Some pubs leave it up to their location and historical standing to do the talking. So it’s sad to see this Fuller’s pub floundering in the service stakes when it could be shining throughout in the same way the sun shines onto its riverside terrace.
The Dove has one of the prettiest settings in town, parked by the river in Hammersmith, and is steeped in history, with Fuller’s at the helm since 1796. It’s accessed down a twee back passage that calls Dickens novels to mind, yet it was the likes of poet James Thomson and author A P Herbert who found inspiration while propping up the bar at The Dove. And even Charles II is meant to have wined and dined his mistress at this pretty pub.
The interior is everything you’d expect, with low ceilings, very little natural light and a heavy oak-beamed bar. This means that the pub withstands the seasons, acting as a cosy snug in winter when the open fire is lit. Historical paintings and pictures line the walls – along with a Guinness World Record certificate for the world’s smallest snug bar – yet the pièce de résistance is the suntrap of a beer terrace overlooking the Thames to the pub’s rear. This two-tiered terrace holds just a few tables and chairs, so be ready for a battle for seats on hot days. A glass conservatory leads out to it too though, so there are plenty of back-up seating opportunities for those hoping to soak up some rays.
Such a charming and character-filled pub deserves a warm and welcoming bar staff keen to impart the pub’s story upon interested punters. It’s such a shame, then, that the staff at The Dove really let the side down. They seem more interested in their own conversation, keeping customers standing at the bar waiting and neglecting to care for and maintain the appearance of the pub, rarely collecting the glasses that inevitably stack up. It’s a good job you can hide yourself away on that summer terrace when the weather picks up.
A seasonal menu includes sharing boards as well as standard three course foodstuffs, and some make ideal alfresco dining options, such as a heritage tomato gazpacho starter (£6.95) and a pan roasted sea trout main course (£15.95) with fennel and radish salad. But it wouldn’t be a part of the Fuller’s stable without the pub grub classics, and London Pride battered haddock (£11.95), posh sausage and mash (£9.95) and a British beef burger (£11.45) are all familiar faces.
Four handpumps naturally stock Fuller’s London Pride, Seafarers and Honey Dew, as well as a seasonal option, and being one of the closest pubs to the Hammersmith brewery, you can expect a particularly fresh pint of the stuff here. And keeping in with the Hammersmith community, the in-house gin and vodka comes from Sipsmith, the nearby distillery.
The Last Word
If the staff were to up their game, The Dove could easily be the go-to pub on this stretch of The Thames. The pub already comes up trumps with its sunny, riverside terrace, historical and atmospheric snug bar and tasty food menu.