The Freemason's Arms

Bars and pubs, Gastropubs Hampstead
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Venue name: The Freemason's Arms
Address: 32 Downshire Hill
Hampstead Heath
Transport: Hampstead Heath rail
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Average User Rating

3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:0
  • 4 star:5
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:2
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One of the best pub gardens in London, this place is just idyllic to sit in on a sunny day. Only trouble is getting a seat as it's so popular! 

This time, it was colder and we sat inside - not nearly as nice - and more of a restaurant focus now than a comfy drinking place. However the range of drinks were good, the space comfy enough and I'll definitely drink there if I am in the area, but I won't make a special trip. 


This is the perfect spot on a summers day. There is a large garden out back, however you can only drink out here (and not eat) - therefore I have taken one star off my review rating. The food is very good, especially for vegetarians. On a Sunday they offer a vegetarian roast and a veggie fish and chips (with halloumi instead of fish!). They also have a non-acoholic Kopparberg cider, which I was a fan of. 

Try to book a table in the conservatory section of the restaurant. Either way need to book in advance for weekend lunch.  

Sitting alongside Hampstead Heath this pub literally has it all. Great food, a beautiful garden, lovely views of the heath, food selection of booze, quiet corners and bustling bar areas. plus you might spot the odd Hampstead celebrity along the way. Just leave them to there well earned white wine spritzer, eh?


I've been to this pub 3 times now - once for a drink, and twice for a meal. The setting is beautiful, and quite different to other pubs in the area. There is a large beer garden out the back, fabulous for catching some of the sun's rays in the afternoon. The interior restaurant and bar area are light, spacious, and decorated in good taste, resulting in a more sophisticated feel than your average pub.

There is a relatively long and interesting wine list, and the food menu is similarly varied with some interesting options. The chicken, ham hock, wild mushroom and Madeira pie was delicious on my first visit. The pan-fried potato gnocchi was well-presented and with balanced flavours, although not a stand out dish. The king prawn, crab and chorizo linguine was a little disappointing, particularly in presentation, and the sauce a bit dry. All 3 desserts (warm chocolate brownie, tarte aux pommes, and salted caramel chocolate pot) looked beautiful but the flavours were disappointing and rather bland.

However, what really lets this place down is the service. On all three times I have visited, the bar staff have come across as being disinterested and lazy. The same question asked of various wait staff is often met with a different response each time, resulting in the feel that no one who works there knows what is going on, and most of them don't seem to care. There also seem to be rules that change depending on the day - on one visit, we weren't allowed to order food outside before 6pm, when arriving later on our next visit, we were told no food was served outside after 8pm. When I attempted to order dessert at 10.00pm from one staff member I was told the kitchen was closed (even for pudding), however the next person I spoke to said it was open.

I do really want to like this pub, as it has a lot going for it and is in a great part of London, but for now I've decided it's one for drinks only.

Really great pub, love the vibe here and in the perfect location next to the Heath. Only one problem is you can't eat outside in the beer garden which is a shame when it's the majority of the space. If you do venture inside to sample the menu however it's sure to impress. 

Quality and service appears to have dropped significantly. This was a pub with a good reputation for decent food. It appears this is no longer the case. We went as a table for 4. All 4 of us ordered a starter and the roast for mains. As the starters arrived we were told there were no roasts for anyone (really annoying given they made you pay for it when your ordered - even though they must have known they had run out long ago). Forced to re-order mains. Burgers cannot be served anything but Well Done (really do not understand this in modern times). No other red meat options on the menu. One of the table order sea bass with samphire. When it arrived, we could not see any samphire, so sent it back. Dish arrived back looking the same "the samphire is mixed into the vegetables". Sorry - we know what samphire is and there was none in there. Sent it back again. Arrived back with 3 strands of samphire on top. Sent it back again. Told by the manager that "corporate" sets the recipe and they were only supposed to put 5 GRAMS of samphire on each plate. Simply false advertising to call the dish "with samphire". Stay away. Poor service (forgot to bring us water despite asking three times, we had to go looking through drawers for knives and forks even though had asked for those as well so we could actually eat the starters that were served to us) and food that did arrive was average and a small serve given the cost of the dish. Feels like what was a great pub has lost its way. Wait for it to change hands again to someone who really cares about food and service.

Went there last weekend (my second time ever) and was disappointed with food and service. We ordered food at the bar and in all waited 50minutes for the mains to arrive with no attention from staff at any point. The £7 starter altough tasty was tiny, well overpriced for what it is. Soup came with a small piece of ciabatta, which is definitely not artisan bread as it says in the menu. When I mentioned this to a member of staff who was collecting the plates he said 'sorry', he didn't even look like he was indeed as he swiftly took the plates and went away - not an answer one would expect from a gastro pub where there are a number of good competitors in the area. Shame as it's a lovely place but I don't think I will be eating there anymore.

Went down to this pub over the weekend with the hot weather as i heard they have a great beer garden. Had a fantastic time with my friends but the bar was absolutely slammed and they looked a little understaffed as i could see managers(i assume) running around with sweat dripping off them trying to make sure things were working and running smoothly. Did take a while to get to the bar but i got served fast enough and the food was with us within 30 mins which seeing as i couldnt see an empty table anywhere is quite impressive. Pity they dont have their downstairs bar open not sure if this is normal or not or just due to lack of staff.