It’s easy to forget how important the River Thames was to London in past centuries. But a trip to The Gun in the city's Docklands will put that straight.
It's a slice of history all right – even Lord Nelson used to drink a pint or two here.
Yet today, the pub is almost in the shadows of the cut and thrust of modern Canary Wharf, and rather than warships, it is banking fortunes that are created locally.
It is a hidden gem, but persistence through the back streets of the Isle of Dogs will be rewarded. On arrival, the pub sign with the cannonball hole through it shows there's a modern twist to The Gun, and a sense of humour that pervades.
Named after the weapon fired to celebrate the opening of the West India Import Docks in 1802, The Gun is steeped in history, from a time when local iron foundries cast guns for the Royal Navy fleet.
The listed building itself was badly damaged by fire in 2001, and has been painstakingly restored since.
Quirky and intriguing interior touches include a spy hole on the staircase, used by smugglers to look out for the revenue men, and a dining room ceiling hung with dozens of tankards.
Never mind if history's not your thing, as this is much more than your usual pub.
You can enjoy a perfect pint of Symonds Founder’s Reserve cider in The Terrace as you watch the sun go down over the river and take in a panoramic view over to the North Greenwich peninsula and the O2.
Unsurprisingly tables in The Terrace need to be reserved in advance.
What makes this pub special is that it has rather an air of romance about it, and in winter months the focus moves from The Terrace to the bar with its snugs and a real fire to sit by.
Rest assured the bar is fully stocked with an array of draught beers, lagers and ciders for you to choose from.
The owners, from the award-winning gastro experts ETM Group, have spared no expense, creating a relaxed and engaging atmosphere combined with a welcoming pub feel and with restaurant quality food.
In fact, The Gun is ranked in the top 10% of London eateries on TripAdvisor – no mean feat.
Head chef Robert Hunter evidently takes his ingredients seriously, as he has even tried growing his own herbs and vegetables this summer, in an urban allotment garden outside the pub.
- A ceiling covered in tankards
- Riverside terrace
- Romantic winter feel
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(Source: The Phene Arms)
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