London Region

Campaign for Real Ale

Campaign for Real Ale

Capital Pubcheck Update 139

The aim of 'Capital Pubcheck' is to share information about the latest happenings on the London pub scene including new pub and bar openings, name changes, acquisitions, closures, notable changes to beer ranges etc. Cross references to CAMRA's various pub guides covering Greater London are also provided to enable easy updating.

Information is gathered from a variety of sources including London Drinker readers, individual CAMRA members and branch contacts, breweries, pub operators, landlords etc.

Of this Month's twelve brand new pubs or bars, only seven dispense real ale and five of these only offer one or two token draught beers amongst the keg beers and cocktail; shakers, despite being run by such erstwhile stalwarts of real ale as Eldridge Pope, Davy's and Fuller's. The latter has however opened a fine new 'Ale & Pie' in SW1 Westminster and Wetherspoon's have opened an attractive conversion in SE1 near Tower Bridge. An Adnams 'Free House' has opened in an ex-micro brewery pub nearby and Shepherd Neame have acquired another pub in Greenwich SE10. A pub leased by Young's in W14 near Olympia has reverted to Scottish & Newcastle. Finally, the former noted real outlet, the Malt & Hops at Kings Cross has succumbed to the latest "café-bar" genre with not a handpump in sight.

The numbers in brackets after each entry refer to the page number in the following guides: E - East London & City Beer Guide, 3rd edition; K - 'Real Ale Drinkers Guide to Kent Pubs', 8th edition; N - North London Beer Guide, 3rd edition; SE - South East London Pub Guide, 4th edition; 3SE - South East London Pub Guide, 3rd edition; SW - South West London Pub Guide, 2nd edition; W - Real Beer in West London; X - Essex Beer Guide, 8th edition.



EC1, CLERK & WELL, 33 Rosoman St. Reopened and renamed PACIFIC SPICE. Fuller: London Pride. Emphasis on food. Formerly THOMAS WETHERED. (E25, U79, U132, U136)

EC3, 1 LOMBARD STREET, 1 Lombard St. No real ale. A new bar and restaurant in former bank.

EC4, BAR EXCELLENCE, 2 Old Change Court, off Cannon St. Hardy: Country Bitter (£2.10), Royal Oak. Latest outlet for the Eldridge Pope chain. Opened late August in a new free standing oval shaped building complete with 'spire' in the centre of a small office square, built over an underground car park entrance. A stylish design with tinted plate glass windows and main entrance at the upper level with a disabled-friendly ramp. The interior is airy and cool with varnished light pine floors, turquoise pillars and raised seating area at rear. A lift and staircase lead down to the lower level bar with access to the square at the rear, similarly furnished with orange colours. Background music, air conditioning and spotlights on the ceiling. Emphasis on bottled beers, wines and food. The handpumps (unlike the fizz fonts) have no clips to identify the beers dispensed. Real ale is not always available and reportedly not always in the best of condition. Disabled WC, outdoor drinking. Opens 11-11 Mon-Fri only despite sign outside advertising Sat opening.

EC4, FINE LINE, 1 Bow Churchyard, off Cheapside. Fuller: London Pride (£2.40). Latest Fullers café-bar on ground floor of office building opened early September. Glass frontage and doors lead into cream painted bar with light pine flooring, bar top and furniture. `Abstract' coloured paintings. Emphasis on food and cocktails. Disabled WC. Opens 11-11 Mon-Fri only. EC4, HEELTAP & BUMPER, 2-6 Cannon St. Theakston: XB (£2.30). Large new bar under office block in former bank premises. Opened early September and part of the Davy's Free House chain. Furnished in similar style to nearly all contemporary openings with light pine flooring and furniture, scattered carpets etc. Two more discreet side rooms off with leather sofas. Large screen TV. Spiral staircase leads to an upstairs bar with similar decor. A total contrast to the normal Davy's style. Opens 11-11 Mon-Fri, 11-6 Sat.

WC1, QUEENS HEAD, 66 Acton St. Boddington: Bitter; Fuller: London Pride; Flowers: Original Bitter or Greene King: IPA. Reopened after a stint as a wine bar. Still Bass owned. (W50, U53, N29, U110)


E14, FINE LINE, Fishermans Walk, 10 Cabot Square, Canary Wharf. Fuller: London Pride. Another Fullers café-bar opened late August, next to the Cat & Canary under office block overlooking dock. Light pine flooring and furniture, cream walls and ceiling, abstract paintings and background music. Stairs next to bar lead to mezzanine seating area. Opens 11-11 Mon-Fri only.


