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Southwark Tavern, London Bridge

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user reviews of the Southwark Tavern, London Bridge

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

Another pub that I've been coming to for a long while but this was the first visit in ages. Place was very packed and very noisey - next to impossible to hold a conversation with my mates. No one minds the hubbub of conversation but playing loud piped music in a pub that is all hard surfaces is a basic mistake.

Had a pint of Holy Grail (named after the Monty Python film and a Black Sheep ale). First pint was fine. Second pint was cloudy - the barman himself held it up to the light but still served it to me!! It was just about drinkable and I couldn't be bothered to send it back but he did turn the clip around after serving me. As for pint three - the bar was so busy it was hard to see what was on so just went for a pint of Meantime; not really my cup of tea but it was okay.

Too noisey and too packed to be enjoyable and beer not great. Won't rush back.
on_the_brightside - 30 Mar 2019 17:50
Good looking, comfortable pub. Solid real ale selection including St. Austell's Proper Job. Gets busy of an evening. Mid-afternoon visit not nearly as crowded.
aerodrome - 17 Apr 2018 00:23
I seem to recall having been in here during the dim and distant past. But my latest visit was better than expected. It enjoys a prominent location on the corner as you enter Borough Market. But it didn't feel too crowded or touristy. The ale range was also quite good - Sharp's Doom Bar, St Austell Proper Job, Adnams The Herbalist, Saltaire Triple Chocoholic, Thornbridge Wild Holly & Black Out Porter. I don't remember receiving short measures. But I'd had a few and may not have noticed.
blue_scrumpy - 4 Feb 2018 15:15
Used to love this pub when it was a sprint over the bridge for a swifty at 11.00 when the City pubs didn't open till 11.30.
Still a good pub as they haven't trashed the interior, and a good range of well kept beers.
I know they are trained to serve short measures as a cynical means of gouging even more money out of honest drinkers, but employing enthusiastic European staff who probably really believe a pint pot should only contain a nominal amount of fluid is completely taking the piss.
vic_boner - 3 Sep 2016 14:52
Popped in on the way home after football on a Tuesday night a few weeks back.

6 hand pumps with 4 ales on, these were St Austell Tribute , Timothy Taylor Landlord, Sharps Doombar and my choice which was Navigation's Britannia @ 3.8%.

I have not visited the Southwark Tavern for several years, it still has a lovely interior. Wood panelling, wooden flooring & some interesting lights hanging above the bar.

Half full on this visit but as it got close to last orders the pub emptied pretty quickly. A few bar staff on including the female manager, music playing in the back ground.

This is a decent pub but probably needs to be visited before 10.30pm to get a glimpse of the atmosphere as there wasn’t much about on this visit.
lezford - 10 May 2016 14:13
Diet Pepsi please. Draft. Came in a pint glass. Five pounds ten please. No, how much really?Five pounds ten. Ludicrous
Glasgowboy - 11 Dec 2014 20:55
First visited this pub in 2009, not impressed then but 5 years is long enough to improve so I tried again. As it was around 1pm on a Sunday lunch was the most important thing on staff's mind & they seemed miffed when I just ordered a pint (Doom Bar, 3.75). I do not like pubs that treat drinkers as optional extras.
Queenslander - 31 Aug 2014 23:00
Really raucous and standing room only when we visited. Fine if you like this sort of thing: I don't.
mozzzzzz - 8 Dec 2013 19:35
Four of us had a cracking Sunday lunch here yesterday. Loads of different beers. Recommended.
kevins1966 - 21 Oct 2013 22:05
Not a pub I go to when in the LB area. But my partner was looking for somewhere to eat so we popped in for Lunch. Very good with friendly staff. Food was good and reasonably priced.
Huey - 28 Feb 2013 16:47
They say the Wheatsheaf is going to repoen soon in its original and historic location in Borough Market round the corner, but I might stick with the Southwark Tavern. Had a few leisurely drinks with Mrs Wilko on Sunday evening; not too busy, knowledgeable and friendy barman, nice range of beers including some I hadn't heard of - a Berry's winter brew was excellent. This pub also has a distinctive basement bar that is a real treat - I like to take visitors there.
WilkoSE1 - 29 Nov 2012 14:26
Market Porter had a large group in on the Sunday lunchtime when we arrived so we ended up moving along to the Southwark Tavern. There were 10 of us and they quickly pointed us to space to sit for lunch and a drink. Service was good and pleasant and the beer and food were good. We were pleased.
aev - 5 Nov 2012 18:11
Dropped in this evening with friends. All three of the (different) ales we ordered tasted of line cleaner. Tried to take them back and were offered another draught ale which also tasted of line cleaner. When we asked for a bottled real ale instead the duty manager told us that there was no such thing as a bottled real ale. When we disagreed she told us that they didn't stock bottled real ale. When we pointed out the Worthington White Shield in the fridge behind her she said she couldn't swap a bottled beer for a pint. Ended up offering to pay for two bottles of Worthington if she's just tip the rancid draught bitter down the sink. Insult to injury: she was greatly affronted when we asked for a glass to pour the Worthington's into. Avoid! Avoid! Avoid!
howdood - 15 Jul 2012 01:03
3rd time visited and had a really nice Saturday lunchtime. Food was really excellent not too expensive (but not cheap). Staff all were welcoming and friendly and clearly making an effort - not as busy as I thought for the time of day. Loved the ThaiBo beer from Wales which was recommended by the barman. All round I was impressed and won't waste my time in the other boozers around London Bridge when I can get a cracking pint here.
BadShanker - 14 Jun 2012 20:57
Reasonab;e selection of beers and the Wheat IPA was good. However rather disappointed that the staff let this place down. Barman didn't exactly display highest level of customer service, pump clips of the (at least two) unavailable beers not turned round. Seems rather pricey too.
PhilR - 12 Mar 2012 08:50
I wandered into this pub last Friday lunchtime, attracted by the daily specials on a blackboard outside. A range of real ales is uninspired but my pint of Doom Bar was perfectly fine. No gastropub and not aspiring to be, nevertheless the food is a cut above the usual pub fare and reasonably priced at the £8/9/10 mark. I had the 'Chorizo, duck confit, tomato and bean stew' which is almost cassoulet, but with tomato. I'm not sure from which cuisine it comes, it was nice enough but lacked the garlic that would have transformed it into something very nice.

