LITERALLY dipping its toes into the Thames, there can be no better place than the Trafalgar Tavern to experience history blended with a modern bar.
Time your visit right and it will feel as if the waves are almost lapping round your feet – but gazing out through the 1837 windows will bring you right up to date with views of The Dome, the sun glinting off Canary Wharf and water taxis flying up and down the river.
Stepping up to the trendy-looking bar I had plenty of time to make my selection as the barman made sure he finished his phone conversation to his mate before deigning to speak to me.
Although when he finally did, he was friendly and helpful.
It must have been my mood, but I found myself tempted by a gin and tonic.
True, it was a very pleasant Bombay Sapphire, but with a price tag of £5, I decided my second drink had to be on tap.
Mind you, a pint of the highly-recommended, if slightly lively, Belgian lager Estaminet (5.2 per cent) was only 50p cheaper.
It was a nice refreshing drink with a clean enough taste but not really anything to write home about.
The music playing in the bar may have been from a past era – XTC, Blondie, Elton John, and The Police – but the prices are certainly not from yesteryear!
Although I wasn’t eating, the bar menu seemed to offer a similar challenge to your wallet – £12.50 for a burger, £6 for a bowl of broth and £3.50 for chips.
Though the two people I asked who were eating both agreed the food, though a touch pricey, was excellent.
Like the menu, which is extensive and varied, there are plenty of different drinks on offer: Flying Scotsman bitter; Amstel; Adnams Bitter; Heineken; Sagres; Murphy’s Stout; Hogan’s cider; Birra Moretti – to name but a few, there’s even mulled wine at £5.50.
The bar has plenty of tables scattered around for those choosing to dine, but the majority of the space is left free for standing room in the evenings – this place is hectic at weekends.
Of course, positioned as it is and dripping in history, you’re sure to be surrounded by a motley selection of tourists – I was joined by Italians wearing caps at strange angles, two relatively quiet Americans, a colourful luvvie from Latvia and at least two mini-PubSpies in pushchairs.
The history is all around you in this massive building, but if you get the chance, do sneak a peek upstairs too – the chandeliers and, if it’s possible, even better views, are incredible.
And just think, this is where Prime Minister William Gladstone ate his whitebait supper (now £7.50 on the menu if you want to splash out).
The Trafalgar Tavern has been welcoming visitors, famous and not quite so famous, since 1837 and looks well set to continue for a good few more years.
How the Trafalgar Tavern rates:
DECOR ***** (slightly tatty and perfect)
DRINK **** (loads of choice)
PRICE ** (not for those saving up)
ATMOSPHERE **** (relaxed at lunch, evenings buzz)
STAFF *** (helpful, but not immediately)
Address: Trafalgar Tavern, Park Row, Greenwich SE10 9NW
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