HARROW, O'NEILLS, 335-339 Station Rd. No real ale. Latest Bass conversion in typical `Oirish' style in former shop unit. Regrettably this chain no longer offers a real ale option.

HARROW, V.I.P. BAR, 16 College Rd. No real ale. Free House in former shop unit.

WEALDSTONE, OLD BANK, 91 High St. No real ale. Irish Free House in former bank premises, opened June 1998.


SE1, BRIDGE HOUSE (YE OLDE), 218 Tower Bridge Rd. Reopened mid August and now named simply BRIDGE HOUSE. Adnams: Bitter, Broadside, seasonal beers; Guest beer (eg. Fuller: London Pride). Now badged as an Adnams Free House' with reasonable prices and good quality beer. Open plan stylish bar with pastel coloured walls, wooden floor with rugs, smart chairs and leather sofas. TV and background music. Restaurant downstairs with access also from Horselydown Lane. Opens 11.30-11 Mon-Sat, 12-10.30 Sun. (SE11, U102, U105, U131)

SE1, HEELTAP & BUMPER, Chaucer House, White Hart Yard, off Borough High St. Theakston: XB. Another Davy's Free House opened in early 1997 but not previously reported. Apparently originally opened under `Guinea Fowl' name as a traditional Davy's wine bar but revamped as the first of a café-bar chain with pine furniture, cream painted walls, low lighting, piped music, etc. Stone flagged floor betrays its past. Downstairs eating area. Opens 11-11 Mon-Fri only.

SE1, POMMELERS REST, 196-198 Tower Bridge Rd. Courage: Directors Bitter; Greene King: Abbot Ale; Marston: Sundance; Shepherd Neame: Spitfire; Theakston: Best Bitter; 3 Guest beers; Weston: 1st Quality Cider. Latest Wetherspoon Free House opened late August in former Tower Bridge Hotel which had been closed for some time after a spell as a homeless hostel. Corner entrance leads into main seating area with red painted ceilings and walls through to bar at rear. Side bar and no-smoking/eating area has green painted walls, screened alcoves and decorative ceiling. Chandeliers, fussy carpets etc. complete the scene. The name reflects the leather industry which used to predominate locally and photos of leather boots, shoes, cricket balls and gloves decorate the walls along with old black and white photos of the Tower Bridge area. A pommel is apparently the upward projecting front part of a leather saddle. Disappointingly there is a dearth of information panels to explain the significance of the name or highlight local history as had, until recently, been the norm in all new Wetherspoon pubs. Good value food (an overcooked meal was reimbursed and replaced with no quibbles). Disabled WC. Open all permitted hours.

BROMLEY COMMON, BRICKLAYER'S ARMS, 143, Masons Hill. Shepherd Neame: Bitter, Spitfire, Bishops Finger, Seasonal beers. Reopened tenanted Shepherd Neame pub now refurbished and expanded into shop unit next door which retains the name `R.O.Jones' above, to commemorate its time as an ironmongers. Well lit and comfortable with wood panelling, ceiling fans etc. (3SE221, U83, U86, U138)


SW1(W), SANCTUARY, 33 Tothill St. Fuller: Chiswick Bitter, London Pride, ESB, Seasonal beers. Latest Fullers 'Ale & Pie' house opened early September in imposing 5-storey former office building reputedly previously occupied by MI5. Upper storeys now converted to the associated Fullers 34 bed `Sanctuary House Hotel'. A red and blue painted plaque on the frontage highlights its former name. The interior is decorated in typical style with bare floorboards (tiled around bar), dark stained woodwork and furniture. Raised, carpeted seating/eating area at rear. Globe lamps over bar and chandeliers elsewhere. Decorative screens and glass pillars, wooden slatted ceiling. Prints and pictures of friars etc. to emphasise the monastic theme reflecting the derivation of the name from the sanctuary of Westminster Abbey nearby. Background music, disabled WC (in hotel), food available until 9pm. Open all permitted hours.

