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Rake, London Bridge

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user reviews of the Rake, London Bridge

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

Four draft ales - all from the same brewer - very pleasant. But the bar area is very small, so it's hard to get a seat, and the facilities are very basic (literally graffiti all over the walls) except for the gents' which is as big as the pub itself!
Trev - 31 May 2019 21:23
Nice beer - mainly craft, but some real ales. This place is just too expensive. Luckily, the prices probably drive a fair few away. So it's not overly busy, given its size and you're left primarily with knowledgeable drinkers. On a weekend evening visit in November, the cask ales were Great Heck Navigator, Manchester Brewing Company King Cotton, Gipsy Hill Southpaw & Anorak Plum Mild. They also had Black Rat Perry. The highlight of this visit was one of the taps springing loose and a stout spraying wildly over the bar staff who were furiously searching for a bucket to contain it.
blue_scrumpy - 4 Feb 2018 17:09
My first visit for several years on a Saturday evening in late May.

Always a good choice of ales on tap, this normally includes a number you wouldn't normally find in other pubs. There were a couple of choices from Arbor, I had a pint of Dynamo @ 4.8%.

I also had a 3rd of Single Hop Imperial IPA @ 10%, boy what a beer!

Busy inside but a lot busier outside where all the garden tables were taken.

The Rake is very popular but it's always a decent place for a quality and different beer.
lezford - 22 Jul 2015 16:52
Well worth a visit if in the vicinity. Like previously said a small pub but not as small as a i expected. You walk in and you are basically at the bar. There are 3 tall tables you can sit at and a fairly large patio area to the left with a few tables and chairs. Lots and lots of beers to suit all tastes. Some are expensive but the pint i had was £3.60 which aint bad for london. Lots of graffiti on the walls where people have signed on their visit. I normally dont mind stuff like as it adds character but i feel it makes this place look a bit shabby. One other point is the obvious enthusiasm the staff have for beer!
yamyampublover - 7 Sep 2014 10:01
Not sure about going to the Rake again. If I can believe my memory, barman scowled at me intimidatingly as I approached, made a harsh noise as of a vehicle changing gear the wrong way, then in short order wiped his nose on his sleeve, reached for a glass and wiped its rim with the same sleeve, then poured my beer in the same glass. I said thank you.

Tunbelly - 3 May 2014 14:09
My first visit here for a couple of years.

I love the Rake and their choice of beers either on draught or in bottles never let's me down...however I don't come here as often as I should as it's a bit of the small side and I get a bit fed up with not having anywhere to rest myself while sampling my well chosen beer.

3 of us came here on Saturday night and as expected the place was heaving...though it did empty out a bit after half an hour or so.

My first beer was a bottle of Partizan Brewing's IPA @ 6.6%...good wholesome and strong. We were about to leave when I convinced my pals to stay for another beer...this time it was a bottle of the recently released Brewdog's "Hello my name is Vladamir" @ 8.2%...what a cracking beer this is.

As always with The Rake, service is swift & the knowledgeable staff never let you down. Yes it is a bit on the pricey said but you do get beers served here that you would struggle to find elsewhere in London.

Don't come to The Rake expecting a large space to relax in as even the outside area is rammed...but you should come here at least once especially if you're a beer / ale lover.

lezford - 17 Feb 2014 11:16
Popped in for a couple of pints here last week. Love this place, I always get an interesting beer here. You accept it's going to be a bit expensive, but i don't usually spend a whole night here anyway. I love the atmosphere here. I disagree with the previous reviewer who said it's full of ale geeks. I think there's a good mix of people who fancy a different drinking experience in central London. Always had a jolly time at The Rake. ( that may be because the beers so strong)
Mrsausages - 12 Feb 2014 12:03
This is a beer pub. You come here to enjoy the excellent beers knowing full well they will be 5 quid a pop. Friendly barmen on my visits who were perhaps slightly dismissive of those less-informed on beer.

Personally I would just go to their sister off licence, Utobeer, in Borough market and buy the beers you wish to try there cheaper and drink at home. Little atmosphere here in fairness unless you want to discuss beer with other anoraks.
QueensParker - 6 Oct 2013 04:32
A group of us girls who like real ale went there on a Saturday morning Sept 2013. The beer was good but I have to say the visit would have been a lot more enjoyable if the woman behind the bar was not so grumpy!
tinatina123 - 10 Sep 2013 19:55
Yum yum yum. Lovely!
theeternalwheel - 6 Aug 2013 16:30
Curious little pub next to Borough Market. The bar area is all white with a tiled ceiling. There are various messages handwritten over the walls. I think the seating area outside is bigger than the bar.

It's definitely a very beery pub with various interesting ales on. Staff are definitely into their ale. I can't make my mind up on this one. It's either a real gem or a bit odd and a bit of let down. I only had one pint (name forgotten), so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. 7/10.
Goldings - 23 Jul 2013 14:07
Had a couple of visits to The Rake last week and I had a different experience to the last poster.

I had a good chat about the merits of Sheffield for a beer tour with the older guy behind the bar and the two younger lads were really happy to chat about the beers and make recommendations for my next drink based on my preferences. Perhaps they respond better to a more chatty approach?

davvac - 4 Feb 2013 13:36
When I went in I was shocked when I asked "Can I see a menu of the beers please?" to be told that they don't have one and it was impossible to do a list of beers. I have been in other places where they have a list. I was treated like I was stupid, which I am not. I don't want to ask about every individual beer and how much it is. I would rather have a look at a list and decide from there.

Great range of beers but I think they need to have a look at how the sell them to people.

