When the Prince Albert in Royal Hill was renamed as the Prince of Greenwich, there was shock at the name change and that terrible paint job. The owner has kept the new name but has tried to do something about the sign so here's a picture of the the Prince of Greenwich's second attempt at a sign. What do you think?
The Royal George pub in Blissett Street is set to be turned into flats after planning permission was granted by Greenwich Council.
The pub closed its doors recently and the owners, Shepherd Neame, put in an application to have the building converted into two flats.
To illustrate the loss of trade the pub had suffered, Shepherd Neame described in its application how annual beer barrel volume averaged at 120 barrels between 2000 - 2009, whereas it has been as high as 310 barrels between 1977 - 1986.
They also highlighted the affect of the smoking ban, business rates, utility bills and the minimum wage as factors which they say made the pub no longer economically viable.
Six responses from the public were made which all opposed the closure, but permission was granted at last week's meeting of the Greenwich area planning board.
A young actor, known to many locally as drag artist Estee Applauder, has been killed in a car accident. Michael Joyce had gone home to Tasmania for Christmas where the incident happened on Wednesday. His mother was also in the car at the time and has been very seriously injured.
Michael was well known for his appearances as "Estee" in local gay venues such as the Rose & Crown pub on Crooms Hill and in the George and Dragon. He had recently completed a role in a forthcoming movie, filmed in Greenwich, called The Cost of Love. One of his co-actors in that film, Robert Gray from the Number 16 B&B, told Greenwich.co.uk:
"Michael Joyce was a one off, who always wanted to know what you had been up to before talking about himself. He was funny, hard working, and Greenwich will be much more dull with his passing. I do hope The Cost of Love will be a great tribute to him"
Friends of the actor gathered in the Rose and Crown this evening to pay tribute to Michael and a Facebook group has been set up in his memory.
Oliver’s Music Bar
9 Nevada Street
You get the feeling that anything could happen in Oliver’s - and quite frequently does. This blink-and-you’ll-miss-it underground watering hole opposite Greenwich Theatre is best known amongst locals as a live music venue but it’s also an inviting, familiar bar with a lot of charisma and in my book, definitely worth a visit.
Descending the stairs into the cellar you arrive straight into the bar - you’ve already passed the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it ‘beer garden’ cunningly masquerading as a smoker’s lone picnic bench on the pavement outside. Snazzy this place is not, it’s pretty worn (but clean) and the walls painted a dull red that makes it seem smaller than it is. It’s also decidedly anti open-plan, preferring to remain as separate rooms that all have a distinct cubby feel. In fact it’s much like being in someone’s home - not in the fake quaint way that many pubs do by having frilly armchairs and painted plates, like some overgrown recreation of ‘The Borrowers’ – but more like someone just had a spare cellar that they had no use for, so they stuck a piano in it, got a few bottles of Newcastle Brown in, and called it a music bar.
Olivier the friendly proprietor mans the makeshift bar in keeping with the at-home feel. There’s nothing on tap but a fairly wide selection of bottles nonetheless, all under a somewhat questionable pricing arrangement: our two identical rounds cost different amounts, but then both amounts were reasonable so it was easy enough to laugh off.
There was a comedy night in progress in the main sitting area so we tentatively crept into the back row to check it out, trying to be inconspicuous - we failed, of course and were promptly named and shamed by the comedian who made us move to the front row. But we weren’t alone - over the course of the evening the spectators all became part of the weird comedy family, a no doubt unexpected turn for all concerned, but everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves anyway. In a further twist some mildly annoying heckling looked set to cause a mass riot at one point, but it all got settled very quickly by Olivier and a prudently placed piece of duct tape.
It’s hard to compare Oliver’s to anywhere else in Greenwich because it is completely unique, but therein lies its charm. We went expecting a quiet Monday night drink and we ended up gaining a few comedian friends and a few heckling mortal enemies, which you sense is all par for the course here. My advice is to go along and see where the evening takes you – from what I’ve seen it’s likely to be somewhere good.
91, Colomb Street
If ever there was an evening to go to the Vanbrugh, it’s a July evening in the middle of a Greenwich heat wave. As the weather makes a setting and the setting is what really makes The Vanbrugh, so regardless of some pretty significant shortfalls I enjoyed my time there.
Don’t be fooled by the poncey Flash website (show me a good Flash website and I’ll show you a flying beer barrel), the Vanbrugh has a decidedly laid-back atmosphere. It’s been sectioned off into a few distinct areas: there’s the rather forgettable small and dark bar area, outdone in size and style by both the large traditional garden and the permanent marquee that leads to it. Yep, marquee, and it’s bizarrely furnished with huge red Chesterfield sofas and matching lighting. It works though, as you feel more part of the garden than the pub, yet it’s cosy at the same time.
