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Anchor, Southwark

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user reviews of the Anchor, Southwark

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

I have never been much of a fan of this pub but was talked into a revisit by some friends recently. It was a fairly quiet midweek early evening and they had security staff which I never really like but given its very tourist oriented I expect they have their share of pickpockets and the like.

I had a couple of pints of GK IPA - a friend asked what on earth I was drinking 'that' for. He had a good point - it was really tasteless which is a shame as it was an enjoyable pint years ago. The Abbot was off as were a couple of other ales. They had a few over-hopped craft beers on tap but not my cup of tea so moved on to draft keg cider - Aspalls, which was fine I suppose.

Had some food - truly ordinary. None of us commented either positively or negatively on the grub so 'mediocre' would be the verdict.

Won't rush back - far better pubs nearby.

Ho hum.

on_the_brightside - 15 Jan 2019 14:35
An expensive pub(To me) .But i love it.Something about having a beer near the thames
tottenhamsean - 16 Mar 2018 16:04
A busy pub centering on the tourist and local worker market. £9.50 for two cask ales; the casks we tried were okay. Food was available, if you could find anywhere to sit!
alexw - 26 Apr 2017 23:52
Took some French guests there for "The Ultimate Fish and Chips" the beer is good but the meal was marred by being served on stone cold plates and two waitresses didn't know what to say or do about it and looked at me as if it wasn't a problem!
Dorseteer - 22 Aug 2014 11:02
Beers not kept very well, the Bombardier was awful and the IPA not much better, saving grace was the London Pride was drinkable but remained cloudy. The young girl behind the bar didn't see it as a problem when we commented on the cloudiness.
Very Expensive and took ages to be served although not many at the bar, seems not all the people behind the bar are capable of serving or so it appeared.

WhiteWolf - 29 Sep 2011 20:11
Good selection of beer if you can get served. It was two deep at the bar so I joined the throng where the lady sporting the 'Duty Manager' badge was, in the belief she would be efficient. It transpired the two ladies ahead of me were not there to buy a drink, but were friends of the duty manager and had queued up to have a chat. The duty manager rather reluclantly served me and then returned to her friends while others were still waiting to be served.

Tried two different ales which should have tasted completely different but they tasted exactly the same. Not bad but not good either.

They've got a great location and will remain busy because of it so why worry about customer service? The vast majority are tourists who will never come back anyway.
gareth1011 - 27 Jul 2011 13:15
A real labyrinth of a pub with obvious history, lots of rooms over several levels including a cask ale room and cosy fireside snug.
I agree with the last comment about the whole tourist trap, when we went in a Scottish guy who i guess is the landlord/owner was really over egging the Shakespeare thing to some gullible Americans who were lapping it up, culminating in him begging them to go online and comment on how good his staff are.
If you're a tourist then i'd say go there, if you're not then stay away.
topPINT - 27 Dec 2010 11:29
What could be a great pub has bowed down to the tourist trap. no bitter on offer at all which is terrible. We left
beerbones - 15 Dec 2010 14:33
visited here on saturday afternoon my best advice to you is not to bother the service was terrible .
the beer selection is poor ,the staff are rude and fish and chips are served in a box
i will not be back
Saddlebags - 4 Oct 2010 13:44
This is the worst pub in london. DO NOT DRINK THERE. I went there for a drink after work. after spending a few hours being treated like cattle, I had my bag stolen from my table, when i tried to talk to a member of staff about it, nobody cared at all. When I spoke to my work colleges about it the next day, it turned out that 4 people out of the 15 people that work in my office have something stolen from them in this pub!!! There is something very,very suspicious about this pub. I cannot say it enough, please do not go to this horrid pub.
AngryLady - 14 Jun 2010 20:26
I was dreading going here the other night after the reviews - especially as I was meeting a large group of people.

Geared up to expect a long wait for poor beer I was pleasantly surprised to be served as quickly as I was (less than 3 minutes wait) and the London Pride was very acceptable. There were 3 or 4 other ales on tap but as I wasn't staying long I wasn't able to sample them this time.

Yes it is busy but the staff were as efficient as many and more so than some
dGriz - 11 Jun 2010 11:44
Absolutely shocking pub. I went there the Monday after a well forecast hot weekend and most of the lagers were out but the less than competent bar staff had not bothered to cover them or make any attempt to notify customers that they only had Fosters and Kronenberg left.
They also boast a poor range of ale's and only Strongbow for the cider drinker in my party. All overpriced!

Half of the huge bar areas were closed and the only bar that was open was understaffed by 3 Spaniards who appeared to have no experience in customer relations or bar work.

My Youngs was thrown into the glass with such force that i was handed a pint of overflowing froth.

There was also a very odd queuing system in operation- rather than the usual hustle at the bar, customers were stood in a line- post office style, which extended form one corner of the bar and out into the doorway. When I asked out of interest whether this was usual for the pub I was told bluntly 'our customers are polite' with huge inference that I was not. I soon finished my foam and moved on to nicer surroundings.

It is a real shame because it is a nice enough location but they are clearly relying on tourist trade at the expense of a pub atmosphere. I will not be going back again ever.

eecbates - 25 May 2010 15:49
terrible terrible pub.
Another one to add to the list . Can i ask why companies / managers who run extremely busy pubs in London , why they choose to employ only a few staff and keep people waiting at the bar for 20 - 25 mins.
If you employed extra staff on minimum wage , they would cover their wages after serving maybe 2 / 3 rounds of drinks.
I went to this pub last Friday (it's Friday and people might want to go out) and they had 2 barstaff on with about 50 people waiting at the bar .
The bigger top bar was even worse and also had 2 staff.
It just saps the will to live and just takes the p*ss with the prices charged.
Avoid this pub like the plague.
yes it has nice views across the river but it would be quicker to swim across to the other side , drip dry and then walk into the city to get a pint.
Whoever runs this boozer needs to sort their life out.

uptheramp - 5 May 2010 17:29
Awful pub.Only enter if you have "mug" tattooed on your forehead..Disgraceful massively overpriced tourist trap with some of the worst toilets i've had the misfortune of using, apparently the ladies toilets were just as bad..!!..Nothing "London" about it.....Avoid like the plague & go to one of the many much better & more welcoming real pubs nearby..
cheekysnifter - 5 May 2010 04:13
Crappy pub for a tourist, bar staff are all foreign so it completely lacks the right feel. They have 3 bars in the one area but for some stupid reason the close the bar with the most real ales often, and the mid level bar does not have the same ales as the top bar either.
Overpriced, as with most London pubs, and not the best kept ales I've had.
soob - 28 Apr 2010 11:47
When ever I'm in town this is usually my first port of call due to locaton. My last visit was mid December 2009.
The outside area provides some interesting views and is a great place to people watch.
The lager/cider was ok served the normal brands.
The service was friendly enough but it took a couple of attempts to be understood. (I come from north London)
My main disapointment with the pub was the cleanliness especially the toilets.

