HATTY WILLMOTH REVEALS THE BEST PLACES FOR A DRINK, FROM A COSY PUB WITH RIVER VIEWS TO THE LIVELIEST SPOTS FOR THE RUGBY
Twickenham has many gems. Famed as the home of English rugby, it also houses historical mansions, beautiful gardens and copious shops and eateries. Many of Twickenham’s swathes of visitors like to stop off for a tipple, but with seemingly endless options, the question is, where?
We’ve made the choice easy for you with this handy list of the ten best pubs and bars in Twickenham.
THE CABBAGE PATCH, 67 LONDON ROAD, TW1 3SZ
Firstly, the iconic Cabbage Patch is purportedly the ‘most famous pub in the world’. According to its owner of 24 years Stuart Green, up to 2500 visitors can fit in the pub and its huge garden. Coupled with the fact that it’s a stone’s throw from the railway station and mere minutes from the stadium, it’s a firm favourite of rugby fans, who descend upon the rugby-themed Cabbage Patch in droves on match days. Beyond rugby, this pick still has a lot to offer. Its saloon bar is delightfully cosy and often filled with live music, and its sports bar well-equipped with games, quiz machines and consoles. The Cabbage Patch even has a nightclub upstairs!
THE EEL PIE, 9-11 CHURCH STREET, TW1 3NJ
The Eel Pie is on this list primarily for being so distinctly Twickenham. Its name is taken from Eel Pie Island, a key component of local culture and history. The island was a haven for jazz and rock & roll musicians in the 1950s and 1960s, where the likes of the Rolling Stones kick-started their careers. Today, the Eel Pie pub pays tribute to this illustrious musical legacy in its backroom with a collection of memorabilia and a regular programme of live music. The rest of the pub is dominated by rugby and it has been described as one of the “stations of the cross” for avid rugby fans.
THE SUSSEX ARMS, 15 STAINES ROAD, TW2 5BG
That said, virtually every pub in Twickenham is one-upped by the Sussex Arms when it comes to ale selection. With 15 cask ale pumps, six cider taps, ten keg lines and over 100 bottled products, this is one to go to if you want to try something new. After all, the Sussex Arms boasts a constantly changing range of beers from some of the world’s most progressive independent breweries. Its atmosphere can comfortably be described as traditional, with a cosy fire and no-fuss British pub grub. There’s live music every Friday this December and a heated tent in the garden.
THE PRINCE ALBERT, 30 HAMPTON ROAD, TW2 5QB
Next up is The Prince Albert, a winner and three-time finalist of Fuller’s Master Cellarman competition. It’s family friendly, shows a lot of live sport, and has live music on Saturday evenings, but the primary reason this pub makes Twickenham’s top ten is its food. The Prince Albert goes beyond traditional British roasts and pies to serve authentic Thai cuisine carefully crafted by chef Charlie. Popular and delicious, this oriental twist makes The Prince Albert stand out from the crowd.
THE SHACK 68, 68 LONDON ROAD, TW1 3QS
A gear-shift now as we venture closer to bar-territory with The Shack 68, a family-run pub right next to the station. This cool corner of town claims to draw the quickest pint on London Road and is known for its match-day hospitality when it’s inundated with rugby-goers. Its main bar downstairs is a decent size, with a capacity of 250, and upstairs the Speakeasy bar boasts ping pong and beer pong facilities. Music is central, with live DJs every Friday and Saturday and musicians performing in the open marquee too. It has strong links with local businesses, like grocers Coopers and Sons on Twickenham high street, and as far as drinks are concerned, there’s an extensive range of cocktails. In their own words, “We aren’t the most famous but we are the best fun.”
BROUGE, 241 HAMPTON ROAD, TW2 5HJ
Back to beers now, and what a range Brouge has – 18 Belgian and craft beers on tap to be precise. Known for their friendly and attentive service, owners Miri Muskaj and Blade Llangozi are two lifelong friends who say they’re proud members of the local community, and they welcome children and dogs into Brouge too. With a fresh mint-and-neutrals interior, a menu oriented towards steak and seafood, and a relaxed general knowledge pub quiz every Tuesday, Brouge mixes British tradition with modern European chic. Once thought to be the hiding place of Dick Turpin, maybe it could become your next hideaway.
THE ALBANY, 1 QUEEN’S ROAD, TW1 4EZ
Immediately visible as you walk out the doors of Twickenham station, the Albany is another classic Twickenham pub within easy walking distance of the stadium. Owned by head chef James Fry and his wife Babs, they’re passionate about serving traditional food with a personal twist. The pub is large, with a bar, lounge, restaurant and terrace, and supports local art, displaying pieces by Twickenham-based Lee Campbell and running occasional craft workshops. While the Albany has its fair share of beer and ciders, that’s not its strength: choose from its selection of 25 gins or partake in its cocktail nights on Thursdays.
THE CRANE TAP, 2 BREWERY LANE, TW1 1AX
This pick is the newest and trendiest social spot in Twickenham. Opened mere months ago, the Crane Tap is a young, fresh and self-consciously Gen-Z bar and restaurant. It describes its food as “high-key delicious”, epitomising trendy comfort-food, and its hidden TV screens are apparently “a vibe”. Its glamorous interior includes glossy leather booths, a polished bar and grand light features cascading from the ceiling, but you’ll first notice its swish exterior. The Crane Tap puts on experiences like sporting legend lunches with its sister brand M, but its New Year’s celebrations are arguably the most intriguing. On New Year’s Eve, for £60 per person, you can indulge in a three-course meal, complementary cocktail and live music to party the year away, before skulking back the next morning for a £40-a-pop New Year’s Day Brunch. That’s when we’re told you can enjoy a feast with bottomless Bloody Marys, chilled out vibes, great tunes and “hugs from our team if the struggle is real”.
THE PRINCE BLUCHER, 124 THE GREEN, TW2 5AG
Our penultimate pick is arguably the most family-friendly and historically interesting. It has baby change facilities, a kids’ menu and a great children’s play area outside, so you know it’s safe to bring the little-uns to lunch. As for its historical side, The Prince Blucher was built in 1845 as an inn that dedicated itself to paying homage to the Duke of Wellington’s left flanker at Waterloo. It remains tied to this Napoleonic legacy, with spaces named ‘The Barracks’, ‘Rifle Room’, and ‘Garrison Decking Area’. The latter holds up to 80 people in a covered, heated dining terrace. There are pub quizzes every Thursday, and The Prince Blucher’s home-cooked food uses all-British meat and fish that changes with the seasons.
THE WHITE SWAN, RIVERSIDE, TW1 3DN
Finally, the White Swan rivals only the Cabbage Patch in the fight to be named the most-loved pub in Twickenham. This spot has received rave reviews from the likes of the Telegraph, the Times, and the Evening Standard, and for good reason. Dating back to the seventeenth century, the pub is small and cosy with open fires in winter and a little kitchen that delivers a short and seasonal menu to order. A ten-minute stroll from the station, the White Swan could not be closer to the river – in fact, at high tide, the garden floods and customers make-merry in the river itself. This December, an events programme promises carol-singing evenings, bingo nights, weekly pub quizzes, and live music. A pillar of the local community, the White Swan has a shining reputation that stretches far beyond Twickenham.