This historic pub, on the south bank of the Thames, is a favourite with tourists. It has several bars, a restaurant and roof terrace, both of which have wonderful views across the Thames to the City, and a large seated area on the riverbank. A recent refurbishment has added a fish and chip shop; the oldest and most atmospheric part of the building with its low beams, exposed brickwork and open fireplaces, has been converted into a tea rooms. Not open to the public, but available for functions, is the beautiful Shakespeare Room, which is clad in mellow 18th century pine panelling.
The Anchor was rebuilt in 1676 after fire devastated the area. The pub's original structure has been added-to over the centuries, creating a maze of odd little beamed rooms. One is named after Samuel Johnson, the lexicographer and writer, who drank here regularly and was a friend of the Thrale's who owned the pub and the phenominally successful Anchor porter brewery, which when offered for sale Johnson said 'We are not here to sell a parcel of boilers and vats, but the potentiality of growing rich beyond the dreams of avarice'. A copy of Johnson's dictionary is on display.
It was from this pub that Samuel Pepys witnessed the awesome destruction of the Great Fire of London in 1666. He describes the dreadful heat and "fire drops" falling on him whilst in a boat on the river. He sought refuge in "a little alehouse on bankside …..and there watched the fire grow".
The Anchor has a new old neighbour too, Shakespeare's Globe theatre recreated just along the waterfront and Bankside's cultural boom continues with the Tate Modern gallery a little further upstream. The local streets are full of character and are a favourite location for filmmakers; Tom Cruise has a pint outside the Anchor in 'Mission Impossible'.
The Anchor has attracted much criticism for its extensive modernisation and enlargement; the walled courtyard was built upon, providing another large bar and a Premier Hotel was built on the car park. Although most of the original pub has survived, albeit with minor alterations, it has been dwarfed by the sheer scale of the additions.
On the plus side, the old building has received some overdue maintenance and its fabric has been preserved. On balance it's a shame this lovely old pub was not enlarged more sympathetically but at least it has been preserved and is cared for. Perhaps it would have been better to build a completely new pub next to it and leave the old one well alone.
YesterdayI took my wife and grandson to "the Anchor" for lunch. As a Frenchman who used to live in London, I have known & patronised "the Anchor" since 1969. Whenever in London I go and eat at that delightful old place, but I fear this will be my last visit... What with the blaring "music" (??) and the terrible food we were served, and also the poor state the toilets were in: that traditional landmark of the Old London has completely lost its appeal as a pub...
Went to the Anchor Yesterday and was appalled. The food was in edible and extortionately priced. How can you get nachos and garlic mushrooms so wrong? Well, the Anchor managed it. Dreadful music was blaring out and the ladies toilets were a disgrace. What a shame this is what tourists will see as an English pub.
Looking for a place for a birthday bash at very short notice, I rang The Anchor. It's under new management and they couldn't have been more helpful. They reserved some tables, threw in free food (the fish and chips were spot on) and really looked after us. And the Tribute is good too! Great space, history, view, staff, beer and grub. What more could you want? We'll be back.
what a disgrace!! after reading previous comments about this pub and its ageless link with ye olde londoninum i especially went out of my way to visit it in the hope of sucking up foul smelling loos, tasting downright horrid food and endure nasty bar staff, instead all i got after my travels were loos with toilet paper friendly bar staff and nice grub, Damn and blast the lot of em!! thats what i say!!
We are from Norway, and went too eat today. We waited for the food almost one hour and the toilets was disgusting, and I guess that it was the first and last time on the Anchor pub.
Sadly, my first visit to The Anchor (on Sat,11th Aug) will be my last one. I was disgusted at the state of the ladies toilets! They were dirty and stank! Toilet paper was all over the place but on a roll holder! There were puddles of water on the floor and around sinks. At the bar, my drink (vodka and orange) was served in a plastic container, not a glass!!! This pub should be proudly carrying its legacy into the 21st century but it's only a dirty, smelly hole... Very sad experience.
I booked for the Jubilee Pageant on 3rd June for my daughter, three teenaged grandchildren and myself at £50.00 per head. Although our pre-arranged table was in a poor position, we were able to get right to the front of the patio and enjoyed a fantastic view. The picnic lunch was first class, including tasteful sandwiches, fruit, cake, cheese and biscuits and a bottle of sparkling wine each. We felt it was great value for money. If there is ever another river event we would book the Anchor without hesitation.
I booked places to view the Pageant on June 3rd. The booking was dealt with courteously and efficiently at all times, and I was even advised the day before to come early because of police restrictions in the area.
