Monday, 11 June 2012

The Ship - Wandsworth SW18

Ah The Ship - this place should have actually been my first post for the blog as I have been going to this pub for years (as long as I have lived in Wandsworth) but for some reason I didn't write the post back in 2009, then I had a brief falling out of love (more below - it was very brief!) and then we moved a bit further back into the wilds of SW18 and so I wasn't going there as much...anyway I'm getting ahead of myself, let's start again.  The Ship is a wonderful pub, definitely in my Top 3 (if not the top actually) in London and has been serving thirsty punters since the late 18th century.  The problem to all but locals is finding the place.  On the banks of the Thames, right next to Wandsworth Bridge, tucked in between a massive development of modern flats and a concrete works, situated on the somewhat confrontingly named Jews Row (one of my American friends couldn't believe there was a street called this!), The Ship's location does not seem immediately appealing.  However for me, keen student of Wandsworth history, this little enclave is really interesting.  Pier Terrace, which connects Jews Row and Wandsworth Bridge, retains some of its original cobbling and there was once a street of terraced housing running all along it, part of an extensive network of two up two down terraces that were demolished to build the Wandsworth roundabout and one way system.  The Other Half and I used to live in nearby Eltringham St which is a weird remnant of this long gone network of streets - which was one of the reasons we loved it there and also the reason for my fascination with what this area used to look like (as recently as the 60s).  The Wandsworth Garage is about the only other reminder of the pre-roundabout days.  The Ship is definitely worth seeking out - equally brilliant whatever the season, in the warm (ha!) summer months, the pub really comes into its own with a huge outdoor space between the pub and the river and a fantastic BBQ on offer (as well as an outside bar).  The food is really great at The Ship - particularly in the restaurant area - I remember when we first visited years ago we couldn't believe that food of that quality was being served in our

local pub.  Given London's current obsession with burgers, The Ship's version deserves special mention - it is a fine specimen (as you can see) and outranks (IMHO) some of those that London's burger cognoscenti rate more highly.  The Ship are also famous for their Scotch eggs - drool away here.  The staff are great (one of our favourite waiters in all of London works in the restaurant) - this is a really friendly pub.  So why did I fall out of love with it?  I am so reluctant to even mention this, because it was a small blip in an otherwise unblemished record and the management were so good in their response....anyway, here goes.  The Ship, being in SW London and literally just over the river from Fulham, does attract its fair share of rugger bugger types - not that there is necessarily anything the matter with that (the church of London Stuff is a broad one) however it does mean that at certain times (big rugby matches the obvious example) The Ship can get over-run with very drunk, very boisterous Hooray Henrys and Henriettas.  Which is fine in the bar - because you can (as we did on this one particular day) scuttle, like the middle-aged reformed party people we are, to the restaurant area to escape the revelry.  However on the day in question, which unfortunately was the day we were taking some north of the river friends for their first visit to the much raved-about Ship, we had a large table of braying, pissed up youngsters at the table next to us.  Throughout what tuned out to be a pretty painful dinner, male members of the next door party ended up on top of their table, constantly banged into our table (albeit with very well-spoken apologies delivered each time) as they got up for frequent trips to the loos and generally made it a pretty rubbish night.  I was jacked off that the staff did not tell them to can it or move them into the pub - the (good) problem with the staff at The Ship is, they're just all way too nice and I'm sure they just wanted everyone to get along and have fun.  I felt like the king of the party poopers but decided to write on of "those" emails to The Ship and to their credit they got back super fast offering to refund our meal (an offer which we didn't take up) and give us another meal for free - which the Other Half and I did take advantage of.  Which all in all is the perfect response really.  So in a weird way, my brief falling out of love with The Ship made me love them more than ever.  Anyway - as I said this was a brief one week blip in almost 7 years of wonderfulness.  If you live anywhere near Wandsworth Bridge or indeed you just want to hang out at a mighty fine pub and eat some of the best pub food you'll find anywhere in London, head on down to Jews Row in SW18 and have a Scotch egg or three for me.

The Ship on Urbanspoon


  1. The Ship!! I used to love this pub when I lived in London. Memories!

  2. I live about five minutes away from The Ship, but rarely venture inside. It's just too damn expensive, even for London.

  3. Tracey - glad I could remind you of some happy London memories!

    Phil - do you mean the drinks or the food? The food is pricier than normal pub food but SO much better so def worth the (occasional) splurge if you can.

  4. A great response from the Ship, but completely what I would expect - those guys really are the nicest people on the planet.

    For what it's worth, you don't need a boisterous rugby pub in South London to attract obnoxious types that might spoil your evening; I've had many a multi Michelin-starred meal spoiled by pissed-up or otherwise objectionable neighbours.

  5. its good to know that type of good place

  6. Chris - I hear you, I well remember saving up and going to Nobu 12 years ago and had a table of obnoxious city boys at the next table who totally ruined our dinner. Even the black cod couldn't save it!