With the very interesting cellar area, much more could be made of this pub, I feel.
stevew1 - 10 Mar 2012 22:39
I have lived in the area for a few years now, and over the course of this time I have given the Southwark Tavern a number of chances to impress me, but it just does not do it. Everytime I have been in there has been something wrong - poor service, ages wait on food, dodgy beer - and it is just frustrating. An amazing location, fantastic building and all those hidden rooms downstairs - physically a great pub. Staff and stock let it down.
Went two nights ago and again staffing was poor. Slow, uninterested and rude. I've been in this business for near 10 years now but even a child knows - it's the staff that make the place.

Do better Southwark Tavern. I'm not trying you again, but others will I'm sure.
jfliv - 4 Jan 2012 11:10
I would have always recommended this pub to friends and visitors from outside of London as the pub itself has a charm about it and very cosy.

Unfortunately during the daytime yesterday I took my Canadian friend there for a drink hoping he would enjoy a drink in there just like I have frequently in the past. We were greeted by the worst reception there by two of the people working behind the bar. I witnessed one of the bar staff giving attitude to a young lady who was trying to order a drink. She was shocked and embarrassed. Then it was my turn...

I ordered a Peroni and I was served a Fruli. Two very different sounding drinks. I explained to the young Italian bar man he had given me the wrong drink and he started a vicious vocal attack on me. I left shortly after feeling sad and not ever wanting to recommend or go to that particular establishment ever again.
Emma33 - 19 Dec 2011 08:02
A good selection of well kept ales, but service really slow. Considering it was a busy Thursday evening, only 2 bar staff appeared to be serving and they were pretty poor at working out who was next.
toorantom - 16 Dec 2011 12:29
Interesting comment from Tricksy. But then he is the manager....
alan_latchley - 28 Nov 2011 14:07
Some cracking good ales on tap, the pub is slightly leaning towards trendyville, with prices to match - though in fairness it's in a fairly prime location next to Borough Market. Seemed to do a decent job on a busy Sunday lunchtime.
Oakman100 - 23 Nov 2011 19:05
Good selection of beers (but not a patch on most neighbouring pubs) But the service was so bad we walked out rather than stay for a second
SGA - 8 Nov 2011 17:05
Like this pub. A good vibrant atmosphere on a friday evening.
alcohol1c_anonymous - 18 May 2011 13:01
Owned by Mitchells and Butlers, so don't be fooled into thinking that this is an independent place rather than yet another chain pub. Decent range of beers though, and it's worth a visit to see what they have done with the downstairs. Otherwise this place is too trendy for me - candles on all the tables, and filled with loud music and the self important chatter of the twenty and thirty somethings that have apparently made Borough High Street such a happening place to be. Can't comment on the staff - my drinking partner went to the bar, but it didn't seem to take him long.
rob1981 - 24 Mar 2011 16:01
I experienced quick, friendly service, food was lovely, and I would definitely go back! Great pub, in a great location!
Tricksy - 22 Mar 2011 14:41
Appallingly run pub. Was denied service by the Bar Manager as he claimed one of the group was too drunk - actually he had hiccups and wasn't even doing or saying anything. Exceptionally arrogant and rude. So many better pubs in the area, do not waste your time with this one.
Luggage33 - 18 Mar 2011 11:40
thursday nights and everyone seems to be very drunk.... Isn't this what south london is famous for. Queued for a while, sank a reasonable pint and headed off bear baiting with a winchester goose.
Mappiman - 13 Mar 2011 21:27
first visit in a couple of years, seems to be heavily food orientated, a kind of "pretend" gastro pub, good choice of ales, but service is totally shambolic, there are far better options locally but this is by no means the worst option around borugh market - that crown still belongs to the slug and lettuce
moclips2002 - 12 Mar 2011 19:39
Absolutely appalling service for no reason at all. I went here for a Sunday roast and while waiting at the bar not only was I given nasty looks by the barman, but I waited 20 minutes to get served and it was not even busy. There was no eye contact at all, no smile, nothing but silence when I did get served and almost felt like saying whether I had done something to offend him. I would have spoken up if the atmosphere had not been so intimidating and unfriendly. You could tell the staff really didn't want to be there and the toilets were just awful.
Redbull69 - 23 Feb 2011 13:56
The food is overpriced and revolting, I was charged £15 for a plate of gristle and told "that's the standard roast". The service is shockingly bad and the staff are truly unbearably. I've never felt the urge to comment on a place before but this place is so bad they could make bad service and intolerable staff a theme.