Dwarfer_steve - 6 Apr 2010 11:22
Hadn't been here for years before last night. It was a fairly regular haunt when I worked round the corner. The outside hasn't changed at all from what I remember but the inside appears to have been radically redesigned. Now 1 big open bar where there used to be lots of little nooks and crannies. Not bad and it certainly made it far easier to get served than I remember it. It's a Youngs pub which is not necessarily a bad thing as far as I'm concerned and the Gold was very nice. Expensive though! 2 pints of that and one of Becks came to well over a tenner which is a bit lumpy even for this neck of the woods. It'd come back if in the area and it's certainly miles better than a lot of the local competition (The Horniman immediately springs to mind !). Having said that, there is also a lot better in Southwark if you know where to look. That and the prices means that I can't rate it higher than 5/10 I'm afraid
Cover_Point - 10 Dec 2009 13:22
I went in last night. There seems to be a vast amount of space by the bar area - presumably for high number of standees after work. Not so busy last night. There were quite a high number of pumps for real ale but at least 4 had Green King IPA and the other 4 had London Pride. £3.50 a pint - the most expensive of the evening. It was fine, by the way. Noticed someone eating the Half Roast Chicken - that looked plentiful and made me feel hungry. The menu was typical pub grub but about £2 more expensive per dish than the Hornimans at Hayes up the road.
The toilets were interesting. I could just about get in the gents cubicle with my briefcase.
All in all an interesting pub but won't add it to my trail. It looks better from the outside than in.
ButchEgg - 11 Nov 2009 14:20
I sympathize with Nori. I remember this pub when there was a urinal just outside. The atmosphere was great and had a certain danger, crossing south of the river. Corporate interests and the general cynical upgrading of the south bank results in a pub that should be a beacon.
secretdrinker - 2 Sep 2009 07:55
Boris Johnson should close this place down; it is a cancer to the London tourist trade and a blight on the Borough & Bankside.
Princemonolulu - 18 Aug 2009 09:31
I watched a bar maid pour the drip tray into a pint glass (almost two thirds) top it up from the pump then serve it to a punter round the corner who didn't see what she did. I'm ashamed that I didn't say anything. This place is a joke.
ben21 - 9 Aug 2009 11:24
ive only just caught this site by shear luck whilst looking for any photos of the anchor,and i just dont or cant believe this place has gone down like that,by what im reading....please tell me its not true! let me explain this place was my very first full time job after leaving school back in 1980.i can tell you and if anyone out there remembers we were one biiiggg family and i refer to the staff,bosses,and all customers were treated and served in the quickest and most respectful manner.i was 17 at the time and together with 3 very professional and jolly spanish waiters,2 irish girls,1 yugoslavian waiter,1 canadian girl,1 scottish lass,1 irish barman,1 italian head waiter..i could have retired there cause of the great atmosphere there was but i left for spain where i was born although lived in london for 19 years and it really has got to me,all these negative comments..what a shame man!!
nori - 24 Jul 2009 00:59
I went here a bit ago, and to be honest I had sort of forgotten about BITE, so Im just catching up.

There is a nice outside bit to this pub but regrettably a some point during the evening a surly chap came out and made us get off them so he could lock the chairs up, I thought this was a little mean because the chairs hadn't hurt anyone and were having fun in their own little chair way.
We went inside and I was pleased to notice that although the place was a bit of a warren I could easily work out where the gents were from the tangy smell of urine which most places try to get rid of.
I cant fault the staff, English wasn't their first language and they could get by providing there was lots of pointing and gesticulating, so under the circumstances they were doing pretty well, probably better than if I went to work in a bar in Eastern Europe anyway.
More interestingly though was that whilst in here I saw the tallest woman I have ever seen and also a very tall gentleman, I thought it a bit of a shame that they weren't together, but the tall chap seemed intent on tying to gain the affection of his date who had clearly had so much of the fun juice to know which was was up, let alone that the BFG was trying to seduce her. I suspect though that the two tall people are a regular fixture of the pub so I would suggest a trip to another of Londons riverside boozers.
trickydisco - 23 Jul 2009 23:54
Bad Beer, bad atmosphere, dirty toilets, dingy, expensive, full of w@nkers. But what really sets the Anchor apart are the morons wo "work" behind the bar. Incompetence verging on the malicious.
crossfield - 13 Jul 2009 17:21
Agree with all the above posts. Went on a Wednesday evening and there were maybe 6 people serving behind the bar, the drinkers were 3 or 4 deep at the bar in some places, the service was arbitrary at best and there were so many uncollected glasses outside it was unbelievable. The staff looked seriously overworked and there was no apparent system of serving people in some sort of order, i.e in which they arrived. Most of the pumps were turned round and the Pride as definitely on its last legs. The pub and its managers are missing a trick here, the location is great and there is plenty of trade passing by. Shame really.
Bonzos_beard - 5 Jul 2009 17:31
Dropped in yesterday afternoon whilst on a crawl along the river and three of the four handpumps were turned around and the fourth announced that it was having it's pipes cleaned. I'd have stayed for a lager but the others wanted to move on. Called back later around 7pm and people were queuing three deep to get served. Bit of a rubbish pub but nice looking and gets by on it's location and the outside seating area.
Millay - 27 Jun 2009 08:23
The pint of pride was good, sitting out in the sun looking at the thames was good, the service was exceedingly slow though and far too touristy 4 my liking.....
fat_beer_badger - 14 May 2009 23:16
Utter Rubbish, a complete joke of a place, I have been there several times, but now due to my experience on Sat, i will spend my hard earned cash elsewhere.
Simple things like speaking English, serving people in the order they arrived at the bar and having clean toilets all seem to be beyond this place.

