An away fans pub guide to Fulham

There really aren’t many away days like a trip to Fulham. Nestled on the side of the River Thames, the ground and the surrounding area is a postcard depiction of middle-class affluence, and the charming local pubs are a reflection of this.

Far from the usual away match boozers-de-jour, Craven Cottage is surrounded by plush and comfortable watering holes that feel little need to remove all the furniture in order to cram as many people in as possible, and avoid providing missiles for over exuberant fans in the process.

At times a little pretentious – particularly when it comes to bar snacks – and strikingly en-trend with the decor, the below pubs are a welcome change from the usual diamonds in the rough on offer to away fans at most grounds.

The Old Ship

With a covered terrace overlooking the river and a relaxed and laid-back feel to the pub, you could be forgiven for settling in for the afternoon and grabbing a roast dinner, such is the unusually welcome comfort for a matchday boozer.

Filled with fashionably large burgundy leather sofas and a heap of wood panelling, the decoration can feel a bit ostentatious, however it’s comparatively quiet for a pub so close to the ground and this happily exaggerates its difference from the usual plastic-cup pub.

And it’s the terrace which is the pub’s greatest asset, allowing punters to happily discuss the upcoming game in calm and picturesque surroundings, whilst watching those with far more energy and motivation run and cycle along the bank.

Price of a pint and a snack

Guinness £4.30 and a range of home-made spiced nuts, including salted, mixed and roasted (£2.25) and pistachios (£2.50).

Food

A large open kitchen sits to the right of the bar (above) and offers a wide range of posh pub grub, from its appealing, but pricey menu.

There’s macaroni and cheese at £7.50 to sirloin steak (£17.95), or if you just fancy something lighter on the stomach and also your wallet then there’s more traditional pub nosh such as pork pies (£3.50), sausage rolls (£3.50) and scotch egg (£2.95).

TVs

There aren’t any. And whilst this might be the pubs greatest drawback, it also contributes to one of its most redeeming features.

This helps with the calm and leisurely atmosphere of the place, but without Sky Sports whipping you into a frenzy for the upcoming game, or perhaps showing the early kick-off, it makes this particular boozer more of a pleasant start to the day than a place to occupy for the entirety of the pre-match build up.

Wi-Fi enabled areas

A refreshing update to The Old Ship comes in the form of Wi-Fi enabled access points. Meaning you can keep up-to-date with breaking news, squad line-ups and match odds before making your way to Craven Cottage.

Although The Old Ship doesn’t feature a TV, one of the biggest selling points that you can now take from the pub is their Wi-Fi enabled access points. By simply logging on, you can gain access to Sky Sports on your mobile or tablet via their Sky Go app, while still being able to bet online through responsible gambling websites such as Betway. Full betting terms and conditions found here

Outside seating area

So often nestled away around the back, or secreted at the side of the pub, The Old Ship’s biggest selling point is right at the bow of the building.

Travel to the pub

In such a residential area, parking is extremely difficult without a permit.

So, as is the London way, the tube is highly recommended and from Hammersmith underground on the Piccadilly and District lines, it’s an approximate 15 minute walk to the pub.

From the tube head southwest on Hammersmith Broadway and continue onto the busy Hammersmith Bridge Road.

Take the last right before the river along Rutland Grove and from there it’s a case of following the riverside path around Furnivall Gardens, past The Dove pub and two rowing clubs, until you reach The Old Ship.

Distance from the ground

1.6 miles (2.6 km)

Travel to the ground


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A leisurely walk along the river is made all the better by the simplicity of the journey.

Head left out of the pub and keep walking past two rowing clubs along the river-side path. There is a short diversion around The Riverside Studios before the path naturally leads into Rainville Road.

The below pub will be on the right-hand side of this road, but to continue onto the ground, walk around Queens Manor Primary School and follow the road around and onto Stevenage Road, which takes you to the door.

The Crabtree

Walking along the bank of the Thames, away from The Old Ship and towards Craven Cottage, the throng of fans steadily increases and a fair few of them will be heading towards the popular Crabtree, where both home and away fans tend to congregate for a pre-match pint.

It’s similarly decorated to the Old Ship in what seems to be a known en-trend style, with large leather sofas jostling for position, mis-matched lamp shades hovering over the bar and an ostentatious chandelier dominating the view from the front of the pub.

It is however, a lot better prepared for matchday than The Old Ship, with a greater number of bar staff ready to hurriedly chuck a wide range of lagers and ales into plastic cups, to ensure the noisy punters only use the vessels to drink from and nothing naughty or potentially damaging.

Price of a pint and a snack

Guinness £4.10 and Pipers salt & vinegar and cheese & onion crisps £1.15.

Food

It may well contradict the plush Victorian bistro-pub surroundings, but the owners are seemingly taking no chances, as their burgers and fish and chips were all being served in orange polystyrene takeaway trays on my visit.

TVs

To the right of the pub’s entrance a large flatscreen TV adorns the busy patterned wall.

Outside seating area

Reminiscent of strolling along a Victorian train platform, the large metal and glass veranda sits in an ornamental tree-lined garden, which is a haven from the busy bar.

On this occasion there was a man dressed from head to toe in black (above left), who adopted a fiercely intense stare whenever he was caught on camera; although I have been reassured that he’s not a permanent fixture.

If you venture past him then a similarly attractive decked garden overlooking the Thames can be found to the rear of the building.

Travel to the pub

For directions from The Old Ship see above. Alternatively, from Hammersmith tube head along Hammersmith Broadway, under the flyover and from there the river should become visible.

Head left around the Riverside Studios and along the riverside path until it directs you left onto Rainville Road and the pub is a couple of hundred yards on your right.

From Putney Bridge on the District line, head away from the river onto Fulham High Street for a mile and then take a left down Crabtree Lane, before the intersection with Lillie Road. Turn right down Rainville Road and the pub’s a hundred yards or so on your left.

Distance from the ground

0.5 miles (0.8km)

Travel to the ground


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Being one of the smaller Premier League grounds, Craven Cottage’s location isn’t immediately obvious, as it doesn’t tower above its residential neighbours.

However, it doesn’t need to in this instance, as after turning right out of the pub; the ground is an easy 10 minute walk along Stevenage Road towards the Johnny Haynes Stand and the adjoining Putney End, which houses the away supporters.

Other pubs to consider

The Eight Bells is a short hop across the road from Putney Bridge tube on the District line and is a hugely popular destination for a way fans. However, it seemingly opens its doors on matchday at maximum capacity, so an early start is recommended to avoid being turned away.

Alternatively, The Dove is a quaint cottage pub on the river in between The Old Ship and The Crabtree, which I’m informed does a top Sunday roast.

Pubs to avoid

As with the visit to any away ground, walking into any pub in another team’s colours should be done with caution, but Fulham is a little different. Not to say a bash on the bonce is impossible, but such is the foppish and charming nature of the area that most pubs are welcoming to out-of-towners, so long as they’re not wearing Chelsea or QPR shirts.

Other points of interest

A visit to Craven Cottage isn’t complete without a trip to see Fulham’s greatest hero Michael Jackson. However, the king of football pop’s statue is annoyingly hidden between the Riverside Stand and the Thames and behind marshalled gates at either end. But, it can be seen in all its tasteless glory from a mound at the Hammersmith End of the stadium.

Tags: Craven Cottage, Fulham, Premier League

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michael stillman 8 March 2016 at 12:17pm

Can you please tell me the name of the pubs that away fans go for a pint before the match because we are bring 4000 fans to Fulham next sat

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