london191 - 23 Feb 2011 13:45
Yes, had always thought this pub was just about OK but on a recent visit most of the bar staff were obnoxious, especially one bloke with a beard who I'm assuming is the same guy mentioned below. The toilets were filthy and the beer was badly kept. This pub does not deserve anyone's custom when there are so many great alternatives nearby
dtinley - 4 Oct 2010 13:47
There is no first come first served policy here, you will get passed over at the bar for anyone returning with a high value round. Despicably rude behaviour.
hte2009 - 5 Sep 2010 14:13
Just read jpm's review. I witnessed the "it's there for a reason" incident. Truly shocking. Coincidentally, my poor experience was about 5 minutes prior to this.
nephron - 9 Jul 2010 17:00
Nice venue, decent beer. Rude staff who seem to prefer chatting up girls and getting telephone numbers to serving beers (who doesn't, but they are there to serve drinks, not service frippet). Took about 20 minutes to get served on my last visit and it wasn't even particularly busy. When I raised this (politely) with a bearded member of the bar team, he looked at me as if I was something he had just stepped in and went about his business filling the dishwasher with glasses, without saying a word. With customer service skills like that, it's no wonder he's been restricted to collecting dirty glasses. I can imagine he'd swing for anyone who made a difficult order or made some kind of complaint.
nephron - 9 Jul 2010 16:56
Went on a Friday after work. About five of us in all. The service was incomprehensibly slow considering the pub was not busy- it seemed that each barperson needed hand-holding or advising by the others whilst serving even though they were not new. At one point there were three of us at the bar and three people behind the bar yet not one of us was being served and i waited c5minutes until i actually asked to be served . When it got busy it became a joke and we would have left were we not meeting others there. We pulled out a fold-out-table from the wall t orest our drinks on which was not being used and the inept, indifferent and obnoxious bar-manager came over and demanded rudely: "put it back, it's there for a reason". Taken aback by his demeanour we were told the same thing again with more force. This miserable bloke is not cut out for work in the service industry. He looked like he wasn't cut out for work in any industry to be honest. If you are socially incapable why work in a pub. The beer was good- i stuck to pride but there were other interesting guest ales- the pub is attractive, inside and out, and the position is good- 5 marks for that. Shame about the service and management which get zero.
jpm - 17 May 2010 18:10
Full on wednesday lunchtime. Service was ok , six handpumps if I counted correct. My pint of Pride was fine.

Seemed to be a bit rough , especially with two men sitting the next table sinking two pints and two vodkas in record time.

I would not have problems to go back, but prefer the Wheatsheaf just around the corner.
Pidley2547 - 10 Mar 2010 08:45
I ventured in here after a rubbish pint at the Market Porter. From comments made I can imagine the service with food isn't too great on busy days, judging from what I saw. I will also add that the barman needed a personality, he was like an android serving, not even a smile was given! However, the Meantime pale ale was fantastic! It was also served in the old pint glass tankard! Never get that anywhere! I think at weekends it would probably be a nightmare, but for weekday drinks its perfect.
Longshaft81 - 28 Jan 2010 16:10
A pleasant enough pub with an excellent range of world beers. However multiple visits have all been marred by comically slow service - even with barely anyone waiting, getting served takes forever.
enfilade - 12 Sep 2009 19:59
Comparing this pub to the near by Slug and Lettuce is a bit like comparing a glistening slab of gold to a big bucket of cat turds.

Alright so its not perfect - I agree with Gann and Pumpkin that the service isn't exactly lightening quick, indeed on a recent visit I actually considered setting fire to my crotch just to get some attention. However, I disagree its down to rudeness - this is Borough, central London and the sheer weight of the clientele at peak times means that even a line of eight armed robots would struggle to keep the beers and peanuts flowing consistently.

And besides, there is so much else going for it. The toilets now don't smell like the gorilla enclosure at London zoo after an outbreak of dysentery (nice one new management), while there is an excellent, spacious two floored wooden interior linked by a spiral-ish staircase leading to a row of cell partitions down below. I did hear some story that it used to be a Victorian police station - bollocks maybe?

