SO Resi Canning Town

Greenwich: How The Duke Of Greenwich is a community pub reborn near Maze Hill

Colomb Street venue features locally brewed beer, punchy food and an expansive garden for some sun

The Duke Of Greenwich is located near Maze Hill station

Subscribe to our free Wharf Whispers newsletter here

A lovely thing happened during my visit to The Duke Of Greenwich.

I’m offered a cup of tea on arrival at the watering hole and – following a tour of its dining room, bar and garden – return to find that Jack Crystal at the bar has carefully timed the brewing and removed the bag to prevent things getting too strong.

A small courtesy, perhaps, but typical of the overall flavour of the place.

Sitting officially in Colomb Street, the pub has found a new lease of life.

Landlady Jo Shaw ran it for 18 years as The Vanburgh, before passing it on to Jonathan Kaye and his cohorts.

Together with brothers Nick and Dan Blucert, plus two sleeping partners, they took the place on having seen success with the Jolly Gardeners in Vauxhall and a couple of complementary shops.

So, running as an independent, what does their south-east London venture have to offer?

“About eight months ago we saw the leasehold was up for this pub,” said Jonathan.

“I actually live just across the road and had walked past it every day, so we started thinking.

“We took on the Jolly Gardeners site during lockdown so we got a good price, whereas this was more challenging and needed more doing to it.

“But we opened in July last year with a barbecue set up in the garden and then moved inside to serve Sunday roasts.

The pub’s bar offers a wide range of locally brewed craft beer

“This year we’re aiming to have an epic outdoor space, with a really nice vibe – rather like a festival.

“We want barbecue, fresh local beers, garden games, some sport on a big screen and, hopefully, ice cream – a place where everyone can come.”

Dating from 1871, the pub was originally called the Duke Of Edinburgh before becoming The Vanbrugh, named for architect, dramatist and Maze Hill resident Sir John Vanbrugh who designed Castle Howard and Blenheim Palace.

“We decided to change the name back to The Duke to recall the pub’s original name, but we also wanted to avoid confusion with other businesses in London, which is why we went with the Greenwich rather than Edinburgh,” said Jonathan.

“We’re trying to be something a little bit different from a normal pub and we want people to come and try us out.

“We take an honest approach to hospitality – we want to care for people when they come in.

“When regulars come here we should know who they are, know their stories and what they like to drink.

“We like to build community – that’s what I grew up with and what we like to see.

The Duke boasts an expansive outdoor area for guests to enjoy

“Pubs can be very transactional, but we don’t want that. We want to be open for everyone.

“We do quiz nights and live music, but we also have art from local artists on our walls that people can buy.

“It’s all about good food and good drink.

“You might come to us for a pint and some cauliflower wings or a three-course meal for your mum’s birthday – we offer those things and everything in between.”

The pub itself comprises a saloon bar with seating, a sit-down dining room with an open kitchen, a long sky-lit seating area with bi-fold doors and an expansive garden and terrace area. 

Located close to Maze Hill station, it’s a formidable piece of real estate.

But the team running things have some serious experience between them beyond their recent ventures. 

Operationally, Nick looks after the drinks, Dan oversees the food and Jonathan handles hospitality and anything else that needs seeing to.

Co-owner Jonathan Kaye

Pints may start at £6 for The Duke Of Greenwich lager – made in Croydon by Signal Brewery – but as an independent, the pub has decided to primarily stock beers made locally, favouring quality over low prices.

“We’ve got quite a range,” said Jonathan. “In some cases, people will be drinking beer that’s been brewed just 24 hours beforehand, not sat around in a keg for ages.

“We also collaborate with the likes of Brew By Numbers and Villages Brewery.”

 With the Big Easy, ETM Group, Oblix, Jimmy’s Farm and Polpo on their CVs, the trio also aim to deliver a food offering that lives up to the solid reputation they’ve created with their first pub.

Small plates include beer battered cod cheeks, crispy pork belly, cauliflower wings and asparagus, potato and pine nut salad.

These come with punchy accompaniments such as wild garlic aioli, freshly made slaw, dill pickle salsa and (best of all) a fiery chipotle sauce.

Most are around the £10 mark, while mains are typically just under £20. Sunday roasts max out at £24.

Pork belly with freshly made coleslaw at The Duke

The cooking is full of compelling crunch, with bold flavours and decent, colourful portions.

“We use Lyon’s Hill in Dorset for all our meat and James Knight Of Mayfair for our fish, straight from Cornwall,” said Jonathan.

