The following is a guest post.
Not too far from Greenwich, and just across the water from Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs, stands the O2, a destination magnet for entertainment seekers from all over the world. The complex houses the world’s busiest music arena, the O2 Arena, as well as the IndigO2, bars and restaurants.
The O2, formerly known as the Millennium Dome, stands on the outcrop of the Greenwich Peninsula. Until the end of the 20th century, this area was dominated by gasworks, a power station and other industrial sites. In local parlance, it would have been known as a “shedhole”. Redevelopment began with the opening of North Greenwich tube station on the Jubilee Line in 1999, held in stasis until the opening of the O2 as an entertainment mecca in 2007, and continues to this day with the new homes, offices, schools, a college and parks.
As the area undergoes significant regeneration investment, there’s still a bit of old England left within 5-10 minutes walking distance, depending upon your pace – The Pilot Inn. This Fuller’s Pub and attached B&B are a bit of a “secret” that are always in high demand. A recent multi-million pound sterling investment on the interior of the pub, the rooms, and the magnificent garden setting makes this an excellent location for staying a bit off the beaten path. However, with the world’s most popular music venue at its doorstep it can be booked months in advance.
The Pilot, and its attached row of eight grade II cottages originally constructed for workers at the nearby tidal mill and chemical works, is probably the oldest surviving building on the Greenwich Peninsula. But, to be on the inside you’d never know it. It’s a modern facility throughout, yet retains the feel of an old-time pub as well.
There’s a rather cool ship’s portal with a video of rocky seas that never fails to fascinate both children, and adults who are 3+ pints into the evening. In addition to the family of London-based Fuller’s beers on offer (e.g., London Pride, Discovery, Seafarers) there’s also the even nearer Greenwich-based Meantime brews available (e.g., Pale Ale, IPA, Yakima Red). All other common tipples are also easily available, along with some nice wines that satisfy my wife’s yearning for Pinot Grigio (a large one, please!).
If you’re into pub culture at all, The Pilot Inn is a nice place for a bit of plonk and a chance to enjoy the craic of those at the bar. If you’re looking to eat, you can be left alone at the tables to enjoy your visit. The newly refurbished garden has yet to see any Summer action, but it looks like a cracking place for the turn of the weather this Spring.
The spacious seating out front also beckons the warm weather to return. The art of outdoor drinking at the pub is an art form to practice when it’s warm out in London. Few places in the US allow such endeavours and most American tourists take a few moments to realize that it’s okay to: A) drink outside and B) do it during the day. The Pilot Inn is a good place to ease into this part of British culture.
As both The O2 and The Pilot are 10-15 minutes away by local bus, we’re very spoiled to have these two places on offer on our doorstep. If you’re considering a visit to London, make sure that you check out what’s on offer at The O2 and stop by The Pilot for food, a drink, and to soak up the atmosphere too.
Philip is an American, and European. He has adopted London, but must share it with 8 million residents and 16 million visitors each year. Philip lives in the Royal Borough of Greenwich ( Zone 3) with his wife and child, the only one in the family actually born in London. Having grown up on the beaches of Southern California, London is penance for having perfect weather most of his life. No one ever moves to London for the weather.