SW11, NAPIER ARMS, 126 St Johns Hill. Reopened earlier this year and renamed ONE TWO SIX. No real ale, H removed. Now a Free House, ex Phoenix Inns. (SW89)

SW11, PITCHER & PIANO, 94 Northcote Rd. No real ale. New outlet for Marston owned chain opened around the beginning of May in former restaurant premises. Disappointingly none of the company's real ales are available.



WC2, RAT & PARROT, 24 Tavistock St. Scottish & Newcastle. Early (1988) member of the chain now closed and absorbed into `Old Orleans' restaurant next door. (W56, U54, U74, U106)


E11, CUCKFIELD. Bass. No real ale. (E128)


N1, MALT & HOPS. Enterprise (ex Gibbs Mew), renamed RUBY. Now a Free House, H removed. (N50)


HARROW, GREENHILL TAVERN. Free House, demolished to make way for new housing development. (W113, U68, U73)

HARROW, MORRITT ARMS. Free House, demolished for new supermarket development. (W113)

HARROW, SILVER TRUMPET. Free House, H removed. (U78, U79)


SW11, BARRINGTONS. Free House, closed, future uncertain. (SW86)


W14, ELM. Ex Grand Met (Watney), H removed. (W94, U92)



EC3, BAR EXCELLENCE. -Draught Bass. (U124)

W1(S), HANDSEL TAVERN. 5/6 Argyll St. Renamed BAR(LOGIC)1, Downstairs is Sub(Logic)2. -Beers listed except Boddington: Bitter. +Draught Bass, +Brakspear: Bitter. Former Whitbread pub acquired by Regent Inns as a Free House and completely refurbished in contemporary style. Spacious ground floor with pale yellow walls, quarry tiled flooring, wooden furniture. Tables with non-slip surface and 'light projector' clock. Small cellar bar downstairs called Sub(logic)2 decorated in similar style with comfy sofas, TV, loud music in evenings. (W42, U80)

WC2, ST MARTINS TAVERN. Renamed THEODORE BULLFROG. -Beers listed. +Brakspear: Bitter. +Wadworth: 6X. +Young: Special. Now Enterprise, ex Whitbread and refurbished. (W56)


HARROW, ROYAL OAK. Renamed RAT & PARROT. -Beers listed except Theakston: Best Bitter. (W113, U67, U106, U122)

WEALDSTONE, GOODWILL. Reverted to GOODWILL TO ALL. Still fizz. Now badged as part of Mr Q's chain (W156)


SE1, ANTIGALLICAN. -Courage: Directors Bitter; +Flowers: IPA. +Guest beer. Now a Free House, ex Courage. (SE9, U105)

SE10, SPANISH GALLEON. -Beers listed. +Shepherd Neame: Best Bitter, Spitfire, Bishops Finger. Former Courage pub acquired by Shepherd Neame. Beware Master Brew `Smooth' only on nitrokeg. (SE101)


SW1(P), CONSTITUTION. -Beers listed. +Courage: Best Bitter (£1.50), Directors Bitter. +Theakston: Best Bitter. (SW40)

SW1(P), WHITE SWAN. -John Smith: Bitter. -Wadworth: 6X. +Theakston: Best Bitter. Refurbished and now badged as part of the T&J Bernard chain (see Captains Cabin for description) (SW44)

SW1(SJ), CAPTAINS CABIN. -John Smith: Bitter. +Greene King: Abbot Ale. +Theakston: Best Bitter, Old Peculiar. +Guest beers (£2.48). Refurbished and now badged as part of T&J Bernard chain. New version of theme with cream paintwork/plaster, light brown woodwork, 'wooden beams', stone flagged floor around bar, brewery bric-a-brac etc. One large bar with separate areas for eating etc. `No quibble' replacement policy for poor quality products. (SW45)


W2, BRITISH OAK. Renamed D LAFFERTYS & SONS. Still fizz. Now an Irish theme pub with the usual bric-a-brac. (W58, U54, U74)

W14, ALBION. -Young: Bitter, Special. +Ruddle: County. +Guest beer (£2.15) (from small and regional breweries). Reverted to S&N upon expiry of Young's lease inherited when Finch's were acquired. Young's livery removed and now badged as part of T&J Bernard chain. (W94, U67, U95)