“We use a company called Shrub Provisions, which sources produce straight from farms in the South East – it all makes a difference.

“For example, the coleslaw that is served with our pork belly is made fresh. Some places would just buy it in big tubs.

“We want people to come here, enjoy our hospitality and see that it’s worth it. We have some amazing ingredients and we also pay the London Living Wage to our staff.

“We’ll change the menu about four times a year, although popular dishes like the cauliflower wings will always be there.”

With warmer weather on the horizon, the team is currently sprucing up the garden and terrace with a view to screening selected sporting events such as the Olympics.

The venue is also available for weddings, with various areas bookable for events.

However, during normal operation, there will continue to be a focus on walk-ins.

“The dining room is the only part we take reservations for at the moment,” said Jonathan.

Spicy, moreish cauliflower wings

“We want to be a pub that’s open to everybody, whether it’s parties with kids or dog walkers. 

“What I always look for is when people buy their second beer. You want people to come in and stay for a while.”

Having originally studied sports injury and massage, Jonathan was bitten by the hospitality bug in his early 20s, pouring half a Guinness at a venue in his native Essex where his brother was the chef. 

“The guy ordering was very nice – I had to be shown how to do it – but he was speaking to me and I just fell in love with service,” he said.

Asparagus, potato and pine nut salad

“I’m obsessed with food and drink anyway and the people side of the business was just fantastic.

“I met Dan, who is now one of my business partners, working at a 50-seater gastro pub in Essex when he was head chef.

“It’s rare to get a front of house and back of house partnership working, but we got on really well.

“I followed him to London about 12 years ago and we had the idea to do a pub together during his stag do.”

And it was that ambition that has now led them to Greenwich…

Jonathan, right, with Nick and Dan Blucert at The Duke

need to know

The Duke Of Greenwich is located on the corner of Colomb Street and Woodlands Park Road. 

The pub is open Wednesday-Sunday from noon until 11pm (9pm on Sundays).

It’s also open from 4pm-11pm on Tuesdays.

The Duke is within easy walking distance of Maze Hill station.

Find out more about The Duke Of Greenwich here

The pub can accommodate 150 diners at any one time

Read more: Why MadeFor office space in Canary Wharf is a vital part of its offering

Read Wharf Life’s e-edition here

Subscribe to our free Wharf Whispers newsletter here

- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via
Subscribe To Wharf Life

Wapping: How the Krafty Braumeister went from Baghdad to Brussels Wharf

Uli Schiefelbein went from homebrew in Iraq to brewing in Suffolk and now sells beer in Wapping

Uli Schiefelbein of the Krafty Braumeister at Wapping Docklands Market

Subscribe to our Wharf Whispers newsletter here

The tale of the Krafty Braumeister starts not in east London, but some distance away.

In fact the brewery, which sells its beer at Wapping Docklands Market every Saturday from 10am-4pm at Brussels Wharf, has its origins in Iraq and the desire for better refreshment.

“I was working for the European Union over there as a rule of law expert, having worked for the German police,” said Uli Schiefelbein, founder and head brewer at the Krafty Braumeister.

“We were over there training Iraqi police and prison governors in the rule of law – mainly criminal law – and I worked there for seven years.

“Now, I love beer – I can remember my grandfather taking me to a pub for the first time when I was 15.

“But the beer we could get in Baghdad was absolute crap.

“It was often kept out on the runway in containers in 40ºC heat – beer from big lager brands brewing under licence in Turkey, so it was not nice to start with.

“At that time we were living in rented accommodation at the British Embassy, where we also rented offices.

“So, a few of us decided to try brewing our own.

“Everyone was very keen on getting better beer, so soon people flying in were bringing hops and malt in their suitcases. 

“Our first attempt was a total failure. The problem was the fermentation, because the weather was just so hot.

“We had no clue about brewing but we figured a few things out, got the hang of it and everybody liked the beer.

“From that experience, I thought that when I retired I would try to make a business out of it.

“The second thing that happened in Baghdad was I met my wife there and she is British.

“We had to decide whether to live in Germany or the UK, but she said she was tired of learning new languages, so I didn’t have a choice.

“That’s why we live in Suffolk, which I love because it’s a wonderful place – very quiet and rural – and that’s where this little brewery has been going now since April 2018.”

Beers to go: Uli sells both bottled and draught beers at the market

The couple moved to the UK in 2013, with Uli retiring in 2017 and immediately embarking on a series of professional brewing courses to take his hobby to the next level.