Been in there 3 times to see if I was wrong with my judgement and each time I've been in I have been disappointed.
dps500 - 9 Jan 2013 13:04
I discovered this pub (or is it really a bar?) yesterday afternoon during a south London daytime visit with friends. I found the bar staff helpful (one offered samples of the beers for my g/f to taste before she decided what to have) and the range of beers excellent. I really enjoyed the two pints of O'Hanlon's Port Stout that I had--a shame we had to catch the train home! The beer at the left end of the bar (I forget the name) was £9 a pint but the ones my friends had were reasonably priced for their quality. And the quality was top notch! If you like your beer, you'll enjoy The Rake.
docjohn - 30 Nov 2012 17:08
Flying visit here for lasties en route to London Bridge station after a performance of 12th Night at the Globe. A superb pint of Hawkshead Windermere Pale and the various comments from brewers scrawled on the walls definitely an encouraging sign - in short I'll agree with zabadak on a tentative 7/10 pending a repeat visit with a little more time to perform a more "comprehensive quality control test" on their wares.
tim_eyles - 11 Oct 2012 12:11
First visit here today. Three cask ales on and a half dozen foreign. Bottle fridge full of interesting items. Could easily settle in for a session of some magnitude. Tried bottle of Kernal Stour.
PoorBeerHater - 6 Oct 2012 22:26
I liked this place, beer very good. Definitely cramped but worth a visit.
jjsint - 30 Aug 2012 14:57
Thursday was my second visit to the Rake and I didn't enjoy it quite as much as my first visit 2 years ago. It's still a very crowded establishment on a weekday evening and getting to the bar can be a challenge. They also appear to have stopped stocking a real cider. Nevertheless, there are still 3 ever-changing cask ales. On Thursday's visit, they were Kronx Brewery Entire Porter & Standard Bitter & Redemption Hotspur. They still also have an excellent collection of bottled beers and ciders. Not quite as good as I remember. But still a worthy stop.
blue_scrumpy - 18 Aug 2012 10:49
Very impressed with this place - the beers *started* at 4.3%! Was already on the way to tipsy when I got here so can't go into too much detail but I liked the modern layout and the outside area was pleasant. The rear yard also gives out onto a market car-park, which was handy at that time of night - loads of space and a nice view of The Shard. A tentative 7/10 but this may go up as I explore it more.
zabadak - 14 Jul 2012 12:02
This place is superb. Bar staff are great and know their product. The beer quality is excellent and the selection of bottled beer is the best Ive ever seen.
rossroad1 - 17 Jun 2012 11:44
Very good example of the new breed of beer temples. If you do not really like beer ( ie only like strongbow fosters and john smiths) please keep away, you will not like it here. Like the craft beer co, the sheffield tap, the cask pub and kitchen, the port street beer house. this place is for beer nerds who realise that abv and distance and rarity means a beer will cost more. Clued-up staff add to the 'beer chemist' feel, and you would be surprised how cosy it feels of an evening when everyone is in there just having a good drink. 10/10 no question
dry_riser_inlet - 30 Mar 2012 18:23
Not my usual kind of preferred pub - very busy and cramped for such a small place with a small outside drinking area and a gate open to the market's gents. However, this was compensated for by the quality and range of the ales available (there was a festival of Welsh beers taking place outside) and the overall experience was very good. The staff were knowledgable and friendly despite the pressure, and the pub is well worth a visit.
Stamfordian - 5 Mar 2012 11:57
My first visit to this pub (I usually get stuck in the Market Porter!!) and a good find. Small bar with an outside area through the patio doors (also leads to the Gents). Four real ales and selection of foreign keg beers (Belgian and German ales). I stuck with Oakham's JHB which is an excellent session beer. Prices for the British draught beers were on a par with neighbouring pubs (around 3.40 a pint) but asome of the foreign brews were - well a bit on the high side with one beer sold only in halves at - wait for it - 4.80 half!!!!!!) Mind you it was 10% abv. They sell loads of bottles beers as they are associated with the beer stall in nearby Borough Market. A great selection from around the world. Bar snacks are available and the crisps come in large tubs (3.20) from Yorkshire (they were good and you get quite a few for your money). I may start using this pub a bit more when in this part of London and it makes a nice contrast and an accompanyment - to the Market Porter !
mcroyal - 2 Feb 2012 10:05
Made my first substantive visit to this outlet in quite a while last Friday night. In keeping with the general context of the Borough area, the pub was fizzing with activity and there was an immediate sense of jollity upon our arrival. Being a strong pre-Christmas Friday I imagine things were even more lively.

What could be quite a boring and sterile space is assisted by various intriguing accoutrements and what might pass for 'artworks' adorning the walls; the wall of graffiti imparts a studenty but original flavour, although I can only hope there's a layer of wittier dawbs underneath the current paint!

Beer-wise, clearly this is one of the capital's boozers that has pledged dual allegiance to craft product, be it dispensed in cask or keg form. I noted the selection of imported bottled choices was impressive, although being me I stuck faithfully to the handpulled options - only 3 but very unusual for London: a Dark Star Oktoberfest, Arbor Ales Oyster Stout and Foundation (can't recall the brewer dammit!). The latter two were sampled by myself and my crew of chums who all agreed it was well-kept, and something of an inspired range, albeit that the light must always be hidden in the shadow of the nearby Market Porter's bushel of up to 10 cask ales. Definitely worth escaping the Porter's excess crowds though to see what's on up at the Rake as a (slightly) quieter alternative.

Can't comment really on any other facet of the pub - didn't need the loo and didn't want food so that'll be for someone else to review. The back area is quite useful for an overspill when the interior inevitably overflows. Punters were generally youthful - many below 30 - but mixed enough and if it was populated primarily by studes it managed to steer away from the grubbiness one sometimes finds in their favoured venues.

Ultimately, a really worthwhile visit and certainly one to include on a wider crawl of the district's many fine houses.
TWG - 12 Dec 2011 17:49
definately one of my favourite places to drink in London at the moment.
had a superb pint of Kaiserdom Pilsner here the other week.
staff were friendly and knowledable and although its quite a small place I had no issue with standing outside to drink.
bryanroy22 - 23 Nov 2011 11:15

'Strange that so many people complain about the prices, yet seem happy to hand over 4 for a bottle of Peroni in most bars these days.';

how do you know that the people who have posted reviews on here complaining about the prices are people who are happy to pay 4.00 for a bottle of Peroni? Did any of the price-complaint reviews say or infer that doing so is to the reviewers inclination?

You've just grabbed that remark out of the air.
suggestion_tryAnewBEER - 3 Nov 2011 13:53
One good thing about this place is that at least they have the decency to tell that one of their beers is 9 a pint, and that another is over 8%. I eventually settled for a reasonable strength bitter at reasonable price. And quite nice it was too.

Other than that I found the place lacking. Its a small, square box and thats about as descriptive as one can get.

My chair was broken too, and so was my partners. Its these little things you remember

Small_Dave - 24 Oct 2011 15:56
Cracking little specialist beer bar in Borough Market. Staff were excellent on our visit and the were more than happy to let us try lots of the beers before we made a purchase. They even warned us that one of the Belgian beers we chose was 6.60 a pint, so we went for a half!

I had a pint of Magic Rock Curious - cracking beer and great to find beers like this in London.

It is pricey, but personally, I don't mind paying a premium to try beers from small independent breweries. Strange that so many people complain about the prices, yet seem happy to hand over 4 for a bottle of Peroni in most bars these days.
Olsta - 24 Oct 2011 12:56
Small pub on the edge of Borough Market.

Excellent selection of foreign bottled beer (watch out for the prices though)

The Uk beer on draught is very good and normally from the more obscure breweries, the price is about "London average" for a pint.

Helpful bar staff who are keen and knowledgeable about the beer they sell.
beershot - 4 Oct 2011 18:07
the beers is always good quality, the service always friendly, and some of the imported draught beers are as expected on the high side, on a recent visit i had a UK produced IPA on keg, 6.30 a pint, quite frankly this is quite comical pricing, i have serious doubts any pub would get away with this rip off price if it were on cask, or has the price of "gas" for the keg suddenly shot up ? Even worse the beer had only travelled from Berks so a local product not something shipped across the atlantic.
moclips2002 - 17 Jul 2011 10:12
Always worth a visit if you're looking for something a little different beerwise, often on the stronger side of things. Not everyones cup of tea but I like it. Unfortunately it was pub number 8 of the day and I can't for the life of me remember what I had to drink but do remember it was good.
Picasso09 - 28 Jun 2011 23:55
Although I've given this pub "10", it's not somewhere I'd want to go every time, but it serves a certain purpose extremely well. That is, having an incredibly extensive bottled beer selection, and a good few things on tap. It's mostly foreign imports (American, Belgian, etc.), but some British beer too. Don't remember seeing any cider.

Downside is the high prices. Don't be surprised to pay 6 for a pint of transatlanticly shipped draught beer.
xeremy - 19 Jun 2011 14:57
Great little pub, run by the same fellows who look after the Utobeer stand at the Borough Market.

They usually have a selection of 5-6 beers of various styles from around the UK and the world on draught, with an extensive selection of bottled beers. Knowledgeable staff.

The beer garden approximately doubles the space in the pub. Best in summers but with heating lamps in the winter.

