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Anchor Tap, Tower Bridge

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user reviews of the Anchor Tap, Tower Bridge

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

I'm always happy to visit a Sam Smiths pub, nice traditional boozers where the beer is always sold at a good price. This one was very quiet for early Saturday evening, though pleasant enough with a small outside seating area. You know what you are getting with a Sam Smiths - though I have had better Old Brewery Bitter at other London pubs.
dyyony - 8 Aug 2017 12:33
OK Sam Smiths pub a bit off the beaten track (apparently the brewery tap for the nearby Courage brewery).

Quiet on a summer Saturday lunchtime. Only a handful of customers - tourists not locals.

Smallish multi-roomed pub which I am not sure suits the Smiths brown decor.

One draft beer of course (Bitter) which is rarely great.

Worth a visit.
boblarkin - 17 Aug 2016 21:32
A quiet evening on a warm sunny day in this Samuel Smiths pub. It's moments off Tower Bridge Road, yet it feels miles away in the suburbs; you have to know about this place in order to find it.

But once you do, I liked it. Dark, cosy and comfortable inside, and very quiet. Maybe 20 or so people in the pub mid-evening. There appeared to be several small rooms, I'm not sure if there is more than 1 bar as I sat next to the main bar in the entrance area. The customers looked like local office workers.

The beer is the usual Samuel Smith range, I had a cold draught cider. The bitter seemed popular. There seemed to be just the single barman, who was welcoming to well known customers and new customers such as myself.

I can imagine on a Thursday or Friday evening this could be quite a busy place. I'd happily go back here again. I can't comment on the food, I just had a drink.

chrisbates - 4 May 2016 21:58
Classic pub. There's quite a lot of life at the main bar, with the regulars all occupying their stools, while to the right there's loads of seating.

Only downside is having to walk upstairs for the john, but it's not much of a drawback when you consider the price of drink there. Definitely a place to bring someone unfamiliar with London, and even nice for your partner. It's the kind of pub where anyone would like it.
el_bozboz - 30 Mar 2015 13:02
Everything is great about this pub: friendly bar staff, welcoming locals, log fires, Sam Smiths beer... you name it, except for one thing - the bar manager. I'm not sure I've ever had anyone be quite so aggressive or unpleasant to me in a pub, especially after I'd just spent upwards of £50. "Drink up and go. Leave. Now." There's no need for this, and if Sam Smiths would address this the Anchor Tap would be my favourite London pub.
samueldavismiller76 - 7 Feb 2015 00:38
I love this pub. I'm surprised I haven't rated it yet, as I have been here a good number of times. Great atmosphere. Historic. Great value beer and food. Plenty of rooms to explore. Tucked away in the back streets so it doesn't get too crowded. This is a must visit pub. Highly recommended.
SilkTork - 12 Oct 2013 17:01
This is a great pub tucked away down towards the river just south over Tower Bridge. It used to belong to the The Anchor Brewhouse which is the amazing brewery building that can be seen on the riverside.

It has a nice outdoor seating area, multiple different rooms inside, including a pool room and a games room with draughts/chess boards and dart board. It has a nice lounge area upstairs and a couple of seating areas on the ground floor too. The bar staff seemed very friendly and it had a nice atmosphere in general. Being a Sam Smith's pub the beers a pretty reasonably priced as well.