The lunch package included ion the price was very generous and of good quality, and our places were indeed reserved, with the area policed to keep the non-payers out. Special mention for Paulina, never too busy to be helpful! Pity about the weather though!
On weekends patrons wishing to order food and drinks are crammed to the side bar and served by staff with no sense of urgency or the growing impatience on the other side of the bar. This pub is only surviving through its position next to the river. I recommend buying drinks from the countless shops nearby and take away food from one of the best markets in the world directly behind it and sitting on the bank.
Very nice pub. Didn't have anything to eat here, but had good service here. Was a bit too cold to sit outside when I was there, but I can imagine that it must be great in summer.
Hi, I visited on Sunday 8th April, this time with 2 friends.
The bar staff were miserable didn't ask if I had been served.
Then had to visit the toilets, OMG, absolutely stank in there of dried urine, no toilet paper, no liquid soap, no hand drier working & dirt around the tops of the wash basin & the trough at times over flowing & blocked.
Also we found a seat near a gas fire, but the tables in there were sticky with alcohol & paper, & the table behind, there was a broken wine glass on the table & floor.
I have visited Anchor restaurant on the top floor with my friends (total of 10 people), although we didn\'t book a table in advance, waiters helped us straight away and prepared table for us.
Service was very good and food recommended by waitress was excellent!
After dinner we had a drink at the bar downstairs. bartenders were moving very fast and we were served within 3 minutes.
Very nice, young people and laid back, relaxing atmosphere combined with amazing view makes Anchor worth visiting.
I agree with the other reviews: the Anchor is bad: bad food, bad service. The location is nice, so nip on in, sit at an outside table and take in the view, take a pic of the "anchor" and then go somewhere else to eat and drink. The food was awful (F&C) and the service was downright hostile. Try somewhere else.
In July 2011 my wife and I hired the Anchor for our wedding reception and evening celebration.
It was the best decision we have ever made.
The food was fantastic, the service was amazing and, as you can imagine there were lots of "little extras" which needed organising and these were done very professionally and without fuss.
As with all weddings its a day that carries many worry's and stresses all of which were taken off our hands by Paulina and Joanna and their amazing staff.
Thank you all very much for the best day of our lives
Keith & Philippa (28/7/2011)
SHOCKING!! To cut a long story short, our drinks were wrong when they first arrived to our table, the second round we ordered never arrived and our food order was 'lost' in the kitchen. WOULDN'T RECOMMEND THIS PPLACE TO MY WORST ENEMY.
Our party of 4 visited the Anchor two weeks ago and two us had the "famous" fish and chips,I would like to ask what it is famous for as this was simply the worst F&C I have ever had , both meals were virtualy cold they had obviously been cooked some considerable time before. Anyway we tried to eat but left most of it.The pleasant waitress asked if we had enjoyed our meal I said no, to which she apologised and left it at that, all in all an expensive experience not to be repeated.
My wife and I stop in at the Anchor on our annual trip to the UK. We've always found the place, though busy, fun to be at, solid pub food, great views.
We wanted to eat in The Anchor. The menu was written on a blackboard on the wall. I ordered one dish, they didn't have it. I ordered another one and a third one, they didn't have any. They weren't able to erase these dishes from the blackboard neither to tell me that they didn't have them anymore. We just couldn't go away because one of my friends already had his fish and chips. Then I realized why everybody was eating fish and chips. It was not the speciality of the place, it was almost the only thing that they had!
In this restorant I had the only bad experience of my vacation. The food was bad and in the bill there were 20 pounds more, for food we did not take and when I underlined this, Joanna added a 10% more that on the previous bill there was not for a "sevice" not mentioned on the menu. So at the end we payed the same increased bill. Joanna was very impolite. All this the evening of August 15, 2010.
"L'unica truffa di questa vacanza. A partire dal cibo schifoso dalla carne al dolce, 20 sterline in più nel conto per una pietanza che non c'era e dopo averlo fatto notare, hanno sostituito il conto introducento la stessa cifra sotto la nuova voce di "servizio" non citata nel menu. Assolutamente da evitare."
I'm an American, who lives in the U.S. and the U.K. I've visited the Anchor Inn, on several occasions. I'd recommend it, to anyone. It's a lovely atmosphere, with great service and reasonable prices and above average quality food. I've never had a bad meal, or experience, while there. It's casual, with a sense of history. It's in a very convenient section of London, near London Bridge station. The view, of London, from the Anchor, is lovely, with St Paul's, off in the distance and the Thames, lazily flowing by. You can't ask, for a better ambiance.