Southwark

Well now I’m very near the end – Southwark is the third newest station on the Tube Network. It opened on 20 November 1999 as the last phase of the Jubilee Line extension began operating when trains started running through to Green Park and onwards to Stanmore.

As with the majority of these stations, its another really impressive design. Instead of having a set of three escalators next to each other, each escalator is set on its own and it felt like we were heading up into a portal. You then get into the concourse level with its stunning blue glass wall. Its another design triumph and won BSkyB’s building of the year award in 2000.  If you’re an architecture fan, its well worth having a walk along the spacious upper concourse yourself to take it in – its great!

The exterior of the station building is rather small yet still remains an impressive building.

The Pub: The Ring, 72 Blackfriars Road, SE1 8HA

When I’ve been doing this blog, sometimes people ask me if its about going to pubs opposite tube stations? It isn’t, although in this case the criteria would certainly fit as The Ring is right opposite the station exit. You really can’t miss it.

The pub is filled with Boxing Memorabilia, this is due to its location opposite what was was the home of British Boxing – The Blackfriars Ring Boxing Arena – which was destroyed during the Blitz in 1941. The Arena had a fascinating history and you can find out more from this excellent article about it.  Now on the site is the modern office building The Palestra. Some of the trinkets on the wall include boxing gloves hanging from an antler(as you can see from the gallery), as well as plenty of photos of boxers from the Ring’s early days in the 1910s and 20s.  These old photos contrast nicely with the light, modern décor.

The Ring had a variety of ales on tap on our visit although sadly no Doombar but the barman said they usually have it on. The selection was more amber and porter based, I went for the Calif-oregon Amber from the Belleville Brew.  Although I generally prefer Bitters, this was a pleasant, refreshing pint – I’m not sure I could have a session on it though. They also had a Milk Stout if you’re into that kind of thing. On the food front, they are known for their hot dogs. On their menu it says food critic Giles Coren went so far as saying they are the best in London. After high praise like that, I decided I had to try one myself. I went for the Big Frank – a Frankenfurter – which was very tasty! They also do other food like burgers and sausage and mash. Their chips are great too, nice and chunky, as I tried some of the ones my friend ordered.

It was pretty busy on the Saturday afternoon we visited as the Six Nations was on but we were able to get a seat. By the time of England’s match though, it was very much standing room only!  The pub has a wide selection of board games including Connect 4, if you want to while away an afternoon on a quieter day here! The Ring also sell their own t-shirts for £15 a go, it’s definitely the first pub out of the 268 I’d done up to this point to do that.

The Ring is an excellent pub. Its very well situated as its very close to Blackfriars Bridge as well as Waterloo and London Bridge/Borough market aren’t far off either. I definitely recommend visiting here, especially if you’re a Hotdog fan.

Visit their website Follow them on Twitter

 

Advertisements

Bermondsey

Bermondsey station opened on 17 September 1999 as the Jubilee Line Extension edged its way into Central London and towards the existing section of the line. The platforms have the shiny metal finish seen throughout the extension. Compared to some of the other stops on the line, the station building here is a more modest rectangular box – the glass roof means it still feels light, airy and spacious.

The Pub: The Angel, 101 Bermondsey Wall East, SE16 4NB

The pub is just under 10 minutes walk from the station – head East along Jamaica Road, turning north up Cherry Garden Street until reaching Bermondsey Wall East, continue eastwards along here until you come to The Angel.

The Angel has a real history to it. Pubs have stood on the site since the 15th century, Samuel Pepys was a visitor to one of its earlier incarnations – the current building dates from the early 19th Century. If you’re into your art, Turner painted The Fighting Temeraire from the Angel’s upstairs room. I don’t blame him because the pub has excellent views of the River looking towards Central London – there is a small outside seating area on the ground floor which is where I took my photo from.

It’s a Sam Smiths pub, so that means cheap drinks and ales from their own brewery only so this includes their best and sovereign bitter. I went for the Sovereign and found it to be a solid bitter. They also do food, again reasonably priced and most under £10. I didn’t eat on the day I did the review but on my visit earlier this year I had a very nice fish finger sandwich with cheesy chips – again, my classy tastes coming through.

Its got a traditional interior with old school lights and curtains, as well as a sturdy stone floor. There was also a real fire on the go on our visit. The front room is divided into two sections with a small door that most people would have to duck to go through. If you don’t fancy doing the limbo, its probably easier to go out the pub and come back again. As I said earlier, their is an upstairs room which has fantastic views of the River Thames.  Sam Smiths pubs don’t play any music so this is the place for you if you want a quiet drink without any distractions, well bar the view!