Arranged to meet several friends here on Sat 4th April. Due to the good weather we had and the fact that the Grand National was on, the place was fairly busy.
We decided(along with perhaps 100 more people) to watch the National that was showing on the tv in the bar.
Everyone crowded round to watch the MOST FAMOUS HORSE RACE IN THE WORLD.
Along with several other people i asked for the sound to be turned up, as watching a horse race in a busy pub with no sound is pretty pointless.
I was amazed, , the pub was packed with people crowded round to watch the race and the Management refused point blank to turn the sound up.
I'm not even a horse racing fan, it was the fact that the response i received was truly laughable.
if you are a tourist or a 'local', then please spend your money elsewhere,there are much better places in the area.

OLIJ - 6 Apr 2009 09:38
From the outside this pub looks very inviting...the image of a traditional London Pub, such a shame then that this establishment lacks any values of what a London pub should offer.

The layout and decor of The Anchor is its best asset, there are several bars split across various levels of the building, but thatís where the interest stops. The staff are so badly trained and have absolutely no grasp of the English language. On one occasion it took me about 10 minutes to get the female bar staff member to understand that I wanted a "CIDER" not a "SIDE ORDER" as she kept pointing on the menu to me. It was truly laughable. Then I was told that if my mate wanted a Guinness then we would need to get up and go to the bar downstairs if thatís what he wanted. The incompetence of staff is only occasionally hidden because of the fact that itís full of tourists who are just as confused as any when knowing what they want.

Even when the pub was only a 1/3 full the bar staff do not understand the etiquette of service in order of when you arrived. This is done as we know by moving down the bar in sequential order and being observant of those who have waited longest (one of the traditions that makes British Pubs best known) but...not here.

Both male and female toilets are disgusting and absolutely reek, my girlfriend refused to use them it was that bad. This pub needs a complete shake up as the finger of all of these points squarely at the management, who are obviously incompetent.

Maybe itís trying to do too much, with a fish and chip shop, 3 bars, a function room and separate restaurant also included in the mix which should be avoided too.

Such a shame as this pub could have potential to be such a winner, itís in a fabulous location.

My only recommendation would be to visit this place in the summer so you can sit outside in the great terraced area overlooking the Thames, but donít expect fast, efficient service, decent beer and quality food Ė all of which is what London pubs, including ďThe AnchorĒ on the Southbank are supposed to offer.

InterMeLocal_1980 - 3 Apr 2009 09:24
Hello management!

Read the reviews.

This place is simply an extension of the hotel behind.

I used to love this place even when it had an outside lavvy. I think actually a bit of a classic.

I can only think money is coming in but frankly you have missed a wonderful opportunity. SAD SAD SAD
secretdrinker - 13 Feb 2009 08:30
A grat old pub; ruined by over building in a Disney style ye English way. Tourist trap. Always badly run. Avoid like ye plague.
anonymous - 29 Sep 2008 01:05
This rambling historic pub is easy to knock having sold out its historic soul to the tourism trade. Whilst the story of Samuel Pepys sitting here in 1666 while the City burned is an often quoted story, any resemblance to the Anchor of Pepys day and the current pub is purely geographical. The pubís history tends to deviate depending on where you get your info, suffice to say that the original Anchor was part of a large brewery on the site of the current pub and was at some time itself destroyed by a fire. The current pub is probably no older than late 18th / early 19th century. Sadly, its recent history is one of numerous changes, extensions and refurbishments that have ultimately destroyed most of the intrinsic charm that it undoubtably once had. The riverside location is probably now its best feature, the beer terrace on the riverside being a pleasant spot but is naturally heaving on anything that resembles a sunny day. Whilst the pub looks the part from the outside, there is little of any merit to see inside. The large bar on the extended right hand side could easily have bene transplanted from any of the major chain pubs, very plastic, generic and as far removed from an old riverside tavern as you couild imagine. The central Clink Bar, named after the nearby prison that itself is liitle more than a geographical remnant, is also rather featureless with just a couple of photos of some prison cells to justify the barís name (puns about prisons and bars are purely unintentional). The steps behind lead up to the false wooden ceiling and the fish and chip shop. When I was previously here (not that long ago) I sat in what was called the Servery Bar. Situated in what was the most unspoilt part of the pub, it was a place where I found a bit of seclusion away from the melee of the main bars. Upon my return this week I find that it is now Dr Johnsonís Tea Room and Coffee Shop which leads me to think that the pub is gradually being converted to a tourist visitor complex. The disjointed interior is completed by one small room between the Coffee House and stairs to the chippy which does not appear to be named but is now probably the only bit that has any character with its old brick fireplace and fading portraits. Upstairs is a separate bar with a roof terrace offering better views across the river than Pepys would have experienced.

As for the beers, 3 Ales on offer, 2 standard and a guest (London Pride, Green King IPA and Morrisey Fox Blonde Ale) and I have always found the quality to be fairly decent. Naturally I opted for the Blonde (donít tell the Mrs) which at £3.25 was a bit steep but not unexpected. I have never had a problem with service although I have always been here during non-peak times and staff have always been pleasant enough. For all its faults, and it is easy to be cynical about the place, it is not necessarily a bad place for a quick pint if you pick the right time and can see through the pretence, but it certainly is not worthy of the historical interest that is sometimes heaped on it by the guide books.
RogerB - 20 Sep 2008 10:10
Whatever you do, please try to avoid going to this pub!! Whilst the selection of beers looks reasonable at first, on my last visit a surprisingly large proportion was actually off tap. The staff seem utterly incompetent and do not seem to care very much at all for their customers: When I tried to order a snack, the person behind the bar absolutely refused to take my order without a table number even though I was sitting in an area of the pub where no table had the benefit of having a number!
Unfortunately I have this awkward feeling that the Anchor will continue to exist as long as tourists find their way into this truly terrible place.
moop22 - 16 Sep 2008 19:58
The positives: It has a great outdoor terrace - errrm, that's it...

For my sins I've visited this place twice this summer to meet friends. The only reason being is it is on the river and is convenient for tubes/ trains

I certainly WOULDN'T go there looking for excellent beer, good quality food, great bar service by happy, motivated & experienced staff who have a good command of the english language.

