The Anchor Bankside

34 Park St, Southwark, London, SE1 9EF
Call: 020 7407 1577

Landmark Pub Overlooking the Thames

The Anchor Bankside is one of the most historic pubs on the Thames and a major London attraction with enviable riverside views. Located at the heart of Southwark’s Bankside tourist trail, neighbouring the Shakespeare’s Globe theatre and the Tate Modern, this iconic Grade II listed public house has witnessed some of the most momentous events in London’s rich history.

In 1666, this was the “little alehouse on bankside” where Samuel Pepys witnessed the Great Fire of London, as the raging firestorm that had begun in Pudding Lane threatened to cross the Thames into Southwark via London Bridge. Fortunately for the Anchor Brewery, this never happened although all the houses on the bridge were consumed by the fire.

The Anchor Bankside, and every other vantage point on the South Bank, was filled with immense crowds in January 1806 to pay their last respects to England’s great naval hero Lord Nelson. “Every hat was off, and every countenance expressed the deep regret felt at the loss of so great a Hero”, when a vast flotilla of craft filled the Thames around the procession of barges with black-painted oars.

Crowds lined the Thames again in August 1831 to celebrate the opening of the new London Bridge by King William IV, having travelled down-river by Royal Barge. A dense mass of vessels covered the river, and the whole spectacle was enjoyed by the Earl of Darnley and his family from the flat roof of The Anchor Bankside, a vantage point for which he paid thirty guineas.

The Anchor started life as the ‘brewery tap room’ for the Anchor Brewery, established in 1616 on the banks of the Thames at Southwark, an area known for playhouses and bear gardens, where bear baiting would draw large crowds. Shakespeare’s original Globe Theatre had burned down just three years earlier, but by the time that James Monger established his brewery here, the theatre had been rebuilt. The brewery passed down through family connections during the 17th and 18th centuries, but it was during the ownership of the Thrale family that Anchor Brewery first expanded significantly. When Henry Thrale, MP for Southwark, inherited the business from his father Ralph he offered a partnership to the astute brewery manager John Perkins, and the brewery thrived. Perkins was instrumental in averting damage to the brewery during the Gordon Riots in 1780, when he placated an angry mob intent on destruction with food and porter, and provided horses for men dragging heavy chains who had broken out of Newgate prison.

Henry Thrale’s close friend Dr Samuel Johnson lived with the family in their Southwark home for some years, and was an executor of his estate. In offering the brewery for sale, he famously stated “we are not here to sell a parcel of boilers and vats, but the potentiality of growing rich beyond the dreams of avarice”.

Dr Johnson’s prediction was entirely accurate. By the early 19th century, it was the largest brewery in the world, eclipsing all its London rivals. After a disastrous fire in 1832, recorded by English maritime artist Clarkson Stanfield in “The Burning of the Anchor Brewery”, it was rebuilt on an even larger scale and considered to be one of the sights of London throughout the 19th century.

The brewery finally closed in 1981 on Bankside, and a blue plaque in Park Street commemorates the site of this historic business. Today The Anchor Bankside, steeped in history, is one of the top tourist attractions of the capital, and is a popular location for TV and films including Mission Impossible and Get Him to the Greek. Having retained many of its mid-18th century features, the Anchor pub has an authentic tavern ambience and unrivalled Thames-side views. With its striking sash windows, regal timber interior and classic, untarnished style, this handsome pub also boasts a beautiful beer garden overlooking the grand dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Offering traditional pub food and a fine selection of wines and cask ales, The Anchor Bankside is a must-visit attraction in one of London’s most historic riverside districts.

A choice of historic function rooms for your celebration

The Anchor Bankside has three spacious function rooms, each with their own distinctive style, so you’re sure to find the ideal room for your special occasion. The Ale Bar function room is a friendly, informal room which gives you an unfussy and stylish space to relax with friends or hold a tour group talk. The Shakespeare Room is perfect for private dining and other formal events – a stylish function room with original 18th century panelling, dominated by a long table. The Terrace Bar room is attractive, traditional and perfect for a relaxed celebration, as well as offering superb riverside views ideal for tour groups. We offer excellent catering for all events which can be adapted to suit the needs of your guests, and our friendly and experienced team are on hand to make sure every aspect of your function goes smoothly.

A riverside pub in the heart of historic Southwark

Southwark is one of the city’s oldest and most fascinating districts. Known as “the pool of London”, due to its heritage as a hub of wharves and docks, this revitalised part of the capital is home to many of London’s top attractions, including the new Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, a reconstruction opened in 1997, the Tate Modern, and the Design Museum, showcasing design innovation. A short walk from The Anchor Bankside you’ll find The Clink Prison Museum, built on the site of the original Clink Prison, one of the oldest prisons in England. The Thames Path and the Queen’s Walk, from Lambeth Bridge to Tower Bridge, pass right by The Anchor Bankside, an ideal refreshment point, and bustling Borough Market is just a 5 minute walk. The Anchor Bankside is less than half-a-mile from London Bridge station, making it an easy-to-reach landmark pub venue for any special occasion.

View our Google Maps 360° tour here



Function Room Information - The Snug
Capacity 40 Private Bar Yes
Hire Costs Available on Request Area Type private
Facilities Private Bar,
Suitable Events Christmas & New Year, Private Bars,
Function Room Information - The Shakespeare Room
Capacity 25 Private Bar No
Hire Costs Available on Request Area Type private
Facilities Flip Chart and Pens, TV,
Suitable Events Christmas & New Year, Conferences and Meetings, Funerals, Live Sports, Parties, Tour Groups, Weddings,
Function Room Information - The Riverside Room
Capacity 55 Private Bar No
Hire Costs Available on Request Area Type private
Facilities Flip Chart and Pens,
Suitable Events Christmas & New Year, Conferences and Meetings, Funerals, Live Sports, Parties, Private Bars, Tour Groups, Weddings,

The nearest Tube Station to The Anchor Bankside is London Bridge