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The Black Lion

2 South Black Lion Lane,
London, W6 9TJ, UK
(Map)

020 8748 2639

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"Marx may well have drank here in the 1850s...Is it any coincidence that the communist named Chinese Mutual Aid Workers Club now resides opposite [this pub]"

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Review

Compared to some pubs along the riverbank The Black Lion is positively landlocked, despite only being a few steps from the Thames. Its 'inland' position at the end of the natural pub-crawl that starts at The Blue Anchor ensures the lager-louts have flaked-out a few pubs earlier. Sadly this also means a lack of quality women; The Black Lion's clientele seem older and more mature than nearby pubs, but at least the Public-School element is lacking.

It would be cruel to suggest the lack of totty is a throwback to the pub's history. Built about 200 years ago on the site of a piggery by the pig-farmer who thought brewing might be preferable to spending all day in mud and pigshit. Like today's farmers who lack wives, if he changed vocation in the hope of attracting a partner because women were put-off by his eau de toilette porcine aroma, he might have found it easier to take a walk to The Rutland, where there's hundreds of women soaking up the rays.

When first entering The Black Lion a notice instructs to "please remember your table number". Why the table number needs to be remembered is a mystery, although I've forgotten it already. A further notice at the bar says "All hot drinks - £1.00" - my request for a pint of hot beer was met with a blank stare (apparently it only refers to tea and coffee).

A spacious, L-shaped pub with a lengthy, narrow room at the rear being The Black Lion's most unusual feature. Formerly a skittle alley, it now sits at the back of the pub like an appendage.

Two furnaces sit in the space that used to be a fireplace in the centre of the pub, and shelves on the wall contain the usual assortment of old Chinese plates, bottles and other junk. Church-pews and an excess of mirrors surround tables throughout the pub, and a wooden floor, carpeted floor and tiled floor are all evident within a few steps of each other. A handful of Lilliputian flyer-saucers appear to have landed on the ceiling and are disguised as smoke-alarms; the visitors from other worlds are here to marvel at the abundance of condiments on top of the cigarette machine.

Entertainment is provided by a fruit machine, a Golden Tee machine, a small, muted TV and a pub quiz every Wednesday. As the pub is infrequently heaving, the management evidently choose to ignore the obvious: turning the appendage back into it's former glory as a skittle alley will turn The Black Lion into one of Hammersmith's main attraction. No amount of pub quizzes can compare to the financial benefits of such a venture. Skittles is such an old-fashioned pastime, perhaps a 10-pin Bowling Alley would be up-to-date; or a shooting gallery; or a Go-Kart track; or a swimming pool.

The French-windows at the rear of the pub lead onto what's perhaps the largest beer garden in Hammersmith. What seems like hundreds of benches occupy the vast acreage with a large parasol, like King Kong's umbrella, offering protection from the sun's gaze. There's an old tree, a chestnut mooted to be older than the pub, and the windows of the appendage protrude to resemble either a mausoleum or a rabbit hutch. One expects to see Lenin laying in the window or the Watership Down Protagonists munching on a carrot.

Price: 3Price: 3Price: 3
Totty: 1
Entertainment: 2Entertainment: 2
Outside: 4Outside: 4Outside: 4Outside: 4

Review by mr_psm

Nearby:

Pubs:

The Old Ship25 Upper Mall143 m
The Hart383 King Street342 m
The Ravenscourt ArmsVencourt Place412 m
The Dove19 Upper Mall524 m
The Hampshire227 King Street563 m
The Prince of Wales73 Dalling Road688 m
The Salutation154 King Street696 m
The Hope and Anchor20 Macbeth Street734 m
The Rutland15 Lower Mall796 m

Public Transport:

BusRavenscourt ParkRoutes 27 190 267 391 H91383 m
BusStamford Brook / Goldhawk RoadRoutes 27 190 237 267 391 H91426 m
BusRivercourt Methodist ChurchRoutes 27 190 267 391 H91541 m
UndergroundStamford BrookDistrict Line574 m
UndergroundRavenscourt ParkDistrict Line617 m
UndergroundTurnham GreenDistrict, Piccadilly Line1012 m

User Comments:

gracey11nzSunday, 18th May 2008

This place is alright but the waiting staff are HORRIBLE and discriminating!

We did not even get to eat here as they were doing everything possible not to serve us. Dont go here, go to the Old ship or somewhere else a lot nicer along the river. Would be a nice pub if they didnt employ such horrible sarcastic people, ie/ man in red shirt serving the front of the bar on the 17/5/2008

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