I suppose that as long as this place continues to bring in the tourists (who are never likely to visit again) then there's probably not much hope for an improvement.

Tharg1 - 29 Aug 2008 14:24
Awful, awful, awful. This afternoon my friend and I thought ourselves lucky to get a seat on the pleasant, sunny riverside terrace, but this was obviously because word had already got out to most people about the dire service, bizarre food arrangements and rip-off prices. You can't order from the normal menu if you sit outside (but there's no notice telling you that, of course): you have to order from the 'fish and chip shop' upstairs. This is clearly a completely separate business luking troll-like within the pub, where they will cheerily serve you sub-school-canteen meals in vile, sod-the-environment polystyrene trays and charge you £8 each for the privilege. You can then take the trays outside and eat the contents on the terrace. You can't get any drinks at the 'fish and chip shop', so you have to go back to the bar separately. Once there, you might be lucky enough (as we were)to hear a member of the bar staff calling a group of customers 'c*nts'. If you want a slightly more civilised dining experience, you have to sit upstairs in the pub. I can't understand how anyone could think this was a good idea - this pub is simply pouring money down the drain by not serving people outside the normal fare. More than that, it's ripping people off. Best left for unsuspecting tourists, who unfortunately will probably keep this place going.
freelancer - 6 Aug 2008 16:20
Had the misfortune of visiting on the way to the lovely Borough market round the corner. Lost the will to live by the time I got a pint of iffy Pride and a glass of cheap plonk at Chateau bottled prices. Nibbles plate was good value and arrived quickly. Shame the kitchen staff don't work the bar too.
mmeakin - 21 Jul 2008 16:24
It was with a cautious optimism I peered thought the newly installed windows of Southwarkís famous 'tourist trap' as the re-decoration took place. June 16th the banners exclaimed. How nice it would be to have a change from the soul-destroying 1940s music of the Thameside at lunch I thought to myself.

The day arrived and started well enough. Nice weather, seat on the tube, no disasters at work that morning. It was with a mix of enthusiasm and trepidation I stepped out of the office with my esteemed colleagues and ventured forth towards the pub known as the 'Anchor'

Cautiously one foot entered followed by the other; 'Superb' I exclaimed as nostrils were not hideously assaulted and my feet did not become one with the wooden floor. What was once colloquially known as the 'bog of stench' had been cleared out- no mean feat considering its once mighty depth.

The first hurdle had been eliminated and for the first time there was hope for lunch once more...

Alas 'twas a mere glimmer of hope for star-crossed lunchtimes. From afar the terrible hordes of corpulent Americans looked perfectly manageable for the army of bar staff we were promised would be on hand; their rank only two deep in the ever-present battle to be served. Confidently we ventured forward, but with every step our positivism was eroded; every step another wave against our sandcastles of hope.

The bar staff numbered 3, then 2 as another one was redirected to 'glass pickup'. The horde's number beginning to swell as a Tsunami approaching the shore. SA was the first to succumb to the terror, his bladder finally failing as he sought refuge in the gents. JD was next, and then all sense of camaraderie was lost as every man fought to escape their doom. I was lost, alone and disorientated by what resembled 'coffee shop' in the corner and the mind-scrambling price of the pubs' wares. Instinct kicked in and like a caged animal I fought for my right to survive. The adrenaline surged through my veins like fire and I found myself outside in the sunshine. I ran for the comfort of the office like a bullet from a barrel.

It has been four days since that fateful lunch and it has taken me this long to be able to recount this tale of tragedy. I leave this story so that others will not make the same mistake as my friends and I.

Please stay away from what was, and indeed still is... a tourist trap.
Jay20VT - 20 Jun 2008 17:15
I personally think that the comments about this place are a little OTT. I mean, Ok the food isn;t great and its expensive, but at least it has an upstairs bar, and comfy leather chairs, and is set next to a beautiful old cathedral... no wait.. thats the Mudlark... The Anchor? dont get me started. I used to dread going there with my lunch colleagues, who insisted on standing on a sticky floor that smells like a tramps shirt caked in last nights sick,whilst waiting an entire lunch time for a warm budweiser cos the fridges didnl;t work.. but that was just the begininnig... now after a refurb, i gathered my strength and went back for a re-assessment. I am pleased to say that I was right to avoid it in the first place.... i mean, not only have they introduced table service, it is SPECIFICALLY for the upstairs bar, with limited beers, served to you by cheap labour hired from the back of an intercontinental truck. When asking for "Star" you get "stella" and when you ask for a beer thats not there, you have to go all the way downstairs, to watch, what i can only describe as mental patients in black tops get in each others way whilst fighting to rape you for your hard earned 3.60 for a fizzy pint of warm p1ss. "Its got its own Fish and Chip Shop", the excited owner exclaimed as we looked around - Yes it does - but try the hell asking for "just chips" - you get greeted witha strange look, not disimilar to watching rain-main having a w@nk, before being told its either £8 or £10 for Fish and chips!!.. I must admit its plus side is that you can look down the tops of scantily clad women as they hurry from better pub to better bub in their summer wardrobe, and the floor no longer smells, but give it time... I just feel Sorry for the poor american tourists who come to england to visit "a good old british Pub" and then get r@ped of their stirling for somthing they can get for £3 at london bridge - My advice is - if they are looking for somthing good and british, go to any other pub at closing and call a skinhead a limey thug - you can get a good old british kicking for free!
Jay20VT - 20 Jun 2008 16:33
I temporarily relented and went to the 'revitalised' Anchor for a lunch time drink, I work in the area and boycotted the place for a year before the refurb because of how shockingly sh!te it was. The service was incredibly poor, the last shipment from Warsaw they had integrated behind the bar was pathetic, 2 were trying to serve the mass hordes of the American bum bag sporters and the surplus 378 were shifting glasses from point X to point Y.

Now, I understand they have spent vast amounts of money on giving this pit a face lift but the same problems remain. The bar crew fresh off the boat with no English skills, or any sort of experience slows the whole speed of service. The yanks need to be informed not to dither and queue like cretins and the pricing structure is enough to put anyone one off!! I mean what am I ordering? A pint of Fosters or a Pint of God's urine, topped with beluga caviar served in a Faberge egg by The Queen?- no I certainly am not?

The only thing that has improved is the temperature of the previously fire induced beer has lowered.

