The façade of The Captain Kidd on Wapping High Street doesn't look too appealing, as there aren't any windows and there isn't any evidence of a pub existing here whatsoever (other than the pub sign). Outwardly it's a derelict building; however, you should discount the pub's street-facing frontage, as The Captain Kidd is situated in another building behind the façade, with access via a small courtyard.
The highlights of this Samuel Smiths pub are its riverside location, view, bay windows and large outdoor terrace, on which there are plants, tables and benches facing the river. From the terrace there is an excellent view of the River Thames, ships moored nearby and Canary Wharf towering above the buildings opposite. There is little in the way of a barrier to stop teetering drunks from plunging into the river, other than a low wall, but the pub judiciously supplies a buoyancy-aid in the vain hope that a drunk in the river is coherent enough to use it.
In the pub itself a stone floor lies below a low, wooden-beamed ceiling and customers sit on pews at barrels reinvented as tables. Most of the woodwork in the pub is old and fatigued, including the beams that surround the horseshoe-shaped bar. The walls of the pub, as to be expected, are lined with pictures of ships, nautical paintings, old Thames photographs and antiquated charts and maps of the river.
There is a large booth in the pub that is ideal for large parties, as it contains a single lengthy oak table surrounded by benches and is situated a few steps above the pub in a quiet corner. The presence of a projector and screen in the secluded booth, however, suggests you're not welcome to sit here during important sporting fixtures. There is, thankfully, another large adjacent room that's away from the big-screen, in which there are plenty of tables and chairs.
Above the pub on the top floor of the building is The Gallows restaurant, which is named, perhaps, to suggest its food is prepared from carrion found hanging on a noose!
The clientele of The Captain Kidd seems to be Australasians and Wapping's nouveau riche, both of whom seem intent upon being loud and rowdy. This 17th Century building has been home to The Captain Kidd pub for about a century, and it was originally a warehouse used by tradesmen making boats, repairing sails and working on the river.
Captain William Kidd was a Scottish colonial ship-owner in 1690s' New York. He became a privateer (to hunt and capture pirates) and later turned to piracy himself; he was arrested, convicted and hanged at Wapping on May 23 1701. During his execution the rope broke; he was hanged on the second attempt. His body remained on the gallows until it had been washed by three tides; it was then tarred (for preservation) and placed in gibbets for public display at Tilbury Point in Essex to discourage other pirates.
Review by mr_psm