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The Golden Heart

Bars and pubs, Pubs Spitalfields
5 out of 5 stars
2 out of 5 stars
(31user reviews)
goldenh _HH_08.jpg
© Nerida Howard

Time Out says

5 out of 5 stars

Landlady Sandra Esquilant, regular Tracey Emin and Lady Di are given equal profile on the walls of this traditional Truman boozer, a hangout for the arty crowd and Shoreditch flotsam and jetsam. Sandra, whose 30-year marriage to Dennis is celebrated in neon outside (one of several Emin creations here), provides bar-counter cheer.

A sign proclaiming ‘Stand Still and Rot’ is another interesting touch, but your eyes will be most drawn to the penny-chew-coloured jukebox featuring images of the Statue of Liberty. On our latest visit, the CD pages were left open at ‘Chas & Dave’s Street Party’ and Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way, The Best of’ which seemed to characterise the place nicely.

Running in bright red on the walls are the beer names of yesteryear (Eagle Ale, Eagle Stout, and so on); these days it’s Adnams and Leffe on draught, and affordable, well-kept wines.



Address: 110 Commercial Street
E1 6LZ
Transport: Tube: Liverpool Street tube/rail or Shoreditch High Street rail
Opening hours: Open 11am-11pm Mon-Sat; noon-10.30pm Sun
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Users say (31)

2 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

2.1 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:7
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:20
2 people listening
4 of 4 found helpful

Sad for what I am about to write as the pub itself is charming........but here it goes. Do not go to this pub! There are plenty of others around Commercial St, like the Ten Bells, which will give you a friendly service and you will not open yourself to the bad manners and verbal abuse from the land lady and her daughter behind the bar. Last Thursday my wife and I decided to pop-in to the Golden Heart, as we had done on a casual basis since 2007, on our way to Brick Lane. Things began very civilised, chatting to other drinkers and even exchanging rounds of drinks and generally minding our own business. It was at this point the landlady approach my wife and called her Mary Poppins (which was funny as she was wearing a spotted dress) but then she followed that up by calling her “A RAG HEAD” as she was also wearing a head scarf – the term Rag Head is derogatory and in addition for all she knew my wife could have had some serious illness to contend with (thankfully she hasn’t but put another person in that situation who has!). The verbal abuse continued and my wife became distraught and wanted to leave but I had to deal with the matter first. On approaching the landlady I was then accused of taking cocaine and other substances and was immediately barred from the pub and pushed out in to the street - By the way I am a 43 year old family man. Outside I was trying to console my wife and it was at this point the daughter began taking mobile phone photos of us with a smile on her face!! We spent all weekend agonising over what went wrong and then, curious, looked up some reviews and to our aghast we saw many many other similar experiences had been written about the landlady and her daughter. The brewery should do something about her but they won’t! I repeat, do not go to this pub – I won’t be…………..i’m barred anyway!

3 of 3 found helpful

If you like a nice slice of bad service and snotty attitude with your pint then this is the pub for you. One particular member of the bar staff - a woman in her late 30s who unfortunately looked like she was in charge, has the nastiest manner with customers I've come across in a long time. No warm welcome here. And don't expect to get your money back when the jukebox doesn't work. AND you will be forced to listen to an awful Rod Stewart album on repeat. Will not be going back.

3 of 3 found helpful

Disappointment - I had hoped for Sandra after having heard about her but got 'greeted' by her drunk and disorderly daughter...I would not wish her company upon anyone. Made to feel unwelcome. Would not recommend.

2 of 2 found helpful

I used to work in this god-forsaken hell hole. Staff aren't allowed tips, the landlady makes staff put them in a jar which she keeps, those that don't comply get fired. 

She kicks out staff and customers who she 'doesn't like the look of'. Try telling a perfectly nice customer, "I'm sorry I can't serve you any more drinks, the landlady has told me not to." She fires staff weekly and refuses to pay them what they are owed. I walked after a couple months and I was one of the longest standing members of staff, and the only one that she hadn't reduced to tears for some reason or another.