9/10. Pros: loads of carefully looked-after beers of all styles on draught and by bottles. Excellent staff. Great when the weather is a little warmer. Cons: the only food available are posh crisps. There are millions of places to eat locally, though, if you're after some grub after a few pints.
JimboEnnui - 12 Jun 2011 00:16
Tiny little real ale pub that packs the beers in. Lots of choice, although pricey, but well kept and pleasantly served.
wrichard - 23 May 2011 11:21
So much beer in so little a space. Pricey in parts but they do try to cover all the angles, taste samples etc.

Of course it can get a bit young when the market crowd take over but nevertheless given the local competition it is a good un.

As an aside first mail pub bog I have ever found a baby change unit it!!
loveleedshatebates - 9 May 2011 09:24
If you want to see an afternoon mysteriously vanish..."The Rake" has now become part of my "Beermuda Triangle". If you're thirsty and like hops you can do lunch in the Boro' market, head up to the Euston Tap on the Bank branch of the Northern Line,if you can tear yourself loose go South to Pimlico on the Victoria line to sup in the Cask and Kitchen...and then work out how to get home...
thirstybob - 28 Apr 2011 21:05
Small pub right on the corner of Borough Market, and the feel is very definitely informed by that. Very boutiquey, a little on the expensive side, but a huge range of bottles and some very interesting stuff on tap.

The staff were pretty helpful and not condescending at all. You get a good mix of pretentious types, real ale nerds, market traders, and ordinary down-tp-earth folk.

Nice beer garden, which I expect would be very pleasant in the summer. Ordinarily, places like this would deter me with a slight air of snootiness, but they just about pull it off here.
Hotfoot - 6 Feb 2011 10:11
Tiny bar with top quality range of beer on tap and botle, expensive but worth it!

Can get very busy.
beershot - 10 Jan 2011 16:31
Finally made it to this pub. As others have noted, it packs a huge range of beer into a very tiny space. It was packed
with a festive crowd at the time, and the outside areas were much in use despite the cold weather,

Uncle_Dunkel - 10 Dec 2010 18:29
Looking forward to the SW Beer Festival at The Rake. Starts on the 31st October and have seen the beer list, and it has some very small brewers coming upto London for the first time. Should be good.
gife - 18 Oct 2010 16:32
Eggyoke has it in a nutshell. Or should that be egg shell ~ahem~
davvac - 15 Oct 2010 20:10
Specialist pub.

Good foreign beers.

Near to London Bridge.


Small but good.
eggyoke - 13 Oct 2010 21:29
Nice to see the rake promoting a good local brewery last night in the form of The Kernel Brewery. Two casks and three keg versions of the beer, as well as the bottled range. Had a chance to talk about the beer swith the brewer Evin as well.

gife - 5 Oct 2010 09:48
Been dropping in to this place on and off over the last three years. Unparalleled selection of bottled and draft beers, including many esoteric brews on draft. As most reviewers have pointed out it is small and during the winter the outside doesnt quite reach the cosiness levels of the inside. Also it has to be said that the prices are highly prohibitive with many pints and bottles reaching the 6+ mark. Not that there is anything wrong with paying extra for finely crafted beer, especially when bars and clubs sell the most commercial crap often at similar prices, you must also think that their rent must contribute to this. But this fact combined with the prevailing crowd being made up of city types does rule the place out as somewhere Id go to in the evening. I tend to visit mid afternoon when you get a seat and can have a chat with the admittedly knowledgeable staff (although they do seem to employ the occasional stroppy Shoreditch art student). It is not a comfy community pub but does sell tremendous beer however at prices that will rule out the majority of the drinking public in this country. When will a pub come along that combines the quality of beer and staff knowledge at The Rake with the atmosphere and community spirit of the traditional pub, at prices that dont make it the preserve of the spivs?
xaventaner - 30 Sep 2010 11:16
A real find if you like real beer served somewhere that isn't a throwback to the 1930's. But it is small, and boy does it get busy.
workhard - 27 Sep 2010 16:21
Excellent Brewdog tasting last night, including the end of history
gife - 8 Sep 2010 10:23
I finally got around to visiting this place on Thursday evening last week. The bar itself was much smaller than I expected. Although, the small outside seating area does help to reduce the sense of claustrophobia. You can also drink outside in the market area. Three real ales were on - Darkstar Paradise Weiss and American Pale Ale and Harviestoun Schiehallion. In addition, there is a good range of foreign draught beers that are rarely seen. The bottle selection is equally good. A real cider - New Forest Traditional Farmhouse was also available on my visit. The clientele are very much the City type with posh suits and mobile phones and loud voices aplenty. I wasn't quite sure what to make of the bar staff. They seemed a little stand-offish and having dropped a coin that was handed over, requested another to replace it - certainly an interesting concept that I hadn't heard of before. I think I will return here. But from my perspective, the jury is still out.
blue_scrumpy - 1 Aug 2010 12:03
Popped in for a couple of halves, and thought the beer quality was good. So was a little surprised and disappointed to hear one of the management, who was discussing (wholesale) business with some sort of potential customer, that the beer I was drinking wasn't at its best. That seems rather unprofessional to me and makes me wonder a bit about the standards that are set for the normal drinking public. If it isn't at its best, don't sell it. Set for others the standards you set for yourself.
Haywain - 30 Jul 2010 14:58
Interesting pub for those who like their unusual beers. Expensive, especially if you chose certain bottles, but worth it; paying a few quid for a Kriek you've never seen anywhere else is a lot easier to swallow than paying the same price for the boring old bottled beers you can find in the supermarket for 99p.

Staff are very knowledgeable about their beer and keen to help navigate through the extensive range of brews behind the bar.

The downside is it's a victim of its own success to a degree and can get very crowded at popular times, and like anywhere in the market it's not unknown for the loud and boorish to drop by. Still very much worth a visit, though.
Timberwolf - 27 Jul 2010 17:35
Paid my second visit to this pub last night. Brewdog Punk IPA and Dark Star Meltdown on the pumps. I had several delicious pints of Punk IPA and very reasonably priced it was too. Large selection of European and American beers in the fridge. Tiny place but an essential stop if in the area.
holbornboy - 21 Jul 2010 15:31
We have visited this Pub many times, can't believe I've never written it up before. Always worth a look although it's a bit like a Tardis without the bit where it gets bigger, unless you include the garden. It regularly serves us the best beer of our London trip day, yesterday it was a dark Star Sussex Extra Stout, marvelous. Yes it's pricey and yes it doesn't seem to have the same banter you get in The Market Porter, but it does beer really well.
imdownthepub - 27 Jun 2010 13:15
Very strange post the last one. I have been in on serveral evenings including last wednesday and I got a beer at 10.50pm.

maybe Mr wade is getting confused with the outside area closing at 10>20pm, which I understand is part of their liscence.
gife - 21 Jun 2010 16:15
It's a nice enough pub with good beer (and outside space which is good in summer) but it ain't half got ideas above its station. Of the 3 beers on tap, two of them were being sold for 5.40 a pint - that gives a shock when paying for a round. Nothing about the pub justifies that kind of price. Not impressed with being told they were closing at ten past ten on a Wednesday night either. Left me with a bad tast in my mouth overall, despite the excellent but overpriced beer, so we went to the Market Porter instead - a more honest kind of boozer
Mike_Wade - 17 Jun 2010 08:03
This is becoming a firm favorite of mine and my partners when we are up in Lodon, my partner is in beer heaven. Always have an interesting of cask ales and a supurb range of belgian beers for him and I am into my fruit beers agt the moment. Timmermans strawberry on draught was lovely.

