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De Hems, London

Posted on 02. Aug, 2011 by in Pubs

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De Hems, London

De Hems is a Nicholson’s-owned Dutch Café Bar located in the centre of London near both Chinatown and Piccadilly Circus.

Brief History

Located on the small Macclesfield Street at the northern entrance to Chinatown, there has been a pub on this site since around 1685 when the Horse and Dolphin coaching inn was built. The inn survived until 1890 when it was demolished and replaced with a new pub called the Macclesfield. The name of the pub survives in the nearby Horse and Dolphin Yard.

Early in the 1900s, a retired Dutch merchant seaman named Mr De Hem bought the pub and converted it into an oyster bar. At that time oysters where extremely popular in London and De Hem decorated the walls of the pub with the shells of the oysters consumed. Originally placed on the walls downstairs, the 300,000 or so shells were transferred upstairs to what became the Shell Room and then in the 1950s all were removed.

The pub took the name De Hems in 1959 and in the 1980s it became the Dutch themed bar that it still is today.

Location and Interior

De Hems still looks very much like a traditional pub and the Dutch elements are in the form of the beers, branded Dutch beer mirrors and a framed football top above the bar.

The pub is spread over two levels with the downstairs room consisting of a large room, long bar and mainly high tables. Upstairs is another bar and more seating for dining. There is limited seating outside the front of the pub on Macclesfield Street.

The pub is located between the northern gate of Chinatown and Shaftesbury Avenue. It’s probably the best pub in the immediate vicinity although take a short walk north and there are more pubs in Soho.

The Beer

I have only visited De Hems a few times with the first visit being in 2009 or 2010. Back then I recall the pub serving a good selection of Dutch and Belgian beers including all three Maredsous beers – Blonde (6), Brune (8) and Tripel (10).

On my last visit in June 2011, the Maredsous had gone and the beers on tap were a lot more mainstream such as Lindeboom, Grolsch, Heineken, Hoegaarden, Franziskaner, Fruili and Leffe.

More Photos of De Hems

Venue Location

De Hems

11 Macclesfield Street



Tel: 020 7437 2494

(Twitter: @awv)

Beer Taster, Pub Attendee, Photo Taker

Robert Gale likes beer, pubs and beer festivals. He also likes to take photos of beer, pubs and beer festivals. Most weekends of the year you can find him travelling around the UK (and sometimes beyond) photographing and reviewing good quality pubs and beer festivals. He also has a day job in the form of a web developer for Ozum.

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