The revival of The Tankard on Kennington Road has been one of the proudest moments in my time at The Draft House. Here we took a tired disco-pub and reacquainted the place with its rich London history.
The Tankard stands on at the corner of Kennington Road on the edge of The Imperial War Museum park.
It’s a spectacular spot, but one which hides a darkish secret. The Imperial War Museum building was originally the Bethlehem Hospital – a name which was pronounced by Cockneys as ‘Bedlam’. The asylum – and its nickname – became so iconic that even now Bedlam is a general English term for disorder or craziness.
Now in those days Bedlam was surrounded by a high wall. And The Tankard was purpose-built with a roof terrace to afford drinkers a peep over that wall.
So the inmates were the entertainment. A truly Dickensian concept and one which seems almost inconceivable today.
Incidentally, the indoor-outdoor Terrace Bar – complete with heaters is an awesome place to host a party at Christmas or any other time.
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