Fancy a view of the water and a brew in your hand? The Resident checks out London’s best boat bars for a drink on the water this summer…
Words: Ivy Bridges & Trinity King
1 GoBoat London, Merchant Square
It’s not strictly a boat bar, but the brand new GoBoat London gets out Number One spot thanks to its uniqueness. Central London’s only self-drive boating experience allows you to captain their own boat, pick your own ‘crew’ and chart your own course across the London canals to explore Paddington, Camden, Little Venice, Regent’s Park and the 250m long Maida Hill tunnel. GoBoats are available for anyone to hire and seat up to eight people around a picnic table, so don’t forget the G&T in a tin! (Disclaimer: the captain must always remain sober.) The boats have a maximum speed of 4mph and will run on both the Grand Union and Regent’s Canals. The boats’ electric engines produce no noise or environmental pollution. Open 7 days a week, 10am until dusk. Introductory offer prices start at £49 for one hour, £75 for two and £110 for three hours.
2 Bar & Co
Dubbed as the ‘party boat rocking the Thames’, Bar & Co offers a fully licensed bar, restaurant, and nightclub experience. There are two decks, offering a DJ and dancing area. Five screens are on board, showing sports matches, or you can admire Big Ben and the gorgeous view from the Thames.
Temple Pier WC2R 2PN, Victoria Embankment; barandcompany.com
3 Tattershall Castle
The Tattershall Castle ferry offers fantastic views of the Thames which can be enjoyed with a selection of specialty gins or rums, and a wide-range of cocktails. Tattershall Castle offers new events like Jazz on the River and The Boat Show Comedy Club, which runs every Friday and Saturday. The Guinea Pig Club launches this week, offering comedy shows on Tuesday evenings. Plus, every first Wednesday of the month Tattershall Castle offers jazz on the river. The Tattershall Castle has a wide menu, with brunch being served on the weekends.
Victoria Embankment, Whitehall SW1A 2HR; thetattershallcastle.co.uk
4 Tamesis Dock
Set sail in a converted 1930s Dutch barge turned floating pub, with food, drinks and weekend brunches. Listen to live music late into the evening. With the laid-back vibes, beautiful views of the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye, the Tamesis Dock is sure not to disappoint.
Albert Embankment SE1 7TP; tdock.co.uk
5 Wood’s Navy Rum Barge Pop-Up and Shack
Make sure to swing by King’s Cross sometime this summer to check out the pop-up event taking place on a canal barge, brought to you by both Ladies & Gentlemen Bar and Wood’s Navy Rum. Climb aboard the barge or stop by the two pop-up sheds to get a feel of the pirates life and try a Wood’s Navy Rum twisted cocktail. You can also enjoy an hour long canal cruise aboard Wood’s barge for only £18 a ticket (includes a Wood’s cocktail).
Goods Way, Kings Cross N1C 4BH; woodsnavyrumbarge.co.uk
6 Alfred Le Roy
Find the renovated Alfred Le Roy canal in Hackney Wick. Ran by CRATE brewery, the floating bar offers a multitude of drinks like specialty Jarr kombucha, cocktails, wines and CRATE Brewery beers and ciders on tap. The canal offers a simple, but delicious menu of premium meats and cheeses, olives, roasted veggie dips and E5 Bakehouse bread. Enjoy the on-board bar, take a cocktail cruise down the River Lea starting at £25 or hop on board for the ‘Overpoured’ Sunday Cruise (£12.50 plus the regular cocktail cruise price).
Queens Yard, White Post Lane, Hackney E9 5EN; alfredleroy.com
7 Battersea Barge
Moored in the Nine Elms area of Battersea, with views of the iconic Battersea Power Station, this much-loved bar barge not only offers drinks and a good time, it also hosts a range of activities on-board, including comedy shows, cabaret and even flamenco dance nights. Open daily, the Battersea Barge serves food as well as drinks, and is surprisingly spacious. The upper deck remains open to the public when there is an event on the lower deck. Open Sunday to Thursday 2.30pm–11.30pm, and Friday & Saturday 2.30pm–12.30am (except when the boat is privately hired).
Nine Elms Lane, Battersea SW8 5BP; batterseabarge.com
8 R.S. Hispaniola
Enjoy stunning views of the London skyline from aboard the R.S. Hispaniola while eating dishes like roasted sea trout and pan roasted free range chicken breast. The R.S. Hispaniola – which last year was transformed into the wonderfully pink Good Ship Benefit – also offers an afternoon tea with the choice of adding on free flowing prosecco. Make sure to check out their Evening with Elvis happening on 21 June 2017 and again 19 July or their Murder Mystery Dinner on 29 June and 27 July.
Victoria Embankment WC2N 5DJ; 020 7839 3011; hispaniola.co.uk
9 Tom’s Kitchen at HMS Belfast
It’s not strictly on the water, but Tom’s Kitchen sits on the waterfront right by the historic HMS Belfast World War 2 Royal Navy warship. Sip a drink on the rooftop bar with fantastic views of the imposing warship, as well as Tower Bridge and the Shard. The deli and bar offers a range of signature sandwiches, salads and cakes. The bar menu serves an assortment of wine and craft beers and boasts nautical-themed cocktails like the ‘Kraken’ (Four Roses Bourbon, maple syrup and Curious Brew stout) and ‘The Lifeboat Sidecar’ (blackberry and vanilla infused Martel cognac and Cointreau).
The Queen’s Walk, Southwark SE1 2JH; tomskitchen.co.uk