The ale is also wide and varied, prices not too horrific and the customers a good sort as all the muppets go to the glam bars. It does lose a few marks owing to the crowed problems and slow delivery but neither of these are particularly its fault 8/10.

anonymous - 7 Aug 2009 22:33
Iíve never bothered to go into this pub before as on the previous winter evenings Iíve gone past the lacklustre brown-tiled Victorian faÁade has never appealed. But on this warm summer evening the double doors were open and there was a large crowd drinking outside, so I decided to venture in.
Itís a two bar pub although I didnít make it down to the lower bar. The ground floor has a central bar serving a decent enough wide range of drinks including continental lagers and a decent array of handpumps including London Pride and Hook Nortons Old Hooky. I can relate to the previous comments on service as, of all the pubs I tried on this crawl I had to wait the longest to be served in the Southwark Tavern.
Bat, although not very rapid, the bar staff were serving in order, so all in all, a decent enough stop close to Borough Market.

Gann - 21 Jun 2009 18:51
Loving the new management! We popped in for a pre-theatre bite last night and I was chuffed to see all the changes. The new menu is a joy - really imaginative and generous portions (the chunky chilli and the lemon chicken especially) - much better than the flat pseudo-gastro stuff that used to be the norm in there. And you have to appreciate new management who make a real effort to spruce up the toilets and do something interesting to the decor of the cells downstairs. The staff also seem to have become more efficient, jolly and knowledgeable. Good work all round!
LittleMissRandy - 29 May 2009 10:30
I've enjoyed this place more under new management, they might be a little slow but none of the irritating "how was your day" false stuff when I was there, just simple and polite, but I did the pub quiz the other week and some tosser won who I actually saw cheating using an iphone! I've noticed this in a few pubs I frequent and it's really starting to annoy me.
markmundy - 25 Apr 2009 13:42
Pretty good pub compared with a lot of the local offerings. Good range of ales and a comfortable atmosphere. Not cheap but where is around there!?
bananaco - 31 Mar 2009 20:04
Used to like this pub. It's got a nice range of beers and is in a great location. Sadly the sheer ineptitude and rudeness displayed by the bar staff means I'll be going elsewhere in future. Whoever runs the place seems to think that the pub being located next to Borough Market guarantees its clientele and there's no need to bother to recruit and train half-decent barstaff. Maybe they're right...
Pumpkinjuice - 30 Mar 2009 11:51
Went here last week with some friends for a sunday roast sadly the food was rubbish! Over cooked veg and frankly embarrasing roast potatoes. Everything else about the afternoon was great but a truely terrible roast. If you go for food Stick to the burgers.
tomasmomas - 9 Feb 2009 11:54
Lively when visited earlier in the week and it did take a little while to get served but the wait wasn't exorbitant. Decent selection of drinks including what looked like a disused tap at the far end of the bar for Addlestones Cider - brought back some deeply buried but vivid memories that did. Anyway decent mixed crowd and in the evening at least a decent place for a group outing.
murgatroyd - 7 Feb 2009 15:02
I have to agree with the previous comments about the slow service. I had to wait a good few minutes when the pub wasnít that busy as the barmaid was having great difficulty getting to grips with the bottle opener. When I was finally served my pint of Pride was 3/4 full as she had no idea how to pull a pint. She was very pleasant and polite, but maybe she should have been accompanied by a more experienced member of staff rather than running the bar on her own.

Abbot, Old Hooky and Liberty were all available along with the Pride, which was good, and some premium lagers.

There is a small cellar bar which was open during my visit, although the actual bar was closed.

This pub is ok, but it is in an area were it has a lot of far superior competition.
Strongers - 7 Jan 2009 10:41
I love this pub and often drop in after work. It's always packed with people standing on the pavement outside but I'm guessing that's because it's POPULAR!! The beer range is great, the loos are mental (worth a look at the ladies - a bit unexpected!) and the staff move as fast as they can - there's only so many of them that can fit behind the bar!!
Anon72 - 25 Oct 2008 12:40
that would be a pointless phone call you're saying these events didn't happen, I'm saying they did. I can't see how that's going to be resolved. One thing I do concede is that I cannot guarantee you were the person I spoke to on the phone, but if you weren't, then you have somebody pretending they are running the place when they aren't.....and whoever that is, was dismissive and was offering the pretence that you do still generally open on a saturday morning, whilst the girl outside the pub stated otherwise - she presumably works there or at least has something to do with the place, because the door was open and she physically stopped me walking in. If she doesn't then you have interlopers on the premises. Maybe it wasn't you personally taking me for a mug, but that's not really the point. Something clearly doesn't add up in the running of the place and I won't be taking my chances again. There are plenty of pubs in London that are organised enough to know when they are open or not and treat punters with default respect.
Matt_Helm - 8 Sep 2008 12:55
I am the new manager of the Southwark Tavern. Unfortunately, I have no knowledge of the events detailed below. The pub number is 02074030257 should you wish to discuss the matter further with myself.
Many thanks,
JohnH08 - 7 Sep 2008 00:11
what a shame. I used to enjoy a good breakfast in this pub on a saturday morning and have spent a few evenings there as well. I would have previously recomended it. But last time I attempted to go there on a Saturday morning a few months ago it was closed. Disappointing, but these things happen - I assumed it was to do with football. So the next time, I rung in advance. Called on the wednesday before and spoke to the manager, who told me he couldn't say for sure that it would be open, but he'd had no notice about football traffic to suggest that it wouldn't be. I asked if he would know on friday afternoon if I rang back then. He said he couldn't tell and was somewhat dismissive. Very strange.
Anyway, I rang back Friday afternoon, mid afternoon in the hope it wasn't too busy, but couldn't get through, until eventually someone did answer but put the phone down again - maybe it was simply dropped?!?

