Ramp access at the entrance, no accessible toilet, manager hasn't trained staff properly
This review is especially helpful for those who have or use the following: Powerchair
Comptons of Soho celebrated its 30th birthday in 2016, having existed through some of the very worst years of the AIDS crisis. For 21 of those years there has been first the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act, and then the Equality Act of 2010. In view of all this, you'd think that the pub would long ago have thought things through and provided a fully accessible environment. But it wasn't until 2013 that a wheelchair ramp was made available to customers to get through the front door, and there is still no wheelchair accessible toilet. "Come in! Drink! and hold your bladder!" is how wheelchair users are welcomed here.
Transport & Parking
The nearest step-free station is Tottenham Court Road, which is just a few blocks away, and several bus routes will drop you near Cambridge Circus, which is a few hundred metres away. Beware: Tottenham Court Road Station is fully step-free to train only for the Northern Line. For the Central Line, it's step-free to the platform but not to the train - shame on TfL for this omission.
The doormen are normally quick to deploy the ramp if they see you - a good metal ramp which is fine for the large step into the pub. They are friendly and helpful. I've noticed that a bright yellow stripe has been added to edge of the step at the entrance, which is really good, full marks to whoever took the initiative to do that. All this is good, but the upstairs bar (which is half of the pub) is completely inaccessible to anyone who can't use the staircase. If there's no doorman on duty you can *attempt* to use the recently-introduced doorbell, see my photo, to alert the bar staff that you need the ramp to get in. However, the manager has neglected to train the bar staff properly, so many of them don't know what this bell means when they hear it. One of them confessed to me that for him it was just a meaningless 'ding-dong' and he had no idea what it meant. In addition, many of the bar staff have absolutely no idea about how to deploy the wheelchair ramp correctly, I have to explain it afresh to them every time I visit. Shame on the manager for this negligence!
Rating: Zero stars! No accessible toilet! It seems perverse to let wheelchair users in and then expect them to drink *and* hold their bladders! The normal toilets have had an infestation of small flies in the cubicles for several years. This is really revolting.
The staff are variable. Many of the barmen are really friendly (top marks to them!), some are sullen, and small minority are a bit off-hand. It can be quite difficult to get served at busy times, especially if you're sitting in a wheelchair and not, therefore, at eye level with them. I've noticed a small improvement, during 2017, in the overall friendliness of the bar staff, I hope this improvement continues. The manager MUST train his staff in disability awareness, in the storage location of the wheelchair ramp, in the correct way to deploy the wheelchair ramp, and in the meaning of the doorbell used when someone needs the ramp to gain access.
Anything else you wish to tell us?
I would not recommend this bar to wheelchair users. The problems and annoyances in getting access into the bar and the absence of an accessible toilet make it a very unattractive place to visit.