I am not without my gripes about The Vanbrugh, though. When I say it’s laid-back, I mean laid-back. The barmen look and act as though someone’s just shaken them out of a coma – not unfriendly, but somehow not all there. No real effort’s gone into the drinks or food selections either, which are indistinguishable from every other pub in the area. I rarely eat in pubs but I chanced it here and it didn’t stack up. It wasn’t dreadful, but the nachos were so stingily dressed that I may as well have turned up with my own bag of cheese Doritos, and the broccoli & cheese bake was strangely watery, with stodgy chips not tasting of much. Kudos for managing to go beyond soggy lettuce and onion in the side salad, but really if you have to rely on your side salad for a good review, it’s not a great sign.
Back to the plus side, The Vanbrugh is one of the busiest places I’d been to. Not wonderfully located next to the train tracks near Maze Hill station, one can only assume folks seek it out and it’s been recommended to me on many occasions, both of which speak volumes. Food and zombie barmen aside, it is certainly worth a visit for a nice place to just have a drink and be still for a while. Just make sure you don’t sink too far into those sofas, you might slip into a coma and be forced to join the staff there on a permanent basis…
The Greenwich Park Bar & Kitchen
1 King William Walk SE10 9JY
I wasn’t expecting a lot from this place. I was expecting a bland, chain-style tourist trap. Humble pie time I’m afraid: someone’s clearly put a lot of thought into the (new) new look Bar & Kitchen and has carved out a well-defined and satisfying niche.
The Bar & Kitchen wouldn’t be too out of place with an ‘EC’ postcode and a few Friday night suits, which is actually a refreshing change amongst the town’s raft of ‘local’ pubs with a posh edge (read Gastropubs). The décor is quite dark but stylish: some well-spaced wicker sofas and fairy lights at one end, and a formal dining area at the other.
Where the Union does Ales, the Bar & Kitchen does cocktails, with a list more extensive than the food menu. There’s also happy hour from Monday to Friday between 5pm and 7pm, where the cocktails are £3.95 rather than the usual £6 or £7 (cue happy suits and stilettos). The menu focuses on a few select dishes that presumably change regularly and I was intrigued to see Macaroni cheese on there; very random in June but it beats veggie lasagne any day.
The barman was friendly and took an interest in my unusual choice of vodka and apple juice with lime juice. Actually, what happened was he misheard me when I asked for cranberry juice but he made such an effort with the banter about me inventing a new cocktail, that I didn’t have the heart to tell him he’d made a mistake (plus I was secretly hoping “the Rosie” would make it onto the cocktail menu!). Other than that there was a wide selection of lagers and a few wines to choose from.
I don’t imagine anyone’s socks will be knocked off by a visit to the Bar & Kitchen, but it is a pretty little place with a clear agenda and that makes it a success as far as I’m concerned. Amidst a sea of local, country-ish pubs with real ale and pies, you need a few fairy lights and cocktails every so often, so if mojitos are your thing I’d say give this place a(nother) go.
The Cutty Sark Tavern
4-7 Ballast Quay, SE10 9PD
I was hoping the Cutty Sark Tavern would be the 'green shoots' of my pub review feature, because having been somewhat scathing over the last couple of weeks I felt in need of a positive review to show the publicans and patrons of Greenwich that I've not become irrevocably mean. Well, thank goodness the Cutty Sark Tavern is a great pub, then.
The Cutty Sark Tavern dates from the 18th century and is a commanding, if slightly wonky, building on a lovely cobbled Georgian street in East Greenwich, with an awesome view of Canary Wharf and the river. Tucked away on the riverbank, the Cutty Sark Tavern is well off the tourist track so is a firm favourite with local professionals and I can see why.
The interior is a little Disney Moby Dick, but then the clue's in the name I suppose and though the nautical theme isn't exactly groundbreaking, the ships' wheels on the walls and customised barrels to sit on work well here. The low ceilings make it feel cosy but there's plenty of space and an imposing winding staircase taking you to the upstairs bar, where you can find some normal chairs if you want to eat. On a Wednesday evening The Cutty Sark Tavern wasn't packed, but I can imagine that it gets busy on warm days as the patio is on right the river, with a wall perfect for perching your pint on and watching the Thames Clippers go by.
The drinks selection is ale-focused and they have cloudy cider on tap, as well as a few football lagers. They're not exactly punching above their weight with the menu but it's fairly reasonably priced and they've given some consideration to the vegetarians, which always warrants a plus in my book. Best of all, the staff are great: a very friendly set of young gentlemen who know their drinks and I had a good bit of banter with our server over a game of dominos he'd set up at the bar. A bit random but entertaining nonetheless.
All in all I'd say this is a tavern well worth a visit and next time the sun is out of an evening I'll definitely be heading there again. Happy Rosie is back - anchors away!