Oct 14 17

Here are six pubs we went to after sacking off London’s Oktoberfest because there was a queue

Jack Cutforth

Look, if we’d turned up to Oktoberfest near Canary Wharf earlier, or had the foresight to buy tickets in advance, or were willing to wait for anything ever, you bet your ass you’d be reading a review of Oktoberfest. But this event, that we planned to go to in advance, really took us by surprise. We properly Theresa May-d this one.

So we found ourselves with nothing to do but go to a load of pubs instead. No one is angrier about this situation than we are.

The Ferry House, Isle of Dogs

Confession: we went here before our abortive attempt to enter Oktoberfest. Maybe if we’d just gone straight to Oktoberfest, the queue wouldn’t have been so long. But it felt like poor form to go into Oktoberfest dry, and so we found ourselves darkening the doorstep of The Ferry House, which claims to be ‘the oldest pub on the island’. If I were a petty man – oh hang on I absolutely am a petty man – I would point out that the Isle of Dogs isn’t actually an Island. BUT THEN AGAIN, to be fair to the Ferry House, they did at least provide on the ‘dogs’ front, BUT THEN AGAIN (AGAIN), they weren’t real dogs. They were, like, life-sized dog statues. We should have taken a picture of them really. That’s our bad. Like David Cameron, we didn’t plan ahead.

This seemed like a popular pub, small inside but with a massive garden out back. We sat in that garden, sipping our Camden Pale Ales, blissfully unaware that we were about to have our Oktoberfest dreams ripped from our grasp by our own staggering incompetence, like Andrea Leadsom’s dreams of being Prime Minister.


Yeah so we really ballsed this one didn’t we. Hands up, it was a total bollocks-up on our part. But when we get knocked down, we get up again, yeah, you’re never gonna keep us down, so we hopped onto the DLR for an impromptu tour of Limehouse.

Craft Beer Co., Limehouse

We emerge from the DLR and aim for The Old Ship. Unfortunately it’s on the other side of a busy road. We defer the hassle of crossing said road by ducking into Craft Beer Co.. It was nice and lively inside, with (obviously) a big selection of craft beers. We selected a Belgian Pale. At the risk of sounding like a pretentious craft beer nerd, this beer hit the palate like a vinegary ballsack. We really aren’t sure whether this particular type of beer was supposed to taste like vinegar, or it was off, or we were accidentally drinking condiments again, so we quickly downed it and made for The Old Ship.

The Old Ship

Google Maps describes this as a ‘gay friendly boozer with cabaret nights’, and I’m telling you this because we once again forgot to get any pictures and I’m struggling to remember much about it, so I’m just copying and pasting words from an online map service and passing them off as my own, as shameless as Boris Johnson. Some things I do remember: it had a pool table and a stage, there was a good atmosphere and it was starting to fill up at about 7pm. Things were definitely about to get lively in there, but we had a mission to visit as many pubs as possible to fill an Oktoberfest-shaped hole, so we couldn’t stay.

The Queen’s Head

Limehouse is a strange place. You’re always in the shadow of the Big Financial Phalluses of Canary Wharf, and they make the area one of the most affluent in the UK. But the residential parts seem to be much as they were before the docks were regenerated, and the pubs too – the sorts of old fashioned boozers that tourists probably expect to see when they come to London, but don’t. The Queen’s Head was another of these pubs, and boy was visiting it an experience. We seemed to be the only people there who weren’t guests at a wedding. I’m not sure if it was closed and we’d accidentally crashed the wedding, but if we had then everyone was super friendly about it. One old lady said goodbye to us as if she’d known us for years. Coming here really lifted our spirits. You don’t get this sort of thing at Oktoberfest (probably).

The Narrow

Gordon Ramsey owns this pub, apparently. It was certainly a change of pace from the no-nonsense boozers we’d been in up to this point. There was a good selection of lagers, and it has a great riverside location. Don’t remember a huge deal else about the pub, to be honest. Did we lower the tone? I can’t rule it out. I can never rule it out.

The Grapes

Few interesting facts about this place: it’s super olde; like every other olde pub in London, Charles Dickens was a patron; it’s owned by Sir Ian Mckellan, best known for playing Professor Dumbledore in the Fast and Furious movie franchise. It’s also very small, and really plays up to its old history – no TVs or anything like that. This was where our Oktoberfest journey ended, sadly, and it was a fitting place to end the journey. Didn’t see Sir Ian, or maybe we did and can’t remember, in which case, Sir Ian: we’re very sorry for anything we said or did. All those Oktoberfest biers really went to our head. You could say we handled them worse than…well, you know the joke format by now, just pick a Tory politician from the past ten years (maybe Michael Gove? He seems like a right melt) and finish it yourself.

And that, my friends, is how you review Oktoberfest.