Despite, it's small size, The Rake boasts one of the capital's largest and most exciting selections of independent real ales and beers from across the globe hidden in the most unassuming of venues. A little gem I was desperate to check out.
The Rake is a tiny pub that proves, once and for all, that the best things come in small packages. Beer is the focus here; it's not stylishly decorated and has a handful of tables and bar stools so you'll have to fight to get your hands on them at peak times. Luckily there's a small outdoor terrace to spill out into when it's busy. There's also a 'no crap on tap sign' hung above the bar plus graffiti messages from famous brewers on the wall, which adds a fitting personal touch to this bijou pub.
The Ambience and Clientele
The nature of the small pub means that claustrophobic types are strictly not allowed. When we arrived on a Friday at around 9pm, the venue was swamped. If you're going at peak time, expect to be jostled around a bit as people try to weave their way through the crowds. That being said, there's a sense of joviality that comes with the gathering like minded people rather than the flashier suited crowds in other London bars. The clientele was male-heavy, however there was a good mix of market traders, office workers and casual drinkers to create a chilled and inclusive atmosphere.
With over 130 bottled beers and ciders in the fridge, as well as three constantly changing cask ales and seven kegs, there's always something new to try. Don't expect a menu; the range is so huge that even the most dedicated of beer drinkers will benefit from a chat with the helpful and knowledgeable staff about what they would recommend.
Beer converts transitioning from cider may consider the Belgium Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus, or a cherry beer from Liefmans Kriek. Not being a serious beer drinker, I opted for the Cantillon beer which was fruity with a pleasurable sourness that you can find with Haribo sweets. Hop heads can delight at a selection of some of the finest brewers from across the pond as well as a selection of great beers from Belgium. My beer loving partner opted for a very strong and silky smooth Chimay Blue which went down quicker than my sour number. Prices may seem steep at around £5-8 a serving, however, a lot of the beers are very strong and generally just pretty special.
If you live in London, enjoy your beer and haven't visited The Rake, what have you been doing?! Whilst Borough Market is the one stop shop for Londoner's foodies, The Rake could be it's equal for London's beer lovers.