Good Beer GuideWestminster (Borough of)

London – City of Westminster – The Rebirth of the Carlton Tavern


I’ve been meaning to visit this pub for a while, it’s a testament to the stubbornness of local heroes, rightly belligerent councils and loyal beer drinkers. The pub was illegally demolished in 2015 and nearly nothing was left standing. Pressure was brought to bear and the end result, after much legal wrangling, was that the pub had to be entirely rebuilt brick by brick. The difference in brickwork is visible, the section on the right is original and everything else is rebuilt. The local pressure group, the Rebuild the Carlton Tavern campaign, were praiseworthy of the restoration, although the developers CTLX decided not to attend the reopening.


I would have never have known that this wasn’t a traditional pub, the internal recreation is sensitive and apparently nearly identical to what was here before. Some parts of the previous building, such as fireplaces and some of the bricks, were reused, and fortunately efforts had already been made to detail the interior and its decorative elements which made the restoration easier. The venue is also listed in the Good Beer Guide, so that’s another little tick on my attempt to visit every Good Beer Guide listed pub in the country.


The toilets are down those steps to the right and nearly none of this survived other than the back wall. The pub had first been constructed between 1920 and 1921 by the Charrington Brewery, whose name is still outside the pub.


But back to the present, there were three real ales available, and I haven’t tried any of them before, so that was something of a novelty.


I went for the ‘Flying the Mags’ from London Brewing Co, a rich and creamy mild that was well kept and at the appropriate slightly chilled temperature. The service was polite and personable, with the environment feeling warm and comfortable. I liked this pub, it felt very much at ease with itself and it’s hard to imagine how close the community was to losing this. There are numerous community events, quite a substantial menu and the prices charged were very reasonable. I’m glad that I visited and this is a perfect model for what I think should happen at the Crooked House, a pub where there was a mysterious fire a few weeks ago.