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The Grapes, Limehouse, E14

76 Narrow Street
E14 8BP
Phone: 02079874396

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 8 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Delboy 20 left this review about The Grapes

Very old and very narrow pub which is well described below. 4 ales listed on a chalkboard and my pint of Proper Job was excellent. I'd been wanting to tick this one off for a while. Well worth a visit - if only to see Gandalf's Staff!!

On 13th June 2022 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 1371 recommendations about 1297 pubs]

Tris C left this review about The Grapes

In an area once teeming with dozens of dockers’ pubs, many now converted, this is one of the area’s oldest riverside pubs, dating back to 1583, the current former Taylor Walker incarnation rebuilt in 1720 (a 19th century façade), with the name abbreviated from [Bunch of] Grapes by 1938. It’s grade II-listed and on CAMRA’s inventory of pubs with historic interiors, this being of Some Regional Importance.
The interior is suitably aged, woody and very atmospheric, with photos available on the pub’s and CAMRA’s websites. The pub is noted for being part leased by local resident Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf in the Rings franchise and indeed his staff – which he apparently refers to as his ‘bar staff’ – is lashed to the bar back; to the rear is a poop deck patio, with fine views out over the Thames. Décor comprises a few knickknacks, with black and white pictures of the area from yesteryear, along with some oil paintings, at least one by a Royal Academician. Customers are a mix of locals and perhaps the odd tourist, with under-18s prohibited: “You shall not pass!”.
Ales amounted to one clip reversed, then Doom, Black Sheep, Landlord and Hophead at a fairly reasonable £2.55 a half and nice, served by a charming barmaid.
This is a must-visit pub in Tower Hamlets and pretty much a must-visit if in London.

On 27th May 2022 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1532 recommendations about 1510 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Real Ale Ray left this review about The Grapes

A well kept pub with friendly and helpful staff. The ground floor was narrow with the bar positioned over on the left hand side, beyond this was a small rear room and an even smaller balcony, over looking the Thames. The upstairs housed a small rear restaurant area overlooking the river. Five ales on handhump, we went for the South X Southwest Beer, which was good. A Lord of the Rings figurine of the wizard Gandalf, can be spotted in the rear lounge.

On 8th April 2018 - rating: 7
[User has posted 3121 recommendations about 3121 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

hondo . left this review about The Grapes

Sir ian mckellan who I believe lives just up the road is involved in the ownership of this riverside pub. Quite a small dark characterful interior spread over 2 floors. 5 real ales and food served.

On 24th October 2017 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2833 recommendations about 2774 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Moby Duck left this review about The Grapes

My third visit to this pub over the years and well described below in earlier reviews. The beer selection is a little on the ordinary side, TT Landlord, Greene King St Edmonds, Old Speckled Hen , Black Sheep Bitter and Black Wolf ROC, that aside this pubs well worth a visit.

On 2nd August 2017 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1582 recommendations about 1563 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Steve of N21 left this review about The Grapes

Another visit to this famous Dickens associated riverside ale house, so high time I added to the list of positive reviews. Not much to add to the descriptions already given except that you also get a good view of the Antony Gormley ‘Another Time’ statue from the small decking terrace at the back.
For me also all five handpumps in operation on this visit and along with the regular Black Sheep and TT Landlord, Adnams Southwold Bitter, Otter Amber and Robinsons Blonde were available. We tried the TT Landlord, Otter and Blonde during our visit and all were well kept.
For me a top historic pub well worth seeking out indeed,and always a good one to start a summers evening stroll back along the Thames path into Liverpool Street.

On 13th October 2016 - rating: 9
[User has posted 1846 recommendations about 1782 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Just a quick pint, then I'm off left this review about The Grapes

Famous riverside 'ale house', with very traditional furniture and decor to suit. Two narrow rooms separated by a compact bar. However, in good weather, and if you can get a seat, the small decking terrace with great views overlooking the Thames is the prime spot. Restaurant upstairs (never visited). All five handpumps in operation on this visit, dispensing the regular Black Sheep and Landlord, plus Adnams Broadside and two beers from Otter - Bitter and Amber. Well worth seeking out.

On 10th September 2016 - rating: 8
[User has posted 7108 recommendations about 7108 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Ian Mapp left this review about The Grapes

Well, I may as well start with my first review here with a classic pub - The Grapes, Limehouse.

I read about it recently and decided to make a visit. On arrival, I realised I had been in a couple of times before - probably when walking the Thames Path.

Thin pub, reaching back to the Thames. If you go, check out the (non smoking) terrace at the back for some exceptional views. I watched three people spend 30 minutes here without even purchasing a drink. I don't remember the Anthony Gormley figure in the Thames last time I came.

