De Hems

Bars and pubs, Pubs Chinatown
3 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars
(12user reviews)

This famous old Dutch pub was once a refuge for homesick Dutch sailors, then later became a rallying point for the Dutch Resistance during World War II.

Dotted with retro beer ads and faux Dutch Masters, it now attracts punters savvy about their Benelux brews, with taps offering the likes of Hoegaarden, Lindeboom, Franziskaner, Früli and Leffe. The bottled options fill one of the venue’s natty menus: Kwak, Delirium Tremens and Chimay all come in their own logoed glasses, although the gift-wrapped Bacchus is pretty enough without.

The food menu mixes English and Dutch cuisines, along with the kind of bar snacks – bitterballen, loempia – you might find in any Amsterdam café.



Venue name: De Hems
Address: 11 Macclesfield Street
Opening hours: Open 10am-midnight Mon-Sat; noon-10.30pm Sun. Food served 10am-10pm Mon-Sat; noon-10pm Sun
Transport: Tube: Leicester Square/Piccadilly Circus
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Average User Rating

3.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:5
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:3
1 person listening

Being half Dutch I always like to pop into De Hems when I am in the area for a taste of my heritage. We recently took my mum (my Dutch parent) and she confirmed that the Dutch snacks on the menu were as good as the ones in Amsterdam. We can recommend the bitterballen, the kroketten, the kip satay and the kaasoufle.

Regarding drinks, there is a large variety of Belgian beers on offer, a couple of Dutch lagers and the usual array for spirits too. The Belgian ales range from 'usual' strengths up to a whopping 11.5% for the Half Moon Brewery 'quad' (a wonderful dark beer that is a joy to drink).

The pub also shows live sports and has an upstairs bar too which is useful when the main bar is a bit busier. 


As a non-beer drinker, I surprisingly loved this place. I love that it's really, really Dutch, on the edge of Chinatown and that they have 90 varieties of Belgain and Dutch beers including strawberry Belgian beer on tap. As as someone who doesn't really like beer, I am almost convinced by Belgian beers, which are fruity and zesty and much more alcoholic than regular beer. We had a bottle of Gulden Draak between two of us, which was suitably fruity and zesty and almost like a wine. At £8.50 it's not cheap, but it's 12% vol so £4.25 each isn't bad. In terms of atmosphere there isn't much to say other than it's like a normal pub where all you can really do is drink and yell at each other over the din of other people yelling at each other and drinking. If I'd stayed longer I would have gotten a Früli (the strawberry beer), just for the novelty factor. But there are 88 more varieties to choose from. Food-wise, try the Dutch spicy meatballs or croquettes, which are mashed and fried to heck and go well with a cold zesty drink.


Being from the Low Countries myself I am completely biased towards this place. A proper Dutch bar in the middle of Chinatown serving the best of Belgian beer culture, what is not to love? There are a few Dutch beers on tab as well (of course) but trust the Belgian in the room on this one and stay clear of them. They are not worthy of your tastebuds nor your money. On the food front however is where Dutch pub culture really shines. Go and get yourself a portion of 'Bitterballen' (fried meat balls) or 'vlammetjes' (spicy spring roll) and you understand why. Great place to go and watch the Euro and Worldcup games when Belgium or the Netherlands are playing. Not so much when they play against each other though!


This is a proper old English feeling pub. Ironic really, as it's supposed to be Dutch. The barmaid (Antionette) was jovial and chatty, remembering my name as we left, which was a touch.

I'm not a big fan of the football screens or high tables as they leave nowhere to rest your feet, a bit annoying if you're not 6'2". It's warm and welcoming inside though, with the usual West End prices so don't be too shocked when your cash goes quickly.

Tip: have longer legs, otherwise be prepared to dangle!

Went during the 2014 world cup when both Holland and Belgium played on the same day. Insane atmosphere, brillant people. Felt like I was in another country, simply amazing fun.


I like this place. It's pretty chilled out, although it does get pretty busy at times and isn't huge. They've got a great selection of beers and all of the staff are very knowledgeable. 

I'm from Holland and could not wait to visit a Dutch pub in London. I didn't expect a lot, since it is never really Dutch. Until I walked in and the waiters started to talk Dutch to me immediatly! A bit of a shock, but it was great. I could finally eat the snacks that I love so much, which aren't able to get anywhere else in London. The atmosphere was really good. Polite people. Drinks are good, also finally dutch/belgium ones that we can't get anywhere! And as I said, the food is great.

Great beers (Rochfort 8 and La Trappe),bitterballen and smiling staff.

A great pity that a once proper business has fallen so deep. Nothing to do with the Dutch in all but name. Nicholson's destroyed it. I wish I could run it. There is certainly a market for a real Dutch pub in London and there has been at least one since the 16th century. At the moment: not recommended.

I went here yesterday based on its appearance in TimeOut London 2012. It was completely average. The staff were nice enough but I certainly wouldn't go as far as to recommend this place.

The staff was rude and unprofessional. They also refused to serve a customer despite having valid ID. As an experienced bartender, I would not suggest coming here.

Great selection of beer, but let down by very rude and obnoxious staff who clearly have no clue what how to provide customer satisfaction. Not coming back.

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