Adnams Bitter, Fullers London Pride, Timothy Taylor Landlord,
This narrow wedge-shaped pub is jammed against the railway line at Blackfriars. It was built in 1875 near the site of a thirteenth century Dominican Priory, which gives the area its name and was the inspiration for the pubs design.
The exterior of the building has jutting wrought iron signs for each bar and the pub's name is proudly displayed in mosaic tiles. A statue of a large, laughing friar stands guard above the main door.
Though unusual and pleasing, the exterior does not prepare you for the extraordinary interior. The immediate impression is that of an extravagantly ornate church, or scaled down cathedral, every inch decorated in marble, mosaic or bas-relief sculpture.
The walls, clad in green, red and cream marble, are covered with illustrations of merry monks. Above the fireplace, a large bas-relief bronze depicts frolicking friars singing carols and playing instruments. Another called 'Saturday Afternoon' shows them gathering grapes and harvesting apples.
Three low arches lead into a smaller bar which is like a chapel, this was added after the First World War. Below a beautiful arched mosaic ceiling, are mottos of wisdom, such as, 'finery is foolery' and 'don't advertise, tell a gossip'. The detail here is amazing, even the light fittings are carved wooden monks carrying yokes on their shoulders, from which the lights hang.
The Black Friars interior is literally a work of art. It was begun in 1904, with sculptors Nathaniel Hitch, Frederick T. Callcott and Henry Poole contributing to its splendour. This pub is a lasting testament to their skill and craftsmanship. In the 1960's Sir John Betjeman, who later became the Poet Laureate, led a campaign to save the Black Friar from demolition. Thanks to him and his supporters we can still enjoy this delightful pub.
The Back Friar has good real ales and some nice food. Try to visit 'off peak' so you can get a better view. The Black Friar -
I have been trying for weeks to get a reservation for lunch or dinner in October. My wife and I fly into London Sunday October 6, 2013 and were trying for lunch or dinner reservation that day or Tuesday October 8th for my 60th birthday. I have not gotten any days on the website that would take our reservation. Please check to see if something is available. Any help is deeply appreciated. Mitch Comer Houston, Texas USA
The Black Friarmcomer,
Lovely pub, great beers, awful food. Use the non-existent H&S excuse to serve cremated charcoal edged burgers. Well done meat is a medical recommendation not Health and Safety. Avoid eating there.
The Black FriarAlexPharaoh,
Great pub - excellent food and well-kept ales. The interior is stunning - a real gem!
The Black Friarhecate105,
Great beer but food service appalling and barman blamed us for not telling him our food had come up on the dumb waiter!! Would steer clear I'm afraid unless you like DIY food service!
The Black FriarLoveapub,
itīs a great location, really beautiful, tasty pies, and good beer. like it very much.
The Black Friarmichaelnader,
went there for my sisters 50th Bth'day, have a great night, had a few pints of Golden, maybe more than a few pints as they ran out of it. (and a beautifull steak and ale pie). 1st class pub.
The Black Friarjoebrown2010,
Never been in a pub quite like this. All the decrative marble and interior design is really unusual. with all that church like marble there is a surprisingly warm yet refreshing atmosphere. Auzzie bar staff were friendly and helpful, although a little scruffy. Good standard of real ales. The food was also good honest grub. The place can get really busy with diners. Not sure if it's a real drinkers boozer. Still well worth a visit though.
The Black Friarcgefouting,
excellent pub and the food was so nice, especially the pies. well worth a visit.