Greenwich, Greenwich, Greenwich. You don’t go there enough, but you love it when you’re there! Of course you do! In the ‘serene London enclave with a village-y feel all of its own’ league table, it is rivalled only by Richmond.
Greenwich is a proper slice of maritime, cobbled, old London – shaped by years of history, its identity inextricably linked with the ebb and flow of the Thames. In fact, you can (and should) travel there on the Thames Clipper, which is without doubt the finest means of public transport in the city (and possibly the world).
Strolling through its ye olde streets makes for one of the loveliest London walks you can go on. And, appropriately for a nautical neighbourhood, Greenwich has several pubs for you to end up at. Read on…
There’s a reason it’s a Grade II listed building. The Trafalgar Tavern is show-stoppingly beautiful; a vast, double-fronted Victorian pub, Dickensian in both character and clientele (Charles himself was a regular). Following a brief post-WWI period as a home for retired naval officers, the building had its heritage restored in 1968 and, since then, has retained its status as one of the grandest pubs in Greenwich. It still serves the whitebait it has been famous for since Queen Victoria’s MPs first took a barge across the Thames for that express purpose. A pub which truly adds a patina of glamour to the act of ‘grabbing a swift half’.
Details: Park Row, Greenwich, SE10 9NW | Book here
Do you like pubs in Greenwich? Do you like being adjacent to celebrated historic sailing ships? Do you like fruity beer? Assuming the answer to all of the above is (quite rightly) an enthusiastic yes, then you’ll find yourself right at home at the Gipsy Moth, located smack-bang in the heart of Greenwich next to the iconic Victorian tea clipper turned beloved tourist-attraction-cum-DLR station, the Cutty Sark. Not only does the pub offer a particularly charming little patio beer garden, they also serve legendary strawberry Belgian beer Früli – a refreshing, life-giving and essential summer concoction (which one can enjoy exactly one (x1) of before it becomes undrinkably sweet).
Details: 60 Greenwich Church Street, SE10 9BL | Book here
Claiming to operate ‘one of the best beer gardens in South East London’ is a huge boast – but, fair play to the Old Brewery, they can back it up. To visit their beer garden is to step into a fragrant and favoured alternate reality, with tasteful festoon lighting that makes everyone look fantastic, where relaxed people with friendly dogs and/or strangely well-behaved children come to eat roast chicken and drink Meantime pints (for that is what the brewery brews) and the evening stretches out invitingly and all is well with the world. It’s a soothing balm, basically. It’s also in the grounds of The Old Royal Naval College, meaning it is – and you’ll notice this is something of a running theme with Greenwich pubs – stunningly beautiful.
Details: The Pepys Building, The Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, SE10 9LW | Book here
Not so much a ‘hidden gem’ as it is a ‘gem that absolutely everyone knows about’, The Cutty Sark is popular for a reason: it’s a really, really good pub, and has been for over two hundred years. These days it offers a robust selection of everything you might want – from pints (crisp, refreshing) to cocktails (a surprising range) to fish and chips (exceptional). On a sunny day, claim a table outside by the waterfront, and enjoy the vista. And when the temperature drops, ascend the old wooden staircase, grab yourself a snug table by the window overlooking the Thames, and enjoy the Guinness that it would defy the natural order of the universe for you not to order.
Details: 4-6 Ballast Quay, London SE10 9PD | Book here
For fans of hustle, and, indeed, bustle, The Coach and Horses is an essential destination on your Greenwich pub itinerary. The pub’s extensive outside seating is covered, heated, and in the heart of Greenwich Market – home to an array of market stalls and shops selling everything from Nepalese fair trade products to handmade African clothing to Brazilian churros. Whilst The Coach and Horses’ main attraction is clearly the pints, you’d be remiss to ignore the Sunday Lunches – look out for the supremely fortifying rump steak beef with braised ox cheek (and then, if you’re feeling ambitious, throw in some triple cooked chips on the side).
Details: Greenwich Market, SE10 9HZ | Book here
It’s situated on a corner. Its exterior has that beautiful green tiling, topped by verdant greenery. The interior offers vintage posters, a well-loved dartboard and a stag’s head on the wall. In short, it looks like what a traditional pub looks like in your dreams, your rose-tinted memories, or in a glossy Netflix series. But the Pelton Arms actually exists, and it’s just a fantastically pleasant place to spend an afternoon. There’s the stuff you’d expect on draught, all lovely and traditional – and then there’s a cheese-covered slice of modernity in the form of their pizza menu, a collaboration with Wandercrust Pizza, offering delicious Neapolitan pizzas with gluten-free and vegan options. You might not want to leave – which actually isn’t a problem, because they offer B&B rooms upstairs, too…
Details: Pelton Road, SE10 9PQ
Once you’ve taken in the more conventional Greenwich pub offerings, swing (and we do mean swing) via Oliver’s Jazz Bar. Located opposite the Greenwich Theatre (and right next to the deservedly legendary Heap’s Sausage Deli), it’s a fantastic, compact underground club, offering live music every night of the week – and the party keeps going until 2am on weekends. The lighting’s low, the atmosphere’s great, the regulars are friendly, and the varied musical acts are invariably superb. Does a late night jazz bar count as a Greenwich pub? Chill out, daddio, and enjoy the vibe…
Details: 9 Nevada Street, SE10 9JL | See what’s on
Making a day of it? Check out the best restaurants in Greenwich while you’re at it…