So I went there on the Saturday morning anyway. It looked open at first, but a girl outside informed me it was closed. I asked why and she said that a new manager had taken over and they hadn't been open on a Saturday morning for weeks.

I don't appreciate being taken for a complete mug. Won't be going back to the southwark tavern in a hurry.

As I say, a shame. It would appear that the new manager may need a lesson in manners as well as how to run a pub.
Matt_Helm - 5 Sep 2008 16:16
slow service, pleace strewn with dirty uncollected glasses, bozo behind the bar couldn't quite get a pint into my glass so offered to top up with another different bitter - nil point - much better places around here to go
moclips2002 - 22 Aug 2008 23:56
'Although the beer is not bad the problem is getting it, service, even when it's not that busy, can be awful.' - never mind Tankboy - queuing up for life's necessities must make you feel right at home!!!

Tankbuster - 14 Jul 2008 17:13
Nice and cozy pub with good atmosphere. Busy upstairs but a bit quieter downstairs and tables. Food nice.

Only problem is there are lots of cockroaches downstairs!
london75 - 14 Jul 2008 17:01
Not a bad little pub with an interesting downstairs made up of little alcoves. Although the beer is not bad the problem is getting it, service, even when it's not that busy, can be awful.
tanky - 8 Jul 2008 12:42
Decent enough boozer, although overshadowed by better places in the nearby facility.

My Pride was OK, there's a selection of slightly exotic overseas lagers, and the stained glass windows are a nice touch. Punters were lively but friendly and the atmosphere was good for a Saturday.

Worth a quick half or two, but I think there's better to be had within 10 minutes walk.
Quinno - 25 Jun 2008 10:59
M & B pub, the sort with foreign beer on tap and a small range of real ale. In this case we had Harvey's Best, Black Sheep Bitter and Pride. Also had Old Rosie, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Franziskaner on draught. We turned up about 11.30 on Saturday, busy as you would expect being next to Borough market and with a pre football crowd. Service wasn't quick. Overall not bad and worth a visit.
GuideDogSaint - 13 Apr 2008 20:43
Great little pub so close to everything that is so awfully touristy.
good food and beers. bonus factor is the cellar bar. very good for cosy cold sunday afernoons. you can wile away the time without it even realising. make sure you reserve an area.

Service is average to painfully slow, however, regretful and friendly.

Bags - 7 Apr 2008 12:22
Not a bad pub. The service wasn't slow particularly, but I was there later on and three staff seemed plenty. Enjoyed the music, and the bar staff found out what one of the tunes was for me. May go back if I'm in the area. The Adnams was past it's best but the London Pride was fine.
kchef - 19 Mar 2008 19:37
Could be an excellent pub, as several others have said, and the beer is usually in good order, but i'm also marking it down badly for the terrible slow service.
mps77 - 11 Mar 2008 12:43
What should be a great pub - good beer, food and clientele - is let down by the hopelessly slow service at the bar as soon as it gets slightly busy. A great relaxing place to be on a weekend afternoon, but a frustrating experience for a post-work drink.
Daveatthebar - 28 Feb 2008 10:12
In here at 4pm on a Sunday afternoon. The bar staff were speedy and friendly although the kitchen was closed for an unnanounced hour so we couldn't order food. The Harvey's Sussex Best was in good condition and we found the only empty table downstairs.

The cellar bar was filthy - stacks of dirty lunch plates and empty glasses left on many tables and sticky messes where drinks had been spilled.

The manager could do with a kick up the rear and the brewery could put their hand in their pocket to buy some paint for the basement bar - it was very shoddy.