Friendly staff, who are knowledgeable and a good mix of customers.
gife - 10 May 2010 12:33
A great little place with a huge selection of imported bottled beers, imported keg, and 3 cask ales. Quite basic, but who cares when the emphasis is on serving great beers. They also sell Henderson's Relish flavoured Yorkshire crisps.
Slake - 9 May 2010 14:41
This was my first visit to this temple to beery delights. As I am the most untrendy man in the Weald, Im afraid I must have stuck out like a sore thumb, however I was impressed with the businesslike attitude of the bar staff-I didnt find them standoffish or patronising. I had a pint of Wolfs Golden Jackal, which I found satisfyingly hoppy, and with more depth than most golden ales. Alongside on the bar, but not tried were an IPA form RCH , and some blackberry confection from Saltaire. Many of the punters were drinking exotic looking bottles fromabroad. Im not a brave drinker, so I passed these by, as also the imports on Keg dispense.
Not, perhaps a pub for the little Englander, but one Ill return to on my infrequent visits to or through London. 7/10

wittenden - 2 May 2010 00:16
First drink of the day was at the Rake. Not been open long and empty so we get a couple of beers and sat outside. Beartown Bear Ass was ok but the Triple FFF Moondance was very cloudy. The two halves cost 3.10. Beers were drinkable. The third pump had Cotleigh 25 and there was a good bottle selection of foreign beers, also some on draught. Anyone wanting the loo had to use the one in the market acoording to a notice on the door as theirs was out of order.
gillhalfpint - 24 Mar 2010 22:07
Fantastic bar with great range of bottled beer and on draught. if you like proper beer and ales with flavour this is the place for yoyu.

gife - 17 Mar 2010 18:25
I've passed by The Rake on a number of times on a visit to the Boro' but never been able to see enough through the window into the small bar to stop me going to other pubs to quench my thirst. My loss! The day I called by there was St Peter's on the hand pumps,which I've never had draft except in the Jerusalem', Sierra Nevada Celebration? on tap, and so many top-notch bottled beers (Including Brewdog Paradox) that I could have stayed all day. Staff were very amicable too. I'll be back for a bit more sipping when I've saved up my pennies again and I'm not in a rush.
thirstybob - 16 Jan 2010 12:05
Called in last month, as bars go not bad at all. It was very busy even at 11.30 in the morning . The dark star porter was in fine form. I will return in the summer and try couple in the outside seating area it looks like it could be quite relaxing, room permiting. Well worth a visit.
Picasso09 - 13 Jan 2010 12:47
I walked in here from the snow on the 17th before Christmas and was glad to find a place that wasnt rammed with drunken chiefs. The reason that it wasnt heaving was due to the lack of any beers the majority of people have ever heard of, including me. I plumped for the Yellow Hammer from the three ale choices which I thought a little bland. I must admit that I had been on the Guinness for a few hours before drinking here so maybe my taste buds were shot. There was also a selection of German beers on draught and the barmaid was friendly, if maybe a little patronising.

The pub itself is very small but there is a covered and heated outside area to the left and the smoking area is on the edge of the market when the covers are up.

This place is very easy to dismiss when walking past, but it is worth a look.
Strongers - 9 Jan 2010 17:05
Small pub with an attached outside area with patio heaters. The focus is on interesting beers, mainly bottled, though there are a couple of casks. It is one of the pubs that makes the Southwark area interesting, though by itself can be a bit disappointing. There are occasional beer events here. In a sense this is the East London rival of the White Horse on Parson's Green - though much smaller, and without the sloane rangers.

It hasn't quite worked its charm on me, but I am pleased it exists.
SilkTork - 7 Jan 2010 17:40
This is a great little bar. It services a niche market and they are all the better for it. The draught American and Belgium beers are great
Rudolph - 3 Jan 2010 00:27
I'm amazed by some of the negative comments about this great little bar- yes its expensive, but it offers a really excellent range of bottled beers & some very interesting changing stuff on the taps. No wonder some previous posters dont rate the Rake if they dont like Brewdog- but im sorry, Brewdog is possibly the finest & most innovative brewery in the country, so get over it! One of the "must do" places on any trip to the capital.
pcummings - 30 Nov 2009 13:04
Much smaller than the nearby Market Porter and Brew Wharf but with its own charm - one could just about discern its origin as a cafe. The beers were high quality and the staff welcoming. The enclosed "terrace" was full of people. Worth a visit and certainly Southwark seems a great location for a high-quality crawl
Arctium_lappa - 29 Nov 2009 14:14
The beer is always excellent and well kept. How many pubs around here can you say that about? The constantly changing variety of ales on offer is part of the charm - you never know quite what to expect. You always have the opportunity to discover new beers. But, then again, you might return for that great beer to find only dark milds on tap. I don't find the ambience clinical, as stated by a previous reviewer; it has a simplicity and understatement to its decor that is rare. Yes, Brew Dog is overrated - so, don't drink it. Better a few posers than a room full of dreary old farts. Never experienced a rude member of staff. Best time for a leisurely visit is late afternoon.
alebarry - 16 Nov 2009 17:21
Indeed, the Brew Dog "Nanny State" was something most half proficient home brew experts would have been ashamed to have knocked up. I don't understand, apart of course from the hype and clever marketing, the appeal of that brewery; all their beer is woeful. And there's always one of them on here.

The selection of bottles is very impressive, especially in terms of continental lagers. But they are pretty expensive. In terms of what is on draught that does vary, but the choice (brewdog aside ha!) is usually pretty good. Prices vary dramatically but generally the draughts are better value than the bottles.

I've always found the service to be reasonably good to be honest. Can get very cramped. Customers vary, but edge towards the trendy/Hoxton types.
mps77 - 28 Oct 2009 15:30
Relatively good selection of beers. However there is Way too much emphasis on 'brew dog'. there are plenty of other decent breweries in the UK.

The staff are damn right rude and think they are above all their customers. Even the bar manager (short fella with longish dark curly hair and a pot belly) was rude when I questioned the profile of a beer.

theboss2 - 15 Oct 2009 13:46
Pricey, the Brew Dog 'Nanny State' was hoppy, but at 3.00 a pint, dodgy

Worth visiting though.
TiaMariaJim - 10 Oct 2009 19:29
never sure what to make of it.

the range of beer is staggeringly good (though a lot of it is pricy).

however it does seem to be very clinical, and does seem to attract a lot of posers. it's very small as well which doesn't help, along with the attitude of the council, so i don't think all the downsides to this place are the fault of the management.
mike_s - 9 Oct 2009 15:24
The Rake is a bit like buying beer at an insanely expensive cash-and-carry jammed tight with public school boys. Why would you?
crossfield - 13 Jul 2009 15:42
northman, I wholly agree such behaviour is totally unacceptable. There is no excuse for it at all. Just gives me another reason to head to the Wheatsheaf or over to De Hems instead.

Its trendy in so much as every wnkr that wants to be seen as a beer connoisseur after reading about the place in Time Out or the 'Sub Standard' has now descended on the place. Usually they are stuffed by the selection and end up drinking Veltins (the closest they get to Fosters) and the women all drink wine.
Zaphod - 25 Jun 2009 14:28
I used to love the Rake but sadly too many things outside of their control have conspired to ruin the place. First don't even bother going after 6pm on a Thurs or Fri. Rammed with idiots and knobbers. This is a result of its media exposure, and now its the 'trendy' place to be. Next, the plastic nimbys in the flats opposite whinged to the council about the noise. There goes the street drinking and the result is everyone gets rammed into the micro-bar at 10:30 when the patio closes. The construction around the market hasn't helped either with the waste bins seemingly moving ever closer to the patio.

