The Anchor Bankside is a pub in the London Borough of Southwark. It is in the Bankside locality on the south bank of the Thames close to Southwark Cathedral and London Bridge station. A tavern establishment (under various names) has been at the pub's location for over 800 years. Behind the pub are buildings that were operated by the Anchor Brewery.
The Anchor started life as the 'brewery tap room' for the Anchor Brewery, first established in 1616. Michelin's travel guide incorrectly states that Anchor Bankside was rebuilt in 1676 after the Great Fire of London in 1666 destroyed it. This was impossible as the fire never reached the southern side of the Thames outside of the limits of the City of London. The book The Rough Guide to London states that the establishment was first built in 1770. The establishment was also rebuilt again in the 19th century.
The establishment has been described as "Bankside's oldest surviving tavern" in the book Secret Bankside: Walks in the Outlaw Borough.
This pub is the sole survivor of the riverside inns that existed here in Shakespeare's time when this district was at the heart of theatreland and the Thames was London's principal highway. It was frequented by many actors from the neighbouring playhouses, including the Globe, the Swan and the Rose. It is where diarist Samuel Pepys saw the Great Fire of London in 1666. He wrote that he took refuge in "a little alehouse on bankside ... and there watched the fire grow". Another fire devastated the pub whose interior was mainly constructed of oak. It was rebuilt in 1676 and has since had additions over the centuries. The Anchor tavern became a favourite place for river pirates and smugglers: during the course of repairs carried out in the early 19th century the removal of a massive oak beam revealed ingeniously contrived hiding places which were probably used for the storage of stolen goods and contraband.
In contemporary times
In June 2008, Anchor Bankside underwent one of the most costly refurbishments in pub history – reported to be £2.6 million – funded by its then owners Punch Taverns. The pub is now owned by Greene King and is branded as London Locals Urban Business.
Notable patrons of the Anchor Bankside have included:
- Steves, Rick; Openshaw, Gene. Rick Steves' London 2013. pp. 303–304. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
- "Function Rooms at The Anchor Bankside | Historic Thames Tavern". www.thefunctionroomuk.com. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
- Gerrard, Mike (22 September 2008). "London's Riverside Pubs". Michelin Travel. Archived from the original on 12 November 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
- The Rough Guide to London. p. 484.
- Lonely Planet London. Lonely Planet. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
- Constable, John (2007). Secret Bankside: Walks in the Outlaw Borough. Oberon Books. pp. 17–18. ISBN 1849438692
- Taylor Walker company website
- Roberts, Sir Howard and Godfrey, Walter H. (editors), (1950). Survey of London: volume 22: Bankside (the parishes of St. Saviour and Christchurch Southwark). Chapter 9: The Anchor Brewery. Pages 78–80.
- Bleakley, Paul (28 January 2013). "A pint with a past: Top five historical London pubs". Australian Times. Archived from the original on 12 November 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
- Burke, Thomas (1932). An Old London Alehouse: the Anchor, at Bankside. London.
- Media related to The Anchor, Bankside at Wikimedia Commons