All in all, not the place to spend a relaxing Sunday afternoon.
mrfear - 18 Feb 2008 00:33
Decent enough boozer, but the service is terrible, went elsewhere after waiting forever watching two staff struggling and not able to work out who was next.
Alfnoax - 30 Jan 2008 22:10
Big pub, with friendly doorman. Nooks and crannys can be found downstairs. Good range of beers, but a bit slow on the service. Good tunes while I was in there too, "I Get Lifted" by KC & The Sunshine Band, TUNE! Toilets are bit too cosy in the urinal dept, (nobody uses the middle one, unless you want to rub shoulders with each person on either side). Hand dryer doesn't work.
krsone - 19 Jan 2008 13:18
It was a good old fashioned pub, packed with a good crowd on a Friday Night, but there was only one and a half persons serving. When I was served I got a nice pint of Sussex best
anonymous - 10 Nov 2007 02:18
I like the pubs in this area,none are outstanding but most you feel comfortable in.The Southwalk Tavern is no exception.It has a very relaxed feel an some unusual seating downstairs.
becks007 - 5 Sep 2007 19:17
Ok, there are better pubs in the area
kenincamden - 7 Aug 2007 10:34
This little diamond was my wateringhole for many a year. It used to open at 6am for the market staff and was a great livener before going to work. I will go back soon to see if its changed but although it looks a really rough area is a great place. Just for the memories alone I will rate it a 9 out of ten.
payback - 27 Jul 2007 00:47
Busy, and not exactly upmarket in terms of decor, but plenty of choice with a wide range of continental lagers and several real ales on draught.
rpadam - 7 Jun 2007 22:04
Went to this pub on Monday night for dinner. I chose this place because I went here for a couple of pints a few years ago and remembered that it had a good atmosphere.

I was not disappointed on my return. For a monday it was still fairly busy, but if you go down stairs there are more seats and great little booths.

The food here was great. I had the prok chop wiht mash and my girlfriend had the lamb burger. Both were cooked to near perfection! the Prok meat was not dry at all, though the Mash could have been a bit thicker. As for the lamb, that was pretty good too.

All in all, i would definitely suggest popping into this place, but avoid on the Friday/Saturday nights.
austin - 3 Apr 2007 12:33
I have only ever used this Pub on Saturday Lunchtimes, but really liked it.

This is the meeting pub for a small group of Football Supporters for all our London away games, and the whole group love it!

We originally were looking for the Market Porter down the road, but it did not open early enough, so found this pub, and pleased we did.
We like our Real Beers, and the choice is excellent, and the quality was fine.

The food was very reasonably priced too, and the bar downstairs was an excellent hideaway if upstairs gets busy.

I can only rate it on the Lunchtime experience, but will use this pub every London away game!

yep, love it!

COLSLAW - 1 Apr 2007 20:34
A very good place when it's not too busy, pretty woeful when it's packed. Not sure whether the gaffer hires too few bar staff to keep down costs, but the queues are ridiculous on busy evenings and I suspect drive people to other local venues. Food is pretty good, though.
marqueemoon - 29 Mar 2007 17:15
I paid a visit to The Southwark Tavern when in the area with my girlfriend last Saturday (March 17th) and was admittedly, a little unsure as to what to expect from this seemingly lively pub on a Saturday night. Indeed, it was extremely busy, yet possible to find seats (well, stools) and I personally was comfortable enough. I found the music to be dull and repetitive however, but by partaking in good conversation, I managed to overlook this. The atmosphere was pleasant though. I canít report on the state of the interior too much due to the busyness, but can gladly report that there is a fine selection of lagers available. Budweiser Budvar, Heineken, Saropramen, Amstel (and there were others too) were all available on tap as well as pleasingly, an ale or two. I think this a decent enough place on its own and if excellent nearby pubs such as The Market Porter are just a little too packed, then unless you really are an ale buff, then I think here is more than okay as an alternative. Recommended.
HTM69 - 19 Mar 2007 13:56
A gloomy, indifferent corner location pub with a curved wall on the corner. Three casks and twelve kegs including Leffe, Franziskaner, Kirrin, Budvar & Belle Vue. The place is a bit run down and dingy. It's more down to earth than rough, though it does attract noisy customers. It's a smoky, packed, unpretentious place. One of the least attractive pubs in the area.
SilkTork - 7 Jan 2007 14:51
this is a great pub.

like most pubs in the area it doe get busy - but for a reason, it's great.

they have fruli on tap which is very tasty and you can get a mean cherry beer!

good for after work as close to the tube / train.
julesbaby - 18 Dec 2006 12:54
good snugs downstairs, used to be holding for bedlam don't you know. firey cider on tap when I was in that soon ran out, 7.0% i think it was, tasted like cloudy apple juice. tunes were indeed spot on. publican hangs around with dodgy types though. heard a great joke in there too - what do you call a bloke with no shins? tony. that's the mark of a good pub that is.
OllyMott - 27 Nov 2006 16:40
Place is great.
Food has improved alot and its got more daring with 'fish of the day' instead of 'fish fingers for the day'
Music bang on but could do with changing that horrible wall paper on the back wall. Hidden Booths downstairs had TVs in that you could control but someone had stolen the remote from ours so had to change channels the old way.
Beers are good with three ales on when i was in.
Islingtonite - 11 Nov 2006 12:16
Very busy and very loud Ė well, one particularly loud table of drunkards. The service was not the best, with the staff deploying the old ďwhoís next?Ē question to a sea of thirsty drinkers rather than actually keeping track of the customers. Luckily in this instance, the other punters were well-mannered enough to indicate who was before them.

They only had Pride (dull), although I almost missed the Caledonian Fully Monty. Luckily I didnít and it was excellent, although one niggle would be that it tasted like a slightly heavier Deuchars rather than a distinctive beer in its own right.