My advice! Tom Cruise and that other muscle dude from Mission Impossible might have enjoyed a beer there but for anyone looking for a decent boozer this one is definitely going back on my black list, under the section 'Arsonist Needed To Improve'. Leave it to the tourists either side of the bar to enjoy.

The big problem is that the Winter months are going to be baron ones if this disorganised theme park continues to favour making a quick buck off Chuck and Fanny, from Stupidington DC, who are willing to decay for ten years at the bar content with the privilege of paying 9 million Roubles for a Cwup of Cworfee and paying cashew nuts to un experienced slave labourers from the BLOC.

What next? Monty Pythons Flying Circus on the roof?

Jay20VT - 20 Jun 2008 16:15
Me and a few of my fellow associates were out drinkin at this boozer just today and I have to say even though they have just refurbished the place I have had better service from a loo attendant. We got to The Anchor about 12pm and there was no one being served at the bar upstairs, the bird behind the counter looked like we were some gangsters out of reservoir dogs and immediately she said 'can you vait' in this most strange accent. When we asked her how long she starting to scratch her head and arm pits, sod this we thought and made our way downstairs. Anyway sat down and that same bird came over and took our order outside, I mean come on if I wanted service like I'm at The Ritz I would have gone there, all I wanted was a pint of Becks Vier and once delivered it looked like she had a couple of sips out of it.

I hope the Manager of this place is reading this, mate, what the f**k are you doing hiring cheap staff are you hopelessly stupid?

DONT go here its a tourist trap and the service is shit!!
Jay20VT - 20 Jun 2008 15:08
Has been given a rather extensive revamp both inside and out, which makes the place feel a whole lot better. Considering the filthy pit it was previously. Outside now has some large umbrellas, heaters and new furniture, which drastically improves the feel of the place.
The staff seem to have smartened up their act as well, and are now quick(er) and more polite than on previous visits.
Beer selection, is as rubbish as ever though, only Pride and Greene King IPA available. However the Pride was off when I ordered so went with a Guinness instead. (I wonder how many other beer drinkers avoid IPA like this now?)
Given the obvious effort that has been made here, itís worth another go in my opinion. Itís still a tourist trap of course, but not one that makes you thoroughly ashamed to be a Londoner anymore.

mrse1 - 17 Jun 2008 12:22
Unfortunately this is a complete tourist trap. We were going to the Globe and thought it would be a nice place to have a drink and bite to eat in this place. My advice - DON'T!

Drink - Got served but both times it was by barman who'd looked like they'd just landed from space and had never seen a till before. Incidentally a pint of Kronenbourg sets you back £3.60.

Food - This was the real joke. Ours came out and after spending 10 mins specifying my order they still got it wrong. We also ordered Shepherds Pie which included possibly one tablespoon of mince in the whole thing and they had the cheek to charge £9.50 for it.
This wasn't an isolated incident as whilst sitting in there one other table sent their food back due to a wrong order (wish i had) and another table still hadn't received their food 45 mins after ordering!

CorBlimey - 17 Jun 2008 09:04
Ok pub but not nearly as good as many of the surrounding places. I find the place a bit confusing (in terms of layout). Head a bit further up for the Founders Arms or walk to London Bridge and go to the Market Porter.
lennie384 - 2 Apr 2008 14:21
What a dump, place seriously needs a refurb, seats all ripped, tried to get a cup of tea and coffee, no cups, no teaspoons no milk jugs coffee like mud, I know it's a pub but most pubs do tea and coffee right?
lerk - 30 Mar 2008 18:56
Strange. I had a very drinkable glass of Batemans XXXB here last night. There wasn't a huge crowd in and I got served immediately. No complaints form me then - but then it wasn't a busy summer's night and I didn't try the food.
roderick_alleyn - 14 Feb 2008 09:43
I work round where this pub is located and due to its location always used to go here on a Friday. If you want to go to an overcrowded s*it hole which serve poor pints and crap food, go here. incidentally, the only reason this place has not closed down is because of the tourist clients, they obvioulsy dont know what level of service and quality to expect and I bet they go back to their hom countries and tell their fellow people what crap pubs the Brits have. Thanks Mr Anchor, beacuse of you us Brits are seen as dirty scum who serve crap pints and eat s*it food. SORT IT OUT!!!!!!!
Jay20VT - 11 Feb 2008 17:01
Hear hear secretdrinker! Take your foreign guests to the Market Porter or the Wheatsheaf. Totally different from the Anchor experience, both real pubs.
TiaMariaJim - 21 Jan 2008 10:59
I used to love going to this pub, and taking foreign guests there so they could experience the whole South Bank experience, but now I avoid it like the plaguey pit it was built on. Food is excerable, beer is beer and the service clearly reflects the staff's attitude to the management. Time for a change I think.
secretdrinker - 21 Jan 2008 10:28
Went in here in mid-January for a meal. Never again. After waiting ages for an overpriced, flat pint of IPA and a soft drink, we looked at the menu and decided to eat there. We ordered nachos to share as a starter and fish and chips and a burger as a main course. During our long wait, we both went to the toilets. Both were disgusting. Somewhat predictably, the starter arrived at the same time as the main course. When we mentioned this to the waiter, he just said "I do not know", shrugged his shoulders and walked off. After quickly eating the nachos (note: chopped tomatoes and onions do not make 'salsa') we embarked on our main courses. The burger was a dangerous-looking pink colour, and after digging around for a while I managed to find a bit fish somewhere in the middle of my mountain of batter. Oh, and the peas were cold. Overall, a thoroughly miserable experience in an abysmal pub. The staff were slow and rude and the pub was too hot. If I never step in this pub again it will be too soon. Avoid like the plague.
Jack_Black - 16 Jan 2008 10:07
I used to meet friends here while cycling home from work. We stopped because of the service a couple of years ago. Went back last weekend [with my son in his buggy], empty pub, surly service, nice clean pint of stella in right glass, sat down near the entrance, then got asked to leave by bar staff. There is apparently a place to sit with kids, upstairs [apparently there is a service lift for buggies!]. The staff have some cock-bull story about "the council" not allowing kids downstairs. ROT! Anyhow, within 5 mins the daft landlord comes over to pick a fight with me! SERIOUSLY! Words fail me. Awful flawed pub, worth avoiding for the service alone.
jacl20c - 4 Jan 2008 20:35
This pub should be reported as a criminal offence against tourists. They have not only ruined what was a nice old pub by attaching some sort of modern chain-pub look-alikey where there previously was a beer garden, but they have the worst service anyhwere in London. Rude staff, overpriced, no hope of getting served in less than 15 minutes even when the pub is empty. It is just awful.. The only reason this pub makes any money is the location and the fact that it is a trap for tourists. Such a shame...
Indigo - 5 Nov 2007 18:09
Great location on the river, that's why it will always get customers. Those are normally tourists who do not appreciate that this place used to have masses of character and now has none. The food is average and the drinks selection is pretty average too. The staff I found rude and slow. Great place to drink away the afternoon outside or in one of the many nooks and crannies as long as you don't mind fighting for a seat with a camera-wielding tourist and some pretty average but overpriced drinks.
cohenfain - 10 Sep 2007 14:06
used to use this pub regularly 20 years ago. but what's happened? its turned into a fake beamed monstrosity with a totally out of character modern extension which has totally ruined it. a real shame.
won't be back!
twizzle19 - 3 Sep 2007 14:20
Great location, but bar staff seem to think that a customer should be satisfied with a pint served with a full 1 inch of head. Caveat emptor!
rpadam - 6 Aug 2007 23:14
Nice location, really awful service though, bar is usually heaving as a result. Warm beer last time I was there. Shame.
anonymous - 2 Aug 2007 18:33
One of my regular watering holes because of its good riverside location, good service even when busy and reasonable beers. Had three good pints of Greene King IPA and left well satisfied. I'll be back!
Matthew_of_Ham - 26 Jun 2007 13:28
A nice pub in a great location, although it was ridiculously hot inside, and quite busy. Food looked excellent. Downstairs gents toilets were out of order, leading to a scrum for the upstairs facilities. Huge outside area for drinking, talking and watching the tourists go by.
kingston_toon - 11 Jun 2007 11:24
I used to work at London Bridge and frequent this pub. I went in last night and will never go again. Whilst sitting at our table (inside) a staff member removed a carrier bag containing clothes without us knowing (even though it was clearly our bag and not unattended). We noticed this and thought it had been stolen. We went to the bar to be told a staff member had taken it! We got the bag back however someone had been through it and stolen our cigrattes (not big I know but luckily nothing of value was in the bag). We mentioned this to the staff (obviously not ecprecting to see the ciggies again) and one very honest member said one of her colleagues must have taken them! We then asked to speak to the Bar Manager who instead if apologising stated 'how dare we accuse his staff of stealing'.
In London I expect to be wary of pickpockets/theives but not bar staff, I therefore do not recommend this pub as the staff are totally unstrustworthy. I will be contacting the pub management to complain as even taking our bag was theft.
totallynatural - 3 Jun 2007 11:18
The Anchor benefits from a great location right on the Thames with plenty of space and a great outdoor area. A great place to enjoy a few drinks while watching Bradshaw float past.
FTB - 1 Jun 2007 22:48
Great Location, Excellent Beer!

