City Barge

Bars and pubs, Gastropubs Gunnersbury
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 out of 5 stars
(11user reviews)
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A lovingly refurbished riverside boozer with real ales, superior gastropub food and gorgeous views.

Riverside pubs are among London’s finest features, from the windswept old pirates’ haunts of the East End to the handsome havens that dot the more placid Thames upstream of Chelsea. So it’s always pleasing when someone puts a bit of effort into doing one up properly – and here’s a refurbished boozer (in 2014) that takes its place among the city’s best.

To call it a ‘new’ pub would be misleading, by quite a few centuries. There’s history dating back to the 1300s, although the current building is mainly postwar (The Beatles ordered lager and limes here in ‘Help’).

But a lot of cash has clearly been splashed on the beautifully panelled dining room, complete with heritage paintjob, well-stuffed leather banquettes and well-stuffed birds. It’s curious how the shooting-lodge look feels less ironic the further west up the Thames you go, as if it’s flowed down from the Cotswolds.

Out the front on the almost bucolic Strand-on-the Green is a turfed area with deckchairs and a few tables, but the City Barge’s best feature is its backside. A row of tables overlooks the iron Kew Rail Bridge and Oliver’s Island, the ducks and rowers, and the trees of Kew.

Spring tides mean the Thames floods the path, so keep an eye on the lunar cycle if you don’t want to get Stranded-on-the-Green.

The fish and chips or burgers will please the casual Thames stroller stopping off for a bite of superior gastropub food, but the likes of ‘mille-feuille of white and green asparagus with morel beurre blanc’ and the 50-strong wine list leave no doubt that this is also now a serious dining operation.

The Barge has room on board for both Chiswick gastro-lunchers and those who simply want to sit with a real ale (such as Dark Star’s Hophead) and watch the water go by. Come and get your feet wet.

By: Euan Ferguson


Venue name: City Barge
Address: 27 Strand-on-the-Green
W4 3PH
Cross street: Kew
Opening hours: Open noon-11pm Mon-Thurs; noon-midnight Fri; 10am-midnight Sat; 10am-10.30pm Sun. Food served 11am-10pm daily
Transport: Gunnersbury tube/rail or Kew Bridge rail
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Average User Rating

4.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:9
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
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Katrina T

In an area blessed with a large number of beautiful riverside pubs, this is the one the locals go to.

Maria A

Absolutely great pub to go to! Lovely staff, always attentive service and exceptional food!

Aneta S

My favourite pub with a great spot next to the river. During summer you can feel like you are out of London. What is great about this place is that i's hidden and mostly locals come here. And the cheery on the top is Côte Breton Brut, the best dry cider ever.

ScandieBirdie K

The most fabulous and friendly place to unwind and relax. Friendly staff, cosy atmosphere, can't-be-beaten location.

Andrew B

Was very nervous about impact of its major refurb, but management does great job of balancing gastropub and local feel. Worth the trip down to the river but, as a local, don't take my seat by the river ;-)

Staff Writer

Drinking by the river is always so hit and miss. Get the weather right and you are in for a great time. Get the weather wrong and you have schlepped for no reason.

When you get the weather right on a school night, City Barge is big, local fun, especially when you get there early enough to nab an outdoor table and a bottle of wine. Sure, by the end of the night you'll end up sharing your table, but what kind of jerk wouldn't want to share a summer sunset view of the Thames with a neighbour? Certainly not City Barge patrons.

Slightly different vibe on the weekend if you are after a daytime drinking sesh. It sort of blends into the wider 'summer barbecue' vibe of nearby riverside pubs like the Swan.