We arrived at The Trafalgar Tavern ‘one pint minutes’ too soon, having done a whip-lash inducing about turn in The Yacht a few yards down the road. Proper pubs do not don ‘Costa Coffee Served Here’ signs outside the main entrance. This is a fact.
Sweeping aside the disappointment of abandoning a pub, we ventured on, the afternoon sun pouring onto our backs, the stinging wind ever in our faces.
We skirted the approaching tourist hoards outside, The Cutty Sark’s salty pork pie residue still effervescing in our throats. Left. Right. Left again to avoid the scything ‘I Heart London’ umbrellas.
One of our party paused and bent double, hands on knees; the drought has beaten him, I thought to myself. I continue staggering forward, the weight of the pie like an anchor in my stomach. I feel like a car that has passed a decent-enough service stop, despite the petrol light being on, just because it was one of the ones that had an M&S and not a Burger King.
My brother grabbed my collars in his fist and pulled me close; “we’re not leaving him behind,” he snorted, his pupils narrowing and that weird vein in is forehead growing noticeably bluer as the thirst takes hold.
We glance back, squinting to see our ailing friend, only to discover he hadn’t collapsed after all, but was actually just picking up a warm parcel that his French Bulldog had just delivered.
Finally, despite having to man-haul this additional load, we make it to The Trafalgar Tavern, bursting for hearty ale to quell our thirst. And we were not disappointed, for they did not sell Costa Coffee. Because they sold beer instead.
Despite no longer being the traditional ale-house it may have once been – Dickens drank here and used the setting in one of his stories – the lapping of the Thames at the building’s foundations, the option to drink outside (rare in London) and the vast windows offering views west to the city, more than make up for it.
This is certainly no classic pub. Probably a great place for family days out due to the numerous attractions nearby , the outdoor space and the officially or de facto pedestrians areas round-and-about. Nonetheless, a varied beer selection, proper crisps and a fantastic setting make this worth ‘one pint minutes’ of anyone’s time.