Try to avoid on Bank Holiday Sundays with the place full of beered up Scousers trying to celebrate the dying years of their youth.

Always Drinking Beer!!
halfbee - 23 May 2007 16:41
This pub does both food and drink, and is in an excellent location. Although the service isn't fantastic, it facilitates both small and large groups, in the afternoon and the evening. Its a great all rounder, but maybe not for that cosy drink - but then surely London is about the Thames and socialising over a drink or two?
anonymie - 21 Apr 2007 23:19
This place does what is says on the tin, on a summers evening there is no nicer place to be on the southbank. It has seating so large groups can usually sit together and fine views. The service might be rubbish but so what as long as yo uhave done your round then hopefully it will be a while b4 you have to face it again. I would only use this place in the summer, winter it gets too smokey and crowded.
steveizz - 18 Apr 2007 15:00
Charming location, decent on the inside and a good range of beers.
Only trouble is they should open up the second bar when it's really busy as the queues are pretty bad when busy....
terenced - 19 Mar 2007 08:39
In here for the first time yesterday early lunctime. Very quiet, but it was early. I have to say that the big room at the back would have fitted in well at any Wetherspoons or All Bar One. A pub of this age and pedigree should have more character on the inside. Only beers on were Pride and Courage Best. In a moment of lapsed judgement I opted for the Best which was OK - but that is probably as good as Courage Best gets. Have walked past here when you can't move for tourists, and it has been so crowded, noisy and dirty that I would rather do without a drink than go in here. Probably not going to visit anytime soon.
RexRattus - 22 Feb 2007 17:54
The only thing going for this pub is the location. As others have commented on here, the service leaves a lot to be desired. I can't understand why they seem only to have one bar open despite the crowds. The Beer is expensivish (though not the most expensive in the area), choice is always somewhat limited and the amount of empty pint glasses left around on tables untidied leaving the impression that its not cleaned often.

Also I, and a work colleague, can separately attest to this pub being a haven for Bag thieves. Not necessarily the fault of the management, but my experience wasn't satisfactory in the manner it was dealt with by the staff. Southwark police, on the other hand, were excellent!

This place won't go out of business as it has a fantastic location and a steady supply of naive tourists - it is a real shame though, because it could be a cracking pub with its location and internal layout and spacious outdoor seating by the river.
kaf28 - 9 Dec 2006 19:04
In the words of Sir Ben Kingsley: "No! No no no no no no no! No!" If I thought I could get away with it I'd plagiarise a bit more of Don Logan's dialogue, because the people that run this place clearly need him to come round and frighten them into doing a decent job. Crap beer, crap decor, food so crap a vulture wouldn't eat it. Oh and full of that horrible mix of tourists and office workers that you normally only get in railway station bars. Great.
burnsy - 14 Nov 2006 13:25
Not bad, beer is reasonable (1664). had a works drink there on a friday evening, although it was packed we had a good laugh and I thought the bar service was pretty good considering it was packed!
Nut.nut - 21 Aug 2006 06:02
Popped in on Friday afternoon. Never saw the place pre-refurb so will take it at face value.

The pint of Bomadier I had was fine. Admittedly the bar staff have a bit of English deficiency but smiling and pointing at what you want does the trick?