Still, it is not a stand-out place. As with many of the pubs in the London Bridge vicinity on this board (The George and The Market Porter being prime examples), this place is not bad, but does not deserve such an above average score.
AleKing - 29 Sep 2006 09:48
I like this place. Itís old features have been largely retained whilst the bar area has been sympathetically modernised. On m last visit they served an excellent pint of guest ale Caledonian Full Monty. The staff were very helpful. After asking the strength of the beer the barmaid went to find out then came and found me with the answer. Good potato wedges and olives too. My only complaint is with regards to the un-necessary DJ. No-one seemed bothered that he was there and although he was spinning some good tunes does a pub really need a DJ on a Thursday night?
djburns - 22 Sep 2006 12:02
Good pint of Greene King IPA
oftenscore6 - 7 Sep 2006 16:59
good pub, nice arrangement downstairs with hideaway seats for private conversations/groups. idea lfor a quiet-ish drink. only down side is it was quite understaffed when i went here so slow service.
servemenow - 28 Aug 2006 21:56
There is a really good Pub Quiz held on a Tuesday night. It's held downstairs and the whole area is used just for the quiz so nobody can get in your way. The quiz hosts are really great fun and there's a great variation of Questions, particurly like the Music intro rounds. Lots of prizes too, the first place prize is usually over £100. Strongly recommend trying it out!
anonymous - 24 Jul 2006 21:19
Had a good night here last Saturday - very good music, pretty cool customers, good staff. Pleasantly busy but not at all packed (I did leave at about 1030pm if that makes a difference). Didn't realise there are booths downstairs... I'll try them next time.
anonymous - 24 Jul 2006 17:47
The beer selection is excellent here, both on draught and in bottles. Check your best-by dates if you buy a bottle though - got an Erdinger Dunkel that was 6 months out of date once. I don't think they're great at stock rotation in the fridges (new bottles at the front, old at the back).

The cells downstairs are good in that you can seperate yourself from the often pretentious crowd. Plus I love the irony of buying a round in this place, and then drinking it in a former debtors prison.

Unclear why they have a DJ upstairs though, when it's nigh on impossible to move.
topdog_andy - 3 Jul 2006 13:21
Very good, downstairs is a lot nicer than the madness that is the ground floor. Beer great and food middling when we went.
Nige - 5 Jun 2006 19:02
Nice ale and gr8 food. Had a delicious steak pie here, realy really nice.

Well Recommended

My Rating 8/10
fat_beer_badger - 11 May 2006 15:15
My visit to this pub was a disappointment! Friends had suggested it because of the cosy booths downstairs, which were fun and non smoking - always a preference! However the food was dismal. I appreciate that it was a Sunday and there was a warning about long waiting times...but they didn't warn of burnt, cold or uncooked food! The staff were friendly and apologetic and the replacement food was ok - but I'm definitely not going back for seconds. A shame really as other than that, the pub would have been worth a visit.
anonymous - 1 May 2006 16:26
Do not sing football songs on your birthday in this pub ..... "Jay Bothroyd" may have "hemorrhoids" but that is still no excuse. I also regret dropping my kaks, sorry I just couldn't help myself.

p.s. the Den-like caves downstairs are superb for excessive supping.

renewablebumpy - 27 Feb 2006 17:02
Lovely atmospheric boozer. May become a victim of it own sucess as its constantly rammed to the point of discomfort.

Great selection of reasonably priced beer. Staff are also friendly- always willing to provide a 'sneaky' half at 11pm
anonymous - 7 Feb 2006 17:24
You can't compare this place to the market porter et al. Those are more traditional pubs serving an older, quieter crowd that is probably into real ale, a quiet chat and maybe a go on the quiz machine. The Southwark's pitch is at a younger, trendier crowd and it gets it right in my opinion. Fantastic looking place for starters. Good, interesting food. Young good looking staff. Fun quiz. Great place to relax off a hangover with a bit of hair of the dog on a Sunday morning. Love it - you should love it too.
Monters - 22 Jan 2006 19:01
Relaxed atmosphere, passable wifebeater and cosy booths downstairs to make more discreet acquaintance.

Went here on a Sunday night and heard some top-drawer Mayfield, Monk, Clinton etc. Didn't get lucky- although more likely because it was school night, so don't let that put you off.

Don't agree with JohnBonser about the Bunch of Grapes being better; they're both excellent venues.
lancalot - 20 Dec 2005 14:45
What planet are you on, Mr Esty ?
The Market Porter, Wheatsheaf, Buch of Grapes, Globe, and even the Barrow Boy and Banker are all in a different league to this place
Still, everyone to their own !
JohnBonser - 25 Oct 2005 09:20
Probably the best bar in the area. A good selection of draught largers, bottled beers and wines. A good mixed crowd with a lively atmosphere and love the 70's wallpaper!
Esty - 26 Sep 2005 17:22
Good pub for afterwork beers, can get a bit too crowded on occassions. Great selection of Lagers and the food looks quite good as well. very different since the refurb and attracts a young crowd most evenings - good pub.
gooding - 26 Sep 2005 17:04
This pub actually has a better range of lagers nowadays than its more 'authentic' neighbours. It also has a few real ales, which is more than most pubs have. The DJ on Sundays and Mondays is the most cheerfully old-fashioned beardy drunk I've ever seen.
guntluggs - 2 Jul 2005 13:31
Handy location and I've had some great lunchtime drinks and evenings out in this place. It has attracted a very different crowd since the refurb (become one of these poshed up pubs now), but it has still managed to grow on me again.

