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10 June 2013 | Drink, Pub Crawls | By: Dean Nicholas

A Pub Crawl Around Abandoned Barbican Boozers

A Pub Crawl Around Abandoned Barbican Boozers

Last week, inspired by our recent post about the ghost shops of the Barbican, a small group of dipsomaniacal Londonist writers set off to visit the abandoned pubs and bars that litter the estate, and raise a final toast to these tarnished temples of booze.

Our first stop was at the foot of Shakespeare Tower, where a unit that once housed Butler's, a wine bar, and latterly a tapas restaurant is now inhabited by an architect's studio. A few sips from the hipflasks later, we crossed over to the south side of the estate and the site of the Crowder's Well pub, which was replaced a few years ago by Wood Street, a restaurant. The preponderance of 'No Drinking Outside' signs meant our stay there was a brief one. Next stop was up on St Alphage Highwalk and the shuttered exterior of The Podium. A short walk away was The Plough, before our final stop (and the only still-open pub on the tour) the City Boot.

There's little time left if you want to retrace our steps. On 11 June St Alphage Highwalk will be closed off to the public to make way for a new office building, London Wall Place. While the Highwalk is expected to re-open afterwards, the ghost pubs will be demolished, with many a faded memory of long, bibulous nights crushed under the bulldozer's unfeeling claw.

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Dean Nicholas

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Pete Stean

I've never really understood why the pubs on the Highwalk closed - they're surrounded by thirsty officeworkers on all sides...


A long time ago (1996?) I worked for a summer at Butler's. The place had a few regulars, but I always had the impression that the wide open spaces of the barbican did not encourage people to step out. I'm not sure why, but walking outside the 100m or so to our storage locker for another barrel (no cellar), always felt like I was intruding every inch of the way. Perhaps it was the eerie lack of streetnoise on the highwalk, or the feeling of being watched, but when I did happen across another soul in that place, my isolation only seemed to be heightened, as they scurried past.


Sounds cool, for clubbing pub crawl there is also nuts pub crawl