The walls have old pictures of the local area as well as paintings/drawings of London bridges,  including a nice one of the old Hammersmith Bridge. I also liked the photo of a Vicar blessing the beer. The pub was quite quiet on the Thursday evening we popped by, there were a few tourists here but I suspect it might be slightly off the beaten track for most of them.

In my opinion, The Angel is the pub with the best riverside view in London that I’ve visited. Combine that with the agreeable Sam Smiths prices, it’s definitely worth a visit! Make the short journey on from London Bridge and give it a go!

(The pub has no website)

 

Canada Water

Canada Water is another station with an amazing design on the Jubilee Line Extension. It first opened on that line on 17 September 1999, having initially opened a month previously on the East London Line which is no longer part of the tube network.

I think its my favourite of the new Jubilee Line stations. I love the massive mass drum on the top of the station and how it lets the light into the spacious ticket hall and reflect off its metallic silverly finish. I also like the fact it pays homage to Charles Holden’s designs at Arnos Grove. For some reason it reminded me of the Crystal Dome when it was lit up at night!

The Pub: The Ship, 39-47 Saint Marychurch Street, SE16 4JU

Maybe its because I’m so dazzled by the station itself but I usually find myself getting lost when I get off here.  The best route to the pub is going past the Sainsburys Local and following the pedestrian paths until you reach Swan Road, stick on this street until you reach Brunel Road. From there head East until you reach Rupack Street which then turns into Saint Marychurch Street where you’ll find The Ship.

Inside, its a homely, welcoming pub. Its part of the Ram Pub Company, a small chain of pubs linked with Youngs – The Greyhound in Hendon was a Ram pub so my previous experience of them was very good. It has the usual Youngs beers on tap – Bitter, Special and London Glory. The food prices here are noticeably cheaper than other pubs in the area, the majority of dishes being under £10 – Sausage and Mash is only £8.10 while Ham, Egg and Chips is a mere £7.20. I had the burger here which was very tasty and really filling with excellent proper chips, for just over £8 it was a bargain. They also sell home made sausage rolls and scotch eggs for £2.50

Given the name, its probably not surprising there are some model ships as decoration here! There are also some old black and white photos of the area where the Docks were still going strong.  The Ship has a piano and hosts regular live music nights, I saw an advert for the ‘Flaming Sambucas’ coming up. I just hope the band are better than the drink. The pub also has a large collection of board games.

The Ship was fairly busy on our Friday night but there were still a fair few seats going spare. As well as having a row of leather backed seating, there were also some comfy sofas towards the back of the pub. For sunnier times, the pub also has a back garden.

I really felt at home in The Ship and could have easily spent all evening here. Its an excellent pub and well worth a visit. If you want an easier route here and aren’t doing a tube related pub crawl, its much closer to Rotherhithe Overground Station.

Visit their website

 

 

 

North Greenwich

For many people, North Greenwich will forever be associated with Millennium Dome. It is the station closest to it and was built with sufficient capacity to deal with the hoped for hoards that would come flocking to the Millenium’s answer to the Festival of Britain. As we all now know, visitor numbers didn’t hit the expected levels and after the exhibition shut at the end of 2000, the building remained empty for several years. However, like one of its most vocal champions,  the building was a fighter and not a quitter and since 2007 has had a new lease of life as the O2 arena. In my few experiences of seeing gigs here, the station has coped admirably with the crowds!

The station opened on 14 May 1999, several months ahead of the Dome. It is a very impressive building, I especially liked the blue tiling and glass paneling which have a really striking effect as you leave the platforms and head up towards the ticket hall.

The Pub: The Pilot, 68 River Way, SE10 0BE

With the majority of the area cleared for the Dome or demolished when the old industrial uses for the area fell out of use, there aren’t many buildings here which date from before the late 1990s at the earliest! However the pub we went to was one of the few survivors from days gone by! On exiting the station and heading South away from the Dome, get onto Edmund Halley Way, getting onto West Parkway and heading down along there until you come to The Pilot.

