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We stumbled across The Pensioner following a fascinating tour of Blackwall by Rob Smith, but you could just as easily come here once you're done exploring the nearby arts community/lighthouse/American diner at Trinity Buoy Wharf. (It's also a mere 20 mins across the Thames from The O2.)
We're reasonably sure it's called The Pensioner, anyway. Emblazoned across the top of this comely green-tiled boozer is 'The Greenwich Pensioner', but that's a previous incarnation (which may have been ditched owing to geographical befuddlement; it's not even the right side of the river for Greenwich.)
Branding aside, this has to be one of the area's best boozers. While others in this neck of the woods are boarded up and crumbling away, The Pensioner has stuck to some basic rules to achieve survival. Namely:
- There's a row of craft beers (think DEYA, Boxcar, Siren etc), and a row of decidedly un-craft beers (think the usual suspects).
- There's a small menu (Welsh rarebit, chicken parm, beef tartare, spiced cauli soup) that's a) a bit different from your usual pub grub and b) more affordable than you might expect. The rarebit, for instance, is £3.50.
- The staff are lovely. As if they actually want to be here. They even TOLD us they wanted to be here.
Most importantly, old school east end locals and a younger, hipper crowd are both handsomely catered for. You can watch the rugby while sipping a Guinness. You can also buy a piece of art from the walls while sipping a 7% NEIPA. (We even saw a couple of whiskey sours being mixed up.) There are young parents with babies. There are blokes in their 70s. It's the ciiiircle of life.
It's tough to classify a pub like this: it's certainly no craft beer bar, but it has good craft beer. It's not an 'old man's' pub either, yet it serves old men (as in they drink here, you can't order an old man at the bar).
Assuming you like pubs, then The Pensioner caters to you, too.
Last visited: February 2022.