Fulham

   
                     The Bricklayers Arms                                                       Dukes Head                                                               Eight Bells  

Before attending Fulham, or after, you could go to many of the pubs on the main London page, or on the QPR or Chelsea pages, easy access via the underground/tube makes this possible, though it's actually above ground by the time you reach here! However, crossing the bridge to the South sided from Putney Bridge station, on the Wimbledon branch of the District Line, takes you to 2 very good pubs in Putney, on the South side of the Thames. Indeed, right opposite on the left hand side of the bridge on the South bank, is the famous St Mary's Church, site of the Putney Debates held by the Army Council of the Parliamentary victors in 1647, seeking a new constitution and how democratic the governance of the country should be.

On the West side of the Bridge is the The Dukes Head, 8 Lower Richmond Road, Putney SW15 1JN (020 8788 2552), a Young's public house and restaurant. The menu includes meals with the emphasis on fine British ingredients, often free-range, with a daily changing 'specials' board available in both the Riverside Restaurant and the Bar. The inside offers high ceilings, an original fireplace, polished wooden arches and ornate glasswork, good food, wine and beer, whilst overlooking the Thames. Though, whilst serving meals, people only drinking may be asked to move away from the dining area by the windows.

On the other side of the Lower Richmond Road, in a side street is the Bricklayers Arms, 32 Waterman Street, Putney, SW15 1DD (020 8789 0222), a regular winner of CAMRA's London Pub of the Year. There is a different emphasis at the Bricklayers towards drinking‘real’ cask-conditioned ales, with 12 real ales from handpump, plus real cider, on offer.  However, this is not just a place for real ale swilling ‘beardies’, and I would hate to use caricatures, but the Bricklayers’ regulars, and irregulars, include a good mix of social groupings, young and not so young, men and women, football and rugby fans, High Court judges and MPs, and some 'ordinary’ folk too!  The Bricklayers is an early Victorian building surrounded by a housing estate. Inside there is a variety of furnishings, chairs and wooden tables, and there is a beer garden with flag stones.  On my most recent visit I drank the pale, dry and hoppy Downton Quadhop (3.9%), very pleasant.

Although we have placed these 2 pubs on the Fulham page, due to Putney's closeness to Craven Cottage, I have drunk in both of them before going to a Chelsea match before as well, as Putney Bridge station is only 2 stops along the line from Fulham Broadway, the stop for Stamford Bridge.  However, almost immediately after getting off the train at Putney Bridge you come upon The Eight Bells, 89 Fulham High Street, SW6 3JS (0207 736 6307), which appears to be an 'official' away pub, where you may be directed by the Police.  No bad thing, though, as the Eight Bells is not the worst place that I can think of where any local constabulary may direct you to, and locals still drink there, so you wont be swamped with away fans only.  The Eight Bells, 89 Fulham High Street, SW6 3JS (0207 736 6307) dates back to 1629, so some Army Council members may well have adjourned here to quench their thirst after expressing their views at St Mary’s.  The Eight Bells used to be called just 'The Bell', apparently growing seven bells over the last few hundred years. 

The High Street used to lead to the old Fulham Bridge that was replaced by Putney Bridge in 1886, helping to explain the apparently strange position of the pub and High Street.  You can sit outside at the front as tables and chairs are provided, but it isn't the most restful of places to sit outside, as buses regularly drive by on their way to and from Putney Bridge station, but it is warm and friendly inside with dozens of photographs on the walls to appreciate.  Two or three ales are on sale at the Eight Bells, usually including Fullers London Pride or Sharp’s Doom Bar.The food is good too, although when it gets busy on Fulham match days the cooked meals tend to diminish and they concentrate on sandwiches and paninis to feed the starving hordes!  Oh yes, I forgot to mention, the Eight Bells appears to be an 'official' away pub for nearby Fulham FC, andaway fans are directed here by the Police, so it may be best to avoid on match days, unless that is the purpose of your visit to Putney Bridge.   

 

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