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The New Wheatsheaf, Southwark

Published: Sep 8th, 2009 | Author: The Beeralist

The old Wheatsheaf in Stoney Street, London SE1 - photo by Ewan-M at Flickr

Photo by Ewan-M
at Flickr

The old Wheatsheaf in Stoney Street by Borough Market closed in January 2009. It was unfortunately situated right in the path of the controversial Thameslink extension works which will put in an extra couple of railway tracks between London Bridge and Blackfriars.

I discovered fairly recently that the Wheatsheaf had relocated round the corner into Southwark Street underneath the Hop Exchange, into what once was a Davey’s bar called the Hop Cellar. The other night I had my first opportunity to visit.

Whereas the old Wheatsheaf was a small two-room bar with an intimate atmosphere, the new Wheatsheaf is situated in a cavernous basement. The first thing you notice is the noise – it is really loud! Not from music or TV (although both are present) but from the conversation. There are no sound deadening surfaces so every noise is echoing around – seemingly amplified by the arched ceilings.

The New Wheatsheaf, Southwark

The New Wheatsheaf, Southwark

The move to larger premises has enabled the Red Car Pub Co to increase the selection of real ales on offer. There appear to be 8 or 9 handpumps on the bar compared to 3 or 4 in the old pub – which was effectively a Young’s pub with an odd guest.

I tried the Iceni Honey Mild and it was tasty and obviously kept well.

I didn’t eat, but food is available at reasonable prices – both main meals and sandwiches. Someone’s meaty pie dish certainly smelled delicious as it was carried past.

Unfortunately on the whole I’m not minded to stay here for a long time. I can tolerate the standing room only nature of the nearby Rake and Market Porter because they’re much more homely, but I’m finding this place is hurting my ears – something I definitely don’t look for in a pub.

So I’m heading off to the Royal Oak in Borough for my meal.

Read a more recent review of the new Wheatsheaf here.

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