Places you didn’t know you could have a pint of Meantime #2 – The Oiler, Victoria Docks.
I’m sure many of you have been on the tallest if most questionably necessary part of South London’s infrastructure since its opening in June 2012. It is certainly not up for debate that the Greenwich side of this imposing cross river gondola service has loads of exciting things to do nearby, going on London’s most popular brewery tour being just one of them. But for a time the Victoria Docks side seemed noticeably lacking in… well… anything really.
Fortunately the team behind the water sports centre WakeUp Docklands recently came into possession of an Old Royal Navy re-fuelling barge and decided to give it a new lease of life, sailing it all the way up from the south coast and kitting it out to become the finest floating pub this side of the Wibbly Wobbly (a pub on a boat in Surrey Docks that has to be seen to be believed, it actually wobbles when you get on!). Whilst it might not wibble as much as its Surrey Quays counterpart it smashes them out of the park when it comes to drinks offering. The Oiler, as WakeUp have dubbed their new boozer, has Meantime London Lager, London Pale Ale, Yakima Red and whatever the seasonal of the day is on tap. You couldn’t ask for much more really unless you were a die-hard draught stout fan.
The draw of The Oiler, other than the fact there really isn’t much else on offer pub wise next to Victoria Docks, is the amazing view over the water to take in whilst you sup your pint of the finest craft beer in the world. You get all the serene mill pond water-makes-you-chill-out vibes from the calm waters of the docks to the left, but if you decide that is boring you can turn your head approximately 45 degrees to the right to see wake boarders shredding up a variety of waterborne obstacles, getting some sweet air and generally being super-gnar (technical term.) On top of this you are in the flight path of city airport so there’s a constant stream of businessmen in learjets on their way to Geneva and Jersey and other tax havens to keep you entertained. Basically it’s all kicking off on the top deck.
Unfortunately it is December though so whilst there may be a number of visual delights to witness from the sun deck, sunshine itself is not one of them. As such the ‘snug’ bar downstairs is the place to go. Snug being the operative word here, whilst there may not be enough room to swing a ship’s cat, this just adds to the cosiness provided by the rich wood and good tunes. There is even a be-pillowed snug section in the snug bar (inception?) to curl up on after one too many Fest Biers.
Whatever your seating preference, if you ever find yourself on the wrong side of the river after a futuristic gondola ride, you now to where to go for a fine libation in exciting surroundings. No excuses for grabbing a can from the off licence and making a nuisance of yourself.