If she's in a good mood she's a great deal of fun, hula-hooping on the bar and starting the whole bar singing. Unfortunately those times are extremely rare, you're more likely to find her abusing everyone in the vicinity, letting her ancient dog crap all over the place, and accusing the whole world of conspiring against her. 

Mad as a box of frogs. 

2 of 2 found helpful


Lady lady called Sandra (70yr old East End vile hag) is a daylight robber and one of the rudest people I've ever met.

I was charged £3 for a half pint and queried the price as I believed I was being ripped off. When I asked for the receipt I was told I couldn't have one. I asked for a price list and she said she didn't have one, I asked for a manager and they were out. After arguing I have a right as a consumer for a proof of purchase she reluctantly gave me a receipt. I told her she had ripped me off as I saw her serve another person and charge £4.50 for a pint of Peroni.

She rudely told me if you don't stop I'll call the police and told me I was barred. I questioned that she was barring me for a receipt and she said 'yes'.

She would not give me a refund even though every establishment should have their prices displayed by law.

I called the Truman brewery whilst on site and attempted to make a complaint but the brewery were not interested and even said they had not business links to the pub (when they clearly did).

AVOID AVOID and guess what AVOID

I hope it gets closed down as it deserves too.

2 of 2 found helpful

I visited the Golden Heart with my husband last week. The drinks were overpriced and when I was finally presented with my glass of wine I saw at the bottom of my wine glass a large piece of plastic. When it up to one of the bar girls they swiftly took away the glass apologising profusely. Their boss, (a vile woman in her late 60s with lipstick stuck to her teeth) then got involved. She asked me to leave the pub (even though i had just paid) and that she didn't want customers like myself around. My husband then came out of the toilet and she had a fit - suggesting we just wanted to use the toilet. She came from behind the bar (pushing away her staff as she went) and proceeded to pinch my husband by the shoulders and push him out of the bar.. My husband and myself have never ever been harassed in such an appalling way. It was a waste of my money and I barely uttered a word. A place full of character with a wealth of history is being slowly run down by this woman.

2 of 2 found helpful

Echoing the comments below, Rudest woman behind the bar (older 'lady' - heavily 'made up' - wouldn't give her name) - We entered yesterday around 5pm intending to have a drink - I walked around the bar to see what Real Ales were on offer as my husband availed himself of the facilities. I was amazed when the Barmaid - who was in the middle of serving another couple demanded to know whether we were going to order drinks - I said that I was going to have a Brandy & Coke and that my Husband was a real Ale enthusiast - I didn't know what he wanted, but that he would order for us when he returned - She then went mad and accused me of coming out of the Market and using their toilets (the Market, by the way, has it's own toilets!) - I explained that this wasn't the case. By this time I was both annoyed and embarrased - I asked whether She was the Licensee - She referred to herself as Manager and said that we could not have a drink and that we had to get out! Quite annoyed, still, that She treated us in this way - We are a middle aged couple - smartly dressed - certainly not in any way deserving of that attitude - Would heartily recommend that anyone using the Market did go into this Pub to use the toilets - As to have a drink here is certainly not conducive to a good time! We will be writing to the Brewery to complain as her treatment of prospective customers is nothing short of disgusting.

1 of 1 found helpful

Nice bar in a great location, BUT be ready to wait 20 minutes for a drink as the bar staff never look at who has been there longest. Not sure if that's part of their "training" *ahem* but if there are more than three people at the bar, expect the four ladies to serve you at the last possible moment and reluctantly at that.

1 of 1 found helpful

The landlady is quite simply the rudest person I have met. She refused to serve me because I asked her, very politely, a question when her back was turned.

1 of 1 found helpful

DO NOT GO TO THIS BAR, the rudest manager and owner who think they are bigger than the queen and have no time for customers. I was having a pint and a girl came to hand her CV in and the owner humiliated her by shouting "CAN YOU SPEAK ENGLISH". terribly rude and unnecessary

1 of 1 found helpful

DO NOT GO HERE. The owners are incredibly rude, quite possibly the rudest people I have come across. Not worth time or money. The bar staff are also treated horrifically by the owners as well which I do not agree with. STAY AWAY FROM THIS PLACE.