Had a £7-8 stuff-your-face carvery upstairs which was very very good and excellent value.

Not the best pub in the world but I'll be going back for sure!
Quinno - 19 Aug 2006 22:41
Pretty busy on Fridays,Rubbish bar staff,waited ages in a 4 deep que for dodgy Fosters lager.Food not up to much and the upstairs food selection is dire.On the up side the outside seating area offers great views(if you can get a seat).
kev3000gt - 8 Jul 2006 00:16
Multi-level Tourist Beer Barn.

It's ok as a one drink meet-up point before going on somewhere better.

What's the deal with closing the top bar as soon as the rush dies down? No sooner have I noticed that it's thinning out a bit & maybe I won't have to wait so damn long this time than they close one of the bars & it's a scrum all over again.


I guess they think we're all one time tourists & it doesn't matter if they treat us like cattle.

Sunny_Sunnarsson - 30 Apr 2006 22:15
Atmosphere of a bus station; bored, inattentive and slow staff serving an undrinkable Courage Best. Only plus is the riverside tables.
mchumph - 26 Apr 2006 11:14
Fine old pub gutted and now in the style of any other mega bar. It shouldn't have been allowed. I went there last Sunday. My wife and I sat down with our ten-year-old grand-daughter only to be later bannished to some upstairs dining room. Absolutely no atmosphere. Ruined.
intemperanceleague - 26 Apr 2006 07:47
Worked here in the late nineties one the few work places i would drink in came here recently for the first time in 6years what the f*ck have they done???
it was fine as it was what a disaster!!!!
juzza - 31 Mar 2006 15:00
I used to go in here a lot back in the early '80s (I used to frequent a nearby rehearsal studio). In those days it was nice, with old buffers with their own tankards still installed in some of the side bars. That kind of thing. Went in again last night and, although the nook and cranny side bars still have traces of the old flavour, the pub as a whole was pretty bland and unappealing. The beer I tried - Courage Best - had a suspiciously 'creamflow' quality to it. Just about acceptable to drink but no more.
beermann - 15 Jan 2006 16:09
This used to be such a nice pub, full of cosy little nooks and corners perfect to hole up in on a winter night. Now sadly it feels pretty plastic and unwelcoming, patrolled by grim security wearing headsets and microphones. Last time I went there service was slow beer just OK and the staff rude. May try it again in the summer as the outside seating by the river used to be excellent, just hope the service has improved as it always gets packed in the summer.
Tryp - 10 Jan 2006 16:33
Gone downhill since the renovoation. Now feels like a themed pub. Some of the older bits are nice enough. Some attractive eastern european women serving up pints but not friendly nor did they seem to know anything about beer. It could be so much more. Don't care for the big sign on the outside either.
jorrocks - 25 Oct 2005 02:01
This has been cloned from the lifeforms spawned in the slops bucket at the Old Thameside Inn and the Founder's Arms, both in the area.

All are tourist holes, more atmosphere on the moon, greater chance of finding someone that speaks English to pour you a pint on the moon as well and the places all ooze the attitude that customers are one-trip-wonders and deserve bugger all service. Why any self respecting Londoner would go in any of these is a mystery.
cardamom - 11 Sep 2005 15:27
Well this place has really gone downhill! Admittedly I haven't visited for a couple of years but I had extremely fond memories of this pub.

The refit is heinous and the staff are umm.."interesting." I generally believe honesty is the best policy, but I'd take a fake smile over honest to goodness surliness and sighing!
LunchLadyDoris - 17 Aug 2005 14:47
Located near the FT offices, staffed by eastern europeans last time I was there, service is often really slow, especially on a sunny day. Good choice of beers though and great views over the Thames.

Lopper - 5 Apr 2005 17:57
has nobody here ever sat outside this pub on a beautiful sunny afternoon or evening with a load of mates and several cold beers ?

glorious, i love it!
anonymous - 16 Mar 2005 16:04
I agree with others that this pub was better before the recent renovation and expansion. But the location still makes up for most internal deficiencies. The one exception: this is perhaps one of the smokiest pubs in London; it's almost impossible to breath even when there are only two or three smokers, as was the case when my wife and I were there at mid-day on Feb. 14. Positively foul. Why they chose not to invest in some ventilation equipment when they were spending all the money for renovations is beyond me.
blshaw - 18 Feb 2005 12:55
I have a soft spot for this pub, but that is based on visits many years ago when (like a previous reviewer noted) this part of the Thames was loaded with character. Now the pub is being raped by the spillover of commercial interests and tourists. Handy profits for the owners, but a shell of what it used to be as an interesting pub. A recent visit revealed that the pub has doubled in size and the bar has been completely moved. It is now more of a bland, yuppy-type watering hole with little to recommend it. The staff here have always been a bit rude, and the influx of tourists will not solve that issue. I would still have one ale there out of sympathy for an old friend passed away.
City_Womble - 11 Feb 2005 14:47
I agree with previous contributors - not as good as it used to be. Only thing going for it is the riverside location. Always seems to be full of undemanding tourists and European - types, consequently not much beer trade, which means quality is unreliable.
Service is invariably slow and staff attitude could be better.
JohnBonser - 10 Feb 2005 13:10
Great river location. Not as good as it used to be though. Nice in summer - lots of people (too many?) usually. In Mission Impossible movie at the end! Many better places around.
Flatman - 28 Jan 2005 19:52
There should be a law passed to ban tourists, indifferent bar staff and cultural globalisation from certain pubs. Alas, the invisible hand of maximum profit at the expense of quality reigns supreme. I knew the Anchor in the old days when the ghosts of Wren, Boswell and Shakespeare were still haunting the dark narrow alleys of the Clink. Days, when the Anchor was still used by the market boys and locals. Days, when real ale was the norm and a Plowmans lunch was filling. Suffice to say, stay clear from this pub.
zaparoski - 4 Jan 2005 10:17
I'm not a fan, and sadly I can add yet another stolen handbag (my friend's) story to the growing pile. Trades on it's riverside location but not a nice pub at all.
Will C - 22 Sep 2004 11:35
I think Tuna should try and go to some other hostelries in London - Or perhaps not bothering returning to London! I am a City of London Tour Guide and have never had any complaints about The Anchor when I take my tourists there as part of a walk in Historic Southwark!!!
Gary - 5 Sep 2004 12:29
Excellent place for a summer evening drink. You're almost guranteed a seat even on a Tursday night. Good location by the river too.
George - 25 Aug 2004 10:45
WATCH YOUR BAGS AND WALLETS HERE as mine got lifted last Thursday. A common problem acknowledged by the staff who couldn't care less anyway!
Gary - 9 Aug 2004 13:47
This pub has a fabulous outside drinking area - no cars, plenty of tables and standing room right on the Thames. The beer is reasonably priced and they serve it by the jug. If you are looking for a pint in the sun, you could do a lot worse.
Brad - 22 Jul 2004 10:15
What a dreadful place!. Im not from London. Is this two buildings merged into one?....A totally soul-less hole, devoid of any redeeming features. Couldnt care less staff, crap beer, and probably the ugliest pub I have ever seen. Inside and out. Why on earth do people drink here when there are countless better pubs less than 10 minutes walk away. Shocking.
Tuna - 29 Jun 2004 13:21
I'd always meant to go here, and finally did yesterday! I therefore can't comment on whether the refit has "ruined" it - I thought it seemed a nice place. Huge - I kept getting lost. Had one of their curries, which was quiet reasonable (less than £6). Will definitely go there again on a nicer day - the outside bit looks like a good place to waste an afternoon!
gilesd - 24 Jun 2004 12:52
An appalling pub with bad beer made even worse by a particulary unhelpful response from the "manager" when my girlfrind had her handbag stolen. The CCTV does not work and the police later confirmed that the pub is a frequent location for bag theft. AVOID THIS PUB
andy - 16 Jun 2004 19:45
Awful re-fit. Used to be one of my favourites. Avoid like the plague.
Jim - 2 Jun 2004 10:13
Where has the Anchor gone? I used to drink here in 2001 and it was a proper pub, alright a bit shabby but it had character. Now it's comparable to a MacDonalds, queues for the beer, not sure whether to asak for a Big Mac Meal or a pint.

