Feb 8 16

The White Swan, Riverside, Twickenham, TW1

Jack Cutforth

Visited: Friday 22 January by JB & JC

The White Swan

A pub for all weathers. When it’s freezing cold outside, as it was when we visited, you’ll be delighted to find refuge in this small, cosy, and very old pub, complete with a couple of real fires.

And when it’s summer? Well, it’s right by the river, and we mean right by the river. It’s so close to the river they have contingency plans for when the road floods (you can call them and they’ll let you in via the cellar door). But it’s no good being by the river if you can’t sit outside appreciating the view, so it’s a good job they have a gorgeous beer garden out front. Which is directly next to the water. It’s as close as you can get to the Thames without being in it, which we don’t recommend.

Service at the small bar is very friendly, and we paid a fiver for a pint of Risk TUSK IPA. There was a small selection of ales, as well as all the usual lagers. We were there before 5pm on a Friday and it was already starting to fill up: the small size means this won’t take long, but it’s clearly a popular haunt for the people who live nearby, and with good reason.

A real highlight of the pub was the resident Shih Tzu, who is a bit tubby (as all pub dogs inevitably are: they know how to work the crowd for crisps and nuts) and bustles around the place, as if she has lots of important business to attend to. She’ll trot over to you and let you stroke her for a bit, before trotting off again to investigate another corner of the pub. It’s all a front though, the entire time she was there she didn’t pour any pints, clear away any glasses, or change any barrels. Total shirker.

This is how you imagine all pubs used to be, and how you imagine all village pubs should be, except it’s within half an hour of the capital. We wouldn’t just say you need to visit this pub, we’d say you need to visit this pub at least twice: once in the winter and once in the summer to appreciate all it has to offer. Properly idyllic.

Do they do food? Yes and it looks like wholesome food; the sort of food that your mother would be glad to hear you’re eating (just don’t tell her you’re in the pub again). Not cheap at around £12 for a pie and chips but that’s probably average for the area.
Are they in the 21st Century? Cards accepted.
Are there dogs? There’s more dogs here than at Battersea. The permanent pub dog is an hilarious chubby Shih Tzu.
I want to smoke: There’s a glorious beer garden right next to the river – get here early when it’s sunny.

Beer: 3
Price: 2
Service: 4
Atmosphere: 5