Worth a detour for a couple of pints. I'll definitely be going back next time I'm over that neck of the woods.
EdLondon - 3 Dec 2012 17:40
good pub
wellington - 5 Dec 2011 10:39
One of the tower bridge guides advised us to go here and fair play to him, a gem of a pub. Lots of hidden rooms (although one of the taller lads with us nearly took his head off) and good Sam Smith prices. Barman was ok, but not over-friendly and some of the locals eyed us with slight suspicion (it must have been the scouse accents!), but apart from that, great place.
Scousefire - 26 Oct 2011 11:30
A great pub oh so close to Tower Bridge tour exit that you must stop by! A Sam Smiths house that has a cosy comfortable fell to it. Nice publicans and fresh bitters and lagers on tap.
richardo - 20 Jul 2011 19:55
Lovely old multi-roomed warren of a pub. I stopped going here a few years back when they got rid of the cask ale, but gave it a try as I was walking past and the real ale is back. Sam Smith's Old Brewery Bitter @£2.03 a pint. Drinkable, though could have been better kept.
Delirious_Nomad - 30 Mar 2011 15:06
Cracking pint of cask Sam Smiths :-)
oftenscore6 - 10 Feb 2011 23:40
clarebear1 - 26 Nov 2010 17:03
I love this pub after work, nice setting, cosy, not full of suits, cheap/strange priced beer, £2.22 etc, good pies, nice bar staff, cant fault this one at all (apart from the strange fell down the stairs hangovers you seem to get from drinking too much SamSmiths Pure).
rovers74 - 2 Sep 2010 10:11
Fine, traditional Sam's pub situated in a quietish side street close to the southern end of Tower Bridge. Despite the close proximity of this major tourist attraction, based on my recent early evening visit, it remains relatively tourist free, probably because of its off-the-main-track location.

The "Tap" referred to in the pub title is, of course, that of John Courage, who used to have a brewery here and The Anchor Tap was indeed their first pub. Whilst the pub still stands, flats and apartments are now where the brewery once stood.

The pub dates back to the mid 18th Century. Inside, looking much larger than you might expect from the outside, is a warren of 5 different interconnecting rooms and a feeling of authenticity that is perhaps lacking in some of Sams London pub "Victorianisations", although I have to say that I do like the Sam's traditional pub style and ethos.

The pub is dark wood panelled throughout. Frosted windows help create a cosy atmosphere. On the left is a games room which houses several electronic games machines ( thankfully silent during my visit ) and a dartboard. Off the main central bar on the right ( mind your head as you go in ) is a comfortable lounge with a piano. Also of note here is a framed poster showing that Sam Smiths OBB was the Supreme Champion at the 1980 Great Western Beer Festival. There's also a smaller lounge at the back and a further separate room with a pool table.

The multitude of keg fonts and pressure dispensers on the bar top are a major disappointment and, frankly, a bit of an eyesore in the surroundings. Let's hope that Sam's see the error of their ways, bring back handpumps and start serving real ale here again soon.
JohnBonser - 6 Apr 2010 13:21
Enjoyed a quick pint here last weekend. The barman was extremely friendly when we walked in, which was welcoming. The pub has lots of character, even the room with the pool table! Situated near the historic Shad Thames and Tower Bridge, the pub had tourists from various countries on our visit wanting to enjoy a traditional London pub. They seemed to be impressed. As was I.
rjb1973 - 5 Jan 2010 11:08
It's another 'unique' Sam Smiths pub full of character (and characters). Very unasuming especially for the area and there is a pool table and garden towards the back of the pub. Open the whole of the weekends too is a big bonus for this area.
Oakman100 - 10 Nov 2009 19:34
Well done to Sam Smiths for helping to keep the traditional feel to their pubs. This pub has quite a cosy and relaxed feel to it. I can quite imagine the locals having a sing song around the piano! There's a lounge, pool room and beer garden with benches outside. Had the Sovereign beer which at £1.95 a pint is great value for London. The food is basic but not too bad nonetheless and the service was relatively good.

Overall, this is a good pub for meeting up with friends for a quiet drink. It's not overun with tourists nor drunk City workers out to get slosched after work. Worth a visit IMHO.

wezmiester - 10 Sep 2009 07:08
Hi, we come from Germany. We like to go to the Anchor Tab since 3 years. It's a very nice pub. The prices for the good beer are very good. It is our favourit pub in London. But we missed the food, because the kitchen was closed at Easter Monday really early. We (also friends from Germany) was not amused. Anyway this pub is great.
anchortabfriend - 20 Apr 2009 20:16
This is a decent Sam Smiths pub split up into little rooms. One is an over 18ís games room which has a dartboard and another has a pool table and another has a door so small that theyíve had to put padding on the frame to stop people bumping their heads. Opposite the pool room is a small lounge room just before the back door that leads to the beer garden which is little more than a walkway with some tables and chairs. The barman was very friendly, but unfortunately there was no OBB on hand pump leaving only draught.