Located at the end of a small row of traditional Victorian houses,its setting is incredible. It’s like they’ve been plonked down from a previous century into this landscape of ultra-modern developments. Inside The Pilot, which was built way back in 1801, is a smartly decorated pub with plenty of nods to its position by the river – porthole mirrors, tables in the shape of trunks and old shipping posters on the walls. There was also a big globe which I resisted the temptation to spin around. Another theme seemed to be old kids toys, as there was a large display box full of old Cowboy and Indian figures as well as posters for 1950s robot toys! The way the light was shining in through the windows on our mid afternoon visit also made the place seem very bright and airy.

Its a Fullers pub so has their usual range of ales along with the beer Black Perle which I haven’t seen before. I had a very pleasant tasting pint of Pride here. The food is standard pub fare at around the £11-£13 mark –  the chicken schnitzel burger looked interesting! The pub also has a small garden at the back and even has a few hotel rooms in its upstairs area. Seating wise, there are plenty of comfy sofas dotted around the place as well as a dining area downstairs.

Regarding the pubs survival, story goes that the property developer were ready to offer the owner a substantial sum to have it demolished in the early 1990s but he refused and stuck to his guns. As you might imagine, it did an excellent trade during the construction of the Dome and other nearby projects as the workers had somewhere to go after work, and we have his stubborness to thank for it still standing today!

The Pilot is a really nice pub – its quite the experience to stumble on this traditional building in the midsts of such a modern part of London. I definitely recommend you pop in and experience that contrast for yourself!

Visit their website Follow them on Twitter

 

Canary Wharf

There is something rather epic about Canary Wharf tube station. The sheer size and scale of the construction underground is incredible and has lead many to compare its interior to that of a cathedral. It was designed by Sir Norman Foster and there is even something a little space age about the entrances with their curved roofs alongside all the silvers and metallic finishes which are seen throughout the Jubilee Line extension.

It opened on 17 September 1999, the second phase of the Jubilee Line extension whereby trains could now run from Stratford through to Bermondsey before it was extended to Waterloo a week later and then linked up with the existing line at Green Park on 20 November 1999.

A YouGov poll in 2011 found this to be Londoners favourite Underground station. I’m not sure if it’s mine. I have a weakness for some of the Charles Holden classics even if the pubs around then weren’t always great!

The Pub: The Cat and Canary, 25-27 Fishermans Walk, E14 4DH

I’ve always found it strange around Canary Wharf – the fact virtually all the buildings are new and their height has always meant its never quite felt like London to me and instead feels like an enclave of a US City. From a book I own on London pub walks, I had found that there was a pub based in a building  – the North Pole – that pre-dated the 1980s/1990s developments here. I was all set to head there only to discover it had sadly closed in the last year!

As a result, we had to go to a pub in a modern building. From the station, you need to get to Fishermans Walk – probably the easiest way is to go through the shopping complex attached to the DLR station across to North Colonnade and then continue straight along the path to reach the waterfront where you’ll find The Cat and Canary.

Inside its a spacious pub – the seating has been set out in a way that leaves a fair bit of open space around the bar which must make it easier to navigate when it gets rammed with office workers from the office blocks on a Friday night. There are a few seating areas which are either raised or set slightly off from the main bar space which I’m sure get reserved for leaving do’s and other staff bashes!  Despite being in a new building, Fullers have done a decent job in stopping the Cat and Canary from feeling soulless. The area we were sat in had a few nice paintings of various Bridges across the Thames on the wall. They also have an outside seating area looking onto the water.

There are a good few TVs here – they were showing Cricket on Sky Sports on our visit. The pub also has a dart board and not one but two quiz machines. I think its the first time I’ve seen two quiz machines in a pub since a Student Union bar!

As a Fullers pub, it has their standard range of ales plus a couple of guests including Prop Hop and the marvellously named Mad Squirrels APA. The food menu was cheaper than I thought it might be around here – £10.95 for Fish and Chips/Burgers is less than I’ve seen charged in pubs which are further out than this. I’m not sure if this was solely to tie in with the Dads Army film coming out, but don’t panic as ‘Corporal Jones Sausage and Mash’ is on the menu.

The Cat and Canary was definitely a pleasant surprise as I expected something far more expensive and soulless in these parts. Certainly worth a visit if you find yourself in Canary Wharf.

Visit their website Follow them on Twitter

 

Canning Town

Canning Town opened on the Jubilee Line on 14 May 1999 as the first section of its extension began running between Stratford and North Greenwich.

The station here has the usual hallmarks of one on the Jubilee Line extension with lots of exposed concrete. There is also a DLR station here serving two different routes, the first on the line to Beckton which opened in 1994(with an additional branch to King George V and Woolwich Arsenal added between 2005-2009) and the second more recent link in the northbound direction to Stratford International which opened in 2011 and took over the tracks of the former North London Line route to Woolwich which closed in December 2006.

