This review is of the JD Wetherspoon pub, "Liberty Bounds", which is situated opposite to the Tower of London. It has been open as a Wetherspoon's free house since March 1998.
I've been to this pub a number of times over the last few years, and have always found it a friendly location with a positive atmosphere. There is usually a high number of tourists given the location, and this is reflected in some signage which has been translated into a number of European languages to explain where and how to order food and drinks.
The pub is on two floors, with a bar on each floor, and the toilets on the first floor and a disabled toilet on the ground floor. It's not one of the largest pubs in their estate, but it's quite sizeable and it's usually possible to find a seat, or not have to wait too long for one. It can get quite busy in the early evenings after work, and in summer months with tourists.
The inside of the pub is warm and comfortable, there are carpeted floors and numerous little corners to sit, including either side of the fireplace upstairs, tucked away in an ideal location to people watch. There are also a number of different sized tables, including larger tables which can accommodate larger groups.
Without commenting too much on how Wetherspoons operate, effectively they are generally cheap and offer a very good range of real ales and a number of real ciders, as well as a good selection of lagers, spirits and bottled drinks. The food I find to be of a perfectly good quality, and there are frequently offers, such as Tuesday grill night (steak and a drink), Thursday curry club (curry and a pint) and the Sunday lunch (although served until 10pm) which includes a pint and a Sunday roast meal for around 7.79 pounds.
During my visits, I've found that there are usually around five to eight real ales on, and they are priced between around 2.50 and 2.80 pounds a pint. The staff are happy to top the beers up and to let customers sample the ales before purchase. Generally the staff are knowledgeable, but even those who aren't as clued up on real ale soon find out from a colleague, and I've found that the ales are well kept.
My experiences with this location are that the staff are positive and helpful, and the pub is generally well staffed so that queues aren't excessive. I've also noticed that staff are conversational and engaging with tourists, which adds to their experience following the visit to the Tower of London. A few months ago, just before the company got rid of their coffee loyalty card, a staff member at this pub told me and said they'd be willing to complete my part-filled loyalty cards for free so that I didn't waste my half filled cards. I thought that was a helpful gesture which meant a few free coffees.
When I've had food here, it has arrived quickly, usually taking around ten to fifteen minutes, and has always been as I expected. The menu is at London prices, so is a little more expensive than some Wetherspoons, but given the central location, I think it's still reasonable. It's very close to Tower Hill underground station and Tower Gateway DLR, and about a ten minute walk from London Liverpool Street train station, so if you're heading towards those locations, this is a handy stop-off point.
In terms of cleanliness, I have seen this location get a bit behind and see plates and empty glasses stack up, but I haven't found that this is the norm, and in general I've found the pub to be clean and tidy. The toilets are also large and well looked after, although inevitably after a heavy night of trading standards can fall a little.
Although I find that the chain has a superb selection of real ales and is a perfectly agreeable place to go for reasonably priced food and drink, it doesn't have the atmosphere that a few of the local pubs have, so it might be best to try a couple more nearby locations. I'm not personally keen on the nearby Minories (over-priced and staffing enthusiasm is a little varied in my experience) but the Dickens Inn and the Hung Drawn and Quartered are both worth trying.
The pub's full address is 15, Trinity Square, Tower Hill, London, EC3N 4AA and there is more information on the pub and the entire chain on the company's web-site at http://www.jdwetherspoon.co.uk/.
Overall, I'd recommend this pub for anyone that is nearby. I find it a pleasant stop for a 99p coffee, but most food and drink is reasonably priced, especially given the location.
Located right by the Tower of London and close to Tower Bridge, The Liberty Bounds is another excellent addition to Wetherspoon's fleet of pubs. Due to its location, tourists and visitors to London can indulge in copious amounts of booze before visiting historic landmarks of national pride.
The Liberty Bounds is right on the corner next to Tower Hill tube station and is split over two floors with a bar on both levels. The usual Wetherspoon décor is there - the same tables and chairs, the same carpet and pictures of the local area as it was.
I have been to The Liberty Bounds quite a number of times, but on our visit to London this weekend I thought we would give it another go. It was getting close to 10pm and I knew that it would be one of the only pubs in the area to still be serving food. We went upstairs as we entered the building, it was quite cold inside and loud. The main problem being some loud business types who were drinking copious amounts on an after work bender. Being a Friday many of the pubs were full of city types drinking quite a lot - in fact just around the corner in Leadenhall Market (where we discovered the entrance to Diagon Alley from Harry Potter) was like walking through Operation Panther in Afghanistan.
The service was fair, with quite a few beers 'off'. I settled for a John Smiths and we went for a chicken and chips and a chilli con carne. Both meals arrived quite quickly and were pretty rudimentary. No effort at all had gone into their presentation and looked like they had just been dumped on our plates. There were no people going around clearing empty glasses and the noise from downstairs was very loud and distracting. After finishing our meals we left quite quickly.
I have been to the Liberty Bounds before and it probably is much more inviting during the day or at weekends. As it was, we decided to eat right at the fag end of the day when the city workers were quite tanked up. I suppose we didn't really catch them at their best, but you would have thought a little quality control wouldn't have gone amiss.