It is a well known fact within the catering trade that a pub that books lots of taxis around closing time is doing something right. But, rather than inebriated locals or motorists abandoning their car after one too many, the Andover Arms sees fleets of taxis turning up for very different reasons.
Firstly, the cabs arrive throughout the day and, secondly, very few of those being ferried to and from the pub are actually English.
The Andover Arms, nestling among the warren of Victorian-terraced streets in Hammersmith, has become an essential part of the London tourist trail. Taxis bring Japanese, Chinese, American, Australian and European holidaymakers eager to sample a real London pub atmosphere.
The hanging baskets filled with flowers outside the pub have appeared in many holiday snaps, along with one or two grinning locals.
Goska Wozniak, the manager who is originally from Poland, knows better than most why the pub is so popular.
‘We have people from all over the world visiting us, usually couples, but also a lot of families, and now lots of local young people,’ she says.
‘Recently we had a group of German tourists on a traditional English beer tour. Consequently, they wanted to try every Fuller’s ale and beer we had. They loved Fuller’s Vintage B, possibly because it’s eight per cent. They can put it away, those Germans!’
For Goska and Gemma Worley, the assistant manager, it is the locals – or ‘Bar Babes’ or ‘Pub Children’ as they call them – who make the pub such a great destination.
‘It’s an old-fashioned, cosy and friendly pub,’ Goska adds.
‘Locals love to bring family and friends here for drinks and dinners out. Brackenbury Village has such a sense of community.
‘Everyone knows each other. When you walk to the shops you say ‘hi’ to everyone you meet. It’s great the pub is at the heart of that community.’
Gemma adds, ’The pub is popular because we also all love dogs! We give them a dog biscuit and a bowl of water, after regulars take their pets for a walk in Ravenscourt Park.
‘Actually one of our regulars eats dog biscuits too, despite him claiming they are a little on the salty side.’
Albi, a black Staffordshire Bull Terrier, is the most regular canine visitor to the pub. The placid animal lives over the road but treats the pub like his own, probably because he gets given lamb bones from the kitchen’s eight-hour cooked lamb shoulder. But it is the kitchen’s traditional fish and chips which proves most popular.
‘Some tourists ask us how to eat it. They are bewildered by a huge slab of battered and fried fish,’ Goska adds.
Throughout December the pub will be offering a traditional turkey main course, Christmas pudding, seasonal soup, mulled wine and speciality wines. Then, acoustic music will add to the party mood.
On Christmas Day many locals have their Christmas dinner at the Andover.
‘We only have one sitting on Christmas Day and it is booking up fast,’ Goska says, adding that the bar opens at 11am for one hour before closing so the staff can concentrate on the Christmas dinners.
The Andover Arms
020 8748 2155
57 Aldensley Road W6 0DL
For business, supply, and service enquiries regarding The Andover Arms please contact Thomas Gavaghan on +447747766808.