The Jubilee Line here runs below the DLR which has platforms directly above it, as this photo nicely demonstrates.

The Pub: Streeties, 15 Shirley Street, E16 1HU

Getting off at Canning Town, one of the first things you’ll notice is the vast expanses of empty land. This is I assume sites which have been cleared from former industrial use. There are quite a few brand new looking housing blocks here as well as plenty of cranes so I imagine a lot of that space will have been filled in soon!

Canning Town doesn’t historically have the best reputation, perhaps because of its positioning near major roads and the Blackwall Tunnel. In 2005 The Guardian reported that DHL couriers were prepared to deliver in Baghdad but drew the line at Canning Town! It was with that in mind that I set my hopes low for a pub round here. There wasn’t much to choose from so we went to Streeties, which is five minutes walk from the station. Exit onto the busy Silvertown Way, crossing the road and turning down Hallsville Road until reaching Ruscoe Road, turning down onto Shirley Street where you’ll find Streeties with its green tiled frontage.

Inside its a pretty compact pub with fairly basic decor, white walls and old school carpet. We could tell it was a locals place but I didn’t pick up on any hostility on two non-locals entering! There were no ales on tap so had to go for a Kronenberg. Streeties had two TVs, both showing At The Races as well as a pool table and dart board. There was also a fish tank behind the bar, something you don’t see too often in pubs anymore.

The pub doesn’t serve food so seemed perfectly relaxed when the people sat near us were having their McDonalds! I was pleasantly surprised by the music selection here, a collection of 80s soul/funk music including I Can’t Wait by Nu Shooz, I Feel for You by Chaka Khan and You’re Never Too Young by the Cool Notes who are an underrated 80s British soul/pop group. The songs were at times slightly drowned out by one of the locals at the bar who was singing his own songs which neither of us could decipher.

Streeties is a small, basic locals bar but there was nothing intrinsically wrong with it and I’ve certainly seen worse for the blog! I don’t know if it gets less welcoming in the evening but I reckon you’d be fine stopping in here for a pint.

(The pub has no website)

 

St. John’s Wood

St. John’s Wood first opened on 20th November 1939, the same day as its neighbour Swiss Cottage. It was initially served by Bakerloo Line trains until being transferred to the Jubilee Line along with the rest of the Stanmore branch of the line.

Its opening lead to the closure of two nearby stations on the Metropolitan Line. While Lords station was demolished in the 1960s,  Malborough Road’s, ticket office building is still standing as you can see from the gallery. St John’s Wood was Grade II listed in 2011 and has an interesting, curved station building. It was designed by Harold Stabler who was also behind the decorative tiling patterns seen at Swiss Cottage, Aldgate East and elsewhere.

The Pub: The Lord’s Tavern, Lord’s Cricket Ground, St. John’s Wood Road, NW8 8QN

For many, St. John’s Wood station is synonymous with cricket, being the closest stop to that iconic ground. With that in mind, I decided to visit The Lord’s Tavern which is part of the ground complex. To reach it from the station, head straight down Wellington Road until you hit St John’s Wood Road(by this point you will be able to see the ground).  Head along here to find the pub at the end of that section of the ground.

Despite Lord’s itself being built in 1814, the Tavern is in a modern building without any real historical merit. The Old Lord’s Tavern was demolished a number of years ago during ground redevelopment, it can be viewed here.  On our visit here, it felt a bit like a corporate lounge as a local estate agents were having some sort of do here, so suits everywhere. There is obviously plenty of cricket memorabilia about the place – I think the most interesting touch here though is their cricket themed cocktails, including LBW – Long Buffalo Whiskey rather than Leg Before Wicket! On the beer front there was Bombardier Golden Dawn, Marstons EPA and Pedigree – the latter is perhaps no surprise as they used to sponsor the England cricket team.

The Tavern also does food with a menu of standard pub dishes. There is also a outside seating area to the front of the pub protected by an awning. They also have a Sky Sports licence too.

While the Lord’s Tavern was perfectly acceptable,  it seemed to lack a bit of character to me – I think this was due to it being in a modern building. I had visions of visiting an old inn steeped in history and tradition. I suppose semi-crashing a party of estate agents probably didn’t help either. That said, I assume it could be an entirely different experience after a hot summer’s day enjoying the cricket!

Visit their website