1 of 1 found helpful

Don't go to this pub, the landlady is the rudest person I've ever come across. I won't be returning until her terrible attitude has driven her out of business and it's under new management.

1 of 1 found helpful

not worth your time or money. we came in for a night cap and my drink tasted a bit strange (all four people i was with agreed) so i asked for a new drink and the landlady gave me my money back instead of offering to remedy the situation. she tried the drink and said there was something wrong with me. i sat back down, and she sent someone from "ireland" over with a different glass to say there was nothing wrong with the irish drink. and proceeded to say no one had ever complained about the drinks at her pub in 25 years.... to make matters worse, she then proceeded to walk around the pub to complain about us for complaining about the drink. it's a charming enough space, but there's no reason to go unless you enjoy being treated horribly.

1 of 1 found helpful

The only saving grace for this bar is Clive. He ponces around like a steambag picking up glasses and doesn't even get paid. He'll follow you into the toilet to chat while you urinate (always having an admiring glance at whats on show and not discriminating at all). Fair play Clive - scouse Tim loves you xxx

1 of 1 found helpful

An absolutely terrible experience giving me a very poor view of East London. The land lady is quite simply awful, rude and abusive. She grabbed my arm and pushed me out of the way to get to my group of friends, she kicked us out for something we hadn't done (still confused about what it was we had supposedly done) then proceeded to tell me how ugly I was (all because I had asked her not to grab my arm). She is a nasty piece of work and the drinks are over priced. Do not drink here, there are plenty of nicer pubs nearby.

1 of 1 found helpful

Lovely pub with a lot of character but the landlady doesn't want you here - Shame !

1 of 1 found helpful

Don't drink here, the staff are just rude! I was waiting for my friend in this pub on Sunday. Waiting until they arrived to decide whether a bottle of wine would be necessary or just a glass would do. In the meantime I was told to get out of the pub as I obviously had no intention of buying a drink and was just going to use the loo. I didn't need the loo at all, was intending to buy several drinks. Needless to say, I went to a pub down the street that was much more friendly and now have no intention of ever buying a drink here. Rude!

The landlady Sandra is an Eastend character who loves a bit of banter. Never boring when she is around, loosen up folks under the brusque exterior beats a heart of gold. Salt of the earth.  

As others have said, Rudest bar staff I have ever come across. Avoid this place!

Quite surprised by the comments below, I've been coming to the Golden Heart for a few months now and always had a good experience. The place isn't that special but is a good late-night place when all the other pubs around are closing at 11pm and that this one gets quite empty.

Always visit the Golden Heart when I am in London, and are always welcomed by Sandra. Love the place!

You'll rarely see the same barmaid twice....they all leave because of the vile Landlady and her jumped-up daughter.

Ugly people the pair of them. If you're 'foreign' , best stay away.

If you want to meet Tracey Emin of a night, see the landlady lauding it over the place like the batty despot she is, then go for it. She clearly plays up her mental side to propagate the "crazy" image of the pub, to keep people coming despite the terrible service and terrible drinks. Her daughter, who also works there, is no better (who, I would say, is far nastier and far less amusing). If you don't mind being insulted - go ahead! It's a real shame that the owners can't be a little nicer to their staff and their customers - I have heard all sorts in there! The poor staff (often newbies - as the turnover here is HUGE) are often left with the whole pub to themselves on their first day when the landlady or the daughter decide to go out.

thank heaven for a decent boozer in too trendy spitalfields..Ive read the reviews and think some of the newbies need to develop a sense of humour. We were told to get out - told the coach for Brighton was waiting outside so clear off - and asked if we were paying for somebody else's drink ...but it was all banter. Roll with it!

0 of 1 found helpful

The Golden Heart Pub at Spitalfields is a great East End Pub, all the simple pleasures can be found, with a landlady like no other, attentive bar staff, comfy chairs, immaculately clean and friendly (if you behave respectfully). LOVE IT !!!

0 of 1 found helpful

Sandra the landlady of the Golden Heart is the best, I am always welcomed and come away having had a great time. Thank you for being just the way you are xxx

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