Reaction to suggesting that SE1 was the go to place for beer lovers in London was unexpected; with hundreds of hits on the blog, Charlie McVeigh of the Draft House proclaimed the SE1 “beer revival” on Twitter and there were suggestions that NW1 was in fact the place to be. With the imminent opening of the Euston Tap it was a fair point but I stand by SE1 and beyond as superior.
In mentioning the big hitters in that post I’d relegated the rest to an etcetera. But these etceteras aren’t mere footnotes and The Dean Swift is a good example. This Shad Thames pub on Lafone Street is just streets away from Tower Bridge and has the hallmarks of a local having undergone a change of ownership and a spruce up, while retaining a local feel. The choice on the bar isn’t the vast head scratching exercise of the Draft House but there is still around 8 beers on tap, a mix of craft and the likes of Becks. To be honest after a busy day I just don’t have the capacity to make decisions and with the increasingly popular Sierra Nevada on tap it’s an easy decision to make. Having paid over £5 in Shoreditch its more than fair at £4 a pint. A sharer of Fish and Chips serves as a good filler on our visit. Proper pub food in a basket is something that you don’t see enough of.
Add in friendly and knowledgeable bar staff and and it’s a real winner. Another tick for SE1.
The Dean Swift
32 Lafone Street
North has always been my compass bearing of choice. So it surprises me to say that South really is the place to be. It’s been coming for a while with a move South of the River last year after years in Clerkenwell and Hoxton (I never owned skinny jeans or a brakeless racer mind) but Sunday afternoon confirmed there really is no need to venture across the river.
The SE1 starting point was the Draft House on Tower Bridge. It was the perfect place to meet the Dane, over for the weekend and staying nearby. The last visit was during the soft launch and i’ve been looking for an excuse to come back ever since… not that I need an excuse, but the hangover that first visit was difficult to cope with after the over indulgence. The atmosphere was perfect for a Sunday afternoon. There had been thoughts that it may be packed out with tourists in hiking boots and kagools (a style choice I can never really get in Central London) but thankfully this wasn’t the case. Enough fellow punters for a bit of life but not so many that we had to wait for service. The choice as always was impressive so much so that i’m left making a choice and changing it, not wanting to miss out on something that i’ve not seen. Possibly the reason for the hangover last time! Captain English joins us and we are set for a few hours drinking and catching up.
As we depart, the Dane heads East and English and I head towards London Bridge. It’s at this point that I remember Tweets about the South West Beer Fest at The Rake. Attempting the “one more no more” it falls flat as English has an appointment with a pair of oven gloves. I’ve never been one for drinking on my own, least of all at a Beer Festival, but the lure of The Rake is too much. It’s the closing hours when I arrive but there is still a decent crowd, the staff are in Halloween costume; at least I hope so as i’m sold a pasty by a Droog. I sample in halves and manage to get through Bath Ales Festivity, Lizard Ales Helford River , Isle of Purbeck Fossil Fuel and Yeovil Ales Stargazer. With each half I note down what i’ve had on the iPhone until I come to the realisation that the next step could be a notebook, similar to the Ticker next to me. I put the phone away, consider another half but decide that I don’t want a repeat of the Draft House Head.
I head to London Bridge through the market to ensure there aren’t any detours to Brew Wharf or a host of others. The choice is so rich in SE1 I’d say there is no better place in London for a lover of beer, pubs and Droogs selling pasties… put simply who needs North of the river?
206-208 Tower Bridge Road
14a Winchester Walk