Some parts of London can be a bit of a pain to get to. Especially if they’re as busy as the Docklands. And with the rise and rise of Canary Wharf taxi fares to seemingly scandalous rates, it’s about time you found a minicab service you can rely on. Addison Lee have been helping Londoners get where they need to go since 1975. And with over 20,000 journeys across the capital each day, we like to think we’ve gotten quite good at it. By that we mean we’re on time, comfortable, safe and always affordable – 30% more affordable than a black cab. And because we never, ever charge surge fares – even when we’re really busy – you’ll never have to worry about ludicrous fare hikes you didn’t know about. For some great ideas on what to do while you’re in the area, follow our Canary Wharf guide to the finest pubs, bars and restaurants the Docklands has to offer. We’ve included some of our absolute favourites. With some 16m square feet of office and retail space as well as around 100,000 people working here, Canary Wharf is unquestionably one of London’s most thriving business areas. In fact, in the UK, it’s second only to the City of London in that respect. Major businesses such as Barclays, HSBC, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan are all based here making it more than just a London financial hub, but a global one too. What may surprise you is that this isn’t just a place of business – a lot of people live here too. And while the docks still see some 1,000 ships pass through them each month they’re a far cry from the busy import/export trade that made them so busy through the 1800s. Even the name – “Canary Wharf” refers to the constant fruit trade with the Canary Islands. This is an area defined by its relationship with commerce. And where there are workers, there are usually places to relax after hours. Sure, the old man’s pubs have largely given way to trendy wine bars and Japanese restaurants but, if like us, you’re not so sure that’s a bad thing, read on and follow our Canary Wharf taxi driver’s guide for hints and tips on which ones you should be checking out while you’re here.
Where to drink
Corney & Barrow
Ok so this is no trade secret. You only have to stumble out of Canary Wharf tube station and you’ll find yourself on Corney & Barrow’s distinct and usually popular terrace. At their heart, these guys are a wine and champagne bar. Serving up some of the best grape based drinks in all of South London (which is saying something around here). But what’s nice about C&B is that they’re never too snooty about it. They’ll just as gladly serve you a pint of lager as a glass of bubbles and they really make the effort to make the place feel as lively as possible. Naturally, they also serve food. With everything from breakfast to mezze platters on offer.
9 Cabot Square, Canary Wharf Group, E14 4EB
Boisdale of Canary Wharf
You might already know Boisdale from their regular Belgravia haunt, but if you’ve yet to sample this vibrant bar, restaurant and jazz venue, you’re in luck. These guys are all about a bit of good old fashioned British decadence. Themed as a Scottish gentleman’s club, the Boisdale is spread elegantly across three floors, with everything from a brasserie, live music venue and even a cigar room built into its palatial confines. The nightly music shows are probably the biggest attraction, and although they don’t come cheap, it’s well worth shelling out for.
Cabot Place, E14 4QT
The Parlour is the archetypal Canary Wharf bar and restaurant. It’s large, bright, inviting and almost always busy. To some that may sound like a negative but to us it’s exactly the kind of place we like to stop by for a drink or bite to eat. The lounge is said to be designed on a ‘secret garden’ theme, and there’s even a mixology table for you to have a bash at making your own mojito. If you’re the type who like to let someone else make your drinks then they’ve got an excellent bar team who have put together a sensational drinks list, including some craft beers and a rather snazzy cocktail list.
The park pavilion, 40 canada square park, E14 5FW
Where to eat
It’s hard to know what sells Chai Ki better – the epic and super indulgent breakfasts, the street food style lunches or the ornate and classy dinners. Offering all three throughout the day, Chai Ki is part daytime Toddy Shop at the front and part Dining Room in the back. They serve a colourful cavalcade of flavours throughout and it’s no wonder the restaurant has become so popular with the local businessmen and women. Like so many of the best places in Canary Wharf, The Dining Room offers some pretty phenomenal views of the river and there is a suitably exciting drinks list to match the menu. A must-do for fans of Indian cuisine.
Crossrail Place, Canary Wharf, E14 5AR
For anyone looking for more of a classic pub feel, The Gun is almost certainly the place for you. Essentially a gold standard gastropub, this lovely little joint perches serenely on the waterfront with all the elegance of a seaside bistro. For the most part the food is British in a very real sense. But that doesn’t mean you’ll be eating anything less than the very best while you’re here. And while you certainly do have to pay for the privilege more than most London gastropubs – it’s well worth it. If you’re lucky – and the weather’s nice – then you’ll get a seat out on the terrace. Book ahead to avoid disappointment.
27 Coldharbour, Docklands, E14 9NS
Rum & Sugar
If you are A) hungry and B) a fan of all things molasses then what more could you hope for than a menu of seasonal British food and over 150 different rums? Rum & Sugar has a real Docklands feel to it. It’s not overly expensive like some of its local counterparts and it readily embraces more of a relaxed, party vibe for all its clientele. Equally popular with the locals for an afterwork cocktail as it is for a delicious bite to eat, this is a restaurant you can easily relax into for a couple of hours. And the nice thing is you won’t have to worry about the bill breaking the bank too much.
1, Warehouse, West India Quay, Canary Wharf, E14 4AL
What to do
Greenwich Peninsula Driving Range
While we readily appreciate that golf is not for everyone, for those that do indulge, there’s Greenwich Peninsula Driving Range. And even if it’s not your thing, you’d have to be especially curmudgeonly to disagree with anyone who pointed out what incredible views of Canary Wharf this place has to offer. Because whether you’ve got a scratch handicap or you just like unleashing hell on a few balls, there are few places in London which allow you to do it from what feels like HSBC’s back garden. There are golf pros on hand to help and there’s a terrific little bar and restaurant for anyone who needs refreshing mid-round.
265 Tunnel Ave, SE10 0QE
Museum of London Docklands
It seems only fitting that if you’re going to spend time in London’s Docklands you should take the time to unfurl their long and storied history. Well, you don’t have to but it’s not a bad way to spend an afternoon if you’re at a loose end. Set on the Isle of Dogs, The Museum of London Docklands unravels the stories behind this famous London trading zone in a relentlessly fascinating and engaging way. Following the birth of the area in the 1600s right up until its role today, the museum is as hands on and entertaining as you’d hope. Making it an ideal stop if you’re in town with the kids. Or, you just so happen to be one yourself.
No.1 Warehouse, W India Dock Rd, E14 4AL
Offering the largest selection of fish in all of the UK, Billingsgate market relocated to the Docklands in the 1980s after serving the city for well over 600 years. With around forty different merchants in the market there’s plenty of choice, whether you’re buying or just looking. And there’s even a local seal who potters about, feeding off scraps. The market opens at 4am when you’ll find most restauranteurs here snapping up the best cuts and stays open until 8am so make sure you’re up bright and early if you want to visit.
Trafalgar Way, E14 5ST