Down the rabbit hole at Commercial Tavern
April 10, 2010
LONDON, UK – Going out solo for a pint in London can feel a tad lonely if you’re stuck in a brooding dark wood tavern. Seeking something a little more cheerful, I took myself without a plus one to the delightful Commercial Tavern one fine afternoon.
This stylish spot departs from the usual tavern stylings and mood with retro, eccentric décor. I’d call it “faux classical”–almost a shabby chic version of Starck without the edginess. Colorful Art Deco tiles line the bar area. Whimsical touches include settees, framed bicycles, cuckoo clocks on the ceiling, and a wall of tea cups and saucers. A little “Mad Hatter,” if you will.
Like Alice on her journey through Wonderland, I discovered an amiable cast of motley characters. The next table over had two bikers, the bar had a local off-work from Smithfield market, and other tables had hipsters with one taking care of a Weimaraner. Young and old, hip and not-so-hip were all represented. The vibe is so chill that anyone–even your mom or grandmother–would fit right in. Picnic tables outside were packed with groups of happy hipsters enjoying a pint in the sunshine (obviously the snowy pic to the left was taken on a different visit!!).
Despite the unconventional digs, Commercial Tavern still maintains a semblance of a historic tavern feel, especially with the four hand pumps at the bar. They’ve got ales, lagers, and even organic cider on tap, along with some pub food to go with your libation.
An urban legend lends the tavern further historical mystique: supposedly there are underground tunnels running from the building to a nearby police station for unknown reasons, and beneath those tunnels are vaults that purportedly housed John Merrick (aka Elephant Man). These are not the sort of things a gal out for a night on her own wants to think about too, too long, but it all adds to Commercial Tavern’s appealing eccentricity.
The best time to come here is during nice weather, in my opinion. Why confine yourself in brooding dark wood when you can picnic in sunny Wonderland?
142 Commercial St.
Shoreditch, London, UK
RL contributed to this post.
Learn more about Commercial Tavern on The Purple Passport