The staff and Utobeer management are an acquired taste, and really could and should do better at customer service. However having seen first hand on many occasions the type of f*ckwits they have to deal with I can understand why their manners and friendliness have been eroded to nothing short of abrupt.
Zaphod - 24 Jun 2009 15:32
the rake, okay so firstly its a rip off just like uto beer.
never been treated more rudely in my life as a customer.
irish dude basically told me to fk off cos i wanted to get some air, the bar was like a sauna. was only 10.30pm, every pub in borough has street drinking (also fire hazard_
wont be going back EVER again. this place is for tourists and suits.

northman - 22 Jun 2009 14:02
One of the best selections of Belgian and US beers in London. But...4.50 for a 355ml bottle of Sam Adams? Absolute disgrace. Its a relatively mainstream beer and there were other US beers priced considerably cheaperdespite being both stronger and more obscure ie. Flying Dog Pale and Sierra Nevada Torpedo.

Even the staff were surprised. The only explanation given was that Sam Adams is one of their best selling beers so they mark it up. Not good enough. Againcracking selection but being charged in excess of 7 for a pint of Sam Adams is not on.

gjs34 - 30 May 2009 23:56
Well, I'm sure this place might be great when it's quiet, but it's pointless to bother on a Friday night.

The tiny bar area was crowded out by boorish City suits, and the staff were too busy having a chinwag behind the bar to bother serving anyone even if you could get to the bar.

When the bar staff finally bothered to serve anyone, they served the people propping the bar up first, even though I'd been waiting without attention for far longer.

I gave up and went to the Market Porter, and advise you do the same. Friday nights at least, the staff just can't be arsed to cope with the chaos.
711 - 9 May 2009 00:25
Great selection of beers, good rotation of draft offerings - but best avoided Thursday / Friday evenings unless you like a crush. Pleasant outside deck, but if that's full you have to stand out in the car park.
Re the 'smell' issue - it was in the air when we were there and I'm quite sure it came from the bar toilet, which I later heard was filthy and had no loo paper. The male loos are apparently maintained [or not] by the market as part of the deal with the bar, because there was no space to build one of their own. There's a new loo block being built next to the deck.
Unfortunately, on our visit the staff seemed a generally miserable bunch and more interested in chatting to each other - the american girl who served us could not be bothered with a please or thank you. In fact, the service standard is much the same in their market shop. We got the distinct impression from the large ginger chap there [the manager?] that unless you could talk to him on a similar level of knowledge, it was beneath him to spend any time with you. I also observed him joking with another guy there about a female customer who had [presumably] asked what he considered a daft question. C'mon guys - we don't all have extensive beer knowledge and this is a great chance to educate people and maybe make them regulars rather than scare them off by your superior attitude and snide comments.
arthur_pint - 17 Apr 2009 13:54
In reference to comments about the smell, the staff and the selection I found none of the above lacking. The smell (if it exists at all) would probably come from the market because, y'know, its set in a market! You tend to get smells if you have a pub near a place like a market for food stuffs.

The staff were and always have been superb and attentive and pleasant. And they keep the fridge well stocked and the beer flowing through the pumps. Labelled glasses sounds way too snobbish for my liking. As long as its a pint glass I'd be happy and if its a pewter tankard then whoopie! Bonus! But I'm not going out of my way to find it.

At the end of the day trying to compare the Market Porter with the Rake is trying to compare a Bedford 6 Ton lorry with a ferrari. Both do their job and do it exceedingly well but I'm not going to compromise one to focus exclusively on the other.

The Rake does great and rare beer (where else would you find Ola Dub by Harvestoun?!?!?!) and provides a reasonable setting to chat away the night..what exactly is wrong with that is beyond me.

Pressyuk - 24 Mar 2009 13:12
It may be worth ben21 knowing that the guys who own The Rake also own Utobeer and so with so much apparent dislike surely you would want to give that a miss also??
A solid 10 from me
johnnog19 - 23 Mar 2009 15:40
It seems churlish to criticise this place for the size of the room and the "outside" gents, when there's only one reason to visit this place - the beer. I love a good pub with one or two great beers available as much as the next man. But if you want to try something you're rarely going to see anywhere else in London (or the UK for that matter), this is the place to go. On my visit last week, they had Schlenkerla Rauchbier on tap - only the second time I've seen it outside Bamberg. Yes, it's pricey (although not as insanely as the White Horse in Parson's Green), but you truly get what you pay for. I've not had a problem with the staff - they've usually seemed as attentive as they possibly could be in such a cosy place. However, like other posters I have found myself being a touch embarrassed by the more stereotypical beer bores that sometimes gravitate to this place. I don't let this bother me too much, though - just concentrate on enjoying the excellent and / or unusual beers.
scissorkicks - 18 Mar 2009 11:02
in response to ben21, if you'd ever been to The Rake before a few months ago, you may have noticed the fridges were nearly always half empty, the new manager has given this place a second wind and the fridges are almost always full.
The Rake doesn't claim to compete with the market porters ale range, why would it? but if you'd had the real ale on tap you'd know it was every bit as good as the Market Porters and it's about the same price.
People come to The Rake to try new beers be they in bottles or on draught and the majority of people, including myself don't mind paying a bit extra for a good beer at a realistic price, find them on tap elsewhere if you like but I can guarantee you won't find them much cheaper.
Great value for money.
rabidbarfly - 11 Mar 2009 21:02
Normally i'd say the Market Porter but as Melissa Cole uses this one it sways things in the Rake's favour.
slerpy - 28 Feb 2009 11:21
Market Porter or the Rake? Are you kidding me? The Market Porter every single time. The Rake is fine but how much effort does it take to fill a fridge with beer and buy a few branded glasses compared with the row of hand pumps of well kept beer at the Porter? Plus the place smells really bad, the staff weren't rude but they didn't seem pleased to serve us. It's also pretty expensive. In future I'd buy a couple of bottles from Utobeer, have a couple of pints in the Porter and give the Rake a miss.
ben21 - 28 Feb 2009 10:58
Market Porter or the Rake? Got to be the Rake for me now, over 130 different beers from everywhere with 2/3 Dark Star seasonal beers on the handpumps. Service was 10/10 and it has a pleasant little beer garden, doesnt look nothing special from the outside but inside beer drinkers paradice. Handy to know it opens at 10am.
Will visit again in the near future
superseagulls - 23 Feb 2009 17:50
Funny little place, which looks nothing like the photograph currently showing on this page (because it is always packed). A big range of bottled beers in the fridges behind the small bar, several unusual lagers on tap, and two Dark Star ales (including a decent 'Festival') on handpumps. Would be better with a bit more space, but otherwise pretty good.
rpadam - 21 Feb 2009 22:15
Never had a problem with service, and the Rake is in my opinion an essential stop-off for any beer lovers in this part of London. I wish there were more establishments providing such an extensive range (still lament the loss of the Beer Circus in Croydon) - though 7.40 for a half of Sierra Nevada Celebration and a pint of Thornbridge Jaipur IPA (whose brewers were in residence on Saturday giving tutored tasting sessions) is unacceptable. Unsurprising pricing strategy though given that it probably attracts stragglers from Borough Market who have just willingly paid extortionately over the odds for a burger or foodstuff containing the phrase 'organic' (anyone guess I'm in grumpy old man mood today;))
Dartitis - 20 Jan 2009 16:36
I live locally and remember the excitement when this pub started up a few years ago. Shame that it really hasn't lived up to the promise - basically many of the earlier posters are correct:

The bar staff are often unfriendly and certainly unhelpful.

