Barrow Boy and Banker

South Bank
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(1 user review)
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Venue name: Barrow Boy and Banker
Address: 6-8 Borough High St
London
SE1 9QQ
Transport: Tube: London Bridge
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Average User Rating

4 / 5

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Alexandra L
Tastemaker

As prime locations in our fair capital go, the Barrowboy and Banker can afford to feel suitably smug. Sat smack bang at the top of Tooley Street and mere minutes from both London Bridge tube and the heaving behemoth that is Borough Market, this former bank turned pub is situated on top notch London real estate and no mistaking. Enormous windows & lofty ceilings make for a welcome feeling of spaciousness given the throngs of people outside, whilst giant chandeliers and a wooden bar with more curves than Jessica Rabbit pair nicely with those more traditional pub staples of patterned carpet and dark wood furniture.

Visiting on the Bank Holiday Monday after Christmas, staff could be heard marvelling at how busy it was and by 1pm, practically every table was packed with people eager for pints, pies and, perhaps most importantly, someone else to do the washing up. A small but varied menu offered a decent selection of pies – the pub itself is a designated Fuller’s Ale & Pie House – with both carnivores & herbivores catered for and an ‘Ale & Pie tasting board’ offered something I’ve not seen anywhere else with 3 perfectly golden pies nestled alongside 3 specially paired ales. British pub stalwarts like bangers & mash and fish & chips were also on offer as was lighter fare such as salad, hot sandwiches & soup; for anyone craving some long-forgotten-in-the-haze-of-Quality-Street greens, the Chicken, Cranberry & Spinach Salad was delicious with generous hunks of roasted bird nestled alongside butternut squash & almonds under a zesty orange & poppy seed dressing. Prices are decent considering the area, with most mains coming in between £10-£12 and service was commendably swift given how busy it was.

To my mind, one of the things that marks out a decent spot is how well they cope when things go wrong – a forgotten main course meant one of our party of 7 had to wait extra for their food but the sincerity of apology and speed with which they got it to her was creditable. Be warned that portions are big so come wearing your finest elasticated waistband and don’t forget to leave room for pudding – my tip would be the Vintage Ale & Molasses Sticky Toffee Pudding with Salted Caramel Ice-Cream which was every bit as sweet, soothing & sigh-of-pleasure inducing as it should be. A good choice of local and global ales & lagers are available and those who like a quirky fact will be tickled to learn that secreted away under the bar are several of the original bank vaults, used now for storing the beer.

If you’re after a pub that ticks all the boxes of Instagrammable modernity, you’ll need to head somewhere else because refreshingly, there’s not a bare brick, a filament bulb or a copper pipe in sight. If you fancy a frill-free but decent meal in a traditional pub in one of the most historic parts of the city, be you Barrowboy or Banker, this place will suit your nicely.