Taps: 10 / Bottles: 120
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 27 | Reviews: 25 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by TheLongBeachBum:
4.08/5 rDev +3.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
Located in what has been referred to as an upcoming & rather fashionable area, this all seemed to be lost on me as I walked to the Rake late on a dark Saturday afternoon through an empty litter strewn Borough Market; patches of spoiled vegetables, whistling market workers destructing the stalls & packing them away as well as empty boxes, strange looking piles of discarded ice & the air heavily soiled with the smell of stinking fish. Make no mistake, despite the late night trendy hangouts; this is primarily a working market, so it is surprising to find out that The Rake is the first licensed Pub to open up within the confines & legal bounds of Borough Market for over a Century, so refreshing to see the trend for Pub closures bucked for once.
Thankfully I had a local BA RichLightWeight to get me here, but Im sure the Rake is easily missed my newbies. It is situated on Winchester Walk & it is technically inside the Borough Market, so it should be easy to find. However, there are no signs to draw you here so keep your eyes peeled if you are heading out for the first time.
The Rake lays claim to being the smallest Pub in London & as my Dad would say Therz no room to swing a cat in eer. The single main room is accessed from the street entrance & it cannot be more than say 15 ft by 8 ft in size, if that. Nice solid wooden floor, bare walls & a white tiled ceiling with a couple of columns here & there. The décor is hard to pigeon-hole, needless to say that it is spartan with minimalist undertones, lets face it, given the restricted space it has to be! There was at least one tall round wooden table & a couple of high wooden stools to punctuate the small void but apart from that, it is quite literally standing room only in here. The small bar is against the back wall, festooned with many shiny stainless steel taps & two Beer Engines. The bar fronts several coolers, which thanks to their condensation lined glass doors, proudly display a very interesting selection of beers & ciders. There is a small decked area to the side of the Rake, it seems like it doubles the capacity to maybe 30 or so people. Here there is a small collection of quality wooden furniture to relax in & access to the outside back toilets. There is also an exit here which leads up to the nearby Southwark Cathedral, which looks great when lit-up during the night-time.
As The Rake is the child of Utobeer, the market based beer retailer, it is no surprise that the beer range & selection is top notch. Several drafts from Belgium (Liefmans, Duchess), Germany (Aventinus, Veltins) & even from the USA (Anchor). The UK brews on sale were OHanlons Wheat Beer & Royal Oak, both of which I tried & found to be in good nick. The star of the evening was BA RobBeer & his freshly purchased Pitcher of the excellent Thomas Hardys Ale from Cask; this was eagerly shared amongst the assembled BAs & with a rich toffee body, certainly drank well below its listed 11.7% stated strength. It should be noted that as far as many know, The Rake is the only establishment to have & sell casks of Thomas Hardys Ale. Yes that was CaskS plural. Rumor mill is that not all will be sold immediately, but held back for special occasions.
The drafts are complemented with around 100 bottles, the selection & depth of the range of beers on offer is excellent, extremely well thought out. All this is supported by a great range of Real Ciders, a Perry or two, Jenevers, Whisky, Schnapps, Brandies & other high end Spirits (Liquors).
There is no Food to speak of, but it seems that there are plans to sell snacks from the market such as cheese, meat pies, etc. For now though, you have to make do with what are referred to as Convivial Yorkshire Crisps . exact details of this unknown Southern style Northern delicacy were unknown until I got to try these. In short, it involves dropping £3 for a small cardboard tub of crispy parsnips that are fried like crisps. Let me say here & now that whilst these may well be manufactured in Yorkshire, most real Yorkshire folk wouldnt be seen dead eating these over-priced fancy-schmancy bloody ponced-up pigs toenails ..there is only one Yorkshire Crisp- Seabrooks!!! Are you listening Rake!?!? ;-)
If any new London Pub has been lauded & promoted through Chinese whispers, rumors, disinformation & counter rumors, then it has to be The Rake. The first new Pub in this area for well over 100 years, the smallest Pub in London, a varied & awesome beer selection including many rarities; it certainly has a lot of reputation to live up to. I was rather excited to see what all the hype was about here, but my overall feelings are mixed. It is a great place to visit during the quieter times, but I imagine when busy I would probably just give it a miss. And it IS pricey, as you would expect, but all this means that it would be a once in a while treat, rather than a local for me, at least if I lived nearby. Worth Seeking though.
Last Visit: Saturday 28th October, 2006.
11-05-2006 00:30:10 | More by TheLongBeachBum
More User Reviews:
4.45/5 rDev +13.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | $$
My wife and I stopped in at the Rake for a few beers while on a recent trip to London. It is located conveniently close to Borough Market and several other wonderful pubs.
First off, this place doesn't have a "traditional" English pub look/feel. It is bright, painted mostly white (albeit with graffiti'd walls) and it is quite small. However, it has an absolutely huge bottled beer selection, supplemented by 8-10 cask ales. What makes the Rake pretty cool is that they don't attempt to be overly traditional in their beer selections, so they offer a lot of beers that are being brewed by British breweries that push the envelope of ingredients and style guidelines. In other words, you can get very brightly hoppy beers, beers with American hops, and beers that use unique ingredients not normally found in traditional English cask ales. Fun, fun, fun!
