london pubs

The Rake — empty on a Friday!

The Rake near Borough Market was so busy last time we went on a Friday that it took almost 10 minutes to get a drink and we had to drink it crushed into a corner by a stack of handbags.

We happened to be in the area last night and thought it was worth a look, as we were craving something strong and weird. We weren’t hopeful of being able to get through the door, but didn’t have any trouble at all. It was still doing good business, but not crammed.

The afterglow of that Time Out review has evidently passed and the fickle drinkers of London have moved on, it seems, perhaps influenced by various people on the internet describing it as expensive, crowded and grumpy.

We’ve never found it grumpy. It is still expensive, though — especially anything Belgian, German or American. But British cask ales (Harviestoun Behind Bars, for example, which Ally didn’t like, but we thought was OK) are only about £2.70 a pint, so not that bad. They usually have some strange foreign brews on tap that you’re unlikely to see anywhere else in the UK — Boak had some 8.5% Oesterstout from the Scheldebrouwerij in the Netherlands, which sorted the strong and weird craving quite neatly.

The crew of the Great British Beer Festival international beer bar turned up near the end and had a very cheerful, animated conversation with the barman. You’d have thought they might be taking it easy before the big match, really…

4 replies on “The Rake — empty on a Friday!”

I stopped in at the Rake on friday evening for a swift one, it was indeed very empty. As already mentioned some of the prices are quite ridiculous. They are connected to the Utobeer stall in Borough Market which also expensive and the guy with the ginger beard is as miserable as sin! If I was selling specialist beers, I’d be in my element.

I quite like that the bar staff warn people about the prices, though. It would be easy to pull a full pint of something imported and then demand nearly a fiver for it; instead, they advise people to take a half or maybe just choose another beer.

At Utobeer, I’ve only ever been served by a bloke with tattoos who’s *very* cheerful. The ginger bloke just kind of looms in the background usually.

I was in there a couple of Fridays back and was underimpressed that the small table I managed to find a stool at was awash with spilt beer … considering how small the place is, and the fact that there are only two/three tables in the actual bar itself, you’d think at least one member of staff might be detailed to keep the surfaces dry …

I used to frequent the Rake quite a bit for 6 months or so and was initially blown away by the beer selection! I couldn’t stay away. But the downfall came about when it become too cramped and too busy. I went in search of other pubs in London that serve similar selections of tasty beers, especially Belgium. Now its rare that I visit the Rake as I realized the prices are expensive and pubs like the Dovetail offer similar beers selections.

PS. I do agree with the comment that the man with the ginger hair is miserable! Cheer up!

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