The pub itself is just a small box with no comfort or character.

True enough, there are a *lot* of bottled beers on sale, but more and more other (decent) pubs are broadening out what they keep on tap and in bottle. And in any case, I don't need 100+ different beers, just maybe a dozen good ones well kept. :o)

It remains a curiosity, which is well suited to an area where there are often a lot of tourists and day-visitors. A shame, to think if what could be there on the site.
happy_beer_drinker - 17 Jan 2009 21:44
Ok, basically, it's got 130 bottled beers from all around the world (not all nations are represented). There are 3 beer taps that never change. 2 Handpumps are a drawback which is made up for by the fact that they are rotated nearly every day.
Staff are generally good. Although if we're being honest they're also individuals and don't like being treated with direspect.
It's a shame that in this day and age people are becoming more used to the stereotypical dim-wit in a uniform that grins inanely and blethers "have a nice day!!" when they've nothing more interesting to say.
The Rake is an awesome and quirky place. Perfect for a quiet pint, some top quality banter and irreverant goings-on early in the week... Not so good on a busy friday when customers drink to forget... And in their haste to reach the bar before some other beer-thirsty numb-nut, forget their manners or that they ever had a mother that would be ashamed of them.
My advice to drinkers in The Rake? Take your 20 note out of the barman's face, try not to trip him up when he's collecting glasses, stop SMOKING when you've been told twice already not to. Don't flush the toilet when it's already flooded! Don't ask about a beer as a pretext to cut off the barman mid-flow and start telling him about the 12 years you spent as a bhuddist beer monk gargling your happy way through top tipple... at least not on a busy friday.
To all of you who've had genuine bad experiences at The Rake i'm sorry, but for the most-part i've been there for alot of the petty bickering. The best thing to do if you want good service at The Rake is to let the poor bastard behind the ramp do his job.

Minicascade - 13 Jan 2009 18:06
I was pleased to find a pub with such a wide selection of beers. Whilst this is the backbone to a good pub the lack of good manners on the part of the staff casts a poor tone on the overall experience. I have been to this pub on many occasions now and have found a very consistent pattern of bad attitudes exuded by the staff. It wouldnt hurt to smile on occasion and cordially greet the customers that are coming into a very highly priced establishment to spend their money. If you dont mind a very heavy dose of staff attitude the beer is always superb. Give it a pass on Friday and Saturday nights unless you enjoy feeling like a sardine in a can.
johnnymartin - 11 Jan 2009 14:53
Expensive, inattentive staff, and essentially a portacabin, but I still chose to have my birthday drink there, because the quality and range is exceptional,and the setting between Southwark Cathedral and Borough Market is hard to top. The Belgian Christmas beers on draft were superb.
mtaylor40 - 25 Dec 2008 00:25
So many beers, so little time! Wish I lived in the area so it could be my local.
owenontour - 20 Dec 2008 15:34
Two handpumps in a boxy bar? As a non belgian-etc drinker, I don't geddit!
trainman - 20 Nov 2008 20:21
Run by the same team behind Utobeer - this is a place to try many varied delights on bottle and on tap/pump.

You're not coming here for the location, decor or anything else. It's all about the beer selection
beerviking - 20 Nov 2008 19:31
This place is great. Just tried a scouse ale that was delicious, tasted of haelnuts and coffee, don't know how it was so good. Staff were helpful, let me taste before buying at their suggestion, not something i've had before. Me and the crew had their sandwiches and were well satisfied by their offerings. Small yet full of character, this is a gaff i send outta towners to. BTW the car park it's next to is awesome for playing pissed cricket in until your are rightly told to 'behave'.
thelobster - 24 Oct 2008 16:20
I love this place. On Thursday they had Harviestoun Belgian White on draught plus Sierra Nevada Porter, fantastic stuff.
GuideDogSaint - 19 Oct 2008 16:00
Tiny bar, huge and fascinating beer selection. I love this place, if you haven't been before, I can highly recommed a visit, if you're not sure what to choose you can either ask the friendly, knowledgable staff or just pick a beer from the recently added 'randoms row'. 9/10 loses a point because it's just sandwiches & pork pies food-wise.
rabidbarfly - 10 Oct 2008 13:13
A tiny little pub hidden away round the back of Borough market. Two changing ales on pump plus four other taps that usually contain continental lagers, ciders or perries. Also, a large selection of bottles in two fridges behind the bar. All part of the Utobeer shop that is actually in the market which is also well worth a visit. Highly recommended when it's not busy.
The_Greene_King - 4 Aug 2008 17:26
Tiny little bar with about the same size outside drinking area to the side. This area is no-smoking when the sun shades are up which is good. Unbelievable selection of bottled beers, 2 ales on tap (Westerham & Twickenham) plus 4 interesting foreign beers. I like it when you drink beer from the correct glass which is the norm here. Helpful and cheerful girl behind the bar is something you don't often come across in these parts! My first choice now when in the area.
Mothroy - 27 Jul 2008 09:58
What declining standards at the Market Porter?
Alfnoax - 6 Jul 2008 20:41
A good antidote to declining standards at the nearby Market Porter, this is a clever enterprise in making available a wide array of continental and American beers, plus a real ale and cider on tap. Friendly staff and an enjoyable outside seating area make up for the lack of opportunities for cat swinging in the interior. Without sounding like my Mum, the one black mark at the moment is a serious one: filthy toilets that remind one of what Southwark must have been like in Shakespearean times.
BoehmBawerk - 6 Jul 2008 20:34
Perhaps a victim of its own success in a way - the place is tiny and rather impersonal when busy.

However the range of foreign beer (plus two guest ales) can't really be faulted. The price of the real ale is fair, although as noted elsewhere you need to be clever when buying snacks...

Worth going to, but at a time when it's likely to be quiet - definitely NOT 9pm on a Friday!
Quinno - 25 Jun 2008 10:27
If the Market Porter is too busy come here instead if you're a beer drinker, although Veltins lager is available, none of your Fosters/Carling/WifeBeater etc. Usually two UK ales on tap, plus some foreign beers, loads of bottled beer of all origins. For some of them though you're better off bringing a rich mate with you if it's their round. The staff are an 'interesting' bunch, in general knowledgable about what they're selling.
TiaMariaJim - 23 May 2008 13:25
I went to this pub after work last Friday. It is a tiny bar but it does have a good size under umbrella area outside. The beer choice is significant if some what intimidating. Definitely worth a couple of visits to discover the vast array of beverage choices.
LondonBoy29 - 21 May 2008 13:47
Have just spent a nice evening in The Rake, sat outside under the tent. Enjoyed a few Belgian bottled beers, girlfriend had the Weisse beer on tap. Staff very pleasant, prices not too steep for quality beer. Would come back again.
mikelynn - 13 Feb 2008 13:26
Is this place expensive? You pay less for a bottle of exceptional beer than you would for a glass of very average wine in any pub in London. Bar staff are knowledgeable and helpful and very friendly. OK only two real ales, Ballards Wassail and Twickenham Naked Ladies tonight but with SNPA, Maisels Weisse, Cantillon Geuze and an unknown 8% beer who cares. Bottled range is excellent, anywhere with Rochefort 6, 8 and 10 can't be faulted. Told Simon and Cat I could only give this a 9 because of the lack of real ale but thinking about it can only be a 10. Hope to be back here soon.
GuideDogSaint - 18 Jan 2008 01:18
This place is ace.
One of the tiniest pubs around, but with the best selection of beer that staff are happy to let you try before you commit to a whole glass.
Staff are always friendly and I think this is a bit of a gem in London Bridge.
ec1 - 11 Dec 2007 15:09
The Rake causes me problems.

