Closed for refurbishment when I last walked by but it just seems the same, refreshed, but still the same.
The ‘swanky’ Trafalgar has, for at least the last ten years, been a victim of its own history and burdened down by its importance but perhaps I am missing the point of the Trafalgar – it always has been a dining Inn.
It has been a ‘cool place to eat’ for nearly 200 years so why should it change now.
All the tables are laid out for meals, knives and forks and serviettes, windows open for a breeze from the river, couples eating lunchtime food and mere drinkers abandoned to the serried ranks of the outside tables, all numbered and regimented – but what if it rains!
It stands on the site of the Old George Inn, one of the original and best loved of Greenwich’s taverns and when The George was rebuilt and extended in the 1830s, the inn was renamed to commemorate Nelson and his famous victory.
The Trafalgar was a favourite haunt of Dickens, with ‘Our Mutual Friend’ set around the town. Political and private groups gathered to partake and even Ministers sailed down the river from Westminster to dine at the Inn, long famed for its whitebait suppers, drink and hospitality.
At the end of the 19th century, the inn deteriorated into no more than a beer house and it closed its doors in 1915 and remained closed until 1965 when, against a background of much destruction, it was decided that The Trafalgar should be restored to recapture its former charm and comfort.
So much for the history, the reality today is a little different. I’m not sure that Dickens or the Cabinet would travel down the Thames for a portion of seven whitebait stood vertically in a small wire mesh basket although now, they are served on a board but it was still not the ‘supper that they would have expected.
On that Saturday a few years ago, everybody and the world, including our group of 1066 walkers, struggled for service and for somewhere to sit. It was expensive and not very enjoyable and I have not returned since until today.
It is still a smart place to eat, the river views are great, boats and clippers provide entertainment, the merchants towers of Canary Wharf are opposite and the ‘Dome’ seems close enough to touch.
Cask beers were: Adnams Mosaic Pale Ale, Freewheel and Ghost Ship, Nelson Brewery Trafalgar and Admiral IPA and Sharps Doom Bar but I felt that having to drink outside in the heat was not for me – I went next door to The Yacht.
Pop in for a taste of history but beware that there are other pubs that can offer a little more solitude for that end of walk pint.
Beer Notes will be published in 2019 as a ‘must have’ accompaniment for the discerning walker on ‘Walking 1066 Harold’s Way’ – The Trafalgar. Whitebait suppers, politics and intrigue will be No 17.
The Trafalgar is on the route of 1066 Harold’s Way.
Food: Yes Accommodation: No
Park Row, Greenwich. SE10 9NW. Tel: 0203 887 9886 http://www.trafalgartavern.co.uk