there for her last outing, less than forty-eight hours before she died. You might think that a busy gastro pub, with plenty of well-known regulars, wouldn’t want to be bothered with an old lady in a wheelchair, But everyone was always very welcoming, helping us to get in and out by means of a movable ramp , moving tables and chairs in advance to accommodate the wheelchair, and making her feel special by giving her a proper linen napkin even downstairs. If we sat outside on the pavement in the afternoon for a cup of tea someone would always bring it out to us and arrange an extra chair for a tray. Life in a wheelchair is far from easy especially in Hampstead where there are hills and steps everywhere, and the management and staff at The Wells deserves unstinting praise for going out of their way to help ease the situation.

    Vivienne Ivry,
  • Philip Matthews
    commented 2015-05-26 14:48:51 +0100
    • Cultural value:
    o The premises hosts wedding, funeral and christening receptions and family celebrations of birthdays and religious holidays.
    o The pub offers a traditional Sunday roast each week, bringing families from the area into one dining room for a re-creation of the traditional family Sunday lunch.
    o The premises are in a well-visited and very popular location in the heart of one of London’s most quintessential villages. It is just minutes away from Hampstead’s world-famous heath.
    o Its core product satisfies the large demand for a social hub in this area for use during lunch, early evening, peak social hours and late evening from those who live in, work from or visit Hampstead, its heath, high street and cultural attractions.
    • Recreational value:
    o The premises have an al fresco open space at its front, which is used by local people.
    o The premises have a child-friendly policy and are a destination for local families, including those with dogs. The pub has an access-all-areas policy for dogs and families, unlike any other Hampstead pub to our knowledge.
    o The premises, by its character, location, design and disabled access caters for a different audience and provides a different offering to its competitors. Camden’s planning appeal decision relating to the Golden lion PH (Appeal Ref: APP/X5210/A/13/2199667) includes the statement; “Public houses tend to have their own identity”. It is as important to have a variety of pub styles available to a community, as it is to have a variety of shops, property agents and recreational service providers. The owner of The Duke of Hamilton has confirmed that the viability of his wet-led pub nearby is being challenged and is typical of this type of pub throughout the UK. Thousands of UK public houses made the change from wet-led to food-led before during and after the smoking ban came into effect forming the basis for the successful 21st century pub model. This is adopted by the big pubcos, smaller groups such as Geronimo inns and independents like The Old White Bear, The Wells Tavern and The Horseshoe.
    o The catchment area of the premises extends beyond the immediate surrounds and it has become a destination for visitors from within Camden and its neighbouring boroughs, further afield in the UK and from abroad.
    o It is evident to all residents and patrons of all of Hampstead’s last remaining pubs that demand outstrips supply in Hampstead as The Wells Tavern, The Horseshoe and The Flask are regularly fully booked up.
    o Hampstead is predominantly residential, but is also host to schools, shops, and commerce and to the Royal Free Hospital. There is a significant daytime working population in the area and in 2006 Hampstead had a population of c. 11,000 residents.
    • Community value:
    o The premises fulfils many functions for local residents, schools and businesses, especially those that are run from individual’s homes nearby including meetings of local interest groups, school parents and residents that cannot be provided elsewhere.
    o The premises are considered by its patrons to be very female friendly and provide a standing area for informal socialization. On dark nights female or vulnerable patrons would have to walk much further to enjoy the social contact that is to be celebrated and in some cases represents the only chance of daily human contact. The existence of well-lit, attractive, busy, managed premises in this location provides comfort and security to the neighbourhood and its residents. Its absence would make this space redundant as a social hub.
    o There are the less tangible aspects of pub life, which allow people to meet and interact in a convivial and safe atmosphere. In so doing, there is an opportunity for meetings between members of the community who might not otherwise come into contact with each other.
    o The pub provides small local businesses with essential amenity, without which they could not function effectively.
    o The pub is a member of The Hampstead NW3 Business Association. It contributes financially to the running costs of both the Christmas and summer street festivals each year and is a founding member of the Restaurant Week held for the first time in September 2014.
  • Caroline Mulvin
    commented 2015-05-26 14:32:56 +0100
    A real gem, the Wells is a wonderful oasis for both locals and visitors alike. Offering delicious food at reasonable prices, served by lovely welcoming staff in a relaxed atmosphere, the Wells is a great asset to the community. It is our home from home and always a treat, be it for lunch or dinner. We are so lucky to live only a few steps away ….
  • Paul Evans
    commented 2015-05-04 12:32:38 +0100
    It’s a great community asset, and for one reason or another it’s turned out to be the best restaurant in Hampstead – which has a dirth of high quality eating options. They also have televised rugby facilities, and they’ve maintained the pub facilities for a simple drinking option. The upstairs facilities allow for community groups to meet together. The al fresco facilities are fantastic in summer, and the pub willingly caters to dogs. It’s a real destination pub.
  • Janice Finch
    commented 2015-05-02 08:58:12 +0100
    The Wells is one of my favourite places. It is a beautiful building in an exquisite location. The food is excellent, there is always a great atmosphere and it is great to have the option of a more informal experience downstairs, or the more formal, yet very attractive dining rooms upstairs. Prices are comparatively reasonable too.
  • Helen Dudley
    commented 2015-04-25 21:57:04 +0100
    The Wells has been known to me for at least 30 years. It is a lovely building perfectly situated on the roads leading to the Heath in this particularly beautiful part of Hampstead. It is lovely to come back to after a walk on the Heath or if sitting out on the terrace on a summer evening and it is a cosy venue during the winter. The staff are a delight and help to give the pub its friendly and relaxed atmosphere. The food is excellent and reliable and ideal when entertaining friends. The spacing offers a diversity of sociable spaces or quiet corners. It is wonderful to have this pub to drop into and on one’s doorstep. The pub was established in 1848. What an asset to the village, we couldn’t be without it.
  • Elena Moynihan
    commented 2015-04-25 14:11:38 +0100
    It’s my closest local and I love it.
    We nearly lost it to developers about 10 years ago but luckily we fought it off and now it’s a great business. Great atmosphere, good food, lovely terrace; very popular !
  • Carissa Bub
    commented 2015-04-23 14:54:23 +0100
    The Wells is one of my most favourite evening hangouts in Hampstead. It is also my ‘local’. I have taken my guests there and always feel it’s an extension of my own home. Best hamburgers in London and great service.
  • Stephan Strobel
    commented 2015-04-23 10:41:39 +0100
    Having lived close to the Wells(Tavern) for over 30 years, I have to say the Wells has always been a place of communication, exchange of views and social gatherings. It is an extremely friendly place and ‘locals’ often acting as a source of knowledge for tourists or individuals not from this area. It is a place to meet and celebrate small and large events. It enhances the whole neighborhood and I could not imagine ‘a life without it’.
  • Linda Chung
    published this page in Pubs 2015-04-22 16:27:07 +0100