Timothy Taylor Landlord, Adnams Bitter, and Guest Ales,
The fact this long, narrow little pub has managed to survive the frenzy of Docklands redevelopment shows what a special place it is. Now a listed building, it stands at the end of a row of similar dwellings. Local residents include knights and lords, and one, Sir Ian McKellen, has bought the place, taking over from long serving ex-bunny girl Barbara Haigh, not that you'll see Sir Ian pulling a pint.
Built in 1720, on the site of a previous pub, the Grapes was a working class tavern, serving the workers of the Limehouse Basin. There are unsavoury stories of watermen taking drunks from the pub, drowning them in the river, then selling their corpses for medical dissection.
Charles Dickens knew this pub well. As a child, he was made to stand on a table and sing to the customers. As an adult, he immortalised it as the Six Jolly Fellowship Porters pub in Our Mutual Friend .
The front bar has dark stained timber clad walls; an assortment of odd wooden chairs and tables and bare floorboards. The back bar has an open fire and steps leading to a deck over the Thames.
Up some very narrow stairs is the small restaurant which looks out over the river. It has an excellent reputation for its fish and seafood, indeed it has won first prize in the Fish Awards, the best of 1600 pubs! It's advisable to book. The food times shown are for the restaurant, but bar food is available at roughly the same times, with addition of a Saturday lunchtime (12.00 -14.30). On Sundays there's a roast instead of fish.
Today's customers are a mix of original Eastenders and wealthier newcomers, who all enjoy the relaxed and informal atmosphere. There is no television or fruit machines and definitely no children; just good conversation, excellent food, fine wine and good ales.
My husband and I, and various friends are regulars, but had a really average meal last night. The pasta main was ordered by two of the group, but it was in edible. Not sure we will eat again in a hurry.
Sent from my iPadWell.....I was actually really looking forward to taking my estrayed father here for Sunday lunch after reading a very \"trust\" worthy article in the \"ES\" (the standard) by a Mr Roger Allam - he quotes \"very charming pub\" - \"has very good wine and good food\" - he chose \"the grapes\" as his favourite pub!! Now one has to question why out of all the establishments in London mr Allam chose this one?! - the amount of negative comments that have been posted concerns me
Having just moved into an apartment 30m away from the pub I was keen to begin the process of becoming a regular. Unfortunately I don't think I'll make the effort - an incredibly rude barmaid who seemed to take pleasure in being stroppy, followed by an off duty member of staff who bored me to to tears telling me about all the famous people who go in, and how they 'protect the stars'. Here's an idea - be friendly to normal people you don't know and you might get a better reputation.
the rude waitress is not only rude but has b.o very bad, good beer though
Lovely to look at - maybe doesnt deliver in the atmosphere department - I felt like I was passing thru - and wasn't expected back...if that makes any sense. Tim Taylor was good...
We called in on a Tuesday Lunchtime,loved the pubs ambience,the bar staff were friendly and as the food looked good decided to have a snack.I ordered a fresh crab sandwich,which was literally two slices or bread with a thin layer of crab slapped on a plate,the crust was hard,no garnish just a tiny soggy green leaf.The presentation was slap dash. Disappointing to say the least.
We read the poor reviews and tried it anyway. Very impressed by food, service and setting.
My wife has food intolerances, which they were able to accommodate and were very helpful with.
A true gem of a place tucked away.
We will be back ASAP.
Yes, Sir Ian McKellen has taken over The Grapes, and we were closed for renovations a week in September! WE ARE OPEN. Check out our new website - www.thegrapes.co.uk
I visited the Grapes the evening with a couple of friends, my 2nd visit. As usual the food was superb. What's this about "rude staff"? There were two waitresses on duty, both were very pleasant and helpful and the service was quick and efficient
As of September 2011, Sir Ian McKellen (that’s right, Gandalf!) purchased The Grapes along with two of his friends, Sean Mathias Evgeny Lebedev. They are currently renovating and plan to reopen by Chrismas.
Incredibly unfriendly! Twelve of us arrived for food when it was almost deserted but were turned away because two, impeccably behaved, 16 year olds were with us. Staff claimed their licence only allowed 18s and over to enter. According to their licensing authority this is UNTRUE - 16 and overs can enter the bar, AND drink beer, wine and cider with a meal provided they’re with an adult. We phoned and explained this to the licensee who then became even stroppier. Why lie and be unfriendly? The truth and "sorry, we prefer to be adults-only" is so much more appropriate.
As a local resident I invited a friend to have dinner with me at the grapes. After a lovely drink on the outside balcony area we decided to eat in the restaurant upstairs. This is when the experience went downhill as we met the rudest waitress I have ever encountered in my life. We were provided no choice in menu or seating and told to order or leave, which we did and enjoyed a lovely meal at the Narrow. I would advise people to not eat in the restaurant as the service will ruin any experience.
Gorgeous food, great wine list. Sadly thwarted by the most unbelievably rude waitress, who seemed to derive great personal amusement in insulting guests. Shocking and far from funny. Couldn't even bear to stay for dessert (great shame as they sounded delicious). That would explain why such a gorgeous little restaurant overlooking the Thames, with such a great menu, was virtually empty on a balmy bank holiday weekend Saturday night. The only other table in occupation were four foreigners, who, when attempting to order were told "I can't understand a word you are saying". Enough said!!
Visited today 22/03/11. Wanted to see pub as depicted in Our Mutual Friend. Loved it. The atmosphere, setting and character did not disappoint. Friendly staff. Reasonable prices. Recommend.
Great little pub. Beer is good and excellent food. Unfortunately very rude staff rather spoilt evening.
£3.60 for a lime and soda! A rip-off Mr landlord. Your friendly and helpful staff were embarassed (and probably underpaid!)
Plenty of other good pubs...
I encountered a rude staff and bad service here.
Walked past and photographed this pub on numerous occasions,finally popped in there today.Wasn't disappointed,lovely atmosphere,nice staff.Will visit again.
As a "from time to time" U.S. visitor to London, I was thrilled to find such a small and local pub so near to my business. The staff was superb...filling us in all the history. We drank Marston's Pedigree and Timothy Taylor...both were a delight. While hard to find, that's part of the charm. Don't miss a chance to visit.
Please remove. It was a joke. We love it really. Honest. I'm on the third picture