“Because I’m German, I thought I needed to do some German-style beers – that was my niche – and that’s what we did,” he said.

“All the beers we brew are natural – we don’t add any sugar or artificial flavours.

“I couldn’t really do American IPAs and the British brewers are much better than me at brewing their ales, so I stuck to what I knew.”

Perhaps appropriately for a former rule of law expert, Uli brews strictly in line with the Reinheitsgebot – a candidate for the oldest, still enforced food regulation in the world.

Also known as the German Purity Law, it was implemented by Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria in 1516 and states that only barley, hops and water can be used to produce beer. 

This was subsequently modified to include a fourth ingredient, yeast, after its role in the fermentation process was discovered and has governed brewing in all of Germany since 1906 after it was gradually adopted by other states in the country. 

So while Uli brews his beer in Leiston, close to the east coast, the link to the country of his birth is potent and his home town features in his beers too.

“I had to do a beer from my home town of Köln,” he said.

“Out Rut And Wiess is a Kölsch-style beer that’s like a hybrid between a pale ale and a lager. A lot of people order it from us because they know it from their time in Germany.

“In Köln, it’s drunk in small glasses and the waiters carry trays of beers.

“When yours is empty they replace it with a fresh one and will keep doing so until you put your beer mat on top of the glass.

Wapping Docklands Market is open on Saturdays from 10am-4pm and 5pm for the coronation of King Charles III

“It’s one of the six beers in our core range.

“We do two traditional Bavarian wheat beers, one has banana and clove flavours, which comes from the yeast, a very refreshing summer beer.

“Both are quite fizzy and effervescent.

“The darker version is quite complex and has a lot of flavours. It has won us several awards, including a silver medal from the London Beer Competition.

“Then we do two lagers, one called Munich Helles, which has a sweet maltiness to it, and also a more traditional north German pilsner.

“As well as the Kölsch-style beer, we do a kind of brown ale inspired by beer from the town of Düsseldorf, which has a taste somewhere between a bitter or a porter.”

Examples of these beers and special editions are available at the market in draft and bottled formats, with Uli making the weekly trip down to London.

“For our business model, Wapping is a good way to sell directly to customers,” he said.

“For a small brewery like mine, it’s difficult to do distribution. We have some shops and some pubs where we sell the beer.

“But this puts us right in front of people – they seem to really like it and it works very well for us.

“We’re happy to be here – it’s such a nice atmosphere, with the community and people coming every Saturday, meeting their friends, having a drink and some food – I really enjoy it.

“When this market was first opened by Will Cutteridge, I knew the location and thought I should be here.

“Street food and live music is ideal for us and we’ve now been trading here for nearly two years.

“Running a business like this has been more challenging than I thought. I knew I could brew beer that people like, but all the other things that come with running a company – selling your product, merchandising, taxes – whatever is involved, is all so much more than you think.

“Even though I’m retired, I probably work more now.

“But I enjoy it very much indeed. It’s fantastic when people come back and tell me how much they enjoy what I have made.

“That’s why I like being at this market – we’ve found people in the community really enjoy what we’re doing, so it’s a mutual thing.

“One of the reasons we came to London in the first place was because of the pandemic – all the markets in Suffolk were closed but they were open in the city. 

“So the only way for us to survive was to come to the capital – where we were allowed to sell glasses of beer – and we’re glad we did.

“As for the future, I should like to continue, grow a little bit and increase the profit if I can.

“However, it won’t be to a point where it’s too commercial or industrial and we can’t enjoy it any more. 

“We want to be a nice size and we’re pretty busy, so I’d like to continue doing this for a few more years. If I get to a point where I’m too tired of doing it, then perhaps I’ll sell it then, if I can.”

Beer from the Krafty Braumeister is also available to order online and at Canada Water Market, soon to be on Saturdays and Sundays in Deal Porters Square near the station.

Currywurst from The Austrian House at Wapping Docklands Market


Currywurst And Fries, £9.90 – The Austrian House

Asked for a pairing recommendation for his beer, Uli had no hesitation in picking out regular Wapping trader The Austrian House.

Like the Braumeister, this company makes its products in the UK, with ice-cooled blades to keep the pork in the bratwurst in top condition when it’s being sliced up.

