Taps: 5 / Bottles:
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 3 | Reviews: 3 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by TheLongBeachBum:
4.03/5 rDev +1.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | $$$
Hidden in the back streets of Docklands, this little gem is definitely well worth seeking out, the 1/3 mile walk from the nearest Docklands Light Railway (DLR), either Westferry or Limehouse, is amply rewarded.
Located on the rather ironically named Narrow Street, the lovely old time, but very narrow, frontage of The Grapes is really hard to miss. Probably no more than 12ft wide at the most, it boasts what looks like two doors either side of a 6ft wide bay window, although only the door on the right is used it seems. The glass in the doors & bay window are all attractively etched, an old trick to allow light in to licensed establishments whilst preventing the prying eyes of the underage from seeing the evils of alcohol before they were legally allowed to do so. As with many Pubs, the ground floor is cleanly clad with a wooden frontage that contains some attractive carvings. The entire ground floor including the frontage, window and door frames, are all painted in a very dark blue, but this is thankfully broken by a glossy dark green tiling below the bay window. Golden letters form the words The Grapes, which band across the frontage underneath the bare brick of the higher floors. This is all complemented by a very traditional hanging swing type sign, colorfully painted with a luscious looking ripe vine of dark grapes. In addition to all of this, I noted one of those commemorative round blue plaques high up on the right hand wall which simply had the words The Grapes 1583, a reference to a prior incarnation, though the latest one dates only (sic) from 1720. This is highly unusual though, because these commemorative blue plaques in London are usually reserved for identifying famous people with a certain building, rather than just the place itself a curious omission as Charles Dickens most certainly had string links with this establishment.
It was a hot day outside, so the darkened cool interior beckoned & it did not disappoint. A small opened area, well as open as you can be in a pub barely 12 feet wide, squeezes in a few tables as you walk in. Dark bare wood is everywhere, floors, ceilings & walls so the interior boasts an Olde Worlde décor with little modern fuss, indeed note the sign about turning off, or silencing, your mobile phones in here. The bar is to the left against the wall and can accommodate about two people at the most it seems, but thankfully it sported a sprightly smattering of Handpumps. The back boasts a superb real fireplace for the colder climes.
Cask beer range was small but beautifully formed, the Guest Beers were; Marstons Pedigree, 4.5% @ £2.62 Adnams Bitter, 3.7% @ £2.57 and Timothy Taylors Landlord, 4.3% @ (whopping) £2.72. Prices were, well, steep, but what the heck I opted for my all time favorite, the TT Landlord. My Northern fears were unfounded; it was perfectly conditioned and served with a small but tight creamy white head, somewhat surprising without a sparkler. I couldnt help thinking that we had paid more than a Fiver for two pints of Lanlord, especially after my trip to Keighley when it was well under £2 a Pint earlier in the year - but this is Docklands so prepare for the SLT, Southern Lifestyle Tax.
It was a gorgeous day outside, so we headed out onto the deck that is the hidden bonus at the Grapes. It plays host to a few chairs and one table I think, needless to say it is small but Bloody Hell what a view! The serene Thames sweeps past and you get the chance to wave to those innumerate tourists on the boat trips whilst enjoying your Pint.
By now, BA RichLightWeight & I had racked up some six Pubs on our crawl, and as many Pints, so we fancied some food .but the scourge of many a many foreign tourist to London was inflicted on the resident Limeys its past 2:30PM so NO FOOD, aargh! With more relaxed licensing hours when will the UK Pubs wake up and stop being regimented with food. Oh well. It is worth noting that the Grapes has an upstairs Restaurant & is famed for its fresh seafood, shame we missed it.
The ambience in here is impressive; its all about reading the Newspaper, a book, or just quietly sitting and chatting with friends. This is a real EastEnd laid back relaxed locals affair that seems to be devoid of the suits that infiltrate so many other cool places to drink. With a small selection of well kept Real Ales, albeit at a bit price, it is a real pleasure to drop by here. Just having the chance to drain a jar of finely kept of Taylors Landlord on the small balcony that overlooks the Thames on a hot sunny afternoon in the midst of World Cup fever whilst the Germany-Sweden game was playing, made for a very memorable afternoon indeed.
With all the redevelopment around here, it is amazing that this place has even survived. Seriously worth a ride on the DLR & the short walk, just get here before 2:30pm if you are hungry.
No TVs, No Jukebox, No Mobile Phones, No Children.
Just Perfect !
A pleasurable little treasure.
Last Visit: Saturday 24th June, 2006.
07-05-2006 00:25:08 | More by TheLongBeachBum
More User Reviews:
United Kingdom (England)
4.03/5 rDev +1.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3 | $$$
As the previous reviewer mentioned, this is a back-street local situated in a line of old quay ware-houses in the Isle of Dog area, half-way b/w Limehouse and Westferry DLR stations. As travel tips, it's more straight forward to find this pub from Westferry station--just follow the main road.
From the outside it looks like a very small place (just like The Prospect of Whitby not far away in Wapping, also a Quay-side pub). But once pushing open the front door, the space opens up, extending all the way down. The overall pub interior is quite, uh, English... simplistic wooden furnitures, Victorian-style dark decor, etched glass windows, decoration of old barrels for rum and port, old photos reminding people of its Victorian and Edwardian past... It's nothing too cosy/special if you don't live in that area, but the overall atmosphere makes one feel welcomed enough, contributed largely by joyful local punters and the brilliant barman.
A relatively large bar occupies much space of the front room, serving Adnam's Bitter, Wadworth 6X, and Timothy Taylor's Landlord on 5-6 handpumps. O.K. selection, and there's nothing more special apart from these real ales. But the beer condition is great, plus very careful handling from the friendly mid-aged barman, the pint of Landlord looks stunning and tastes absolutely great. I retreated to the rear of the pub and found another small and cosy sitting area overlooking River Thames. If not for the drizzling weather I'd gone out to the balcony for some fresh air and nice view. But staying inside eventually made me two friends from fellow beer-tourists from Denmark. We quickly engaged in lively beer-talks and made the visit all the more pleasant.
BTW, the pub is famous for its Fish and Chips, which is said to be the best along River Thames~~ One could dine at the first floor restaurant, connected to the rear of the pub by very steep staircases. Next time I'll definitely try their F-n-C over pints of fresh and delicious Landlord. A decent local pub to check out if you happen to be in that area.
05-18-2006 17:54:26 | More by wl0307
3.86/5 rDev -2.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | $$
I looked up The Grapes while visiting London during the summer, and made the trek out east from central London. It's famous both for its appearance in a Dickens novel and for surviving the development boom in the fashionable Limehouse district.
With its long, narrow shape, it's the ultimate in cozy. As warm and welcoming as British pubs go. Plenty of interesting paintings and other bits of decor. Great hangout for the young business crowd after work. They have 5-6 beers on tap, plus a lot of bottles. Didn't try the food on this visit, but was completely sold by the small porch out back. It has room for 4 or 5 people to stand, with a beautiful view of the Thames. It was a nice night when I visited, and standing out back with a pint in hand was all you could want to relax in the evening.
Overall, the pub is worth the journey out to the East End, if not for the food and drink, for the history.
05-16-2006 00:33:35 | More by ndekke39
Grapes, The in London, United Kingdom (England)
- out of 100 based on 3 ratings.