Totally depressing place, except for outside. But at least you can escape from there.
SB One - 20 May 2004 16:16
Awful. Ruined by re-fit.
MJ - 6 May 2004 15:15
Very spacious, friendly pub, firmly on the tourist trail.

In 1666 Samuel Pepys is supposed to have been sat in The Anchor observing the progress of the Great Fire as it spread along the north bank.
loz - 31 Mar 2004 22:37
Not your typical pub. Food crap and expensive
Bruce - 20 Feb 2004 13:11
I concur with all of the people who say this pub has been ruined. It used to be one of my favourite pubs along the river. No longer, the modernisation has wrecked the place. Sunday lunch is to be avoided, it looks like it was cooked about a month ago.
Peter - 30 Dec 2003 16:46
Location, Location and Location. These are the only 3 things this pub has going for it. Had an office lunch here and the food was crap, service was worse. The Spanish girl was nice but English was not her claim to fame. Avoid this except for the view.
James - 15 Sep 2003 13:35
Lovely outside bit, especially on warm nights, new renovation lost a lot of the old character. Crap food
corin_pearce - 22 Aug 2003 14:24
its really old and fun
anonymous - 8 Aug 2003 13:57
It's great on a quiet sunday afternoon, a fair pint and a lovely view across the Thames. But's it's a nightmare on af an evening. If the bar looks crowed, leave - it took over 20 mins for me to get a drink!!! Tho, this wasn't helped by daft yanks sending the barmaid off to the cellar to get bottles of champange then asking for it by the glass, and when being told it only comes by the bottle having a moan and storming off!!!
James - 30 Jul 2003 14:34
I concur wholeheartedly with the previous respondents comments. Some of the staff were nice, and trying their best on a very busy and hot Friday night, but the rest (particularly the psychotic glass collector - *so* not a good combination) undo all their efforts in a few offensive seconds. Shame.
lighterthief - 11 Jul 2003 13:56
This is possibly the worst pub I have been to in London. Many of the staff and particularly the management seem to treat their customers with contempt. The service is unbelievably slow, and if you're thinking of trying their summer barbeque forget it... 30 minutes at the bar to order the food, 20 minutes to hand the order to the chef, 20 minutes for the order to be cooked, and all for 1 sausage. Much nicer bars around Butlers Wharf and even the ugly Youngs pub the other site of the Tate is preferable to this.
Dominic - 11 Jul 2003 13:43
I have to take a stand, i agree, yes the bar is over crowded, yes the bar staff couldnt tell a pint mug from a flute, but in their favour they are doing their bit to keep the employment of those who are slightly challenged, by our complex language and social skills. However this pub does have great views, excellent seating, and even a complementry trio who, if your not careful will play the accordian and giutar and sing you a lullaby. All in all I like this pub, but think it a shame that the extension was added, and took away the Pub feel, and made this a waana-be wine lodge!
James - 7 Jul 2003 12:33
Appaling service from dreadful bar staff who appear to lack every required skill to actually work behind a bar. Interior nasty, exterior nice, but not worth the misery which awaits anyone foolish enough to try and buy a drink. Avoid it like the plague.
Brian - 29 May 2003 23:41
Ruined by redevelopment in 2002 - once was a lovely old creaking boozer which great staff and lots of character. Then it was bought by Greenalls who got rid of the staff, replacing them with the usual chain-pub drones, then Scottish/Newcastle ruined it further with the modernisation. Stroll on and go to the Founders Arms instead.
Darryl - 27 Apr 2003 23:08
James (below) summed everything up absolutely perfectly. Gave it a higher rating than it deserves purely for old times sake.
Boothers - 11 Apr 2003 10:43
Fairly average pub which has nothing to offer (except its riverside views from outside) compared with the more genuine articles a few minutes walk away in Southwark..try the Market Porter for a better array of beers and atmosphere
Andy Middleton - - 17 Mar 2003 22:12
Once again another pub ruined by over-modernisation. It used to be one of my favourites but last year (2002) the pub built a characterless extension on its garden. Although one half remains similar to how it used to be - old beams, flag stone floors and a feel of history, the other half is noisy, brash and totally out of keeping with the old atmosphere.
james wild - 13 Mar 2003 18:55
old, small, location for the final scene in mission impossible, and best of all, lots of chairs & tables outside right on the water for those long summer afternoons...
brendon - 22 Jul 2002 10:36

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