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The Grapes is yet another classic riverside pub in an area replete with such things, and it also has a modest pedigree, claiming almost half a millennium of drink-serving. Inevitably, it turns up in Dickens' writing, thinly disguised as the Six Jolly Fellowship Porters in Our Mutual Friend. You'll find a complete set of Dickens and plenty of busts to the rear of the bar.
Most similar in character to the Prospect of Whitby, it has the benefit of being further from Wapping Overground station, and is therefore less busy with tourist types. The long, thin main room can still get very cramped, but that didn't stop us cosying up to the bar, and tucking in to some hearty fish supper. Posher dining is available upstairs.
The Grapes offers less in the way of riverside views than its nearby competitors, but you can nevertheless get your Thames fix from the back room and small terrace, where you'll spy an Anthony Gormley figure protruding from the Thames. You'll find a reasonable choice of mainstream ales, including (on our visit) Doom Bar, Adnams and Timmy Taylor Landlord. Speaking of landlords, The Grapes is owned by a superstar tag-team of Evgeny Lebedev, Sean Mathias and Sir Ian McKellen.