Great London Pubs No. 5



The Commercial Tavern in the East End’s Commercial Street is typical of the type of corner pub that once existed everywhere in this area. It would have been filled with effing and blinding locals banging back dimple-pints, and to be fair there are still one or two who look in. The pub doesn’t do food. It doesn’t have a picturesque garden. It doesn’t have a colourful history. It doesn’t even have a website. And it’s not very big. As if to make up for this, it has is quirky ambience by the bucketload.

In the summer there are sparkling Indian umbrellas outside. Inside it’s dark and arty, with a frankly strange selection of music, and upstairs a semi-circular room featuring a bright and sunny bar collaged together from bits and bobs. Is that wall really made up of thousands of jigsaw pieces laboriously attached with price-tag ties? Are the loos really covered with hundreds of illustrations from old Janet & John books?

Nice staff, a good selection of beers and best of all, funky clientele who haven’t overdosed on the desperately fashionable Shoreditch look. There aren’t many pubs in London where you can sit and watch the world go by – they tend to look inwards – but this is one where you can.

Sometimes you get to be special by not trying too hard.

4 comments on “Great London Pubs No. 5”

  1. Keith says:

    Sounds just how a pub should be. Wish I was sat in there now. But sadly, I’m not. Cheering myself up though, reading The Girl on Mount Olympus from the beautiful limited edition of The New and Perfect Man. Your name should’ve been on one of the signature pages, but it isn’t. Why’s that? I’m sat in a corner crying into my illusory pint of Black and Tan.

  2. Vivienne says:

    Having more than once tramped along the Commercial Road in need of refreshment and not a pub in sight, it’s nice to know of a good one, presumably not far away. Thanks!

  3. admin says:

    Erm, I don’t know what ‘The New And Perfect Man’ is, Keith. I’d better check it out!

  4. Keith says:

    Hi Chris,

    From PS Publications. A lovely edition. The Girl on Mount Olympus is in it. That’s one of yours isn’t it?

    Best wishes as ever!

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