For the first time in a long while that I’ve been in London, I haven’t needed to go anywhere by public transport today, such is the advantage of staying in the centre of the city (I haven’t got wealthy and decadent, just that the nearby Ibis Budget was cheap). That meant I thought I’d visit a few pubs that I’ve never managed to get to in the area of the Tower of London, on the grounds that they’ll be reasonably empty of business-people and tourists so I’ll be able to see inside properly.
This is another Nicholson’s pub (although until 2006, this pub was operated by Young’s) and they’ve made their usual effort of not overly engaging about the history of the building, although their web-site does talk about the nearby Monument. They do explain that the pub name comes from a verse in a poem by Lewis Carroll, although they don’t give a reason why they changed the name from what it was called, which was the Cock. Although perhaps they don’t really need to.
The interior was bright but empty, although the pub had a bustling area to the front where people could sit outside overlooking the busy road. There was a polite welcome from a staff member at the door and, before I could get my app order in, I was asked what I wanted to drink. The staff member at first seemed to prefer to just take my order rather than me faff about via the app, but then I explained that I wanted the 25p discount from the app, so he gave up and let me get on with it. I should go when it’s a little bit busier, then they don’t get chance to try and take my order before I’ve made it. I make many things awkward with trying to save 25p….. The staff seemed to be from a number of different countries, they did add positively to the whole atmosphere of the pub.
Anyway, the beer choice was limited to London Pride and Nicholson’s Pale Ale, which was hardly thrilling. I went for the latter and it was satisfactory. I’ve gone back a bit on Untappd to see if the choice ever gets more exciting and the short answer from the last three years is rarely, this is really a lager and spirits led pub (although that doesn’t seem to have been the case a few years ago, when the real choice was quite extensive).
As is usual with Nicholson’s, they have a theme to their food, and here it’s pies. It’s a clever gimmick and one that I think is quite successful for them, although the food seems to still be brought in en masse so there’s still a lack of individuality here. Pricing for food and drink is around average for the area and it’s not a bad choice for tourists to the Tower of London as it does have the feel of a traditional British pub.
Although it’s always interesting to see another pub, it’s not really one for me because of the lack of beer choice, although it seems competently managed judging from the consistently good reviews. The pub is though large, with an upstairs and downstairs that can be opened up, so there’s some flexibility here and those wanting food are likely to be rarely disappointed that they can’t be seated.