Don't get me wrong - the beer selection is excellent. Tehre are some weird and wonderful ales here - I went there yesterday and had a Sierra Nevada which while tasting too much like a Mickey Mouse (Lager and Bitter in one glass for those not acquainted with poor drink choices) it was still pleasant. Such a wide range means you're unlikely to ever have drunk all the beer, plus you are among other beer and ale appreciators which is always nice.

The decor too is reasonable - if that's your thing. Neutral, not unpleasant and plenty of space to get a seat either indoors or in heated patio.

When I came to order, I didn't6 know what to have and the barman even gave me a taster of the Sierra Nevada. With hindsight, I should have refused to have more of it but was just surprised with this gesture of generosity in London.

Worth a look. However the cost is high, and the Makret Porter is around the corner. Or the Brew Wharf (where someone who reviewed there thinks I'm a member of staff......I'd read the review and judge for yourself).

rampantwurzel - 7 Dec 2007 17:20
This is one of my favourite pubs in London, shame a couple of other people have had bad experiences. Ive always found the staff very helpful
A great selection of beers on tap and in bottles. True it's not cheap, but if you think that then I'm sure there's a Wetherspoons nearby which has a pint of Fosters with your name on it. Note, I'm not a city type with a 5 figure bonus, I just know what I like and that's unusual specialist beers which you generally won't find elsewhere.
Spent quite a few Friday lunchtimes in the summer there (and a few since), we'd grab some food off one of the stalls and then sit outside on the decking drinking fantastic beer. The ale they have on tap is good, but my personal favourites are the US micro-breweries, Sierra Nevada (on tap) and Anchor Steam or Goose Island in bottles - don't let memories of 10 bottles of p*ss-water bud when you were a teenager let you think that's the standard for US beer.

pnorton - 5 Dec 2007 13:51
Really suprised by the comments. I've never had anything but excellent service and excellent beer. The bar staff have gone out of their way to make suggestions and provide samples of what is on tap.
Zaphod - 12 Nov 2007 09:56
If you put a drink down for a minute, have it removed and then watch the bar staff laugh in your face as you ask politely for a replacement, this can onyl mean that they refuse to take their customers seriously. A venue which rates itself , and its over-valued novelty beers, more highly than its customers. To be avoided.
hugonius - 9 Nov 2007 00:20
got to say the ales are not that well kept, last time i just walked out (they didnt have anything on at all) and this is the Time Out bar of the year (joke) go to the Market Porter instead. U less you want overpriced Madagascan lager in a bottle
anonymous - 13 Oct 2007 00:13
Canastajim - being accused of pulling a fast one when a member of staff took away a full bottle of cider and we then complained about it is not deserving behaviour in my mind. The bar staff then accused us of lying to say we wanted a free drink, I wouldn't have minded if I hadn't just paid out of 40 for the round which they had just served me at the bar. Like you said when you pay good money for a drink you don't expect it to be taken away before you have finished drinking it.
Murphles123 - 11 Sep 2007 15:46
The Rake has been going for over a year now and has extended its opening hours and seems to attract a healthy amount of punters. Fantastic range of bottles available and always some interesting stuff on the fonts/pumps. Have never had any problems with the barstaff, male or female. I suspect those who have had bad experiences here probably deserved it, I've seen the odd wally come in here. Prices are on the high side but par for Central London. The 3 crisps to my mind are poor value but they had sold out of them on Saturday last. Give it a try!
canastajim - 10 Sep 2007 09:36
I think if they sacked the twunt of a barman then this could be one of the best bars in London. Until they do, I know a huge amount of people will not be going there.
anonymous - 6 Sep 2007 17:01
Was tipped off about this gem by a worker of the Utobeer stall in the market.
A massive range of bottled beers (and correct accompanying glasses!), the couple of ales on tap were also tasty and in good nick.

It's so small, but that's what I loved, the knowledgeable barman Tony and the two barmaids there were excellent company! Birthday traffic light shots on the house were a nice surprise! ;-)
amadcitrus - 10 Jul 2007 10:52
Topdog please give this laudable venture another chance. The date on any 'refermente en bouteille' beer is there for EU regulations compliance. It may just be x years after the brewing date. Like wine, these beers can mature for many years often developing a much more complex flavour. Some specialist bars in Belgium e.g. Antwerp's Kulminator offer them by certain vintages. It doesn't sound like the barman gave a very plausible explanation. But don't be put off by the date - unless the beer isn't of the bottle conditioned variety in which case certainly give it the swerve.
bb_pete - 5 Jun 2007 14:26
Nice bar area although a bit small and the outside garden is a gem (although why is the umbrella up now it's almost Summer?) But the bar staff have to take the award for most pretentious beer snobs I've ever come across. Fair enough you don't serve Stella - but if someone asks for it don't address them as if they've just crapped on your living room carpet! Pork pie is good too.
Temanga - 26 Apr 2007 09:11
Three quid for crisps? Someone, somewhere is laughing all the way to the bank.
Albert_Campion - 20 Apr 2007 17:35
Andy, was the beer you had bottle conditioned? If it was, the fact it was two months past the sell by the brewers are legally required to put on the bottle is probably a good thing, and certainly not a bad thing.
anonymous - 7 Mar 2007 18:10
If you're interested in beer and you live in London, you'll probably already know about Utobeer at Borough Market. The guys who own it have been importing fine beer from around the world for years, and with the demise of the Pitfield Beer Shop their pre-eminence is unchallenged. Last year they opened a bar in a disused building in the middle of the market. I first visited a few months ago. Back then, they hadn't really got things going properly and I wasn't overly impressed. I've popped in a few times since, and noticed steady improvements each time. Yesterday I had my first proper session in the place, and this time I was really feeling it. Now I'm definitely a fan.

The bar itself is tiny, and always seems to be buzzing. Most of the seating is outside in a covered, heated patio. They now offer two cask ales and there's a steady turn over of guest keg beers from Belgium, the US and elsewhere. Yesterday, the imports on tap included Gants Ducassis (Belgian fruit beer), Van Honsebrouck Bacchus (a Flemish sour ale), Anchor Steam (a Californian craft lager) and Gordon Highland Scotch (a Scotch-style ale from Belgium). Because none of the usual suspects are available (there's no Stella or Guinness here, chum) everyone has to get involved and try a variety of beers. The staff are knowledgable and make first class recommendations, so don't be afraid to ask if they unfamiliar draught line-up and fridges full of bottles intimidates. This is a perfect addition to the already excellent scene down in Borough, the food and drink mecca for Londoners.