This is a good pub; itís just a shame about the lack of ale.
Strongers - 15 Apr 2009 09:23
Went once on a weekday evening in March and found it VERY busy, with wall signs warning of dips!

Good bar service, beer was kept OK.

Not quite as folksy and recherche as a few reviews would suggest. But easily above average Sam Smith's.
_grobag_ - 12 Apr 2009 11:54
A pub with everything! Cheap Sam Smith's beer, plenty of space, loads of rooms, dartboard, pool table and a cribbage peg board. Combine that with cheerful, competent staff and a decent curry house across the road and you've got a sweet ,unassuming pub that roasts my chicken.
bumpby - 12 Jan 2009 12:24
A proper old fashioned boozer, away from the tourist traps, It has a few pokey little rooms, a piano and a pool table. Some would call it dark and dingy, but with the fire going I found it cozy and welcoming. The beer was cheap but was all on tap and not hand drawn which was a shame otherwise I'd have marked it higher. Still, made a nice change from the usual photofit new style of London pub.
Fuggle - 2 Dec 2008 15:37
Sounds like it hasnt changed since I had my last pint there in 64, wonderful memories.
ericmwatson - 10 Sep 2008 18:10
after moving from victoria and the delights of the cardinal i started work at shad thames and the anchor tap became my local and lunch time darts venue. the oche is a little cramped but it doesn't stop the 180's flying in every day!
Lancashire_Hot_Shot - 13 Jun 2008 16:40
Hidden gem. No obvious lack of quality of facilities that you can see in other pubs that don't charge the earth for drinks.
FARUPNORTH - 4 Jun 2008 16:06
Easily the best earthy pub in the area... A real gem!
likestradnonsmokeypubs - 28 May 2008 00:31
Great place too escape the mad crowd of tourists around Tower Bridge. Very reasonable priced and the Sam Smiths was in good nick.
Womble - 19 Mar 2008 08:54
Just ordinary and functional pub. Great for meeting friends in a basic and cheap place. You won't have a riotously good time here, but you will be left alone. No danger from drunks or enforced conviviality either
wrichard - 30 Jan 2008 12:02
Phoned the pub back in June to enquire whether children were allowed in and whether there was an eating area upstairs. The 'lady' that answered the phone was not at all polite and didnt make me feel as though this was really a friendly place and a place that i wanted to spend my birthday. So we didnt go. Shame really as it is a pub that i would really like to go back and visit.
anonymous - 13 Jul 2007 20:55
I used to live at the Anchor Tap with my parents, i was about 8 or 9 years old and attended tower bridge primary school. I was hoping to visit the pub in june for my birthday as i havent been there for nearly 30 years. Do the managers allow children there in the day and i have heard that the upstairs living area is now part of the eating area, is this true?