Prices were fair. The bartender was extremely knowledgeable about all things craft beer, and held his own in our conversation about brewing and American craft beer.
This is a great little place where you can find some very interesting beers. Highly recommended!
11-15-2013 20:15:56 | More by spointon
4.2/5 rDev +6.9%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | $$$
Visited a number of times on a 10 day trip to London as it was near my friends house.
The Rake is a very tiny bar with a nice sized patio and space to drink in the adjacent car port. The bar itself is extremely small but there is enough room on the patio to give you a nice sense of space. Located just outside of Borough Market there is a nice view of the Shard and Southwark Cathedral. On a nice warm summer day it is a pretty pleasurable place to have a beer. In the winter it appears they have heatlamps and a jumbrella to keep things warm and dry.
Beerwise I consistently found good things to drink. Three cask offerings available each day including some Oakham and Darkstar beers. There are also 4 draught beers which are also well chosen from around the UK and some interesting imports. Since I was visting I stuck with ones I could not get at home but if I lived here I would appreciate the choice. Some of the rarer beers get a little pricey but they are just that, rare. Very well maintened lines and excellent selection. Also being associated with a top notch bottle shop, the coolers are well stocked with a well curated selection.
I think they only sell crisps but the Borough Market is right there so there are a lot of choices.
Definitely recommended for locals and tourists alike.
08-23-2013 13:03:04 | More by sleazo
4.61/5 rDev +17.3%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | $$
A small, but fun, nice outdoor patio, inside is very small, but very English. Tis place is super super fun to be at.
Q awesome, the beer is very fresh, have a small bottle selection but its all good stuff.
S the service is awesome, two bar tenders, that really know their shit. Able to recommend good stuff and they know all about what they have.
S two six foot coolers filled, not a huge selection but what they have is very good. 7 taps and two or three casks with local stuff while I was there. But a lot of it is amazing one offs.
V not expensive for London but may shock people form the us with the exchange rate right now.
05-17-2013 17:03:50 | More by Lare453
1.95/5 rDev -50.4%
vibe: 2 | quality: 2 | service: 1 | selection: 3 | food: 1.5 | $$$
Not really a big bottle selection, less than what I have at home, in total seem to be just two small refrigerators. On the other hand, Utobeer, the beer stall from the same owners in the Borough market nearby has one of the best selections in London.
I found this pub too crowded, too small and expensive compared to other top notch craft beer places such as The Cask, Craft Beer Co, and Brewdog. Here I got the worst service in the UK, the young lady was really rude and not knowledgeable (not the case for Utobeer). The fork I got was so dirty I could even taste food on it if I wanted. By the way just snacks and 1 or 2 selections of cold food is available here. One of the bottles I was willing to buy was expired already.
No beer menu is available as we see now elsewhere. Craft beer scene in London has evolved and they stayed behind, in prices, service, quality, etc...
12-06-2012 18:21:45 | More by FLima
4.11/5 rDev +4.6%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$$
Visited this place during a four month stay in London. The selection was pleasantly broad, and included many American Beers that proved hard to find in the UK otherwise (i.e. a few by Sierra Nevada, Green Flash, Goose Island, Anchor Brewing, Bear Republic, et. al.
There were only a handful of brews (most of them from the U.K.) on tap, but again, the bottle selection was impressive. Even on a Tuesday in the fall seating was limited, both inside the tap-room and outside.
The redeeming qualities of this pub are the helpfulness and hospitality of the staff, and the amusing scribblings of the many brewmasters who have visited and endorsed this "hole-in-the-wall".
09-19-2012 00:07:00 | More by Zive
United Kingdom (Scotland)
2.9/5 rDev -26.2%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2 | selection: 3.5 | $$$$
Very expensive pub and not one I'd go to again unless I was sure it was empty. It was basically a cupboard with a bar in it and a beer garden attached but you couldn't even find a place to stand never mind sit. Unimpressed despite the huge bottle selection, but to be honest just head to some other craft beer pubs instead. There was a market area that the pub had took over as well but that's basically just standing with a carryout in the street, not a pub. Nice selection but just too crowded and expensive, even by London standards.
08-04-2012 16:29:46 | More by flyingpig
4.08/5 rDev +3.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$
Ok, so beer geeks told me to hit The Rake while in town. While i am glad I did, it felt more like an American beer bar vs. being in London. In fact, locally their claim to fame is all the American Craft they have. On the wall all of hte American brewers sign their names. (Garret Oliver, Sam C., etc)
I suppose for Brits this is cool as the American craft scene explodes. For me, I wanted to London experience. Please dont take these as negative comments! The service was excellent and friendly. They did have seval things on cask that were wonderful and there was a little urban beer porch/garden.
My advice is to stop here for a quick one and then head around the corner to The Market Porter for the real London experience. Also, this this neighborhood on a thurs-Sat and hit the Borough Market. Its totally awesome. Outside market with all sorts of street food
04-19-2012 09:22:05 | More by Reagan1984
The Rake in London, United Kingdom (England)
89 out of 100 based on 27 ratings.