The occasion yesterday was my old pal Hyth's first visit to London for a while, and our first meeting for a year. There were six of us in The Rake and everyone enjoyed it. Suicidally, I found myself drinking the Gordon Highland Scotch steadily for about four hours, eventually finishing the keg off for them. At 8.6% abv, this strong but smooth dark ruby ale isn't perhaps the best session beer, but it really was great on tap and I couldn't help myself. I was worse for wear when we moved on for the night, and I'm still feeling the effects today. You'd think I'd know better. It's been a heavy weekend, but as Hyth is fond of saying - nobody said it was gonna be easy.

[NB to the site administrators - this pub is in Southwark / The Borough - there is no such area as "London Bridge". It's a bridge and a train / tube station.]

anonymous - 7 Mar 2007 18:09
I've been here about four times now in the past month and was going to profess my undying love for the place, but.....

On Saturday I was served a beer a good 2 months past its best-by date. I questioned it, only to be told "Oh...that's only when it's BEST by. It doesn't really go off".

Might be true, might not be true. However, if I'm going to pay about 4 a beer, I expect it to be at it's best, not just still drinkable.

Any place happy to serve sub-standard beer can sit-and-swivel for all I care. I'm not going back.
topdog_andy - 26 Feb 2007 15:03
cold, uncomfortable and soulless, is it a pub or a style bar? I don't think it's decided.
anonymous - 12 Feb 2007 12:47
Been dropping in since it first opened - draught beer quality is usually OK though I've had a few tired pints there.

Decent choice of bottles but they're kept far too cold, especially the stouts and porters. There must be some middle ground between neo-frozen and tepid that they can achieve?

Bar snacks limited and expensive...

eddierowles - 25 Jan 2007 13:11
Visited on Wednesday 17/01/07. Superb HopHead with a fruity hint only discernable when kept at 98% form or above. Very friendly, enthusiastic staff. Vast selection of bottled and draught beers from abroad suppliment the two handpulled ales. This pub merits mandatory inclusion in any London Bridge pub crawl.

An excellent discovery.

lad_newton - 22 Jan 2007 17:20
Bit on the pricy side - obviously aimed at the foodies visiting the adjacent Borough Market. But it did have O'Hanlon's "Thomas Hardy's Ale" (11.7%) on draught when I visited - usually only available in bottles.
grandsire - 5 Jan 2007 14:56
A new must-visit pub in London. Intimate place just behind the Borough Marked. Very friendly staff and well kept real ales on cask and bottles.
rune - 20 Dec 2006 09:21
A nice small pub in the outskirts of the market with an outdoor seating and a very good selection of foreign beers - both on tap and on bottle.
Finn - 6 Dec 2006 21:40
The Rake
Have just spent 6hrs at the rake today and although they ran out of Chimay beer that was the only thing I could fault them on. Great staff, I think one is named Tony, looked after us very well indeed, the outside seating are with its heaters and parasols is cleverly designed and was full even on a day with wind and rain.
thetrevone - 1 Dec 2006 21:54
No separate entry for The Rake yet but it's well worth a visit. Friendly knowledgeable staff and fridges that are to beer drinkers what The Chocolate Factory was to Charlie! Fantastic place - see you again next week !!
SCFC1883 - 17 Nov 2006 23:47
Recently opened by the guys that run the Utobeer stall in Borough Market.Surprisingly bright with white walls and pine floors. I would've thought they would have gone for the smokey, dark feel of Belgian bars given the vast and sometimes unavailable belgian beers. However the outside decking area makes up for this with a superb view of Southwark Cathedral
crimsonpirate - 5 Nov 2006 17:11
The Rake is a my new favourite bar! Fantastic little place that offers a staggering range of bottled beers and ciders and keeps a regularly changing selection of draught beers. Been in here a couple of times this week and enjoyed some lovely pints of O'Hanlons Royal Oak bitter. Very friendly bar staff, always willing to explain all about the bar and its beers. Top place!
mtgriffin - 3 Nov 2006 17:03
I broadly agree with Stonch. We had a fine time at The Rake a couple of weeks ago, drinking tip-top O'Hanlons Stout before exploring the Belgian and german bottled beers with the friendly help and advice of a knowledgeable bar-person. They closed the outside at 10.30pm and ushered us indoors to continue drinking in the tiny bar.

Will go back again when I've saved up enough beer money. Choose wisely, and you'll find the prices are roughly in line with other venues... (They were, however, offering Thomas Hardy Ale at 6.60ish a bottle in the same week Wetherspoons were selling it at 2.80 or thereabouts...)

F.Y.I. moclips2002: there's no "Hophead" brewery; it's a beer from The Dark Star Brewery, Moonhill Farm, Burgess Hill Road Ansty, Haywards Heath.

If the beer is truly in poor condition, point this out to the staff. Try this next time; no self-respecting beer outlet would tolerate a reputation for ill-kept ale, and my impression is that The Rake is a place commendably interested in its reputation for beer and ale.

Alph_river - 31 Oct 2006 10:39
To be fair, you are completely wrong about the beers here being chosen for "novelty value" or some kind of "around the world in 80 beers" guff - for that, go to the Porterhouse.

The beers here are extremely well chosen - they haven't tried to cover the globe, so you won't find many (if any) beers from countries that just produce fizzy holiday lagers. The emphasis here is on Germany / Belgium / USA / UK - i.e. the countries with the interesting and diverse beer scenes.

The prices are too high though.
anonymous - 31 Oct 2006 10:14
this is a comment on the Rake as i doesnt seem to have a separate entry here yet - nice cosy place, has a large rather expensive range of beers sourced from around the globe - principally for novelty value it seems - i suppose there are people who would like to boast about drinking lager from Mozambique (and pay a pretty penny for the privelege) The real ales (from Hophead brewery on my visit) were in truelly awful condition so over all your better off debunking to the Market Porter - finally beware off the odd opening hours...
moclips2002 - 30 Oct 2006 21:15
Noticed this one wasn't up yet. A small bar but very light with a few high stools inside. Outside is a platformed kind of terraced area. Good for the summer. It was pretty expensive but the selection of world beers was extensive. They had 2 real ales on (both Dark Star ones at the time), a kolsch, belgian pale ale, wheat beer and something else on draught, if my memory serves me rightly. Loads of bottles. If you like beer, you'll like it.
mitomighty - 20 Sep 2006 17:39
A tiny pub in Borough Market - allegedly the smallest bar in London. A long time ago it was the King's Head and is now a modern bar serving a wide range of beers from Britain and abroad, as well as Dark Star mild and Old Ale on the pumps. A large outside area caters for smokers. Very trendy but also very good beer.
beeronaut - 17 Sep 2006 00:01
Opened by the folk at the excellent Utobeer stall on the nextdoor Borough Market. Allegedly London's smallest bar, it also has some decking outside.

Quite pricy and *all* the beers are chilled a bit much to the same icy temperature, but a fantastically wide selection of bottled beers from around the world - there's nothing much like it in London.
jimothy - 6 Sep 2006 14:06
The owners have now opened their small bar - The Rake - within the precincts of the Market on Winchester Walk, by Vinopolis. Very small and bright one room bar with a slightly bigger decked area off the side. Sells unusual beers on tap (Liefmans Jan van Gent, Liefmans Kriek, and an unusual German lager and weissen were on when I visited). They also plan to sell two or more cask beers at a time but nothing as yet. About a hundred well chosen bottles in the fridge. Space is limited, prices are high, but there is no doubt that this place is unique and should be checked out by anyone who is seriously or just moderately fascinated by world beer - which should include everyone reading this bar me old mucker Conniwot.
anonymous - 31 Aug 2006 07:40

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