Beer and Loathing Rotherhithe Special
I’ll explain where Rotherhithe is and why it deserves a special, let alone any, mention. It sits on the Thames in between Deptford and Bermondsey, which doesn’t exactly make it sound classy but give it a chance. It’s either pish posh flats built upon the Thames for rich people who like nice views, or council flats just behind them for the paupers who run the amenities and serve the riverside rich without spoiling the nice views. What does this mean for pubs? Well there needs to be really nice ones painted in trendy shades of green and grey for the bourgeoisie and pebble dashed grubby ones for the plebians. But the bonus is that they will almost always be on the Thames so you can wave at boats, which obviously everyone loves.
The Old Salt Quay
On first impressions this pub does rather smack of a family friendly semi-shit roadside, “I have a hotel attached to me”, Brewers Fayre or something. But you’d be wrong because it’s on the Thames! And it’s way more expensive! And the service is really awful! I’m not a grouchy forty year old bastard so usually I’m pretty chill when bartenders are slow, plus I have also been a shit overworked bartender so have some empathy. But every time I have been in this place I have had to wait for ages, for no discernable reason, there’s never been a queue or anything. The bartenders are just literally really slow. Maybe it’s because I’m not regular enough or something.
Remember those hard working plebians I mentioned earlier? It looks like it was aimed at them. The prices don’t though, because it’s actually quite expensive and they’ve got some fancy beers on draught, Peroni and Hoegaarden being highlights. With all these gripes you may wonder why I’ve been to this establishment so many times. It’s because I am a sucker for views and really, really like getting drunk and waving at boats, this passion is perfectly catered for by what I can only describe as the OSQ’s ‘boat viewing platform’. In fact I can’t really comment on the interior because other than waiting 12 and a half hours for my pints I’ve never actually relaxed inside, I have only ever sat gawping at the Shard from the terrace, even in torrential rain. It is that rad. One more gripe before we leave you be Old Salt Quay, I accept that I look young and I would probably ID myself but you have to ask for it with a little joke or a sincere apology or something, you can’t just do it with a frown on your face as if you think I’m 17 and trying to sneakily get drunk. What 17 year old asks for the guest ale and some wasabi peanuts? Actually that’s the perfect cover. Never mind…
Unlikely. I’m pretty sure that, much like Catford, I am one of the only people who considers Rotherhithe a destination. If you do see any trendy kids in the OSQ, they are probably lost. Or live there, lucky bastards.
I was expecting it to be cheaper considering the décor and the trackies some of the customers were draped in. I can’t actually remember any figures, but I remember two pints and a bowl of nuts being over a tenner. Which hurt.
Rotherhithe has nothing in it, other than the station to get in and out and these pubs on the river I keep harping on about. It’s a bit of a dead end but I love the Thames. So I am going to be hugely biased because I love staring at the river like a weirdo.
I haven’t really given it a chance (due to spending all my time on the ‘boat viewing platform’) so can’t really say. The décor is shit, corporate and unimaginative though so I am marking it down. Sorry OSQ, you did your best.
Right next to the entrance to the pub there is an official access to the Thames which basically constists of a big metal gate explaining that it is an official access to the Thames and then a slippery metal staircase that literally goes into the water. I imagine that this has killed off the majority of their drunken younger customers. As such the crowd in here is a bit more mature, into ale, having a proper job, savings and investments, corduroy, regular vitamin supplements and Alien Ant Farm? Yeah that’s right they were cranking out AAF’s cover of ‘smooth criminal’ when a pal and I wandered past the temptation of falling into the Thames. Our pleasant surprise at what was being pumped out over the airwaves was doubled when we saw what could be pumped out of the barrels. They had a satanic ale on. So. Sick. I didn’t actually like it when I tried it though, it was a bit too dark.
So I had a pint of Blue Moon, an American craft beer that is served in a fruity tall pint glass and with a wheel of orange plonked in it. I felt rich and powerful, like my pint was never going to end because of my exceedingly tall glass. It was a good time in my life.
Going back to the pub, the vibes inside were most satisfactory even without the Alien Ant Farm, which was unfortunately not on repeat. I don’t know if you read the last couple of these I did, but basically I complained about the lack of a real pirate experience in a pirate themed pub. It was because I couldn’t picture a pirate coming in, sitting down and comfortably having a piratey pint. Well, The Mayflower has hit the nail on the head; I would not have been surprised if there were some pirates drinking grog on the table next to us. Really cramped and wooden with tankards on the table, candles on silver candlesticks in stupid places and the odd bit of boat, which I don’t understand but appreciate looking at, nailed at random to the walls. We weren’t there long enough, but I reckon if we’d had a few more pints we would have experienced the inevitable pub ghost, which I’m sure they have. Hopefully, he is a pirate who plays loads of nautical pranks on the regulars. More than likely he is an 18 year old drunk who decided to climb into the Thames after a few too many pints thanks to The Mayflower’s gate of tempting doom.
We did actually see some semi-cool kids knocking around on the beer garden/boat viewing platform. But I don’t know why they were there, maybe this pub is more famous than I thought? It gets a four because I may be unaware of its rep. If it turns out it doesn’t have a rep I’ll come back and knock it down to a two. Promise.
Pretty similar to the OSQ, maybe a little cheaper but we did buy stupid beers and the surroundings were suitably awesome so I felt like they deserved my money more.
I love Rotherhithe and all that but really only because of the river views and the whole drunken boat molesting thing I have going on. Unfortunately there are fences surrounding the decking which really restricts your arm movements as you wave at boats. It is also quite small, so small that you get weird looks from other punters if you wave at boats. You would get a lower mark because of this but you get bumped back up a bit because you’re next to the Brunel museum, which is like the only thing in Rotherhithe. I haven’t been to it yet but I imagine it is rad because Brunel was rad, building boats and bridges and shit like there was no tomorrow. I’m sure it’s all kicking off in there.
Properly piratey, a real achievement, very impressed. You lose a couple of marks because I saw a plastic boat paddle up on the wall, which pirates didn’t have. But then you get marked back up because of the ridiculous pop punk juke box. If that jukebox had some Alestorm (a pirate metal band, probably the only one) you would have gotten an eleven.
Do you have any god awful pubs in mind for Jack to go to at some point in the future? If you do please harass him on twitter @beerandloathinz