Tom Cribb in Panton Street

Best Bars: Tom Cribb, Central London

Second in our best bar series is a small, charming little boozer on Panton Street – a 5-10 minute walk from Charing Cross. The Tom Cribb is a Shepherd Neame pub with an illustrious history:

The pub is named after British champion bare-knuckle boxer Tom Cribb who, in the 1800s, retired from the ring and later became a publican, at the Union Arms. The pub changed its name to honour his career. Tom is buried in St Mary Magdalene Churchyard, Woolwich, where there is a memorial to him and the pub celebrates its heritage with boxing prints and photos on the walls, including Lennox Lewis and Henry Cooper. Shepherd Neame

Tough as nails

Great beer in the Tom Cribb

No nonsense, just great beer.

On my first visit to the Tom Cribb I was with a group of merry friends celebrating a birthday. The weather was pretty foul and there was

some kind of big football match playing that evening. Upon arrival at the pub there were signs in the window saying anyone in a football shirt would not be admitted – being completely uninterested in football and the chanting that comes with it, this worked for me quite well.

Having sampled a few, very reasonably priced, beers and about to make tracks to our next haunt a couple of clearly drunk and seemingly underage boys walked through the door – all joggers, football shirt and hoodies. Out of nowhere a spritely older fellow (who I imagine was the landlord) springs from behind the bar and the tells the boys to read the sign and move somewhere else, to which he received a mouthful of abuse Alec Baldwin reserves solely for the paparazzi. However, our heroic landlord did not back down and expertly diffused the situation and moved the lads on. It was quite an impressive display. The background chatter continued and we ended up staying for another drink.

The best beer from Faversham

Being a Sheps pub (and yes, I am biased) there was no way I could be disappointed with selection. As well as the stock spirits there are four or five taps full of the wondrous Faversham favourites and seasonals. The initial and subsequent visits have always poured a hearty pint and the beer has been spot on each time, my favourite experience of Late Red was in this very pub in the early Autumn of 2013. The crowd are a mix of young professional types and older beer appreciators which makes it a great place if you want to drop in and have a chat to anybody (as yet I’ve not been told to shut up) and pork scratchings are available for that salty kick – all in all, it’s a great pub, great decor (especially if you’re into boxing) and offers some great Sheps beers.

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Tom Cribb, Central London

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