Excellent for meeting up for a couple of drinks before heading on into town, good to mull around upstairs during a summers day, great for small groups to chill out downstairs of an evening (if you can get seats or a booth), had a really decent late breakfast with some old mates here the other weekend ... and I just try to avoid the dj nights.

Give this place a late licence, and I'd be relaxing here with friends nearly every night.
DaveK - 17 Jun 2005 13:34
I suspect this pub can get very packed though it never has been too busy when I've been in. The staff were pretty good, the beer range is excellent - for instance three handpump beers, all previous Champion Beer of Britain winners plus Koelsch, Hoegaarden and a fruit wheat beer on tap. The lagers were better than the usual with Staropramen and Budvar in addition to the Amstel. The pub doesn't look too promising from the outside but is well worth a visit
anonymous - 4 Jun 2005 08:27
Fairly decent but trendy pub. Staff are not up to much - there seems to be a high turnover so a lot who are just being trained up. Excellent selection of bottled trappist/Belgian beers. Food is OK, and they do just about the best Sunday roast I've had in a pub, for about £8.50. Ask for horseradish. They've also introduced a few real ales on regular rotation. Nice little private cubbies in basement area. We do the pub quiz on Tuesdays, which is very popular so good prize money (£2 per person, winner takes all, prize regularly exceeds £120). However the music intro round is always far too hard and we lose on that. We use it in preference to the fairly shoddy boozers next to the river in the area, but there are better and cheaper real ale pubs about, e.g. Royal Oak and Lord Clyde.
ooooooooo - 22 May 2005 01:13
Worth going if you like a pint of Frulli (virtually snakebite and black). Have watched football here with good view of TV and sofa to perch on. Will go again.
mulletintheevening - 12 Apr 2005 15:57
This pub is alright, nothing vastly special - some pretty decent cask ales on when i visited. Fairly generic pub with lots of trendy types and tourists in - i believe they do a fair amoutn of food too. Would consider going back if i was i the area
spleen978 - 10 Feb 2005 14:21
Went there today - a Sunday. Nice place, never waited to be served, chilled music from the DJ.

paulo999 - 16 Jan 2005 20:05
Agree with John's comments - there are far better pubs in the immediate vicinity.
Ullage - 14 Jan 2005 11:31
Table footie, friendly staff, selection of beer.. what more can you ask for?

Though it used to be hard to get served its now alot better, new manager doing a good job.
Marcus - 18 Nov 2004 10:12
Spoilt by being "tarted up". There are so many better pubs than this within easy walking distance, I can't see myself going in here ever again. This is a good area for pubs and The Southwark Tavern just isn't in the same league as them
John - 29 Oct 2004 17:41
Fantastic looking pub with poor service and waste of space staff. This place is great for chilling out on a Sunday afternoon, but any other time of the week it's dull and pretentious. And as for the staff and management - they need to re-position their feet firmly on the ground! Over-priced beer and under-friendly gaff. Come back down to earth Southwark Tavern... your time is up!
cheeky charlie - 19 Oct 2004 13:43
Nice pub if you can ever get served.
R - 7 Apr 2004 13:29
The place has a nice feel too it, the little booths downstairs being great for get togethers. The quiz on tuesday nights is a good laugh as well, but get there early or you won't get a seat.
Keif - 22 Jan 2004 13:54
Brilliant. Bar staff are OK depending on their mood, the Scottish guy who looks like Leo Di Caprio is a good lad. Mixes things up a bit - vastly different atmosphere depending on whether you're downstairs in the vaults or up in the main bar, and replaces the table football with a DJ on weekends. Also holds the current British world record for squeezing three urinals into the narrowest possible area of wall. OK music and good (sometimes excellent) food. Best pub in an area of town well served by boozers (see the George or the Blue Eyed Maid - the latter does not yet appear on this site)/
Matt - 12 Jan 2004 13:09
nice place. especially like the booths downstairs. Nice in a traditional sense with a small touch of modernity. mmmm
Jim - 4 Jan 2004 17:42
Good pub - lots of beer choice, tasty evening menu and great quiz on Tuesdays! Definitely recommended although it gets very busy so get there early! :)
Jo W - 3 Dec 2003 16:13
Despite it being 'tarted up' recently by new management, you can still have a good relaxed drink here. Music varies, food options look good, a fair pint and some good secluded booths downstairs in which to while the evenings away with close company. New management bar staff are more sullen and detached but the women are far cuter.
DaveK - 25 Apr 2003 15:42

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