Lovely roaring fire. I wanted to eat - and there are tables that are on a first come/first served basis downstairs with a restaurant upstairs.

Food was good and well priced - but I was served my starter with my main. Perils of dining alone.

Beer was also good - three real ales, marked up on a blackboard. I had the Timothy Taylor landlord, which was in fine nick.

A true classic of a pub and I enjoyed reading about the owner and the patrons on this site.

On 5th December 2014 - rating: 10
[User has posted 989 recommendations about 981 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Alan Winfield left this review about The Grapes

The Grapes is one of those famous Thameside pubs that have to be visited.
The pub does not open untill 12 or in my case 12.03,they had lost 5 customers while i waited for it to open.
Once inside there is a long narrow room with the bar on the left side,there were wood bench seating to the front left,with bar stools where the room narrows,there is a small area up a few steps to the rear which has bench seats,but annoyingly you car'nt see the Thames while sat down,there were some steep steps up to the restaurant,these looked dicey when sober,i would not like to go up and down those after a good session.
There were five real ales on the bar,i had a drink of Portobello Star which went down very well,the other beers were Taylor Landlord,Pedigree,Adnams bitter and Doom Bar.
I would like to add my name to the distinguished visitors list to this pub having now done nearly 11000 pubs.
The pub filled up pretty quickly after opening time.
If visiting this pub note that it keeps old type opening hours 12.03 untill 3.30pm then 5.30 till 11.00 during the week,all day at weekends.

Pub visited 19/2/2014

On 19th February 2014 - rating: 8
[User has posted 6113 recommendations about 6113 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Pub SignMan left this review about The Grapes

There is something very apt about the fact that this fine historical pub is located on Narrow Street, given the extremely narrow layout encountered upon entering the premises. A plaque on the wall outside notes that there has been a pub on this site since 1583, although the present day building dates from 1720, and it has attracted a fair few distinguished customers over the years including Samuel Pepys who mentions the pub in his famous diary, and Charles Dickens who introduces the pub as The Six Jolly Fellowship Porters in his novel ‘Our Mutual Friend’. Today, the pub’s leaseholder is the actor Sir Ian Mckellan who stepped in after the long standing previous licensee decided to retire. Despite the celebrity associations (the likes of Patrick Stewart, Anthony Gormley, Kirsten Scott Thomas and Sting have been spotted drinking here since Mckellan got involved), the pub has very few pretensions and offers a classic traditional London drinking experience.
The front room has bare floorboards and dark wood panels with red walls and ceiling. Some settles are arranged along the left hand side before the servery appears and there is an interesting fixed seat in the small curved front window, which is beautifully etched with the pub’s name. A few old pictures dot the walls, in keeping with the pub’s art heritage (Francis Bacon used to drink here) and Mckellan has written a piece on the pub’s website giving details about several of the paintings on show. The servery makes the room even narrower, as does the staircase leading up to the restaurant, before you emerge in the rear snug with its fixed seating and vinyl flooring. There is a fireplace on one wall and the complete works of Dickens are available for perusal, alongside a figurine of Gandalf – Mckellen’s character from the Lord of the Rings movies. Both rooms are free from distractions such as TV screens or piped music, with conversation dominating and it is telling that when the owners insisted the former landlady had to have a fruit machine in the front bar, she put a sign on it asking that people refrained from using it, which resulted in the machine lasting just two weeks before it was taken away again. A small outdoor platform has room for no more than three or four people, but gives some unbeatable views down the Thames for those lucky enough to bag a spot. The restaurant was set up very formally with white tablecloths and another fine view of the river below. We had some food, but plumped for burgers from the considerably cheaper bar menu, which we ate from bar stools as the few tables downstairs were already fully occupied by the time we arrived.
The pub seems to keep a core range of ales in the shape of Sharp’s Doom Bar, Taylor Landlord (off on our visit), Marston’s Pedigree and Adnams Southwold Bitter, plus a guest which was Shepherd Neame Master Brew. Not the most thrilling line up, but my Doom Bar was in good condition, despite the barmaid’s complex routine of pouring the pint into two different glasses before combining them to ensure a full pint.
For such a small pub, there is a lot to take in here and I really enjoyed our food and drink in these civilised surroundings. It’s surprisingly easy to get here from the city and anyone walking the Thames Path would do well to build in a drinks break here. A fine traditional pub that knows how to continue attracting customers – I’d happily return, hopefully to snag that table on the balcony.

On 2nd June 2013 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2813 recommendations about 2813 pubs]

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