Slathered with sauce and curry powder, its currywurst and skin-on fries are a  rich fruity delight, best enjoyed with a glug or two of chilled beer… 

Read more: How WaterAid uses dragon boats to raise money

Read Wharf Life’s e-edition here

Subscribe to our Wharf Whispers newsletter here

- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via
Subscribe To Wharf Life

Bermondsey: How craft beer brand Hiver is set to pay homage to Oktoberfest

Stanworth Street taproom will celebrate Hiverfest over three Fridays with live music and sausages

Hiver founder and managing director Hannah Rhodes
Hiver founder and managing director Hannah Rhodes – image Matt Grayson

There’s historical precedent for Hiverfest. Bermondsey-based honey beer brand Hiver is set to host its very own homage to Oktoberfest over three Fridays – September 17, 24 and October 1 – at its taproom. 

“We’re very, very excited about it,” said the brand’s founder and managing director Hannah Rhodes. “It’s something we’ve wanted to do for a couple of years now – there’s a lovely tie-in because honey beer was one of the original festival beers.

“Hops were only introduced to brewing in the 1400s in the UK so honey was a key ingredient before that. It helped the beer last a bit longer and gave greater depth of flavour.

“Also, because it’s a natural sugar, it gets fermented into alcohol, making honey beers a bit more spicy than other brews that would have been around at the time.

“That makes it ideal for a party or a festival. This summer has been all about getting back into a normal groove and we didn’t want to miss that opportunity to have some fun and party.”

Those going to Hiverfest will be able to sample plenty of beer
Those going to Hiverfest will be able to sample plenty of beer – image Matt Grayson

The events, which run from 6pm-11pm will see around 120 people join Hannah and her team under the arches in the taproom at Stanworth Street on each of the nights for food, beer and live music. 

Tickets cost £30 per person and include a pint of Hiver and a portion of food. Ceramic steins will also be available to purchase for £25, which includes another pint of Hiver and a £1 discount on pints at the venue, whenever the owner pops in for a beer on an ongoing basis.

“Hiverfest is going to be lots of beer swilling, feet stomping,” said Hannah. “We did a test run a few weeks ago in the guise of a staff party and it was very successful.

“Of course we’ll have our range of amazing, award-winning beers including our lager Fabal and our honey beer range from Hiver.

“We also have a fab street food partner called SmoKings – they’re normally based at Finsbury Square in Moorgate and they do everything from grilled meats to vegan and vegetarian alternatives.

“They will be making some festival sausages for us with both meat and vegan options and meat and vegetarian platters too. That may well be the start of a longer partnership between the two businesses as well.

“The live band are a brass trio called Hot City Horns and we’re really lucky to have them. 

“It’s actually through someone I was at school with years and years ago – Paul Burton. They’ve been really successful, working with the likes of Sir Paul McCartney, Jess Glynne, Emeli Sande and Olly Murs and they’ll be bringing a singer along with them for the three evenings.

“We’ll have everything from a bit of acoustic stuff to get people going, to standing on tables, wandering around and getting people engaged. While everyone will have a table and a seat, we don’t think it’ll be long before people are up on their feet.”

Hannah pours a Phoebee stein of beer
Hannah pours a Phoebee stein of beer – image Matt Grayson

Ticket holders can also expect some surprise goodies, a prize for the best Oktoberfest-themed fancy dress and the opportunity to purchase an extensive range of merchandise, much of it featuring brand logo Phoebee.

“We now have gorgeous new branding – a bit more playful with a few more bee puns that people seem to love,” said Hannah. “We’re bright and fresh.

“As a business beyond the taproom, we have some new products in the wings, which we hope will be coming out in the spring. 

For the moment we’re quite focused on festive Christmas gift packs, making sure we’ll be offering something a bit different.

“The last year has been very much about driving online sales – we’re now available in Waitrose and Sainsbury’s, which is great.

“It’s been about learning how we can get more savvy with online and driving digital sales.”

Hiverfest, however promises to be an offline experience, taking the best bits of similar events in Germany and giving them a Bermondsey twist.

“The arch is something tangible and there’s something really nice about seeing it come to life at the weekend,” said Hannah.

“I’m a big fan of Oktoberfest in Germany and can’t wait to go back. It’s that lovely reminder of the role of beer, where people have fun and socialise.

“We’ll have our own version of the Prosit song and, hopefully, everyone will sing.”

Those attending Hiverfest can choose between a pint of Hiver on arrival or Hannah’s relatively new release – Fabal – a dry crisp lager made with pressed barley and already the house pour at The Dorchester.

“While Hiver means beekeeper, Fabal means the human artisan or craftsperson, like the maltsters who supply us for the brand,” she said.

Read e-editions of Wharf Life’s print edition here

Subscribe to our regular newsletter here

Subscribe To Wharf Life