hope to get some info on the pub as i am quite looking forward to going back.
nickiea - 26 Apr 2007 16:31
Just about as gloomy a pub as I have ever encountered. Not just dark - which it was - but a dismal atmosphere as well, not helped by a barmaid who gave the impression of wanting to be somewhere else. Also no Sam Smith's on handpump, which is very bad. I suppose the games room might be an attraction for many, but not for me. I won't be going there again.
RexRattus - 21 Feb 2007 18:24
Very fine old pub owned by a truly great brewer. Multi roomed oozing character. The old Courage Brewery Tap with prints indicating the history of the brewery and area adorning the walls. Really friendly staff and incredibly cheap beer -£1.72 for a pint of Old Brewery Bitter. But what is it with Sam Smith's? No mention of them owning it anywhere outside and why not serve cask conditioned beer? Other Sam's pubs in London do. Lower rating given totally because of the beer.
AndySk - 16 Dec 2006 21:14
A reasonable back street boozer visited for a lunchtime pint. Bitter was fine and well-priced although didn't bother with the food as the menu was somewhat overpriced. Nice to see a games room with checker board tables and darts although a new set of darts wouldn't go amiss. Fairly busy for a backstreet pub on a Monday lunchtime so they must be doing something right despite the negative comments below.
DuchyBoy - 11 Dec 2006 17:46
The ale is dead cheap, but it doesn't taste of much at all. Sam Smith's bitter is fine coming from a cask, but not out of a smoothflow. The pub itself is reasonable, although split into five small rooms which I guess would be how it was originally laid out.
pubcollector - 12 Jul 2006 21:41
Started a pub crawl here once, bad idea. Unfriendly, dark place with lots of rooms and no character. The beer is all Sam Smiths (bad), and no real ale (very bad). It may be cheap but so's a bottle of white cider on a park bench. Avoid unless you don't like the taste of beer very much! 2/10
Gueuzefan - 22 Jun 2006 00:58
I found this pub by accident and am glad I did. The ale is dead cheap and very tasty, the service was cheerful and quick and I really liked the old fashioned feel of the place with the bar/lounge and games rooms setup.
kitcat - 20 Jun 2006 10:53
I quite liked this one. Very odd divided interior with separate games room, pool room, dining room etc. Sam's Smiths full range of beer - except they don't serve any real ale. However SS's only real ale generally tastes like John Smith's extra smooth so frankly you aren't missing much.

Tables out the back in a courtyard. Quite a find in this area.
anonymous - 11 Jun 2006 16:45
We also found it to be a fairly unwelcoming pub. The outside implied a traditional real ale pub but the selection was poor (this was May 2005 so it may have improved...), food menu uninspiring and the locals worrying!
AngeK - 31 Jan 2006 17:25
We were disappointed in this pub. Visiting from the states and having just walked the Tower Bridge, we were looking for a cozy pub to wet our whistle. Although it had the appearance of a traditional pub, appearance is where it stopped. We asked the bartender if they had "Real Ale", with a smile and a sharp tongue he responded, "all ale is real". We then asked for a "Cask Ale" and his response was, "what difference does it make". Needless to say, we left this pub thirsting for both ale and a warmer atmosphere. I think this pub has tremendous potential to be a great tradional pub with the additional of real ale and a change of its bar staff.
peckg - 17 Jan 2006 12:10
Jorrocks - Sam Smiths is great + could you post the better alternatives pls....
renewablebumpy - 24 Nov 2005 16:34
Almost dead on my visit. Not big on Sam Smiths but is cheap. Better alternatives in the area but not a bad place. Some 40 something women trolling the premises.
jorrocks - 22 Oct 2005 04:34
To avoid a wasted journey, real ale drinkers should be aware that this establishment serves only keg beer. This despite it selling itself as a traditional English pub!
John Carr - 25 Oct 2004 19:09
This pub used to be my local, every day id pop in for a few as i worked next door in Tower Bridge. Steve the landlord has a very freindly nature and makes everybody feel welcome. its full or regulars, which is always a good sign, as well as visitors from all over the worl. Great beer Garden, great food, fantastic beer and freindly staff. What are you waiting for.
Leon Phillips - 30 Aug 2004 10:09
This pub has a fantastic traditional English atmosphere about it & the regular patrons have a great warm inviting nature! The Sam Smith beers are an excellent drop & incredibly well priced! Well worth a visit if travelling through or becoming your new watering hole if you're a local! I'll definately be going back for a pint one day!!!
Stuart Taylor (Melbourne) - [email protected] - 17 Aug 2004 10:32
Great pub. Friendly, cheap (ayingerbrau £1.95 a pint, not bad when you consider the location), pool table (table good, cues not so good) and dart board. The only problem is after a few Ayingers you can get lost in the myriad of small rooms that make up the place.
Paul Hudson - 5 Jul 2004 09:40
I am from the u.s. and found this to be the friendliest pub in London. In trying to write them I looked themup to check the address I could find nothing. The owner is named Steve. I am sure my location and name are correct would like an address and the owners last name. Meanwhile I will send to intersection and hope it gets there.
Dan Gerken - [email protected] - 10 Apr 2004 16:47

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