shipwrights pic Unpacking my crate on the first day in a new office I glanced out of the window. The first thing I noticed was a pie with Hitler’s face.* The second thing I noticed was this unassuming, but tempting, little boozer.

“Excellent,” I said to my colleague, “There’s a pub opposite.”

“It looks a bit rough.”

This was nonsense. It didn’t – and doesn’t – look at all rough, it just looked like a pub. Alright, there was something unvarnished about it in comparison to Tooley Street’s other drinkeries – it was clearly not after the same clientele as Skinkers Wine Bar, or the anonymous booze barn that serves Hays Galleria.

It turned out that the roughness assessment was second-hand information: a group of youngsters from my work had scouted the area around our new office and had decided that the Shipwrights was full of “locals” (oh no!) who didn’t take kindly to office folk invading their space. I protested, but the damage was done – when I went for a pint with colleagues, Skinkers would be the place.

I quickly realised, though, how ideal the Shipwrights was as a place to meet friends. Its London Bridge location makes it very handy as a meet-up (and of course for me it’s terribly convenient) and it’s proved a superior pub for plotting and planning. Unlike a lot of pubs on the list, it’s a hard one to sprawl in, with a lot of smallish tables spread out around a central bar in the round. Not suited to the gradual accretion of friends over the course of an evening, but rather good for getting things done. Lollards shows, Freaky Trigger revamps, Trig Brothers – the Shipwrights has played host to them all. (It’s also – a black mark this – the place that put Carling’s unspeakable C2 lager on tap for us to test.)

And while the beer is unspectacular** and the amenities unshowy there’s something more-ish about it: a hard pub to leave, which is the vaguest but possibly greatest complement of them all.

*the Hitler Pie advertises the war museum a door or so up from the Shipwrights. This has nothing to do with the pub, which does not even serve pies.

**though not bad – it has Deuchars and a couple of other ales, and – C2 aside – its lagers are fine too.